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It's The Feudal Life For Me
by Marvin Pinkis

Scene: A hovel in Merrie Olde England
Cast: Will, a varlet, possibly a churl
Tammy, the varlet's (churl's) mother

"Mommy, mommy, Garreth and Clive called me a churl."

"Well, Will, you are not a churl. You are a varlet and you full well know it."

"Will I still be a varlet when I grow up?"

"Varlet, shmarlet. You will be a varlet to the master like your older brothers, father, uncles and cousins. An honorable trade. Fresh air, occasional meals of gruel and porridge with questionable ingredients, a straw pallet to sleep on, vermin-infested, yes, but just the same a bed. No worries about responsibilities. Now, I want you to leave. I am making mead for your father and you know how mad he gets when he doesn't get his mead."

"Yes, I don't desire another brutal cuffing. Clive says he wants to be a serf when he turns seven."

"If the plague continues and people keep dropping like flies, the compulsory age for entering the carefree life of serfdom will be lower than seven."

"I hope so. I can hardly wait. If I'm five now, I think, how long will it be?"

"That's what you have fingers for."

"Mommy, the other day when I was playing with my toad, the lord of the manor's son, rode by and he stopped and we talked. He invited me up to the castle."

"Just you be careful."

"He said I may not have to endure a feudal life if we were friends."

"Ask your nine older brothers and cousins about that. They became friends and they're still leading the feudal life."

"Is there no way out of this humdrum existence?"

"Humdrum? You want excitement, you young whelp, go poach a deer in the King's preserve. Invent a way to eat without greasy hands leaving marks all over my rough-hewn table. Experiment with herbs and blood-letting. Join a pilgrimage or, better yet, go on a crusade and slaughter non-believing innocents in the name of Christianity. Learn to joust. Devise new sophisticated methods of torture. With these options, how can you say humdrum? That kind of thinking is medieval. You don't know how lucky you are. Your grandparents never made it to thirty. Just be grateful for this life of unparalleled convenience and comfort, even if it is day-to-day."