The men had been summoned by the king, each of them promised a minor nobility title for services to the crown and country. They gathered on the stone steps of the grand keep, where the king’s calculators asked them questions about their childhoods for the gentleman’s census. The members of the House of Victors had been gathered for the naming, as had their deputies and the scion-keepers, and they stood and a susurrus rose from them as they chatted about the political matters of the kingdom and its alliances.
When the light was long and slanting east, the king and his magician came out of the grand keep, and the king laid a hand on each man’s shoulder and made eye contact for the required full four seconds. Then he stood on the royal dais, unbuttoned the top two buttons of his teal vest, drew forth his heart-handkerchief, and spoke.
“My gentlemen, you have served me well, and so you shall all be named gentlemen. I have gazed truthful into your eyes, and seen the metal of your souls therewith. One by one, you shall reach into your pockets and draw forth what you find there – that shall be your title.”
The first man put his hand in his pocket and drew forth gunpowder.
“You shall be the gunpowder gentleman,” said the king.
The second man put his hand in his pocket and drew forth a living sparrow. He looked as surprised as everyone else.
“You shall be the sparrow gentleman,” said the king.
The third man put his hand in his pocket and drew it out, covered in blood.
“You shall be the bloody gentleman,” said the king.
The hashbrown gentleman put his hand in his pocket and made a face.
Written on 11/8/17 at Nox Cocktail for a woman who wanted a story about a hashbrown gentleman that might distract her from what was going on in the larger world that night.