The Queens View Affair Current Scene (Book XI, Act I)

Last update: 2022-01-20 17:25:01

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[Book XI, Act I, Scene I. A table in Long John's Shiver. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT and DUR are here, sitting at a round table waiting for their drinks, looking at the nightmare of olde worlde cheap and nasty pirate tat so badly thrown together that only the most gullible of tourists would consider it anything more than the result of an earthquake.]
Alice: Wow! This place is great!
[A familiar voice bellows out from behind the party.]
Voice: By the saints young man! I told you, I want four cans of Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve, and I'll have none of your cheek!
[A raspy teenage boy replies.]
Boy: Sir, we don't sell that here. This is a restaurant.
Clint: [Astonished] No... it couldn't be, could it? Colonel?
Harvey: [Going red in the face, to the youth] Damn your hide spotty scoundrel, four tins immediately, blast you, or my sideburns will be most unkempt and prickly, resulting in my darling Chrysti being quite prickly herself!
Austin: It sounds both very much like him and very much not like him at the same time! Chrysti?
[The party turn to see that it is indeed HARVEY, harassing a pimply faced youth behind the counter, STEVE AHOY.]
Steve: I'm sorry sir, but we don't sell any sideburn salve, I told you that last week, too!

Steve Ahoy

Charlie: [Calls out] Colonel?! Are you lost? Did you escape your care facility?
Harvey: [Turns] Eh, what's this? Care facility, what the blue blazes? [Bows to Charlie] Perhaps you mistake me for someone else, madam.
Charlie: [Looks at Harvey sadly] Oh, dear. His mind has slipped even further than when we last met. [Touches her chest and says in an exaggeratedly slow way] I am Char-lie! Your group leader! Remember?
Alice: It is Harvey! It is! [Runs and grabs onto him with a huge hug, squeezing the breath out of him]
Harvey: By the saints, unhand me young lady, this is most unseemly! [Turns his head to Steve] You there, is there a new cheese epidemic in Nostalgia?
Austin: [Sighs in relief] Excellent, a cheese epidemic. Things are looking up!
Harvey: You seem to mistake me for someone else. I am Harvey Kingston Short the third, ex colonel of his majesty's Kings Reach fusiliers. And certainly have no acquaintance with cheese takers.
Alice: But you are the Colonel Harvey Kingston-Short the Third we're looking for -- I'm Alice, your favourite niece! Come on, you remember? Remember Philimas at Daddy's house when Auntie Madge got drunk on anti-freeze and locked one of the servants into the toilet cistern?
Harvey: Eh? I have no niece Alice, although I certainly have a Madge in my family tree. However, I'm afraid the incident described sounds far too active for my Madge, as she is usually too drunk to even rise at Philimas!
Charlie: [To the group, in a low voice] Perhaps this is more than mere senility! Perhaps this is another Harvey altogether!
Alice: Like the way there were two Finleys and Fletches? [Peers at Harvey] It could be true. [To Harvey] Have you ever met Colonel Harvey Kingston Short III?
Charlie: [To the group, in a low voice] Perhaps this is more than mere
Austin: A Harvey from the alternate world? Like ours but with a few differences? [To Harvey] Do you like golden honeyed locusts?
Harvey: [Goes all dreamy eyed] Ah, golden honeyed locusts, its been too long since I had that sweet, crunchy delight! [To Alice] Of course I've met him, he's me! Also, perhaps you could stop hugging me now, dear girl. What if Chrysti were to see!
Alice: [To Austin] We're the ones from the alternate world -- remember how Will destroyed ours? [Looks at Harvey suspiciously as she lets go] Chrysti? Who's Chrysti? [Lower lip quivers a little] Is she your favourite niece?
Harvey: [Gives a big laugh] Dear me no, Chrysti is my dear, beloved wife! That is why I'm here to buy my sideburn salve, as she is no fan of a pricklish, ticklish cheek. [Suddenly roars at Steve] Scoundrel! Hand them over, or there'll be trouble I tell you!
Alice: Wife? [To Steve] Look, just give him the salve!
Steve: Ma'am, you'll have to go next door.
Alice: Why? Do they sell Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve?
Steve: No, but if you go next door it'll mean you're no longer here.
Dur: [Mouth watering] Perhaps you could through in a platter of honeyed locusts. You know, for our trouble.
Steve: Look, this is a restaurant, we don't sell -- oh, actually, I guess we do.
Charlie: Splendid, we shall have a plateful, and we shall each have a refreshing glass of water! [To the party] Must keep a clear head, mustn't we?
Alice: Oh please! We just burst out through the chest of a demon, I think we'll have a round of rum shots!
Clint: Obviously this is the most appropriate time ever to do [huge emphasis]body shots.[/huge emphasis]
Colin is afk for a bit
Harvey: By the saints, that man! I'm happily married! I have no interest in doing body shots with you!
Alice: Ew! Stinky! No one wants to lick anything off you -- not even Dur!
Dur: You clearly underestimate how far I will go for a free meal.
Alice: This is hardly the time for more of your thinly disguised homoerotic horseplay with Clint!
Dur: If not now, then WHEN?!
Alice: Any time there are not other human beings with a twenty mile radius.
Clint: Wow, I never took you for a bigot, Bimbo!
Alice: Oh please! I think what you and Dur have could be beautiful, but that doesn't mean I want to have to see you naked. I mean, really, Stinky, it's a form of assault, when you think about it!
Austin: Recover could take years of mental and physical therapy!
Alice: Maybe we should sue?
Austin: We? [Looks surprised] Oh, no, I don't plan on watching!
Charlie: [Primly] I think we would all do well to know a great deal less about one another's private lives and personal [delicately] preferences, which is why we should avoid alcohol of any kind!
Harvey: [Looking from party member to party member, before looking at Charlie] Who is in charge here? This troop seems to be quite a handful!
Charlie: [Eagerly extends a hand to Harvey] I am! Dr. Charlotte Parker-Kensington!
Austin: I am, Colonel. Our Sargent [Gestures to Charlie] seems to have forgotten the chain of command. [Offers to shake Harvey's hand]
Alice: Stop embarrassing yourselves! [To Harvey] As the longest serving Short in the party, I've taken charge in your absence.
Dur: Taken charge of what? Laundry day?
Harvey: [Suddenly laughs long and loud] Oh my goodness, what a joy you have brought this old soldiers heart with your jokes! Women in charge of a troop, by the saints!
Austin: What if the troops were all women?
Harvey: [Laughs even longer and louder] Stop, please stop!
Austin: As you wish. [Looks at the others in disbelief] Well, there we have it. Almost identical to the Harvey from our realm.
Clint: Certainly in all the important ways. You know, like the huge appetite and the causal sexism, that sort of thing.  [Gives Harvey a respectful nod.]
Alice: And the slight odour of Further's Originals hanging in the air! You know, [gives Steve a dirty look] some people might be listening to our conversation?
Steve: Hey, I'm serving in a restaurant, I'm supposed to listen!
Alice: It's a fast food restaurant, you're supposed to ignore us!
Steve: As far as I can tell, these two [points at Clint and Dur] gave birth to him [points at Harvey] and he your mother.
Alice: [Grudgingly] Fair enough. [To the party] Seems like the pimply faced youth is doing his job!
Harvey: As long as that job is not giving the customer what they ask for, then top marks to the little spotted sailor boy! A shining example of their trade, what! [Scratches a pricklish, ticklish sideburn] I say, what brings you odd types to Nostalgia?
Alice: [Proudly] Saving the world!
Charlie: [Excited] Yes, only recently we encouraged the beneficial fusion of my two daughters to create a highly organized, brilliant, talented, just God to rule the world!
Harvey: [Shocked] You created a God? By squishing your children together?
Alice: It wasn't so much of a squish as a hug. I'm surprised you weren't there, Harvey, what with being such a valiant hero and all!
Harvey: [Goes bright red] Well, hmmm, yes, indeed! Dear girl, what a joy you are!
Dur: Are we still 'saving the world' now? I kinda thought the whole squishing thing might have given us time to take a nap...
Steve: Sir, you can't take a nap here!
Alice: What the hell kind of hotel is this place?
Steve: Ma'am, it's not a hotel, it's a restaurant.
Alice: And don't hotels have restaurants?
Steve: Uh, I suppose.
Alice: Well, there you go, then. Make yourself at home, Dur.
Charlie: [Excited, to Steve] Oh, and can you get me the latest issue of Science and Stuff? [Points to a discarded copy of Ass Fanciers Weekly on the floor nearby] I see you also provide periodicals!
Austin: [Watching Dur take a nap] Oh, do they sleep? [Muses] I suppose they must do.
Steve: [Grabbing the copy of Ass Fanciers Weekly] Right! Out! Everyone out!
Harvey: [To Steve] Are you including me in this outrageous demand?
Clint: Man, the concierge is awfully lippy! Expect this to be reflected in the review I write!
Dur: Yeah! Me too! If I knew how to write, that is!
Charlie: [To Austin, scolding] Mr. Sleaze! It is not kind to speak of another's crippling weakness. Why, it would be like freely discussing your lack of courage or [looks at Alice pityingly] oh, SO many things about Alice!
Austin: Not really. My courage is as vast and deep as a great ocean. I'm just adverse to dying for nothing.
Steve: [To Harvey] Yes! You too! In fact, the restaurant is closed! Get out, out! [Shouts with his breaking voice] Ouuuuuut! [Calms down and gives a smile] And please write a nice review of CripAdvisor, your comments matter to us.
Harvey: [Turns to the others] Well, I for one would like to show you a little Nostalgia hospitality! You're all most welcome to return with me to my abode for some supper. My wife Chrysti would be overjoyed, she loves a surprise, what!
Alice: [Grabbing the plate of golden honeyed locusts] Come on, Dur, get up -- we'll go somewhere that we'll actually be welcome!
Harvey: In fact [fumbles in his pocket and produces a small box], Chrysti will be overjoyed, as I've just bought her this little trinket! [Opens the box to reveal a diamond encrusted cockroach broach]
Alice: [Eyes light up] Yikes! Wow, Uncle Harvey! So.... I guess you're super rich in this dimension!
Harvey: Firstly, I'm not your uncle, dear girl. Secondly, not super rich at all, far from it, in fact. A cockroach broach by Cal Roche only costs a few thousand, or so. Pin money, what!
Alice: A few thousand? Copper pieces? Because if it's GP, then you are fairly well off, Unc- I mean, Harvey.
Dur: [Opening only one eye from his nap] Did someone say free food?
Austin: [Apparently not noticing the array of diamonds. To Harvey] most kind of you sir, we would all love to meet you and your beloved for dinner .
Clint: Whether she will feel the same way after half an hour with us is a open question!
Alice: No way! We're a delight to be around! [Beams at the party] Well, some of us... [face drops] maybe you can Dur can sneak off and you know... have a bit of [finger quotes] private time.
Clint: Actually, since the world is saved, you guys don't really need my help. And since you clearly don't want my company, either, it's probably time I get back to my own life. Colonel, is 'What the Hell Is That Smell?' still around? They may be a bunch of soulless TV drones but at least there I'm not always a buttmonkey!
Alice: [Reassuringly] Aw, Stinky! You'll always be a buttmonkey to us! And really, back to your own life? What life? Don't you think it's far more likely that Black Snake Mambo is also smash hit in this dimension? Not to mention the beloved Black Snake Tango and Black Snake Samba? I mean, eeeeeveryone loved them! In fact, Ass Fanciers Weekly ass-essed my performance as, and I quote, "ass-tonishingly assurgent.
Alice is referring to her own brief (and
disastrous) movie career waaay back in
Book VI, Act I -- from November 2007, if
anyone wants to feel old! It was a movie
series from roughly around the same time
that Stinky starred in "What the hell is
that smell?" but was WAAAAAY more
high class, although bombed for some reason!
In the non-ass related media it was rated
as "crap" or "total crap", which was really
rather unkind given Alice's performance.
a dark tale of a mambo dancer who gets mixed up with the occult. It was awful. There were two follow ups, Black Snake Tango and Black Snake Samba
;; Alice is referring to her own brief (and
;; disastrous) movie career waaay back in
;; Book VI, Act I -- from November 2007, if
;; anyone wants to feel old! It was a movie
;; series from roughly around the same time
;; that Stinky starred in "What the hell is
;; that smell?" but was WAAAAAY more
;; high class, although bombed for some reason!
;; In the non-ass related media it was rated
;; as "crap" or "total crap", which was really
;; rather unkind given Alice's performance.
Harvey: Apologies dear girl, but I've never heard of any of these. However, I'm not exactly au fait with the modern Talkies. Perhaps my dear wife might know, as she's a few years younger than I.
Alice: Way to go, Harvey! Found yourself a chick in her fifties, eh? [Finger gun] Click click!
Charlie: [Encouragingly, to Harvey] Yes, while some studies suggest that a significant age gap can be correlated with marital dysfunction, my own marriage is proof that this is not always true!
Alice: That's right -- the world destroying children that it produced were almost certainly not a result of the age gap.
Charlie: Decidedly not! [To Harvey, confidentially] We think it was likely due to the onset of puberty. Teenage hormones can have an unpredictable impact, even on a child brought up in a happy home!
Harvey: Hmmm, my dear Chrysti is quite a bit younger than that, my dear! You'll meet her soon enough, in fact, i can't wait to see the look of joy on her face!
Dom is out
Austin: I'm sure she will be enthralled. [Examines the beauty which is Maplin] Let us go.
Steve: Sir, there is the matter of the bill, for all these honeyed golden locusts, the rum and the matter of cleaning the floor where he [points at Dur] lay down.
Austin: I said [dramatically] let us go!
[Exit the party.]
Steve: Sir? Sir! Ah, balls. [Sits down and starts thumbing through Ass Fanciers Weekly]
End of scene
[Book XIII, Act I, Scene II. Harvey's House. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY have just arrived at an enormous mansion, with a fabulous looking Refarri Carriage outside. He opens the door to reveal a lavish entrance and massive staircases leading up. Beside the door are a couple of suitcases.]
Alice: Going somewhere, Harv?
Harvey: [Looks confused] What, no, not at all. [Calls loudly while taking a closer look at the suitcases] My dear, where are you? We have some wonderful guests for dinner!
Charlie: [Looking at the suitcases] Perhaps your wife is planning to attend a conference?
[Enter CHRYSTI KINGSTON SHORT, an attractive woman in her early thirties, coming down the stairs.]
Chrysti: Harvey? What are you doing back?
Austin: [Raises his eyebrows] Good for you, Harvey!

Chrysti Kingston Short

Harvey: Chrysti my love, I've two wonderful surprises for you. Firstly, these wonderful guests for dinner and secondly...[holds the jewellery box out for Chrysti] Do we have additional guests? I've noticed those suitcases?
Chrysti: [Takes the box and looks in, giving Harvey a devastatingly warm smile] Oh, Cuddly Bear! You're so kind! No, we don't have guests, I was going to surprise you with a trip! [Looks the party up and down] What an... interesting looking group of people!
Austin: Austin Sleaze, attorney at law. Pleased to meet you! [Kisses her hand]
Dur: Yes, yes, fantastic to meet you of course? Uhm.... is the trip before or after dinner?
Chrysti: Well, I think we might put it for a few days now that we have guests. How exactly do you know Harvey?
Dur: We helped him give a thorough fist shaking at a very unhelpful clerk at some store... or restaurant... or hotel.
Chrysti: Ah. Trying to buy Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve in a place that's not a store again?
Harvey: That unhelpful scoundrel was even more useless today than previously, my dear! But tell me, I was not aware we were making a trip? Leave Nostalgia, what stuff!
Charlie: [To Chrysti, eagerly] Are you going to a conference?
Chrysti: Oh, god no! I was planning a surprise weekend with my darling husband, doing one of our favourite things. [Licks her lips salaciously] It involves body paint.
Charlie: [Puzzled] You mean the washable paint you give children to bribe them into taking a bath? [Looks at Harvey pitingly] Does the old boy need coaxing?
Clint: C'mon Sarge, surely there's no need to dig into the details of Harv's sex life, at least not in front of Dur!
Dur: [Crossing his arms] Bah! Someone sounds jealous!
Alice: [Nudges Austin, nodding towards Dur and Clint] Oooh! Trouble in paradise, eh?
Harvey: [Wipes a tear from his eye] Oh my dear Chrystie, you know me so well.
Chrysti: Yes I do, Cuddly Bear! Now, why don't you fix our guests some drinks while I bring our bags back upstairs?
Harvey: [Claps his hands together] Splendid! Follow me to the bar area! [Opens a huge set of double doors and leads them into the bar]. Now, who's for what, what?
Charlie: [Firmly] We shall ALL have rather weak tea, served at room temperature. [To Harvey, confidentially] One does not wish to get the group over-stimulated during its rest time!
Harvey: [Cups his hand over his ear and roars] Eh, speak up my dear! Shrapnel in my ear from the Battle of Little Squirrel Squeak, 42!
Harvey: Splendid! [Starts pouring drinks from a bottle labelled "Short Shorts"] It's a family recipe, what! Would strip the lead paint off of Madges face!
Alice: Wow! I remember the time some of the cousins and I got hold of a bottle and used it to set fire to one of the servant's pants. Burned down half the west wing! [Looks at a photograph of a blonde woman on the mantlepiece] Who's this?

Christie Kingston-Short

Charlie: [Picks up a glass of Short Shorts and sniffs it. Dismayed] Group, I advise we use this to strip the paint from our carriage, rather than attempt to drink it!
Harvey: [Looks sadly at the photo] That, my dear girl, is a picture of my first wife, Christie. Sadly, she left this wonderful home too soon. [To Charlie] Perhaps you'd prefer something a little lighter, dear lady. [Holds up a bottle labelled "Short & Curlies"] This was a smoother and lighter blend created between two of the finest families in Queens View.
Dur: [Shaking his head] Sounds tragic! Let's get sloshed! [Downs his drink]
Alice: Oh no! What happened to her?
Harvey: I believe she spontaneously combusted while counting money in the vault. For how else would you explain my returning home only to find an empty house, an open vault and a sizeable about of non sequential and non traceable money gone! No doubt burned to ash and blown by a cruel breeze out of an open door, leaving no trace, the poor thing!
Charlie: [Skeptically] No doubt. How long had you known the poor dear?
Harvey: [Drinks a Short Short] It was quite a long courtship! We were stepping out for seven weeks before getting married! Seven, imagine! I'm surprised she had the patience! [Pours himself another] She combusted three months later.
Austin: Combusted. I see.
Alice: Poor Harvey! It must have been awful for her to vanish without any trace! [Spots another photograph] And who's this?

