Disclaimer: I'm not sure what there is to disclaim, but I'm disclaiming it.

The Life in a Deck of Cards

by L.A.

The Queen of Spades looked out the window. The grass was green, the birds were singing. But, somehow, she felt she was not complete. All day long she would sit by this window. She was not in charge like her husband, but she was never asked to do any work. All day long she would sit and look out that castle window. Her only entertainment was watching the soldiers 2-10 march by once a day.

Maybe I should start a war...

At least it would offer entertainment. She was constantly arguing with the Queen from the kingdom of Clubs for the title of "Black Queen." Maybe it was time she turned this verbal battle into one of more physical measures. She rang her bell and soon a soldier (number 5, irrelevantly) was at the doorway. "Yes! Your majesty!"

"That will be quite enough, soldier. Please bring your commander to my quarters. I wish to have a word with her."

The soldier saluted and ran off. About fifteen minutes later, the woman the Queen had requested was there. She was dressed in loose-fitting peasant clothes. "Yes, your majesty?"

The Queen turned from her window and smiled at the young woman. "Yes, Ace. As you are well aware, you have been given your rank because of your skill in battle."

The woman curtsied. "Yes, your majesty. Have I failed you somehow?"

The Queen shook her head. "No, Ace. In fact, I'm congratulating you for achieving that position."

The woman looked up at her. "But your majesty? I was given that rank two years ago."

"Yes. But it was such an achievement I felt it needed further congratulations." She stood up and walked around the room. "As you know, traditional armies don't allow women into their ranks, let alone given your rank."

"Yes, your majesty."

"But our kingdom, as well as our three neighbors, is too small to be prejudiced. We have only 13 subjects of our kingdom, including the royal family. Everyone who is not of royalty is recruited into the military."

"Yes, your majesty."

The Queen clasped her hands and turned to face the woman. "I want to change that."

"How, your majesty? Our only married couple is too old to have children."

The Queen smiled. "No, Ace. I want to take over the other kingdoms."

"Your majesty! We have but 13 in the whole kingdom! The kingdoms surrounding ours have up to one hundred in the front lines alone!"

The Queen smiled. "I have a plan, Ace, don't worry. First, we take over the nearest kingdoms. They are the same size as ours. If I supply my son, Jack, into your military, as well, we should have a fair chance."

"But that still only leaves us with 52!"

"Yes. But we will win over all the kingdoms in the land of Games, if we can achieve the help of the two most powerful men alive."

"You mean--?"

The Queen turned back to face out the window. "Yes, Ace. The Jokers."

To be continued...