Cyril bows to the king

The talks end abruptly with the king muttering something about getting back to the red box.

At King Charles III’s behest, President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Buckingham Palace for what the monarch had suggested on the red phone the week before would be “informal talks” to be kept strictly under wraps.

“We do not want the abominable media to get a sniff of our verbal exchange,” he apprised.

“You’re right, your royal highness, our media is always ferreting out the truth.”

“Precisely. But please call me Charles. How shall I address you?”

“In parliament they call me honourable, the president – ironically an English custom inherited from you. Just call me Cyril.”

Cyril is given a right royal welcome with a red carpet and other accoutrements afforded a VIP. Over tea and cucumber sandwiches (not Cyril’s favourite; he would’ve preferred a charred bacon and egg askoek over the coals), the talks begin.

“Cyril, before we wax serious, is there any truth you hid millions of dollars in a sofa? I cannot imagine a president of a country would show such slow-wittedness. Tell me there’s no truth in it”.

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Cyril chokes on a slither of cucumber that turns into a paroxysm of coughing lasting long enough to detract from the awkward subject. No wonder cucumber has become Cyril’s favourite since it saved him from having to give a plausible answer. After the coughing he immediately takes over the conversation with a rejoinder.

“Tell me, Charlie Boy (the king recoils, obviously unhappy with what is considered rude familiarity among the royals), “what’s happened about the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana? And the rumour that she had fallen victim to a hit squad hired by the palace. Surely you weren’t party to such a despicable act.”

It was the king’s turn to choke – this time swallowing hot tea down the wrong respiratory funnel. Not unlike the cucumber, the scalding Earl Grey saves the king’s bacon.

The conversation turns to politics, the two finding it less cumbrous and more convivial, the king even getting his own back by referring to Cyril as “Buffalo Bill”, causing Cyril to wince, hoping Phala Phala wouldn’t again arise. The talks end abruptly with the king muttering something about getting back to the red box.

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Cyril Ramaphosa King Charles