You know, I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I wish I was dead. I'm usually a cheerful kind of guy, at least on the surface. It goes with the territory. You see, I'm a jester. People used to call us court jesters, but we officially changed the name 30 or 40 years ago when people started gettin' us confused with lawyers. Yeah, I know what you're thinkin' ... dwarf, dorky hat with bells on it, all that crap. But that's a myth nowadays.
Jesters these days don't have to wear a uniform. And we don't have to be under 5 feet tall. Those rules pretty much got buried in the early 20th century when the dwarves found out that they could make better money on the freak show circuit than in the yuck biz. These days, we look more like personal assistants than circus folk. But the job's pretty much the same.
A week ago, I had the world by the short hairs. My boss, Casper Pepper the third, treated me really well. I went with him everywhere, to keep his sense of humor in shape. If you think about it, it makes sense. Kings in olden days used to keep court jesters around to help them break the tension. I mean, being a big shot can cause a lot of stress, and we all know that stress ain't good for you. Just look at Saddam Hussein ... that whack job's friggin' delusional!
So anyway, I'm with Pep (he let me call him that, thought it was kinda cute) and we're on the small jet, 'cause the big one's in the shop. And I'm tellin' him this new bunch of Bill Gates jokes -- he just hates Bill Gates, calls 'im Frogface -- and he's whoopin' it up. I tell the one about Bill Gates an' the Pope, and the pilot gets goin' with this fit of laughin', and before I know it, he's chokin' and we're headed straight for this 747 ... well, you can guess the rest.
Here I am on this friggin' speck somewhere in the Pacific. Pep and the pilot never made it, but somehow, maybe because I was hoppin' around tellin' jokes instead of strapped into my seat, I'm able to get outta the wreck with nothin' more than some bad bruises. I hung onto one of those seat cushions that turn into a floater or whatever the hell you call 'em, and before I know it, I'm washed up here.
A ton of crap floated in from the 747, most of it garbage. But there were a couple of suitcases that weren't hurt too bad, and I got some clothes outta 'em. And then there's Marcy. Everybody thinks getting stranded on a desert island all by themselves would be torture. I mean, wasn't that the whole gag in that Tom Hanks movie?
But if you think bein' stuck on an island all by yourself sucks, you ain't been stuck on an island with Marcy.
She flips when I call her Marcy, of course. "My name's Marcia Vanderbilt, NOT Marcy!" she used to scream at me, but after the first few days, she realized I was doin' it to jerk her chain and she stopped goin' off on me.
She and I didn't exactly get off on the good foot, if you know what I mean. I asked her what her name was ... that was my first mistake.
"My name is Marcia Vanderbilt," she tells me, her nose all up in the air.
"Hey, Marcy, I'm Jack," I said, tryin' to be friendly, even though she didn't have the courtesy to ask me about my name. I figure, this broad just washed up in the middle of nowhere, no makeup, no nothin', so I'm thinkin' I'll cut her some slack.
Does she shake my hand and say "Nice to meet ya?" No! She goes off on me.
"My name is NOT Marcy, it's Marcia." She gets this face on, an' all I can think of is that scene from "Sunset Boulevard" where that whacked broad thinks she's gonna get a closeup. "Do you know who I am," she asks me, like I should.
"Sorry, you don't look familiar," I tell her. She gets all huffy again and tells me she's won umpteen daytime Emmies for her part in some soap opera. "Sorry," I tell her, "I don't watch the soaps." And she goes ballistic again, screamin' that it ain't a "soap opera," it's a "daytime drama." Of course, I wanna tell her that as far as I'm concerned, it don't make a difference what you call it, it's all crap, but then I think hey, I'm stuck on this island with this broad and we may be here for a while, so I'll let her tirade slide for now.
I take off and take a walk around the island, tryin' to figure out if there's anyone else here or anything we can use for shelter or food. I find a couple of things that look like coconuts and bring 'em back, and she's rantin' and ravin' about how could I leave her alone like that, and what are we gonna do. I yell at her to get a grip and she calms down a little, but man, fifteen minutes later, she's back on the horse.