Chrysty Kingston-Short

Harvey: That is Chrysty, my second wife, the kindest of souls! What a philanthropist! She had such a keen interest in saving the wilde tribes of the AmazonPrime! She set sail with all of the Short silverware to divide and provide a little bit of wealth and comfort for each of those villages along the river. [Quietly sobs] I received a letter a week later to say that her canoe went down with all hands. And silverware.
Alice: That's... uh... unfortunate. So you've been married three times?
Harvey: No, four times, my dear girl. I don't like to talk about my third wife. That was last year. A dark, dark year!
Charlie: Did you [delicately] lose her as well?
Harvey: Not quite, Khrysty had a nervous disposition and a delicate inner ear. Apparently could not take my [finger quotes] indoor voice! [Roars] I mean, what stuff! I can barely be heard in the east wing from here! She had to take our diamond cache to sooth her, and her lawyers, shattered nerves. Apparently they married soon after. Gah!
Charlie: Colonel, perhaps you should try single life for a while, should the current Chrysti go the way of the other ones? At least you could try dating a good solid Joan or a pleasant Mary for a change?
Clint: Wow, Harv, there's only one possible explanation - you're cursed!
Harvey: By the saints, Chrysti is the true love of my life! These last three months have been bliss beyond belief! This is true love, verily! In fact, it was worth living the previous three dark years just to have Chrysti in my life, what!
Dur: All these wives... don't happen to be related to each other do they?
Harvey: [Pours himself a drink of Short & Curries] Cursed? Why no sir, I believe I'm blessed, as Chrysti is now in my life. [Looks at Dur] Related? Why would you think so? [Takes a drink and immediately starts making the sound of a cat coughing up a fur ball]. Good grief, that really does stick in the throat!
Gah! "Curries" = Curlies! Damned predictive text!
Sent with ProtonMail Secure Email. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ On Friday, 26 July 2019 17:27, dinanc
Clint: Haw! [Pours a drink and takes an appreciative sip of the paintthinner-cum-alcohol] Well, keep a close eye on the little lady while on your vacation. You never know when misfortune is ready to strike!
Harvey: Such as a sudden outbreak of soap?
Clint: Well that would be a tragedy!
Harvey: [Strategically placing himself upwind] Indeed, sir, indeed!
Alice: [Looking at the pictures] They do look a little similar to each other, don't they, Dur?
Dur: Enough so that they could be quadruplets!
Charlie: [Nods warily] Indeed, Colonel, have you ever seen any of your wives in the same room at the same time?
Harvey: What, eh? Three ex wives and a current wife all in the same room? Of course not, dear woman! What dimension of hell would that entail?
Alice: Good question, Harv. However, how about even one, non-combusted, ex-wife and current wife?
Harvey: Why no, I never have. As far as I'm aware, they did not know each other at all! It would be some damned coincidence, don't you think!
Charlie: [Nodding gravely] Coincidental indeed! [Gently] Colonel, I fear there is a very good chance each of your wives is in fact--[pauses dramatically] the same woman!
[Enter CHRYSTI, giving the party a devastatingly warm smile.]
Chrysti: Well now, who is ready for dinner?
Harvey: My dear, I'm absolutely famished!
Charlie: [Regarding Chrysti skeptically] Yes, it will be nice to have a chance to share a meal and learn ALL about you! [Flips out a notepad] When did you and the Colonel meet, dear?
Dur: I practically live for a free meal!
Chrysti: Of course you do! [Gives Charlie a wonderful smile] It was quite the most wonderful thing -- we're both huuuuge fans of historical military buttons, and we both had our eyes on the same Fourth Fusileers Third Button from The Second War, [smiles at Harvey] at first!
Bad Conor - including the previous mail!!!
Harvey: Well, you certainly pressed pressed this old soldiers military buttons, my dearest dear! [Laughs long and loud]
Bad Colin, forgot to change the subject line!!!
Clint: Haw! What a sweet story that can only end well..
Chrysti: [Giggles as she snuggles up against Harvey] Oh, Cuddly Bear! I've made your favourite. [Leads the party into the dining room] Steaks, chops, a soused pigs head, complete with apple, golden honeyed locusts, jellied eels, thrushes ankles, snakes feet, crispy popadoms and curried Brussels sprouts.
Alice: I thought this sort of food was illegal because of HARMA?
Chrysti: Not for my Cuddly Bear, it's not!
Harvey: [Gives Chrysti a huge hug] Oh my dear, what a feast, fit for a king! [Pops a curried brussel sprout into his mouth] Wonderful! You've even used Piedelaquesta spices in the curry!
Chrysti: Nothing's good too for my Harvey -- no expense spared!
Charlie: [To Chrysti] How lovely. Tell us about your family, dear? Where do they live?
Chrysti: Oh, I don't really have any family, other than this big cuddly bear of course! The only family is my dear old grandfather, who I visit once a week with care packages.
Harvey: [Brimming with pride] That's my wonderful wife for you, as beautiful in heart as in body!
Charlie: [Primly] Colonel, we need not hear about your carnal lusts!
Austin: Indeed Colonel. Have you visited her dear old grandfather? Where does he live?
Chryst: An energetic young buck like Harvey wouldn't have the time so spend with old grandpappy! Besides, he lives way out in the middle of nowhere in a retirement home.
Charlie: [To Chrysti] Do be serious! The Colonel loves nothing more than discussing the achievements of men that have been dead for decades and allegedly superior products that were long ago recalled due to health and safety concerns! In short, he adores the company of elderly men!
Harvey: [To Charlie] You speak as if you know something about me, which you, my dear, do not!
Chrysti: I wonder, Harvey... have they been doing some, plainly poor, research into you? Perhaps with a view to trying to cheat you out of your money? [Stands beside Harvey fixing the party with a steely gaze] How do we know you're not just a bunch of gold diggers?
Austin: [To Chrysti] Oh, the Brussian defence. Good move. We are not gold diggers because A, we do not have spades, and B, you are the gold digger, Chrysti, or is it really Christie, or perhaps Chrysty, or even Chrystie? One and the same person, each time stealing from an elderly war veteran. That's low!
Chrysti: [Gasps in horror at this outrage] Harvey! Please! Get them out before they rob us blind!
Harvey: [Suddenly outraged, to Austin] How very dare you, sir? I invite you as a guest into my home and this is how you repay our kindness! Casting vile slurs and allegations at my wonderful wife! [Looks at the others] Are you all of a like mind? Are you all here to take advantage of the kindness of strangers? If so, I think you should leave this very minute! Gah! The cheek of the man!
Alice: [Stepping between them] Oh, he doesn't mean anything by it, do you Austin? [Turns to Austin, doing a calm down motion]
Charlie: [Laughs awkwardly] Goodness, no! It's just a little party game of ours, pretending the spouses of our friends are imposters! They do it to me all of the time. It's ever so fun, gathering up all of the evidence to prove the identity of one's husband! [To Harvey] Shall we play as we feast?
Harvey: [Bows to Charlie] That sounds a very strange game! I'm not a fan of playing games. And as for feast, that occasion is now highly in doubt, madam!
Alice: [Seeing the look of panic in Dur's eyes] Oh no, let's sit down! [Surreptitiously shows a note to the others saying "She's a fake, but let's play along until we figure out how she's doing it". Actually, it really says "Shes a fake, but lets pay alounge untill we figyour ouch shes doinit", before whispering to the party] Understand?
Chrysti: Yes, let's all sit down. Come on, Cuddly Bear, they are guests in our home after all.
Austin: [Acting surprised] What? Oh, terribly sorry, I thought that Chrysti had started the game "Brussian Defense!", My mistake. Easy mistake to make.
Alice: Yes, of course. [To Chrysti] We're way more polite than you might have imagined. [Tears off a hunk of pig's ear and stuffs the entire thing into her mouth]
Clint: Indeed!  We're delightful and a joy to be around!
This new posting format is hard, huh?
;; This new posting format is hard, huh?
Is it??
Chrysti: [Watching as Clint puts the entire pig's head into his mouth] Quite. So what brings you all to Nostalgia?
Harvey: Indeed dearest wife, a prudent and wonderful question! [To the party] Are you here to find a place to live? To settle down?
Dur: [Blinks and shoving handfuls of food into his mouth] Um.... I don't think we have actually thought about that question much. We have been so busy saving the world, I haven't spent any time at all thinking about what comes after. Say! This is a completely different world, eh? One completely devoid of any formerly 'perceived' malpractice on my part. Perhaps I could once again take up my medical practice!
Just a heads up for you. I will be on vacation starting tomorrow until Tuesday of next week!
Harvey: [Trying hard to hide his surprise] By the saints, you're a doctor? Well, I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities here in Nostalgia for a, what. [To Chrysti] Are they looking for doctors at the retirement home?
Chrysti: [Nibbling delicately on a curried Brussels sprout] I'm not sure, I might ask when I visit today.
Charlie: [To Chrysti] Oh, you work with the elderly? [To Harvey] Is that where you met?
Chrysti: No, but I regularly visit my granpappy. [Squeezes Harvey's arm] This young whippersnapper isn't elderly!
Dur: Ah, perhaps I could accompany you then? That way I can... assess... the home's medical needs?
Charlie: [Shivers] Er, yes! And we shall go to assist you, [with difficulty] Doctor!
Chrysti: No! [Smiles] I mean, not today, thank you. You should stay with Harvey.
Harvey: Of course, my dear! [To the party] We can take a turn around the room after dinner. Work off the pounds, what!
Austin: [Delicately nibbling on a golden honeyed locust] Errm, yes, and I can update their Wills, as and where required.
Chrysti: Oh, our wills are quite upto date, thank you.
Clint: [Nodding sagely.] I'd expect no less!
Charlie: [Nods at Clint's words] Indeed! [To Harvey] And how do you occupy yourself these days, Colonel? Do you feel the pull of the old adventuring life at times?
Harvey: [Wipes a small tear from his eye with a golden honeyed locust, before popping it into his mouth] They were fine days, my dear woman, at times I do feel a bout of nostalgia for the adventure of it all, but one must finally come to accept that a life on the road is a lonely life, and a life in the home brings a perfect wife!
Alice: Well, I think Chrysti is just a delight, Harvey. I don't know why Austin was so mean to her earlier.
Harvey: [Repeatedly raps his knuckles on the table] Hear her! Hear her! [To Alice] Well said, my dear girl, well said indeed! [Glares at Austin]
Charlie: [To Harvey] Oh, I quite agree! Why, if you think very, very carefully and logically about it, considering all available evidence, I am sure there is no reason whatsoever to suspect Chrysti of being any less honorable and truthful than your other wives.
Chrysti: [Smiles at Charlie] I certainly do my best to live up to the memory of those ladies.
Clint: It would be a real tragedy if you met with some unfortunate end like they did, so if I were you I'd be particularly careful to avoid poor Harvey's wife curse, if you know what I mean.
Chrysti: I barely even understand what language you're speaking, let alone understand you. [Smiles sweetly] I'm sure your usual sequence of grunts and moans is understandable by your friends, but I'm afraid I have little idea of what you mean.
Alice: Nor do I, Chrysti! I find him a sub-articulate idiot. I mean, you should have seen the note he wrote about you earlier, he spelled your name C - H - R - Y - S - T - I!
Harvey: [To Alice] Dear girl, that is how you spell Chrysti! [Laughs loudly] How else would you spell it? [To Clint, darkly] I'm not sure I like your tone, sir. One could almost perceive it as a threat towards my wonderful wife!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Oh, that is not what he meant at all! He was expressing hope that, after so much disappointment and tragedy, THIS Chrysti/Christie/Christy surpasses the odds and THIS union goes the distance.
Chrysti: Well, aren't you just the kindest? [Gets up] Please enjoy this humble fare. I shall get together the care package for granpappy. [Exits]
Dom and I have been sending mails to
just each other due to an addressing
malfunction by someone who shall
remain nameless.
But it wasn't me!!!
Austin: [As Chrysti leaves] She certainly is very kind. As are you.
Alice: I think we should get her a present!
Austin: That's a lovely idea. What do you think she might like?
Alice: Maybe some super expensive jewellery? Why don't we all pool our money and get something?
Dur: Great idea! [Fishes around in his pants and pulls out a half eaten sandwich] Hey! I forgot I had this! [Eats the sandwich] What was the question?
Charlie: [Hands Alice a copper piece] Here is my contribution! Might I suggest a nice, practical gift, such as a sturdy notepad?
Alice: No, no, no! A proper gift!
Clint: Obviously we should get her some more luggage. Or some pots and pans; women dig that kind of thing.
Harvey: My goodness, that's very decent of you chaps! I must admit, I was beginning to wonder if I'd made a catastrophic mistake inviting you into my house for a meal!
Alice: [Ignoring Dur, who is peeing into a potted plant] Oh no, we're great guests! We hardly ever destroy people's property!
Harvey: Where are you good people heading to after this? No doubt some zany, madcap adventure, full of brave acts of derring do?
Austin: Probably saving the world, or perhaps protecting the innocent from callus thieves and extortionists, for today at least.
Alice: [To Harvey] Why don't you take us to Chrysti's favourite shop so we can get her something?
Charlie: [Excited] Excellent idea! [Muses] But where in Nostalgia can one find Ashcroft Barrington-Fulbright's Compendium of Cryptozoological Curiosities, Volumes 1-92?! [Aside, to Austin] It is a bit rudimentary, true, but any credible collection include it!
Harvey: Well, she does love jewellery, especially jewellery which has been fashioned to resemble insects or animals. She particularly loves Cockroach by Roche.
Alice: That sounds way better than a boring old book!
[Enter CHRYSTI.]
Alice: [To the party] Sh! Don't let her hear!
Chrysti: [With a warm smile] What are you lot up to?
Harvey: [Enthusiastically] Why, my dear, we’re just discussing Neopolitan Boneyparts snow boarding troop tactics during the battle of Watertoilet, a tactic which we are all agreed, was doomed to fail! I mean, it was over one hundred degrees in summertime!
Chrysti: Oh, you and your snow boarding! [Gives him a kiss] I'm going to pay a quick visit to granpappy. I'll see you later!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XIII, Act I, Scene III. Harvey's House. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, getting ready to leave.]
Alice: Chrysti's really something else, Harvey, I'm just sorry you didn't get to have your trip away with her yet. I bet she's just great fun to travel with!
Charlie: Oh, indeed! We really MUST give her a enormously expensive gift to show her how much we admire her!
Harvey: Oh, she is such a joy to travel with, only the finest of the finest will do on our little jaunts to the realms various six star hotels! [Conspiratorially] You know, our travel motto has become, Spare No Expense, what! Wonderful!
Alice: How come you have so much cash, Harvey?
Harvey: Well, father left me quite a tidy sum when he passed from this realm, but my real wealth came from my shrewd investment selling snow to the eskimos! Who would have thought they were so addicted to the white stuff! Well, that and Auntie Catlady Emelada’s artworks “cats playing cards“ paintings suddenly becoming fashionable, exclusive and incredibly expensive to purchase by the Queens View elite. I mean, who would ever think that a gang of tabby’s playing poker would be worth so much! By the saints, when I think, I used to use her doodlings as fuel in my fire during the winter months!
Alice: It certainly sounds adorable. I wonder why they didn't become fashionable in our dimension. She sold a few, but certainly not enough to make us wealthy. [Reflects] Although, we were super rich after Great Uncle Faern found that golden turnip.
Harvey: How odd! My Uncle Faern found a golden turd, as far as I remember, but all it was, was a turd someone had covered in gold paint as a joke! [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn] Of course, there was also the matter of me winning the lottery, eh! That certainly helped to swell the coffers!
Charlie: [Frowning] Those cat paintings sounds rather exploitative! [Disapprovingly] One assumes the cards were taped to their precious little paws, given that the poor dears possess no opposable thumbs?!
Alice: Oh, Charlie, don't be so ridiculous. They wouldn't tape cards to their paws for a painting! They would staple them on. The tape would show up too much! [To Harvey] Lottery? Oh, so you're... very rich?
Harvey: Rich, I’m not sure I’d class myself as rich, per se. Certainly Chrysti and I could live in a six star hotel for the next thousand years, but I’m not sure that’s rich, what! [To Charlie] My dear, you should see her painting “Intense Game Interrupted By A Moth”! By gads, those cards where up in the air! Up in the air, I say! I don’t think they were taped, glued, or even stapled to their paws!
Austin: Perhaps it was simply artistic license?
Harvey: No, she failed that seven times, both theory and practical!
Austin: [Double takes at Harvey, thinks of correcting him the decides best not to] Well, maybe she just painted from her imagination.
Clint: Or maybe she bred cats with opposable thumbs, which would have the additional advantage that they could operate the can opener themselves and would no longer need us for anything.
Alice: Don't be so ridiculous, Stinky. If they didn't have someone's bare arm to sharpen their claws on, what would they do? Would you really deny them the joy of climbing up someone's leg with all claws bared, expecting, and getting, a bunch of petting once they got up there? And really, do you honestly expect any self-respecting cat to sift through sand that smells worse than you multiplied by Dur to bag up its own crap and pee? Have you ever actually met a cat?
Yes, we have cats.
Harvey: Indeed, it’s understandable to see why they were worshipped by the ancient Encryptions, that people who loved mysteries and puzzles!
Austin: They must have been really into puzzles. Cats are obnoxious self centred, vacuous, vain, narcissists. Who in the Realms would want to spend time with such creatures!
Charlie: [Aghast] None of you know anything about cats! They are gentle, intelligent, and loving creatures, but people misunderstand them because they foolishly attempt to contrast them with dogs, who are mindless simps that wish only to please others and drool! Cats can think for themselves, so people fear them, much like they do strong women!
Alice: Quite so. [Admires herself in the window] It's also why it's not only fun but productive to treat men badly. It keeps them coming back for more!
Harvey: Quite! And as we also know, women, strong or otherwise, love playing with balls of yarn, what!
Alice: We're not playing with them, we're hunting them!
Heather is afk
Charlie: Er, yes, quite. Now, perhaps we should attend to the purchase of these books!
Austin: I'm not so sure that she is the booky type?
Alice: Well, I know her better than any of you lot, and I can guarantee she's not!
Harvey: By the saints, my dear Chrysti absolutely loves books! As long as they are wrapped in the finest silk embroidered, diamond encrusted, gold leaf laden covers known to all, then by gads, the books a hit!
Clint: Yeah, let's stick to something sensible yet thoughtful. Which rules out anything that most of us might suggest! Sarge, you make a list of gifts you might like to get - they'll be sensible but probably thoughtless. Meanwhile, Bimbo, you do the same - they'll be thoughtful but probably silly. If anything's on both lists, that's what we'll do.
Alice: Oh please. If a nice present involves me having to do a bunch of writing it's almost certainly not a nice present!
Austin: We could get her a kitten?
Harvey: Goodness me no! We spend so much time out of the house visiting hotels, the poor thing would most likely starve to death.
Alice: So, no to dead kittens and boring books, then! Why don't we just do some browsing? It'll be great! We can do a montage of us trying on zany hats while listening to a super cool Dick Rascally song! Harvey, take us to the best store in Nostalgia!
Harvey: Why, that would be Long John's Shiver, the best that Nostalgia has to offer! But surely you remember it, its where we met earlier!
Alice: Great! They seemed really nice there!
Austin: The service was excellent. I do like satire and irony. And we did tip them very well, though they could clearly improve their hygiene standards.
Dur: Are there no other stores we might visit here in Nostalgia?
Back from vacation… physically at least
Harvey: None with the sheer diversity of goods and chattels that they sell!
Welcome back
Alice: I bet they have wonderful jewellery!
Charlie: [Skeptically, to Alice] Like the sort of jewelry you wear? [To Harvey, confidentially] Really, do you want your wife to look more like [nods subtly to Alice]?
Harvey: Eh, what's that? She seems perfectly presentable, my dear woman. Perhaps showing a little too much ankle and knee, but that's the fashion these days, what!
Alice: Everyone knows that the acceptable amount of thigh a girl shows is equal to the furthest distance from the tip of your little finger to your thumb! Come on, let's go to the jewellery shop!
[The party head down the street and arrive at the Long John's Shiver. Inside is STEVE AHOY.]
Steve: [To the party, sounding bored and depressed] Avast, mateys, welcome to Long John Shiver's. What be yer pleasure today?
Dur: Well, Alice could certainly use a few new pairs of under garments to combat her perpetual laundry day! Perhaps you can show us something in the "Ultra Granny" line?
Steve: Sir, this is a restaurant. We only use Ultra Granny Underpants to dry the dishes.
Austin: How about Yorkney scallops with sunkissed tomatoes, sweet potato truffle and walnut pesto? What wine would you suggest to pair with that?
Steve: Excellent order sir. Can I suggest a pair of Ultra Granny greys?
Austin: I was thinking of wine?
Steve: How about a '28 Fatto La Cheat?
Alice: We'll take the underpants too. [To the party] Someone might need them for laundry day!
Clint: Even better, someone could just buy, say, 30 pairs of identical awful underpants and rotate through them.  You'd only have to do laundry once a month!
Alice: Clint, sometimes I question your love for Chrysti!
Harvey: I don't think old grey underwear is quite my Chrysti's thing!
Austin: Literally speaking, of course.
Clint: I'm all for getting a nice present for Harvey's lovely wife, but I draw the line at picking out her lingerie! That kind of thing is between man and wife, I say. Now picking out awful underdoos for Alice is more of a public service.
Harvey: [To Steve] And three pots of Stylish Sams Sideburn Salve, there's a good seaman!
Austin: They should start stocking that. They would make a killing.
; out today
Steve: Sir, this is a restaurant, we don't sell Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve here.
Alice: Oh my god! Every time we come in here someone's trying to buy it, Austin's right, you really should sell it!
Charlie: [To Steve, shaking her head] Sir, do you know nothing about supply and demand?! Where DID you get your business degree??
Harvey: [Sighs deeply, to Steve] Have you no concern or regard for the sideburned gent, what? [Turns to the others] Well, do you see anything you would like to buy as a present?
Steve: [To Charlie] Ma'am, I have a certificate in [dramatic pirate voice] Shiverin'. Two whole hours at Long John's Academy o' Shiverin'.
Alice: Wow, there's an Academy of Sivering?
Steve: [Laughs, but then smiles patronisingly] Sorry to laugh, but that's how the uneducated pronounce it.
Alice: How about we take some of these straws? [Points to a straw dispenser]
Harvey: Why, I'm sure you could, dear girl! In fact, did you know that it's possible to stick a number of them together and clandestinely drink out of another tables drinks when the occupants aren't looking! Incredible stuff! Though of course I would never do such a thing!
Alice: That sounds great! [Grabs a straw only to find that it is chained to the wall] Hey! What's going on?
Steve: We had too many cheese blowers coming in here stealing our straws. Now, if you people aren't going to order any food, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. [Looks around at everyone] Please leave.
Clint: What if we collectively order a beer while we do our shopping? That should do the trick, I'd say!
Steve: No, that wouldn't do the trick, because then I'd have to call the police! Beer is illegal!
Harvey: [To Steve] He of course meant rum, my good seaman! Rums all round, I think!
Austin: I'll have a summery Mourvèdre.
Charlie: [Primly] Weak tea for me, please. [Sternly] And where IS the latest issue of Science and Stuff? I asked you for it some time ago!
Steve: All we have is Extra Virgin Water!
Harvey: What's this? No Stylish Sam's, no beer, no rum nor Summry Morverd, not even some damned odd magazines! I believe the service in this establishment has definitely taken a nose dive, what!
Alice: So what do you have?
Sam: Extra Virgin Water and various HARMA Approved Replacement Meal Articles. [Gestures to an array of drab looking white boxes]
Alice: [To Harvey] Do you think Chrysti would like some drab white boxes?
Charlie: [Helpfully] Boxes can be terribly useful, allowing one to store other, better gifts one has received in the past!
Alice: Well, that sounds sensible and highly organised. Let's not get them!
Harvey: I agree, she loves a box as long as it contains something sparkling and expensive inside!
Alice: Why don't we just ask her?
Clint: Because that would be too easy?
Alice: Especially considering that she's just outside, look!
[This is true, CHRYSTI is across the street going into another building.]
Steve: Maybe you should all harass her for a while?
Dur: Any idea what she could be doing, Colonel?
Harvey: [Looking shocked] Goodness no, my Chrysti said she was visiting her grandfather, and that I believe is outside Nostalgia! Damned odd! I don't even know what that building is!
Dur: Perhaps a little reconaissance is in order?
Steve: I don't know what that word means, but if it involves you leaving the restaurant, I'm all for it!
Austin: That would be a bonus.
Harvey: I'm sure it's all very innocent! No doubt my dear wife has stopped in to some building to purchase medication, or a gift for her dear grand father! [Laughs nervously] All very innocent! [To Steve] You there, sailor boy, do you know what that building opposite is?
Steve: Sir, this is a restaurant! Oh, I mean, yes, it's a hotel.
Clint: (Loyally) Perhaps she's visiting her grandfather in a hotel?
Harvey: Perhaps so! Perhaps he decided to visit Nostalgia rather than dear Chrysti visit him. No doubt she kept it a secret in order to surprise me with his visit to our house later today or tomorrow!
Austin: Perhaps some one is black mailing her and has forced her to go to that hotel to appease her blackmailer! We should go and rescue her!
Alice: Perhaps he decided to visit Nostalgia and was kidnapped and now Chrysti is being blackmailed as part of the ransom!
Harvey: I must see what's occurring, as of the now. You are ost welcome to join me, but be forewarned, there will be trouble if someone is harming my dear wife!
Dur: Somehow I fear there is going to be trouble regardless of what we find!
Harvey: We should arm ourselves to the teeth, just in case. You there! [To Steve] What weaponry do you sell in this establishment? We’re looking for crossbows, swords, both long and short, knives, maces, battle axes, blunderbusses and throwing stars, an assortment of staffs and a plethora of pikes!
Charlie: [Nods approvingly] Good thinking, Colonel! [To Steve] We also will need your very best-reviewed book on hostage negotiation, along with a state-of-the-art megaphone!
Harvey: [Claps his hands together in glee] I like your style madam! [Louder than any megaphone could ever achieve] That’s the spirit!
Steve: I can give you two plastic forks and a paper plate.
Austin: Perhaps we should just go with what we have. My Ju-jitsu instructor says that I am merely two moves from being quite threatening. And the Colonel here is an expert at martial arts, if I recall correctly?
Harvey: [Scratches a pricklish, ticklish sideburn] Hmm, I do question that myself! I mean, I have had four wives in as many years. [Stops for a moment, to Austin] Wait, you did say marital, correct?
Alice: [Grabs one of the forks] Why is it so sticky?
Steve: I licked it.
Alice: Why did you lick the handle?
Steve: I was hardly going to lick the tines on it after it was on the floor, was I?
Harvey: [To Steve] Are you telling me, my young seaman, that you have no wicked woks, ferocious frying pans, cunningly crafted cast iron skillets, butchers knives or even whisks in that kitchen of yours? Sporks and paper plates will not do the do! We have a fantastic wife to rescue, what!
Steve: All we have is a sad saucepan!
Alice: [To Harvey] We all have weapons, though!
Harvey: [Looks around before grabbing a straw] We do now, my dear girl! To the hotel!
Clint: Haw! We've got a... uh...  fair maiden to rescue! Ha ha! [Charges toward the hotel a la Sir Lancelot.]
[The rest of the party join the charge, weapons and forks drawn as they rampage across the street up to the "WoeTell Hotel".]
Steve: Oh wait, we do actually have some Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve after all! [Sigh] Too late.
End of scene, next one coming right up
;; End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XIII, Act I, Scene IV. The WoeTell Hotel. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY have come charging into the foyer and up to an annoying rope maze designed to have queues of people winding around. They race through the maze, still waving swords, occasionally getting lost and doing the odd backtrack, before eventually getting to the front, where they wait patiently until the current guest is finished and the receptionist, MONSIEUR MON SEER, a man in a stripy shirt, red beret and outrageous moustache holding a glass of wine in one hand and three french loaves in the other turns to them.]
Mon: [In a distinctly non-French accent] 'sup?

Monsieur Mon Seer

Sent from ProtonMail Mobile On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 13:17, Conor Ryan
Harvey: Where’s my wife, Christie? Is she in danger?
It's Chrysti!!!
Mon: [Shrugs] Uhhh...... Idunno.
Charlie: [To Mon Seer] Have you seen any ladies in distress?
Austin: This service is highly non compliant. They should know exactly who and where all of their guests are at all times! I shal start legal proceedings right away! [Begins making notes]
Mon: [Nods to Charlie] Yup. Saw two of 'em. Shouting. Roaring. Waving swords around. One of 'em had a fork. Fairly hysterical. Typical woman stuff, but you're one, you know what I mean? [To Harvey] Women, am I right? [To Austin] Make sure you get the full extent of my luxurious moustache. [Smiles a dazzling smile and holds it]
Harvey: Where are these two ladies you mentioned? Are they still here? [Calls out loudly] Chrysti, my love, are you here?
Charlie: [Looks at Harvey in amazement. To Alice, glaring at Mon Seer] Look, THIS version of the colonel does not appear to be fluent in the language of male chauvinism! How refreshing!
Dur: [Staring at the bread] Ummmm.... are you going to eat those?
Mon: Of course not, they're made of wood. [To Harvey] Yes, they are still here. [Points to Alice and Charlie] Standing right there!
Dur: Then can I eat them?
Harvey: [To Mon] Damnable foreign idiot, what! [Roars at the top of his lungs] Chyrsti!
Dur: Wait… are we looking for Chysti or Christie? Or is it Chrysty? Pffft. And I’m the idiot.
Alice: Well, you are, but that's not relevant right now, Dur.
Heather is afk
Charlie: Did a young lady come in here before us?
Mon: Supposin' she did, what then?
;; Heather is afk
Clint: Then I wouldn't have to hang out in the lobby making a scene while a man searches for his wife?
Mon: Supposin' you did... what form would that scene take? Would you be wearing pants in this scenario?
Clint: Yes, you sicko!  [Wafts some eau de Clint in Mon's general direction.]
I figure if my defining character trait is "smells bad" I might as
well use it to my advantage!
Mon: That's disappointing.
Alice: The stench of garlic is so bad he can't even smell Stinky!
Austin: Perhaps Mr Scar could introduce him to his footwear?
Harvey: [To Mon] See, you have us reduced to threatening war crimes!
Austin: Although I knew that Mr Scars boots smell horrific, I was not aware that ther had been classified as weapons on mass destruction! [Moves back from Clint]
Mon: If only someone would think of a bribe.
Harvey: Well speak up then, Johnny foreigner! What type of bribe? A plastic fork? A paper plate? Money?
Charlie: [To Harvey, reassuringly] I'll handle this, Colonel! [Carefully places a copper piece on the palm of her hand and awkwardly reaches it out to him, struggling to keep it from dropping] I think we can come to an arrangement! Shall we shake to seal the deal? [Winks lamely]
Dur: [Pulls a soggy mess from his underpants that only vaguely resembles what once must have been some sort of sandwich] You can have halfsies if you tell us what you know?
[It's difficult to say which disgusts MON more, the copper piece or the slime in DUR's hand.]
Alice: Oh my god! You people are so embarrassing! Just be cool, okay? He's clearly looking to bribe us!
Blast from Conor # 27
Harvey: Is that so, dear girl? [To Mon] Then we accept!
Mon: Accept what?
Alice: Two of your french loaves. And your hat. [Narrows her eyes] And your moustache.
Charlie: [Swiftly pockets the copper piece. To Alice] Not the mustache! They are most unsanitary!
Austin: And unsightly.
Clint: We don't have time for this! What'll it be? A small cash prize or, well... [Waggles his door-kicking foot meaningfully] a kick in the painful place?
Mon: Okay, okay! I don't know where she was going, but she did take the elevator to the top floor.
Clint: There, was that so hard? Pay the man, Sarge!
Harvey: To the top floor, double time! [Heads to the lift]
Alice: [To Clint] Pay him? I thought he was going to pay us!
[The party draw their weapons and charge, shouting and roaring towards the elevator door, where CHARLIE presses the up button. The party wait quietly until it arrives and, when the door opens, charge in, yelling at the top of their voices, before pressing the top floor button and all going quiet, listening to the muzak.]
Alice: So, this is a nice hotel, isn't it?
Charlie: [Wincing at the muzak] It is a bit noisy, if you ask me!
Harvey: It's all just noise these days! Give me a good old showband, or a military tattoo any day compared to this bingely bop stuff!
Alice: You two are such squares! [The lift starts to slow] Should we have a plan for when we get there? Or will we just run around randomly banging on doors?
Clint: Track her by scent? Or else pull the fire alarm, which I've always wanted to do.
[Bing! The lift arrives at its floor.]
Alice: Given that no one in a three block radius can smell anything other than you, Stinky, maybe we should pull the fire alarm? [Points to a conveniently located lever that has "Fire. Brake in case of necessity" written on it] Although, where's the brake?
Harvey: I think it means this, dear girl! [Gives the glass a smack with the paper plate] Gah, damned reinforced glass!
Austin: We could listen at the doors to try to hear her voice? But she might have been gagged!
Alice: That's it! She's been gagged! So, if we listen at a door and hear nothing, then she must be in there, right?
Charlie: [Uncertainly] Well, this is a hotel, so perhaps some of the patrons are implementing marital aids? We do not wish to disturb a law-abiding, lawfully married couple! [Excited] Perhaps we should knock, and if someone does not answer or answers wearing hostage-taking gear, that's our villain!
How many rooms are there?
Harvey: We must be careful not to startle any neer-do-wells, as that may result in my dearest wife being harmed, or worse! I think it safest to listen first, try to identify which room she is being held in! [Places his ear against the nearest door]
Alice: What if the hostage-taking gear is a marital aid? [Self consciously] I mean, it surely isn't, but I've heard stories... and read books... and seen movies... and been engaged to Deuce...
[The lift bings and HARVEY gets out, immediately listening to the first of ten doors, but appears to hear nothing.]
Austin: [Checks around for clues to Chrysti's where abouts] This may have to be a door to door!
Harvey: If it must, it must! [Listens at door # 2] Perhaps I should have brought my ear trumpet, what!
Alice: What? I can't hear anything!
[Enter SHIMMY JIVE, a man in his late twenties wearing a ludicrous false moustache, coming from door at the end of the corridor.]
Shimmy: [Looks at the party and tips his hat to them] 'evening.

Shimmy Jive

Charlie: [Waves to Shimmy] Hello there, young man! By any chance, have you seen a young lady about?
Harvey: A most beautiful woman, with long brown silken hair, the smile of an angel and the grace of a gliding swan?
Shimmy: Oh, no, there's no one like that here. Just a bunch of homely blonde girls.
Alice: Hey!
Harvey: Then have you seen any suspicious characters entering or leaving the rooms, or indeed, heard any disturbances in the last hour or so?
Shimmy: Not really. Just those guys carrying that enormous carpet down the fire escape stairs a short while ago.
Clint: Did the carpet say anything? Was it wearing shoes?
Shimmy: No... but it did seem to be struggling, and I thought it was kind of suspicious. I was so concerned that I tried to break the glass of the fire lever, but all I had was a useless paper plate.
Clint: Colonel, follow the carpet?  Or continue going door-to-door? This is no time for subtlety!  [Prepares to kick in every door on the floor if he has to, and also makes a note to stock up on painkillers.]
Austin: Follow the carpet of course! Her life is in danger!
[Everyone draws their swords, forks and paper plates and charge wildly down the hall, shouting and roaring as they barge out into the fire escape.]
Alice: Hey! Hang on a second! Let's go back!
[The party rampage back up the corridor to SHIMMY.]
Alice: What did the carpet look like?
Shimmy: Well, kind of... carpet-y, I guess? Tassles, paisley pattern, that kind of thing.
Alice: Right, got it, thanks!
[The party charge back towards the fire escape, a-hollerin' and a-tootin'.]
Harvey: I can feel success within our very grasp, good people! My wife has been kidnapped and I must say, I'm glad to have you at my side!
Austin: A honour to serve with you, Colonel. Let's show them what for!
[The party burst out onto the fire escape and race down all the steps, the hollerin' and hootin' starting to tail off as they get increasingly tired and out of breath. By the time they get to the bottom, everyone is exhausted.]
Alice: We must be too late! [Looks up and down the alleyway] Quiet! [Puts her ear to the street] There was a carriage here. [Face wracked with concentration] A blue, no, a black carriage. [Fixes the party with a steely gaze, a large black carriage right behind her] It feels like it is close by. Anyone else sense it?
Harvey: [Impressed] Her description is incredibly vivid, I can almost see the very thing behind her!
Alice: [Looking beyond Harvey at the large window behind him] I think there may have been something written on the carriage,TITTUH OTTO? And there was a bunch of people standing around....
[Written on the carriage behind ALICE is "OTTO HUTTIT LAUNDRY".]
Charlie: [Gasps and points at the carriage] I found it! Hurry, we must take advantage of my keen powers of perception!
Alice: [Turns and looks] That's it! They must have changed the writing to trick us, though. Oh, they're good, they're very goood!
Harvey: Crafty blighters, indeed! Chrysti my love, I'm coming to save you! [Runs towards the carriage, brandishing his paper plate]
Dur: [Nervously] Is noone else concerned about what kind of dealings Chrysti may have been having to put her in contact with such nefarious ruffians? Just me? Ok....
Alice: I think these guys are okay, Dur. I bet they're [stagily, as she points to the word "Laundry"] Clean!
Austin: I wonder if their dry cleaning is up to scratch? I have a number of very expensive suits that require careful attention.
Alice: [Tries to look in] I can't see anything, the windows are too dark. [Panicky] Does that mean she's blindfolded?
Harvey: More likely they still have her wrapped in a carpet, eh! [Tries the door of the carriage]
Charlie: [Gets her sword ready] We are ready to assist you, Colonel!
[The door is locked.]
Alice: Oh no! Now we'll never get her back! [Falls to her knees, shaking her fist at the sky] Crhystiiiiiiiiiii!
Harvey: [Wedges the paper plate into the door frame and attempts to force the lock]
Austin: [Tries to pick the lock] Someone could check the other door?
Alice: [Gets up] What other door? What sort of fancy carriage has more than one door? [Notices that they are trying to open the back door] Oh, I see. [Opens the front door just as Austin gets the lock picked] This one's open!
[Enter TERRY BUTCHER, a man covered in blood, carrying a machete in one hand and a bunch of blood stained towels in the other.]
Terry: Hey! What's going on here?

Terry Butcher

Harvey: [Shocked] By the saints, what have you done to my wife!
Terry: [Looking even more shocked than Harvey] Are you Christina's husband?
Charlie: [To Harvey] Is Chrysti a nickname for Christine?
Clint: And who is she to you, and why is she rolled up in the carpet?  Don't you check for people before you take carpets off to be dry-cleaned?
Terry: What? Someone rolled Christine up in a carpet? What the hell is going on here? [Glares at Clint] You barbarian! Everyone knows you don't dry clean rugs! What are you? Animals?
Harvey: I've no idea who Christine is, sir! My wife is Chrysti! [Looks at all the blood] What have you done to her!
Terry: I don't know who Chrysti is, sir! I'm having an affair with Christine, Christopher's wife. What have you done to her?
Charlie: [Aghast, pointing to the rug] Is that Christopher?!
Harvey: [Points at the blood] Is that Christopher?
Terry: [Holds up the bunch of towels] What? No! These are from the hotel! Who the hell are you people?
Dur: [Points at the towels] Is THAT Christopher?
Austin: We are still looking for Chrysti! Her life is in danger. [Claps his hands] Let's focus people!
Alice: [Points at Terry] Is THAT Christopher?
Terry: Bunch of weirdoes. [Prises the door of his carriage open] Hey! It was already open! [Throws the towels into an apparently empty carriage]
Alice: Austin is right! We need to focus people. [Looks around] Where can we find some people to focus?
Harvey: [To Terry] Listen here, my good man! My wife was seen by us entering the hotel, then seen by not us leaving said hotel, wrapped in a carpet! Can you help me? My wife, my darling wife is missing!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Perhaps you could describe her in tremendous detail for this man?
Harvey: Why, she is simply divine! Hair like freshly spun gossamer! A face as beautiful as a sun rise over a misty glen! A body as lithe as a leaping panther in shadow filled jungle glade! Footsteps as light and delicate as a dew filled spiders web in autumn! A laugh a light and free as a humming bird singing an old show tune! My Chrysti!
Clint: I can almost picture her, Colonel. I just can't remember how tall she is, or what color her hair and eyes are, that sort of thing.
Terry: Humming bird, eh? Sorry, I can't say did that I. [Thinks] I did that. I that did. Gah! [Gets into the carriage and drives off]
Sent from ProtonMail Mobile On Fri, Aug 16, 2019 at 16:07, Tom Henderson
Harvey: How could you forget, sir? [To all] She is as tall as a tawny gazelle leaping over a small hedgerow! Her har is the colour of a Eucalyptus tree at dusk! Her eyes, her eyes! The colour of the reflection of a weeping willow in a lake full of flowering lillipads!
Alice: She's about five six, Stinky! What will we do? Keep searching the hotel or go back to Harvey's and come up with a plan?
Harvey: [Tuts] She’s five seven, dear girl! [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn] I think we should continue searching the hotel! We only have that rum coves word that someone was taken out of there, wrapped in a rug! My dear Chrysti might still be up there!
On Fri, Aug 16, 2019 at 10:56, dinanc
[The party trudge back up, with half hearted waving of swords, and go back through the fire escape where they see a man, HORATIO CARUSO, knocking on a door.]
Horatio: Horatio Caruso, hotel detective. What are you doing?

