Brechalon – Chapter One Part Three

Brechalon (New Cover)Iolanthe Dechantagne pursed her lips and narrowed her unique aquamarine eyes at the man in front of her who seemed to wilt in her gaze. They were in one of the back bedrooms of the Dechantagne house at Number One, Avenue Dragon. Occupying an entire city block and sitting four stories high, the house had dozens of bedrooms, so many that Iolanthe was sure she hadn’t visited them all. She had been in this one though, many times. Not recently. So many rooms made the house expensive to heat and to care for, and right now Iolanthe needed her money for things other than taking care of a too large house. She had ordered all the rooms in the back two thirds of the building closed off, the furniture covered and the other contents sold or stored. But this room was untouched. The dust-covered furniture was still home to dust covered personal items: brush, razor, strop, journal, war medals, shotgun.

“Well?” she said, ice clinging to the consonants and a cold wind blowing through the vowel sound. The servant actually shivered.

“I didn’t think you meant this room,” said the man.

“And why would that be?”

“This is the Master’s room. I mean it was his room. I mean I thought…”

“My brother is master of this house now. And you are not paid to think.” Iolanthe could feel the presence of Zeah Korlann, her head butler, just behind her right shoulder, but she didn’t acknowledge him. “I said I wanted all of these rooms closed off, and that includes this one.   Cover the furniture and sell the other things, and if you can’t sell them, burn them.”

The man nodded shakily. Iolanthe turned on her heel. Zeah was standing just far enough to the side that he wouldn’t have to move if she walked directly back out of the room. He was a tall, dignified man with clear, intelligent eyes and hair that was a bit more salt than pepper. He had served the Dechantagne family since before Iolanthe was born, and his family had served them since the time of Iolanthe’s great-great grandfather. He stood completely straight, his right hand resting on the shoulder of a boy of thirteen or fourteen. Iolanthe raised one eyebrow.

“Um.” Zeah cleared his throat. “Young Saba here needs to be assigned a position in the house.”

“He is engaged in his studies, yes? I believe I pay for a tutor, do I not?”

“Yuh… yes. But Saba had his fourteenth birthday some time ago. It is time for him to work in the afternoons, after finishing with Master Lockley.”

“Do you have an opinion?”

“I wuh… was thinking assistant porter.”

“Very well.” Iolanthe took three steps towards the door, then stopped and turned around. “What did he receive for his birthday?”

“You guh… gave him a very nice puh… puh… pair of pants.”

“Perfect,” she said.

“Muh… Miss?” said Zeah, leaving the boy where he was and stepping forward. He stood looking at her as if measuring whether he should continue.

“Yes?” she asked at last.

“Might you not want to keep suh… some items of a more puh… puh… personal nature?”

“Nothing of my father’s is of interest to me or my brothers. He was a disgrace to the family name and the sooner I can forget about him the better. Wastrel. Coward.” She pressed her lips together to say the other word. How she wanted to say it. Murderer.   But the word stayed in her mouth. She stared at Zeah, daring him to ask something else.

“Yuh… yes Miss.”

It took a full ten minutes to walk to the front of the house, that portion which was in use, and once there it took far too long to reach her boudoir. She had to detour around the hallway where workmen were busy installing an elevator. It was the last of many improvements that Iolanthe had made to the house in the past two years.

Yuah was waiting in the boudoir. Yuah was Iolanthe’s dressing maid, as well as being Zeah’s daughter. Two years younger than Iolanthe, Yuah had grown up with her and her brothers. There was a time that Iolanthe had thought of the younger woman as a sister. Without a word, she turned and shrugged off her jacket, which Yuah caught and immediately placed on a hanger. Then she was back to unbutton Iolanthe’s day dress and help her remove it. This was followed by the large rear bustle made vital by modern fashion and then the Prudence Plus fairy bust form corset. And for the first time all day, Iolanthe was able to take a deep breath.

“I won’t need you for a few hours,” she said, as Yuah draped her day gown over her shoulders. “You may retire.”

“Thank you, Miss.”

“I’m going to write Augie. Do you want me to send him your regards?”

“Yes, Miss.”

As Yuah left the room, Iolanthe sat down at the small desk in the corner and pulled out a sheet of her personal stationary and her fountain pen. In her best hand she wrote her letter.

 

Augie,

I read with interest your description of Birmisia. It sounds like just the type of place for our enterprise. I was especially interested in the fact that there are as yet no other parties intent on establishing a colony there. It is distant, but that may very well end up being an advantage. Terrence has put forth Cartonia as a possibility, but with your experience in Birmisia, we will have first hand information and expertise. Continue to learn all you can. You know what we need. I don’t have to tell you. In any case, I have a meeting with the Prime Minister later in the week and hope to begin negotiations.

On a personal note, Terrence arrived yesterday. He looks as well as can be expected. Yuah sends her regards. As always, return with your shield or on it.

Sincerely,

  1. Dechantagne

 

* * * * *

 

Yuah Korlann arrived in the servants dining hall just a moment after her father and Saba. Half a dozen kitchen workers under the supervision of the head cook, Mrs. Colbshallow scurried around preparing for the luncheon. Mrs. Colbshallow had been the head cook since Yuah was a little girl. She was a wonder in the kitchen. She was also Saba’s mother and she gave him a big squeeze as she passed by.

“There’s my handsome boy,” she said.

“Mother!” he whined back.

“Are you looking for something to eat, dear?” Mrs. Colbshallow asked Yuah.

“Yes, I’d better eat while I have the chance. You know how she is.”

“Don’t get cheeky,” said her father.

“I’ll get you a nice plate,” the head cook replied, waving over one of the kitchen staff. “You know I think you need to put on a bit of weight. You can’t catch a man if you’re all skin and bones.”

“Don’t worry about that,” said Yuah, sitting down across the table from Saba. “I’m not likely to run into a man around here, and if I did, no man is going to be interested in me.”

Saba’s adoring gaze, which Yuah chose to ignore, said as plainly as words that he thought he was interested and he thought no other man worthy of the position. But it was her father who spoke.

“You’re far too young to worry about a man. Why, you’re barely twenty.”

“I’m twenty three, Papa. Another two years and I’ll be an old maid.”

“Nonsense,” said Mrs. Colbshallow, setting down in front of Yuah a plate with a large sandwich atop a tremendous pile of golden chips. “You’re still young and you can find a man easily enough, if um… well, are you determined that he be of your faith?”

“Of course she is,” said Zeah.

“As long as he has all his parts, I don’t care if he worships apple trees and sacrifices chickens when the moon is full. It’s not as if I’ve been to shrine in years myself.”

