LONDON - Yesterday afternoon was indeed an historic day for the residents of Bramptonshire, a remote village in southern Kent, which until very recently was burdened by the heavy shadow of a malicious and bloodthirsty leviathan of yore. For centuries, a dragon victimized the settlement demanding regular tributes of human sacrifice, but his reign is now over thanks to a heroic do-gooder, who will be knighted for his services on Tuesday.
Sir Mantelpiece the Well-Intentioned, whose birth name is actually Bob Barker, has medieval roots that stretch back as far as two years ago, when he began collecting medieval armor and weapons as a hobby. His initial interest quickly grew into an obsession and it wasn't long before Barker was listing Knight' as his full-time profession on tax returns and related governmental applications. "Parliament wouldn't respect my occupational pronouncement," recounts Barker, "because quite frankly they thought I'd gone loony. I decided that I would have to provide some form of collateral and reasoned that they wouldn't have any kind of quip against a dragon hyde, because true knights of the most authentic standing have two or three of those lying about the castle, you know."
As is common knowledge, dragons do not exist. Except in one place: Southern England, where the beasts' violent exploits have become the stuff of legend as well as the stuff of lucrative commercial manipulation. In Bramptonshire, dragon attacks had been on the rise for well over a year when Sir Mantelpiece finally took his stand, one that will be long remembered.
Astride his valiant steed Mantelpiece, clad in an impressive suit of authentic ninth-century armor, rode boldly to the brutal serpent's lair while nervous spectators watched from safe distances. Disguising himself as a friendly neighbor the daring chap cleverly lured the beast out of its burrow by knocking on its door an inviting it over for tea; the dragon pleasantly accepted. Once out in the open, however, Mantelpiece became vicious, thrashing the dragon to bits before it could realize what was going on. Mantelpiece claimed the head and skin; Mrs. Dragon and her three children, once well-to do, are now filing for bankruptcy.
Mantelpiece is the first official knight to have slain a dragon in four-hundred years, though discrepancies in a police report suggest that a Sir Warren T. Blacksbuck of Wales may have shot and killed a mugger-dragon in self-defense three months ago. Mantelpiece has voiced his intention to sue for the claim.