Horatio Caruso

From Tom to just me
Clint: We're looking for someone. Our investigation into the lady who was smuggled out of the hotel in a carpet [mimes putting on sunglasses] is all wrapped up.
Horatio: [Knocks on the door] What carpet?
Charlie: [To Horatio] Obviously WE do not have this carpet. [Gestures to herself] Do I look like the sort of person who handles housekeeping concerns?
Horatio: Then who does? [Knocks on the door] Who?
Austin: Good question. Would you care to help us find out?
Horatio: Certainly not. Why would I care if she can roll carpets or not?
Dur: Well…. Aren’t detectives supposed to… you know… detect things?
Horatio: Right now I'm detecting that you're starting to annoy me. Now, let me get this straight, the [exaggerated finger quotes] case you're working on is if she [points at Charlie] knows anything about housekeeping? [Looks at her hands] She doesn't.
Dur: Wow! He's good! Now tell us is SHE [points at Alice] knows anything about doing laundry?
Charlie: [Smiles at Horatio, admiring her hands] Why, thank you! [All business] Our case is more involved than that, I am afraid. We fear our colleague's wife might have been kidnapped and/or harmed in some way!
Dur: Wow! He's good! Now tell us is SHE [points at Alice] knows anything about doing laundry?
Horatio: [Looks Alice up and down] I'd probably need to do a closer investigation. [Snaps his head round to Charlie] Why didn't you say that? Did it happen here? Was there screaming? Was there a... [licks his lips rolling his r] rrrrrransom note?
Austin: We are still looking for one. She was abducted in a rolled up rug, carried by two men. Perhaps they were illiterate?
Clint: Either that or she's missing and someone else got kidnapped in a rug, in which case the hotel is going to get some awful reviews!
Horatio: Look, let's all just calm down. Describe the rug.
Harvey: Well, we didn't see it for ourselves, what, but we were given an accurate description. Paisley, tassels, that type of thing!
Charlie: [Nods] Yes, have you seen any such rug? Possibly rolled up and containing a woman?
Horatio: And this description? Who gave it to you? Was it the woman in the rug? Or the people carrying it?
Harvey: Neither. It was some funny looking cove with a false moustache and a blue hat. He came out of that door there! [Points to the door]
Horatio: False moustache, you say? Is there any chance that he may not have been telling the truth? [Knocks on the door indicated by Harvey]
[The party indignantly all deny any such possibility.]
Horatio: [Listens at the door for a moment and then knocks again] Hm. [Unlocks and opens the door, looking inside] Oh.
Charlie: [Tries to look inside. To Harvey] Why don't you let me look first, Colonel, just in case. . . . [runs a finger across her neck discreetly]
Harvey: Good heavens no, my dear woman! You must stand back and protect yourself against any potential attack! [Looks around the door]
On Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 11:10, dinanc
Alice: I wanna see!
[Everyone packs into the doorway and squeeze through into a completely empty room, devoid even of furniture.]
Alice: Oh my god! Look! No rug!
Harvey: And no sign of Chrysti! What was that strange man doing, coming out of a completely empty room, what!
Alice: She must be kidnapped. Or murdered. Or both!
Horatio: Or maybe the guy with the fake moustache lied??
Harvey: [Scratches a ticklish pricklish sideburn] Gah! I fear we have been duped by that moustachiode bounder! But why? Why?
Austin: Because we are too trusting?
Alice: No way, man! We're total cynics -- battle hardened warriors who've saved the world half a dozen times. I mean, sure, some of us think that they have slept with astronauts, or that they once met Gyan Rosling's younger brother, but we know what we're doing. [Lamely] Right?
Charlie: Of course we do! We are investigating the mysterious disappearance of the Colonel's wife! [To Horatio] Now, can you help us find this poor woman?! Or are YOU attempting to deceive us about your alleged hotel detective credentials?!
Dom, you only replied to me and then I replied
to just you!
Austin: I certainly do, although other members of the party are more the 'instinct' types.
Horatio: Look, lady. There is no evidence of any woman, rug or moustache. I suggest you go back to her house, she's probably there cleaning or doing laundry or something, you know what women are like.
Dur: Of course we know what women are like! [Looks deflated] Actually we have no idea!
Alice: That's true, they don't! [To the party] Huh. Looks like the trail has gone cold -- let's go back to Harvey's and search for clues. We could get some magnifying glasses and specimen cups!
Clint: What we need is a great detective who can help us track Chrysti down so we can kick in the kidnapper's door and give them a sound thrashing!
Charlie: [To Clint, flattered] Why, Mr. Scar! I suppose I AM a great detective, in a sense. [Excited] Science is rather filled with mystery, with only subtle clues to follow in solving those mysteries!
Clint: Uh, sure! I was thinking of this Horatio guy. Or a bloodhound.
Alice: Yeah, but where would we find that Horatio guy?
Horatio: Uh --
Alice: Sh! I'm thinking! [Face gets transfixed with concentration] Hm. I see. [Takes out a small whiteboard and makes out a bunch of equations, working furiously, before stepping back] What was the question again?
Harvey: Apologies, I was too upset to speak for a moment! [To Horatio] That woman, sir, is my darling wife, and she was seen entering this hotel, but not leaving it. [To the party] Come all, let us return to my home. We may find a clue among Chrystis correspondence.
Alice: Good idea! [To Horatio] Fetch me a bunch of fancy, fruity soaps that we may away!
End of scene, next one
up tomorrow. Stuck at
a conferring for next
few hours!
Chrysti: Cuddly Bear! There you are!
Harvey: Chrysti, you're safe and sound! How overjoyed I am! [Attempts to give her a big hug] I feared the worst when we saw you enter the hotel, and not leave.
Austin: Indeed, we feared the b.., worst. We thought that you had been abducted! What happened in the hotel? Are you okay?
Chrysti: Hotel? I'm not sure what you're talking about, Cuddly Bear! You must be mistaken.
Charlie: [To Chrysti] Surely you do not mean to suggest that your loving husband does not know his wife when he sees her!
Harvey: Unless of course, you have a twin! [Laughs long and loud] How was your grandfather, my sweet?
Chrysti: Of course my darling husband knows me, but I'm sure that relative, and somewhat hysterical, strangers, might confuse him. [To Harvey] Unfortunately I didn't get to see him -- I was so sad at being away from you I came right back.
Harvey: Bestill my beating heart! [To the others] So there you have it, good people. All is well in Nostalgia!
Charlie: [To Chrysti, nodding at the magazine] Have you an interest in rugs?
Chrysti: No more than anyone else, I would say. I subscribe to the same rug magazines and watch the same rug documentaries as that everyone else does. Perhaps you're the one with an unhealthy interest in rugs?
Charlie: I see. Are you searching for a new rug, by any chance?
Chrysti: No, I'm quite happy with my old, beloved rug. [To Harvey] Let's go upstairs for some disturbingly noisy love making.
Colin is out today
Harvey: [Beams] Certainly my dear!
Alice: Is it just me or is there something slightly odd here?
Austin: When we are the normal ones, it means that something is very very odd here.
Alice: That totally was her in the hotel, right?
Charlie: Of course it was! We need only look at her disturbing obsession with rugs to make the connection!
Dur: It certainly seemed that way! Perhaps we should take a look around while the two of them wrestle!
Alice: Don't be so crass! That's my Uncle Harvey!
[From upstairs the unmistakable creaking sounds of a bed can be heard.]
Alice: Ew! [Flips through the magazine] Huh. It says here that aside from walking on and using for disposing of bodies, it is also possible to fashion curtains and even clothes out of rugs! Wow, look at this, you wouldn't even know it was once a rug!
[Shows the party a picture of an uncomfortable woman with a rug wrapped around her.]
Clint: She's not, say, part of a family of identical quintuplets all obsessed with rugs, is she?
Charlie: I fear not, Mr. Scar! [Ponders] While the Colonel is [delicately] occupied, let us try to find some evidence that this Chrysti person the person she claims!
Alice: [Checks her pockets] Hey! Someone slipped me a note! [Shows it to the party]
[The note reads "Shes a fake, but lets pay alounge untill we figyour ouch shes doinit". It is clearly the note that ALICE wrote back before the meal with CHRYSTI.]
Alice: Who do you think wrote it? The penmanship is just gorgeous!
Clint: It kind of looks like your handwriting, Bimbo. And your spelling.
Alice: But why would I have written that? I mean, we all think she's super nice, right?
Charlie: [Skeptically] Do we? She seems rather flighty, doesn't she?
Alice: She does... but she seemed so nice after we had our meal!
Harvey: [Enters the room and stretches massively] By the saints, its good to be home!
Alice: You're looking a little... flushed, Uncle Harvey!
Harvey: Firstly, not your uncle, dear girl. But yes, nothing like an energetic, un, jog, to get the blood flowing, what!
Charlie: Colonel, how wonderful to see you very, very happily married with NO doubts whatsoever about your beloved bride! She seems perfect in every way, and your marriage utterly carefree! [Watches Harvey's face closely]
Alice: [Peers at Harvey] And how she's super careful with your money!
Austin: Do tell us of all of the cunning ways in which she has invested it for you, I could really use an update on the latest hot investing tips!
Harvey: Why, there's plenty of time for that dry topic tomorrow, I'm sure. [Claps his hands together] Anyone feeling peckish?
Alice: But we just had a meal of steaks, chops, a soused pigs head, complete with apple, golden honeyed locusts, jellied eels, thrushes ankles, snakes feet, crispy popadoms and curried Brussels sprouts like, half an hour ago?
[Enter CHRYSTI, carrying an implausibly large tray.]
Chrysti: Who's hungry? I've got steaks, chops, a soused pigs head, complete with apple, golden honeyed locusts, jellied eels, thrushes ankles, snakes feet, crispy popadoms and curried Brussels sprouts!
Charlie: [To the party, warningly] None for us! we could not eat another bite! [Looks at Harvey and says in a low voice] Perhaps you could pass on this feast, too, Colonel? One does not wish one's young wife to think one getting [looks pointedly at Harvey's waistline] puffy? Must keep in fighting shape!
: I am famished! [Nibbles delicately at a thrushes ankle]
Alice: Austin! [In a loud whisper] You know this is almost certainly poisoned, right?
Austin: [Puts the thrushes ankle down] I prefer thrushes ankles. Perhaps I am no so peckish.
Clint: I couldn't possibly. We ate so well earlier!
Bank holiday here, sorry!
Harvey: [Grabs the plate of curried brussel sprouts and begins popping them into his mouth] These are truly wonderful, dear wife!
Alice: [Smacks the plate from Harvey's hand, sending curried Brussels sprouts flying in all directions] No! [Looks caught] Er, there was a huge spider in there!
No posting today or tomorrow, stuck in a conference!
[Everyone looks at the broken plate and sprouts.]
Alice: He was very scary looking!
Austin: Never mind, it's only a plate of sprouts. I'm sure the staff will have that cleared up in an instance. [Looks around for Staff] You do have staff?
Charlie: [Gasping] Colonel, we must throw out all of this food at once! Real studies--not fictional, highly suspect, suspiciously convenient ones!--show that where there is one visible spider, there are hundreds hidden nearby!
Alice: [Screaming in terror] Aieee! I hate spiders! [Leaps onto a chair]
Chrysti: No, he has a wife. That's all he needs.
Alice: Well, can't you do something about this spider infestation!
Austin: So who does all of the cleaning and ... [gestures vaguely to the house] ... and all of those house things?
Chrysti: I don't know. [Vaguely] Someone that Harvey pays for, I suppose.
Charlie: How marvelous the Colonel has no money worries whatsoever! [To Chyrsti] Do you help him manage his vast wealth?
Kevin is out today
Dur: I love spiders! Where are they? [Starts rummaging through the sprouts]
Chrysti: Of course. I have helped him with a number of shrewd investments. None have paid off yet, but I have a feeling that the Mattress Farm will soon bear fruit.
Charlie: Mattress Farm? Is that some sort of euphemism for a brothel?
Chrysti: Why? Do you have a brothel you want us to invest in? [Takes Harvey's arm] That's not really the sort of business we care to be associated with, but best of luck to you with it.
Clint: I dunno, it sounds like a pretty safe investment to me.
Harvey: Investing in brothels? Spiders? Throwing my food on the ground! What in the blue blazes is wrong with you all?
Alice: We're not investing in spiders, we're trying to avoid those eight legged monsters!
Charlie: Colonel, what IS the Pillow Farm, if not a brothel?
Austin: A pillow farm too? I guess that must work well with the mattress farm!
Harvey: Why, the Happy Sleep Sleep pillow farm is quaint rural plot of land a few hundred miles from here, where they breed and rear free range and organic pillows! Ethically sourced, what!
Alice: Don't be silly, Austin, it's all the same farm. Pillows that aren't harvested early grow into mattresses over the winter, and are then harvested in the... [stagily] spring!
Chrysti: [Takes Harvey by the arm] Cuddly Bear, can you come with me a moment?
Dur: [Disappointed] Can't find any spiders! [Despondently places a handful of sprouts in his trousers]
Charlie: [Nods to the table] Dur, empty your pockets at once! This food is not safe to eat, even for someone with your astonishingly hardy digestive system!
Dur: [Sighs and has a good rummage around in his trousers, before dumping the sprouts on the table]
Alice: She's right Dur -- I wonder if it was poisoned! Maybe that's why you were all acting so foolishly earlier?
Alice: ALL of them!
Dur: [Tuts loudly and deposits about 20 additional sprouts on the table] What do you mean by acting strangely earlier, you all seemed the same as usual to me!
Alice: Oh my god, Dur! You're the one who suggested we get her a present!
Not true, it was ALICE who suggested it
but at the time, everyone thought it
was a good idea
Dur: Well, I probably meant a sandwich, or a kebab!
: That was odd wasn't it. Are you sure it was the food?
Alice: No, but what else could it be? She definitely has some hold over him -- we need to break it!
Dur: Maybe she has him hypnotised!
Charlie: [To Dur, pityingly] You are NOT going to convince me to let you eat this suspect food! It must be tainted. She seems keen to keep us all eating it for some reason!
Alice: So how are we going to get rid of her? [Looks at Dur] Oh for god's sake! He's eating another one!
Dur: [Swallows] He's not your Harvey, so is it our business? [Coughs and covers his mouth]
Alice: He is our Harvey, he is! And even if he wasn't, surely it's everyone's business if that damned spider-investor is fleecing him out of his money! I mean, if we saw a Dur from another dimension that didn't know us, do you think we'd just ignore him? [Thinks] Okay, bad example, but you know what I mean!
Charlie: Precisely! I, for one, would appreciate it if all of you intervened if you met another version of me that, for example, made poor relationship choices. Further, this may well be the ONLY Colonel we shall ever know again, given all of the dimensional disruption in recent months!
Alice: Poorer.
Charlie: [To Alice, patiently] No, this Colonel appears to be wealthier, despite the best efforts of his wife.
Alice: No! I meant... oh, [sulkily] nevermind. Okay, so how will we get rid of her?
Dur: Suppose we could try to track down her grandfather. Or check out that butcher again. He'll surely be able to give us some food!
Alice: I don't think there is a grandfather! She was clearly going to meet some fellow swindler in the hotel. The question is who? [Thinks] If only we could track down that suspicious looking guy with the fake moustache, maybe he might know?
Clint: Yeah, but he was wearing a fake mustache - his disguise was foolproof!
: maybe it was the suspicious guy in the fake moustache!
Alice: [Gasps] What? So you mean... she wasn't bundled up in a carpet? [Thinks] That could explain why that laundry guy was so weird with us. So, [tents her fingers] it all starts to make sense. [Points to a conveniently located spiderweb] There's a web of lies constructed to trick Uncle Harvey out of all of his money. [Paces the room] We need to plot a counterstrike to take down the crims. [Continues her pacing] A plan so devious and so cunning that even once we steal all their cash and leave them naked and helpless at the side of the road they still won't know what happened. [More pacing] This plan will be so ingenious that there will be books and songs written about it, and we're just the megabrains to make it hap- [gets caught in the spiderweb] Aieeee! Help! Help!
Charlie: [Stands up dramatically, oblivious to Alice's plight] Back to the hotel, group!
Alice: [Knocking the webs off herself] While I love racing around in panic as much as anyone, maybe we should come up with a scheme to convince Harvey to come with us?
Dur: Are we not going to see the fresh meat? I mean, butcher?
Alice: Sure. We're going to see the butcher, but first we need to give Harvey a reason to come with us!
Dur: We can tell him that they received a load of that sideburn stuff in the shop?
Alice: And how will that make Chrysti want to spend less time with him? Well salved sideburns will make her only want to spend more time with him!
Clint: Not if he spends his entire fortune on sideburn cream it won't!
Alice: We want to him to appear to have spent all his money so she gets the hell away from him!
Dur: I wonder what lottery he won? Is it possible that we could fix it to say it was a mistake that he won, and he should never have been given the money? Or, even better, we could order thousands of steaks on his tab at the butcher!
Alice: No! We need to trick him out of his money, but then give it back to him, so no butchers, no blowing it all on boring books, no splashing out on expensive suits, nothing! I mean, we might get some nice hair care products, but that is IT!
: Of course we give it back. After expenses, naturally.
Alice: So what could we trick him into buying? Some sort of expensive item that Chrysti would also be interested in?
Dur: She likes jewellery!
Alice: But she'll probably know the difference between a real piece and some cheap tat?
: How about a fake tax bill. I doubt that he has ever paid his taxes.
Alice: If Chrysti is really just a grifter, why don't we trick them into buying something?
Dur: She likes insect jewellery. Maybe we can fake some type of spider brooch? Catch a spider and paint it up. [Stomach rumbles] Mmm, spider sandwich! Spidewich!
: Like the deeds to a tropical island ?
Alice: No more spiders! What is wrong with you people?
Alice: Didn't they say they met at an exhibition of historical military buttons?
Charlie: Yes, but if she is a grifter, who is to say she actually cares for military buttons herself?!
Alice: That's the genius of it, Charlie -- we can put in any crappy old shiny bit of tat and tell them it is worth a fortune!
Dur: Okay, so where do we get the shiny tat?
Alice: [Shrugs] Idunno. Maybe we just tell them we have a seller in the hotel who will sell a button that's worth ten bajillion for just one bajillion? That'd work, right?
Good Morning all. Back from my too short vacation
Harvey: By the saints [opens the door with such force it's nearly blown off the hinges] Ten bajillions for a button did I hear you say, dear girl? [Does a little dance of excitement] Why, that could only mean they've finally found the lost button of the Duke of Yorkie! The lost button, what! [Looks at the group expectantly] Duke of Yorkie!
Alice: [Looks around at the others, puzzled] Er, yes, yes, it is a Duke of Porkie!
Charlie: [In a low voice] Careful, Colonel! You do not wish anyone else to hear and buy the button before you have a chance!
Harvey: [Tuts and lowers his voice to an eardrum shattering roar] No, the button is not the Duke of Yorkie, the button is the Button of the Duke of Yorkie! The one button to rule them all! It was given to the Duke or Yorkie by an ancient enchantress, to ensure invincibility during warfare. And by gads, work it did! He laid waste to all before him, until years later, during the battle of Helmsshallow, his lucky coat ripped on a bramble while leading the vanguard of the horse charge, pinging the button into the undergrowth and resulting in the Dukes mighty defeat, death and routing of his troops. Until now, the button was lost, and passed into legend! I cannot believe it's been found! Huzzah! Huzzah! And thrice, huzzah!
Alice: Huzzah!
[Enter CHRYSTI.]
Chrysti: I take it from the Huzzahing that you haven't asked them to leave yet?
Harvey: [Laughs loudly and runs over to Chrysti, hugging her] The Dukes button has been found! And is for sale!
Chrysti: Really? How... surprising.
Dur: And why is that so surprising?
Harvey: Surprising and delightful! Surprisingly delightful and delightfully surprising!
Clint: But true, if the rumors we heard are accurate. Just think of it!
Charlie: [Enthusiastically] What a glorious time we live in! [To Harvey] We can broker the sale for you, if you wish. [Nods to Austin] Our attorney can help draw up the necessary ownership papers, etc.
Chrysti: And you say it's worth ten bajillion, Harvey? [To the party] How much can you get it for us for?
Austin: Fortunately I am an expert in such negotiations. I will beat them down to a reasonable price.
Alice: It's true, we're all experts and necessary for the sale. I, myself, have a PhD in Buttonology and have authenticated it. We can get it for a knockdown price of one bajillion -- minus our modest expenses as my learned colleague will outline shortly.
Chrysti: [Licking her lips] So there's a profit of.. of almost nine bajillion to be made?
Harvey: Well, there would be were we to sell it on, which of course we will never do! It will be an heirloom to our future progeny, my love!
Clint: And such an heirloom!  You'd best revise your will so that it can never be sold, just in case.
Charlie: [Nods emphatically] Excellent suggestion, Mr. Scar! How fortunate we have a lawyer to make this all official, immediately and irrevocably!
: Certainly [Whips out a large wad of papers] Shall we delay longer or just get on with the deal?
Harvey: Why, that sounds like a wonderful idea, [to Chrysti] does it not, my love?
Chrysti: Certainly, although I will need to check the paperwork first of course. What will be the means of payment? Bank transfer? Cashier's check?
Alice: I think our sellers might prefer used goldbacks in a brown paper bag dropped off in a dingy hotel.
Harvey: Oh, I'm sure I have all that lying in the vault downstairs! [Practically bouncing up and down with excitement] By the saints, the button! I can almost feel it in my hand!
Charlie: Marvelous! We shall help you carry it!
Chrysti: All the money is in the bank -- I made sure that all the assets could be liquidated quickly. Uh, in case such a bargain opportunity presented itself! I'll pick it up and meet you at the location. Where will you be?
Alice: How about the WoeTell Hotel? Do you know it?
Chrysti: I'll find it.
That's the hotel where the party
saw her going
Harvey: Perfect my dear, I'll accompany you to the bank and help with carrying the money! We shall meet the others at the hotel.
: Perhaps we should all accompany you to the bank. We can't be too careful. And it's a lot to carry. [Dreamily] I can't wait to see the button!
Chrysti: Oh no, it would compromise security for you all to come -- and Harvey, perhaps you should stay with them you know, to make sure they don't [lowers her voice] mumble mumble.
Charlie: [To Chrysti] Do be serious! We are NOT mumblers! Dur is a bit of a mutterer, true, but that is quite different.
Alice: I think she said in case we lose a shoe on the way.
Chrysti: I didn't! I said in case you people somehow raise the money to buy it elsewhere and yoink it out from under us.
Harvey: [Turns suspiciously to the group] Hmmm. Well, I don't think they look the type to destroy the dreams of an old soldier, but, better safe than buttonless! [To the party] Come, let us be away! The button awaits!
Dur: Oh, don't let these innocent faces fool you, sir! We have destroyed many a dream!
Alice: To the WoeTell Hotel!
[Exit ALL.]
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XIII, Act I, Scene VI. The WoeTell Hotel. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY enter the foyer and negotiate the rope maze from before, eventually getting to the same receptionist as before, MONSIEUR MON SEER.]
Mon: 'sup?
Alice: Can we have the key to... [turns to the party] we should probably have gotten a room first, right?
Clint: Maybe this kind person can tell us the room where [whispering] the button is located.
Alice: Wait a minute! There's an actual button? Holy crap, we're gonna be rich!
Harvey: Lead us to the button where the buttons have the button for sale! By the buttons!
Mon: What?
Alice: Ah... [to the others] of course! It's a secret. Some low level Frenchman wouldn't know about it. Let's get a room. [To Mon] How much is a room?
Mon: A bedroom?
Alice: Yes!
Mon: To buy or rent?
Alice: Rent.
Mon: Half a GP.
Dur: Half? Do we have half a GP, or do have an instrument to make change out of a whole one?
Alice: Poor Dur, he's never seen a denomination larger than a copper piece! There's another type called silver, and ten of those is half a GP. [To the others] Can someone pay the man?
Harvey: [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn] I must admit that I'm thoroughly confused what! I thought the button seller was already here and we are also here to meet and purchase said button? Why do we need a room?
Charlie: [To Harvey] To protect your privacy and ensure no one else can see the button and be tempted to top your offer, of course! [Digs out two fistfuls of copper pieces and hands them to Mon] Here, this should cover the room!
Alice: That's right -- all those button smugglers you hear so much about could come looking for it!
Mon: [Takes the coppers with a look of disgust] You may have the Squid Room. It is on the top floor. It has a picture of a squid on it.
Harvey: [Glancing around suspiciously] Very well then good people, to the Squid room!
Austin: I do hope this is not one of those 'themed' rooms for couples!
; out all day
Charlie: [To the party, edging in front of Harvey] Just as I, as the party's leader, was about to say. Follow me, group! [Heads for the room]
[CHARLIE and HARVEY walk quickly together down the corridor, barely fitting through, until they get into lift.]
Alice: [Looks at the buttons] Do we want water, fire, earth or... ass? [Shows that there are icons rather than numbers on the buttons]
Dur: I wonder if the squid room will be stocked with fresh calamari [Stomach grumbles loudly]
Alice: Surely you had enough poisoned sprouts to keep you going?
Dur: [Sadly] No! I hardly had any!
Alice: More than enough! [Presses the water button and lift groans into life]
Charlie: [To Dur, comfortingly] Do not worry! I have no doubt we will find some rancid, half-eaten room service orders abandoned in the hallway!
[As if on cue, the lift arrives and the door opens just about six inches, revealing that they are about a foot lower than they need to be. Across the way wafts the delicious smell of day old congealed burger.]
Clint: There, doc, you see? Dinner!
Alice: How are we going to get through? It's way too small! I mean, not for me, of course, but for the rest of you!
Clint: By sheer determination, Bimbo.  [Tries to force the doors open.] Doc, if you help me out here, I'll give you first crack at the burger!
Harvey: Ha, we are being tested, dear people! To see if I am truly worthy of the button! [Attempts to squeeze through the gap] No! Hmmm. Perhaps this way...[attempts to squeeze through the gap] No, not that way either. This will surely work! [Attempts to squeeze through the gap] Hmmm. Gah!
[Everyone heaves and pull it open slightly more.]
Alice: Step back so that the slimmest party member may get through!
: I'm not going through that gap! It might wrinkle my suit!
Alice: If it wouldn’t be such a ferociously right squeeze, Aus, it wouldn’t get wrinkled!
Harvey: Perhaps we could try to move onto the next floor and walk down the stairs.
Charlie: It's worth a try! All clear, everyone?! [Presses the button for the next floor]
Alice: No way! I'm svelte enough to glide through without creasing anything!
[Forces her way in through the gap with all sorts of panting and grunting, until she gives up, ass sticking towards the party.]
Alice: I'm stuck! It must have closed a bit while I was trying to get through!
Charlie: [To Alice, unconvincingly] Yes. That must be it. [To the party] Let us try to widen the gap once more!
Harvey: [Begins pulling on one side of the door]
: [Jabs at the open door button a few times] Where is the elevator boy? That is most suspicious!
[Somehow the party get the door open enough that ALICE falls through into the other side. She leaps up, dusting herself off, red faced from the effort, her clothes a crumpled mess.]
Alice: See? Easy as pie!
: I think it was the pie that was the problem.
Alice: [Looks at the leftover food] No, it's a burger. [Presses the button outside the lift and it slides open] Hooray! Well done, Alice!
Charlie: Splendid! We had best make our way to the room before we lose out to another, [eyes Alice's hips] less generously burdened buyer!
Clint: Oi!  That's body-shaming, Sarge!  We can't be having that!
Alice: Oh please, that's jealousy, Stinky!
Harvey: Speaking of which, this is a very confined space! [Steps out of the lift]
Alice: [Walking passed the doors, each of which has a different sea creature on them] Ah! Here we are -- squid! [Turns the creature upside down as one would turn a 9 and 6] Or is it octopus?
Harvey: Or a bagpipe?
Alice: Why would they have a bagpipe room beside a fish room? [Looks at the picture more closely] Or is that a Güiro? Man, this is confusing!
Charlie: Let us see if the key works! [Attempts to unlock the alleged Squid Room]
Austin: [Checks the door to see if it is unlocked] Well, you can all complain to your hearts content on the Inn Adviser notice board.
Alice: [As Austin opens the door after Charlie unlocks it] I prefer Inn Advisable, they're way better about telling you what's bad.
[The room is a nightmarish mix of poor taste and sea-related gaudy material. Everything from the strangely sticky velour carpet to the blinding and somewhat inexplicably lowly placed disco ball in the middle of the room conspires to make it quite grotesque.]
Alice: Wow! Isn't it great?
Dur: Just point me to the mini bar!      
Alice: [Points to a dust-covered mouldy fun-sized Knickers Bar under the bed] There you go!
Dur: [Dives under the bed and the party can hear ravenous sounds as he devours the discarded candy bar] So, now what?
Clint: Now we wait for the seller, I guess.
Harvey: And my darling wife! Oh, I'm so excited to see, touch and own the button!
Alice: You'd better wait in the bathroom while the sellers come, Harvey, you know, just in case they get spooked. I mean, they already know us.
Charlie: Yes, and if you reveal too much excitement, they may raise the price!
Alice: [Once Harvey is safely in the bathroom] Right! We need disguises so we can pretend to be the sellers! Charlie, what have you got?
[There are some disgusting noises coming from the bathroom]
Dur: I could get a steak and wear it as a beard!
Alice: No no no! We need good disguises, like moustaches!
Dur: Well, a sausage is nature's moustache!
Charlie: [Digging through her knapsack and handing things out] Well, I have a spare grey suit, a sensible nightgown, and quite a bit of paper, which we might use to fashion a jaunty hat! [To the others] What about the rest of you?!
Austin: [Gets out a very smart business suit, shirt and tie, in pigeon colours] I could easily disguise myself as a banker? I have been working on this disguise for some time!
Alice: [Takes out her sword and starts cutting into the carpet, before turning triumphantly to the party, a stack of moustache-sized pieces of carpet in her hand] Here we go! One for everyone! Quick, put them on! [Knocks on the bathroom door] Buttons! Buttons for sale!
Dur: [Puts on the fake moustache, holding it in place by crunching his upper lip towards his nose]
Alice: [Knocks on the bathroom door again, putting on an entirely unconvincing deep voice as she puts on her fake carpet-moustache] Hey! Where's that Harvey guy who wants to buy our button?
Dur: Indeed! I am in quite the mood to sell a most rare and unique button for a considerable fortune!
Clint: [In an outrageous French accent] But not *too* eager, hon hon hon.
Alice: Well, I guess we better sell to that other button collector, the one who will likely melt it down into scrap.
Charlie: [Holding her mustache generally in front of her upper lip as she speaks in exactly her usual voice] Oh, where IS the buyer?! Are we going to have to sell to the button to that astonishingly wealthy Lieutenant instead?
Austin: [Looks through his satchel trying to find a suitable looking button] Time is money! [Pauses] Do you think he's okay in there?
Clint: 'opefully zee buttonological excitement eez not too much for 'is aging 'eart!
autocorrect hates me
Austin: [In a monotone banker voice] Indeed Mr Brown. [Clears his throat] |Now, I am about to move the button from my satchel to my pocket. Please adorn yourself with your eye protection! [Puts on his sunglasses and brings out a button so shiny that it bleaches the carpet white] And into the pocket [puts it safely in his pocket]
Alice: [Still with her fake male voice] Quite so, Mr. Black.
Harvey: [Flings open the door and Enters the room] You have the button?
Austin: {In his super calm, monotone banker voice] Yes we do, Colonel. Do you have the money?
Dur: [Bristling his fauxstache] Pish Tosh! Do neither of you have any manners? We can hardly barter on empty stomachs can we?
Harvey: I will have it presently, as soon as my darling wife arrives with it. I say, where did the others go, what?
Austin: We had to ask them to leave due insurance policy compliance.
awa hame
Alice: We told 'em to sling their hooks, see? We didn't want no squares and dames harshin' our business deals, see?
Charlie: [Keeping her mustache to her face with a finger. In her own voice] Oh, indeed! They could not be present for the transaction itself for an array of complex legal reasons! [Raises an eyebrow] Now where did you say your wife was, Colonel? We have other very interested buyers, you know!
[Enter CHRYSTI, very clearly not holding a huge bag of money.]
Chrysti: Uh... [looks around] So, you're the button sellers?
Charlie: [To Chrysti, in her normal voice] Indeed, we are! As you can plainly see and hear from my heavy accent, I am a wealthy businessman from a distant land!
Alice: [With her unconvincing male accent] And I'm a tough guy goodfella, see? [To Harvey] Does dis dame have the cash?
Chrysti: I need to see the button first.
Harvey: Indeed, show us the button! How I can't wait to see it!
Austin: Engage eye protection [Wearing pristine white gloves, pulls out the button so shiny that you can see peoples skeletons]
Chrysti: [Eyebrows raised so high that the party can see them behind her shades] Wow! [Holds her hand out] I'll need to authenticate it, of course.
Austin: [Puts the button back into his pocket] Nope! Lets see the money first!
Charlie: [Nods approvingly] Quite right! Any other arrangement would be most irregular!
Alice: Hey! What's with this dame, see? [To the party] These wise guys is wasting our time! This is small potato stuff, see? Let's blow this, er... hit parade?
Chrysti: No, no! We have the money, it's in the next room!
Harvey: Then we should continue this conversation in the other room. You'll be able to see the money, we will be able to see the button.
Chrysti: Yes, let's do that.
Alice: Yeah, sister! Let's do that, see?
Chrysti: That's what I just said.
Alice: Yeah! See?
[Exit ALL.]
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act I, Scene VII. The Eel Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and CHRYSTI have just entered. Sitting in a fairly dark room with a huge suitcase is a man with a beard, IMMY HIVE, who bears more than a passing resemblance to SHIMMY JIVE, who claimed to have seen CHRYSTI get rolled up in a carpet earlier.]
Chrysti: This is Immy Hive, he works at the bank, he's here to make sure that nothing... [smiles] untoward happens.
Immy: This deal is most irregular, most irregular! I am here to ensure that my clients are not being, shall we say... misled?