Zeah and Yuah belonged to the minority Zaeri religion, a faith that had once been the dominant belief all across Sumir, while Mrs. Colbshallow and her son, and most of the other staff were Kafirites. Kafira Kristos who had lived and died two thousand years before, had been a Zaeri Imam, but her followers had broken away from the main faith upon her death and supposed resurrection. Now millions worshipped her as the Holy Savior and the daughter of God and those ethnic Zur who remained true to their faith and the few converts to the Zaeri religion were the subjects in most places of animosity, prejudice, and discrimination. At least they were in most places outside the Dechantagne home. Miss Dechantagne would brook none of that.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from the doorway. Everyone in the room turned to see Master Terrence leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe. None of the staff were sure just how long he had been standing there. “Mrs. C, could I get one of those sandwiches? I’m really not in the mood to sit through one of Iolanthe’s luncheons.”

Mrs. Colbshallow had the plate in his hands almost before he finished speaking, and though he hadn’t asked for one, she pressed a chilly bottle of beer into his other hand.

“Thanks,” he said, turning and walking out of the servant’s hall. Nobody noticed Yuah giving him just the same sort of look that she had been receiving from young Saba just a few minutes before.

His Robot Girlfriend: Charity – Excerpt

HRG Charity“Are you thinking of moving to Big Bear City?” asked Mindy.

“It’s a great place to live,” said Tag.

“They have nice parks and excellent schools,” said one of the girls, marking the first time that Dakota had heard either one of them speak more than a single word.

“Oh, do you go to school?”

“Of course not,” said Stephen.

“The children are homeschooled,” said Mindy.

“Of course.  No, I don’t think we’ll be staying.”

“Dakota needs to find a position in which he can reach his potential,” said Charity.

“Yes, and I need a job too,” he said, smiling at his own joke.

“Sometimes they hire threaders at the Sherriff’s Department,” said Stephen.  “I could check an see if there are any openings.”

“I’ll let you know.”

When they finished eating, the robots all retired into the house, leaving the two men on the deck.

“Great meal,” said Dakota.

“Yeah, thanks.  So, I think this is as good a time as any to talk.  What’s going on with you?”

“There’s really not much to tell.  I was living with this girl.  I thought it was true love, but I caught her cheating on me, so I left.  I was pissed, so I took a bunch of her stuff and donated it to GoodWorks.”

“Illegal,” said Stephen, nodding. “But at least you didn’t shoot them.  I’d say she deserved it.  Use the account I gave you and in a few days, she’ll give up looking for you, I would think.”

“Probably.”

“So how’s your mother?” asked Stephen.

“Dead.”

“When?”

“Four months ago.  She’d been in a home for the past five years.  She had Alzheimer’s.  For the last two years she didn’t even remember who I was.”

“Shit.  That’s really tough.  I’m sorry.  Those places are expensive.  If you had let me know, I could have helped pay for part of it.”

“She was my mother.  Her social security and her pension paid for about half.”

“She actually treated me very well,” said Stephen.  “I didn’t appreciate it at the time.  First I was so unhappy because I had lost my own mother.  Then I was upset because Nora drove my father away.”

“You’re fucking kidding me.  She didn’t drive him away any more than your mother drove him away.  He ran away—chasing a fucking skirt.  He was a worthless piece of shit that never did anything for anybody and the only two things he left us were his genes and the inability to maintain a relationship.”

“That’s not true.  He was a good man.  He was a good father.  I remember him before he left Mom.  We had fun.  He took me to the see the Angels.  He took me to Knott’s.  He built me a swing set.”

“Yeah, well I guess I just got shit on then, because I didn’t get any of those things.”

Stephen was quiet for a minute.

“Yes, I guess you didn’t get what I got.  He was different after he left Mom.  That doesn’t mean we can’t… what you said—maintain relationships.”

“It must mean that.  Look at you.  You have a robot wife and robot kids.”

“I… well, I never really wanted kids.  They just grow up and disappoint you.  As for Mindy… well, it’s just easier.”

“Easier than a relationship with a real person,” said Dakota.  “That’s exactly what I’m talking about.  Being married to a real person is work.  Even living with another person is real work.  Did you even have a serious girlfriend before you custom ordered a lover?”

“Yes, I had a few girlfriends… but none of them were long-lasting.  Yes, I suppose you’re right.  So, I’m messed up.  But I’m thirty-nine years old.  I can’t lay all of that at Dad’s feet, or Mom’s or Nora’s either.  When you reach my age, you have to take responsibility for your own faults.”

“Well, I still haven’t reached that age yet.”

Brechalon – Chapter One Part Two

Brechalon (New Cover)Seven-year-old Senta Bly lay in one of the grassy fields on the northern half of Hexagon Park and looked up at the brown haze in the air above her as she listened to the sound of the calliope and tried to catch her breath.   She had spent the morning playing with her cousin Maro McCoort and a dozen other children from the vast sea of tenements who met each morning at the park and played a host of childhood games.   Maro, who despite being five months younger than Senta, always looked out for her, nudged her and handed her half of the piece of cheese that he had that morning wrapped in a napkin and stuffed in his pocket. As she chewed it, she turned her head to the side and watched some of the other children running away.

“What’s up?” she asked Maro.

“There’s a wizard setting up over there,” he replied.

Climbing to their feet, they ran in the direction that the other children had gone. Sure enough, a man in a brown suit but wearing a black cape had placed his bowler hat on the grass upside down, so that people could throw money in, and he was already performing his first magic. He swirled his right hand around in a circle parallel to the ground and spoke a series of magic words.

“Uuthanum Izesic.” He grinned. “I give you the floating platform!”

Though it was invisible, there was a disc-shaped platform just below where he had formed the circle with his hands, and children rushed forward to sit on it. A few even tried to stand, though they were quickly pushed off by those wanting their turn. The round field of force lasted only a few minutes and then it was gone and the wizard was on to his next trick. He charmed a woman and made her act like a chicken and then he summoned a horse from out of thin air. He turned a boy’s hair blue and he made a passing steam carriage’s horn meow like a cat. His grand finale was to induce snow to fall from the hazy but relatively cloud-free sky. This earned him cheers from the children and more than a few coins in his hat from the adults despite the snow lasting only a few minutes and none of it sticking.

“It’s time to get home,” Maro told Senta, as the wizard gathered his earnings.

Senta thought she saw the wizard give her a strange look as she passed, but she paid little attention. Wizards were strange folk. She raced after her cousin who shot across Avenue Phoenix, dodging in and around traffic. They ran all the way to the Great Church of the Holy Savior, which marked the edge of the Old City. Then they skipped their way through block after block of tenement buildings. At last they arrived at their own building—a fifteen story stone structure that leaned ever so slightly to the right. Tramping up the narrow stairs, they reached their Granny’s apartment on the twelfth floor.

Together the two children pressed against the door, tumbling inside when Maro turned the knob. They expected to find Granny, and indeed they did, but they were surprised to find her leaning over a tiny bassinette, gooing at the contents. Near her, sitting on the floor was a toddler with very fine, very blond hair. There were already four children living with Granny—Senta and Maro, Maro’s brother Geert, and their cousin Bertice. Now it appeared that there were two more.

