Gerty I of Sacré Mento
Gerty I (16 July 1482-13 Feb 1552) was King of Sacré Mento from 21 March 1500 to his death. His rise to power consisted of an improbable chain of errors and misunderstandings, and he is widely considered to be the least qualified ruler to ever preside over a sovereign nation.
Modern historians were unaware of the existence of Gerty or Sacré Mento until the 1992 discovery of a medieval shoebox belonging to an unknown contemporary of Gerty's. This anonymous artist and historian is responsible for the vast bulk of documentation regarding Gerty, his successors, and the kingdom of Sacré Mento, although several ongoing academic efforts are beginning to uncover new information.
Of some significance is the fact that the Sacré Mento Shoebox contains ample evidence to indicate that King Gerty was the inventor of the modern taco and possibly the chalupa as well. The unknown artist and documentarian to whom the shoebox belonged wrote of Gerty, "He is a failure in every way but one: the flour, beans, and cheese dish which he created and inexplicably dubbed 'the taco.' I suspect he has not been assassinated yet out of a collective gratitude for this dish."
Gerty was born to Stan and Rhonda Stimple, two mud sculptors from the notoriously drizzly town of Kemp. Gerty was by all accounts a liability from day one, as he nearly drowned in various small puddles at least six times before he hit puberty. The local tutor refused to take Gerty on as a student, citing his "intractable nature and offensive odour," and Gerty took on a role as his father's apprentice at the age of 14.
Rise to power
Little is known of the political history of Sacré Mento before Gerty's ascension to power, but it is speculated that a power vacuum emerged just before Gerty turned 18. There is evidence to indicate that a countrywide search for a new ruler began in earnest in 1499, which resulted in each village of Sacré Mento sending forth its appointees for the monarchy. Since Kemp had only two boys of the appropriate age, it sent Gerty and another, unnamed-but-much-better-liked boy to the capital of Sleeptran for a hearing on the new ruler.
On the journey, the other boy choked to death on a poorly deboned chicken prepared by Gerty, leaving Kemp with only one nominee. The electorate overwhelmingly chose a boy of nobility and high learning to ascend to the throne, with two votes even being cast against Gerty, but a cattle stampede during the coronation ceremony eliminated every viable candidate but Gerty, who was stuck in an outhouse and missed the event.
Left with no other options, the people of Sacré Mento placed Gerty on the throne and soon began to regret their choice. Gerty's rule was characterized by "inaction, confusion, and economic ruin," according to the shoebox documentarian.
Although the country managed to avoid war, Sacré Mento found its treasury raided to pay for Gerty's outlandish wardrobe, body hair maintenance, lavish birthday and half-birthday celebrations, and various persistent maladies. Gerty was also the subject of numerous assassination attempts, which caused him to employ taste-testers and bodyguards, protective personnel for those protectors, and so on, until every single person in Sacré Mento was employed as the bodyguard of some other person in Sacré Mento. This was surprisingly effective as a means of maintaining public order.
Gerty held office until his death and was never deposed in spite of the realm's hatred for him. Modern historians attribute this to the mixture of courtesy and self-loathing endemic to the Sacré Mento culture, two factors which would conspire to eventually wipe the country from the face of the earth.
Death and successor
Gerty died in 1552 when he fell into a well in his backyard. It is unclear why he was near the well or what compelled him to fall in, but the day was quickly marked as a joyous occasion throughout the kingdom. After a period of revelry, the people of Sacré Mento came to realize that there was no clear successor to Gerty's throne.
Gerty's firstborn son, Gerty II, was named after Gerty's dog. Shortly after Gerty's marriage to Hazel the Witch collapsed, his son Gerts went missing, and following Gerty I's death, the same fate befell Gertboy, Gerty II pt. II, and El Gert, leaving the people of Sacré Mento with only Gerty II. Rather than appoint someone of Gerty I's genetic makeup to the throne, they voted to place Gerty II (the dog) in charge of the kingdom. By all accounts, Gerty II (the dog) was a wise and benevolent ruler.
Given Gerty's inexperience with commanding a military (and Sacré Mento's apparent lack of a military altogether), the king's handlers arranged for a union with Anne of Saxony, a respected and wise duchess of a friendly nation. Gerty accidentally smothered her in his sleep on their wedding night and was unwilling to write a letter of apology afterward, resulting in the loss of Saxony as an ally.
As a backup measure, Gerty was next paired with Claire of Denmark, a notoriously fierce military leader and strategist. Claire died one year into their marriage while giving birth to their first child, Gerty II. She was reported to have said on her deathbed, "I regret most of this."
The historical record is unclear on the subject of Gerty's next wife, a marsh peasant who apparently went by the name of "Hazel the Witch." The shoebox documentarian states only that Gerty fell for a dark sorceress who bore him his next four children, although the common folk of Sacré Mento speculated that these four (all boys) were the leftover infants that she didn't use to make her evening soup. Hazel the Witch disappeared at some point, taking Gerty's son Gerts with her.
A marriage was then arranged between Gerty and Pope Paul III as another power consolidation measure, but this effort fell short when same-sex marriage opponents from nearby territories falsely registered as Sacré Mento citizens and manipulated the polls to ban the practice. Gerty was so ineffectual as a monarch that he failed to realize that their votes were meaningless.
Gerty's next and final human marriage was to an elderly widow named "Scarecrow" Sally Reeves, so named for her resemblance to a scarecrow. Scarecrow Sally passed away several months into their union while Gerty was off on a trip. His advisors replaced her with an actual scarecrow, which Gerty did not notice. He remained married to the scarecrow until his death in 1552.
King Gerty I is acknowledged to be the creator of the taco, although the conditions of this discovery are unknown at this time. Efforts are underway to disprove the shoebox documentarian's claim regarding Gerty's invention of the taco in order to preserve the taco's sterling reputation.