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joe was tired, after his long and terrifying day, and did not look far for a place to sleep after being dismissed by june and after bob smith left him. he went back to the stable and looked for a spot in the hay as far from the horses as possible.
as he started to collapse into the hay, he noticed the outlines of a door in the corner of the barn. he pushed it and it swung open easily.
he was in a short, dark corridor. another door at the end of it also opened easily.
joe found himself in a small low-ceilinged room with a double bed, a chair, and a small table beside the bed with a lamp and some books on it.
joe looked more closely at the books. they were "the stars and the rain" by jennifer broughton, "dark eyes" and "dark eyes flashing" also by jennifer broughton, a novel by james patterson, and a novel by danielle steel with a coffee cup stain on it.
joe had never heard of any of them. he didn't like jennifer broughton's looks in her dust jacket photos.
then he fell back on the big soft bed and fell asleep.
he was the green knight, astride a big green horse with red eyes.
the two sides of the river were thronged by the souls of the living (on the red knight's side) and the spirits of the dead (on the green knight's side). a bridge connected the two sides, and it seemed to grow longer as the green knight looked across it.
but his musings were interrupted by the appearance of st christopher, who was being rowed in a little boat from the castle to the center of the bridge.
st christopher stepped on to the bridge, and st george and confucius rowed the little boat back to the castle.
"i shall free the spirits of the dead," joe answered without hesitation, and tremendous cheers rose up on both sides of the river.
"and you, sir?" st christopher turned to the red knight.
and total silence ruled.
"now, then," st christopher proceeded, and turned to the red knight. "it is your choice of weapon. you choose?"
"let us fight like men," cried the red knight. "with fifty pound scimitars."
"fair enough," replied the saint, turning to the green knight. "it is your choice then, to fight on foot or on horseback."
after a slight hesitation, joe answered, "on foot."
"you pussy!" the red knight shouted. "real men fight on horseback."
the portcullis of the castle opened and the rowboat emerged again.
the green knight heard a cough behind him. he turned to see king arthur himself holding out a blue silk pillow with a silver scimitar on it.
again, he had no time to formulate his question.
st christopher held a white feather over his head, "when this feather hits the bridge,
commence battle!" he cried, in a voice not so loud as he had been using.
suddenly the red knight was on him.
the green knight heard a great splash and realized that it was himself hitting the water. he came up sputtering and heard the red knight's laughter and tremendous boos and catcalls from both sides of the river, directed at himself, he supposed.
"at least i didn't bet money this time," came a fainter voice.
joe dragged himself on to the bridge. the crowds were gone, and so was the castle. he saw the red knight rowing the little boat away, with only himself and the white queen in it.