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A true story of sorrow, handsomeness

February 26, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE ( , Times-Republican

Lo, in the year of our Lord, two thousand and twelve, a great tragedy struck the kingdom nestled in the center of the Great Plains of Iowa. In the kingdom, a castle was ruled by a beautiful Queen. The Queen, in her infinite wisdom, decided to acquire a fish for her only offspring, because children love looking at colorful, squirmy things they can't reach and are forbidden to touch.

The Queen's intentions were good, whishing to provide the child with a unique source of wonder, but lo she did not take into account the ability to look at literally millions of pictures of fish on the enchanted Internet or watch them on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet in glorious high definition.

She summoned a fish, and with it came a curse: responsibility. It had been chronicled that the Queen's interest was far more suited to important matters of the day - dishwasher loading seminars, orders of furniture rearranging, letter filing and cake popery - than that of pets.

The Queen's handmaiden, who was staying at the castle, soon adopted the tiny creature. She named him "Lord Byron" cryptically stating about the fish, "Looks like a Lord Byron", a proclamation that only made sense to others of her clan. The handmaiden quickly grew attached to aquatic orange creature and was soon entrusted to his feeding and cleaning.

One fateful grey evening, the handmaiden was struck ill with a mighty pox, rendering her as useful as Lord Byron himself, and was banished from the kingdom before Lord Byron's vessel could be cleansed. The Queen, taking on responsibility far below her stead, attempted to clean the bowl herself. Lo, these were dark days indeed.

The water changed, the Queen poised to grasp Lord Byron to return him to his aquatic home

and the scream could be heard throughout the land.

Glass ruptured; crows flocked off trees, a clowder of cats sprinted into the forest. Moments later the Queen called out for help.

The Warrior heard her cry from the depths of the living room. After heroically pausing the game, the Warrior most certainly did not roll his eyes at the beckoning and leapt into action.

The Warrior appeared, let's say, radiantly galloping shirtless atop a mighty steed to the Queen's aid, her terror momentarily suspended by the glimmer of pure masculinity in his fiery eyes.

"What?" the Warrior declared, boldly bracing himself against the stove to keep from passing out due to getting up too quickly. The Warrior was not yet battle-ready, having dozed off after chasing after the Queen's child, a girl whose mystical powers daily saps the Warrior's energy.

Mightily, the Warrior assessed the situation. Lord Byron was flopping about outside his bowl. The Queen was paralyzed with terror. There was this weird mark on his hand. He was going to have to get that looked at. Time was not the Warrior's ally in this battle, for he knew the fish could not long survive in this world. The Warrior's strength was matched only by his intellect like that.

The Warrior unsheathed his wooden spoon, Excalibur, and advanced cautiously. Adopting a stance of a Samurai and the expression of a terrified 14-year-old girl, the Warrior slowly extended his trusty cutlery and nudged the dying friend, hoping the creature would meet him halfway and flop himself onto the spoon to facilitate his rescue. Panicked and with visions of being sauted, Lord Byron's attempts missed their mark.

The Warrior, really wishing it hadn't come to this, tossed aside his spoon, which clattered to the floor, likely splashing wet fish amoebas wherever it landed. The Queen would be most displeased at this, though the Warrior, wise beyond his years, determined this wasn't really something she needed to know.

Closing his eyes, the Warrior summoned the power of his ancestors, and formed a cup with his right hand. The Warrior grasped the fledging fish in his mighty paw, the very paw that would soon wrap around the Queen in a triumphant embrace but only after a thorough scrubbing and healthy rubbing of Purel.


Or so it seemed. Just as the Warrior sensed success, Lord Byron seized with the joy of being saved by a hero of such handsomeness, causing the Warrior to reel due to an extreme sense of ickiness.

It should be noted in our tale that Lord Byron was poised precariously near the vile Insinkerator - a creature of mythical lore whose hunger can never be fully satisfied - as if enacting the iconic scene in Return of the Jedi when Han Solo, Chewbaca and Luke Skywalker were sentenced by Jabba the Hut to jump to their demise into the gaping maw of the sarlacc.

Whether by accident or fate, Lord Byron executed a perfect dive into the dark pit of the Insinkerator, momentarily leaving the Warrior stunned.

"Nooooo!" cried the Warrior as the heavens thundered and volcanoes erupted. Trees began breaking. A Native American began to weep.

Per the Queen's directive, a rescue now was impossible. Once devoured by the Insinkerator, there was no hope. After running a bunch of water "because maybe that will help get him to the ocean" the Insinkerator was activated, causing the ground to quake and the Warrior's heart to get all mashed up, likely a similar feeling being experienced by the once great Lord Byron.

The only task left was to inform the handmaiden, who would no doubt be crushed.

"That's not my job," the Warrior suddenly, but bravely, proclaimed. "I'm just here to save the day."

The Warrior then valiantly strode to the refrigerator for a yogurt.


Kelly "The Warrior" Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via dragon. RIP Lord Byron. You will be missed.



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