The Once and Future King

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A modern story of mythology set in New York.

Submitted: March 23, 2016

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Submitted: March 23, 2016




The Once and Future King



by Matthew Bissonnette






I liked the spunky young waitress I had hired from the beginning.

My name is Alan Connors, a man who had opened a restaurant in Time Square in New York. In the heart of the of the largest and most prosperous metropolis on Earth, Time Square was where the city really came alive. Traffic bustling in the streets of the square almost every hour either night or day; but it was at night when the square really came alive. A gigantic video screen which overlooked the square and the chaotic jumble of neon lights and advertisements. If New York had a heart it would have been Time Square. And in one little corner of the square was the Irish Eatery; my restaurant.

My establishment was located in a ramshackle building in the square; not the most impressive exterior my establishment had. Just a sensible sign over the red door. My establishment was popular with the Irish Americans of New York city since it provided genuine Irish food as well as good Irish beer; my place was just a small vestige of Irish America in the heart the Time Square.

The waitress of which I spoke was a young woman by the name of Alice Cameron; a transplant in New York who had come from middle America and decided to try and survive in the most complex and fast paced city on Earth. She had come to my restaurant; a young woman with short curly brunette hair and a hourglass figure who unlike most women these days still wore a skirt. I knew I had the hire her because through the front window of my place I had seen her give a sandwich she was about to eat to a vagrant who often rummaged in the dumpster behind my eatery. I liked her kindness towards someone who most of this city would try and act like he was not there. It was on her first day that I told her of the legend that had begun in the square, a legend that was not widely known to the public because like how it is in this sensible, logical world; things that where odd and somewhat unnatural are one of those closely guarded secrets known only to a few.

On the first day of her job as my waitress, she stood at the window and was looking at something in the heart of the square. I knew what she was looking at; I had told the story to most of my new employees; who usually thought I was putting them on.

She asked, “what is that?”

I walked up behind her and put my hand on her shoulder.

She was looking at an object in the middle of Time Square; people where walking past it and paid little heed to this odd feature of New York's heart of Time Square. It was a gleaming sword, a sword buried in a stone.

I replied, “every now and then I have to tell this story.”

“What story?”

I then told the tale like I had a few times before.

“One day about seven years ago, that sword buried in that stone just appeared. No one ever knew who had put it there. Written on it, words chiseled into the rock; was the phrase 'they who pull this sword from this stone is the once and future king.'”

She turned and looked at me. She asked, “what does that mean?”

I explained, “Celtic mythology; the story of King Arthur. That once a sword was buried in a stone and could only be pulled from the stone by the true and only king of Britain.”

Her expressive blue eyes looked at me in a quizzical way. She said, “I saw a movie about that once.”

Then we both looked at the stone as I told the rest of the tale.

“When it appeared, they tried to move it since it had not been put there by consent of the city. But the strangest thing, no matter what they did it would not budge. At one point the largest machinery they could find could not even get that stone to move an inch. So the city had some professor from the New York University study it; all he could gather was that it was just an ordinary stone. They tried for three years to move that stone; but no matter what they did it would not move. Rumors began spreading through the city that a very special man was meant to pull the sword from that stone; but it was a very secretive rumor which most of the influential men of city knew about but who the ordinary people did not since if they learned about that stone they would dismiss it as a joke. The mayor tried to pull the sword from the stone, a man who was tough on crime; but the sword would not move. Then the police commissioner tried; that upstanding man who rid this city of the last vestiges of organized crime who also could not pull the sword from the stone. Then the man who was chief of New York's fire departments tried; a guy who had saved many people from burning buildings in his youth; again he could not move that sword. Almost every man who was of renown in this city tried but they had no luck either. One day the last president of our nation tried; you know the man who was popular with Americans and who made our military second to none. But that sword would not move; it just remained in that stone. So the people who knew of the squares little secret just thought it was some joke; that no man was meant to pull the sword from that stone. Now that sword and that stone just goes unnoticed.”

She looked at me again and said, “are you pulling my leg?”

I said in a very serious manner, “every word I said is true.”

Then I turned and said as I walked towards the kitchen at the back of my eatery; “believe me if you want; or don't. Now we have work to do before the lunch rush hour.”

I walked through the door into the kitchen as Alice still looked at the sword buried in the stone. I then soon was getting the kitchen ready with my cook and other workers for the lunch hour. About ten minutes later; Alice walked into the kitchen. And she held a gleaming sword in her hands.

I looked at her as did the rest of the kitchen staff.

I asked, “where did you get that?”

She looked at me and smiled. “When I tried to pull the sword from the stone; I pulled it free easily.”

© Copyright 2018 Matthew Bissonnette. All rights reserved.

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