A Public Luncheon
G. Arthur Brown
"We'll be having the monkey for lunch, Rogers," Sir Leonard said rather ambiguously, as if trying to draw the reader into a story by an author who thought himself far more clever than he actually was. You know the kind: they drag you a thousand words before revealing a punch line you saw coming from the first sentence. Sir Leonard could have meant they'd be dining on monkey meat, which is intriguing, but a bit silly to wait until the end of the story to reveal. Or he could have meant the monkey would be joining them at their noontime meal as a guest, which is still silly, but I could see someone using that one. In this case, he meant both. Or more accurately, definitely the latter and hopefully the former, because in a rather strange gambit, Sir Leonard had decided that not only would he do in his simian rival at lunch, but he would also dine on his dead flesh at that very same lunch. He smiled defiantly and dripped conceit on his lapel. It was all right; Rogers and some club soda got that right out.
The butler stared down at the gentleman seated at his thinking desk. "Tell me again how you and that monkey came to be at odds, Sir.”
"You see, my father was in the banana business, and the monkey was in the monkey business, and—"
"Ah, yes. Now I recall it quite clearly. But how did you inherit a legacy of animosity and competition with a lower primate?"
"If there is an answer to that question, Rogers, it is as long dead as my will to explain myself." He fluffed his tuxedo like a bird would its plumage, and shuddered violently. "Yes, Rogers, he is my enemy. Only one thing to do about it. A public execution, mingled with lunch."
"Shall I alert the press?"
"But of course." The gallery was full that lunchtime, full of sailors on leave and judges who didn’t care much for their reputations. Not many idlers wished to miss Sir Leonard and the monkey eating sandwiches together. The promise of an execution didn't hurt, either, if you ask me. But the tabloids were starving in those days, and a photo of an elderly aristocrat sitting down to break bread with a Colobus monkey was too much to pass up. The cook had the monkey-oven ready to go. Everyone expected quite a spectacle.
Noon came. They waited and waited. The monkey never arrived.
Eventually, Sir Leonard called Rogers aside and quietly declared, "Clear these people out. Tell them the building is on fire. This isn't like the time the orangutan hid my wallet, Rogers. I've had one pulled over on me by a common monkey. I'll never live it down."
Alone save his faithful manservant, Sir Leonard just sat in silence, no sobbing, no moaning. I've put him on display in this tiny glass box so that the public can see what a truly defeated man looks like. He's like a successful man, but with nothing much left to say for himself. Nothing except:
"Rogers, if you had to decide whether or not to eat me, would my body fat index be a factor?"
"I think no, Sir."
"Good. I've really let myself go, and I still owe the public a luncheon."
G. Arthur Brown is unable to be biographied for reasons literary science has yet to explain. It is said something else by him will be coming out next year in Words and Images Journal, but who can really say? All that is known about him can be found at garthurbrown.blogspot.com.