“This is Ernst,” said Granny, patting the toddler on the top of the head. “And this is her baby sister Didrika.”

Senta stepped quickly across the room and stared down into the bassinette, Maro at her side. The sleeping baby inside couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. The few whisps of hair on her head were strawberry blond and the tiny bow shaped mouth was pursed, as if she was dreaming of a bottle.

“Aw, cute,” said Senta.

“We’re not going to have enough food,” said Maro.

“We’ll make do,” said Granny. “But you two will have to go to work. Maro, Mr. Blackwell has secured a place for you at his printing shop. And Senta, you will work at the café in the Great Plaza.”

“Who are they, anyway?” asked Maro, indicating the new children.

“They are your cousins. My boy Colin was their father. He died in the war. Now they’ve lost their mother to a fever.”

Twenty minutes later Maro and Senta were making the long trip downstairs to the sub-basement to get a bucket of coal.

“I guess we have to grow up now,” Maro said. “I don’t see why those damn kids have to come here.”

“Their parents are dead,” Senta replied. “Just like yours and mine.”

“Your parents aren’t dead.”

“Uh-huh. Granny said so.”

“I heard your Mom just didn’t want you.”

“Who wouldn’t want me?” said Senta. “I’m just cute.”

Maro made a noncommittal noise and they continued down the stairs.

His Robot Girlfriend: Charity – Excerpt

HRG Charity“Who is it, dear?” called a woman’s voice, as a sylph-like figure danced out of a back doorway.

“Visitors.  They’re going to be staying a couple of days.”

“How exciting,” she said, hurrying forward.  “We never have overnight company.”

She was within arm’s reach before Dakota realized that she was a robot.  Tall and thin, with short blond hair and blue eyes, she was dressed in a yellow sundress.

“This is my wife, Mindy,” said Stephen.

“You’re kidding,” said Dakota.

“No, I’m not fucking kidding!  She means a lot to me—a hell of a lot more than you do!”

“Shh,” said Mindy.  “You’ll wake the children, dear.”

“Mindy, please show them to the guest room.”  Stephen looked at Dakota.  “We’ll talk tomorrow.  I have to get ready for work.”

Mindy smiled at Dakota and then locked eyes with Charity.  They both froze for a split second.  Then she beckoned them after her, as she walked like a game show spokes-model to the rear of the room.  Exiting through a doorway took them from a small living room down a long hall.

“That’s Tag’s room on the left” said Mindy.   The one just past it is the guest room.  Stephen and I are at the very end of the hall, and the twins are across from you.  I’ll try to remind them not to bother you, but they haven’t had much experience with visitors.”

“That’s fine,” said Dakota.  “I don’t exactly know how to ask… how old are the children?”

“Tag is thirteen.  The twins are eight.”

The guest room was small but neat, with a double bed covered by a crocheted comforter and with a large painting of a cat on the wall.

“You can used the bathroom across the hall,” said Mindy.  “Clean towels are in the rack just inside the door.  If you need anything else, let me know.”

She left, closing the door behind her.

“It’s like some sort of domestic Twilight Zone,” said Dakota.

“She seemed nice,” said Charity.  “Remember what I told you about Daffodil Amontes?  About them making excellent wives?”

“She seems like a robot.  I mean, even if she wasn’t a robot, she’d seem like a robot.  And since Stephen didn’t have any kids when I saw him last, I’m really interested to get a look at them.”

“You should get some sleep,” she said, peeling the bedding back for him.  “I can stand quietly in the corner, or if you’d prefer, I could stand in the closet.”

“Why don’t you just lie down over there?”  He pointed to the left side of the bed.

If the truth were known, Dakota actually preferred sleeping with someone else.  He had been doing it for more than four years now.  Rachel had insisted that they not get a bed larger than a standard double.  He had complained, saying that there wasn’t enough room for him to turn over.  Now he had missed it for three nights.  Sleeping with the robot was not quite the same.  She didn’t feel plastic; her skin was as soft and supple as a real woman’s would have been.  She was hotter than a real person though, at least in some places.  In others, she was cooler.  But if he just lay there—if he didn’t touch her and feel the differences in temperature, and her shape, then it was almost like sleeping with Rachel.

She was gone when he woke up.  When he climbed out of bed, he found his suitcase on the floor by the door.  Pulling out a clean set of clothes, he crossed the hallway and took a hot shower.  When he was done, he brushed his teeth and then ran his hand through four days of whiskers.  He would have to either buy a razor or learn to live with a beard.

In the front of the house, Dakota found the dining room.  Charity was sitting at the table with three children.  They were just as mechanical as she was.  The boy looked enough like Stephen to be his real son, but he wasn’t.  He was a robot.  The two eight-year-old girls looked like their mother, with similar bright yellow dresses.  All four of them sat with nothing but water bottles in front of them.

“Sit here,” said Charity, vacating her chair for him.  “Mindy has made you some waffles.”

At the sound of her name, Mindy danced out of the kitchen, holding a plate of waffles high in one hand and a bottle of syrup in the other.  She sat them directly in front of Dakota and pirouetted away.

“Do you prefer coffee or milk?”

“I’ll take a Coke if you’ve got one.”

“Here’s a glass of milk.  We don’t keep sodas in the house.”  She sat a tall glass of milk in front of him.  “Say hello, children.”

“Hello,” they all said primly and in unison.

Brechalon – Chapter One Part One

Brechalon (New Cover)Chapter One: The Greatest City in the World

There was no doubt about it. Brech was the greatest city in the world. Not best—but the greatest. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Greater Brechalon and had been the center of Brech culture for almost two thousand years. Fifteen centuries ago it had been the largest city in the world and it still was. With a population of more than four million, it dwarfed Natine, Bangdorf, Szague, Perfico and the other capital cities on the continent of Sumir. The Great City, as most Brechs called their home, was filled with majestic buildings and monuments, magnificent parks, and spacious plazas.   But beyond these were seemingly endless reaches of tenement apartment buildings, slapped up with none of the forethought and planning of the ancient structures of which the citizens were so proud. Though the vast system of horse-drawn trolleys and hansom cabs reminded one of the past, the oily black telegraph poles and the chugging, honking steam-powered carriages gave voice to a future bearing down at record speed.

Nothing about the Great City was lost on Captain Terrence Dechantagne.   He had been back in the city for exactly one hour and fifteen minutes, but it seemed as if he had never left. As he strode down Avenue Phoenix, he looked at the shops on either side of the street, occupying the ground floor of buildings that had been old when his great grandfather had been born.   The cobblestone streets were filled with vehicles. Shiny new steam carriages swerved to avoid running over an old man pulling a donkey heavily laden with crates of produce.   The trolley’s bell reminding everyone else on the street that by law, it had the right of way, even though the massive horse pulling it was far slower than the newest marvels of technology. Turning sharply to his left, Terrence crossed the road dodging neatly between a horse-drawn carriage and one of the steam-powered variety, and entered one of the storefronts—Breeding Booksellers.