It starts gettin' dark, and she starts whinin' about gettin' cold, and can I start a fire for her. I tell her I ain't got any matches, and she starts blubberin' about how she's a star and this can't happen to her, she's an Emmy winner. I ask her does she have one of them Emmies with her now 'cause we could sure use one to crack open the friggin' coconut, and she starts in again.
Now us jesters, we're a pretty easy-goin' group of guys. I mean, havin' a sense of humor is kinda required. But this broad has been goin' off on me for the last week, and I'm havin' trouble keepin' mine. First it was the "cold" thing, then it was "oh, it's so dark and what if there's somethin' here that will hurt us." So I make up a bed of some palm leaves and a couple of the blankets that floated in, and I tell her to lay down. And she gets all weird like I'm gonna jump her bones.
"Lady," I say, "I ain't even got enough energy to think about it. And besides, you ain't my type." Wrong thing to tell her. Then I'm a challenge to her and she's tryin' to jump me. I finally got disgusted around daybreak and took off for the other side of the island just so I can get some sleep. I woke up with a sunburn and some damned crab tryin' to take a bite outta my ear!
So I go back and I try to reason with her. "Look," I tell her, "we're stuck here together so we gotta find a way to get along. We gotta pull together or we're not gonna make it." She gets all weepy and whines that it's all because her father raped her when she was thirteen or some such bullshit. "Hey! I don't wanna know any of that crap," I interrupt her, "so keep it to yourself."
Next thing I know, she's in my face and askin' me if I found any books or diaries or anything else to pass the time. "How about goin' out and findin' some food? That'll pass the time," I tell her, and she gets all huffy again. I tell ya, I think this broad's one bottle short of a six-pack, if you know what I mean.
I found a little waterfall back in the jungle, so we had water to drink and wash up in, but before I know it, she's tryin' to pull some jungle goddess scam on me, all wrapped up in one of those flannel sheets they use for babies (this one had lambs and bunnies on it) with flowers behind her ear, talking to me about appeasin' the fire gods.
So bein' as she's actin' so weird, I ask her if she hit her head. She gets all indignant and says, no, she didn't, and she knows because if she did, she wouldn't remember who she was. She knows this because she's had to play an amnesiac several times now. I go to tell her that this ain't a soap opera, then I clam up because I know if I don't she'll just go off on me again.
After two or three days of this, I've had it. I wake up early one mornin' and take off while she's still asleep. I set up shop on the other side of the island and I'm feelin' better already. I find a rock and crack open some coconuts and have some lunch, and I'm just settlin' in to have a siesta when here she comes, all hysterical because I left her and how could I do that when I know she has rejection issues.
Now, you know as a jester, I gotta be able to roll with the punches and come up laughin'. But this broad coulda taken the fun outta the Three Stooges. I begin spendin' most of my time daydreamin' about Moe slappin' her around, laughin' to myself every time I look at her. She REALLY hated that. Said she could take anything but bein' laughed at. I tell her she's crazy, that there's nothin' better than bein' funny.
An' then I tell her about Pep and me. I was workin' at a swank resort hotel that summer before my senior year at State when Pep comes along. I was a valet, seein' as I was a college boy, and I got assigned to Pep. It was the last week before I went back to school, and I'd had it after a summer of takin' care of all these snooty socialites, so when one of his assistants starts carpin' about something, I don't even remember what, I start crackin' wise. I'd always been a class clown, and my practical jokes were legendary.
Pep looked at me funny the first coupla times I said somethin' funny, but after that, he'd start laughin' right out loud. Before I know it, he's askin' me to come work for him, to help him keep his sense of humor. That was it. I been with him ever since, nearly twelve years. He felt a lot like a father to me, and I really grew to love him just that way. I know he loved me, 'cause the day before he died, he told me that I was the son he never had and he was gonna change his will to leave everything to me.
I was on top of the world. That was March thirty-first. The next day, the plane went down and now I'm stuck on this godforsaken island with this whacky bitch Marcy. Some April Fools joke, huh? I really am beginnin' to lose my sense of humor. And if they don't find us soon, Marcy's gonna lose a lot more than that.
For more of Jack's adventures, check out April Fool 2.
Props to the CHPercolator List for the prompt