King Arthur’s gold-tasseled boot rocked the wooden door from its hinges. Smoke rushed from the doorframe like line-campers at the opening bell of Comic-Con. Low mood lighting glinted off Excalibur’s hard steel swaggering in front of Arthur’s careful steps. “This is a raid. Nobody move.” Languid faces bombarded Arthur with vacant stares.

“Sire,” Gawain said, “it’s an opium den. I don’t think we’ll get many sudden movements from this crowd.”

Arthur’s sword dropped to his side. “Right, then. In the name of Arthur, King of the Britons, I am closing down this disreputable establishment. You’re a stain on the morals of my kingdom. Everybody out.” Several patrons blinked, a few scratched their noses, but no one went for the exit. “You heard me. Scat!”

A man in a butcher’s apron scurried from behind the bar. “King Arthur? I thought you were a legend.”

Arthur planted Excalibur under the man’s nose, which sprouted so much hair he appeared to have Yahoo Serious hiding inside each nostril . “Damn straight I’m a legend. I’ve got my own kingdom, a sword with a fancy name, and three wagons of flour parked out back.”

A single bead of sweat fell from the man’s nose, and zoomed down the polished blade. “Flour?”

“Primo stuff. My personal brand. Baking is where the real money is, not that silly Holy Grail nonsense. Now point me to your stash, my good man. I’m impounding it in the name of the king.”

Arthur swiveled to point Excalibur at his royal retinue. “Gawain, start mixing batter. Lancelot, change the signs out front. Galahad, start the frier. We’re going to make a killing with my grandma’s fried opium balls on a stick recipe.”

Advertisements