The interior of the bookseller’s shop was dark and crowded and it smelled of old leather, old paper, and old glue. Terrence took a slow, deep breath, enjoying the fragrance the way some people might enjoy the scent of a rose. An old bespectacled man lifted his head from behind a massive volume of Dodson. He raised his eyebrows when he saw Terrence’s blue and khaki cavalry uniform. Terrence removed his slouch hat and fished his wallet from an interior vest pocket of his tunic.

“What can I do for you, sir?” asked the bookseller.

Revenge,” said Terrence without smiling.

A momentary look of panic crossed the older man’s face, but then his eyes widened.

“Garstone?”

Terrence nodded.

“Yes, I have several copies behind the counter. Not the type of thing I’d expect an army officer to be reading.”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” said Terrence. “One would think that a bookseller would know that.”

“Indeed.” The man paused and then pulled out several different editions of the infamous work of Kazia Garstone. He looked up to study his customer’s face. “So many people are interested in this one, either for its politics or its, um indecencies.”

“You don’t have a first edition?” asked Terrence, his face giving nothing away.

“Oh, I do. But I’m afraid it’s not inexpensive.” Opening a small cupboard behind him, the bookseller pulled out a book wrapped in linen and placed it on the counter. With great care he unwrapped the cloth exposing a green leather-bound book with gold leaf edging. “Two hundred fifty marks.”

“I wonder what Garstone would say about such profiteering,” said Terrence opening his wallet and pulling out five crisp banknotes that together equaled the stated amount.

“I don’t think she would mind. You know, if you’re interested, I might have a lead on a signed first edition of Steam.”

“Really? How much?”

“Four thousand marks.”

“Kafira’s tit!” said Terrence, chuckling as the other man winced at his blasphemy. “I’m afraid that’s beyond my allowance.”

The man nodded knowingly. “Would you like me to wrap it up for you?”

“Nope.”   Terrence took the book and tucked it under his arm. “Is there still a fish and chips cart by the park?”

“Oh yes.”

Terrence exited the store and turned left, heading for Hexagon Park. He had to jog across Prince Tybalt Boulevard, which was at least twice as crowded as Avenue Phoenix. He was almost hit twice, but arrived at the park’s edge unscathed.   Hexagon Park as the name implied, was an expansive park built in the six-sided shape of a hexagon. It was filled with fountains, ponds, walkways, flower gardens, orchards, and at its center, a plaza with a steam-powered calliope. Terrence could hear the music playing even at this distance. Along the sidewalk at the edge of the park, several vendors were selling food from carts. He purchased a newsprint cone filled with fried fish and golden chips and made his way down the cobblestone path to the center of the park, taking a seat about fifty feet from the bright red music machine.

The calliope made as much music as an entire band playing. People clearly enjoyed it, though only a few were gathered to watch it. Most followed along by bobbing their heads or humming as they smelled the flowers, looked into the fountains, or strolled among the fruit trees. Terrence ate his fish and chips and propped open his new book on his knee. His attention was pulled away from the pages though by the other people and their various activities.

Directly in front of him an older man in a brown bowler was throwing bits of bread to the flying reptiles that could be found all over the old city. Disgusting things. To Terrence’s mind, they should be shot rather than fed. Several small children played Doggie Doggie on the open expanse of grass. Their simple homespun clothing and the fact that they were unsupervised indicated they were from poorer, working class families. Beyond them were several large groups of people wandering past the fruit trees, among them, a man in a dark brown overcoat that looked far too warm for this time of year. As Terrence watched, several people approached the man and exchanged money for small packages pulled from the expansive coat. The man was a drug dealer.

The young officer felt his eyes itch and begin to water and when he stood up to drop his garbage in the dust bin, he could feel his hands starting to twitch. He took two steps in the direction of the drug dealer. Then the man in the overcoat looked in his direction and just seemed to melt away into a crowd. Terrence was just thinking about following when he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. He turned to find a very large police constable holding onto him.

“Now, where are you off to?”

“All these people and you stop me?” Terrence wondered.

“Just keeping the peace.   Someone from out of town might not recognize the fellow you were eyeing as trouble. Then again, he might. Either way, there’s no reason that a fine young officer in His Majesty’s service should be getting mixed up with the likes of him.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“Do you have a place to stay in the city?” asked the PC, taking a small notebook and a short pencil from his pocket.

“My family has a house here.”

“And where would that be?”

“Number one, Avenue Dragon.”

The police constable’s eyes shot from his notebook back to Terrence’s face.

“That would be Miss… um, then she would be…?”

“My baby sister.”

Putting his notebook away with as much nonchalance as he could muster, the PC smiled and then bowed slightly at the waist.

“If I can be of any further service.” It wasn’t a question, and in any case, the constable left before Terrence could reply.

Terrence studied his own hand and noted that it was no longer shaking. Might as well go home. Get it over with. Then maybe he could find a quiet corner to sit and read Garstone.

His Robot Girlfriend: Charity – Excerpt

HRG CharityThe sun was really beating down when Dakota Hawk pulled his pickup to a stop next to the metal cargo container that GoodWorks was using as the drop location from which to collect donations of clothing, furniture, and electronics.  When he climbed out of the cab, his foot slid in the half molten asphalt.  The poor bastard, who was earning a dollar less than minimum wage to sit in the heat and collect the donations, stepped out from the container’s interior, dripping sweat, his hair plastered to his forehead.

“Back again?  What are you trying to do, get rid of everything?”

“As much as possible,” said Dakota.  “Do you have water in there?  Maybe a fan?”

“Oh yeah.  I’ve got a nifty little setup.  Come in and look.”

The air outside was well over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was just as hot inside.  It was even more oven-like.  The back third of the container was filled with cardboard boxes and plastic trash bags full of who-knows-what.  Along the left side were a few pieces of larger furniture.  Along the right hand wall were a dozen non-animated robots—a couple with clothes, but most naked.  Just inside the entrance sat a chaise lounge next to a mini-refrigerator with an electric fan sitting atop it.  A long orange cord ran out the door, across the parking lot, and was plugged into the back of McDonalds.

“Sweet,” said Dakota, and then he turned back to his truck and began unloading the black bags filled with clothing and household goods.  He handed them to the guy, who then stacked them in back.  By the time they were done, his own long, blond hair was plastered to his face.

“Mostly clothes, feels like.”

“Yes, mostly clothes.”