Immy Hive

Charlie: The only thing irregular about this deal is your, shall we say, reluctance to prove to us your serious intent to purchase our rare and utterly authentic treasure!
Harvey: [Quickly] By the saints, we certainly are keen! Super keen, in fact!
Immy: [Opens the suitcase to reveal a pile of money] One... bajillion!
Harvey: [Eagerly] Now, let us see the button, if you would, dear sir!
Charlie: [Peers at the money closely] One bajillion? It looks a little small. Do give it a quick count for us, would you?
Does it look like real money or
like it was made of cut-up carpet?
The money looks real!
Immy: Sure. [Quickly counts through it to show there genuinely is one bajillion there.]
Charlie: [To Immy] Now, hand the case to the Colonel, and Mr. Sle--er, Mr. Sleeve will give the Colonel the button in exchange for the money!
Immy: Uh... okay. [Hands the case over]
Austin: [Gets out the ring and passes it to the Colonel. Tries to check and count the money] Nobody leaves the room until everyone is happy!
Alice: [Points aggressively at Immy] See? [To Austin, quietly] Why are you counting the money? I thought we were buying it? [Thinks] Oh, wait! Yes, this is all very confusing.
[Within seconds AUSTIN has the money counted and his look of supreme smugness tells the party that it is all there.]
Harvey: Looks at the ring Austin handed him] I say, what's this? This is not the Button of the Duke of York ie!
Immy: [Snatches the bag back] What's going on here? Is this some sort of ... of grift?
Alice: Hey! Let's all just calm down, see?
Ha! Unfortunate typo, Dom?
Charlie: [To Harvey, feigning surprise] It isn't the button you were looking for? What does YOURS look like?
Alice: I think the button he's looking is a button and not a ring!
Harvey: [Looks at the button given him by Austin.] Well, I must say, it certainly is shiny!
: [Admiring the glow] They say it is the power of the button that make it shine.
Immy: And does the button really look like a ring?
He did give them a ring! 01.07.010!
The truth is out there!
Clint: [Twirling his carpet mustache] In zee final analysis, all buttons, zey look more or less like rings!
It's a fool-proof disguise, I tell you!
Austin: [In his monotone banke voice] It's a button. The most incredible butto that ever was!
Charlie: [Nods emphatically] Oh, indeed! [To Harvey] You HAVE seen it before, haven't you?!
Harvey: Like everyone else, only in my dreams sir! Only in my dreams!
Chrysti: Let me see! I mean, can I see, Cuddly Bear? [Puts the case of money on the dresser and sits on his lap, gazing at the ring] Ten bajillion!
Alice: Ten bajillion? Hey, did you just do us out of nine bajillion?
Chrysti: Too late, suckers! [To Harvey] Oh, Cuddly Bear, we will be so rich!
Austin: [In his monotone bankers voice] How humiliating. We must leave at once before anyone notices our incompetence. [Tries to take the suitcase of money and leave]
Alice: But we're not happy, see?
[AUSTIN yoinks the suitcase and walks to the door as calmly as possible before opening it wide.]
Alice: We're gonna get our revenge, see? [Starts backing away to the door] We're not leaving with cuttin' ya, see?
Charlie: [To Chrysti, shaking a fist] Ooooh, revenge is a dish best served cold, so we will think of a suitable rejoinder and issue it to you at a later, unexpected time and place!
[The party head back to their own room.]
Alice: Quickly! Let's hide the suitcase and then go back to-
[Someone knocks loudly on the door.]
Harvey: [Opens the door] Horray, success! I am now the proud owner of the button! What a day to rejoice! My darling wife is at this very moment away to the bank to place it into our safe!
[The party immediately rip their moustaches off.]
Alice: [Standing beside Austin with the suitcase behind them] Great! Well done!
Austin: How wonderful! You must be so pleased! Congratulations! [Excitedly] May we see it at some time?
Harvey: Of course you can! We should celebrate with a drink, and then visit my prize at the bank, to gaze in wonder at its majesty!
Alice: Yes, that's a great idea! [Makes no move]
Charlie: [Looks at Dur, surprised] You heard the man, Dur! We shall all be having drinks! Go fetch them, chop chop! [Claps her hands]
Alice: Yes! And Harvey, you better go with him to show him where the house is -- he's a bit of a dimwit. We'll wait here while you bring the drinks back.
Dur: I am NOT a dimwit! Er- what are we celebrating again?
Harvey: Very well, although it's going to take me all of my willpower to not run off to the bank to look at my new purchase! [To Dur] Come with me, fellow!
Dur: [Still clearly confused] Er- Sure?
Alice: Bye! [To the party] What'll we do with this?
Clint: Make sure it's real and then save it to give you the colonel later?
Alice: Well, he's still standing right there. [Nods to where Dur and Harvey are standing at the door]
Harvey: [Waves at the group] Hello! Goodbye! [Leaves the room]
[As soon as HARVEY is outside ALICE flips open the suitcase. It is full of stones.]
Alice: What the hell?
Austin: [Changing his suit] What in the Realms? I checked it myself!
Alice: We all saw it, Aus! You gave it to Harvey and then... holy crap! He handed it to Chrysti, and she put it on the dresser next door!
See Post 01.07.022
Austin: No, I meant the money, not the button!
Alice: So did I! Who cares about the button? It wasn't even a button! Chrysti moved the money onto the dresser when she sat on Harvey's lap!
She did! 01.07.022
Clint: Obviously she's too cunning for us! She even got a priceless button!
Alice: That's where you're wrong, Stinky, because I took the liberty of pocketing it and putting it in my coin purse. Safe and snug. [pats her pocket] Hey! It's gone!
Charlie: We must go after her! We cannot let her just take all of that money!
: Indeed, Sargent, get the squad moving at once! [Goes after the money]
Alice: [Races to the door] Well, where is it?
Out all day so no posting!
[Everyone gets to the door and spot HARVEY and DUR returning with drinks.]
Alice: I need this! [Grabs one and knocks it back]
Austin: [Takes a weak lemonade and sips it cautiously] Is this locally sourced?
Charlie: [To Harvey] Colonel, perhaps we should check on your wife?
Harvey: We should check on both my wife, and my button. She should have lodged it in the bank by now.
Austin: I'd love to see the button, if possible. We should go straight away before the bank closes.
Dur: Before we have our drinks? I'm sure we're not in THAT great a hurry?
Alice: Yes! We're all big button fans!
[Exit ALL.]
End of scene, next one coming up shortly!
[Book XI, Act I, Scene VIII. The First National Bank of Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY have just stepped into the bank. A man, BERNARD ROCKEFELLER, approaches them quickly.]
Bernard: Ah, Colonel! Good to see you! Good to see you! You seem to have recovered from your accident!

Bernard Rockefeller

Harvey: Mr Rockefella, how are you, good sir! But I'm at a loss as to what you mean? Accident? I've been in no accident!
Bernard: Oh -- well, I must have picked her up wrong. Your good wife was in earlier to withdraw your entire savings to help pay for the treatment after, what did she call it? A grotesque sprout accident?
Harvey: [Going as white as a very white sheet] By the saints, sir, you must be mistaken! She withdrew money for a shrewd investment, but should have returned here a little earlier, with said investment!
Dur: [Aside to the group] Was this all part of our cunning plan?
Charlie: [To Dur] Well, it would have been better to have exposed her in a way that allowed us--I mean, the Colonel--access to his considerable wealth!
Austin: If we can catch them, we can at least get the Colonel's money back! And the button!
Dur: Yeah, but where do we start?
Harvey: I just don't understand! Perhaps she's been forced into a crime against her will! [To Rokefella] What time was she here this morning? Did she look worried and rattled, as if skullduggery was afoot?
Bernard: Actually, she seemed downright perky -- she was in just before lunch. I seem to recall her humming the tune to "Wearin' the money."
Alice: That was just before we met you and her, Harvey!
Clint: What an unexpected development!
Harvey: I must admit, I'm confused and confounded! Perhaps I did have an accident with a sprout which has caused me amnesia of the whole affair!
Charlie: Perhaps you did, Colonel! Certainly, your wife has never done even one single thing that caused you concern? Correct??
Harvey: Absolutely, my dear woman, my dear Chrysti is the very personification of virtue!
Alice: How much cash is left?
Bernard: Er... none!
Harvey: None? By the saints, and what the blue blazes?
Bernard: Well, there is the matter of some unpaid bank charges, which your wife said you would pay once you had, we, recovered.
Austin: [Cautiously] And how much are those charges?
Bernard: I'm sure they're nominal, unless there was some... [flicks through some paperwork and his eyes open wide] Huh. 5000GP? Unusual.
This is a large sum of money!
Harvey: Why that's not a problem...erm, I mean, it would not have been a problem when I woke up. Now however...[pats his pockets].
Alice: You know, I think we should go to the bathroom. [Gives the party a big stagey wink]
Charlie: [To Alice, crossing her arms] You know I do not care for group visits to the bathroom nor the mischief implied therein!
Austin: Great! Lets go! [Looks gleefully happy. To Alice, quietly] What have you got?
Alice: One cool friend and one stick-in-the-mud!
Bernard: Well, there is a bathroom just down the hall, but...
: [To Bernard] I say, why are the bank charges so high, fellow? I've been a good customer to this branch and bank, what!
Bernard: It's the standard charge to convert a bajillion gold pieces to untraceable currency. Your wife said she needed it like that for doctors and stuff.
Alice: Harvey! Bathroom! Now!
Bernard: Plus, with the skyrocketing costs of toilet paper, our expenses are on the rise.
Clint: Obviously people should just use back issues of Science 'n' Stuff instead. Keep costs down, man!
Harvey: [To Alice] Yes indeed.
Alice: Don't be so crazy, Stinky -- the paper is way too shiny.
[The party cram into the tiny bathroom, which is so small that two of them could fit inside a standard airplane bathroom.]
Alice: Okay, that's better.
Charlie: [Clutching her knapsack protectively] No one is touching my back issues of Science & Stuff!
Alice: Don't worry, I won't make that mistake again.
Clint: Huh. I'd have thought that no one was touching the back issues!
Alice: Not since someone befouled them in the most grotesque way!
Charlie: [Frantically digs into her knapsack, wailing] But I routinely consult the back issues! With my busy schedule, I cannot always be certain I will have access to a well-stocked research library!
[Someone BANGS on the door and a gruff voice calls out.]
Voice: Goons! Hired goons!
Austin: Busy! [To the party] Did someone hire goons?
Harvey: Not me, certainly! [Loudly] This convenience is occupied, what!
Alice: Oh man, I did, but they're early! Maybe if we go quiet they'll think the place is empty?
Voice: Two people just said it is occupied!
Harvey: What's your point, fellow? Twice the confirmation that this stall is occupied!
Charlie: [To Harvey, gasping] Perhaps they are perverts! [To the goons] Are you perverts?!
[The sound of muffled conversation comes from outside before the voice speaks again.]
Voice: 66% of us are not.
Alice: Let's escape out the window -- I figured coming in here to do that would attract less attention.
Dur: Who would hire goons to pursue us into the facilities?
Alice: Well, I hired them, but in my defence, firstly, they are early, second, I never asked them to pursue us in here and third, and most importantly, I thought they were called "Go ons", I mean, they sound funny, don't they? Who wouldn't want a good old go on?
Charlie: Well, if you paid them, can you not simply tell them what to do?! That is why I tip Dur so generously, you know!
Alice: No, Charlie! [As though speaking to a slow child] Then they'll know we're in here! Come on, let's just get out the window. [Starts climbing out, giving everyone an unwelcome confirmation that day is, indeed, Laundry Day]
Harvey: [Looking at the window] I'm not sure we'll all squeeze through, my dear girl.
Alice: [Climbs through and calls back] It's okay, we can do it one by one!
Clint: I wonder...  [Gives the window frame a hefty kick, hoping to boot it out of the way and make more room for Harvey.]
Alas, it doesn't break
Alice: Oh for god's sake, Clint! He's not that big! Come on, stop messing around and get out of there. I need to go to the bathroom!
Harvey: Then why were you the first to climb out of the bathroom, dear girl? [Begins squeezing through the window]
Alice: Good question! [Starts to squeeze back in] Hey! This is way tighter than before! [To Harvey, who is uncomfortably close] Maybe I should wait?
Harvey: If you would be so kind, my dear.
Charlie: [Watching the disaster unfold in the window. Hopefully] Perhaps the goons have gone, and we can leave through the door! [Knocks on the door] Hello?!
Voice: [From outside] Goons!
Alice: Oh my god, Charlie! You'll attract too much attention. Now, quickly, climb out the window while I take a pee over by this bush.
Austin: [Sniffing the air] Do people really use such disgusting water closets, or is this some kind of 'original feature' cultural preservation thing?
Alice: [Making a strange zipping sound and looking quite relaxed] Ah! That's better! Right, are we going back to Harvey's?
Clint: Do we expect to track down Harv's mo... wife from there?
Alice: Mo... hope so!
Charlie: [Unconvincingly] Yes, she surely will be waiting there with all of the Colonel's money and his treasured button!
Austin: [Anxious] We seem to be wasting time as usual, we really should get after the thieves!
[The party race to HARVEY's house only to see a huge moving carriage parked outside.]
Alice: Uh oh!
Harvey: I say, what in the living daylights is going on here? [Rushes towards the carriage]
[The party race after HARVEY and almost collide with GREG GRISWOLD, a geeky looking guy lifting a box out of the carriage.]
Greg: Woah! [Smiles] You folks sure did give ol' Greg a surpriseroonie! Are you a welcoming committee?

Greg Griswold

Harvey: [To Greg] Welcoming committee for what, fellow? What the blue blazes are you doing at my house?
Charlie: [To Greg] Who hired you for this moving job? [Disapprovingly] You really do not seem properly equipped for it!
Alice: And that cardigan, yeesh, Greg, that's fooling no one!
Greg: Uh, no one hired me -- this is my house. Myself and the Missus just bought it. We're moving in today!
Charlie: [To Greg] From whom did you buy it?!
Harvey: [Incredulous] What are you talking about? This is my house, what!
Greg: [To Charlie] From the most lovely lady. She's a widow, though, quite sad. [Lowly] She did say that her estranged father might turn up, though. Is this him?
Austin: [Gesturing to Harvey] No, this is her husband, and as you can see he is not dead.
Harvey: Honestly, is this some sort of terrible nightmare?
Greg: Maybe it is, but I have legal documents showing this house is mine! Rather conveniently, I have them here in my pocket. I like to keep them close as I was so thrilled to get such a nice house at such a great price. [Shows some documents]
Austin: [Very interested] Ohh. Let me see them please. [Takes the documents and checks them carefully]
[Judging by AUSTIN's reaction, these are most definitely legit.]
Greg: See?
[A carriage approaches at speed and skids to a halt. CHRYSTI looks out and blows a kiss.]
Chrysti: You never should have tried to scam me!
[The carriage zooms off.]
Dur: Wow! What a surprising turn of events! [Clearly defeated] Oh well, nothing left to do about it, eh gang? Lunch?
Alice: Forget that! Let's chase her!
Austin: [Looks around for a fast looking carriage] Let's go!
awa hame
Alice: [Leaping into the drivers seat of the moving carriage] Come on!
Greg: Er.. um, excuse me...
Dur: Yes. You are excused good man. [Jumps into the carriage] Now carry on about your business!
[The carriage ZOOMS off, leaving a shocked GREG in its wake.]
Alice: Yeeeeeha!
End of scene, next one coming up on Monday!
[Book XI, Act I, Scene IX. The Streets of Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY cling on for dear life as the moving carriage flies through the streets, leaving a trail of furniture and precious Griswold family mementos behind them.]
Alice: This thing is slow, but it seems to be getting faster! [Points at Chrysti's carriage in the distance] Are we going to be able to catch her?
Austin: [Holding on for his life] Only if you give it a bit more juice!
Charlie: [To Austin] We must throw more heavy items from the carriage!
Austin: Make it so, Sarge!
[A woman, ANNA GRISWOLD, appears from the back of the carriage, struggling to stay standing.]
Anna: Er, hello? Sorry to bother you and all, but I think you may have taken the wrong carriage.

Anna Griswold

Clint: Not from where I'm standing! Does this thing have a turbo feature?
Dur: Perhaps we could toss the tart?
Alice: Hey!
Anna: I’m awfully sorry to inconvenience you but that is our precious family belongings that are falling out!
Clint: Maybe you'd better get off and collect them!
Anna: Well, yes, that's a potentially useful and, er, constructive suggestion, but we are moving rather quickly, aren't we?
Austin: Yes, it agree that it would me most dangerous for you to try to disembark at present. Perhaps you should wait until the carriage stops?
Charlie: Yes, and in the meantime, perhaps you could point out some of the heavier objects in your collection?
Anna: Will, there is that beloved metal statue of Grandpa Griswold, but we couldn't part with that!
No posting today, stuck at
a conference!
Alice: Is that the life sized one of the bearded guy wrestling a bear?
Anna: No, that's Grandma Griswold!
Charlie: [Goes to lift the Grandma statue] Really? The other one is heavier than this one?
Can Charlie heft it alone?
Harvey: I’ll give you a hand with that, my dear woman! [Grabs one side of the statue]
Austin: You should let one of the staff do that, you could injure yourself, and it's not covered in your policy!
Anna: [Mournfully] It's only slightly heavier!
[Thunk! Out goes GRANDMA GRISWOLD, causing the carriage to speed up.]
Charlie: [Watching the statue] Splendid! [To Harvey] Now, shall we find Grandpa and decide for ourselves which statue has the greater weight?!
Anna: [Defensively standing in front of what appears to be a statue of a female with short hair] No! I mean, it isn't here.
Harvey: Please step aside, my dear! It is imperative that we catch up with the coach in front! Imperative, I tell you!
Anna: Why? Are you some sort of... desperados? Some sort of ... [licks her lips salaciously] dangerous criminals?
Austin: We are knights, tasked with saving the Realms. Some may think of us as Desperadoes, and some even refer to us as criminals, but they have psychiatric issues.
Anna: So you ARE criminals! How exciting!
Harvey: Well, you seem quite excited by the prospect!
Anna: [Liberally throwing stuff out] Quick! Grab that chest -- it has Greg's concrete block collection in it!
Dur: What? I don’t see how this will help, but I suppose if you insist… [Grab’s Anna’s chest] Now what do I do?
Anna: Whatever you want!
Alice: [Looking back in the mirror] Oh my god, Dur! What the hell is going on back there?
Dur: [Still gripping Anna's chest] I have no idea!
Alice: Make him stop!
Harvey: [To Dur] I say, stop that behaviour immediately, what and help me with this other chest! [Grabs one side of the chest]
Dur: [Obviously still confused and trying to grab for Alice’s chest] This chest?!
Charlie: [Horrified, gently but firmly smacks Dur on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper] Stop that at once!
Dur: [Clearly frustrated] Well if you all would be more clear with your instructions, perhaps I could be more helpful!
Anna: [Aggressively] Yeah! He's doing his best, you know! [Grabs the large wooden chest] Quickly, lover, help me throw this over.
Clint: You heard the lady, Doc! [Helps throw out anything he can.]
Heading out for a week tomorrow afternoon, by the way.
Alice: We're gaining! She's just pulled into that alleyway up there!
Anna: [Excited] Let's fuck the bitch up! [Looks at the party] Er... too much? [Awkwardly] That was too much, wasn't it? It's like when I first discovered scrap booking and took out a second mortgage so we could finance a scrap booking business.
Charlie: [To Anna, taken aback] Er, yes, why don't you stay behind in the carriage, to prevent it being stolen by brigands!
Harvey: You’re an in for a penny, in for a pound type of person eh!
: A little bit too muc
Anna: [Beaming] That's right! And no one's gonna steal our carriage on my watch!
[The party enter the alleyway and see CHRYSTI's carriage parked at the side of the road.]
Alice: [Stopping the carriage] Uh, didn't we steal yours just a few minutes ago?
Anna: Sure, but I wasn't really on watch then.
Harvey: Come along group, we are close to finding out what the blue blazes is going on here in Paranoia with my good wife!
Alice: [To the party] I think he's getting paranoid -- we're in Nostalgia!
[The party approach the carriage. It is dead quiet.]
Harvey: Gah, I'm getting addled in my old age, what with all of this kerfuffle, what! [Looks into the carriage]
Austin: [Carefully looks into the carriage] Their valet is not up to much!
Alice: Nothing! She must have gone into this house, here.
Charlie: Shall we conduct a bit of reconnaissance? Look for a window!
Dur: I don't know what that word means! Instead of a vocabulary lesson, why don't we see if we can see what is going on while being sneaky and without getting caught? Anyone see a window?
Alice: [Points to the window in the carriage] Here's one!
Harvey: Chrysti may be in danger! I'm sure she's being coerced into these nefarious doings!
Alice: Are you?
Harvey: [Sighs deeply and morosely, scratching a pricklish, ticklish sideburn] Actually, no. I'm beginning to think I've been made both a cuckold, and fool of.
Austin: It looks like you may need a good lawyer [Offers Harvey his card] I would be happy to oblige, the would be a small fee, naturally.
Alice: It probably isn't all that bad, Harvey, you know... oh. [Looks behind the party] Uh, maybe it's best you don't turn around.
Charlie: [Looks around] Oh, dear! What fresh humiliations must fate rain upon this poor old man?!
[A massive hot air balloon floats up. Much to everyone's horror, on it is printed a huge picture of CHRYSTI and SHIMMY having sex.]
Alice: I mean... that could be anyone, right?
Harvey: [Looks at the balloon in shock] By the saints, what sort of deviant mind could conceive of such a thing?
Chrysti: [Peers over the side of the balloon] Thanks, folks, it was a blast! [Tosses what appears to be a small coin over the side]
Harvey: [Drops to his knees] Why? Why have you done this? By the saints, my knees!
Alice: [Grabs the item from the air and looks at it] Un. Be. Lee. Vable.
Harvey: [Painfully getting to his feet] What is it? What did she throw from the balloon? Is it the One Button? Has she displayed a final act of decency?
Alice: Yes! It's the Lost Button of the Duke of Yorkie! We're gonna be rich!
End of Book XI, Act I. Next one up on Monday!
[Book XI, Act II, Scene I. Long John's Shiver. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, about twenty minutes after the last act ended, having realised that the "Grand Old Duke of Yorkie Button" is a total fake. STEVE AHOY approaches.]
Steve: Good news, everyone! I found some Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve!
Charlie: [To Steve] Splendid! And where is the latest issue of Science & Stuff?
Harvey: [Brightens for a moment, before sighing again] Wonderful news if you're giving it away for free, however, if not, I'm afraid I'm woefully embarrassed of funds right now.
Steve: Free? This is the last Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve in Nostalgia, the rest has been impounded by HARMA, along with every episode of Science and Stuff!
Charlie: [Gasps] What?! Why would they do such a thing?
Steve: Apparently Science And Stuff is little more than a thinly veiled tool of the propaganda machine of the Amoral, used to promote unrealistic standards of rigour with scientific investigation and stuff.
Alice: And what about the Sideburn Salve?
Steve: Supposedly little more than a thinly veiled tool of the propaganda machine of the Amoral, used to promote unrealistic standards of beauty.
Harvey: What tosh! It's merely the finest way of making a ticklish, pricklish sideburn, ticklishless and pricklishless!
Austin: [Helpfully] You could shave them off?
Alice: Don't be crazy, Austin -- they're his trademark! You might as well ask Clint to stop being stinky, Dur to stop being pathetic, Charlie to stop talking about books all the time, you to stop preening or me to stop being adorable and everyone's favourite!
Charlie: [To Austin, nodding] Yes, it would be like Alice wearing nice undergarments or making good relationship decisions!
Alice: Hey! I totally have nice underpants! You know...
Tom is away
Clint: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Laundry day, we know. It looks like HARMA are about to try and fill the void left by Wilhelmina?
Austin: That's a little over the top, Mr Scar. They're just boring old grandmother type underwear.
Alice: Spend a lot of time checking out grandmother underwear, do you, Aus?
Austin: Only yours, Alice, you are everyone's favourite.We live in hope.[Sighs]
Alice: Aw! Thanks, Aus!
[The door bursts open. Enter LUCY ANGEL, heavily armed and out of breath.]
Lucy: I need a fast carriage, a fake moustache, some Stylish Sam's Sideburn Salve and two copies of The Journal Of Science and stuff from within the last six months.
Steve: [Puts his hands up] Please don't kill me!
In the party's dimension, Lucy and Austin were
married, only for Jerome to kill her on their
wedding day
Harvey: [Aghast] No, not the Stylish Sams!
: [Stunned] Lucy?
Lucy: Yes. What are you? Some sort of narcotics agent?
: [Surprised] No, I am a Lawyer .
; afk a while
Lucy: That doesn't surprise me. [Snatches the salve] Who's got a fast carriage and wants to get away from HARMA?
Dur: Well, we DO have a carriage, but we were kind of chasing after someone I think…
: Me. [Gets into the carriage]
Clint: The person we were chasing is well and truly gone -- we might as well get out of here before HARMA come!
Charlie: [Eagerly] Oh my, yes! We have no interest in dealing with HARMA! [To the party] To the carriage!
[The party race out.]
Alice: But who has copies of Science and Stuff? I mean, sure, any sane person has a bunch of fake moustaches!
Charlie: Do be serious! I have all but the most recent issues of Science & Stuff! [To Lucy] You are welcome to them, but you must promise me to return them in good condition!
Lucy: No can do, lady. We need these for a bribe.
Harvey: And who are you attempting to bribe, dear woman?
Lucy: The sleaziest, most low-life scientist you could imagine!
Charlie: [Astonished] Not that horrid Horatio Heathcote-Willoughby?! [To the party] He often fails to cite seminal work in the field of Cryptozoology.
Alice: Gasp. How awful.
Lucy: [Momentarily taken aback] Even worse! It's Charles Hilliard-Montgomery-Carthington II.
Alice: You mean Deuce?
Lucy: I believe that's how he likes to be referred to.
Harvey: [To Alice] You know the person this good lady is referring to?
Alice: I was once engaged to him, in a different dimension. [Dreamily] He was just crazy about me.
Charlie: [To Alice, gently] Was he? Was he REALLY?
Alice: Yes! [To Harvey] It was adorable! He even had a scrapbook to plan for our wedding!
Austin: [Looks a little sad at the mention of wedding, glances at Lucy] Are you busy later? Could I interest you in dinner, perhaps?
Lucy: Yes, I'll be busy trying to save the world!
Dur: Of course! You know I would do practically anything for a free meal! [Licks his lips salaciously and bats his eye lids] A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Charlie: [To Dur, sternly] Do keep your pantswich in your pants!
Dur: Well duh! Where else would I keep it?
Alice: Judging by how disgusting they always look, I thought you kept them on the floor behind a dusty cupboard!
Dur: Don't be absurd! That's just where I FOUND several of them.
Harvey: [Shudders] By the saints, and I let you into my house! Into my dining room!
: [to lucy] How are you fixed for after saving the world? Or between saving the world?
Lucy: [To Austin] Probably not hanging out with some needy narcotics agent!
: Great, would you like dine with me then?
Charlie: [To Lucy] Do please ignore the men of this group. They are so easily distracted! Now, do tell me how you know Deuce! [Eagerly] Are you a scientist yourself?!
Austin: [To Charlie, indignant] Considering the fact that the Lucy in our own dimension was very nearly my one and only ever wife, this hardly classifies as an "easy distraction" [Moves to the back of the carriage and sulks, arms folded looking out of the window].
Charlie: [Taken aback. To Austin, in a low voice] Oh, dear! I do apologize, Mr. Sleaze. Here, I shall assist you in your efforts to re-woo your true love! [To Lucy, casually] So, I find well-dressed men who know a GREAT deal about personal grooming products quite appealing, don't you?!
Alice: [Nods at Charlie's words] Especially ones with really nice arms!
Lucy: [Does a double take on Austin on hearing about the marriage] Married? [Sizes Austin up and down before turning to Charlie] More appealing than sulky little narcotics agents, that's for sure. And no, I'm not a scientist -- too risky for my blood.
: [To the party] You definitely do seem to have a complicated background, my good people!
: [Perking up at the praise] Well, we have been saving the Realms for many years, across several dimensions and throughout time. [Ponders] I don't recall the last time we had a whole day off.
Lucy: You're not going to get one off today, either. HARMA are on a sweep!
[Time passes]
Lucy: Or maybe you will take a day off!
Charlie: [Dramatically] Never! Heroism never rests! [To Lucy] Tell us more about these sweeps! Are they targeting scientists? Why is that such a high-risk job?
Lucy: Not just scientists, any voices of reason and logic.
Alice: Hairdressers too?
Lucy: Sure. [To Charlie] The sweeps are where HARMAHarmers are rounded up for re-education.
Charlie: [Gasps] But MY education was superlative! Those monsters!
Alice: Mine too!
[Everyone laughs.]
Alice: Hey!
Lucy: Well then, are you ready to join the Resistance?
Charlie: Almost certainly, though I should like to hear more about your aims and methods, etc. before giving my support, of course!
Lucy: So far it's mainly running away screaming before HARMA sweep us up and kill us.
: I think we can manage that and much much more!
Harvey: Well, I've lost my wife, my house and my money! I'll certainly not also lose my opinions and self worth today! These old bones can move quickly when they need to!
Austin: [To Harvey] Alas, we have heard the evidence, and are in no doubt!
Alice: Alright! We're getting band back together! Let's go!
[No movement.]
Alice: Er, shouldn't someone be in the driving seat?
Austin: Alice, would you like to drive?
Harvey: I'll drive, good people!
Alice: Aw! Don't worry, Aus -- if this Harvey is anything like the original Uncle Harvey, he's almost as good at driving as I am.
[Slowly and deliberately HARVEY puts the carriage in gear and drives off at a painfully slow speed.]
Charlie: [To Harvey] While I applaud your attention to safety, we are fleeing capture from HARMA! Perhaps you could drive a bit faster without compromising safety??
Alice: Oh man! That pedestrian is walking faster than us!
Harvey: Speed kills, good people! A slow coach is a safe coach!
Lucy: Turn left up here. [To the party] Brace yourselves, it's a sharp turn.
Harvey: Why thank you, my dear! [Slows down even more to make the curve]
Clint: C'mon, Harv, drive it like your wife stole it!
Alice: Look! It's a HARMA steamroller chasing us! [Points back at a slow moving steamroller that is starting to make up ground, by about a foot a minute]
[Everyone hangs on as HARVEY rounds the corner.]
Charlie: [Urgently] Now is your chance to get away, Colonel, while they must slow to take the turn! Do hurry!
Alice: Look out! There's a little kid in front of us! We're going to hit him!
[A small child has run into the middle of the road. At the current rate of speed, the party will almost certainly plow into him in the next ten minutes.]
Harvey: By the saints! Out of the way, unruly street urchin!
Clint: I got him, Harv! [Daringly leaps out of the speeding carriage and rushes the child to safety before leaping back on.] Man, that was a close call!
Alice: Well done, Stinky! He could have been killed. In fact, oh! He's back out there again!
[Strange, but true. The urchin, TWISTED OLIVIER, is standing out on the street again.]
Olivier: [To the party] Please sirs, can I some mo'?

