by Ian Murphy
“What the hell is this!?!”
Ilsa sighed the heavy sigh of a long-suffering wife. She didn’t need any drama this morning. Especially not this early. She looked up from her morning tea at her Husband Amerigo, who was on another one of his volatile tirades, waving…
“A calendar.” she answered. ” We got it at the White Elephant party Magellan threw last week. You’d remember if you weren’t so drunk on Amontillado you could barley stand.”
“I know what it is!” he replied as he flipped through the pages, searching for something specific. “I’m talking about this!”
He slammed it down on the poorly carved wooden table and pointed an indignant finger at Monday, the first week of October. Ilsa squinted down at the target of his rage.
“It says, Columbus Day?”
Amerigo folded his arms across his chest, satisfied, if only for a moment. A tense second crept across the room, then – –
“Hells Bells, they didn’t!” she exclaimed.
“They did! Those, those sweaty cod-pieces!” Amerigo shouted, his ire returning in full now. “They gave it to that god damn Guinea bastard!”
“How could they do that? That day is supposed to be in honor of – -”
“Of the man who discovered the New World! OF ME!”
Amerigo stomped over to the counter and grabbed some wine. Ignoring any attempts at a glass, he drank straight from the jug. Normally Ilsa would have chastised him for this, but she could tell this was not the time to pick a fight.
“I mean, they named the whole god damned continent after me. ME! And they’re giving the celebration day to THAT Jackass!”
“Really! Do you know he thought he was in India? Yeah. INDIA! They’re probably going to call those Native Americans “Indians” now. Do you know how colossally wrong that is? DAMMIT!”
Amerigo smashed a dish that had absolutely nothing to do with the current calamity, chugged another healthy swallow of wine, and caught his breath. Panting, he looked at his wife.
“I’m sorry. You’ve been nothing but supportive. I shouldn’t…”
Isla got up from the table and put her arms around her Husband. Temper tantrums aside, he was a good man.
“It’s okay honey. Everyone knows who got there first. It says it on all the maps.”
A knock at the door interrupted their momentary peace.
“I’ll get it.” Isla answered the door. Standing there was a Royal messenger.
“Hello, are you Isla Vespucci? The banner maker?”
“What do you want? Now’s not really a good time.”
“Queen Isabella has commissioned you to make a banner for the first celebration of Columbus Day.”
“Why me?” Isla asked, irritated.
“Because you’re the only banner maker in town?”
“And she knows who I’m married to right.”
“And following that logic, she would know how asking me to make a banner for that celebration might be kind of, I don’t know, awful?”
“Yes. That would be why she laughed when she gave me this.”
The Messenger handed her a piece of paper. It read ‘First Annual Columbus Day’.
“No way. Tell her to shove it up – -”
The Messenger stopped her with a quick finger to her lips.
“Look lady,” he started. “There’s an Inquisition going on right now, and if I don’t come back with the answer the Queen wants I’m going to end up on the business end of a red hot poker. So make the fucking banner, okay?”
“And she wants it when?”
“Before the celebration next Monday. Later.”
The messenger bounded off as Ilsa walked back into the kitchen.
“What was that all about?” Amerigo, now starting to feel the effects of the wine, slurred slightly.
“They want me to make Columbus’s banner for the party next week.”
Before Amerigo could begin another tirade, Ilsa put a quieting hand to his lips.
“Don’t worry baby, I got this.”
Next Monday came quickly, but the banner was done in time. As they got ready for the party, Isla rolled out her banner for Amerigo’s approval.
“I can’t believe we’re going to this thing. Wait… is THAT the banner you made?”
“Sure is.” She smiled.
“First Annual Columbus Day? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to say?”
“It does, kinda.” she smiled again.
“I thought Annual had TWO N’s and a U?”
“If you wanna spell it right it does.”
A smile crept across Amerigo’s face as servants arrived, took the banner, and began to hang it up for all to see. Amerigo looked at his wife with pride.
“Baby, you’re the best.”