Dakota had spent all morning trying to empty out the apartment.  The first hour had been taken up getting his own things.  He had packed up his vueTee and his other electronics, and then his clothes.  That had filled up the back of the truck, leaving just enough room for the two crappy chairs his dad had given him.  He’d taken it all to the Jiffy Locker and rented a storeroom, their smallest size.  After unloading, he had made one final sweep through the apartment, taking whatever was left that he wanted—nothing more than a few photographs and mementos.  Then he had spent the next five hours hauling as many of Rachel’s belongings away as possible and donating them to GoodWorks.  He realized he could be charged with theft, but he didn’t care.  Her closet was empty, her wriTee and all her files were gone, she had no pots and pans and no fine silverware, her underwear drawer was empty, and her grandmother’s Depression era glassware collection was history.  He looked at his watch.  There wasn’t time to make another trip before she got off work.

He looked back into the cargo container.

“Say, what are you going to do with these old robots?” Dakota asked.

“They have a group that recycles them for parts.  Most of them are Gizmos, and you can’t really fix them anymore.”

Dakota looked them over.  They were mostly Gizmos, but not all.  He recognized a Braun… and something else.  A naked female robot, waist bent at an anatomically impossible angle stared at the wall.  A curtain of long brown hair was brushed aside just enough for Dakota to make out three small holes in the back of the neck, and beneath them, a button.

“How much do you suppose they’ll get for them?”

“Oh, a few hundred each, I suppose.  Most of them don’t work at all.”

“Could I buy one?”

“We don’t sell them to the public.”

“Seems a shame,” Dakota said.  “I’d give you $500 for that one there, right now.”

“Well, we don’t even know if it works.”

“You wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Cash deal.  No exchanges or refunds.”  He pulled his phone out of his pocket and typed in $500, waving it back and forth in front of the guy’s eyes.

The guy reached into his own pocket for his phone.

“You can’t tell anyone about this,” he said.  “You know, because they don’t want us selling them.”

He pressed his phone to Dakota’s; transferring the $500 into what they both knew was the guy’s personal account.

“Nobody’s going to hear anything about it from me.  Help me load it?”

Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Sorceress: The Ideal Magic

Appendix I: Wherein I present the complete play “The Ideal Magic” for your appreciation and enjoyment.

The Ideal Magic

A Play in One Act

By Eaglethorpe Buxton

Presented here in its entirety:

 

Characters:

Myolaena Maetar, Court Magician of Aerithraine

King Justin, King of Aerithraine

Queen Beatrix, Queen of Aerithraine

Sir Thomas, Knight of Aerithraine

Sir David, Knight of Aerithraine

Sir Reginald, Knight of Aerithraine

Britomart, Lady Knight

Prissus Draco Noventus, Possibly a dragon

Phoebe, Queen’s Lady in Waiting

Krabbi, Apple Seller

Luna, Serving Wench

Bud, Flower Seller

Mack, Fishmonger

Penny, Cutpurse

Waiting Women, Chorus

Knights’ Girls, Chorus

Citizens

 

 

 

(In front of Aerithraine Castle. Present are Krabbi, Luna, Bud, Mack, and citizens.)

 

Krabbi:

Apples! Apples! Get your apples here!

 

Mack:

Fish! Fish for Sale! Fresh Fish!

 

Bud:

Petunias! Carnations! Red, red roses!

 

Krabbi:

We are the vendors who sell in the marketplace,

 

Mack:

Here in the city, the jewel of the world,

 

Bud:

We do our best to put on the best place,

 

Krabbi:

Here in the city known as Illustria,

 

Mack:

Where fortunes are made and banners unfurled.

 

Bud:

I peddle my flowers to all with a spare coin,

 

Krabbi:

I sell my apples to young and to old,

 

Mack:

I sell my fish for a silver or gold coin,

 

Bud:

He’ll gladly take a brass penny,

 

Krabbi:

His fish are a week old.

 

Mack:

We’re growing rich in the market, rich and quite fat,

 

Bud:

The people are thronging along the city streets,

 

Krabbi:

No one goes hungry, can you imagine that?

 

Mack:

I love Illustria, the capital of Aerithraine,

 

Bud:

It’s a marvelous city where everyone eats.

 

(Enter Penny)

 

Penny:

(Aside) Not everyone eats, Merchant. For every fat street vender there are four hungry brats with no silver or gold, or no brass penny neither. There are those of us who beg in the streets and there are those of us who skim the sewers. Then there are those of us who take what we can…. (picks pocket) Pardon me. I am off to reap what the merchants have sown. (Exit)

 

Krabbi:

Apples for Sale! Nice Apples! Not a worm in sight!

 

Mack:

I could use some worms. Fish are gettin’ so they don’t bite on corncobs no more.

 

Krabbi:

Here, help yourself. I’ve worms a plenty. The whole crop this year is wormy.

 

Mack.

That’s a good lad. Are you ready to sup, Krabbi. They’ve a mutton stew at the Angry Rooster for three pence.

 

Krabbi:

I’m for it, Mack. (Exit Krabbi and Mack. Enter Myolaena.)

 

Enter Myolaena.

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) It’s a lovely day in Illustria, the jewel of Aerithtraine, nay the very jewel of all Celestria. The people are happy. The kingdom is prosperous. The king sits well upon his throne…

 

Luna:

I’m just a serving wench out for some fresh air,

I’ve spent all the night in the tavern down yon’,

It’s such a delight to sit here in the fresh air,

No fighting with pipe fumes from dusk until dawn,

 

I’m just a serving wench out in the morning air,

My world is the tavern, the rogues, and the ale,

I somehow can’t see why the world is so bright,

It makes my life seem somehow oh so pale,

 

I’m just a serving wench, but I am so much more,

I sing and I dance and I play a mean lyre,

If a kind man could find my heart’s door,

I would gather his hearthstones and light his fire.

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) They young maid is lonely. She needs someone. (Wiggles her finger at Bud).

 

Bud:

(To Luna) A flour for you, Luna. No charge.

 

Luna:

Thank you. It is a pretty thing, isn’t it?

 

Myolaena:

Ah,yes. Love is the ideal magic. But the lass isn’t saying what she truly feels. (Wiggles her finger at Luna)

 

Luna:

Oh you sweet thing! (Jumps on Bud and kisses him) I love you Bud! Take me away and let’s be wed.

 

Myolaena:

There you see magic. But it is a small thing for me. I am Myolaena Maetar, the court magician– sorceress thaumatageur, prestidigitator, diviner, seer, mystic– I am spellcaster, mage, conjurer, and necromancer. I am all that.

 

I am she who keeps the kingdom running well. I am she who keeps King Justin on his throne. I bring prosperity and fair weather. I am all that.

 

I can read minds! I can shape creations of matter and energy. I can brew potions of love or hate or death. I can let you fly through the air, or stew in your own juices. I can summon up the wise men of all the ages, or the most horrifying monsters. I am all that… and a bag of chips.

 

I should be openly acknowledged as the mighty ruler I am. I should be Queen. But though I am not, I have cast my spells and laid my plots. I am like the spider in the center of a vast web. And I will devour my prey, after my own fashion.