Twisted Olivier

Harvey: Move aside idiot urchin, can't you see we're in a rush!
Alice: What the hell is mo'?
[The carriage slowly bears down on him]
Charlie: [Exasperated] Here, you silly urchin! [Tosses a copper on the side of the road in attempt to move the urchin]
[OLIVIER grabs the copper piece and steps back in front.]
Alice: Gah! Er, maybe we could go a tiny bit faster?
Harvey: But if I go faster now, dear girl, I'll hit the young tyke!
Austin: At this rate he'll be in his thirties by the time we hit him!
Clint: But not hard enough to seriously injure him and you'll teach him a valuable life lesson.
accidentally sent to just Colin as#83
Harvey: I'm sure getting stomped on by horses is going to be fatal regardless of speed, what!
Alice: At least it'll teach him a lesson!
Charlie: Indeed! [Wisely] An urchin that cannot take direction with the incentive of a copper piece will soon starve to death.
Harvey: [Looks back to see how far HARMA are] By the saints, certain capture, or certain murder of an urchin! What a conundrum! A conundrum I say!
Alice: Urchin? Or young street tough?
Charlie: [Muses] Likely the former, on his way to becoming the latter. That is, of course, if he takes business opportunities where he finds them and does not starve to death before reaching puberty!
Olivier: [Draws a sword] Mo'.
Harvey: I say, that's uncalled for! He's a young highwayurchin!
Austin: Just keep going, he'll jump out of the way. They always do. In fact, they are pretty hard to hit, even if you are really going for it.
Alice: I don't know, Aus, I've hit loads of urchins, and half the time I wasn't even trying to. Why, once I tried to avoid one and he still got tangled up in the wheel!
: Impressive! Multi talented as ever!
Alice: Well, one doesn't like to brag, but I am just great!
Austin: I thought the adjective 'super', was more appropriate.
Harvey: [Roars at Olivier] Out of the way, blast you! Do you want to put the theory of how luck horse shoes are to the test?
Olivier: [Steps up closer] You wouldn't dare. Mo'.
Austin: Where is this Mo character? [Looks around] It must be his nanny, or some form of chaperone.
Charlie: [To Harvey] Well, we did warn him! Full speed ahead, Colonel!
Alice: Chaaaarge! No mo' mo'!
Austin: It is a disgrace the way the prole abandon their derivatives on the highway. Someone could get hurt! The local constabulary are clearly substandard.
[The HARMA Steam Roller comes screaming around the corner.]
Olivier: [Starts to charge at the carriage] Moooooooo'!
Harvey: By the saints! I can't murder a child! [Attempts to swerve the carriage around Olivier]
Clint: Be sure to grab his sword on the way past! It's not a toy!
[The carriage swerves to avoid OLIVIER and flips up on two wheels before completely falling onto its side and sliding at high speed towards "CHINOS CHINA SHOP"]
Alice: [At the bottom of the pile of party members on one side] I don't want to say I told you so, but I did warn you about the dangers of having anyone other than me driving!
Charlie: [Hanging on for dear life] If YOU were driving, we would also be on fire!
Alice: We are on fire, look! [Tries to strike match but it breaks] Gah!
Harvey: Don't worry good people, I'm sure that china shop will gently stop our progression!
[Enter CHINO MONTANA, a scary looking tough guy with an ugly neck tattoo, stepping out of the China Shop.]
Chino: What the hell? Hey!

Chino Montana

Austin: [Cradling Maplin] Well be okay!
[The carriage hits the unfortunate MANNY and crashes into the side of the shop.]
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act II, Scene II. Chinos China Shop. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and LUCY are in the overturned carriage, which miraculously seems to have had most of the impact absorbed by CHINO.]
Alice: Wow! Who knew that a china shop would be so absorbent?
Chino: Heeelp me....
Austin: [Gets up and tries to help Lucy out] Are you okay?
Charlie: [Takes a look at Chino] Are you seriously injured? [Concerned] And litigious by nature?
Austin: [To Chino, brightly] I can help you.[Gets out his diary] I'll check my schedule.
Harvey: It was all that little urchins fault! Speaking of... [tries to spot where Olivier and the HARMA group are]
Lucy: [As Austin helps her up] I'm fine. Hm, that's a really nice arm.
[The HARMA steamroller is racing towards the party, but there's no sign of OLIVIER.]
Chino: Your carriage is on my chest!
Dur: [Looks around excitedly] Is someone in need of a doctor?
Charlie: [To Dur] Good idea! If he is near death, your intervention will no doubt speed his painful end, at least!
Chino: No, I need a carpenter!
Alice: That's not so bad. Dur knows as much about medicine as the average carpenter does!
Austin: [Carefully rolls back Maplin's sleeve and shows Maplin to Lucy] Thank you. I'm quite attached to him myself.
Lucy: [Nods in approval] Very nice. In fact, one might say, it is exceptional.
Chino: My chest!
Austin: [To Lucy] Yes, it is. [Carefully rolls his sleeve down] Right, what next?
;; away until Monday!
Harvey: [Tries to help Chino]
Charlie: [Goes to assist Harvey. To Chino, hopefully] You DID say you are not litigious, did you not?
Chino: [Standing beside the carriage] That depends on what state my chest is in, doesn't it?
Harvey: Well, your breathing doesn't sound laboured. Are you in much pain?
Chino: Why the hell would my breathing be laboured?
Alice: Well, you said the carriage is on your chest. Although... you are standing beside it.
Chino: It is on my chest!
Clint: And what in this chest is so important that it can't wait until you get someone in here to dismember our carriage?
Charlie: [Intrigued] Oh, DO tell! Perhaps we can help!
Chino: Well, it's certainly not a bunch of body parts, that's for sure!
Harvey: Er, that's a relief to hear.
Charlie: [Quickly] Perhaps we should leave you to your no doubt legal and not at all alarming business, then! [To the party] Hurry, we must escape that slow but steadily encroaching steamroller!
[The party turn to look. The HARMA officers on the slowly approaching steamroller shake their fists angrily at them.]
Dom is out
Austin: Define "bunch".
Chino: [Counts out on his fingers, going around twice] 16.
Austin: [Makes some notes] Anything more than two is probably a felony.
Clint: Maybe you should file a complaint with HARMA? They're just out there...
Chino: Maybe I should, bitch.
Charlie: [To Clint] Now, Mr. Scar, let's not add any limbs to the chest, shall we?! [To Chino] Now, if you'll just point to a back door we can use, we will be on our way!
Dur: [Aside to group] If he is going to report us to HARMA, perhaps we should plant some contraband on him first!
Alice: Well, I don't have any! [Looks around] If only there was some shady type we could buy some off! [Spots Chino] Huh, I bet he has some! We should get some from him and plant it on him!
Charlie: [To Alice] We have no time for shopping! If we linger, we will surely end up in a HARMA jail, with no learning opportunities!
Harvey: I'm sure Harma will find something objectionable with him regardless of whether we plant something or not. They seem to be down on everything!
Alice: Good point -- let's hide in this shop, and, for the love of Phili, be careful, he has loads of really nice, fragile items.
Harvey: I'm sure HARMA will show a lot of respect and caution amongst fragile items, what!
Alice: They better be! [Accidentally knocks over a shelf of beautiful china dogs] Gah!
Austin: HARAMA are a bunch of clumsy oafs! I doubt that they will even manage to stop their steamroller before it hits the shop!
Charlie: [Gasps] Oh, wouldn't that be dreadful?! [Looks around the shop disapprovingly] Though, to be fair, a lot of this is merely clutter for the maid to dust, isn't it?
Austin: Yes. Although I would skip the dusting and just have the whole lot disposed of roughly. They have perfectly awful taste.
Harvey: Indeed, my dear woman, they are a fine source of gainful employment!
Alice: Oh, they love it Charlie, it gives them something to be proud of. [Bends down to look at a grotesque statue of a cat with a preposterous pink bow] Isn't this adorable? [Knocks over another shelf as she does]
Harvey: [Grimaces at the crashing] Perhaps we should be more stealthy in our movements, good people! [Trips and sends a cabinet of porcelain rabbits wearing various disguises and costumes bouncing to the ground]
Austin: [Watching Harvey trash the shop] I'm not so sure, Colonel, we may be doing the world a favour.
Charlie: [Looks at the cat Alice is holding] Ooooh, how precious! [Races to grab the cat and knocks over a row of vases shaped like bowling pins]
Alice: You clumsy oaf! You just broke all their porcelain butt plugs! [Throws her hands up in dismay, dislodging a suspended shelf fill with delightful porcelain angels that rain down upon the party]
Austin: [Catching a porcelain cat, frowning at it then throwing it on the floor] Shall we get moving!
Clint: [Looking around the devastated shop with evident satisfaction.]
Harvey: Yes indeed! We should leave before HARMA arrive and destroy this poor shop owners livelihood, out of a fit of badness!
Alice: God, it's just the sort of mean spirited thing they would do.
Chino: [Urgently] Take my chest, please -- HARMA will destroy it, and the fate of the Realms could depend on it.
Austin: [To Clint] Mr Scar, could you bring the chest please [Looks around for the chest]
Charlie: [Intrigued] Ooooh, what does the chest contain?! How can we use it to save the realms??
Chino: Just get it to The Panther. He'll know what to do with it.
Alice: Cool! Is he a real panther? Can he talk? Is he like that king in the Lion King?
Chino: No! First off, the king in the Lion King was a lion, and anyway, The Panther isn't a real panther, it's a codename because, you know what, forget it, I'll find someone else.
Alice: [Steps in front of the chest so Clint can grab it] Is our chest now!
Austin: [Casually checks his nails] Don't worry, we'll get it to The Panther. Saving the Realms is what we do best.
Harvey: And where would me meet this Panther?
Chino: There's not enough time to tell you! [Grabs a china dog and runs out to confront the HARMA steam roller] Bring it on! Bring it on!
Alice: Er, maybe we should look for a back exit?
Charlie: Indeed, let us take advantage of this convenient distraction! [Heads for the back of the store]
[Everyone races to the back of the store, somehow knocking over even more delightful ornaments. However, there's no exit to be found.]
Alice: Let's check what he meant.
[The party race to the front and call out to CHINO, who's still waiting for the steamroller. He dashes over.]
Chino: Sorry, I should have told you, the back way out is actually upstairs. There's a split level road system in Nostalgia.
Dur: [Hopefully] And perhaps there is time for brunch whilst we run for our lives?
Harvey: Sadly, it seems there is no time for breakfast, brunch, elevenses, lunch, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner or supper! [Heads for the stairs]
Austin: Oh, are you on the micro eating mini-meals dietary program? I have heard that is it wonderful for your energy levels!
Chino: [Races towards the steam roller again] Is that all you got? [Stops and comes back to the party] Actually, there's some sandwich stuff in the fridge, you'll pass it on the way out. [Races back one more time] You bastards! [Thinks of something and turns to the party] Oh, by the way --
[SQUELCH! CHINO gets knocked down by the steamroller.]
Charlie: [Wincing] To the stairs, group! We cannot let this poor flat fool's sacrifice be in vain!
Austin: [Heads up the stairs] It probably already was! Lets get out of here!
;awa hame
Clint: [Lugging the chest as best he can] We could use some clever disguises, don't you think? To go with Dur's snacks.
Alice: We could use those moustaches from... uh, what moustaches? I'm sure I don't know anything about moustaches!
Harvey: Moustaches you say? Like the ones those sellers of the One Button had? Damned fine facial growth, I must say! But only a dolt would fail to recognise a false moustache, what!
Alice: Did they? Oh... interesting, because, you know, we didn't see them, of course!
Austin: Indeed. [Checks his nails briefly]
Charlie: Of course, HARMA is run by dolts, so perhaps false mustaches would suit very well!
Austin: If only one of use had some left over from a fancy dress party or something!
Harvey: Are they looking specifically for you? I mean, would wearing a false moustache disuade their interest or tomfoolery? And how would you disguise the chest?
Alice: [Slaps a fake moustache on the chest] Oh no! Where's the chest? No one knows!
Austin: Shall we get a move on? [Puts on a fake moustache and a fedora. In a croaky voice] Oldest game in the world! Let's find this Panther then!
Dur: [Puts a moustache on his forehead so it looks like he has a unibrow] Am I doing this right?
Alice: Wow, that's actually something of an improvement, Dur!
Charlie: [To Alice] There is no time to assuage Dur's crushing insecurity about his clear and demonstrable unattractiveness just now! Upstairs, quickly!
Dur: Awww! But there's NEVER time for that! [Sulks up the stairs]
Clint: Don't worry, doc, they're just running a standard play from "Keep Him Down - A Woman's Guide to Happiness." But our time will come!
Harvey: [Scratches a ticklish, pricklish sideburn] What an odd group, what! [Heads up the stairs] We must be away!
[The party race towards the back door.]
Alice: Uh, is that blood dripping out of the chest?
: It's probably fake Halloween blood! [Puts on some latex gloves and checks to see if he can open the chest]
Charlie: [Helps Austin examine the chest] Is it locked?
Alice: It's nailed shut!
[LUCY is at the door.]
Lucy: Come on, quickly! There's a carriage outside that we can steal. [Opens the door to reveal a carriage parked across the way.]
[The carriage has "Nostalgia Home For Special People" and is painted with all sorts of adorable colours and smiling animals.]
Harvey: By the saints, we certainly won't go incognito in that carriage!
Lucy: What do you suggest? We take that invisible one instead?
Dur: Is that an option?
Charlie: [To Dur, scolding] Do be serious! If the carriage is invisible, it would reveal its quite visible passengers inside, leaving us even more vulnerable!
Clint: If there really is any invisible carriage, we're taking it and that's final!
Harvey: And surely the sight of a group of people floating past on the road would give even the most jaded of HARMA soldiers cause for pause, enabling our escape!
Austin: [To Lucy] That carriage looks just fine or our purposes.[To the others] We are trying to be discrete, after all. [heads over to the carriage]
Alice: Invisible carriage! The very idea is completely -- [bangs into something unseen] ow!
[AUSTIN quickly establishes that the carriage is open.]
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, can it be?! An invisible carriage?? [To Alice, skeptically] Or is this a bit like the imagined [finger quotes] laundry day that never comes?
Alice: I think it might be! Although, if it's invisible, how do we find the door?
Harvey: And we do have to hitch up an invisible horse, or does one come preinstalled?
Alice: Good question! Or maybe it's just a normal, non-invisible horse!
Charlie: [Tentatively feels around for a horse attached to the carriage] Let's try to investigate!
Alice: Surely there's no such thing as an invisible horse!
[There's a tremendous crashing from the china shop.]
Lucy: That certainly sounded like a steam roller crashing through a china shop to me!
Austin: [Tries to find the door to the invisible carriage and get in] At least they wont be able to see our plates in this!
Clint: [Feeling around for a door] Do we have any way of slowing them down? Cute kids with a bouncy ball, that sort of thing? Although maybe HARMA would just run them down out of spite, whereas when we do that it's just incompetence.
Harvey: I say, I didn't hit that young urchin with the carriage, I tell you! Now, lets try to get this chest in the carriage and be on the off, what!
Alice: Maybe you should have! Then they might be too preoccupied with scraping him off the street to chase us! [To Austin] Did you get some plates too? I hope they're a stylish as mine! [Shows a grotesque "Pelvis Cressley" memorial plate] Isn't it great?
Bank holiday here today, so no posting from us!
: [Shudders at the sight of the awful china] It does grate somewhat. How long will it be before it's broken?
Charlie: [To Alice, scolding] We are not common criminals! [Brandishes the pieces of the porcelain kitten figurine Austin smashed] I only took this, for instance, because it was in the trash!
Alice: Never! I wouldn't be as careless as Charlie was with her china cat.
[ALICE gently places the plate where she thinks the roof of the invisible carriage is. The plate smashes to the ground.]
Alice: Oh my god! We're never going to be able to get into this thing, and even if we could, they will be able to see us and there's no horse!
Harvey: Well then, let us take the other one. Someone else can drive this time. My high speed driving skills are over for one day!
Alice: I'll drive! [Races to the carriage] ;; End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act II, Scene III. The "Nostalgia Home For Special People" carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and LUCY are her. ALICE whips the horses and everyone grabs on for dear life.]
Alice: Yah! Giddee up! Yeeha! We're motoring now!
[Slowly the party realise that they're not moving.]
Alice: Hey! What's going on? [Pokes one of the horses with the whip] I don't think these are real horses!
Harvey: By the saints! [Gets out of the carriage and examines a horse, knocking on its head] Are horses usually hollow?
Dur: [Pokes his head out of the carriage] They are if you scoop all their internal organs out for some of mom's homemade glue soup! [Lick's his lips] Those were the good ol days!
: what did you use the glue for?
Dur: We ate it, of course! What else would you use glue for?
Charlie: [To Harvey] Hollow?! Oh my, are they Trojan?!
[HARVEY, who somehow managed to reach the horse simply by reaching out, tries to open the carriage door to get a better look, only to find it is locked.]
Alice: Oh no! Maybe it's a Trojan carriage!
: [tries to get out of the carriage, pick the locks of necessary] Its a trap!
[AUSTIN fumbles around but there are no locks! The carriage slowly starts to move backwards.]
Alice: This has got to be the weirdest trap we've ever been caught in -- and we've been caught in lots!
Harvey: [Laughs loudly] A special trap for special people, eh!
Clint: No one cages us like this! [Tries to boot his way out of the carriage] Then again, there's a first time for everything.
Austin: Who is driving? [Rolls his eyes] This never happens when you own your own cab.
out for the rest of the day
Charlie: Judging from the erratic nature of our route, I assumed Alice was driving!
Alice: Wow! Maybe I am driving? Maybe I'm so good at it I can be both here and driving?
[CLINT uselessly kicks against the door as soothing music starts to play.]
Alice: Or maybe not. I'd never play such awful music!
Clint: I see they're starting early with the torture!
[A voice so soothing that it makes the party want to kill someone starts to speak.]
Voice: Okay everyone, we're on the way home!
Harvey: Home? What home? Mine is gone, sold through skullduggery to some miscreant!
Charlie: [Worried] Oh, dear. Are we being shipped to the home for Specials?!
Harvey: Ooh, that sounds quite satisfactory! Hopefully they'll serve a breakfast special!
Alice: Oh. I thought we might get a special breakfast special.
Voice: It's all okay, everyone needs to calm down.
: This is bad. Very very bad.
Charlie: [To Austin] Agreed! Let us try to take control of this dreadful carriage! [Tries to find a convenient manual override switch]
Voice: No need to worry... everything is fine...
[The party frantically search for a switch.]
Voice: Hey! Stop that! Chill! CHIIILLLLLLLL!
Austin: [Continues searching for a way out] Hurry!
Dur: [Panicking even more] Where is the disembodied voice coming from!
Alice: It's not disembodied, you fool, that was Austin!
Voice: [Deafening] CHIIIILLLLLLL!
Harvey: [Loudly] It's far too warm for that, I tell you! This carriage is quite enclosed and stuffy!
Voice: CHIILLLL! It only feels like that because of the crazy purple knockout gas.
Alice: Well, I don't see any -- oh, there it is. That's purple gas alright.
Harvey: [Sniffs at the gas] Hmm, well, I for one don't feel in the least bit tired!
Charlie: [Gasps] Group, try to break the windows! [Tries to kick out the nearest window]
[With surprising dexterity, CHARLIE kicks the nearest window out.]
: Let's go! [Tries to dive out of the window]
[AUSTIN valiantly, and perhaps, foolishly, dives out the window, disappearing into darkness.]
Lucy: [Fans herself] What a man! [Leaps out after him]
Clint: Bah.  A real man kicks out the door!  [Assists Harvey and the others on their way through the window.]
So after three days of trying I've managed to get a person to
actually show up and repair the washing machine. No more living like my great-grandparents for me!
Charlie: Indeed, kicking a window is much more elegant! [Dives out the window]
Tom, if washin' your drawers in the crick was
good enough for Grandpappy, it's good enough
for you!
Harvey: By the saints, life with you people is certainly not dull!
;; Tom, if washin' your drawers in the crick was
;; good enough for Grandpappy, it's good enough
;; for you!
Laundry day!
Alice: Wait until Charlie starts showing you photos of her Science and Stuff Journal collection, then it'll be dull. [Leaps through] Yeeeeeee--
[ALICE glides through the window into what appears to be the same interior, where the rest of the party are with the addition of a super scary looking clown, PENNY DIM.]
Penny: Welcome! [Roars with laughter, a high pitched, evil, unnerving laugh]
Alice: What? What's so funny?

Penny Dim the Clown

Harvey: [To Penny, surprised] I say, where the blue blazes did you spring from? What is this?
Charlie: Indeed, you appear to be a clown, but your manner and dress suggest you might be a grotesque nightmare, instead! [To Penny, brightly] No offense!
: [To the clown] Are you on your way to a children's party?
Penny: I've just come from one -- it was a Party of Dooooooom!
Harvey: I've been to one of those! They served carrot cake! I mean, who in their right minds would make cake out of carrot! What next, brussel sprout ice cream?
Dur: Honestly, most parties we attend BECOME parties of doom too…
: It doesn't usually happen before we arrive!
Penny: It's happening now, bitch! Your poor arm, Austin!
[AUSTIN holds up MAPLIN to reveal that his arm is covered in sores and pus.]
: [Sees Maplin and freezes, hardlyable to breath] H. H, how!
Alice: Ew! Maybe it was the crazy purple gas? Should we get Dur to poke it with a stick?
Charlie: [To Alice, sharply] For Phili's sake, do you want him to die as well as lose his arm?!
: [Deep in shock, protects Maplin from Dur and the other] Call an ambulance!
Alice: [Catches glance of her reflection in a window] Aieeee! My hair! It's... it's...
[It has turned a really sad mousey brown colour.]
Harvey: Er, what's wrong with it?
Clint: My god, Bimbo, did you forget to bleach?
: [Leaning in to look at Alice's hair, only to recoil] Did you run out of conditioner! Are those head lice?
Alice: No, no, [to Clint] no, I don't bleach, [to Harvey] aw, thanks Uncle Harvey, but as you know, I'm a [huge emphasis] natural blonde. My hair shouldn't be THIS colour!
Clint: On the bright side, with your new guests at least we know Dur won't go hungry!
Alice: [Scratching her head] What guests? And where did you get that suit?
[CLINT appears to wearing the exact same suit as AUSTIN.]
Clint: [Looking down at his spiffy and somehow not-yet destroyed suit.] Hmm.  I look outstanding in this.  Great taste in clothes, lawyer!  [Frowns quickly.]
Charlie: [Looks at Clint appraisingly] How wonderful! I applaud your attempts to professionalize your appearance. Now, I urge you to do more about your personal hygiene, manners, and education. [Excited] Let us begin with education!
Harvey: I say, this has all taken a very odd turn, what! [To Penny] What’s your deal, you clown!
Penny: You're pretty uppity for a man who's sideburns are starting to moult!
[It's true. HARVEY's normally magnificent sideburns are starting to look sad and disgusting.]
Harvey: [Holding a large tuft of whiskers between his fingers, aghast] By the saints, look! I’m coming undone! This, this is what happens when I’m denied my Stylish Sam!
Alice: It's about to get worse -- Charlie's going to educate Clint!
Harvey: [In a panic] Does anyone have any glue? You there! [To Dur] You mentioned earlier that you and your mother made glue, do you have any left? Check your pockets man, this is an emergency!
: [Closely examining Maplin] Is the ambulance here yet?
Charlie: [To Austin] Oh, it will heal naturally, no doubt! [To Clint, excited] Now, let us begin your lesson! We shall begin with--what's the word--[dismayed] Wait, what IS the word I am trying think of? [Gasps] Did I just end a sentence with a--[turns pale] proposition?
: Yes. Please call an ambulance for me. I am dying.
Alice: If it was a proposition, you need to make it a bit clearer. Maybe open the top button or... four of that shirt?
Lucy: [Hiding under a seat] Help! Help!
: [Panics to help Lucy] What is it? Are you okay? [Tries to help her up]
Charlie: But what about me?! I have turned into a blithering idiot, leaving all of you with no one to guide you. [Wails] I don't remember how to use footnotes anymore!
: What are you wittering about Sargent? Have you also forgotten that I am the group leader! [Rolls his eyes. Gets down to see if he can help Lucy]
Dur: [Looks around bewildered] What has gotten in to all of you?!
Lucy: [To Austin] Keep away from me! Germs, everywhere! Everywhere!
Alice: [Reassuringly to Charlie] It's okay, the number is written under your show. That's how you know what size it is. [To Dur] It's crazy, it's like the thing we're most proud of has been taken away from us! [Thinks] Yet you seem the same!
Dur: Maybe it's because I feel nothing but shame! Oy, clown, care for a pantswich? [Tries to assault their foe with a slimy mess from his pants.... the pantswich that is...]
[DUR reaches into his pants and grabs the first piece of grotesque meat he finds there, throwing it hard at PENNY. To everyone's surprise, but most of all DUR's, it is a delicious looking steak. PENNY grabs it and bites into it.]
Penny: Mm! Delish!
Clint: You fiend!  You may make Harv's whiskers fall out, you can turn Alice's hair brown, you can make Chuck an idiot.  You can even make me be nice to the lawyer!  But eating Dur's pants-meat is beyond the pale!
Alice: It's not brown, Clint, it's some sort of grotesque mousey brown. I swear, I've never seen that colour before in my life!
Charlie: [Wails] Even Clint can tell my intelligence has dimin--er . . . becomed worser! [Buries her head in her hands in despair]
: [Bandages Maplin. Then Tries to help Lucy] Here, have some fresh latex gloves and a new packet of Little Prince Baby wipes.
Harvey: [To Lucy] While you're down there, can you see if any of my sidburn hairs have dropped to the floor?
Alice: Why did he even throw the pantswich at him? What an idiot! [Turns to Charlie] No offence!
Lucy: [Screams] Stop touching me!
: No one is touching you! [Looks for a way out] How do we get out of here?
Charlie: [Unhappily] How should I know?!
Dur: Hey, give me that steak back! [Goes after the clown in a jealous rage]
[DUR leaps on the CLOWN, only to discover that it has disappeared, and he has hit the ground hard.]
Alice: [To Charlie] Oh, stop being so sulky, at least your hair is a nice... well, as least you hair isn't mousy brown!
Clint: Austin, what should we do to escape this hell?
: [Searches for a way out] Try to escape this carriage!
Alice: Hey! Why are you asking him? Why don't you ask me? I have loads of good ideas! [Thinks for a moment] Toasted sandwich maker with an alarm clock -- that way you could wake up to toasted sandwiches!
[AUSTIN searches but the carriage seems well and truly secure.]
Charlie: [To Alice] It's a good way to get crumbs in your bed, anyway! [To Penny] Are you doing all of these [searches for a word in vain] not nice things to us?!
Alice: She's getting worse! That clown disappeared when Dur jumped on him!
That's true!
: [Sits quietly, holding Maplin carefully]
Alice: Hey! Have you all gone crazy? Come on, let's smash this place up!
Austin: Excellent idea, Alice, let's smash it to pieces [Gets out his dagger and tries to stab holes in the walls or doors] Come on Mr Scar, put that boot of yours to good use!
Charlie: [Sighing heavily] So, in addition to imagining clowns, I am also following Alice's orders?! [Glumly kicks at a window]
: No Charlie, it's not that bad, you are still just taking orders from me.
[The party lay into the furniture, windows and anything they can get their hands on. After a few minutes, they step back to observe their handiwork.]
Alice: What the hell? It looks the same!
It does!
Austin: Plan B anyone? [Searches around carefully] There must be some way out!
[The door carriage swings open.]
Clint: [Fawningly] Good job, Austin!
Charlie: [To Austin, nodding at Clint] Did you drug him?!
Alice: You think he'd have used a drug that would make him quieter! Come on, let's get out of here!
End of scene. Next one coming up on TUESDAY.
Hi folks, Slight change of plans -- we'll start TOMORROW, for sure! Regards, Conor ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ On Wednesday, November 6, 2019 9:50 AM, Conor Ryan
;; End of scene. Next one coming up on TUESDAY.
[Book XI, Act II, Scene IV. The Soft Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and LUCY are here, having just exited the carriage. The room is fairly large, with loads of brightly coloured bean bags and other super soft furnishings, as well as restful scenes of meadows and lakes on the walls. Soothing Dolphin noises waft through some unseen speaker system.]
Alice: [Looks around] What the hell is going on? Hey! My hair is back to normal!
Everyone feels their normal self again!
Harvey: [Rubs his pricklish ticklish sideburns] Ah, bless my boots, my mutton chops are back! [Gives a massive sigh of relief]
Charlie: [Overjoyed] And, more importantly, my intelligence is again as keen as ever! [Surveys the room skeptically] What is this place? It looks like the room of a simple-minded child!
Alice: [Throwing herself into a huge beanbag] What do you mean? This place is neat!
Austin: [Sighs in relief at seeing Maplin back to normal] We are in a padded cell. A rather upmarket one. [Looks around and searches for exits or things]
Alice: Not again! I mean... padded cell? What's that?
[AUSTIN searches around but there are no obvious exits, and even the entrance has been replaced by a wall with a luscious wallpaper.]
Austin: It is usually when the state looks after people with mental health or severe behavioural issues, however, in this case it looks like it is being used to torture us. [Goes to check Lucy] Are you okay? Is this room clean enough for you?
Harvey: [Bangs on the wall] I say, I say! What's going on here? Some people here need to use your restroom, what!
Charlie: This is an outrage! My mental acuity has returned, but I have no access to a world-class library! [Calls out] Why are we detained?! We demand legal representation!
Alice: If only we had a lawyer!
Lucy: I'm a lawyer, and quite an excellent one at that. [To Austin] I'm quite fine, thank you.
: I too am a lawyer. It seems that my colleagues still have some memory loss.
Lucy: I find one's colleagues often fail to appreciate one's legal career.
Alice: Oh please. I'm sure we'd remember something like memory loss!
Clint: After the trauma we've just experienced I should hope so!
Austin: [Agreeing with Lucy] Indeed. This rabble barely understands the basics of law, let alone the exceptional talent it takes to be a lawyer. I have a J.D., an L.L.M and an S.J.D., and I'll probably need all of those to keep this lot out of trouble.
Charlie: [Wryly] Well, it hasn't helped us from becoming trapped in this candy-colored nightmare, has it?!
Harvey: Did that man just say he's got an STD? [To Austin] You should probably get that looked at what! You don't want anything dropping off at an importune time!
Austin: [Looks towards the heavens] Sometime I wonder if the world is worth saving! [Sighs]
Alice: Don't worry Aus, the doctors will find a cure! [Goes to rub his arm reassuringly but pulls back] Er, there there.
Harvey: [Sits down on a soft foot stool] I must admit, good people, this has been a very strange day!
Austin: We will prepare our legal case against our kidnappers. [Starts some paperwork]
Charlie: [To Harvey] Yes, and getting stranger by the minute! But we must not get too comfortable. We must be alert and ready to escape. [Searches around the room, looking for anything to suggest an exit]
Alice: [Peers happy looking murals of sheep frolicking in the meadows] Hey, does that sheep look a bit like Clint? See? His eyes kind of follow you around... you know, like his looking at your chest and thinks you don't notice?
Charlie: [Goes to examine the pervy sheep more closely] It does not smell like Mr. Scar, in any case!
: [Pokes the percy sheep in the eyes] Take that, pervy lamb!
Dur: You do have to admit though, it will be pretty hard for HARMA to find us in here!
Alice: I don't know. It depends on whether or not HARMA are running this place!
[There's a sickening SQUELCH as AUSTIN pokes the eye.]
: [Recoils from the eye] That eye is disgustingly realistic! [Pokes the other eyes]
Clint: Hopefully it isn't realistic because it's someone's actual eye...
[AUSTIN pokes too slowly, and jabs what appears to be timber.]
Alice: Huh. I wonder why the first one sounded so squelchy?
Harvey: Hmm indeed, dear girl! [Gets up from the footstool and quickly jabs the same eye as Austin]
Charlie: [Sighs wistfully] All of this eye prodding puts me in mind of my early dates with Pestilence! Though, really, he was more of a gouger than a prodder.
Alice: Ah yes, I remember the first time someone gouged out eyes for me... actually, no I don't, because it never happened!
[HARVEY pokes at the other eye, but it is also solid now.]
Austin: [Makes some notes. Tries to carve out an eye with his dagger] Some one is spying on us! Yet another crime!
Charlie: [Alarmed] What if it is a scared fellow prisoner?! We must not be rash in our eye gougings!
Austin: If I make a new hole, you can look through and check.
Dur: [Stomach rumbling] And if you come away with a gouged eyeball, can I have it? 
Alice: If you can make a hole, why don't we just climb out of it?
Austin: It's an eye hole. Even your svelte figure would have difficulty in squeezing though an eye hole.
Harvey: [Gives the wall a mighty kick and listens for any movement outside]
Alice: Maybe he has something even more svelte he could stick into your hole, Aus?
[HARVEY kicks the wall and his foot bounces off.]
Lucy: I see know why the walls are padded.
Gone for the weekend!
Charlie: [Examines the padded walls] Can we remove the padding? Perhaps there is something underneath!
Alice: Good idea! [Draws her sword and sticks it into the padding] Hey! Since when was my sword made of rubber?
Austin: Are you sure that's the correct 'sword'?
Harvey: [Attempts to rip some padding off the wall] This is all most curious. I'm beginning to think I'm in a dream!
Charlie: [Joins in trying to rip the padding off the walls] I can assure you, Colonel, this is not a dream! I never dream about the rest of you! [Flattered] Perhaps I am playing a starring role in YOUR dream?
Dur: I hope not! Any dreams I have starring the rest of you always turn out to be nightmares!
[Everyone's weapons have turned to rubber.]
Alice: Are they really dreams, Dur? Or are they more fan fiction?
Dur: They're nightmares! [Looking at the now rubbery weapons] But, come to think about it, none of them are nearly as scary as traveling with you all in real life!
[As the party continue to hammer against the padded walls with their rubber swords, the entire wall with the painting slides up to reveal window, through which LUNI DIM, a less scary clown than PENNY DIM, and TOONIE DIM, a scary clown with an eyepatch, look impassively.]
Alice: Hey! What are those clowns up to?

