Friday, May 13, 2011
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.
Enter CAPTAIN and DOG-BIRD.
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 --
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?
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!
Exeunt CAPTAIN and DOG-BIRD.
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!