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The Royal Visit

by tractor 

Posted: 09 June 2007
Word Count: 747
Summary: For the Crossing the Line challenge.

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Emily and Frank had both fallen asleep, unfinished G&T's on the small white table between them. They were the only tourists on board, the others choosing to spend the day on the island. The movement of the cruise ship gently turned the sliced lemons and melting ice in their glasses.

The retired car dealer felt someone gently shake his shoulder. Reluctantly his eyes opened on an elderly man in a white surgical coat , silhouetted against the sun.
Can I help you, Mr....?”

“Doctor, Doctor Bones.” The medical man held out a pale, thin hand.

“Sorry Doc,” Frank pulled himself from the seat. “So, what's up?”

“I'm his Majesty's doctor..…”

“His Majesty! Hey Emmy, we got us Royalty on board!” Frank pumped the other’s hand enthusiastically.

Emmy raised her head briefly, and blinked once or twice before falling back into a slumber.

“Late night,” Frank explained, “takes it out of you at our age, eh! ”

Doctor Bones laughed politely, left hand playing in a pocket.

“So, what can I do for his Highness?”

“His Majesty has been observing you and has come to the conclusion you have above average qualities for a Pollywog.”

“ APolywich? Are you taking a rise out of me!” Frank’s face darkened as the temper that alarmed both his wife and his physician rose.

“No, no! His Majesty is from a distant land. A Pollywog is a customary description of someone outside the clan.”

“What are those in the clan called? Pollywigs? Pollydoodles?”

“They carry the title ‘Shellback‘.”

“Clear as mud, as my Pappy was fond of saying.”

“His Highness would very much like to have you for dinner, to discuss a possible elevation in rank.”

“Well, I don't know..…, a title?” Frank eyed his wife who was snoring gently. “I suppose I could come over now for a quick cocktail and a few nibbles? ”

“I'm sure that would be in order, but I must take certain medical precautions first.”


The Doctor pulled a bottle of pink medicine from one pocket of his surgical coat and a small slice of bright blue cake from another. “Natural antiseptics.”

“Look Doc, I'm on medication, a whole sweet shop of anti-depressants, blood pressure tablets and statins. How's this little lot going to react with that?”

“I guarantee there will be no effect on your long term wellbeing.”

“All this seems unnecessary. Cake first then the goo?”

“Precisely, Mr...?”

“Ford. No relation to the late President, though my Pappy always claimed a connection with the Detroit branch of the family.”

“Mr Ford, you have a grasp of etiquette far exceeding most Pollywogs his Majesty has entertained before.”

"Too overawed with the Royalty angle eh?" Frank said, tapping the side of his nose, “Well, I'm from the good 'ol USA, a real democracy, not like your mixed up European and African countries. I couldn't give a damn if your boss has blue blood running in his veins, I'll treat him like any other man."

Frank swallowed the cake in one mouthful and upended the bottle. “Revolting stuff," he burped “still what tastes foul often does you good.”

“This way please,” Doctor Bones strode ahead.

“Hey, can’t we walk more slowly?” Frank called, perspiration starting to stain his palm tree printed shirt.

“Almost there Mr Ford.”

They stopped near the prow of the ship. The sun beat down like a hammer and the car dealer supposed the crew were taking it easy in the air conditioned interior. He just hoped Emmy didn’t let herself get burned again, her scratching when that happened never failed to keep him awake at night.

“Now, in just a moment you will be meeting his Majesty,” Dr Bones said, “but first the ship’s barber will tidy you up a little.”

“Look here…!” Frank’s words stuck in his throat as a man covered from head to toe in strings of green seaweed emerged from the deck below. He carried the largest open razor the car dealer had ever seen. Just behind him, a fat, whiskery old man followed wearing a sheet for a nappy and a plastic bucket as a sun hat.

“Sweet, the Royal Baby has arrived to greet you,” the Doctor laughed.

Frank started to tremble.

Neptune floated on his back alongside the ship, the warm waters soothing his ancient muscles, a grin as dead as a tombstone on his face. The sea god waited patiently for the arc of blood from above that would herald the arrival of lunch.

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Comments by other Members

tiger_bright at 09:14 on 10 June 2007  Report this post
Wicked flash, Mark! I can only assume that liquid lunch you told me about agreed with you. I thought at first this was a dream, but even better, it was mythology at its best. (MYTHOLOG would love this, I bet.) The gentle beginning, the violent end - great pace throughout. Only two nits - you use 'gently' three times, twice in quick succession at the front end. I'd consider losing 'enthusiastically', 'briefly' and 'politely' also. Frank sounds more English than American, to my ear, not that it matters greatly. The story is such a superb romp. Good luck placing this one - it should be a piece of cake.

Thanks for a great read,


tractor at 09:43 on 10 June 2007  Report this post

thanks for the comments. I'll get my editing pencil out shortly and take up your suggestions which are much appreciated.



Forbes at 22:59 on 10 June 2007  Report this post

Poor Frank! I didn't guess what was to come - just like him!!



crowspark at 12:57 on 15 June 2007  Report this post
Hi Mark

I liked this a lot. Great details and loved the scene setting,
The movement of the cruise ship gently turned the sliced lemons and melting ice in their glasses.

I felt I knew what was going to happen from
His Highness would very much like to have you for dinner

but then you added further details which made me wonder.
Great ending.
One for Mytholog as Tiger suggests?

choille at 14:57 on 16 June 2007  Report this post
Excellent Tractor.

I thought I knew what was afoot with the Highness wanting him for dinner. But then I thought it was some sort of virgin Equator crosser malarky. So it was quite a twisty piece.

Brilliantly gory ending with the arc of blood - very visual. Also found the attire of the 'helpers' very graphic & oddly macarbre.

Great flasing stuff.
Well done
All the best

tractor at 20:15 on 20 June 2007  Report this post
Hi All,

thanks for your comments and suggestions. I've sent it to Mytholog so I'll wait to see what happens.


Prospero at 13:08 on 23 June 2007  Report this post
Hi Mark

You had me for dinner! I never saw it coming. Great flash.

Good luck with Mytholog.



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