By Mordechai Schmutter

“Throne Together, how can I help you?”
“Yeah, hi. I ordered a chair a while back, and it hasn’t come yet … This is the king.”
“Please hold.”
“Hold? I’m the king!”
“Sir? Your order doesn’t seem to be coming up.”
“Are you serious? I’d like to speak to your manager.”
“Sir, if I let everyone with a problem speak to my manager…”
“Wait a minute. Am I talking to India?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Good. I’m sorry, but I’m just very frustrated. If something doesn’t happen, I’m going to have to start beheading people.”
“Sir, I’m trying my best to help you here.”
“OK, listen. I called you guys three years ago. I said, ‘I just became king, I have a party coming up in three years, and I need a chair.’ That was almost three years ago. I still don’t have a chair. I need it for business!”
“I understand, sir.”
“It’s a chair, right? What is taking so long?”
“Sir, we have other customers.”
“What other customers? You call your company ‘Throne Together’!”
“We also make other kinds of chairs.”
“OK. So your contractor comes in three years ago, he takes measurements, he breaks down a wall—I don’t even know why. He’s building a chair here. And then he disappears. I’ve had this hole in the wall for almost three years now. I’ve got big tarp hanging behind me.”
“That’s unfortunate, sir.”
“I can’t believe I can get a phone in ancient Persia, but I can’t get someone to build me a chair.”
“Sir, we’re talking into tin cans here. Look, it says here that there are some complications with your order. We’ve had a lot of customer dissatisfaction with this model. Have you considered changing your order? Maybe a nice recliner?”
“I had a recliner. I fell asleep in it like eight times a day. Snoring. Did you know that when the king falls asleep, no one wakes him up? That first year just flew by.”
“Oh.”
“I sit all day; I’ve been wearing out chairs like there’s no tomorrow. All different kinds.”
“I see.”
“For a while, I had one of those chairs that squeaked every time I moved. I spent all day saying, “That wasn’t me. That was the chair.”
“I don’t know what to say, sir.”
“Neither did anyone else. And for one day there, I had a folding chair. That was embarrassing. It said like ‘N’shei Something’ on the back.”
“What about swivel chairs, sir?”
“I tried those for a while. But after a certain amount of time, the mechanism breaks, and the chairs start sinking. I’m sitting there, passing judgment on others, and while they’re talking, I’m slowly getting shorter. You know how many people I beheaded for laughing at me? And I need to swivel? Everything’s in front of me. I swivel, I’m facing the hole.”
“I see.”
“So listen, I got a big party coming up. Like a year long. I need my chair done by then. Where am I gonna sit?”
“Aren’t you gonna rent chairs? There should be like a gemach or something. Who’s coming over?”
“Everybody.”
“You’re going to invite everybody to your palace? Have you met everybody?”
“I’m at an age where what I want most of all is a nice chair. When people hear of the king, I want them to think, ‘Oh, he must have somewhere nice to sit.’”
“No one’s going to come all the way to a party just to look at a chair.”
“They will if I serve alcohol.”
“Yeah, but a whole year to look at a chair?”
“Well, we probably won’t spend the entire year looking at the chair. Maybe my wife will have some ideas.”
“Don’t you already have something you can use? What kind of chair did the guy before you have?”
“Yeah, he took it with him.”
“Can I interest you in a nice lawn chair, maybe? Those are very comfortable.”
“Yeah, but where would the lions go?”
“The lions?”
“I need lions. On all the stairs. The lions have to roar when someone’s not being honest with me.”
“How are the lions going to know Persian?”
“They’re not real lions.”
“Then how are they going to roar?”
“Look, I don’t understand why this is so difficult. I just want a simple chair made of ivory covered in gold and gems, with six steps leading up to it. And on the steps, I need 13 lions, an ox, a wolf and lamb, a leopard, a kid, a deer, a bear, an eagle, two doves, and a hawk, and they all have to be made of gold but operate as if they were real! Why is this so difficult?”
“Sir?”
