Thirty-Six

"I was wounded once," said the Cyclops of an old story. "Wounded by a wizard lost at sea, who appeared to me as no one. My ocean father answered his spite and malice with an endless deluge of icy tears and frost-tipped waves. The wanderer was denied the roaming dawn until an alluring sorceress gave him refuge within the lush green cover of her island. Perhaps the stranded wizard traded away her love for safe return to the people who took his word as king. Perhaps he is with her still, sheltered in their love from my good and cruel father."

The Cyclops said he fell in love with Princess Ariadne when his relentless eye first gazed upon her. Spot agreed to help the Cyclops court the princess. First they dressed the Cyclops in a sail that washed ashore. Next they combed with a whale bone the Cyclops's rope-like hair. Then they were ready to coach the Cyclops on how to ignite desire for him in Ariadne.

"Hello darling," said Spot. "Tell me, do you always have the great beauty? Or does the great beauty see you one day, then kidnap you, bind you to disable your escape, take you away, and hold you for the ransom?"

"Tee hee," said Brian, who dressed in a mop. "I'll bet you say that to all the princesses trapped in towers. Tee hee."

"Alright Monsieur le One Eye," said Spot. "The turn is now yours to mesmerize the beautiful damsel of her attention."

"You. Are. Beautiful," said the Cyclops. "I. Kidnap. You."

"No no," said Spot.

"Take you hostage," said the Cyclops.

"No no no," said Spot.

"So how old is your princess?" said Brian.

"Mademoiselle Princess?" said Spot. "My instincts tell me she is sixteen."

"Sixteen?" said Brian.

"Oui, Monsieur le Brian," said Spot. "I know what you worry over. She is the older woman. But take my word, after the age of four, the differences in age matter little in regard to the romance."

"And you, Mr. Boyfriend," said Brian. "How old are you?"

"I will be six thousand, two hundred sixty-four," said the Cyclops. "This December 25th."

"Ah, the Christmas Baby," said Spot.

"Yes," said the Cyclops. "I feel a birthday in the holiday season gives others an excuse to cheat me on gifts, which I don't like very much."

"So you see, Monsieur le Brian," said Spot. "Mademoiselle Princess is full enough with the life of the independent woman."

"But—"

"Enough, enough," said Spot. "The discussion, she is at the end."