Playing The Fool

Entry by: Corone

29th April 2016
Playing the Fool

“What are you having?” asked Feste as he slid onto a bar stool next to his friend.

“Oh no,” came the reply. “These are on me.”

“So you got the new job then. Great news, and mines a pint.”

The barman poured them each a pint of mead and they both took a moment to savour it in silence together. The Fool Bar was quite full tonight, and Feste could see plenty of people he knew here. Grumio was talking to Costard in a corner and Launce was playing a country tune by the fire. Feste gave a wave to Lavache, but declined his invitation to join him. He was here to celebrate with his friend tonight.

“So, working for the royal family then. How’s it been going?”

“I have to say it’s all been a bit disappointing. The king is a decent sort, and clever too. He actually has some pretty good come backs when we jest at each other. But he’s getting on a bit and tends to ramble.”

“He’s retiring soon though isn’t he?”

“I think so, and it looks like they’ll keep me on. But it could go any way once his daughters get their hands on the throne. I mean Cordelia is alright, but the other two, well.”

“Still, the money must be good.”

“Not bad, although the tips are rubbish.”

“Don’t knock a fool’s wage my friend! I do alright in tips, but only as long as the Duke and all his entourage are in a good mood. Luckily with Twelfth Night on the way they’ll be cooking up some scheme. They are always more generous when they’re plotting.”

“At least you have fun. I have to get philosophical all the time. If there is one thing the King’s household could do with, it’s a few good jokes.”

They were interrupted by a commotion at the front door. A large man had got himself wedged trying to get in. The barman quickly ran over, but not to help him in.

“You’re barred Falstaff,” he admonished as he pushed the large man free. Swearing at the barman Falstaff tottered away, this clearly not being the first pub he’d tried this evening. The barman resumed his position behind the bar. “Sorry about that, gents,” he said to Feste and his friend. “He knows the rules, and I say he’s comic relief not a fool anyway, no matter how many students pick him for a dissertation.”

Feste nodded in agreement, knowing not to upset an angry publican. He drained the rest of his pint and got up to leave.

“Sorry mate, I’d best get back to it. Not all of us are on a salary!”

“At least they can remember your name,” complained his friend.

“Cheer up!” said Feste. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I suppose so. Take care then, I’ll see you for another one soon.”

Feste clapped his friend on the back in sympathy, it was sure to be alright in the end. The fool was always the one to come out fine once it was all over. But his gaze drifted to the skull of Yorick on a shelf above the bar. Over its nook were carved a motto that always gave Feste pause: ‘Death always has the last laugh’.