Who's Laughing Now?
Updated: Jan 21
King Marcus Favor had just returned to his castle after a ten-year-long battle with several forces, all of which were out to take control of his kingdom. Though he and his army won every challenge, they lost many great friends. Those who loved them welcomed King Marcus and his army back with opened arms, which didn’t include the common people of his kingdom. The people in question hoped that the king didn’t make it back. Well, alive anyway, that is. Unlike his father, King Albert Favor, who was a fair man, and one loved by the people, King Marcus was a tyrant, who was despised by the masses. To celebrate their victories, King Marcus hosted an elaborate party. Food, drink, women, music, and entertainment were on full display. The entertainment came as court jesters. King Marcus loved to laugh, but he had a warped sense of humor. He drew amusement from the misery of others, and he deemed the death of others as the most comical act of all. He requested the presence of all the court jesters in the kingdom, and though no one wanted to appear, they all knew it was in their best interest to do so. One by one they felled to make King Marcus as much as a snicker and because of this, they were ordered beheaded... right before the crowd. After each execution, King Marcus and several of his men laughed insanely. The crowd, most of which were left in shock, as well as in tears, just couldn’t comprehend such unsettling behavior.
“Who do we have left, Shawn?” King Marcus said cheerfully. He lounged on his throne, staring out at all his authority made a reality. His question was directed towards the commander of his army, who stood beside the throne. He and King Marcus were childhood friends, who shared a bond that was indeed unbreakable.
“My Lord, you have had all but one eliminated,” the commander said confidently.
“And who may this lucky chap be?”
“It’s Jeremy Jones, My Lord.”
“Jeremy Jones,” King Marcus said in a trance-like state.
Once upon a time in the kingdom, Marcus Favor and Jeremy Jones were like brothers. They were brought together by their fathers. One the beloved king, and the other, the commander of the king’s army, who was just as loved as his friend, if not more so. Things were great with the two young men until the love of a young woman came between them.
Earth Angel Carson was the daughter of a soldier in the king’s army, and she was arguably the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. As both Marcus and Jeremy were attracted to her, she was attracted to both of them. So, to keep down confusion, as well as to not disrupt the friendship the two men had established, she married another.
Both Marcus and Jeremy were upset about Earth Angel’s decision, but they understood and accepted her reasoning, or so it was made to appear.
Five years after they crowned Marcus king, he killed Earth Angel’s husband and force her into marrying him. Said marriage didn’t even last two weeks though, because a heartbroken Earth Angel ended her life by jumping from high atop the balcony of their chambers.
The reason for Earth Angel’s death made Jeremy despise Marcus. He vowed to someday avenge her, as well as her husband, who he regarded as a good man. Before Marcus did what he had done, Jeremy was the commanding officer of his army. But upon being told of Earth Angel’s death, he relieved himself of his duties and left the kingdom. He only returned six months later because there were people who loved him, plus, he had to make Marcus pay for the results of his devastating decision making.
“Jeremy Jones... come forward!” King Marcus commanded.
Jeremy did what he was asked. He now stood smiling at the man he couldn’t stand. A man he had zero respect for. A man, he looked forward to seeing receive a dose of his own medicine of madness.
“How are you, my old friend? King Marcus said cheerfully, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you last.”
“I’m well, My Lord,” Jeremy said, his smile returned afterward.
“That’s great to hear. I hope you’re left feeling the same way after your performance here tonight.”
“I hope you’re right, My Lord.”
“I would hate to see you suffer the same fate as your peers. Unlike them, I kinda like you. Hell, we were once like brothers. That is, until you took offense to a matter that had absolutely nothing to do with you. A matter that made you decide to abandon your post.”
Jeremy wanted to address King Marcus’s words, but he chose not to. He had a bigger picture in play. Besides, his father taught him how to act in the presence of enemies.
“Nothing to say, old friend?” Marcus said cheerfully. He smiled afterward.
“What’s done is done, My Lord. Talking about it won’t change anything.”
“As you wish, Jeremy. Well, let the performance begin.”
For thirty minutes Jeremy performed some of his best routines, and mostly, he had the crowd laughing so hard... they were in tears. Among those who didn’t even crack a smile were King Marcus and his army commander, Shawn Johnson. Shawn possessed his friend’s sense of warped humor. He’d laugh insanely as men begged for their lives on the battlefield, just before he beheaded them.
“Silence!” King Marcus screamed. The crowded room that was just filled with laughter, became eerily quiet. “You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Leading this poor court jester to believe he’s that funny. I should have you all beheaded for such deception. On behalf of everyone here, Jeremy... I sincerely apologize.”
