Saturday, May 09, 2009

It's David And Goliath, If You Couldn't Guess

The giant stood at the gates of the city. Thick plate armour covered him from head to toe; upon the ground he rested a sword half again as tall as he was. He was, to say the least, a rather intimidating sight; and he knew it. With a dark grin visible from beneath his helmet, he shouted:

"Puny defenders of the city! Our army arrives in one day. When it arrives, it will crush you as though you were merely sprinkled icing upon the cake of our victory. Many will die; your wives and orphans will weep for you, and then they will weep for themselves as they are made our chattel. Your treasures will be taken, your homes destroyed, your people rendered unto dust.

"Or: You can surrender to me, now. I am not unkind; I will take only what I, alone, can reasonably enjoy. And when the army arrives, they will demand only your fealty before they pass on. There will be no killing, no rapine. Am I not a generous man?" Golden trinkets adorning the giant's armour suggested that at least one city had taken him up on his offer before.

"And for further encouragement, to those who doubt, I offer this - "

And with one hand, the giant smote upon the city gate, and caused a terrible noise to echo; splinters and dust flew, and when all was clear again, five terrible cracks ran across the wood of the gate, each nearly a foot deep.

"Are you saying that if we refuse your offer, you, personally, will conquer our city?" a voice from the battlements said questioningly.

"Is there any one among you who can stop me?" the giant asked, his voice filled with dark amusement.

There was a brief silence. And then: "Sure, actually," the unseen speaker announced. "Please stand back."

The giant obliged, drawing his blade back onto his shoulder; the gates creaked upon, the one upon which the giant had knocked now shivering in its frame as it moved. (He'd damaged it, you see.) A small figure stepped out from the gates; then they began to close behind him.

"What?" the giant asked, incredulous. "One, lone man, armed with... a sling? I was ready to fight you all at once - and you send a single peasant against me?"

"Hey!" the challenger protested; but the voice from the battlements interrupted him. "Perhaps you should examine his nametag," it suggested.

The giant, obligingly, kneeled down to do so; shielding his face with one hand, in case of surprise attack. (He had not gotten so far as he had without an element of caution, after all.) He looked up with surprise on his face. "David," he said. "You sent out a slinger named David."

"Quite," the speaker from the battlements agreed.

"Look," the giant said, standing. "There are just - so many reasons this doesn't work. First, all I have is his nametag to prove that his name is David. For all I know, you guys could just have grabbed some random schmuck off the street and plopped him here. Why should I believe that he's really David?"

Again the slinger began to protest; again the speaker for the city interrupted him. "Go on," it said accomodatingly.

"Secondly," the giant continued. "My name is not Goliath. I have a name."

There was a brief silence.

"Sturm, since you asked," the giant clarified.

"Do you think that will matter?" the speaker asked, his voice sounding perfectly sincere.

"And - this is a list, so it has to have three things," Sturm said. "Third. This isn't a story. Storybook rules don't apply. I'm a fifteen-foot-tall, armoured, veteran soldier. This 'David' is a five-foot-tall - "

"Five-six!" the David protested.

"guy who's dressed in a toga and holding a weapon that went out of date when the Pyramids were young," Sturm concluded. "Frankly, if he tossed a rock at me with that thing, I wouldn't even feel it! There is absolutely no reason I should feel threatened."

"Sure," the speaker concurred.

"Yes," Sturm repeated.

"Absolutely," the speaker agreed.

A pause.

"Bah, I'm out of here," Sturm said disgustedly, turning on his heel. "Don't feel any need to play Achilles today. See you tomorrow, after you all die."

A long pause.

"Hey, Joe," came a different voice from the battlements. "Do you even know how to use that sling?"

"Sure!" Joseph agreed. "You hit him with it, right?"


"Man, I was totally ready for that fight," Joseph said. "Hope there's a rematch later!"


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