Thirty

Candidates soon crossed all the waters of the world to wait in line around Manchego Island and compete for marital bliss with the King of the World.

"Number five thousand, one hundred twenty-one," said Little Eva. "Please give us your name."

"Susan," said five thousand, one hundred twenty-one.

"Susan," said Mimbleshaw. "If accepted as Queen of the World what would you do?"

"I've signed up for veterinary school," said Susan. "After I finish I hope to feed the hungry stray dogs of the world. His Majesty won't have to see me naked, will he? With him not a human and making comments and all."

To her misfortune, Susan did not pass the horse riding portion of her evaluation.

"Number five thousand one hundred twenty-two," said Little Eva. "Please give us your name."

"Is that a Minotaur?" said five thousand one hundred twenty-two.

"That your name?" said Little Eva. "Spell that for me, sweet heart."

"Look," said five thousand, one hundred twenty-two. "A man with the head of a bull is, hey, no cutting—"

"The package the Minotaur left us," said Mimbleshaw. "Read us the card, human."

"Read you the card?" said Brian. "So you can talk, but you can't read?"

"You can talk, but can you read?" said Mimbleshaw. "Why, replying no serves the typical literary purposes for a decent lack of caring."

"I can read," said Little Eva, who grabbed at the eraser end of Brian's pencil. "No, his finger is still much too skinny."

"Yes, yes, Little Eva," said Mimbleshaw. "But what does the note say?"

"Aw, that writing is too small for me sensitive, pink eyes to read," said Little Eva.

"Alas," said Spot. "A mystery lost to the relentless forward march of the ages."

"It says, 'T minus 3,'" said Brian.

"Ah," said Spot. "And the tiara must mean he has Mademoiselle Princess from the big tent."

"Oh, yes, little boy finger," said Little Eva. "We will make you fat."