Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SKELETON IN THE CLOSET (11/30/17)
- TITLE: Speak or Forever Hold Your Peace
By Virgil Youngblood
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Lousy, because the wine-bibbing king might off my head if I recorded something that didn’t strike his fancy. Delicious though, when intrigue abounds and palace secrets are gleaned. Crossing my palm with silver has often sealed my lips.
Queen Vashti was a cat of another stripe. She called me a spying pervert and told me to take a hike. Then, pulled her big girl panties on, so to speak, and told the king to bug off when he commanded her to appear at a party dressed in royal attire.
Boy, was he ticked. His rage sent us all into tip-toeing mode and the demoted queen racing to the countryside.
Soon, a fresh air was blowing through the halls. A full-scale search was underway to find the most beautiful virgin in the kingdom to become the next queen. We all had a vested interest in putting a smile on the king’s face. If the king isn’t happy – well, you get it!
After a covey was gathered, it took a year to put the shine on their social skills and train them on the king’s whims. When Esther was chosen, the eunuchs betting her selection put a nice jingle in their money sack. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something intriguing about this raven haired beauty that bears watching.
If she has secrets, I’ll excavate them soon enough.
I missed an opportunity when the doorkeepers, Bigthan and Teresh, conspired to kill the king. Mordecai stumbled upon their scheme and told his niece, Queen Esther. She informed his royal highness and the doorkeepers went to the gallows. I must be slipping. I only learned of their plot when the king had me record Mordecai’s service in the chronicles.
Soon after, Haman was elevated above the princes in the kingdom and began to throw his pot-belly weight around. I never liked that slithering snake, but I knew better than to show it. He expected everyone to pay homage to him. When Mordecai wouldn’t bow the knee, Haman blew his top.
It didn’t take Haman long to cook up a revenge scheme. He offered to deposit ten thousand talents of silver into the treasury if the king would sign a decree to kill anyone that didn’t keep the king’s laws. Haman knew Mordecai and the Jews in the provinces would not pay homage and so he would rid himself of that rabble.
The king signed the document, I dutifully recorded it, and it became a law of the Persians and Meads that could never be altered.
That’s when things got really interesting. The king didn’t know his queen was a Jew. She had kept her beautiful lips sealed on that juicy nugget. I was mulling the best way to play that trump card when Haman kicked the bucket over with that unalterable decree. The king was going to lose his bride and there was going to be hell to pay.
Amidst pondering how to cover my sitter downer, placing mental bets on where this was going and how I could profit from the fall-out, the queen’s quarters went strangely quiet. Four days later she appeared regally dressed in the inner court of the king’s palace. She risked death doing that unbidden. But blessed, she was. King Ahasuerus held out his golden scepter and invited Queen Esther to ask anything and he would give it, up to half his kingdom.
She only requested the king and Haman come to dinner the next day. What a dufus! She let him off the hook.
He agreed, mesmerized and aflutter over this unusual woman and her mysterious ways.
That night, anticipating a sumptuous evening with Queen Esther, the king couldn’t sleep. I was summoned to read to him from the chronicles. Mordecai, he discovered, had never been rewarded for saving his life. The next morning amends were made for the oversight.
That evening, after the king was suitably full of wine, Esther revealed wicked Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jews included herself. The king, outraged, ordered Haman hung. Afterwards he consented to Mordecai’s novel solution for saving the Jews from extermination. The king was a happy man, his queen’s life spared.
Mordecai, smiling, reminded Esther, “Remember what I told you? ‘ Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’”
My money’s on Queen Esther from here on out.
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