Friday, May 13, 2011

99 luftballons give or take, a play in three-quarters act

Miss Prunella Vulgaris, The Duchess of Hammer-on-Dulcimer, esteemed member of the Peonage
Juan, The Earl of Valdez, less esteemed member of the Peonage
Captain Single-eye, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Island of Heretofore Unaccounted Knavery, relation of Ivar the Boneless, who had both eyes until the day of his decease, unlike his descendant who had only one, as previously noted
Dog-bird, hideous laboratory creation and anthropomorphic hench-creature
Bear, bait and loveable ursine scamp

Non-library, exterior, daytime, the grimy industrial glow of smokestack lighting is broken by the comradely banter of DUCHESS and EARL, their it-only-looks-expensive discount threads gleaming in the play of glimmering water and the overhanging sun, bringer of life, omens and melanoma.

EARL: This lunchtime jaunt down the Thames was a splendid idea, as were these beverages. I'm quite keen on this rooty beer floating on, what do you call this frozen confection?

DUCHESS: I believe the traveling cart salesman told me it was iced – whirlpool!

A terrible descent into some kind of maelstrom has left DUCHESS and EARL unimaginably shipwrecked on an uncharted desert island that unimaginably has a gothic castle on a hill, though your humble playwright humbly requests that you do imagine otherwise production will have to be shut down immediately. Your patronage is most welcome.


CAPTAIN: Welcome to my island of wealth and taste , I am –

DUCHESS: We know who you are.

EARL: We read the programme.

CAPTAIN: Then you know why I've brought you here. Members of the Peonage are renowned the world over for their skills in the arcane book depository arts, and I need all of my magickal works in yon Schloss Klausenburg catalogued with both speed and distinction --

EARL: Huh?

CAPTAIN: Just the witty repartee I expected from the likes of you, halfwit. I've spies in every civilized village from Timbuktu to Paris, simple man, and every savage one from Cathay to Cleveland.

DUCHESS: Why us? You could have --

CAPTAIN: Used anyone with similar experience for the job, ‘tis true. But my spies have also made me aware of your brilliant tag-team defeat of Master Baytes, dread piratical buccaneer and constant thorn in my gentle side, a pox upon his scurvy crew scattered to the four winds!

DUCHESS (muttering): Tag-team, right. That was my idea.

EARL: What are you getting at, imitation Prospero?

CAPTAIN: FYI, Juan, words hurt. The Duchess is correct, of course. I could have hired, or in this case, kidnapped, anyone. No, I needed Her Majesty's foremost investigators imprisoned on this forlorn isle to nip in the bud your goody-two-shoes scheme to gaol the Captain in a room with large bay windows. There’s no Dr. Van Helsing coming to save you, diabolical laugh! Now, on to plunder your beloved London-Town through judicious real estate ventures!

DUCHESS: Putting aside for a moment that we're not law enforcement and that we’ve never heard of you –

CAPTAIN: Your beauty is exceeded only by your contempt!

DOG-BIRD growls with gusto.

DUCHESS: Anyway, your plan consists of a plot point lifted from a moving picture produced by a film studio yet to be founded, a picture with sound, a technology that hasn't been invented, based upon a novel that has yet to be written about a creature that doesn’t exist?

EARL: Ingenious!

CAPTAIN: Enough! I've much to formulate. As for you, defenders of the realm, be not imps of Ahab and get thee hence to the bookes!


EARL: How will we ever escape this conspiracy?

DUCHESS: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

EARL: Probably not.

DUCHESS: There, you ass, look!

DUCHESS espies a grove of tropical balloon trees conveniently nearby and DUCHESS and EARL climb up for closer inspection.

EARL: We can construct a hot-air balloon out of these balloon-shaped leaves!

DUCHESS: Exactly! Traversing the atmospheres to safety and he'll never --

Enter CAPTAIN, armed.

CAPTAIN: Expect it? My dear Duchess, why, I counted on it!

EARL: We are so fucked.

Just as the ensuing scuffle is about to ensue, BEAR appears in the traditional, timely manner of the ursus ex machina, fierce teeth and claws holding the terrible sorcerer at bay long enough, probably an hour or three, to permit DUCHESS and EARL to construct a hot-air balloon out of the convenient grove and the nails and glue they also conveniently found lying around. DOG-BIRD, who knows where it's at. Oh, and don’t worry about the hot air source, that’s what EARL is for.

