Once upon a time, there lived a miserable monarch called Old King Coal. He wasn’t a merry old soul, and no wonder, he was living in exile, hiding from Interpol for his part in selling out his beloved country.
To add to his wretched existence, the mansion he inherited was plumb in the centre of a desert, so instead of the fresh air he was accustomed to at home in pristine hilly surroundings, he now had to contend with stifling dust storms penetrating sealed windows and doors, leaving him with blocked sinuses.
The only other occupants were four valets who saw to his domestic comforts, so he was a lonely soul. The men, his personal spies at home, who had been handsomely rewarded by taxpayers, had proved their loyalty by escaping with him in the stolen royal jet.
King Coal had gone bad when being persuaded by Brothers Grime to go on a crime spree costing his country dearly. Together they secured strategic companies by lobbying politicians in key positions, procuring businesses and services benefiting only the players. Often these services and supplies never saw the light of day, so money for jam. Coal mines particularly proved a lucrative source. Poor quality coal was produced, meaning lower prices and bigger profit. This caused power stations to break down, resulting in blackouts. King Coal was always somehow implicated.
Until one day, the people said no more, and put pressure on law enforcers to round up the crooks.
The Brothers Grime had anticipated this ultimate outcome, having purchased the desert safe house. Cleverly they remained in their country and therefore safe from extradition.
But they do visit the desert home from time to time, bringing with them King Coal’s favourite take-aways: curry and rice with a side dish of biryani. The valets joined the party and opened bottles of their country’s favourite Corona bitters. During the escape they had added crates to the arsenal.
Once sated, King Coal would go onto the balcony, singing the song that made him popular. Luckily the desert locals were unfamiliar with his home language. Umshani wami and its historical significance would not have gone down well – even leading to his extradition.
Now sleep tight, kiddies. Remember, it’s only a fairy tale, and the real bad king is still alive and fooling the law by pleading ill-health.