28 June 2007

Grand Duke Finally Gets His Head Soaked, But Post-Bath Luncheon Disrupted

Late this morning, Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II was marched at the end of a three meter barge pole, straight into the largest fountain of the formal gardens on the grounds of Krankenstadt Palace. You’ll recall that this situation arose in response to the Grand Duke’s refusal to remove his lobster costume for something on the order of 30+ days. Despite his protests, Stollen’s Grand Duke was undressed, soaked, and scrubbed. The semi-public -- the ministers and advisors responsible remained present as well as several male palace staff -- and very sudsy, bathing lasted approximately half an hour.

The recent hot weather experienced across the Grand Duchy of Stollen had finally made “The Great Lobster Costume Affair”, as it has come to be known among palace staff, untenable. It was decided by his closest ministers and advisors that Irwin-Amadeus must be forcibly removed from his costume and washed. The men behind the decision decided that drawing straws was the best way to determine WHO would handle the task personally.

Herr von Pelznikkel drew the shortest straw and was visibly shaken when the magnitude of what was about to happen slowly dawned on him. Amid whispers of treachery and tampering with the straws to insure that Herr von Pelznikkel WOULD be the one chosen to bath our troubled ruler, he bore the duty with terrific discipline and self-restraint, as is only right and proper for a Stollenian minister.

Removing his hat, coat, shoes, and stockings Herr von Pelznikkel rolled up his sleeves and followed Irwin-Amadeus into the fountain. Despite protests from the latter, Herr von Pelznikkel soon had the Grand Duke out of his lobster costume, which he handed to Johannes P. Flickenhoffer, personal assistant to Irwin-Amadeus II. Herr Flickenhoffer promptly fainted, due the stench wafting from and around the now empty lobster costume. A chambermaid was summoned to rush the garment to the palace laundry with the utmost haste. She was later noticed babbling incoherently to herself about little birds and butterflies hovering before her unfocused eyes.

The bathing session now over, Herr von Pelznikkel wrapped Irwin-Amadeus in a large white sheet and help him from the fountain. The Grand Duke immediately arranged the sheet around his torso and under one arm, to resemble a Roman toga. He next stepped to a lobster-shaped topiary shrub nearby and fashioned a wreath of leaves, which he placed on the crown of his freshly washed head. Finally, to the audible groans of disbelief from several ministers and advisors, our Grand Duke declared himself Zeus by Jove and marched off in the direction of a luncheon table set up outside the east wing of the palace. He was followed closely by his ministers and advisors, who could be heard discussing this latest development in hushed tones.

The Grand Duke and his party arrived at the lengthy and oppulent table amid an escalating argument between the royal dessert chef Antoine Pont Neuf de Gallia, several kitchen maids of long standing, and Grizelda the seamstress, who had been drafted to assist with the al fresco lunch. We are not entirely certain, but sources close to this reporter suggest that the argument began over precisely how the table was to be set and the presentation of the six dozen cherry pies baked for the occasion. Slightly chilled cherry pie is, incidentally, the Grand Duke’s favorite summer dessert.

Witnesses are not entirely sure what happened next, but pies were soon flying freely through the air, much to the delight of Irwin-Amadeus and the Prussian ambassador to Stollen, Heinz von dem Salat, who had been invited to the luncheon. The two stood by laughing maniacally, slapping their hands on each other’s shoulders, and crying, “More, more!” as Palace kitchen staff, ministers, and advisors covered themselves from head to toe in cherry pie filling.

The pie fight lasted three quarters of an hour before a detachment of Leib Grenadiers was called in to restore order, but not before Colonel von Spasticus himself received a face full of cherry pie. He is reported to have remarked to a captain present, "Hmmm, not bad. But I like mine a bit sweeter." Palace gardeners fear that it will take much of July to rinse the cherry filling residue and pie crust fragments from the lawn and windows of the east wing. Neither Irwin-Amadeus II, nor any of the minsters and advisors involved in the incident were available for comment.

-- Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger, Die Krankenstadt Tageblat

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