Jeremy smiled at King Marcus, but his thoughts were far from as pleasant as his facial expression was made to appear. “You’re a hard man to please, My Lord. I gave it my best shot. So now, do with me what you will.”
“Because of the bond we once had, I’m going to give you what I didn’t give those who came before you... a second chance. Jeremy, you have until this time tomorrow to come up with something to make me laugh, or my old friend... you’ll never tell another joke in this lifetime. Guards, see that our guest gets to the dungeon safely.”
Two guards escorted Jeremy to the dungeon.
“Now... let’s get back to having some real fun,” King Marcus said cheerfully.
Music began playing, and people began acting as if everything that just happened... never happened.
Five hours passed. The celebration ended two hours prior, and now the castle was all quiet, or so was the case where Jeremy was. He sat in his cell, and he didn’t look worried, because he felt he had nothing to be worried about. His plan had gone according to plan. He knew King Marcus would not be amused by anything he did because his aim was to murder him for abandoning his post years ago. He also knew he was going to show him a false sense of mercy, hoping he would develop a false sense of hope. He knew his adversary well, and because of this, his unworthy reign would soon come to an involuntary end.
An attractive woman appeared at Jeremy’s cell.
“How is everything going, Amy?” Jeremy whispered.
“Everything is going according to plan, my beloved cousin,” the woman said with enthusiasm.
The guard assigned to watch over Jeremy opened the cell door and Jeremy walked out. The guard then led him down a long corridor, which had a locked door at the end. The guard unlocked the door, opened it, and Jeremy walked out of the dungeon.
“See you soon, my friend,” Jeremy said, “And be sure to take great care of my cousin.”
“No need to worry, Jeremy. I’ll guard my future wife with my life.”
Jeremy was off into the night.
Within the castle, all those loyal to King Marcus were dead or were being murdered... due to said loyalty. Among the first to go were Shawn Johnson and Gary Wilson, who was the king’s executioner. Like most of the victims, their fates were sealed by the women who shared their beds. Jeremy had many allies who felt as he did about their king, and his most valued ones were a part of the king’s army. Without the help of the soldiers, his plan had no chance of being successful.
A horse was waiting for Jeremy just beyond the castle and he rode it to the outskirts of town, and to a kingdom King Marcus or his most trusted men knew nothing about. While they were out fighting for a kingdom they didn’t deserve, Jeremy and those true to him were creating a new kingdom, one of which the people had unanimously declared him the king of. Jeremy may have been a court jester, but he was nobody’s fool. His father taught him all about the art of war. About wanting to be loved, then feared. He was everything King Marcus wasn’t and for that; he earned the respect of the people. He trained the people in question how to defend themselves, so when the time came, they could do so accordingly. Like him, the people didn’t like what King Marcus did to Earth Angel, and they all wanted to see him pay.
It was mid-afternoon when King Marcus was brought to a castle he did not know even existed. He wore his nightclothes, a black bag was over his head, and his hands were tied behind his back. Two of his former guards held either of his arms. They were amongst the many who were secondary citizens in his world, individuals he treated no better than the common people. He was in a room filled with people who truly despised him because all who once loved him... were no longer amongst the living. One guard removed the bag from his head.
“What is the meaning of this foolishness?” King Marcus barked.
“Silence, peasant!” Jeremy said. He sat atop a wicked-looking throne, dressed in his full-court jester outfit, and with his face painted accordingly. He held a long dull-looking knife, which appeared as though it couldn’t cut through melted butter.
“Jeremy, you’re going to...”
“I said silence, peasant! You have no voice here until I give you permission to speak. Now, you have one chance to remedy yourself for all the misery you have caused. You make me laugh, and you can walk away from here a free man. But if you don’t, me and my trusty blade here are going to make you wish you had. Now... perform!”
“I refuse to be intimated by a clown. Do what you will... coward!” King Marcus said.
“As you wish,” Jeremy rose from his throne and began walking up to King Marcus, twirling the knife in his left hand as he did so. Then, without warning, and with precise precision, he reached for one of the guards’ sword, pulled it from its sheath, cut King Marcus’s head off, and placed the sword back where it once rested... all in one smooth motion.
King Marcus’s headless body was jerking around widely, and blood was squirting from its neck profusely. The crowd of people was applauding and cheering. They were all pleased to see that the reason for so much misery and pain was now gone.
“Long Live King Jeremy! Long Live King Jeremy!” The crowd said in unison.
Jeremy reached down and grabbed King Marcus’s head by its hair. He turned the face towards his and as he stared at the angry expression it displayed he said, “Who’s Laughing Now?!” he began laughing insanely afterward.