As the King silently wept into his beer he could only wish that he'd taken his mother's advice and become a heavy metal rock star.
The king's moping was finally ended by a loud voice that came from the back of the room.
"Hey!" cried out a voice from the middle of the room. "Why not do parley with the dragon to strike a truce? I don't see how we have anything to lose by trying".
The King pulled his head out of his hands and began wiping the tears away from his eyes. "Didn't we just send a negotiator out Wednesday with an escort to do parley with Burpsfire?" asked the King. "The escort came back, but, not the negotiator. Where is the escort? Let him come fourth and tell us what happened".
A low murmur rose about the room as the elves suddenly began talking to one another. Suddenly from the back of the room arose a small elf with a slight build and very long pointed ears that greatly dwarfed his already small head. The elf clasped his hands together in front of him and approached the King slowly with his head slightly bowed. All the other elves in the room stopped talking and watched the elf walk up to the King.
When he reached the King, the elf bowed down slightly.
"Hop-To-It at your service", he announced.
The King silently studied the small elf while rubbing his right hand slowly about his chin. After a moment or two the King began questioning the elf.
"So Hop-To-It, refresh my memory on what the results were when you took our negotiator to Mount Crapshoot to parley with Burpsfire".
The small elf's eyes grew very wide and his face became very animated. He took a deep breath or two and after a moment began speaking very fast.
"Well let's see now, hmmmm… Ummm… Yes. Well let's see now", he began. "I do recall escorting a negotiator to parley with Burpsfire. Yes that's right. I think this took place… Ohhh… A long time ago".
The King threw his head backwards and rolled his eyes upward. "This just happened last week Hop-To-It!" The King bellowed exasperatedly.
"Oh, ummm, really now", replied Hop-To-It with an inquisitive expression. "My, just a week ago? Really? Hmmmm, and it seems like so much longer. I mean it seems like just this morning that I was out in my garden planting my cabbage. Yes… Oh my, as a matter of fact it was this morning that I was out planting my cabbage, just after I put on a fresh clean pair of briefs"
"Will you stop babbling and get back to the subject", interrupted the king angrily. "My patience is growing thin".
"What? Oh well… Umm… Yessss… Ummm… If you don't mind me asking, ummm… What was the subject again?" Hop-To-It asked quite meekly.
"The negotiator! The negotiator that you escorted to parley with Burpfire last week, for crying out loud!" Bellowed the King.
It was apparent that the King had nothing but admiration for Hop-To-It's acute memory for detail.
Hop-To-It took a deep breath before starting again.
"Let me see. Yes, now it's all coming back to me… Hmmm… yes… On Wednesday, last, I took our wonderful orator Larry up to Mount Crapshoot to parley with Burpsfire. You remember Larry don't you? He was that funny looking chubby elf with those really small eyes. He grew some of the best cabbage in the Kingdom mind you, leastways, as far as I could tell. As a matter of fact it was Larry who specifically told me to plant my cabbage this Saturday, which happens to be today, in the east corner of my field so that they would…"
Murray's Tavern is the home to the best corn beef and cabbage in the Kingdom of Dodgedom, served up special every day.
"Stop talking about your damn cabbage and get back to the subject at hand", yelled the King, again.
It was quite apparent that the King probably never took and anger management course.
"Oh… Ummm…, Yes, hmmm… Well now. What was the subject again?"
The King appeared to become completely exasperated. It was quite apparent that the King was suffering from not just a dirty brief day, but, a very dirty brief day.
"The negotiator, Larry, who you took up to parley with the dragon on Mount Crapshoot. Please tell us what happened. Please!"
"Hmmm… Yes… Umm… Well now let's see", Hop-To-It began again. "I took Larry up to Mount Crapshoot and we arrived at Burpsfire's lair at about a quarter past noon on Thursday. Burpsfire was just finishing up his lunch when we entered his cave, and what a cave it was! It was very nice and neatly decorated in the most extraordinary fashion. He had a set of armaments that would rival the ones that used to be in the great hall. That is, before he burned it down. Why as a matter of fact, he had a suit of golden armor that looks exactly like the one that used to be in the great hall. Yes he does".
"Ummm… Whatever did happen to that suit of golden armor that was in the great hall that Burpsfire burned down?"
"You idiot!" screamed the King. That is the same damn suit of golden armor that was in the Great Hall. Burpsfire took it before he burned the place down",
"Well now… Hummm… That probably explains why it looks just like the one that was in the great hall", answered Hop-To-It quite frankly.
"Please continue and please be brief", yelled the king who was suddenly gulping down the rest of the beverage in his stein. "Another sidetrack from your account will lead me to send you to fight Burpsfire tomorrow".
"Ohhh… Ummm… Nnn… Ungh…" gurgled Hop-To-It as his faced turned stark white and tears began forming underneath his eyes.
"Hey look!" cried out an elf in the room. "Hop-To-It seems to be coming down with that same flu that inflicted the other guys that we sent to fight the dragon! "
"I wonder if he put on a fresh clean pair of briefs this morning?" added another.
After a brief moment Hop-To-It managed to compose himself. He took another deep breath and began speaking again, at the same fast rate he had managed throughout the entire conversation with the King.
"Umm… Yes… Hmmm… Let's see now. After entering the cave we got a good look at Burpsfire up close for the first time and boy were we both amazed at what we saw. Well first off, Burpsfire is really quite large I must say. I mean a he's actually really big and mean looking with big sharp nasty teeth and great big blood shot eyes and large ugly black wings. His nostrils are monstrous with huge wisps of black smoke puffing out with each exhalation of breath. But, he was wearing a fresh clean pair of briefs. As a matter of fact, that was all he was wearing".