© 2006 by Anel Viz. All rights reserved.
Long ago in a faraway kingdom a proud and self-indulgent emperor once ruled over his people with an iron fist. Haughty and homophobic, he set great store in his masculinity and sexual stamina, and most particularly in the size of his membrum virile, and he kept his bush neatly trimmed to emphasize its only slightly larger than average proportions. So that no one throughout the land would question the size of his endowment (not that anyone cared or dared), he summoned his tailor and ordered him to design a new thong especially for him that would add an impressive bulge to the imperial trousers.
The tailor complied, and the Emperor tried it on and was highly satisfied with what he saw in the mirror when he had nothing else on, but in his opinion not one of his imperial outfits did it (or him) full justice, so he further ordered the tailor to design him a suit of clothes that would outline his new thong and make it (him, that is) stand out for all to see. He wanted it in time to wear on his birthday, he told him, so everyone would admire it when he paraded down the street in full regalia at the head of the imperial guard, traditionally the highlight of the Emperor’s birthday celebration in that country.
“I want you to make me a birthday suit,” he told the tailor as he stood before the fitting-room mirror.
“But you’re already in your birthday suit, Your Majesty,” answered the tailor, “or just about.”
“No, you idiot,” the Emperor said, and he reminded him about the imperial birthday parade and explained what he meant by his birthday suit.
The tailor resented being called an idiot and decided to get even on the supercilious monarch. “That will take some time, Your Majesty,” he said, “not just to bring out the advantages of the thong that brings out your natural advantages, but because – with your permission, of course – I would like to make it out of magic cloth, the likes of which no one in this land has ever seen.” And he thought: “Or ever will see, for that matter.”
“What kind of magic cloth do you have in mind?” inquired the Emperor.
“A wonderful material of great beauty, so woven that only people with a normal sexual orientation can see it. To faggots and bull-dykes it will appear invisible. Of course the cloth is very costly and will place a great burden on the imperial treasury. It may even drain it completely. You will need to pay not only me, but my brother-in-law the weaver as well.”
This delighted the Emperor’s deep-seated and violent homophobic prejudices. “At last,” he thought, “I will have the means to ferret out all the closet queens and other secret queers and bring them to trial. With my birthday suit as evidence I’ll have no trouble convicting the lot of them and levying heavy fines on them and throwing them all in jail.” So he accepted the wily tailor’s proposition and paid him an exorbitant fee to cover the initial outlay.
The tailor hurried home and explained the scheme to his brother-in-law, who thought it very risky but definitely worth trying. They immediately took the money and opened an account in a Swiss bank where the Emperor could never get at it. They let their wives know about the plan as well. One of them had a cousin married to a dyer. She suggested bringing them in as well, so the tailor immediately went back to the palace and wangled another handsome sum out of the vain, benighted, gay-bashing monarch. Seeing how gullible he was, the tailor thought of several other ways of getting him to cough up even more money, and took on a weaver’s assistant and two additional cutters, asked for funds to pay the apprentices and several seamstresses, and asserted that he would require more cloth than anticipated and had underestimated the price of producing the magic fabric. He continued to stonewall until he had made a very substantial dent in the treasury, so except for his birthday suit the Emperor had little left to cover the rest of the celebrations he’d planned, which promised to be a very threadbare affair this year. Much to his regret, His Majesty decided to eliminate the fireworks. As things turned out, they had fireworks nevertheless, though not those he had anticipated.
While the cloth was being (or rather, not being) woven, the Emperor would frequently stop by the weaver’s to check on his progress. The weaver, his assistant and the apprentices pointed out in detail the many beauties of the imaginary fabric in a manner that showed they expected the Emperor to compliment their work. He, of course, could see nothing. “Is it possible that I’m a swishy, cocksucking fruit loop and never knew it?” he thought. “I, a homo? – a pervert, a sissy, a pussy boy, a faggot, a queer, a closet queen? What a terrible disaster! No one must ever find out!” So he pretended to see what they showed him and declared himself more than satisfied with their workmanship.
When it came time for the initial fitting, the Emperor came to the tailor’s house and stripped down to just his new thong. The tailor pretended to drape the new garment over him while he stood in the middle of the room in front of everyone who was in on the joke. By now they had had plenty of practice keeping a straight face. (By “straight face” I mean one that pretended to see the miraculous new outfit. A gay face would have quite accurately seen nothing at all.) They looked him over from all angles, praising the garment and pointing out little details here and there, and declared themselves very satisfied with how it had turned out.
“It’s so you!” exclaimed one of the seamstresses, with whom the Emperor had had a little fling on the side many years before.
“They say that clothes make the man,” said another, “but seeing you in them I’d have to say that the clothes are the man!”
“They show you off to full advantage,” added a third.
“This is really quite astonishing,” said the Emperor. “I can see my birthday suit clear as day, but it almost feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!”