“Oh, and a menorah on top of the throne that has 14 branches, with biblical names carved into them. You know—Abraham, Isaac, Job, Moses, Eldad and Meidad…”
“Sir, are you Jewish?”
“I don’t know. Look, I hired you to build a throne.”
“With Jewish names carved on it?”
“There could be non-Jewish names. Nimrod, Esau, Pharaoh the Lame, Pharaoh the Short…”
“Well, the kid we can do. We can just hire a kid.”
“No, it has to be a kid goat.”
“Oh. So everything has to be difficult.”
“And the animals have to each lift me up to the next step.”
“Why?”
“I don’t want to have to do steps.”
“So don’t have steps!”
“Then where will the animals sit?”
“OK. So what if we put one of those chairs on the side that goes up and down the steps?”
“No, the animals have to lift me.”
“The dove is going to lift you? You’re just going to step on it? Boy, you’re gonna go through doves.”
“They’re not real doves!”
“Sir, don’t you have servants who can lift you?”
“So I just have like 24 servants crouching on the stairs?”
“You can put them in animal costumes.”
“Where am I going to buy costumes this time of year?”
“How about we take real, live animals and cover them in gold?”
“Real animals? What happens when the lions get hungry?”
“Isn’t that what the goat is for?”
“NO!”
“Then can we at least put blinders on the lions, so they don’t see the other animals? This is gonna be a bloodbath.”
“I don’t think so.”
“What about statues? Can we go with just statues of the animals?”
“Well, will they move?”
“No, they won’t move.”
“Well, they need to move. And they need to attack strangers who come near the throne, but be nice to me.”
“And you want this to be the centerpiece of your party.”
“Yes.”
“That everyone in your kingdom is going to be invited to.”
“Yes.”
“With food. And these lions are just gonna sit there. At a party featuring meat and drunk people.”
“They’re not real lions!”
“Sir, I don’t know if three years will be enough.”
“Look, I know this is possible. I’m basing this on another guy’s throne.”
“It doesn’t really sound comfortable.”
“No, this other guy had it. It was the coolest thing. Have you ever heard of someone named Solomon?”
“Oh, him. He made that chair himself. That wasn’t us. Look, maybe you can just find his throne. Buy it used somewhere.”
“I have it. I got it from my wife’s grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. Ever heard of him?”
“No.”
“That’s weird. It’s all she ever talks about: “My grandfather was the best king” and “My grandfather could hold so much alcohol.” Anyway, the guy breaks his hip trying to get onto the throne. ‘Oh, the lion hit me,’ he says. Yeah, right. Probably holding too much alcohol, if you ask me.”
“Sir…”
“And you know Pharaoh the Lame?”
“Yeah, he was pretty lame.”
“I know! Do you know how he got that way?”
“Yeah, he had some policies that weren’t very popular.”
“No, he was attacked by the lions. And then he fell down the stairs.”
“Oh. So you want to rethink the stairs? I mean, this thing is going to be huge. How are we gonna get it in through your door?”
“Well, I have this hole.”
“I see.”
“But I’m all paid up with you guys, right?”
“Well, there’s also shipping.”
“Yeah, I see that on the bill now. Wow. So much for shipping?”
“Yes. We use actual ships. We drag them over the sand.”
“Well, can I get it expedited?”
“Maybe. That’s ground shipping. We can also get you air. Same day.”
“How does that work?”
“Well, we have this catapult. You give us your coordinates…”
“I don’t think so.”
“Really? We’ve never been off by more than like five miles.”
“This is ridiculous, you know. If your guy hadn’t already made a hole in my wall, I would call someone else.”
“I know, sir. That’s why he does it.”
“Because there are other companies I can call. I can call “Cheers!” I can call “Beis Hakisei”… But definitely, next time I’m taking my business elsewhere.”
“I thought this is the only throne you’ll ever need to build, sir.”
“Yeah, but I might have wanted you to make me a bed. The one I have right now is horrible. Some nights I can’t even sleep.”

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of five books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com. Read more of Mordechai Schmutter’s articles.

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