The prince who despised broccoli
It was known throughout the land that the favorite color of HRH Prince Narcissus Q. VonFabulous was green, but not green like Shrek or singing Toads or The Hulk or those little, round green chocolate candies. The green he desired was exactly the color of a stalk of broccoli. Not that he ate the stuff (ugh!) — ever. It was the color that turned him on.
And so it came to be….
By order of HRH, each and every item in the vast kingdom embraced by Murky Ridge was painted or papered or carpeted in what was known for miles around as “Broccoli Green” (BG). The Royal Plot was planted with rows of it, but nary a stalk did the Prince pluck, cook and taste. It was the color that turned him on — period.
The Prince’s fave shade became the hue of all things in the kingdom: bricks and mortar, pots and pans, shoes and hats, saddles and sabers, boots and rubbers, couches, tables, tiles and tins, teeth and toothpicks … verily the list of broccoli-green items is too long to record, but if you’ve ever trekked to Murky Ridge, you’d get my drift. Upon approaching the area, night visitors wonder over the strange, green glow lighting the fields and streams, the result of customized glow-in-the-dark paint in the exact shade so admired by HRH. Kids of the Kingdom were overjoyed, but not enough to ever be tempted into tasting broccoli.
The shit hit the fan at the 16th birthday party thrown for HRH. It wasn’t the party per se that raised a stink; it was a legion of special dishes created for HRH by The Drones. In the vast and dismal kitchens directly below the Royal Restrooms, they secretly labored for weeks, stirring, tasting, grating, pureeing, shredding and otherwise disguising multiple stalks of broccoli. A strange odor (most strange) rose to the kitchen rafters and seeped through to the Royal Potties above. No one had sniffed the likes of it, ever, ever. Well, almost never.
Party Platters painted in broccoli green were brought forth, overflowing with mountains of green knobby bushy bunches reeking of … was it cabbage? Or, a leaking septic tank? Perhaps, snarky sneakers? A great silence descended upon the castle as HRH stepped forward to sample the stuff on the platters. The Drones held their breath as HRH removed the elegant kidskin glove from his left hand and reached for a stalk. He raised it to his royal lips. His royal nostrils twitched mightily.
“Phew! You expect me to EAT this?” he screamed. “It smells like cabbage. I HATE cabbage. It reminds me of my great-grandmother HRH Hulda Hackenpffer. Away with this. Bring me Sauerkraut Kringles instead! With two straws, and a side of fried pigs ears. Be quick about it.”
Over the years, all manner of methods were devised to tantalize HRH into taking just one, wee taste of the broccoli: The Drones creamed it, mashed it, hid it in ice cream cones, baked it in puddings, speared it on kebabs (at Royal Grill-Outs) and smothered it in sauces divinely devised with cream, whippenpffers and schnaglesnoots. It was blended into smoothies, scrambled with mushrooms from the Forest Dismal and flattened under huge steel rollers. Alas, at last a pitch was made to solve the problem of why no one in Murky Ridge would taste, or had intentions of tasting, broccoli.
A stupendous reward of a million dreckles was offered to any maid capable of clinching the deal. A call went out across the land. A vast cloud of dust announced the arrival of thousands of maidens, each with ideas devised to tantalize HRH.
The Drones, glad to turn their steaming kitchen over to the hopeful contestants, retired to scrub pots and pans. Fires roared, and microwaves bleeped. Machines whirred, and eventually, the comely crowd was reduced to three. The competition was fierce, much worse than the annual Royal Bakeoff, where losers were condemned to leap from the Royal Turrets and winners were knighted as Extreme Chefs Beyond Belief, and commanded to dwell among The Drones, who frankly had never tasted broccoli, either; they weren’t stupid.
The rules of the competition demanded that HRH be blindfolded during the event. After all, it would put the Princesses at a disadvantage if he spotted even the merest hint of green. Princess Honeyedbunz was first up with a tray of teensy puff pastries filled with blaze-orange mashed and pureed broccoli. In a fit of high anxiety, she had gone to culinary extremes and spritzed each pastry with Chanel’s “Adore,” a hugely pricey scent from Parisian purveyors of perfumes. It cost her a bundle to disguise the rotten scent of broccoli. She figured it was a good investment.
“This pastry smells like Chanel’s Adore,” shrieked HRH. “Away with it. Why would I taste such a concoction? Pfew!”
Princess VonGrin&Bearit, from a long line of proud VonG&B’s, was next to approach HRH. Her plump hands shook as she handed HRH a magnificent bouquet of flowers, each drenched in crystallized sugar, so as to dazzle and sparkle and cast reflections on the marble floor. “Oh, try just one, your Royalness. Though you can’t see through your blindfold, surely your Royalness can envision how grand these delicious bits of fakery are. Pray tell? Open wide!”
Lusty tales about this particular Princess had not failed to reach HRH’s princely ears, and well, he figured he could get her onto his Royal Futon for some pole dancing, if he’d just hold his nose like a good boy and take a teensy taste of what he couldn’t see. If he did, the luscious lass could collect the dreckles. Oh she’d be eternally grateful in any number of lusty ways. She might even try broccoli herself.
She noted the dreamy gleam in the blue eyes of HRH. “This is a snap,” she mused. “I’ll just step forward and lift a stalk to his quivering lips. He’s a goner.”
It was a step heard round the Kingdom, for upon taking it, the Princess VonGrin&BearIt, stumbled in her Broccoli Green high heels, and bumbled forth flat on her flushed face, thus sending the glittering bouquet of broccoli straight into the shocked face of HRH. The smell of cabbage filled the room when it was revealed that all that glitters could be broccoli coated with crystals of sugar. It was more than the Princess could grin and bear. She fled home to Mommy and Daddy.
Lastly, came not an excessively comely wench, but rather a wily wench with a PLAN. “If it pleases your Highness, could we ascend to your private quarters? So much the better to tantalize you, Sire. And while you’re at it, please remove your blindfold, for I alone will thrill you madly. I’m just saying.
Growing weary with disappointment, HRH gave in and ascended with Princess No. 3 to his cushy chambers high above where the Drones labored over crock pots and pans. Soon enough the champagne bubbly was flowing, the embers in the fireplace glowing, and well, the Princess with a PLAN suggested that perhaps the best place for the taste was on the Royal Futon, the one over there with the BG down covers and BG pillows galore. It sure seemed like a good idea to HRH.
“But what,” he wondered, “did she have up her silk sleeve in the way of a treat?”
Forthwith the not excessively comely wench produced from her silk sleeves, not one, but two, aerosol cans. “One for me, and one for you,” she chirped, patting the pillow on the bed. “Let’s get naked.”
It sounded like a good idea to HRH. Corsets and crowns and laces and jewels; stockings and buckles and garters and belts and pants went flying. And naked they were. Splendidly so.
“Press this little button,” cooed Princess No. 3. “See the creamy cream stuff? Okay, start with my pretty little toes and work your way up. Then turn me over and do my backside. I’ll use my can to do you likewise, Your Royalness. It won’t hurt a bit. When we’re both slathered, we can lick each other clean. Are you game?
Henceforth, and to this day, the broccoli grew ever greener in the lush castle gardens, so much so that the Drones worked overtime filling aerosol cans with the green fluff. Princess No. 3 collected her swag and lived to a ripe old age at the side of her smiling HRH, though it’s said they seldom emerged from the magnificent bed, preferring instead, to ignore the cabbage-y smell and play games with cans.
Stranger things have happened.
Stella Cretek is an award-winning writer and frequent contributor to ThirdCoast Digest.