Luni Dim

Toonie Dim

: They appear to be terrifying and intimidating us. And succeeding.
Harvey: [Stops tugging at the padding] You there, clowns, this is not funny!
Clint: They're clowns, Harv. They're not meant to be funny.
Luni: Interesting how they seem to know there is more than one of us.
Toonie: If only those idiots knew we could see everything they are doing.
Harvey: [To the group, quietly] I'm not sure they know we can both hear, and see them, the stupid clowns!
Clint: That's clowns for you!  Haw!
For the record, I am part of the sane fraction of the populace who
thinks clowns are seriously, seriously creepy.
Alice: Maybe we can use that to our advantage? Trick them in some way? Maybe... hit one in the face with a custard pie? Or a brick?
Charlie: [Loudly, racing to the corner nearest the window] Group, look at this! I have found a way out!
The goal here is to find a corner that isn't visible or
as visible to the creepy clowns, so whichever corner
that seems to be is the one she'll race toward.
Alice: Yay! Well done Charlie!
[Everyone races to the corner, which is on the same wall that the clown window is. The clowns strain to see what the party are doing.]
Luni: What are they doing? What has she found?
Charlie: [Whispers to the others] Let us try to convince them that we are on the verge of escape. Perhaps that will lure them into entering the room, revealing the real exit!
: That's handy, was that exit right in front of us all this time!
Harvey: By the saints, how did we miss that? [Exageratedly slaps his forehead with his palm]
Alice: Where is it? I can't see it!
Charlie: [To Alice, loudly] Do be serious! Even an aged person like the Colonel can see it, you silly girl. Hurry, let us escape at once!
Dur: Here, let me go first! [Attempts to mime going down stairs with the party between himself and the voyeuristic clowns]
Luni: [Gasps] What the hell? How come we never saw those stairs there before!
Clint: That's our Dur, always bravely leading the way into the unknown! What a guy!
accidentally sent only to Kevin
Austin: Well, whose next? [Looks grimly down at the stair] It looks dark down there.
Harvey: Perhaps that's where they've parked their tiny horse and cart? We can use that to make our escape!
Clint: If we must. I'll watch our backs in case those clowns try to stop our escape!
[Part of the cushioned wall slides open and LUNI and TOONIE burst in.]
Toonie: Get off those -- hey! There's no stairs there!
Luni: [Walks in calmly] If they can see them, then there are stairs.
Charlie: [Indignantly] No stairs?! Oh, and I suppose NOW you will tell us there is a solid wall here?! [Attempts to stride briskly through the newly opened sliding wall]
: [Tries to follow Charlie and escape] They are clowns after all. Not known for their honesty!
Harvey: Very true! There is no such thing as the phrase, as honest as a clown!
[Out pops another clown from the sliding door, almost colliding with CHARLIE, followed by another, and another.]
Alice: What the hell? How did they all fit in there? It's like one of those cars with all the... you know, scary guys with make up in them!
Charlie: [To Alice] Let us ponder the wonders of clowndom later! [Gestures urgently to the party, trying to escape] Come along!
Clint: Let's get past this freak show! [Follows Charlie, pausing long enough to deck any clown who gets in his way.]
Harvey: Damned tomfoolery is what this is!
Stuck in meetings all day, gah! Back to normal tomorrow!
[CLINT punches a clown on the nose, which gives a satisfying "parp" sound as he does, but the party are quickly engulfed in a sea of clowns who soak them with joke flowers and throw buckets of confetti at them.]
Alice: [Trying to remove some confetti from her mouth] What the hell is going on?
Charlie: [Furiously wiping water from her eyes] We are being clowned into submission! [To the party] Do not let the clowns win! [Tries to punch a clown and force her way through the clown mass]
Harvey: By the saints, this reminds me of John Fitzroy Richypants' bachelor party, back in 22! Word to the wise, keep an eye out for circus midgets! They bite!
: I do hope they were inoculated!
Alice: But the midgets are always such fun!
[ALICE takes a custard pie hard into the groin from a midget clown.]
Alice: Ow! Hey! That really hurt!
Charlie: [Helplessly batting aside dozens of cleverly shaped balloon animals] These fiends! Is there no end to their cruelty?! [Pauses admiringly] Though that balloon scorpion is really something, isn't it?!
Dur: Perhaps we should try something besides wanton violence?
Alice: [As Dur gets stung by the balloon scorpion] What do you suggest?
Dur: Perhaps we should try something never does for clowns? Laughing?
Austin: [Laughs out loud] How preposterous! Of course clowns laugh, their job is being funny! [Looks at the others] Isn't it?
Alice: [Being strangled by a huge rope made out of colourful hankies tied together] Let's try!
Clint: [Does his best to produce a vaguely realistic fake laugh.] Usually I'm not the one who's faking it...
Harvey: [Aims himself in the direction of the clowns and laughs long, loud and alone]
Charlie: [Cackles wildly] Are we sure clowns would not rather hear screams of terror?!
Dur: We’ve already tried that!
Alice: I'm really great at faking laughs. Listen! [Makes the most grotesque shrieking sound the party have ever heard as she bares her teeth so much her lips nearly come over the top of her head] Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Oh! [Some milk shoots down her nose]
Clint: [Still buried under a sea of enormous red shoes.] Well if that doesn't drive these clowns off, nothing will!
Alice: Gack! I'm choking on some clown hair!
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act II, Scene V. A Comfortable Room. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY sit around on seats arranged in a circle. Also present is PENELOPE DIMWORTH, a sympathetic looking lady with a friendly looking beanie on her.]
Penelope: [Makes a sad face] Oh, that so awful. But, you know, it's okay to feel.

Penelope Dimworth

: [ Looks around, astonished] How in the realms did we get here? [To Penelope] And who or what are you? You look like some crazy essential oil wielding, zodiac talking, flat Realmer! And no, I don't want to try your home made rice pudding made from your own excess breast milk. I would like to leave this establishment immediately!
Charlie: [Puts her hands over her ears. To Austin] Cover your ears before she starts reading from her Dream Journal!
Penelope: That's right, Austin, let it all out. All feelings are valid here. This is a safe space. [Gives Charlie an overly long sympathetic look] Bless your heart, Charlie. Bless your heart. We often deny the very things we desire. Would you like to read from your Dream Journal?
Charlie: [To Penelope] Do be serious! I would never waste my time on something so ridiculous. [Brightens] Though I would not refuse an opportunity to share my views on the latest controversy brewing in the Letters to the Editor page of Science and Stuff!
Penelope: Oh, that would be so interesting. What would you say? Would you like some paper and crayons so that you may draft your letter?
Charlie: [Enthusiastically] Why, I would say that I quite agree with Professor Minerva Paxton-Hallewell, and the advising professor should always be given first authorship! [Indignantly] Let them rise through the ranks and foist their first authorship on their own students one day, entitled brats!!
Austin: Do you often write in wax crayon?#
Penelope: [Joins her hands together and gives Charlie a condescending smile] Good for you, Charlie. Good for you. [To Austin] Ah, the wax crayon, again. Is this about your inability to perform?
Clint: I think we're in hell, Doc. Can I have some playdoh and a puppy, please?
Penelope: No more play dough for you, Clint. Not after what happened to that last puppy! [To Dur] Where do you are, Dur? How does it make you feel?
Dur: Hungry! [Crosses his arms grumpily] If I had really been in here for any length of time, you would know the asnwer to tat question is always 'hungry'.
Penelope: Is it? Is that what you think?
Alice: Oh my god! That's all he ever says!
Penelope: Is it? Why do you say that?
Alice: Because it's true!
Penelope: Is it?
Harvey: [To Penelope] Who are you, where are we and why are we here, my dear lady!?
Clint: I think we're in a [distastefully] therapist's office.
So I dropped my car off at 10:00 for a significant service. They
have a shuttle which takes you from the dealership to where you're headed.  I've only just now arrived.  It's so convenient! =)
Penelope: I'm not just a therapist, I'm also an analyst. A Theralyst, if you will.
Alice: So not an analyst who's also a therapist, then?
Penelope: [To Harvey] Why do you think you're here? And how does it make you feel?
Charlie: Do leave the poor man alone! He has gone through quite enough emotional upheaval recently, without your dredging it all up again.
Harvey: I feel confused, confounded, flabbergasted, in fact!
: I feel kidnapped and tortured. Please let us go immediately.
Penelope: [Nods with an almost enraging level of kindness and understanding] And do all of you often feel trapped?
Harvey: Currently, yes. This day has certainly not been lacking in a series of odd and unfortunate events!
Charlie: [Begins looking for an exit] Come along, group! Let us find a way out of this dreadful place!
Harvey: [Rises from his seat] Indeed! I'm no fan of head shrinking!
Penelope: And how does head shrinking make you feel?
[There's one door in the room.]
Harvey: [To Penelope] Hungry, my dear! [Starts walking towards the door]
Penelope: I see. Hungry for attention? For love?
[HARVEY gets to the door.]
Charlie: [To Penelope] Do leave him alone! He is too elderly to worry about such frivolous things! [Heads for the door] Come along with the Colonel, group! We shall help him fill his sad, lonely days!
Harvey: [Looks at Charlie] When have I had the chance to be lonely? I've not had a minute to myself!
Alice: [Reassuringly] Oh, she just means those long, dark nights, when you think about all the wives you've had and how you'll probably never find love or companionship or the soft touch of a woman again, and you find yourself crying yourself to sleep and filling the void with whatever filthy drugs you can get your hands on. [Big smile] We'll always be there to help, though!
Austin: [To Harvey] Were any of us ever really any thing but alone? [Tries the door]
Charlie: [To Austin, helpfully] Well, I am not alone, of course. [Looks at the others sympathetically] But one prefers not to rub one's good martial fortunes in the faces of others!
Harvey: [Surprised] Oh, I didn't know you served in the forces! What regiment?
Alice: Oh please, Harvey. Everything with Charlie is like being in army!
[AUSTIN opens the door and the party walk through to a comfortable looking room where PENELOPE sits with a ring of chairs around her.]
Penelope: How does it make you feel to be so alone, Austin?
Clint: Maybe we'll get out of here when we play along with this farce. Like, we could have a group hug and chant "it's not your fault" or something.
Alice: Maybe we should all stand in a circle and point at Clint shouting "Shame! Shame!"
Harvey: Hmmpf, I've had enough of this hippy nonsense! What next, crystal healing, hot stone throwing? Deadlock braiding? Drumming?
No posting until Monday due to Thanksgiving!
happy Thanksgiving!
On Thu, 28 Nov 2019 at 08:43, Conor Ryan
;; No posting until Monday due to Thanksgiving!
Quoting dom
;; happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks, ironically! And Heather forgot to add that in order to truly
celebrate it American-style, you should get crushed by hordes of
shoppers in the sales tomorrow! It's how a holiday knows it's made
it here - we take the day off, overeat, and then have a sale.
So true, Tom! Bizarrely, though, Black Friday has
become a massive sales event in Ireland and
the UK, though it is done more in the European
way, where things are marked down by 10% and
;;: no one breaks an arm trying to buy an XBox for 50
Although we do have scuffles ...
; :)
On Fri, 29 Nov 2019 at 11:01, Heather Goggans
;; So true, Tom! Bizarrely, though, Black Friday has
;; become a massive sales event in Ireland and
;; the UK, though it is done more in the European
;; way, where things are marked down by 10% and
;; bucks!
Sure, but on an average Friday in Glasgow, there
are probably MORE!! :)
;; Although we do have scuffles ...
;;; :)
;;; So true, Tom! Bizarrely, though, Black Friday has
;;; become a massive sales event in Ireland and
;;; the UK, though it is done more in the European
;;; way, where things are marked down by 10% and
;;; bucks!
Alice: Deadlock braiding? Is that where won't braid your bestie's hair until she braids yours?
Harvey: I believe as it's hippy based, it's more likely that both insist on braiding the others hair first, dear girl! The insisting, I believe, is incessant, what!
Charlie: [Primly] It all sounds very unseemly. Surely hair styling is best left to highly trained professionals!
Alice: [Looks at Charlie's hair sadly] Yes, but professionals in what, Charlie?
Austin: [Considering Charlie's hair] Calligraphy?
Alice: Plumber?
Charlie: [Smooths her hair self-consciously] Well, I have not had time to pop in for a trim recently, of course!
Austin: [To Alice] Lumberjack.
Harvey: Gardener comes to mind.
Penelope: Let's do some free association. What's the first word that comes to mind when I say... absence.
Charlie: [Indignantly] I would at times enjoy the absence of my colleagues, who can be rather unfair in their criticisms! [To Penelope] How am I supposed find time to book a hair appointment when the realms are crumbling before our very eyes?!
Penelope: [Gives Charlie a sickeningly sympathetic look] Oh, I know, I know, but you don't quite understand the process. When I say a word, you simply tell me the word you first think of. [Pause] Orange.
Clint: Haircut.
Back from the holiday, finally.
Harvey: Pebble.
: Menopausal
Charlie: [To Penelope] To clarify, are we responding to the initial word you gave us [to Alice, helpfully], orange? Or are we responding to the last word said [to Alice, helpfully], menopausal?
Penelope: What do you think you're responding to?
Alice: Charlie.
: [ To Penelope] Your physical and psychological tensions.
Penelope: Who's really tense here, Austin?
: [ To Penelope] I am always tense. It goes hand in hand with saving the world on a day to day basis. You are also psychologically tense, and are here voluntarily, where as we are here against our wills.
Penelope: Ah yes. [Over the top sympathatic look and nod of the head] Saving the world. Of course you do. Of course!
Charlie: [Irked] We most certainly DO save the world! And on a rather regular basis, I might add!
Dur: Hungry! Er… am I doing this right?
Clint: [Trying to play along] Left?
Penelope: [To Charlie] If that's true, then why are you in a hospital? Surely the real heroes here are the noble staff?
Harvey: Why are you in a hospital? What ails you?
Clint: [*Still* gamely playing along] Me?
Penelope: Quite clearly, I am a caregiver. You can tell from my large notebook and sympathetic yet condescending smile. [Smiles sympathetically]
Harvey: Perhaps you merely believe you are a caregiver, with a large notepad and condescending smile.
Penelope: [Smile flickers for a moment] No.
[Time passes as the party realise that's all she's going to say.]
Alice: [Sits across from Penelope] How's this? [Puts on her best condescending smile, which, alas, is a lot more child-molestery than therapist-condescending]
Charlie: [To Penelope, gesturing to Alice] How does THAT make you feel?
: She doesn't feel. That's why she does this job. She needs our feelings because she has none of her own.
Penelope: [Flustered] Well, it actually doesn't feel good at all. Do I really have a scary smile like that? I mean, it's just awful!
Alice: [Pleased with herself] Niiice. [Thinks] Hey!
Austin: [To Penelope] Yes, that's pretty much how you look, although your look is a bit more peeping-tom child molestery than Alice's.
Harvey: Indeed! One would believe you are doing nothing but doodling rude shapes in your notepad!
Alice: [Peers into Penelope's notepad] Oh my god! There's nothing here but pictures of big dicks!
Penelope: That's not true! [Shows her notepad to the party, it is full of notes]
Dur: [Frowning at the pad] Did you really find it necessary to make exact notes on things like length and girth? Honestly, such detail!
Charlie: [Cover her eyes, horrified] Have you no decency?! [To the party, in a stage whisper] I think this poor woman must have deep, psychological problems, not to mention a ferocious case of Penis Envy!
Austin: [To Penelope] I wonder what your partner would think of this! [Looks around] What happened to Lucy?
Clint: Maybe she's in a different version of her own special hell?
Penelope: [Composing herself] And do you often talk to this [finger quotes] Lucy?
Charlie: [To the others, concerned] I think perhaps she [nods discreetly at Penelope] may be hallucinating now! [To Penelope, speaking in a slow, loud voice] No one here is named Lucy! Perhaps you should lie down?
Penelope: Austin quite clearly asked where Lucy was!
Alice: Austin? [To Austin] There's no Austin here, is there?
Austin: [To Alice. gesturing at Penelope] Unless his name is Austin, then no.
Harvey: A pertinent question is, Why is Austin?
Penelope: No, no, no! I ask the questions here! I ask, and you answer!
Alice: Do you?
Penelope: Yes!
Charlie: [To Penelope, whipping out a notebook and scribbling furiously] I see. Now, tell us about your mother.
Penelope: That loveless, black pit of despair who couldn't bring herself to say even a single kind word about a young girl's dream to become the first ballerina/veterinarian/detective? This has nothing to do with her!
Charlie: [Writing in her notepad, nodding in approval] I should think not! She sounds very sensible!
Harvey: By the saints, but she sounds like a stern woman, though no doubt only had your best interests at heart. I hope you patched up your differences as you grew older.
Clint: Or, alternatively, did she die before you could resolve your mummy issues?  That would either be really scarring or really freeing, wouldn't it?  A significant emotional event, either way!
Penelope: [Lying down on a couch] I tried to patch it up, I did! I mean, that day I drove over to meet her, well, it's not like I meant to knock her down, right? How was I to know she was tending to her flower beds?
Austin: [To Penelope] Do you usually drive over the flower beds?
; out most of the day
Harvey: I see, and is this a hatred of nature or nurture? Or both?
Penelope: Yes! I did it deliberately! And I'd do it again, I tell you!
Charlie: [Nodding and writing in her notepad] And how did it make you feel?
Sorry for my relative silence this week gang. The beginning of the month is a stressful rush for me because I work in finance. Hopefully you will hear a lot more from Dur next week!
From: Conor Ryan
Sent: Friday, December 6, 2019
7:59 AM
To: dinanc
Cc:;;;; Day, Kevin R (Irving) USA ;
Subject: [qv] 02.05.091 Last from Colin #90
Penelope: Yes! I did it deliberately! And I'd do it again, I tell you!
Penelope: Cold and dead inside. [Turns over and starts sobbing]
Alice: Well, that's sorted her. What about those clowns?
Clint: We could have her run them over too?
Alice: Without easy access to a rose garden, probably not!
Harvey: I'm sure we could knock up a squirty flower garden? Seems appropriate, what!
Alice: We'll probably need more than squirty flowers to convince them that we're clowns!
Charlie: [Looks at the party appraisingly] Oh, I should think it will be relatively easy!
Harvey: Outstanding! All we need is a tiny carriage, huge shoes, squirty flowers and buckets full of glitter!
Alice: I bet Charlie can help us out with the huge shoes!
: And humorous nose!
Dur: [Looking closer at Dom] Don’t you already have one of those?
Alice: And maybe Dur can supply the slutty make up!
Harvey: Hmmm.
Clint: I'll supply the burning hated of all living creatures!
Charlie: [Assesses Clint] And do not forget your absurd clothing! [Looks at Alice] And your frizzy hair! [Pleased] See, we have all we need to fool them!
: [Self consciously checking his nose in his pocket mirror] My nose is perfect and beautiful. As always. [Has a look for Lucy]
[No sign of LUCY, but there is another door out of the room.]
Alice: That's not fair Clint, you always have that anyway! It's like Charlie saying she'll bring tedious organisational skills to the clown disguise, or Austin big noses, or Harvey groovy sideburns, or you know, me bringing charm!
Charlie: [To Alice, nodding] Yes, you do have all the charm of a clown, we quite agree! [Strides to the door] Follow me, group!
Alice: Aw! Thanks Charlie!
[CHARLIE pulls open the door to reveal a long dark passageway.]
Austin: [Already heading for the door. Glances at Penelope] Imagine, running over your mother! [Tuts]
; out for the rest of the week, back Tuesday
Harvey: [Heading into the tunnel] Feelings! Preposterous!
[The party feel their way along the super dark tunnel until they come to what feels like a door.]
Alice: Hey! This feels kind of like a carriage door, doesn't it?
Clint: Have we located the garage by mistake? Only one way to find out! [Tries the door.]
Charlie: Perhaps the clowns designed this place and put the parking lot in an unexpected part of the building?!
Alice: Who knew that clowns would have such a crazy design aesthetic!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act II, Scene VI. The Corridor. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, near a carriage door. CLINT opens the door only for PENNY DIM to leap out and spray him in the face with water from a squirty flower. The water sprays with such ferocity and pressure it sends CLINT flying and knocks the party to the ground.]
Alice: What the hell!
Harvey: Its a trap! [Will attempt to swing a fist at the clown]
[Alas, HARVEY can't get anywhere near PENNY, as LUNI and TOONIE come barrelling out, followed by dozens of more clowns.]
Alice: Gah! Can't they see Austin's big nose? What is wrong with these clowns?
Charlie: [To the clowns, flailing] Do stop that! We are trying to exit!
[CHARLIE receives a custard pie to the face.]
Alice: [Scrambling back the way the party came] Fall back! Fall back!
Charlie: [Wiping custard pie from her eyes] You dreadful creatures! What harm did we do to you and your unholy kind?! [Retreats with Alice]
[The party go back into the previous room, where PENELOPE sits waiting.]
Penelope: How did that make you feel?
Harvey: What fresh Hell is this?
Penelope: I see, I see. [Gives him her patented sad look] Does someone need a hug?
Harvey: Most certainly not, madam! One needs an exit from this madness!
Dur: He needs a hug! [Points at Clint and winks at the party] Surely his stink will finally knock her unconscious, eh?
Alice: [Gasps] Dur! How could you? She's not that bad!
Penelope: [Nods] Yes, yes. Perhaps you should hug him, Dur?
Clint: Oh to hell with this! Tell me, lady, how does this make you feel? [Tries to deck Penelope]
Harvey: I say!
[CLINT's fist collides with PENELOPE, only to bounce off and send him flying across the room with a massive burst of sparks. He crashes hard into the wall and slides down in an untidy and bloody heap.]
Penelope: Somewhat disappointed. I felt that we were making real progress here. I felt that you knew the route to sanity.
Charlie: [Hurries to see if Clint is all right. To Penelope] And what would you prescribe as the route to sanity?! Clowns, clowns, and more clowns?!
Penelope: You seem frustrated. Tell me how that feels.
Alice: Yeesh, do we need to start asking her about her mother again?
Harvey: [To Penelope] Do you remember us from previously?
Penelope: Of course, Harvey. I remember our long chats about your wives. As well as the simply grotesque parental issues that the rest of the party have.
Harvey: What? I certainly never mentioned my wives to you earlier! What is going on here?
Penelope: Didn’t you? [Sad face] Didn’t you?
Alice: Let’s make her cry again!
Charlie: [To Penelope, obligingly] I have a strong suspicion your mother never loved you.
Clint: [Sits up groggily.] Ouch.  I thought for sure that would work.  I'm not sure she even *had* a real mother!
Harvey: [Helps Clint to his feet] I believe that was a fine example of electro shock therapist, what!
Penelope: This has nothing to do with that loveless, black pit of despair who couldn't bring herself to say even a single kind word about a young girl's dream to become the first ballerina/veterinarian/detective?
Charlie: No? Then what about your father? Is he the cause of your deep-seated psychological damage?
Austin: Perhaps he abandoned her after she killed her mother? Forever vanquishing all disturbing hopes she had of having an [finger quotes] independent relationship with him.
Alice: Ew!
Penelope: [Bursts into tears] He never knew me as a woman!
Harvey: What's this, did you have a gender reassignment also?
Penelope: No! I just have really big hands!
Charlie: [To Penelope] Perhaps you should lie down? I think you are becoming a tad hysterical.
Austin: She does have remarkably big hands. Very strong and manly. [Positively] Great for weeping into.
Penelope: [Hunches over and starts bawling] Why? Why did my parents so hate me?
Alice: [Helpfully] Maybe because of your constant crying?
Charlie: [Thoughtfully] Perhaps, but babies often cry and parents rarely hate them. [To Penelope] I think it more likely that they found your personality insufferable.
Clint: Now you're just projecting, Sarge.
Alice: This is fun! Now, how do we make sure that the clowns don't trample us again? We were going to use some disguises, like Austin's fake nose and whatnot.
Clint: Maybe we defeat them by making them laugh or something?
Alice: Out-clown the clowns? Yes! But to kill a clown, you must first become the clown!
No posting today, back to normal tomorrow
but in US time
Penelope: Whyyyy? Why?
Alice: Oh my god! Keep up, Penelope! It's so that when they come charging in here again they won't be able to tell us apart from themselves!
Penelope: No, I meant why didn't my parents love me?
Alice: Oh. Yeah, we don't have time for that.
: [To Penelope] Was that a rhetorical question, or would you like us to tell you why they didn't love you?
Penelope: An itemised list would be helpful!
Alice: Stop wasting time clowning around with her! We need to become disguised as clowns!
Charlie: [To Alice and Austin] Quickly, put all of your makeup into a pile, and we will put a clown face on each of us!
Alice: A pile? What are we? Barbarians? [Takes out a tiny box and opens it]
[A bunch of tiny shelves pop out, many of which have shelves of their own, until the party is suddenly confronted with what looks like thousands of make up products.[
Alice: I only have my travel pack with me.
Send a link to a clown picture
your character will look like!
Austin: I don't have any makeup. I do have this, I suppose it may help. [Takes out a roll of material which unrolls into a master thief's disguise mini wardrobe, complete with mirror, with false beards, noses, ears, moustaches, glasses, monocles, teeth etc]
Charlie: [Looks in her knapsack mournfully] I have a spare grey suit I could add to the cause?
My vision for Charlie:
Clint: I can donate some rope for hair.
I was strongly tempted
Alice: Nah, but we might need some of your hair for rope!

