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King and Cable Guy - by T.R. Hart
Henry Toody felt "different" that day while driving from work . He seemed to feel strange in his own skin. Maybe it was the Alabama heat that was making him feel weird. " Yep, I need to hydrate" he thought, and gulped iced tea from the gigantic cup that was always by his side.
It was a long day for Henry, but the weather gal was calling for storms and he knew that tomorrow would be a hell of a day for him. The old folks needed their TVs and went crazy when the service was interrupted. "Well", he thought, "can't do nothin' 'bout it 'til tomorrow…time to get some dinner at Lucille's." There wasn't a better diner to be found in Hainesville for a lonely bachelor. In fact, it was the town's only restaurant. The prices were cheap, and the food was good even if the company could be a little rough at times.
Henry always took a booth at the far end of Lucille's to distance himself from the noisier regulars. With a paperback as a his companion, his cap off and reading glasses on, he could have easily been mistaken for a college professor...except for the sleeveless shirt.
"Whatcha got on the menu tonight Lucille?"
"Your favorite, honey…southern fried chicken, biscuits, choice of potatoes and a vegetable."
Henry's reply: " You pick the vegetable, they're all the same to me!"
Suddenly, a familiar and unwelcome voice came from Harley, the town bully.
"Give Toody some grass … we'll milk Fatso later!" Laughter erupted from the Hee Haw crowd that sat at the other end of the diner.
"Shaddup Harley, or your ass will fly out of here courtesy of my foot!" Lucille yelled.
"Don't pay them no mind Henry. I'll get you supper in a jiffy, you're getting' a salad with your meal tonight."
"Yes Mom…oh, and a DIET Coke", he laughed. Lucille was the closest thing to a mother that Henry had since his passed away. He was lonely, a little bit shy, and food was his only comfort…and his only vice.
Henry buried his head in his book while he ate his meal. He was into the fantasy novels envisioning himself as the gallant hero rescuing maidens from all sorts of monsters and mayhem, lance ready and mounted on his steed.
Jane, Lucille's cleaning woman stopped by Henry's table for a moment, and noticed his book. "I read that one, Henry …you into fantasy too?"
"Yep Jane, let me know if you want to borrow any. I have a buncha them."
Jane smiled and thanked him. She was a plain looking woman, quiet, and shy, and interested in Henry . He liked her too but couldn't get up the nerve to ask for a date.
Engulfed in his reading while absent-mindedly bringing his fork to his mouth, the Cable Guy seemed to wince, rubbed his eyes, put his book down and stared into space. Cloudy images were transformed into people who crowded about him. Their clothes were from a former time and they seemed very anxious indeed scurrying back and forth in a confused state of mine.
"M'Lord, can you speak?", said an important looking man in a long robe.
"Sure as a cow can Moo", Henry responded as he felt himself being unbridled of his iron clothing. "Hell, looks like armor", he thought to himself.
"I knew that the joust was unwise", murmured another important looking man in a square cap adorned with precious stones. An older, but still beautiful woman hurried over to him instructing the others to carry Henry (which was no mean feat due to his weight) to a waiting carriage.
It wasn't long before Henry found himself in a large room with beautiful tapestries hanging from the from the ceiling covering the plastered stone walls. There were coats of arms, various swords and halberds and animal skins decorating the room as well. Henry was in a bed fit for a king. He sorta' felt like one too with all the attention he was getting.
Everyone was bowing and curtseying just like the people in the books he read. They talked funny too. "Hey, where can I get something to eat 'round here?" he asked.
There were a lot of shouts of "Yes, M'Lords this and M'Lords that, flying about sending the people went scurrying around again. The man with the square cap was doing the ordering around.
In an instant, a young girl was at his side with a silver plate filled with meats and fruit. She was panting like a puppy who had played too long in the heat.
"Well, thankee Darlin'! You need'nt rush for Ol'Toody. What's the damage?"
"The Damage M'Lord?"
"Damage…y'know, how much do I owe ya?" Henry laughed to himself…"M'Lord!"
"There is no Damage, M'Lord", the important looking man with the long robe said. The girl, the important looking people, the Lady, and the unimportant people looked puzzled at Henry as he ate his meal, talked about his job (he loved to talk about his job), and how he could set them up with cable for a good price since they were so kind to him.
Henry liked to talk about cars, planes and trains, and everything mechanical under the sun. It never occurred to him that there was no response to his chatter boxing, but there were whispers of "enchantment" and a blow on the head, but he never felt so good in his life.
"I'm feeling pretty good now" Henry exclaimed. I think my sugar might've been low. I better be getting' home now. Gotta' feed the cat!"
"But you are home, M'Lord", whispered the beautiful lady with a worried look on her face. "The servants will feed the cat for you", she winced at the other important looking people.
Henry felt "weird" again for a moment, lost focus, and then began to revive himself again.
He was at Lucille's surrounded by a crowd of happy looking customers and Jane, who was looking at him oddly…but lovingly.
"Dang, Henry, you sure do act nutty when your sugar gets low!" barked Lucille.
"You were wonderful Henry. You were my knight in shining armor!" Jane added.
"Seems that Harley got a little handsy with Jane here", said the Sheriff.
"You clobbered him pretty good Henry, but he had it comin'. I won't be charging you with assault, but using that mop like a lance could get you in trouble next time. Hey, what's with all the King and Ye this and Ye that talk? I think you're getting a little crazy with those books 'yer readin'"
Henry and Jane became an "item" shortly after what Lucille termed as "the incident". He lost 'bout a hundred pounds and opened his own business…Ye Olde Cable Company.
An interesting note: Scholars reported finding anecdotes from court officials of Henry VIII noting the King's jousting accident in which he was temporarily in a state of confusion. He had stated that there were boxes with people in them that could talk to you, carriages with wings that flew in the air, and iron horses that belched smoke and carried people in their bellies.