• Michael Noctor


Once upon a time, in a place that was more of a kip than a kingdom, there lived a beautiful princess and a proportionately handsome prince.

The princess had been around the old kingdom quite a few times. So had the prince. She had been queen for a while, and he had been king (of a different province), but they had both been relegated, demoted, to their former status yet not quite their former glory.

One day, the former king was rambling, not going anywhere in particular but feeling all light and fluffy and happy in his new world. He had never expected that one day he would arrive at a time filled with such inner peace and serenity. It had taken him a long time to get there, and the former king, now prince, thought it might be a very good idea to stay. Then his mobile phone went off. It didn’t ring or make a noise because it was just a text, and besides, he had it on silence. There was a lot of silence in his peaceful and serene new world. So peaceful and so serene that he didn’t know his phone had gone off. If a text message arrives and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

Later, when day had turned into evening, the prince was having a nice ice-cold beer. He checked his phone and was shocked and surprised in equal measure to see the message, which wasn’t just a plain old hear ye, hear ye text message but a photo. You have read enough stories to have a good guess who was in the picture.

The prince knew it would be better not to reply. He knew a lot about poisons and toxicity. His inner voice said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t reply.’

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