I bumped into the King of the Spongers this morning, running down the street. His face was bright red and he was heavily out of breath.
He was carrying a bag of beer bottles.
Jesus, Your Majesty, I said. Why do you exert yourself thus? I haven’t seen you so flushed since the Free Spliff Festival in Killinabong.
That was the World Pint-Robbing Championships, he said.
Oh, you’re right, I conceded. But why the rush?
Grave matters, he gasped. I’m late for a bus.
A bus? Why not wait for the next one?
Impossible, he replied. I’m late for the Free Drink Festival in Ballinadyuck.
Oh, that’s bad, I told him.
It certainly is, he agreed. I’m just back from the Cologne International Gallery-Opening Wine-Snaffling Competition.
How did you get on?
Fine. I won it, but didn’t manage to get any bottles home with me, so that would rank as a fail.
Yeah, I agreed. By your standards, it’s pretty poor.
Still, he went on, I did ok at the Free Grub Festival in Sandwich. Managed to steal everyone’s beer and grass without being noticed, but I have to get to Ballinadyuck. I’m defending my crown as King of the Spongers, and there’s one or two young bucks who’d be only too happy to usurp the title.
Is that the certificate you stole from the ambassador’s wine reception?
How dare you. I worked hard for my crown.
Ah now, your Highness, please. You never worked a day in your life.
I’m an artist, he protested.
You found a few sticks on a beach and called them art. You thought it might get you laid.
I’m a poet, he replied, looking over his shoulder and tightening his grip on the bottles. I’m entitled to rob my friends. It’s the law. Anyway, I have to run.
Where did you get the energy so early?
I have a new app for my iPhone. It alerts me whenever someone is opening an art show or having a party.
Ah! So you were up all night drinking free wine and eating free grub?
I certainly was. We royalty never carry money. I thought everyone knew that.
There’s your bus.
Good, he said. I will arise and go now, and go to Guinness free.