Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. As befitting a princess, she lived a life of leisure.
She awoke approximately at noon each day, drank copious amounts of Diet Coke, ate a breakfast of whatever was handy, and then proceeded to play video games until the moon rose in the sky and the need for food, or booze, or marijuana, or what-have-you, drove her from her palatial apartment and out into the streets with her other (less) royal merrymaking friends.
There they flitted from pub to pub, sharing stories, quaffing ales and spirits, dancing and falling, singing and puking until the sun threatened the night and it was time to return.
And this was how her life went, give or take some studying here and there for her royal degree.
Among her royal merrymakers, there was a handsome and charming commoner. Quick with a joke and a laugh, he befriended the princess. And her suitor, the duke. The duke came from a wealthy family, known far and wide for their taste and generosity. He was a fine duke and a good man, and he treated the princess with respect and dignity.
The handsome and charming commoner took to living in the castle of the princess and the duke. He became close friends with both of them.
And here is where our story turns. For the commoner loved the duke and so gave him his love where he could. They laughed at the mummers farce known as the Simpsons, walked to the great bizarre called Harvard Square, drank Heffenreffer Private Stock (The Malt Liquor with the Imported Taste) as a point of pride, and it was good. But while the commoner loved the duke, he was in love with the princess. Of course. She was a princess, after all. But that love was not to be. And befitting his place, he knew this, and did not despair, but rather lived in the glow of the royal couple, happy to play their fool. He was really good at playing that fool. He could fool the shit out of whatever needed fooling. He even fooled himself, from time to time.
The duke was good and faithful. Emotionally unavailable at times, but still, very nice. Also smart. Really smart. And the princess loved him. Here and there, the relationship lacked passion, and there was an occasional misunderstanding of need, and perhaps a smidgen of different priorities, but what relationship doesn't suffer from these things, from time to time? Besides, it was none of the fool's business.
The fool provided laughter at a moment's notice, and a sympathetic ear to which ever royal seemed to need one. The feelings he felt (because that's how you know they're feelings. you feel them) for the princess were almost never considered. The fool buried them--along with many other metaphorical bodies--in a haze of pot smoke and beer and general goofing off. Which, everyone agreed, was for the best. The fool was as good at goofing off as he was at fooling around, and so a delight at parties or other gatherings that had need of energetic and unapologetic frivolity.
This went on for many years. And never did the fool reveal his feelings to anyone. Especially himself. The only tell tale sign that the fool was anything other than the loyal jester that he appeared to be was his friendship. Or rather, how that friendship was applied. For everyone thought that he was the duke's best friend. And why wouldn't they? They drank awful beer together, they got drunk and jumped off things for fun, they saw Barb Wire together. I mean, c'mon. Total besties.
It happened, however, that this was not the case. The truth was, the commoner was the princess's best friend, and she was his. And this only the two of them knew. And they spoke of it almost never. It would take a mighty pull of the tube and a rare moment alone for either one of them to even hint that the one was the other's best friend. They talked and laughed with each other like no one else, but smoked a shit ton of weed together too, so six of one a half dozen of the other, if you get my drift.
And so it went, year after year. The couple going on, the fool staying with them. Until . . . the duke wanted to travel. He wanted to backpack through Europe. He hadn't done it in college. Nothing wrong with that. The fool couldn't afford it, and at the point was attempting to fool people professionally, and the princess was involved in the beginning of her career. But the duke didn't care. He'd go alone, if he had too. And so he and the princess talked and talked. Blah blah blah. And it came to pass that there was no longer a romantic love between them. And so he went. And left the princess alone with the fool.
And the fool, seeing his chance, jumped all over that shit. He confessed his love to the princess and to his delight, she did the same. He emailed the duke at an internet cafe in Belgium. The duke was pretty cool with it. And it's been happily ever after ever since.
Turns out that fool was pretty fucking clever, for a fool.