Bard Billot on the Fair Lady Jessica

Too Mutch is not enough

The Grand Duel is to take place 

At High Noon before the Palace Gates.

King Chipkins and Baron Luxon 

Will engage in mortal combat for the honour

And hand of the Fair Lady Jessica.

A bored-looking audience of press-ganged peasants 

Are herded into the cheap seats by Armed Sentries.

“OK, boys, show us whatcha got,” drawls Lady Jessica

As she leans back chewing languidly on her bubble gum.

The King draws out his sharpened pencil.

“Six shekels of cuts to the poorhouse budget!” he accuses the Baron.

The Baron steps back and touches the small cut

On the end of his nose. His eyes narrow.

The Baron takes aim with his pea shooter.

“’Tis better than your two kopecks off turnips, O Pretender!”

King Chipkins staggers under the impact of the GST-free pea,

But recovers and tosses a small firecracker under the Baron’s posterior.

“The rebels wish to tax bookmakers in the low taverns,” he chortles.

CRACK! The Baron jumps a foot in the air.

The Baron slices forward with a feathery pillow.

“The choice is clear – good economic management

Or a Kingdom of Chaos!”

Chipkins folds up as the pillow collides gently with his stomach.

The pandemonium grows in volume as Baron and King

attempt to give each other Chinese Burns.

In the corner, Lord Winston is wrestling with a Magenta Toad.

But the Mighty Gong sounds: The duel is concluded.

The combatants limp away, nursing their wounds.

A scribe rushes in with a parchment.

“Lo, your lordships,” he pants,

“Here are the results from the Scientific Polling of the Peasants!”

The Fair Lady Jessica snatches it from his trembling hand.

“The People have spoken!” she declares.

“The winner of the Grand Duel …”

The only sound is pennants flapping in the wind.

“… Is the Fair Lady Jessica.”

Victor Billot is a Dunedin writer. He is the author of the poetry collection The Sets (Otago University Press, 2020), and writes a weekly satirical Ode each Sunday for Newsroom.

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