The State Dinner, by Will Elwood

The Ronald Reagan clone stood up from behind his desk to shake my hand as I walked onto the stage in front of the applauding studio audience. “A warm welcome for Dr Keneth Buxton, director of security for President Bert Russell,” he said for the benefit of the viewers at home. I took my place on the interviewees sofa next to Reagan’s desk. He sat down again and looked towards the camera in front of him. “Dr Keneth Buxton is here of course to promote his new book.” Reagan lifted a copy of the book up so that the viewers at home could see the cover which showed a human and an elf shaking hands. “Which discusses the historic conference that led to Arcadia becoming a dependent state. Now I have read the book, and while there are many amusing anecdotes I am wondering if I could start by asking you to talk about the Nechtan’s security detail.”

I’d been expecting this question. “Of course. Well Nechtan, the leader of the faction of the sìdh who were seeking our help, was escorted by a legion of minotaurs at all times for his protection. As bodyguards go, I am of the opinion that they are of the highest calibre: tough, strong, loyal and despite popular perceptions sharp as a razor. Of course part of the normalisation talks held with Nechtan and his group involved attire and equipment. His faction of sìdh wanted to leave the Tír na nÓg kingdom and align politically with what I hesitate to call the real world. They wanted to stop living in drafty castles, have flushing toilets and all the good things that come from being a twenty-first century civilisation. I won’t even mention the appalling infant mortality rates in Tír na nÓg.

“It’s quite easy to arrange for body armour that fits an Elf. There are no problems finding tools and weapons that an elf can use. No problems either with dwarves and goblins. A bit of adaptation required, but nothing major. The minotaurs, however, were are a nightmare to equip.”

“Can you tell us about the tailor’s reaction?” Reagen asked.

“Sure. As you are aware, at a state occasion all security personal wear black-tie in order to blend in with the guests. I was willing to wave the requirement that Nechtan’s minotaur guards had to wear black-tie. Nechtan, while he wasn’t keen on the idea, did understand my reasoning. A minotaur is going to stand out in a human event no matter what they wear. At least until they become a more visible minority. But to Buja’s credit he insisted that they wear the same black-tie as everyone else.”

“Buja is the head of Nechtan’s security right?”

“Yes, sorry. Anyway to his credit he decided that his men would all wear tuxedos to the state dinner that would take place the night after President Russell announced that Arcadia would be leaving Tír na nÓg would become a dependent of the United States. Now these talks were held in secret and I had to find a tailor able to size and make ten tuxedos for minotaurs before the government had acknowledged their existence. So I had to get in contact with a tailor and explain the problem to him.”

“That must have been hard.”

“Yes. I took Buja’s measurement myself. Anyone who thinks that a minotaur is a mythical creature should try having to wrap a tape measure around the chest of one. However the tailor refused to believe my measurements when I gave them over the phone. We eventually brought him down to Camp David where we’d been holding the talks. The look of surprise on his face had Buja laughing for weeks.”

“But it all turned out alright,” Reagan said. I suspected he liked the sound of his voice.

“Well you all saw the pictures didn’t you? They looked better than half my staff.”

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Submitted for the 10/09 challenge, “Minotaur”

This story was written in response to the prompt, “Anyone who thinks a minotaur is a mythical beast clearly never had to measure one for a tuxedo.”

To see more of Will’s work, check out http://www.will-ellwood.com