It was not so much administration as entertainment, but he’d grown expert at getting them to accomplish some approximation of what he wanted, albeit that this frequently involved a dramatic lowering of expectations on his part. The disturbing thing about ruling goblins, however, is that one must think like a goblin and, after innumerable eons, he still wasn’t at all sure that goblins thought. And then he realised that he had, on the first attempt, conjugated that as ‘thunk’. Jareth briefly considered throwing himself off the nearest cliff.
At the moment, they boiled around the throne room in a rare, blessed instance of entertaining themselves. He would have made it a holiday in its own right, but that it happened with a reliability somewhere between that of blue moons (at least a couple times a year) and plagues of airborne accordions (once every several centuries) and at far more random intervals. This one had continued almost three hours unabated; if it kept up, he might actually remember what it felt like to hear himself think.
Speaking of which! He reached out, quick as a snake, seized the nearest goblin by the ear, and dangled it quizzically in front of him. It yelped surprisedly and watched him avidly.
“You. Fizzle, Sprout…what’s your name, anyhow?”
“Aye, kingy! Chieftain of the Skin tribe!”
“Well, Foreskin…” He had to pause to let his brain adjust to that one. Not much could give him pause, nowadays, but that took the metaphorical cake. “How would you conjugate ‘think’?”
The goblin’s face fell. Defenestration did not look to be in his immediate future. Nor did any manner of exciting adventure involving oubliettes or strange riddles in the forest. Still, Foreskin decided, hope remained, provided he bungled this badly enough. Besides, he really didn’t have any idea what Jareth wanted.
“What’s ‘conjugate,’ kingy?”
“Conjugation,” sighed Jareth, “is how you use a word in different situations. I defenestrate you,” Foreskin’s face lit up, then dimmed as the king continued, “she defenestrates you, they defenestrate you, everyone defenestrates you, I wish your mother had defenestrated you.”
Foreskin scrunched his ugly little face up. “What word is it again, kingy?”
“No, Foreskin. Conjugate the word ‘think’.”
“Oh! Oh, that. That’s easy. Think, thank, thunk.” He nodded firmly in satisfaction, which, given that Jareth hadn’t released his ear, resulted in him bobbing up and down in midair.
“Thank you, Foreskin.” He set the goblin down and hid his face in one gloved hand. Of course it was ‘thunk.’ And maybe tomorrow he’d wake up in proud possession of a bizarre obsession with chickens. Bog help him, he needed to get away from this madhouse.
“Thunkeded,” proclaimed Foreskin triumphantly.
The cliff looked better and better.
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- cornerof5thandvermouth said: …this is even more awesome than i’d expected
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- featherwurm said: HAHAHAHAHA oh man, Jareth, you poor bastard. Reminds me of my days in Latin. No, Pearl, you can’t conjugate on hope alone.