 

(Exit Luna and Bud. Enter the Waiting Women. They step forward to deliver their lines as a chorus)

 

Wait’ Women:

We are three maids who wait on the Queen,

She’s the sweetest sovereign the world has yet seen,

Though she has one pain that many speak of,

The King and the Queen have never known love.

 

We wait and we pray for we know our duty,

We must take care of our majestic beauty,

This duty is clear and our faith is too true,

But until true love comes there is nothing to do.

 

The Queen hails from Goth, a land far away,

But we lover her so, and wish her to stay,

The people adore her, as do her sons,

Of riches and wealth, you know she has tons,

 

If only the king would wake up and take notice,

He’d see that beside him sits a true Venus,

Though none can say where angels have been,

Angels are nothing when they’re next to our Queen.

 

(Exit Waiting Women. Enter Phoebe)

 

Phoebe:

Queen Beatrix calls for you, Sorceress.

 

Myolaena:

Am I the Queen’s serving woman, that she calls for me thus? Am I the Queen’s lacky?

 

Phoebe:

You are the Queen’s subject and are at her command.

 

Myolaena:

I am the Sorceress Supreme! I could change that woman into a newt.

 

Phoebe:

The Queen is protected by powerful magics and cannot be so affected.

 

Myolaena:

True. But you are not. (Phoebe looks scared and exits quickly.)

 

The wench is correct. I cannot simply eliminate the Queen. But what if the King’s eye should wander in my direction? Can one refuse a King? Nay! I have laid plots and spells. Now I go to answer the wretched Queen. (Exits)

 

(Enter Knights’ Girls)

 

Knights’ Girl 1:

(Dreamily) Did you see Sir Reginald? He is to die for!

 

Knights’ Girl 2:

(Dreamily) He touched my arm when he shoved me out of the way.

 

Knights’ Girl 3:

How about Sir David?

 

Knights’ Girl 1:

Just leave me alone with him and a can opener!

 

Knights’ Girl 2:

Keep dreaming girl. He likes me better.

 

Knights’ Girl 1:

He likes me more!

 

Knights’ Girl 3:

Well, he likes me almost as much as he likes himself.

 

Girls 1&2:

Really?

 

(Knights’ Girls step forward to deliver their lines as a chorus.)

 

Knights’ Girls:

We are the girls who follow the knights,

We hear all their adventures and watch all their fights,

The are dreamy, all dressed in their shiny steel armor,

Just watching them makes our hearts feel much warmer.

 

Sir Thomas is sweet, but stupid it’s true,

Sir David is boring, but he’s handsome too,

Sir Reginald touches every girl’s heart,

The one we can’t stand is that Britomart.

 

Where does she get off being a knight,

For a girl to wear armor, it just isn’t right.

 

(Exit Knights’ Girls)

(Enter Sir Thomas and Sir David)

 

David:

Protecting the King is our primary duty.   Protecting the King is what we became knights for.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

David:

Why, even if we were five minutes near death ourselves, we should Rise Up and protect the King.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

David:

Still, if a dragon were in the area, it would be duty as well to slay it.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

David:

Dragons are nasty fiends, you know. Have you studied them?

 

Thomas:

Nope.

 

David: I made a comprehensive study of them with Sir Drake and the Weapons Academy. They are wily creatures–more frightening that the most horrible ogre– stronger than the greatest giant– smarter than most sages. They are the ultimate foe. And if I am ever so fortunate to see a dragon, I will quickly eliminate the wyrm.

 

Thomas:

Worm?

 

David:

Yes, all the great authorities refer to the beasts as wyrms. It is from the root word wyrd, in the ancient tongue of scholars.

 

Thomas:

Okay.

 

(Enter Myolaena)

 

Myolaena

(Aside) Here you see two foolish knights who think their swords keep this nation state strong. If they were to meet a real dragon, they would find themselves petrified. He wouldn’t need to lift a claw or a wing. He wouldn’t need to breath fire. His very aura could drive them away crying like babies, or compel them to do anything at all.

 

The first is a great braggart and thinks he knows far more than he does. If I had a gold crown for each time he made a fool of himself, I should buy the kingdom. The other is such a dullard. He once locked himself in him own suit of armor.

 

(Enter Sir Reginald)

 

Reginald:

Sir David!

 

David:

Hail Sir Reginald, knight of the Black Shield.

 

Reginald:

Don’t hail me! I come to challenge you! You accused me of having uncertain ancestry.

 

David:

Tut, tut, fellow. I merely said that you were not as noble in blood as I.

 

Reginald:

I can trace my ancestry back fourteen generations, to Tiberian the Black King!

(Reginald attacks. They fight back and forth across the stage.)

 

David: Still, I can trace my ancestry back to the grandparents of Adam and Eve.

(They fight more.)

 

Reginald:

Your mother was an orphan scullery maid, and your father was my father’s squire.

 

David:

Tut, tut, fellow. You mistake me for someone else.

(They continue to fight. Reginald strikes a glancing blow. David falls.)

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) Oh, no. I cannot let this bragging oaf be killed. The king might find a captain of the guards who actually knows what is going on.

(To Reginald) Pain.

 

Reginald:

Oh! I am slain! I go for a leach!

(Exits)

 

David:

(Standing up) I am the victor!

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) He is a pin-head.

 

David:

My honor is vindicated!

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) His idiocy is proved. That other Spam in a can will be fine, but it will be some time before he decides to challenge Sir Full-of-himself to a duel again.

 

(Exit Thomas and David. Enter Krabbi, Mack, and Bud. Myolaena steps to the side of the stage.)

 

Mack:

Fish for Sale. Fresh fish!

 

Krabbi:

Apples! Bushel a pence!

 

(Enter Penny. She walks up to Mack and slaps him on the shoulder in a friendly way.)

 

Penny:

Hello, good fishmonger! (Steals Mack’s purse) It is a lovely day today.

 

Mack:

Hello friend. (Exits, unknowing.)

 

Penny:

(Opens up purse and takes out a coin) I’ll have one of your fine apples, vendor. Keep the change. (Steals Krabbi’s purse.)

 

Krabbi:

Thank you citizen. (Exits)

 

(Enter David and Thomas)

 

Penny:

I do think I shall have a carnation for my lapel. Here you go good fellow. (Hands Bud a coin and steals his purse.)

 

Thomas:

What? Here! (Grabs Penny)

 

David:

What a piece of knavery we have here!

 

Thomas:

A thief.

 

Bud:

Why, she’s stolen my purse!

 

David:

(Searching Penny) Looks as though the thief has more than one.

 

Bud:

Why she’s stolen my two purses!

 

David:

Here you go, vendor. One. Two. It is lucky for you that we came along when we did.

 

Bud:

It certainly is. Very lucky indeed.   (Exits, pleased)

 

David:

And one purse for His Majesty’s soldiers. (Pockets the other purse.)

