|Ming the Merciless: Former Emperor of the Galaxy hits rock-bottom.|
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are privileged to have with us the former Emperor of the Galaxy, Ming the Merciless.
DUSTY: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. So. Emperor Ming. What have you been up to lately?
MING: Well, I’m living a very quiet life, well out of the lime-light now.
DUSTY: Yes, you were dispossessed of your birthright or something.
DUSTY: We here at Shalako Publishing, Long Cool One Books and Larga Fresca Uno Libros ran into the former Emperor down at the Inn of the Good Shepherd. There was a bit of a line-up but you like to get there early. Old habits die hard. Anyways, the early bird gets worms, eh?
MING: That’s right. Man! It was cold that day, eh?
DUSTY: Yeah. I’m a girl, incidentally, don’t know if you caught that right off. So how does it feel to line up for a handout with some of your former, ah, what’s the word...???
...I guess what I’m trying to say is that once you mis-governed them.
MING: Ah. Yes.
DUSTY: <patiently waits.>
MING: Ah. Well, it’s very humbling, of course. But, we do get old, and sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances not entirely of our choosing.
DUSTY: So what do you think of your former subjects?
MING: Oh, right, they were mine? Ha-ha. They’re all right, surprisingly accepting. Everyone is being very kind to me.
DUSTY: They think you’re mad in that outfit. There is a certain affinity for some of us.
MING: Yes, well. I’ve signed up for the Genesis Program and we’re hoping to find a pair of jeans in my size...next Tuesday, hopefully. I already have an ill-fitting human/civilian jacket in the closet.
DUSTY: They might be a bit big in the waist for you. You can always take them in. You’re looking awfully thin. We knew you were tall, of course.
DUSTY: So, where are you living now?
MING: At an undisclosed, ah, working class walkup in the central city area.
DUSTY: Nice and close to everything—buses, food banks, the government offices located in the downtown core solely for the purpose of subsidizing bourgeois landlords, lots of dumpsters to go through and a fair number of beer cans dotting public parks...? Plenty of mental health outreach programs...???
MING: Ah, yes. Something like that, yes. The pension, as you know, is very small. I find that stressful, and I am sure some of my former subjects do as well. I don’t mind speaking up on their behalf incidentally. I have much to make amends for...
<wipes solitary tear from eye.>
DUSTY: Okay. So, Emperor Ming—I hope I can still call you that. Ah, what does a kind of isolated guy like you do for sex, anyways?
MING: Same thing as everybody else, I suppose.
DUSTY: Ha! I guess you’ve pretty much heard them all, eh?
MING: I am as old as Time itself. I AM EVIL PERSONIFIED.
DUSTY: ...and matter, and energy, and space, and the interstitial matrix that holds it all together. Have you seen Flash or Dale or Prince Arbin or whatever his name was lately?
MING: No. Not really.
DUSTY: Boy, it’s sad when people lose touch like that.
MING: I send a Christmas card every year to Dale, but she never responds. Prince Arbin passed on a few years ago—cancer of the clitoris.
MING: He was a hermaphrodite—very few people knew that. Flash is still giving $20.00 blow-jobs on Sunset Boulevard, out behind the Colonial hotel.
DUSTY: You mean in Hollywood, right?
MING: Ah, yes. Hollywood.
DUSTY: Yes, you were deeply in love at the time. Sorry! I mean with Dale.
MING: Still am, old boy.
DUSTY; Yeah, I hate it when that happens. There was this girl in college...I mean this guy in college.
DUSTY: <gulp.> Wow. That works good, eh?
MING: No one cares about your puerile adolescent crushes, Fred.
MY NAME IS DUSTY: I was thirty-three at the time, but hey! It’s not important.
MING: Butt-hay? I’m not familiar with that one. Does he work for CTV? Now those people have much to answer for.
DUSTY: It’s just an expression. So anyway, the Inn will be open for the usual hot meal on Christmas Day. Maybe we’ll run into you.
MING: Most likely, other than that, ah, it’s usually just beer and porn for me. I’m not really into Rudolf the Grinch and, and, that Adam Sandler and that frickin’ fruitcake Farrell. I don’t smoke crack or anything like that, but you might ask around the neighbourhood. I mean, it is Christmas after all, and people need their little treats, don’t they?
DUSTY: Yeah, me neither. I’m with you on that one. So how are you getting on otherwise?
MING: Like I said, everyone is being very kind and as we get older we tend to appreciate that a little more than perhaps we might have done in our younger, more foolish days. But if someone gives me a problem, there is always the default position.
DUSTY: And what’s that?
MING: Physical, psychological and moral terror.
DUSTY: Oh, right. Anyway, ah...thank you for speaking to us.
MING: Not at all, not at all. Incidentally, would you have any spare change?
DUSTY: ...ah...no. Sorry.
MING: How about a hug?
<SHAKES HEAD EMPHATICKALLY>
MING: That’s all right—there’s a sucker born every minute. Don’t ever forget that and you’ll do all right, Fred. My man—my friend. Don’t be shy, okay?
DUSTY: Ah, no. And thank you again. <AND MY NAME IS DUSTY YOU SICK OLD BASTERD.>
MING: Seriously. Stop around and see me sometimes, we’ll have tea. I’m quite fond of Earl Grey.
<What else could I say...?>
DUSTY: We really do have to be going now, so please let go of my arm...
<brief but exceedingly polite in the usual Canadian manner sort of a struggle to escape without seeming to be rude...>
<MING attempts to hold Dusty in thrall with the power of his personality and those engaging sick basterd eyes but she ain’t having none of it, having a fairly good brain of her own...>
DUSTY: Please take your hand off of my bum, sir.
<psychic smack-down from the lady.>
<a loud thud from the former Emperor.>
<END OF STRUGGLE.>
....MING: Wow, she’s good. Really strong...I seriously didn’t expect that from such a delightful little poppet...
...such mental powers, ladies and gentlemen...
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