“The cloth is wonderfully light,” the tailor remarked.
“It’s like nothing on this earth,” one of the seamstresses added facetiously.
“Are you sure it isn’t too flimsy?” the Emperor asked. “Will it hold up in the parade?”
“Oh, it’ll hold up (cough cough) the parade all right, Your Majesty,” the tailor assured him. “If you feel at all uncertain about that I could always add a lining of the same material. It will be a bit of a rush to get it ready in time, but your wish is our command.” Then his greed got the better of him in estimating the additional cost, and the Emperor decided to forego the lining.
Somewhat nonplussed by his inability to see his new clothes, the Emperor brought the Empress with him to the final fitting, saying that one needed a woman’s eye to judge the fit and befittingness of a new suit of clothes. No one could do so as well as a woman, he said. They had an inborn talent for it.
When he stepped out of the fitting room in naught but his thong, the Empress was appalled. “Is it possible that I’m a lesbian and never had any idea I was?” she wondered. But she hid her dismay (another of woman’s inborn talents) and exclaimed, “You look every inch a man!” Then she threw her arms around him and kissed him on the mouth just to reassure herself that she was normal.
The Emperor instructed the tailor to bring the finished garment to the palace the next morning so he could try it on in front of his chief ministers and the general of his armies to verify that they had the proper sexual orientation for their job. Why ask when you have a surefire way of telling? By now everyone had heard of the nature of the miraculous cloth, and the ministers and generals came confidently into the imperial presence fully expecting to admire his birthday suit. It shocked them all to see him standing there in his birthday suit. “Could it be that I am a latent homosexual and never suspected it?” they all wondered. “God forbid anyone should suspect!” So not one of them let on that the only thing he saw on the Emperor was a skimpy thong, lest he be suspected of unspeakable perversions. They managed to hide their surprise with varying degrees of success. Ironically, those who hid it best were the closeted gays, because they saw exactly what they had expected to see.
During the night the tailor and his accomplices stole safely out of the kingdom, changed their names, and emigrated to Switzerland, where they had deposited the money they had extorted from the Emperor.
On the morning of the celebrations the entire populace turned out early to line up along the parade route, not so much to admire the new imperial outfit as anxious to see who among them would turn out not to be a full-blooded heterosexual after all. The most fanatical had brought their bibles with them, the first time they had come to the Emperor’s birthday celebrations thus prepared. No one dared stay away. The homosexuals and those suspected of that particular crime against nature showed up ready to make an exaggerated display of the rightness of their sexual preferences, either by overplaying what they saw or by pretending to see what they didn’t. It was, in short, neither more nor less accurate than any other test of one’s sexual orientation.
The excitement grew as they heard the military march in the distance. Then the Emperor appeared at the head of his army holding his mighty scepter, the symbol of his power, and wearing only his new thong, which drew attention to a more diminutive scepter, the symbol of his inadequacy to govern and evidence that he was no more than adequate at something else. A momentary hush fell over all but the gays in the crowd, and then an enormous cheer went up when the heterosexual majority realized to what cause their neighbors would attribute their silence. Even those who were carrying bibles didn’t dare hide their children’s eyes. And the imperial parade continued on its way behind the nearly naked Emperor in full sight of all the people, who were at a loss to decide whether or not they were enjoying the spectacle.
Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, one little boy – the only person under eighteen who figures individually in this tale, I hasten to point out – unwisely opened his innocent mouth and blurted out, “But he has nothing on except a stupid little thong like the one Daddy wears!”
Too late, his father hastily clamped his hand over the tactless child’s mouth, and the poor child’s mother cried out, “Oh, my God! My son is gay!”
Everyone standing nearby turned to stare at them, but almost immediately several other little voices made themselves heard: “Mommy, am I gay?” “Does that mean I’m a lesbian, Mommy?” “Am I going to Hell?” It was not long before the adults, too, gave voice to their self-doubts. Many who were holding bibles fell to their knees and wept and beat their breast and beseeched God to cure them and purge them of their sin. Those who really were gay had the gratification of continuing their charade while they smirked at the discomfort of their newly outed homophobic neighbors.
“Well, it looks like ninety percent or more of our worthy citizens are fruit loops too,” the Emperor thought, so that must make me the perfect ruler to lead them!” And he threw his arms in the air and twirled around and shook his booty as he marched. No, make that pranced. Not to be outdone, the military band switched to a disco beat. The Empress started kissing all her ladies-in-waiting one after another, the general mooned the crowd of onlookers, and the members of the imperial guard told each other without being asked. Had you been there, you would have sworn that the whole nation had turned out for Gay Pride Day.
“What a hunk that tailor was!” thought the Emperor. “I must summon him to fuck me as soon as I get back to the palace.”
But the tailor was nowhere to be found. And of course he had already screwed the Emperor royally.
© 2006 by Anel Viz. All rights reserved.