 

(Enter Justin and Beatrix)

 

King:

Sir David? Sir Thomas? What have we here?
David:

My partner and I have uncovered an errant piece of knavery. Her we have a little thief.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

King:

Sorceress! Can we allow such crime to run rampant in our streets?

 

Myolaena:

(Shrugs)

 

King:

You must weave some magics to protect the honest folk.

 

Myolaena:

(Sighs) I do what I can, Majesty.

(Aside) If I got rid of all the dishonest people, he’d have no guardsmen at all.

 

King:

Well, Sir David. You must carry out my orders and execute the sentence. For thievery in Illustria, we… What is it we do again?

 

Queen:

You must cut something off, Dear.

 

King:

Yes, I know that. But what? Is it the right hand or the left hand?

 

Queen:

Perhaps a foot, Dear.

 

Penny:

(Aside) I like this not!

 

King:

Foot! Foot! Perhaps in your father’s backward kingdom! Not here! Foot! Why ever did I wed such a dullard?

 

David:

To prevent recurrence of the crime, it should be the head, Majesty.

 

King:

Take her hence, and cut off… oh, cut off whatever you please. (Exits)

 

Penny:

(To the Queen) Majesty! Mercy, please!

 

Queen:

Of course, Dear. (To David) Make it a nice clean cut. And don’t leave a mess. (Exits)

 

David:

We hear our charge and will obey.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

David:

What shall we cut off?

 

Penny:

Please Sir Knight! Can’t we come to an understanding?

 

David:

Save your breath girl, for we are the King’s men.

 

Myo:

(Aside) They are the King’s fools, the King’s lapdogs, the King’s drips.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

David:

What shall we cut off? Her right hand?

 

Thomas:

Hair!

 

David:

Perhaps both legs?

 

Thomas:

Hair!

 

David:

I have always been partial to cutting off the nose. It spites the face, you know.

 

Thomas:

Hair!

 

Myolaena:

(Aside) He’s not the sharpest sword in the armory, is he?

 

David:

We shall split the difference, partner. Off with her head.

 

Thomas:

Okay.

 

Myolaena:

(Waving hands) Time stop. (David, Thomas, and Penny freeze.) Perhaps here we have a tool for my design, a cog for my wheel, a fly for my web. Thank heavens for metaphor!

 

(Myolaena snaps her fingers and Penny unfreezes.)

 

Penny:

Who are you?

 

Myolaena:

I am your savior. I am your friend. I will deliver you from certain death.

 

Penny:

Thank you, Mistress.

 

Myolaena:

In exchange, you will do a thing for me.

 

Penny:

What can I do? Steal something?

 

Myolaena:

Perhaps you can do just that. I have brewed this potion. One drop will bring forth the greatest amore– love, devotion, and kind affection. With it, you will steal the King’s heart for me. You will sneak into the castle and pour this dram upon the King’s head as he sleeps. He will fall horribly in love with the first woman he sees wearing a golden locket, as indeed I will be wearing.

 

Penny:

I know not what I should do,

But one thing’s sure, I am through,

No matter which way that I turn,

My lot’s beheading or a slow burn.

 

To turn on the King is treason, true,

But you don’t know HER, like I do,

There’s nothing worse than magic ladies,

Not scary giants, not burning Hades.

 

What a fix my deeds have wrought,

Oh what a prize my sins have bought,

I sought with guile to fetch my bread,

So they want to part me from my head.

 

Oh wretched me, a pretty child,

Whose way went out a little wild,

I can’t escape to foreign lands,

So I do as she commands.

 

I will do as you instruct. (Exits)

 

Myolaena:

And when you poor this liquid on the King, he will have you killed. And I will have no witnesses to my designs, and nothing these buffoons could ever uncover.

 

(Myolaena exits. David and Thomas unfreeze.)

 

Thomas:

What?
David:

I was just saying that I have a mind to go find a dragon and kill it.

 

(Enter Priss)

 

Priss:

Did I hear someone mention dragonslaying?

 

David:

Yes, citizen.

 

Priss:

Aren’t you afraid? Dragons are over two hundred feet long. They can fly. They can breath fire and cast magic spells. They can shoot beams of energy from their eyes.

 

David:

I can see that you know much of dragons, friend. What is your name?

 

Priss:

Prissus Draco Noventus Augustus, but my friends all call me Priss.

 

David:

Well, Priss. Did you know dragons can use magic to take on human form?

 

Priss:

(Incredulous) Really? Then how can you tell they are dragons?

 

David:

It’s not easy. They have coppery complexions, not unlike yourself. But unlike you Priss, they have very long names.

 

Priss:

I see. Are they dangerous in human form?

 

David:

Quite. And they walk among the cities to study men so that they may trick them. But we are way too smart to be fooled by a dragon.

 

Thomas:

Yup.

 

Priss:

Oh, I can see that. Would you mind if I tagged along to see the dragon?

 

David:

Sure! Come along! (Exit David and Priss)

 

(Enter Knights’ Girls who step forward and deliver their lines as a chorus.)

 

Knights’ Girls:

They hunt for a dragon, and we say OH MY!

Some fellow among them might possibly die,

Dragons are scary and can make one dead,

Then there’d be one less bachelor to wed.

Nothing good comes from hunting dragons,

These boys should stick to baseball and red wagons.

 

(Exit Knights’ Girls. Enter Britomart, who confronts Sir Thomas.)

 

Britomart:

Halt Knight!

 

Thomas:

Okay.

 

Britomart:

I am Britomart, Lady Knight. I am cursed to challenge all the knights in Celestria until I am defeated.

 

Thomas:

Okay. (They fight)

 

Britomart:

Alas, you are doomed, Knight. You see I am destined to slay every foe I face until I meet the simplest man in the realm. (They continue to fight.)

 

Thomas:

Okay. (He strikes and she falls.) Goodbye. (Thomas exits.)

 

Britomart:

But Wait!

 

(Steps forward and speaks to the sky.)

Oh, great guardians above,

Can this thing I feel be love,

I’ve been defeated by his sword,

But his face has struck a chord,

Of love within this sad, sad breast,

I now of men have found the best!

 

(Exit Britomart)

 

(Enter the Queen)

 

Queen:

Alas! Why is it that I was not married to a man who could love me? I have been a dutiful daughter and a dutiful wife. I have born two strong young Princes to be heirs to my husband. All I desire in life is love, and love is the one thing I do not have.

 

(Folds her hands in prayer)

I ask the sky and stars above,

Why is it I cannot have love,

Though many years we two are wed,

He does not care if I am dead,

A cold and wintery life is this,

If never falls a wedded bliss,

If he shall never know love true,

Then I forever shall be blue.

 

(Enter Phoebe)

 

Phoebe:

Your Majesty. Your royal father has sent you a gift.

 

Queen:

What is it?

 

Phoebe:

This royal locket. It was forged high in the mountains by the cloud giants for Queen Nepsis of the Antediluvians. Now it is yours.

