His Highness. Flash Fiction by Ewa Fornal

He stayed in quarantine for nearly ten years, despite everyday routine, never lost his curiosity. There’s always ‘the thing.’ The thing to discover, the thing to chase, even if it’s just a spider, a strange smell to follow, a new color of hair, a foreign invader. His approach to SARS-CoV-2 is nearly the same as it was before the threat came, insufficient care. He takes all good and bad news with the same face of indifference. Why would he care? Had he ever shaken hands with the strangers? Had he ever entered a crowded place? Had he ever ignored the physical distance with all the bigger creatures than himself? Had he ever danced with someone? Played soccer with the lads in a park? Went to match? Went to a pub?And now he wonders why they started to behave same way as himself? Why so late?

His life during the lockdown hadn’t changed much, apart from the fact his daily naps got disrupted, his isolated lifestyle now disturbed by a curse of a human presence in all rooms, all the time. The rooms which were at his own disposal before – now occupied by shitters, eaters, sleepers and noise makers. They fill up his bowl a few times more than before, the condition under which he agreed to keep them in his kingdom for the time of the lockdown. But if the lockdown extends to May, the terms and conditions of their stay may change along the way.
At the moment the main rule is to keep all the rooms well ventilated. Once he discovers one of the doors is locked he takes to the streets of the living room to protest. It’s not that he wants to open it to see what’s on the other side. He knows what’s on the other side. He knows much more than the bunch of owls, he just doesn’t like it locked, that’s all. What he likes to see are all opportunities available for him. Taking up the armchair goes against his entitlement. He will silently force you to abdicate. You shouldn’t pretend to be a king in a first place.

His Highness does his daily exercise and stretches despite the fact his belly fat gradually rounded up, over the time of human lockdown. So now his tongue barely reaches the place where his nuts used to sleep. But at least he doesn’t need an exercise mat or the TV to tell him how to do it properly.
There’s no need to bother the barber during this difficult time as “the two at the back and sides” is his permanent look with a lifetime result. But from time to time he doesn’t mind to have his coat brushed down to give his fur more shine and respect. He licks his paws a few times a day, despite the fact WHO warned against this perverse activity.

“They contradict themselves,” he meows. “First, they stressed the importance of washing your hands and now they say you can’t lick them. How am I suppose to clean them?”

He is an old king, as I said, but he takes a good care of himself. As our neighbor once put it;

“No matter his age, he still has a lot of charm, he is just fine.”
He visits her from time to time in her apartment beside but keeps his social distance to a high standard. Though his attitude to her rooms is more relaxed as he treats them like an extension of his own private chambers.

His advice at this time would be:

“Enjoy the long naps guys, stay away from the armchair, do your exercise, take all the news with same fuss of indifference, eat well and place your bum on the keyboard instead of your hands to avoid your hands contaminate.”

Ewa Fornal is member of Dublin Writers’ Forum in Dublin.

1 Comment

  1. ‘He takes to the streets of his living room to protest.’ I love this line.

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