“What did you say?” Karl guffawed. “That you could have been King? Like you could have been a contender?” He laughed; his belly jiggled.
“What?” Jon was in a daze.
“This is not your garret, this is not your lecture hall or your bed chamber at the Earl’s castle, this is the Sunroom where we watch TV, play stupid card games, pretend we’re exercising and listen to your stories about the old Icelandic guy. You must have let your brain drift somewhere, saying you could have been a King. Whose King? Our King? King of the old farts.” Karl laughed again, Odd laughed with him though he didn’t understand why he was laughing. Rudy sat with the Red Book open in his lap, disgust on his face. Peter van der Groot remained oblivious, head hanging low. Mrs. Remple held up her pink scarf to examine her progress. Mrs. Krantz shushed Karl, telling him he was too loud and to stop laughing like a fool, it was annoying.
“Your ‘vesicle of creation’ you called this place. What the hell is that?” Karl covered his mouth to smother his laugh but the laughter squirted out just the same.
Jon stood, rising from his seat with no hint of old stiff joints. He stood as though he was on the edge of the Law Rock, looking down over the gathered chieftains at Thingvellir, all eyes upon him awaiting his judgement. Breath was held in anticipation. Mrs. Remple dropped her knitting into her lap, Mrs. Krantz put down the travel magazine, Oddur Gunnerson’s mouth fell open and even Peter van der Groot looked up from his despondent repose.
“We must take him to the Althing at Thingvellir. Take Crazy Karl, even if we have to drag him. He must face justice for his crimes. He will at least be banished, I’m sure of it.”
Jon’s right arm raised to his shoulder. He pointed a long finger at Karl Homesman.
“You are banished from this place,” Jon commanded.
Karl stopped laughing. “Okay,” he said, shrugged his shoulders , turned to leave the Sunroom.
“I am the Lawspeaker until another is chosen. You will do as I command or suffer penalty worse than banishment.” His voice crackled, began to fade as he coughed.
Karl stood in the Sunroom doorway about to leave. Nurse Shirley rushed passed in front of him carrying an empty cup and saucer and side plate. Karl stepped back to avoid colliding with the short nurse speeding by.
He turned back to Jon. “You may be going off your nut my friend. Why don’t you hold off going over the deep end until we catch whoever is bumping us off.”
“My gawd what a thing to say, especially in front of our new people,” Mrs. Krantz chided. “You’ll have them all scared half to death for crying out loud.”
“Half to death,” Karl sniggered. “That’s a laugh.”
Mrs. Krantz’s eyes bugged out reminding him again of the chihuahua he had revived. He remembered in that moment that the tiny dog had yipped and snapped at him the instant it was brought back to life. Such an ungrateful thing.
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