 

Queen:

It is very beautiful. Pity it cannot bring me love.

 

Phoebe:

Take heart, Majesty. Love will come for you someday. You will get what you deserve. Everyone does.

 

Queen:

You always know what to say, Phoebe. (Exit Queen)

 

Phoebe:

It is my duty and my charge, Your Majesty, to always say the right thing. Even when there is no right thing to say, I still say it. And who appreciates it? Only the Queen. No one else. (Exit Phoebe)

 

(Enter the King)

 

King:

I am tired of ruling. Perhaps I should give the city over to a regent and go upon a crusade against the goblins or the Eskimos.

 

(More Poetry)

 

The crown lies heavy on the head,

And chases sleep from out my bed,

The people, nobles– beggars too,

All count on me. You know it’s true,

And who have I to count upon?

None but those who grovel and faun,

On Myo’s arm I sometimes lean,

Though she has prove she’s quite mean,

For the Prince’s help I would be pleased,

But his tutors say he’s RPCed,

So I’m alone and feeling weary,

I order all eyes to be teary!

 

(The king lies down to sleep. Enter Penny, sneaking. She pours a potion on the king’s head.)

 

King:

(Waking) What is this? An assassin! (Grabs Penny) Guards!

 

Penny:

Alas, I am always being grabbed.

 

King:

You shall squeal.

 

Penny:

Like a stuck pig, Your Majesty.

 

King:

You will spill the beans.

 

Penny:

Like a rotten gunny-sack, Your Majesty.

 

King:

You will tell me your master’s name.

 

Penny:

Like a scared school girl!

 

(Enter the Queen, wearing the locket and Phoebe)

 

King:

(Seeing the Queen) Oh sweet angel. Oh blessed thing! Oh object of my desires! Where did you come from?

 

Queen:

Well, I’ve been here all the time.

 

King:

Was I so blind that I could not see such a goddess, such a creation, such a vision?

 

Queen:

Yes. Yes you were.

 

King:

Come with me. We will never be apart again.

 

(Exit King and Queen)

 

Phoebe: I must confess that I know not what to say. (To Penny) You had best come with me.

 

Penny:

Yes.

 

(Exit Phoebe and Penny. Enter Myolaena.)

 

Myolaena:

Here’s one of my pretty plots brought to ruin by wretched chance. Fear not. I have others. (Exits)

 

(Enter Waiting Women, who step forward and deliver their lines as a chorus.)

 

Waiting Women:

Our dreams have been answered: Hooray for the Queen,

We’re happier now than we’ve ever been,

No more will we have to mop up her tears,

We shall sit and enjoy her laughter for years.

 

The timing is perfect for this to come ‘bout,

The Prince is grown up and about to move out,

We are so happy for the Queen we do love,

And wish that all the world might find love.

 

Unfortunately we’re all mired in such bogs,

Life would be better if men weren’t such dogs.

 

(Enter David, Thomas, and Priss)

 

Priss:

Well, we’ve searched every cave and cavern in the countryside.

 

David:

I don’t understand why the dragon wasn’t there.

 

Priss:

Perhaps he flew south for the winter.

 

David:

Sir Drake never mentioned anything about that at the academy.

 

Priss:

Perhaps the dragon heard you were coming and was frightened away.

 

David:

That’s probably it! And what dragon wouldn’t be frightened to see us coming?

 

Priss:

(Steps forward to address the audience with his poem.)

Oh what fools these humans be,

And they have yet to watch TV,

I’ll be you gold coins to tomatoes,

They turn into old couch potatoes,

They dance like puppets on little strings,

When I feel the need to stretch my wings,

And when I feel the need to play,

Like tennis balls they mark the day,

There is one fair human maid,

In quest of whom some plans I’ve laid,

And she may soon be quite dismayed,

And that…

 

David:

(Steps forward and interrupts Priss with his own poem.)

The gods above have shined on me,

And shed their tears for they can see,

That among them, none’s my match,

And for women, I’m a catch.

I have the sharpest rapier wit,

Of knowledge, I have every bit,

Of beauty, there can be none better,

All women love but none can fetter,

I must be free to roam and venture,

Till I am old, and… um… and need a denture.

 

(Enter Myolaena)

 

Myolaena:

I would be happy. I would be merry. If they’d burn the rhyming dictionary!

 

Thomas:

What? Ho!

 

David:

Stop Sorceress! The king has ordered your arrest.

 

Myolaena:

Arrest me? How can a fuzzy kitten arrest me? You are a fuzzy kitten! (Waves her hands to cast a spell, but nothing happens.) What’s wrong? You are a fuzzy kitten!

 

David:

It’s no use Sorceress. My friend Priss has given me a charm to protect me from your spells.

 

(Enter the King)

 

King:

You have conspired against me, Myolaena. You must be punished.

 

Myolaena:

You can’t do anything to me. You need me. Who will protect you from the hordes of goblins and monsters? Who will enchant your armor, breed your winged horses, or transport your armies through the ether? You need me.

 

King:

Quite right, and besides the results of your plots have rendered me a certain service, in providing me with the most delightful creation of womanhood.

 

(Enter the Queen. She takes the King’s hand.)

 

King:

But you must be kept in check. I have decided you must be married. Your husband will become the object of your plots, and save the rest of us much trouble. You shall marry Sir David!

 

David:

Sire! I like this not!

 

Myolaena:

No! I’ll not be given over to that braggart. I’d turn myself into a toad first. I would rather marry that great fool, Sir Frontal Lobotomy (gestures at Thomas).

 

King:

Very well. Marry Sir Thomas.

 

Thomas:

Okay.

 

(Enter Britomart)

 

Britomart:

Hold! I claim this man by right of his conquest. No man has ever made me feel the way that he has.

 

Myolaena:

Supreme. Another melon-head heard from.

 

Britomart:

Can you imagine going through life with the thought that there may be no one for you to love? Can you imagine living such a terrible life?

 

Queen:

I understand your pain, Lady Knight.

 

Myolaena:

Oh, can we just get on with this?

 

King:

Very well. Sir Thomas will marry the lady warrior.

 

Thomas:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I have a wife now,

Yup.

 

King:

We will have to find another husband for you, Sorceress.

 

Priss:

If it please your Majesty, I will have the wench.

 

King:

Fine. The wedding will be on the morrow. (Exit King, Queen, Knights)

 

Priss:

Come now my wife to be. I will show you whom your husband really is.

 

Myolaena:

I cannot marry just anyone. My husband must be of noble ancestry.

 

Priss:

My dear. I can trace my family back to the dinosaurs.

 

Myolaena:

What is it about you that I find strangely compelling? It’s as if I can refuse you nothing.

 

Priss:

Oh, how I have wanted you. I’ve laid plots and cast spells to bring all this about. I will show you arcane mysteries that you can only imagine.

 

Myolaena:

Oooh, keep talking that way.

 

The End.