Doug Skinner: An Archive on Your Gizmo

Doug Skinner header image 1

The Royal Touch

January 21st, 2018 · 1 Comment

Here, as an appetizer, is the beginning of “The Royal Touch,” from my upcoming collection The Snowman Three Doors Down. Our story hinges on a dilemma: which is better, leprosy or scrofula?


King Theobald hobbled to the throne, and, setting aside his crutch, sank slowly onto the cushions. Stroking his beard with his stumps, he looked inquiringly at his prime minister.
“You have no obligations today, Your Majesty,” Prime Minister Oxthrall informed him.
“None?” the king asked, surprised.
“The page is empty,” Oxthrall replied, holding up the appointment book.
“But today is St. Forrester’s Day,” said Theobald. “Today my subjects line up to receive the royal touch, along with a nice little medallion.”
“The people don’t want you to touch them, sir,” Oxthrall explained.
“But it cures scrofula,” said Theobald.
“True,” said Oxthrall, “but they don’t want your leprosy.”
“Scrofula is more contagious than leprosy,” said the king. “I’m more likely to catch their disease than they are to catch mine. Especially if they cough or sneeze without using their handkerchiefs, as they often do.”
“Several people caught leprosy last time,” Oxthrall reminded him.
“Just a few,” said Theobald. “Did they like the medallion?”
“They were upset about the leprosy,” said Oxthrall.
“Those medallions were expensive,” groused the king.
“I know,” sighed Oxthrall, “and many of your subjects complained about the cost.”
Theobald shifted on his throne, absently fingering his lesions. “Leprosy’s not so bad when you get used to it,” he remarked. “In fact, I think it looks good on me. It gives a man character.”
Bishop Felix sauntered into the room. “A peaceful and joyous St. Forrester’s Day to you both,” he cried, beaming and gesticulating. “God go with you.”
“The people don’t want the royal touch,” complained Theobald.
“Of course not,” said the bishop. “You have leprosy.”
“Let me show you something,” said the king, picking up a book.
“I can see it from here,” Felix replied.

Tags: *Words · R

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 mamie caton // Jan 26, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Wow. Had to review this. I’d pick scrofula.

Leave a Comment