“You should be on American Idol, Prince Joe!” the children would shout.
“Woof Woof!” the puppies would bark in agreement.
“Aw, shucks,” Prince Joe would say, and tip his cap to the crowd.
This went on for quite some time.
But one dark and stormy night, something went terribly, terribly wrong.
Prince Joe was quiet. Very quiet. Quieter than normal, which is saying quite a bit.
“Why isn’t Prince Joe singing?” asked the children quietly amonst themselves.
The puppies whined and whimpered with foreboding.
Prince Joe tried to sing, but nothing came out.
“I don’t feel so good….” muttered Prince Joe, just before collapsing in a heap on the ground.
Prince Joe fell into a deep and mystical sleep, and could not be woken up by anybody.
Doctors and specialists from all over the kingdom visited Sleeping Joe. But no matter how much they poked, or how much they prodded, they could not provide a satisfactory explanation for exactly what was wrong with Prince Joe, what could have possibly caused it, or for how long he could be expected to be in this condition.
So Prince Joe slept on.
But without his enchanted song, the kingdom began to fall apart around him.
Everyone was fairly certain that the birds were chirping off-key. Babies seemed fussier and cried all the time. Farmers swore that their crops were half a shade duller.
People complained that the food in the kingdom no longer tasted like cotton candy and dreams, but rather reminded them of wet garbage and Pine-Sol.
And without Prince Joe to follow around, the children turned to vandalism for entertainment, while the bored puppies settled for defecating in neighbors’ gardens.
Things were a mess.
But then, one day, as mysteriously as the unexplained mystical illness appeared, it left. Prince Joe began to stir from his mystical slumber.
“Oh my!” exclaimed the doctors and specialists.
“Thank goodness!” shouted the farmers.
“Hooray!” yelled the children, as they dropped their cans of spray paint.
“Arf Arf!” barked the puppies, who were so excited to see Prince Joe that they peed a little.
“SING THE MAGIC SONG, JOE!” cried everyone.
“Save the kingdom, Joe!” screamed a particularly panicked Prince Joe Fan, wearing stick-on Prince Joe replica sideburns.
“Aw, shucks,” said Joe. “I’ll try. But I’m kind of rusty.”
And Joe tried. He sang very, very softly. But the words definitely sounded something like
“Call the games, and hit for average. Trim the ‘burns, then have a beverage….”
There was much rejoicing throughout the kingdom. Brids chirped wildly, and in perfect hormony. The children and puppies were hanging on every note. One farmer swore his crops were once again a half shade greener. Babies cooed and giggled. But there was only one way to know for sure if the magic was back…..
“Somebody eat something!” yelled the panicky fan with fake sideburns.
One brave little boy picked up an apple, and took a big bite.
“Well,” he said, “it definitely doesn’t taste like wet garbage. Or Pine-Sol. So that’s a big step forward. I think I might taste a little cotton candy. And I’m sure I can detect a hint of dreams!”
“Huzzah!” cried the townsfolk.
Prince Joe was back. The magic song was back. Life was good again.
“Um…” Prince Joe cleared his throat. “You know, if I really did fix everything with my magic song….when my Princely contract runs out…..I think maybe you should pay me more. Since I am the only one who really knows the words and everything.”
“Yeah….sure…..we’ll talk about that later,” said the town elders.
“You wouldn’t want me to wander away and take my song somewhere else, like Boston for instance, would you?” Asked Prince Joe. “All the children and puppies would follow me, you know.”
“No, of course not. We’ll talk about it later, OK?”
And they would.
But for right now, everyone was content to bask in the magic of Prince Joe and his enchanted song.
Prince Joe would keep singing at least until 2011, barring any relapses of mystery illnesses or any pandemic flu outbreaks or American Idol auditions. And everyone would live happily ever after.
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