CAPTAIN: Curses! Foiled again! (DUCHESS and EARL bob and weave towards London-Town in safety) I'll get revenge upon you two, if it's the last thing I do and it won’t be unless it is!



thatgirl said...

most excellent work, fellow peon!

The aforementioned rooty beer being a Half-Gallon of the Humble Parmastani Cowherd Elixir, known to the masses as Ghetto Tea, called by some, the never-failing cordial of the world, being most pleasant and safe for all ages, sexes, and constitutions.

okjimm said...

//We are so fucked.//

Ha! my favorite line.... I cannot begin to recount the utterances Of same I have uttered! Wowzers....of course, mostly the line was... "I am so fucked" No one is foolish enough to join me in my encounters!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

and every savage one from Cathay to Cleveland.

Even Cincinnati?

susan said...

There's nothing better than a rollicking old fashioned fairy tale in modern guise to brighten up a dull afternoon. After I read one of those I came by to visit you.

'We are so fucked.'

So true.

Beach Bum said...

DUCHESS: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

EARL: Probably not.

I often have the same problem as Earl, I just tell myself I am something akin to a Jedi Master and I am already long past that point and on to deeper things. It works sometimes, especially after plenty of beer, like right now.

S.W. Anderson said...

Gosh, I was hoping for scene in which the Duchess and Earl, after displaying their prowess at book cataloginization whilst engaging in halfwit repartee, segued to a steamy seduction scene in which certain natural acts were punctuated with debauchery based loosely on the Dewey Decimal System.

Oh well. :)

Randal Graves said...

thatgirl, a drinke of the Cittie, vpon further examinations, excavations and testynge, has proved, with proof, to increase the healynge physick of various and sundrie bacteria, found in the stomack, of all people, called men, women and chyldryn.

okjimm, pshaw, you are always joined by beer, the cause of, and solution to, all of your life's problems.

if, sir, that was uncalled for. I'm just about to eat breakfast.

susan, as fantasticall a creature as Bear is, even he cannot save all of us from ourselves.

BB, if spirits had been imbibed, into the briny deep the corpses of the Peonage would have settled, especially me because I can't do much more than doggie paddle.

SWA, egads, good man, this is not a house of ill repute, and besides, the Duchess hath fine taste and the Earl is not a less-esteemed member of the Peonage without reason.

Mary Ellen/Nunly said...

"Juan, The Earl of Valdez, less esteemed member of the Peonage"

Hey! I know him! He mows my lawn every Friday afternoon!

Liberality said...

Just the witty repartee I expected from the likes of you, halfwit.

Nice story and witty repartee you have here. Now get back to work on those stacks of books or patrons or whatever...:)

Demeur said...

But I always thought cataloging was done by lesser Peonage like those of the volunteer class. Have I stumbled upon a gaffe in my knowledge of library sciences?

Anonymous said...

I just want to know if this floating on frozen confections happens in mountains, piloting kayaks downstream. If so, I'm ready to forsake reality in its favor.

Freida Bee said...

Is this elaborate code telling us you got moved next to a window? You're so subtle.

"growls with gusto" is great.

Randal Graves said...

nunly, don't mention lawn mowing, I just mowed my goddamn lawn, with a lawn mower. Hey Zeus, stop having it fucking rain every day for an entire fortnight or thereabouts.

liberality, hell no, we're closed today, take that potential autodidacts!

demeur, any chapped-ass monkey can shelve books, but proper cataloging is one of the fine arts governed by the Muses and as such not available to the unwashed volunteer masses.

karl of the österreich, you do realize that perfecting the whitewater iced cream boat will garner you riches to reignite the avarice of even Midas and construct the world's largest bike trail.

FB, the reverse Milton treatment, actually. Trying to process periodicals on the roof whilst dodging flocks of seagulls and the attendant bizarre hairstyles is more difficult than you'd think.

S.W. Anderson said...

". . . egads, good man, this is not a house of ill repute"

Ill repute is in the eye of the beholder, Randal. In any case, if yours is as you say, the problem is easy to fix. Just follow the ways of knaves Boehner and Ensign, and your house's repute will be ill in no time. ;)

Demeur said...

Classic SW but you left out the Earl of Newt.