SCHEREZADE: And I have heard, O fortunate ruler, that the genie then turned to the trader's third son and said also to him, "if you can draw back your bowstring and loose an arrow into the eye of a single locust, I shall spare your father's life". Ah, but, my lord, it is daybreak.
SCHEREZADE: I could, perhaps, continue the tale tomorrow.
KING: Ermm....no, you're alright, I'll kill you now, thanks.
SCHEREZADE: But, do you not wish to learn what happens next in the story? I have left it at an exciting point in the narrative, so that you feel you were holding on to the edge of a precipice - it a technique I have named the eyrie-dangler.
KING: Like a nudist ghost?
SCHEREZADE: No, eyrie like an eagle's clifftop home. Your statement was strange - especially so in Arabic, which is what we are talking.
KING: Right. Well, I'll kill you anyway.
SCHEREZADE: Wait! Do you not hunger for resolution? Have I not enticed you to spare my life and return tomorrow to discover the conclusion?
SCHEREZADE: Oh. It's just, I was given to understand the eyrie-dangler was a good way to ensure listeners return to a story.
KING: Yeah, once maybe. In my grandad's day, may Allah soothe his bones. But things have changed now. I have loads of condemned floosies I could ask for stories, too many to choose from, to be honest. Plus, I don't have to wait until the same time each night to catch up on my tales, I can catch up on demand.
SCHEREZADE: What's that?
KING: I just demand people tell me things. Seems to work, I am king. You're doing it all wrong, you see. Don't keep me guessing what will happen tomorrow - tell me.
SCHEREZADE: Tell you?
KING: Yes. I f you want me to come round and not kill you tomorrow, tell me what will happen, and then I'll be interested to hear it.
SCHEREZADE: That's mental.
KING: I know. But it's still true. So, do it.
SCHEREZADE: Right...errr...next time, on, err, talking to the king all night so I don't get beheaded, this happens. The 3rd son tricks the genie and is alright.
KING: Yes. OK, that wasn't bad. But do a little tune before it.
SCHEREZADE: What sort of tune?
KING: A short one. Nice and exciting. Mostly drums. Like [Sings a little dramatic sting] Ba ba baa ba ba ba baa!
SCHEREZADE: Alright, so [Sings same theme, in a lilting, courtly fashion].
SCHEREZADE: [Sings it, err, drummier] Next time, the son gets away with it and...stuff.
KING: Great. Now, do it so you don't actually tell me what happens, but you just say a few sentences that actually completely tell me after all. With some more tune in the middle.
SCHEREZADE: Next time [Sings the tune] [Deep voice for son] Oh, will I get away with it? [Reedy voice for genie] I hope you don't do a trick and trick me. [Sings the tune, then deep son voice] Yay, I did a trick and got away with it. [Funny 3rd voice] Pistacchio, boss? [Lots of laughter, in all 3 voices].
KING: Yes! Yes! Exactly that! Now I know what happens tomorrow, I want to hear what happens tomorrow, but at greater length - and with breaks where you could try to sell me pomegranates and sandals. So, do it again, but do it really properly, so you tell me all the things in tomorrow's story, including the bits after the trick.
SCHEREZADE: But...but I don't know what they are yet. I need to make them up tomorrow.
KING: Pah, rubbish! I could make up a million great things right now. Beheading time for you, love. Oh, or wait - how about I could decide what happens next? Like, maybe me and all my mates could let you know what happens, possibly through a voting system organised by the people who sell the pomegranates? Yes, let's do that.
SCHEREZADE: Huh, I'd rather die.
KING: Yeah, it is a bit Fortieth Year Of The Blooded Crescent, isn't it? So, looks like we're back to you showing your boobs
SCHEREZADE: Meh, what are you going to do? It gets the audiences.