Alice's costume

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8" Last from Conor #46 Austin
: A very short rope? --000000000000a2b9cd0599eabd3a
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Last from Conor #46

Clint: I think you're forgetting the hair on my back!
So far, the clown choices all seem very in character! =)
: [Aghast] You have hair on your back! Why? [Looks puzzled] Perhaps you are mostly Pithecus after all.
Alice: Where else are the lice supposed to live, Aus? Where?
All the clowns so far:

Cast list (bottom)

Colin and Kevin, we need clowns!
Charlie: [Assessing the others critically] I suppose these will have to do! [To Harvey and Dur, clapping her hands] Come along, now! We must have something that will suit the two of you.
Great clowns, guys!!
Harvey: I truly hate clowns!
Alice: Of course you do, that's what you're supposed to do!
You do realise you just sent us a
Google Search, right, Colin??
And probably not the one you meant to,
damned dirty pervert
Charlie: [To Harvey, sympathetically] Naturally, we all do, Colonel! They are an abomination, but a necessary evil in this instance.
Kevin's away?
Alice: Now that everyone's enclowned, will we head out that door again? [Points to the door where the clowns chased the party from previously]
Harvey: Do we all need to cram into a tiny carriage? I believe that is the tradition!
Charlie: [Looks at Harvey in surprise] You certainly know a lot about clown culture! Are you sure you do not descend from their kind?
Harvey: Most certainly not, madam! I am surprised at your own surprise regarding clowns and their usage of tiny vehicles. I thought this was a well established fact, known by all normal people!
Clint: Yes, but since clowns aren't obscure enough for her, Chuck here knows nothing about them. It's just one of those things.
Alice: Plus, and I mean no offence, Charlie, but look at her, Harvey, [gestures to Charlie's sad clown suit] there's nothing normal about her. [Pulls the surprisingly grey and dowdy clown underpants out of er, somewhere in the back] Sad, really.
Harvey: Of all the strange things I've seen and heard since meeting you all, those are truly one of the strangest!
Austin: Alas, the results of a failing education system! People do not even know how to dress! [Checks his perfect nails]
Clint: Yeah, well, being snazzy dressers won't help us disguise ourselves as clowns, will it? Should we practice some terribly unfunny slapstick routines involving custard?
Harvey: Hmmm, oh I feel that a lot of precise will not be required!
Alice: Besides, Dur'll just eat any custard pies we have!
: I suppose everyone has some purpose in life.
Dur: Pie? Really? Where? [Starts searching the room]
Alice: However sad and pathetic it may be!
Charlie: [To the party, heading to the door] Right, let us go see if our clownish ruse fools those clownish fools!
Dur: And they have the pie, right?
[The party get to the door.]
Charlie: [Distractedly, to Dur] Yes, yes! All the pie your face can hold! [Goes to open the door] Get clowning, group!
Austin: Let's go! [Starts dancing]
Alice: [Picks up a previously unseen ladder and swings it around, narrowly missing Austin's head as his dance moves take him down low] I'm ready!
[The party enter through the doorway, with ALICE initially getting stuck due to holding the ladder sideways.]
Alice: Gah!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act II, Scene VII. The Corridor. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY, all in clown costume, make their way along the path, lit up by HARVEY's brightly coloured nose. They come to a door, which, as before, looks like a car door.]
Alice: Well, go on, Aus!
Austin: Shh! Keep your voice down [Glances around casually to see if anyone is looking, then tries the door or pick the lock]
Alice: [Loudly] What
[AUSTIN tries the door. It is unlocked.]
Austin: [Carefully opens the door]
Clint: [Tries to engineer things so that he and the next through the door go through at the same time and become amusingly stuck.]
Charlie: [Tries to jam in alongside Clint, obligingly] Hurry! Double-time is funniest!
Alice: [With alarmingly bad timing, manages to get jammed in between Clint and Charlie] Ow!
[The door swings open to reveal a tiny cramped little carriage, that only four people could fit into. It is otherwise empty.]
Harvey: [Nods knowingly and points at the carriage] Aha!
: [Gets into the carriage and searches for another way out] Why would someone make such a ridiculously small carriage?
Charlie: [To Austin] Perhaps the Colonel could tell us! [In a lower voice] He seems quite knowledgable in the ways of clowns!
Alice: [Climbs in beside Austin, also searching] What the hell kind of carriage has only one door? Harv, you're the clown expert, explain!
Clint: This is just wrong! A proper carriage should be enormous, hard on the horses, with plenty of room in the back for teenagers to hook up.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all! I'm off tomorrow,
back on the 3rd.
Alice: Ew! I don't know what sort of things you like going on in the back of your carriage, Stinky, but I'm not a fan of awkward teen sex going on while I'm driving. It's very off putting!
Alice: [Sitting beside Austin] Well, we'll never fit everyone into this little clown car, will we?
And we are BACK!
Austin: No. There is barely enough room for my satchel. The rest of you will have to stay behind. [Gets into the carriage]
Alice: Is this even a carriage? It looks more like room in the shape of one!
: does it really matter? We are clowns after all. We can just pretend!
Charlie: [To Austin] That's getting into the clown spirit of things! [Gamely tries to cram into the carriage]
Alice: Quickly, Harvey, get in! There's only one space left, we don't want Stinky getting in and stinking the place up, or Dur... well, being Dur!
Dur: [Already climbing in] Hey! What's wrong with Dur!?
Clint: If a bunch of other clowns [gritted teeth] can manage this, so can we! [Starts flooding people as best he can to get them to fit, a la Tetris.]
Alice: I think we all know that, Dur!
[In one surprisingly smooth move, both DUR and CLINT try to get in at the same time, and, to everyone's surprise, fit in neatly.]
Alice: Hey! Did the car just get a bit bigger? It seems wider, right?
Charlie: [Nods awkwardly, bumping into Austin as she does. To Alice] Well, the carriage accommodated your hips, so I would say it is an engineering marvel!
Alice: Hey! At least it's better than having the build of a small boy!
: Who's Dur?
Charlie: [To Austin, helpfully] He is our servant! The one I give the coppers to when he satisfactorily completes a task?!
Clint: Or even when he satisfactorily attempts a task, which is probably more often!  Now, let's arm ourselves.  [Looks around for a custard pie or slapstick of some sort.]
: You gave him a name! How very modern. [Checks his nails casually]
Alice: How very uncouth -- one should never become too familiar with them!
Harvey: [Attempts to squeeze into the carriage] I say, that's a bit rough on
Austin: [Exasperated] Can we change the subject. Life is short! [Looks around the carriage] What the heck is going on here? How do we get out of this?
[HARVEY somehow squeezes in and the carriage expands just enough to fit him. He slams the door.]
Alice: Huh. So that's how clown cars work!
Charlie: [Delighted] Clever creations, are they not?! [Edges toward the steering wheel, trying to block Alice access] Now, I shall drive us away to safety!
Harvey: And don't spare the tiny horses!
Clint: And that means, Sarge, that you'd better let Alice drive. You drive like an old lady, and that's no way to disguise us as a bunch of clowns!
Alice: Yeeeeeeeeeha!
[Jams on the accelerator and saws away like crazy on the steering wheel.]
Alice: Whooo! I bet all you squares sure are terrified! [Notices the disappointing lack of terror] Hey! This isn't a carriage at all! This is just some lame little room with a fake steering wheel like they gave me when I was 18. [Pause] Er, I mean, 16... 12... 8... 4. Hey! Don't you judge me!
Harvey: If this is just a room, why do I suddenly feel travel sick?
: Conditioning perhaps? Do you often travel with the Sarge at the wheel?
Dur: I don’t think it’s travel sickness! Probably just regular disgust at having to adventure with the rest of us!
Harvey: Hmmm, well, we certainly are in close quarters, what! Perhaps it's the smell of clown grease paint!
Alice: [Darkly] It's something worse than clown grease paint, Harvey... much worse. [Dramatic pause] Much, much worse.
Clint: It's probably just my new cologne. I figure maybe we'll meet up with my long-lost love what's her name next and I want to be ready!
Alice: Lost? I think you mean in hiding!
Harvey: I think you may have taken eau de toilette a bit literally!
Charlie: [Wiggling to find a comfortable spot] Do calm down! Close quarters will always lead to unwanted sights and odors, such as a glimpse of Alice's sad undergarments!
Alice: Hey! It's laundry day -- laundry day!
[The door opens to reveal PENNY DIM and LUNI DIM, who start to climb in.]
Harvey: By the saints, the carriage is occupied! Occupied I tell you!
Austin: Do you have a reservation?
Charlie: [To Austin] I certainly do. Mine is that I fear they will not fit into this car!
Alice: I don't -- I lived on one with the Halfoats for a week until an oil company came along and made us move!
[The clowns don't care about any of this, and pile into the carriage, which somehow makes space for them.]
Penny: Ya gotta laugh, don't you? [Pushes a disgusting pie into Austin's face]
Harvey: I say, that's neither amusing nor hygienic!
Austin: [Screams in agony] Aaaaargh! [Tries to defend himself]
Alice: [Laughing] Oh come on! What's funnier than someone getting pied?
[More clowns pour in and one hits ALICE right in the face with a pie.]
Alice: Ow! Hey! That really hurt!
[AUSTIN scrambles around looking for a weapon and lays his hand on a bulb horn, which he PARPS loudly in a PENNY'S face.]
Penny: [Laughs] That's it!
Charlie: [Whacks Penny with a rubber bludgeon that squeaks irritatingly when making contact] Get back, you brute!
Penny: [Laughs as the squeaky toy makes contact] Outstanding!
[More and more clowns pour into the carriage, which keeps expanding.]
Alice: [Clubbing one with a rubber chicken] Actually, this is almost fun!
Dur: So why are we all cramming into this one room? Is there some kind of free lunch buffet about to be served?
Alice: Why can't you eat some of the floor pie that Austin has wiped off himself?
[The influx of clowns appears to have stopped, with about twenty clowns, including the party, all accommodated in the car.]
Clint: It would be a hilarious, very clown thing to do!  [Tries his best to blend in by being deeply unfunny and a little disturbing.]
Alice: [Watching Clint sit there and do nothing] Oh please. That's not funny at all. [Hits him over the head with a rubber chicken] Now *that* is funny!
Austin: [Squirts Clint with his clowning lapel flower] I should add a little detergent to this. [Considers this for a most] Actually I already did! Tea-tree and Sea Kelp. Awful tree hugging hippy gunk, [Defensively] I needed to get rid if it somehow!
Alice: What is wrong with you, Austin? Who sneaked that into your bag in the first place?
[ALICE takes a custard pie to the face.]
Alice: Ow! Hey! We've gotta get out of here!
Harvey: [Glowers as a bucket of glitter is upended over his head] Agreed dear girl! This tomfoolery is quite annoying!
Alice: But what should we do? What normally happens with a tiny car full of clowns?
Charlie: [Considers the question] Drive comically in circles, honking the horn with irritating frequency?
Dur: Yeah, but which horns do we honk? These? [Honks his big rubber nose]
Alice: We can try! [Honks Dur's nose] Ew! Why is it so wet?
[The clowning and honking continues, with the party getting pelted with pies and rubber chickens.]
Alice: We need to break this circle of honking and lampoonery!
Charlie: Well, the therapist was broken when we turned her techniques on her, but these clowns seem to revel in our clownery! [Muses] Perhaps they are vulnerable to tears? [Concerned] Though that may well only make them stronger!
Alice: They seem to have accepted us as part of their Clown Posse, so let's finish the act!
Harvey: What is the final act in a clown show? What is the pinnacle piece of tosh that ends their nonsense?
Clint: I think it traditionally ends with the audience booing them off stage?
Alice: Well, then, let's get on stage!
Harvey: Stage? Is there no end to the size of this carriage?
Alice: Surely the clown carriage full of clowns drives onto the stage?
Harvey: In a world of logic, that would make sense, dear girl. However, it would not surprise me that in this madcap place, it is the stage that would drive into the carriage!
Heather's out
Charlie: [Crossing colourful umbrellas with a nearby clown as though they were sword fighting] Perhaps, but one feels we need to try something different if we're ever to get out of here!
: How about a masquerade ball combined with wine tasting?
Alice: Yay! That sounds great! Where is it?
Harvey: Why, how wonderful! That would be just the thing to raise our flagging spirits!
Alice: But I don't see it! Where is iiiiiit?
Dur: [Covers his ears with his hands] Ack! Keep whining like that and maybe you will just annoy these clowns to death!
Clint: Good plan, Doc!  Everybody whine now!  [Whinily] Nooooow, dammit!
How the mighty have fallen.  Once Clint would have gone murder-hobo
on these clowns, and now he's reduced to trying to whine them to death. =)
Charlie: [Covering her ears] You forget, these clowns are immune to whining, having spent years making children cry on their birthdays! Colonel, quickly, get us out of here before one of us is forced to stab Clint in the throat!
Harvey: [Begins pushing clowns out of the way, making for the door] Come all, an audience of terrified children await our nightmare making tomfoolery, what!
[Surprisingly, the CLOWNS move out of HARVEY's way to facilitate him getting to the door.]
Alice: [Punching one with a rubber sandwich] Just for good measure!
Harvey: [Still pushing] What's a collective of clowns? A troupe? That will do, make haste troupe, children to terrorise and all that!
Charlie: [Follows Harvey] Surely the collective is more sinister than that? A murder of clowns, one would guess?!
Alice: I think it's a Sinister of Clowns!
[HARVEY pushes the door open and everyone races out.]
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act II, Scene VIII. The Stage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY race out of the clown car and onto a huge stage. Circus music BLARES and more clowns than could possibly have fit in the car come racing out too. The party can't see the audience due to the lights, but it appears as though one person is standing, clapping.]
Clapper: Whooo! [Clap, clap] Outstanding! Outstanding!
Austin: Who is that? [Tries to do a cartwheel]
Charlie: [Tries to juggle and handful of balls, peering into the audience] Someone with [huge emphasis] dreadful taste, no doubt?!
Harvey: [Attempting a robot mime] This must be the person responsible for our predicament!
Alice: [Trying to breathe fire, but only succeeds in drinking half a pint of petrol] It has to be!
Clapper: Bravo! Bravo!
Alice: [Does a double take] Deuce?
Charlie: [To Alice, pityingly] Poor girl, you see him everywhere! Remember, as I have told you many times, he is just not [finger quotes] into you!
Alice: No way! I'd know the scent of Honey Cured Ham anywhere!
[The lights go down... it actually is DEUCE, still on his feet clapping. LUCY is also there, she sits watching.]
: [Relieved to see Lucy. To Lucy] Are you okay? Did they hurt you?
Harvey: You know this person? [To Deuce] You there, what skullduggery is this?
Clint: And what're you doing with the alternate universe version of the lawyer's dead ex?
Lucy: I'm fine, Austin. Partly because I am part of them.
Deuce: [Slowing down his clapping] Outstanding! Outstanding! [To Harvey] It is a test, my good man!
Harvey: [Angrily] A test of what? And why?
Charlie: [Aghast] But I cannot be a test subject! Then I will be ineligible for co-authorship on the published results!
Deuce: [Laughs] Alas, that is true! But your success at the test will expose you to a whole world of science and stuff! Oh, the papers we'll write!
Alice: Oh man! Do we have to?
Deuce: [To Harvey] It's okay, big fella, we just wanted to make sure you weren't some HARMA narc.
Charlie: [To Deuce, huffily] Where are your Informed Consent Human Research forms, known colloquially as [finger quotes] ICHR-724-Js?! I do not recall signing anything of the sort!
Dur: Oh no! But I am terrible at tests! Its like med school all over again! [Aside to the group] And when I say med school, I of course mean the back alley organ black market!
Deuce: [Laughs at Charlie] Oh please! A census taker once asked me to fill out a ICHR-724-Js. I ate his satchel with a side of fava beans.
Alice: Wow! What did it taste like?
Deuce: It was a bit leathery. [Beckons the party to him] Come on, we have a lot to talk about. I'm about to blow your mind holes. All your fancy schooling' in the back alley won't prepare you for this.
Austin: [To Charlie] They are currently covered by clause 123.6.5, it's near the beginning of the document on page 1141. "the university will, from the Effective Date, use reasonable endeavours to introduce measures to ensure the the University will, as from the first anniversary of the Effective Date, aka the Implementation Date, comply with such of the Outstanding ICHR-724-Js Requirements that the Board, acting reasonably and following discussions with the University, considers are necessary and proportionate, having regard to the Board's position, as owner of and legal and ethical guardian in respect of use of ICHR-724-Js data and in the event that the University does not achieve such compliance by the Implementation Date, the University will continue to work towards achieving such compliance as soon as practicable,"
Deuce: [Looks Austin up and down] What are you? Some sort of Narc?
: Clear off! I was talking to Lucy.
Charlie: [To Deuce, flipping open a notebook] Tell me more about your research! What are you trying to learn?
Lucy: [To Austin] It's okay... these scientists are all the same. They all have the rock star mentality, but they take so many risks, well, it's understandable.
Deuce: Right now, we're trying to figure out why HARMA have such hold over people.
Harvey: Have you perhaps thought of asking a narc?
Deuce: We tried that. He said my breath smelled like ham and then arrested me for possession of controlled substances.
Harvey: Hmmm, I see. Tell me, why do you think these HARMA people hold such sway over the masses?
Deuce: Either Joe Nunpar and HARMA are talking a heck of a lot of good sense... or there's some dark magic at play that he's using to gain power.
Alice: Or maybe people are idiots!
Charlie: [Nods at Alice] I fear Alice may have the answer! [To Deuce] Have you any evidence of magic? Is Joe Nunpar in league with some demonic unicorn overlord?!
Alice: Yeah! Lots of people are idiots! No offence, Dur.
Deuce: [To Charlie] Not yet, but the Resistance is hoping to undertake a desperate and dangerous mission to bring a precious cargo of proof to one that can help prove it.
Austin: And you need a team to make sure this mission is successful?
Charlie: [Intrigued] How marvelous! To whom would this cargo be presented? What is the cargo??
Dur: Is it edible?
Harvey: I can assure you, we are not HARMA agents or spies. I'm curious, how would your horrendous tests have unmasked a spy? It seems to me to be nothing more than an act of cruelty. Clowns man!
Deuce: [Sheepishly] Yeah, fair point. The real test was Penelope, the Clown Test is just a side project to see how strong your wills are. We've had some interesting results so far. About 70% of people give up and curl into a tiny ball, and only 29.9% actually figure it out.
Alice: What about the other 0.1%?
Deuce: Became highly aroused.
[ALICE thinks.]
Alice: Just there? Or during the test?
Deuce: Can't it be both?
Lucy: [Rolls her eyes] Yes, we need a team. We don't yet know exactly who to present the cargo to, but we believe that a highly skilled, well organised, laser focused, dedicated -- [turns to Alice] Please button your shirt up.
Alice: Sorry, I'm just a little... hot [licks her lips so Deuce can see] in this sexy clown suit...
Austin: So, hypothetically, if we had such a team, what is in the cargo they would carry?
Clint: And, hypothetically, would a team entrusted to carry this cargo be entitled to assault people who put them through wholly unnecessary traumas involving clowns?
Holiday here yesterday, by the way!
Charlie: [To Clint, aghast] Assault?! But think of the SCIENCE!
Deuce: [Nods at Charlie's words] Quite right! Well said! [Gives her a smile]
Alice: [Looking a little worried] I like science too! You know... science and... stuff!
Lucy: [To Austin] It is a top secret sealed container. We don't know what's in it. The courier can't know. The person who receives it won't know, and even the one who packed it doesn't know.
Clint: Imagine the studies you can publish! "The Influence of Malicious Clown Pranks on Nasal Fracture." That sort of thing. It's *for* science!
: [To Lucy] Is this one of their ridiculous double blinded triple waste of time and tax payers money studies?
Harvey: So who does know about this cargo?
Lucy: [Looks at Austin] Are they always like this? Deuce just told you! The courier, the receiver and the one who packed it.
Alice: I thought he said he didn't know what it was?
Lucy: That's not the same as knowing ABOUT it. [Gives Austin a look of pity] Is this what you have to deal with?
Harvey: Well then, I for one have no interest in doing anything for you.
Deuce: Oh, pay no attention to her, Harvey! She's just a lawyer, they don't understand how to talk to humans! Sir, the moment I laid eyes on you, two things struck me. First, you have noble bearing of a hero, quite experienced in the ways of saving the word, second, you're a man who appreciates a good ham. Am I right?
: [To Lucy] Yes. They are always like this. In and out of days, years, across continents and dimensions. Always the same nonsensical bickering and questions. .
Charlie: [To Austin] It is perfectly reasonable to not wish to transport something without first knowing what it is! What if it is explosive? Or an overdue library book?!
Dur: Oh! And what did you think the moment you laid eyes on ME?!
Lucy: Plausible deniability. If you were questioned by Library Police and asked if you had an overdue library book, you would almost certainly give the game away.
Deuce: [Nods] Yeah, we all know the kind of pressure the LPs can put someone under.
Lucy: However, if you didn't know, and denied it, why unless they had some other overwhelming reason to search you, then you would be free.
Deuce: I thought... there's a guy!
Dur: [Crestfallen] Really? But I LOVE ham!
Deuce: [Squeezes his shoulder] We all do, buddy. We all do.
Harvey: Indeed, its an odd chap indeed who doesn't love a good ham!
Austin: [To Lucy, nodding towards Harvey] Please excuse the colonel, he is a social dinosaur, and knows nothing of equality and diversity.
Lucy: Yes, the tribulations one must tolerate when saving the world.
Deuce: [To the party] So, what do you say? Are you up for this? Delivering an unknown package to an unknown person in an unknown location facing unknown dangers?
Harvey: I guess you could say that our answer is...unknown! [Laughs long, loud and very alone]
Charlie: [Holds her hand up eagerly] No, I know! I know! [To Deuce] We WILL deliver the package!
Deuce: I knew I could rely on you!
Alice: [Steps in front of Charlie] I want to deliver it more than she does!
Deuce: Er... sure, I meant you, as in this group.
Alice: I knew that!
Harvey: [To the party] Are you sure you want to do this, troupe? It sounds more than a little mysterious!
: Of course! Saving the world is what we do ... best [Frowns briefly at the rest of the party]
Deuce: Well then, all that remains is to take a bunch of drugs and have a huge party! You know, for Science and Stuff!
Charlie: [Primly] We will do no such thing. We need to keep our senses sharp and be able to meet any challenges that may arise! [To Harvey] Wouldn't you agree?
Harvey: Absolutely madam! There is more than enough mystery involved already with this task without our group flying four sheets to the wind and chasing the cheese monster!
Alice: No way! I love being four cheeses to the wind!
[PENNY DIM burst into the scene.]
Penny: HARMA are here! They've found us! We're all gonna die!
Dur: Everybody scatter! Doctors and cowards first! And I'm both!
Harvey: [To Penny] Is this some poor excuse of a joke? Hoping we'll all run hither and thither while you stand chortling and tooting your horn?
Alice: [Roars laughing] Oh, he had me going there! And look at that scaredy pants Dur, running hither and tither! [Chortles and toots her horn]
Penny: No! They're here! Really! [Puts his hands on his hips and taps one enormous shoe on the floor so aggressively that his huge plastic lapel flower bounces around comically] Do I look like I'm joking?
Charlie: [To Deuce] Have you some sort of non-amusing transportation for us to borrow?
Deuce: Certainly! I --
[He breaks off as PENNY gets shot through the back of the head, splashing the party in blood and brains.]
Alice: Wow! [Applauds] Do it again! Do it again! [To the party] That was great! [Wipes some clown brain off her face] It almost looks real!
Austin: Time to go! [Looks for the non numerous transport] Who in hells name gave HARMA guns?
Harvey: [Pulling a clowns nose from his forehead with a wet spchulk sound] By the saints, perhaps he wasn't joking after all! [To Deuce] How do we get out of here with your cargo?
Alice: It wasn't a gun, just a really well aimed crossbow bolt!
Deuce: It's not my cargo, it's yours! You're the ones who brought it here! [Points to a fire exit] Out there!
Clint: Haw!  This, I can do!  [Heads for the fire exit, flexes his foot, and boots it open with unnecessary vigor.] Ladies and cowards first, which means Dur, then it's a free-for-all!
Been a weird month, family-wise.  Lost an aunt a week ago. Gained a
niece yesterday.  It's somewhat emotionally confusing.
Charlie: Follow that foot, group!
[The party race out through the fire exit, into a side street. Sitting there is the huge crate that the party picked up from Chino's China Shop in the last act.]
Alice: Is that the thing we're supposed to take?
Austin: I think so. I'm sure Mr Scar and Mr Dur will manage it.
Harvey: [To Austin] Really, jokes at a time like this? [Picks up one side of the crate] Come Mr Scar, make lively! There's not a moment to lose!
[CLINT grabs the other end.]
Alice: We better all help! Come on! [Also grabs as they start to heft it down the alleyway]
Charlie: [Helping with the trunk] How convenient the very thing we needed to deliver we already had in our possession! I think we can all agree my strong leadership has led us in the right direction!
Alice: Is that direction that we're trying to deliver something, but don't know what it is, who sent it, who's getting it, where it's going and we don't have a carriage?
Harvey: [Red faced and puffing] Why, that certainly sounds like an astute summary of our current direction, my dear girl!
Austin: The longer those things remain unknown, the better.
Alice: I don't know, Aus, I'd like to know how we're going to travel! Carrying this heavy box is exhausting! I mean... if I was actually carrying it rather than simply running along behind pretending to!
[The party are almost at the end of the alleyway. HARMA Officers come out the fire exit.]
Alice: There's no fire! That should be illegal!
Dur: Indeed! Did they file the proper paperwork to use an emergency exit in a non-emergency situation?!
Austin: [To Alice] Indeed, it is a terribly heavy box, and I'm quite exhausted already [Jogs along beside Alice, well away from the heavy lifting] However, it's better than getting shot at.
Alice: True, but honestly, Aus, don't you think they could run a little more quickly?
Austin: Well they are getting on a bit, can't push them too hard.
Alice: Perhaps we should encourage them? Heave! Ho! [Smiles] Hey! This is fun! We should lift really heavy crates all the time!
Charlie: [Lugging the box dutifully. To Austin and Alice] You two get back over here at once and help us! [In a low, urgent voice] Do you want the Colonel to have a stroke?!
Austin: We are helping, sarge. [Nods at Charlie's thighs] We're not all built for heavy lifting!
Alice: [Drops her head down] No... we don't him to have a stroke. [Helps carry the box] Oh man, this is way less fun when you have to carry it! What are we going to do about a carriage?
Dur: Can’t we just steal one like we usually do? Maybe those HARMA thugs came in one?
Clint: It's either that or steal a bunch of skateboards, which would be way more stylish but rather impractical. Perhaps we can arrange a taxi?
Austin: Okay already! [Puts a hand under the case, struggling grievously] Must I do everything around here!
[The HARMA officers charge, quickly bearing down on the party as they exit the alleyway and enter a main street, which is suspiciously empty, with not a car in sight.]
Alice: We should have called a Nuber!
End of Act, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act III, Scene I. Main Street, Nostalgia. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY struggle into the deserted main street, with a bunch of angry HARMA goons racing up the alley after them. Suddenly a huge moving carriage pulls up in front of them. ANNA looks out.]
Anna: Are you stealing stuff? Being chased by the filth?
This is Anna Griswold

Anna Griswold

The party encountered her when they commandeered her moving carriage back in
Book XI, Act I, Scene VIII. Although initially frightened, she became quite taken with
what she believed were the criminal tendencies of party, especially, for some
reason, Dur!
Anna's turn to criminality:

Anna turns criminal

Austin: We are dangerous rebels! Why would help us? [Helps to put the crate into the van]
Charlie: [Helping lug the crate in the carriage] Indeed, you are risking your very life merely being seen in our presence, poor girl!
Austin: [Getting in beside Anna if he can] We are being hunted by heavily armed soldiers as we speak. How fast can this thing go?
Harvey: [Getting into the carriage] I say, what a stroke of luck! Thank you madam, and please, don't spare the horses! We are being chased, what!
Anna: Danger is my middle name! [Thinks] Actually, it's Mildred, but I got a taste for danger when I met your dashing leader in the back of the removal van! [To Austin] This can go... very fast!
Dur: Just like Alice does after a few glasses of wine? What are we waiting for!? [Blinks recognizing Anna] Oh, hello!
Austin: Excellent, let's put that to the test? [Intrigued] I am this party's leader, whom did you meet in the back of the removal van? Did he smell of Ham?
Anna: [Ignores Austin] Hi Dur! [Swoon]
Austin: [Edges away from Anna, assuming some form of potentially contagious insanity] Okay!
Anna: What should we do, Dur?
[The HARMA officers are bearing down quickly.]
Dur: [Fidgets uncomfortably under the scrutiny] Well… We should make our daring escape of course, dear. That way we can live to break the law another day!
Charlie: [To Anna, urgently] Hurry, we must go! You do want our Dur to live to see another day, do you not?!
Harvey: By the saints, is this yet another test scenario by that odd man?
Clint: [Clambers into the carriage] Nah, it's just a last-minute getaway. Right?
Anna: You got it, Dur!
[She revs up the horses and races down the alleyway, directly towards the HARMA officers who are still charging... slowly they realise they are charging towards an oncoming carriage.]
Anna: This is what you get for messing with my man!
Clint: Usually you get inept medical advice and a large bill!
Anna: Tell me about his large... bill!
[The carriage barrels down the alleyway, scraping the sides and sending HARMA officers diving for cover.]
Anna: Well? [Turns around to look at the party] Go on!
Harvey: Er, okay. [Begins clapping] Well done!
Charlie: [Hanging on for dear life] Yes, well done! Perhaps we should keep going in much the same vein???
Austin: Were too?
Anna: [Delighted] Dur! Your parents approve of us! [To Austin] I don't know, I'm not even looking at the road!
Dur: Now if only HARMA would let us live our law-breaking lives! 
Austin: [To Dur, amazed] You have parents?
Alice: Ew! I thought he just came out of an egg or something! You know, like rats do!
Charlie: [To Dur, encouragingly] Do not listen to her, Dur. We know you were the product of human birth. [Sadly, to the others] Even nature gets it wrong sometimes, after all!
Anna: Well, of course you do... Mom! It is okay that I call you Mom, right?
Dur: Yeah! Can I call you Mom too?!
Alice: I think we should all call her Mom!
Charlie: [Shakes her head firmly] No, that would be inappropriate and factually inaccurate! Instead of finding a way to fill the gaping emotional holes in your lives, perhaps we could chart a course out of this dreadful place?!
Harvey: Agreed on all counts, dear woman! But we are still not too sure where. However, at the moment, I think our direction is anywhere but here, what!
Clint: Nah, it can always get worse.  Anywhere *better* than here is what we should be looking for!  I vote for some place where the weather is warmer and the natives are friendlier.
Alice: That's a good point, where are we going?
Austin: [To Anna] Could you recommend a good hold out that we could lay low in for an hour or so?
Charlie: [Nods] Yes, and you would not also happen to know who is in charge of the resistance around here, would you? And where their secret headquarters are located?
Anna: I certainly do know who the leader of the Resistance is! He's ever so handsome!
Alice: Oh god. She thinks it's Dur, doesn't she?
Anna: [To Austin, enthusiastically] No!
Austin: [To Anna] Do you have something else in mind?
Harvey: Who is the leader of the resistance?
Dur: Hey! I SHOULD lead a resistance! How else are we going to change all those pesky laws about needing ‘licenses’ to practice medicine? Pfft, as if the human body is THAT complex.
Charlie: [Absently hands Dur a copper piece. To Anna] I can assure you, our Dur is not the leader of the resistance. He is a servant, and a slightly hysterical one, at that! [Conversationally] Now, taking Dur out of the equation, who would your second guess be??
Anna: Oh. [Thinks hard] Let me see... uh... What's the Resistance?
Harvey: We are not narcs, if that's what you're worried about!
Anna: [Brightly] No! I'm not worried about anything, not with Dur at my side!
Alice: [To the party] I don't think she's part of any resistance, I think she's just some sad loser who thinks that Dur is interesting!
Dur: Then maybe we should start our own resistance!
Alice: We should resist any resistance that has Dur in charge!
Charlie: [Laughs merrily] Oh my, Alice I had no idea you could be so amusing! Dur--in charge?! [Composes herself] I should be happy to lead the resistance, but that still leaves us without a destination to deliver this trunk!
Alice: I thought Deuce was in charge of the Resistance! He's way dreamier than Dur!
Deuce wasn't in charge, but seems quite
high up in it. Certainly higher than that
loser Dur!!!
Charlie: [Incredulously] I hardly think the quantity or volume of [finger quotes] dreaminess is an appropriate measure for a revolutionary leader!
Clint: I think you'll find that it's being a dreamer which is exactly the right quality for a rebel leader!
Alice: That's why an uggo like Stinky will never lead the revolution!
Anna: So, which direction?
Austin: Out of town? Head for the border?
Harvey: Indeed, out of town and then head west. In the direction of the rising sun!
Alice: I think we should go south... in the direction of the rising sun!
Charlie: [To Alice] For purely arbitrary reasons, one assumes??
Alice: No, it's a little thing called gravity! The sun goes DOWN, everyone knows that south is down! Where do you think we should go?
Austin: West is best! [Lights up a cigarette in an unfeasibly long holder, offers one to Alice]
Harvey: West it is then! And at a steady, yet brisk pace, dear woman!
Alice: [Takes the cigarette which she has to hold outside the carriage because the holder is so long] This is a mistake. We're all gonna die!
Anna: Unless Dur disagrees, West it is!
Dur: Anywhere is certainly better than here at the moment! 
Anna: To anywhere... and beyond!
[The carriage zooms through the streets of Nostalgia and out the gate.]
Charlie: [Thrilled] How marvelous! West seems like a very daring direction, does it not?!
Austin: Possibly. Since we know we don't know where we are going, West is as good a direction as any, and it does sound good.
Clint: It sounds like the kind of direction after which some daft idiot is likely to name his or her child!
Charlie: [To Clint] How sweet! You have your baby names already picked out?!
Alice: I think that's adorable! Let's guess the names -- Ouest, Eeyeest, Noorf and Dave are my guesses!
Charlie: [Nods approvingly] Those are preferably to [finger quotes] Chardonnay Khaleesi or Deuce II, at least!
Harvey: These new fangled names are a nonsense, what! Whatever happened to the good old staples of Platoon, Battalion, Berserker, or even Singdon Smythe Shetterton Sharpley the Sixth?
Anna: Or Dur! That's a great name!
Alice: [Writing down] Hang on, Charlie, not so fast. What was the second one? Deuce...?
Charlie: [To Alice] Oh, do be serious! They both came from your Boffo Book of Baby Names! [To Harvey] Rather oddly named, though, as it was just one sheet folded in half with two names written inside!
Austin: What were the two names?
Charlie: Chardonnay Khaleesi and Deuce II! Alice's prized baby names! You know, the ones she tried to knit into a blanket that time?
Alice: I don't knit! I have people to do that for me! You know, the... knitting people, or whatever they're called!
Charlie: Oh, perhaps you DID have Dur do it, now that you mention it!
Harvey: I believe they're called servants, dear girl!
Dur: Well, how else do you expect me to keep my surgical sense sharp?!
Anna: You can play doctor with me any time!
Clint: [Shudders] You do know he's married, right, with lots of little green babies?
Or am I making this up?  I thought we married Dur off to an
interdimensional demon thing several years ago.
Dur: Don't be a square Clint! That was in a completely different dimension!
You remember correctly good sir! But I don't how the laws of trans-dimensional relationships work. In Dur's book it's not cheating if it's in another dimension!
Charlie: [Disapprovingly] That is NOT how fidelity works. No wonder you have such a dreadful marriage!
;; You remember correctly good sir! But I don't how the laws of trans-dimensional relationships work. In Dur's book it's not cheating if it's in another dimension!
Dur, you multi-dimensional cheatin' dog!
Austin: She did try to eat him, didn't she?
Harvey: [Shudders] By the saints, she had obviously poor taste all round! [To Dur] No offence meant!
Alice: Oh my god! The er... woman is dead!
Anna: Oh! A heartbroken widower... how romantic!
Harvey: Hmpfh! At least she didn't run off with another man, taking all her husbands wealth and possessions with her!
Anna: I didn't take all his wealth and possessions! I left some stuff behind... like that awful statue of his grandmother!
Charlie: [To Harvey, nodding to Anna] Oh, dear! You are not suddenly attracted to this woman, one hopes?!
Austin: It is not unusual for a servant to fall in love with one of the masters. It is pretty icky though. [Shudders]
Harvey: Well, certainly she has a shapely ankle, but no, I'm not.
Anna: I'm here with Dur, so I should hope not! I mean, what kind of woman do you think I am?
Alice: The kind who stole a bunch of her husband's money and a moving carriage to run away with some sad loser she only just met?
[ANNA thinks for a moment.]
Anna: I wouldn't call him a sad loser.
Dur: There, there dear. They are all just overly sensitive because our new tottering old friend was just conned in much the same way. Nothing to worry about with me though because I have nothing for anyone to steal!
Anna: Oh, I don't know... what about your heart?
Alice: [To the party] Oh my god. This is painful!
Charlie: [Wrinkling her nose] Dur, do control your woman. We are at work, so consider this space a place of business!
Harvey: Indeed! And that business is not business time, what!
Alice: Maybe it is a business arrangement!
Anna: Are you calling me a milliner?
Alice: Actually, I was implying that you might be a prostitute.
Anna: What?
Alice: Well, if the cap fits...
Anna: So you ARE calling me a milliner?
Alice: [Thinks] Hm, actually, I kind of like her!
Clint: Me too. Let he who has not stolen a carriage for a god cause throw the first stone!
[BONK. CLINT gets hit on the head by a stone thrown by ALICE.]
Alice: Hey, it's not like I personally stole any of these carriages!
Dur: But did you IMPERSONALLY steal any of them?
Alice: [Gives Dur a long, sad look, before turning to the party] She can do better.
Clint: I admit he's something of a fixer upper, but let her be happy with her multidimensional widower!
Harvey: And let us be happy that we are on the move, away from those HARMA cads!
Charlie: [Nods at Harvey's words] Oh, indeed! I can practically feel our safety increasing by the minute! [Excited] Soon, we will find a place to stop for a rest and painstakingly formulate a well-developed plan. [Starry-eyed] With maps! And charts!
Austin: [Deadpan] You could make a chart of all the known unknowns.
Alice: I made a chart of the all unknown unknowns! [Holds up a blank sheet of paper] Whatcha think?
Harvey: [Looking at the sheet] Potentially it would have been more impressive had you not used a pen with white ink, dear girl!
Alice: Well, if I had used my sparkly gold pen, then they'd hardly be unknown, would they?
Austin: Unknown unknowns are, generally best left unknown.
Charlie: [Aghast] It is clear none of you are scientists! Those of us with inquiring minds cannot rest until we know everything!
Alice: So is it driving you crazy that you don't know what's in the box?
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, yes! Let us conduct experiments to ascertain what is in the box! [Whips out a notepad and starts taking measurements, mumbling numbers]
Austin: Will the first experiment be opening the box?
Alice: Certainly not! Deucie told us not to open it.
Charlie: [To Alice, incredulously] If you are going to live your life taking direction from Deuce, I fear for your future health and mental well-being! [To Austin] Opening it is the last step, of course. Only after we have conducted experiments to make an educated guess about its contents will we open to confirm the success of our work!
Alice: It certainly sounds like there's going to be a lot of note taking and other boring stuff!
Austin: Why not just open the box and find out. It's the only way to know for sure what is in there.
Harvey: I agree wholeheartedly! I mean, based on our earlier experience, there's every possibility that it's just a huge Jack in the Box, in the box! Hmm, or is that Jack in the Chest, in the chest?
Clint: Knowing Deuce, it's probably something stupid and pointless in there, but why tempt fate by opening it?  If we really want to know what's in the box, surely the right answer is to have *someone else* open it for us while we wait behind a blast shield of some kind?
Anna: I know what we should do!
[The carriage hits a rock and flies into the air, turning upside gracefully as it does.]
Alice: I don't really see how that's going to help!
[Everyone gets pinned to the roof.]
End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act III, Scene II. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and ANNA are in carriage that is flying upside down over a cliff.]
Anna: [Pumping the brakes] It won't stop!
Charlie: [Frantically grabbing for something solid to hang onto. To Anna] Is this part of your plan? Or has it all gone horribly wrong?!
Anna: [Dead calm] Don't worry. [Smiles] Dur will sort us out!
Alice: We're all gonna die!
[The carriage continues its flight through the air.]
Austin: Brace positions! [To Anna] You have flown this before haven't you?
Anna: Of course!
Alice: Really?
Anna: [Drops her head] No.
Harvey: [Grabbing on for dear life] By the saints, and I thought this day could not get worse!
Dur: Don’t worry gang! [Uselessly tries to cast Calm Emotions] There, we might all be heading towards certain doom, but at least we won’t be panicking!
[Alas, there is too much falling and screaming to successfully cast a spell. The fall is broken with a huge splash.]
Charlie: [Relieved, looks out the window] Are we safe?!
Dur: [All the color begins draining from Dur's face] What was that sound?!
Austin: Hopefully it is slightly sparkling mineral water, with a hint of rose.
Alice: [Peers out] I think we're safe! [Turns to the party] Crocodiles can't swim, right?
Austin: Of course they can swim! Have you ever seen one using armbands?
Alice: Oh. Well, I think we may be washed over the waterfall before they catch us.
Harvey: Are you sure they weren't alligators? Those scaly buggers have quite a pace!
Alice: I don't know, what kind of armbands do they wear?
Charlie: [Cranes her neck to check the waterfall] Are we closer to the waterfall or the crocodiles?!
Alice: [Blocking the window] I don't know! We haven't established yet whether they are crocodiles or alligators!
Clint: Can you see their teeth when their mouths are closed?
Alice: Not really, but there's so much blood it's hard to be sure!
Austin: [Checks himself for alligators] Whose blood is it?
Dur: [Cradling his knees in a fetal position] Who cares about crocodies or alligators when we are surrounded by the true terror! Water!
Harvey: I don’t think you’ll need to worry for too long, judging by the roaring sound of that oncoming waterfall, what!
Alice: What? You'll have to speak up, I can hardly hear you over the roaring sound of the waterfall!
[Whoever's blood it is, is isn't from the party.]
Austin: [Looks worried] Is it a little waterfall, or a big one?
Alice: I don't know -- it's too deep to tell!
Charlie: I doubt we can swim against the pull of the waterfall, so we had better brace ourselves for the drop!
Alice: The drop? Yeesh, could you vague that up, Charlie? I mean, there must be like, thousands of drops of water here!
Harvey: I believe the dear woman is referring to our imminent plunging over the edge of the waterfall, what!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Indeed I am, Colonel! [To the party] Hold tight, group! No doubt we shall be plunging dramatically any moment now!
Alice: Maybe if we all blow really hard in the opposite direction?
Austin: How did that work out for you the last time you tried it?
Alice: It's my first time!
Austin: I suppose we should be relieved! brace yourselves! [Puts on one of those in-flight neck cushions. To Anna] Is this carriage submersible too?
Anna: Yes! [Thinks hard] That means it can sink, right?
Austin: Only if we can still breath when it is submersed, and then surface again when we choose?
Anna: Uh... no, but on the bright side, we'll probably drown before that happens.
Clint: Maybe we'll get lucky and the wreckage will float.  It means we'll get wet and we'll probably have to deal with Dur's panic attack, but with a great deal of luck we might even survive the experience... at least until the alligators fall on top of us!
Alice: Wait! I think we're going to be okay! I think that --
[The carriage lurches as it careers over the waterfall. Everyone gets a glimpse of how high up they are. They are very, very high.]
Alice: Oh.
Charlie: [Gasp and grabs the side of the carriage frantically] Hold on, group!
Alice: Nooooooooooooooo [checks her watch] ooooooooo!
[The fall stops mid air.]
Harvey: Oof! [Looks around] I say, I believe we can fly!
Alice: I wonder if we can touch the sky!
Charlie: [To Alice and Harvey, gripping the wall desperately] Indeed, you cannot! Humans are not capable of independent flight, and when confronted by gravity, they will inevitably fall! [Scolding] If you listened to the first Science for Beginners lecture I gave when I joined the party, you would know that!
Alice: I did listen! Why else do you think I fell asleep so quickly?
Austin: [Tries to see outside] What stopped us?
Charlie: Perhaps we have all died, crushed by the fall, and we now exist only as formless thoughts? [Reaches over to pinch Dur on the arm] Are you solid?
Harvey: I think you'd best hope the answer to that is no!
Dur: [Eyes clinched shut] So long as I can’t SEE the water I don’t have to be afraid right?! Wait,[Blinks] did we stop falling?
Alice: [Wincing at Dur's scream of pain as Charlie pinches him] I think we're stuck in a huge net! And look, there are a whole bunch of people here, having some sort of party!
[Strangely enough, this is true. There is a gathering of about thirty people, all dressed in cowboy gear, cheering and a-hollerin'.]
Austin: Out of the waterfall into the frying pan. Not as catchy as I would hope. Anyway they seem to be very glad that they saved us. Let's just hope that they don't do line dancing. [Goes green at the thought]
Clint: What do you suppose are the odds they're friendly? Or that they're cannibals?
Dur: Can't we take an optimistic approach to things once in awhile? Perhaps they are friendly cannibals!
Harvey: Or even very well fed cannibals who are currently not in need of a meal!
Austin: [Nervously] As long as they don't line dance, we'll all be fine.
Alice: [Looks out] Hey! Are you a cannibal?
[One of the cowboys waves and answers.]
Cowboy: Yes! How did you know?
Charlie: [To Cowboy] Did you catch us as part of a grotesque hunting/gathering process, or are you merely helpful?
Cowboy: Hunting? Heck, no! We're here to help! We had a dream that we need to build a big net!
Charlie: How splendidly primitive! Could you assist us safely out of this net?
Harvey: And please, with as little yeehawing and thigh slapping as you can possibly muster! We've been through quite enough for one day!
Cowboy: Yeeha--, I mean, yeehoo!
Alice: But what about the cannibals?
Cowboy: What cannibals?
Austin: [Cautiously] What else was in your dream?
Cowboy: Not a whole lot. We just dreamt that a bunch of folks would need our help. We never dreamed that it would come true. [Pause] Wait, that's not quite true... we did DREAM it, we just didn't believe it!
Charlie: [Sensibly] And rightly so! Only very silly or simple-minded people believe their dreams come true.
Alice: Oh, what a sad world you live in, Charlie!
Cowboy: That was pretty much it, I guess. We just dreamed we should get a big net.
Clint: Well, that's right neighborly of you, pardner.  [Begins struggling to get to safety.]
Harvey: Did all of you have the same dream? ;; Do the party still have the chest?
[CLINT pushes the door open so the party can see all the cowboys and cowgirls on the riverbank. The COWBOY talking to them is ANNIBAL SPECTER.]
Annibal: Yes sir!
Anna: [Whispers to the party] Sounds dodgy. Let's kill them all!
Yes, the chest is in the carriage.
Charlie: [To Anna, in a low voice] We cannot just attack everyone we meet. Some may become allies! [To Annibal] How interesting! We should like to hear more about it [attempts to exit the carriage].
Harvey: [To Anna] Indeed, let us show some restraint! Have you heard of this group of people?
[CLINT and CHARLIE climb out of the carriage and onto the net. It is a reassuringly well constructed net.]
Anna: No!
Alice: Who are they?
Anna: Well, I don't know!
Austin: I suppose we should be relieved at that!
; away until Monday
Harvey: [Climbing out and trying to steady himself] By the saints, what a firm and welcome net, what! [Holds out his hand] I'm Harvey Kingston Short the third, very pleased to meet you!
Dur: Perhaps they are future soldiers in the resistance I am building!
Charlie: [Shakes her head, carefully attempting to cross the net] No, they would have greeted us with pants full of sandwiches, surely!
Annibal: [Shakes hands with Harvey] That's a mighty fine grip you got there, partner! Did y'all have the same dream?
Alice: Do you have a sandwich in your pants?
Annibal: No, but I do have an enormous penis.
Clint: One hopes it's yours!
Annibal: One of 'em is.
Charlie: [To Annibal, intrigued] Oh, what species are you? I should like to hear more about your anatomical peculiarities!
Alice: Oh my god, Charlie, keep it in your pants!
Annibal: I'm human, lady. What species are you? Did you make us have the dream?
Clint: We're your bog-standard people, us!  Just that some of us are more sheltered than others.
Harvey: Did your dream show anything else, or just to create a big net?
Annibal: Why don't you tell us, partner? Seeing as how you're the ones who gave us the dream!
Harvey: Why, I believe you then cooked a splendid, though meat free banquet for the new arrivals, what!
Charlie: [Nodding enthusiastically] Oh, yes! And then gave me two competent research assistants and drove me to a world-class library!
Annibal: Meat free? [Laughs] As if! [Thinks] We can help you out with research assistants, but sorry, lady, ain't no world-class libraries any more!
Charlie: [Disapprovingly] Clearly, we have also abandoned elementary school grammar, as well!
Clint: Well, yes.  Elementary school grammar is for people in elementary school!
Ain't no problem with "ain't," y'all! =)
Harvey: [To Charlie] I'm not sure their schooling would have included grammar, dear woman. Probably more likely their sports days involved calf rustling, lassoo twirling for beginners and how to spit tobacco juice into a spitoon from varying distances!
Alice: All y'all need to calm down, there ain't nothin' wrong with the way they're talkin' y'hear?
Annibal: Yeah... now you're starting to sound a bit racist.
Charlie: [To Alice] Oh, do stop pandering to the locals! [To Annibal] When you and your group are not dreaming and constructing nets, how do you normally occupy yourselves?
Annibal: Come on down and I'll tell you all about it!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act III, Scene III. The Riverbank. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, ANNA, ANNIBAL and a bunch of folk in Western gear are here. ANNIBAL leads the party through what looks like a huge picnic.]
Annibal: We got chicken fried chicken, chicken fried steak, steak fried steak, steak fried chicken and some chicken fried fries. What would you like?
Harvey: [Mouth watering, looks suspiciously at the meat] Erm, I suppose you don't have any fish? What with being so close to a river and everything!
Charlie: [To Harvey, with a snort] Perhaps chicken-fried fish?!
Dur: All of the above please!
Clint: Dur's got the right idea! I'll have the same.
Annibal: Fish? Nah, there's not much meat in fish!
Alice: Do you have anything that's not fried?
Annibal: You could try the fries, they're not too much fried!
Charlie: [To Annibal, appalled] One assumes the life expectancy of your people is quite low?
Harvey: Indeed! [Points to the food] About as long as the life expectancy of your chickens, what! You are like the Cowboys of the Chikpocalypse!
Annibal: We prefer to say the More Horsemen of The Cickenpoxalpyse! [To Charlie] On the contrary, ma'am. We have excellent life expectancy. Why, my granpappy lived to the right old age of 23. [Grabs at his chest] Sonofa! That's my third heart attack this week!
Charlie: [To Harvey, disapprovingly] No doubt they also drink their tea cold! And leave the crusts on their cucumber sandwiches!
Annibal: [Grimacing through the pain] Cue... come ... bear? Sorry, lady, not sure what you mean. What kind of meat is that? [Face lights up] Is it bear? It's bear, isn't it? Hey, I like your style, cow-girl!
Harvey: Mmm, chicken fried cucumbear sandwiches...[stomach rumbles]. By the saints, what I wouldn't give for a ponnet full of southern chicken fried snakes feet at this minute!
Charlie: [Gasps] Colonel, no! Do not succumb to the temptation of those deep-fried coronary ticking time bombs!
Colin and Dom, we need to get you two over
to the states for a QV Live, complete with
all the Oklahoma/Texas deep-fried craziness
you can handle!
Annibal: Chicken fried snakes' feet? [Laughs] You're definitely one of us!
Y'all ain't lived until y'all have tasted
my chicken fried pickles!
Charlie: We are NOT. We have important work to do, as well as plans to live past the age of 30 [looks around] and, er, older!
;; Y'all ain't lived until y'all have tasted
;; my chicken fried pickles!
Don't worry; if you make the trip, I will do
my best to keep Conor from slipping hopelessly
into a Southern-fried accent!
Annibal: But what about the dream? Did y'all cause that?
;; Don't worry; if you make the trip, I will do
;; my best to keep Conor from slipping hopelessly
;; into a Southern-fried accent!
Why fiddle-de-dee, Miss Heather! It would
the scandal of the county!
Dur: Sure! We cause those kinds of things all the time by accident!
We’ve been talking about this for years!
Annibal: [Scratches his crotch] Well, that's a real head scratcher, isn't it? Y'all could have been killed!
It's the Queens View way, Kevin! We spend
so much time talking about horribly
complex plans that nothing gets done!
We need to put pressure on Colin and
Dom to come out. USA! U! S! A!
Harvey: That, I believe, is not an unusual event, dear sir!
Totally on for it!
Annibal: Maybe, but [loud scratching] the question is who made us dream that? And also how? And why?
Alice: Not to mention WHEN!
Annibal: No, we already knew that.
Dom is out today
Austin: [Covering his ears] Please make him stop scratching. I fear injury to my delicate hearing.
Maybe it's time to start making
needlessly complex and confusing
Charlie: [To Annibal] Based on my understanding of the skills in this group, I can say with some confidence that we did not send the dreams to you. However, it does seem that the people responsible wished to assist us, so one concludes they are on the side of good!
Alice: [Nods] It's true, we're crap at that sort of thing!
Annibal: So what's so special about you that you need saving?
Harvey: It must be that we are just really, really good people, what!
Austin: [Casually admiring his nails] We have saved the world a number for times, and I have impeccably good taste. Do you need more reasons?
Annibal: Nope, that's good enough for me!
Austin: Excellent, I like you already. Thank you for saving my team.
Charlie: [To Annibal] Splendid! We do so enjoy working with the deeply naive and exceedingly accommodating! Could you assist us in freeing our carriage so that we may be on our way?
Annibal: Certainly not! Now we have to some singing and dancing!
Harvey: Could you not free our carriage first, and then have a sing and a dance about that?
Annibal: No sir. We can't go riskin' another hang and dash now, can we?
Charlie: What on earth is a hang and dash?!
Annibal: It's when you free someone or their vehicle and they race off before you can play a tune about it on your Geetar.
Alice: What's that? Is it something like a guitar?
Annibal: Kind of, but way more annoying.
Charlie: [Shudders] Perhaps you could play AS we leave? You know, something like a hillbilly car chase, to add whimsy to the scene?
Austin: Everyone loves a good carriage chase!
Annibal: Dang it! Why doesn't anyone like to hear our songs on the geetar?
Harvey: Perhaps you should invest in some good, serious instruments, such as war drums and trumpets!
Annibal: No way -- they're not sad enough!
Austin: I'm sure your geetar will be just fine. Why don't you play it on your carriage as you chase us, close enough so that we can hear of course!
Annibal: You don't use geetars for chasing -- that's banjo music!
Charlie: [To Annibal] Pardon my colleague! He is not familiar with the ways of the hills and so forth. Go ahead and play your [finger quotes] geetar, and we shall drive off into the sunset!
Alice: Oh god! Now we'll never get the carriage back!
Annibal: [Starts strumming his horribly out of tune guitar as he sings] Over end, neither left nor the right!
Charlie: [Claps loudly] Excellent! Now perhaps you could help us retrieve our carriage?
Harvey: Indeed, a fine, and more importantly, short, ditty!
Annibal: Hey lady! That's just the first line!
Alice: How many lines are there?
Annibal: A hundred.
Alice: Yikes!
Annibal: In this verse!
Charlie: [To the party] Let each line serve as inspiration in motivating you to help me unload our carriage! [Claps her hands] Come, group! Let us make quick work of it, and continue on foot!
Annibal: Drop kick me, Phili, through the goaaaaaal posts of life!
Alice: [Covers her ears] It burns! It burns!
[A flaming arrow zips past the party and lands in the middle of them.]
Alice: Huh. Look, it burns!
Harvey: I believe that's an apt critical response what! We may also be under attack!
Alice: Us? I don't think so!
[Another arrow flies and gets caught in ALICE'S hat.]
Alice: That's just rude! I wasn't even wearing a hat!
Charlie: [Covers her head frantically] Take cover, group!
Austin: Were? [Looks around in a panic. Hides behind Alice]
Alice: [Ducks behind Austin] Man! It's getting really hot! Is there a fire somewhere?
Harvey: By the saints, its almost safer back in the river!
Charlie: [Horrified] But we cannot leave all of my research behind! Think of the loss to science and--yes, to mankind itself!
Austin: [Casually checking his nails] Every cloud has a silver lining!
Alice: [Points to some bushes] I think it's coming from there! Dur, rush in like crazy and scare them out. Harvey, Clint and Charlie can catch them with their swords. Aus, you and me need to check out what sort of chicken fried cheese they have here!
Dur: [Brandishing some questionable food stuffs from his trouser pantry] For the resistance! [Rushes towards the bushes]
Austin: [To Alice] Silver linings everywhere! I agree, we should check out the cheese. Just in case.
[An arrow thuds into DUR's shoulder and sends him flying.]
Alice: Oh.
Harvey: By the saints! Man down! [Attempts to drag Dur to safety, shielding him as best as he can]
Austin: [Puts on some latex gloves and tries to help Harvey, lifting Durs hand] Take cover!
Charlie: [Tries throwing rocks at the attackers in an attempt to give Harvey, Austin, and Dur cover] You thugs! How could you attack our poor Dur?! He has not even had the opportunity to perform a botched surgery on you! What could you possibly have against him?!
Alice: Are you sure? Maybe we're dealing with some grotesquely scarred victim of a bungled surgery? I mean, it was only a matter of time before someone caught up with him. [Calls out] Are you grotesquely and horrifically scarred?
[A FEMALE VOICE replies.]
Female: Certainly not! I'm quite attractive!
Alice: I don't know. Maybe it's his personality!
Harvey: [Dragging Dur to cover] Or another irate ex wife from a different dimension!
Austin: [Surprised] Do you recognise her voice?
Harvey: Not mine, [nods towards Dur] his! Seems to be quite the lothario, what!
Dur: [Feigning a mortal wound and howling pitifully] It’s true, it’s true! I am quite the playboy!
Anna: Let me sort out this bitch! [Rolls up her sleeves and storms towards the woods]
[Enter VANESSA VAN HELVANSING, a dashing adventurer type.]
Vanessa: Who are you calling a bitch, bitch?
Alice: Hey! Oh. I see.

Vanessa Van Helvansing

Dur: Now, now ladies! Don't fight over me, there's plenty of me for everyone to love!
Charlie: [To Dur] Do be serious! [To Vanessa] Were you just attacking us?!
Vanessa: No! If I were to attack you... [walks to one side and looks wistfully up to the sky] you would already be dead. [Holds her dramatic pose]
Harvey: [Looks upwards] Who is she talking to?
Austin: First lets just lear up a few anomalies. [Gestures towards Dur] Are you his ex?
Vanessa: Certainly not!
Anna: [Gasps in horror] Noooooo! [To Dur] You're cheating on her with me? How... how dangerous... how... intoxicating! [To Vanessa] You heard him, he doesn't love you, he loves me now!
Dur: Meeeee-yow ladies! I guess you never know when you are going to meet your future ex-wives, am I right? [Winks at Harvey] This guy knows what I mean!
Alice: Dur, you're a pig.
Dur: [Waving his hand dismissively at Alice] Is that Deuce over there?
Alice: Where? Where? [Cranes her neck to see him] Deucie! Deucie! [Smiles at the party] I knew he'd follow us!
That's a low one, Kev, even for Dur!!
Austin: [To Vanessa, looking disgusted at Dur] So, he is you ex or not?
Dur: That should keep her busy for a while! Now where were we ladies?
Nothing is ever TOO low for Dur!
Dur: [Correcting Austin] FUTURE ex. [Winks]
Vanessa: [Gestures to Austin] Your friend here was trying to persuade me to kill you! No, I am not his ex, his current or his future! [Walks dramatically to the bank of the river] I have but one lover... danger!
Austin: [Looks a Vanessa in utter pity] You poor thing.
Charlie: [Nods solemnly] Yes, one imagines having Danger as a lover would result in all manner of social diseases!
Clint: That's a risk a true danger lover is prepared to take! Rather like we're prepared to risk letting Dur operate on us.
Back from my meeting and waaay behind on email!
Harvey: Dan Ger? Don't know him, my dear. Is he the one who told you to rain fire down on us?
Austin: I thought she said danger? [Sighs. To Vanessa] How many lovers and ex's do you have around here? [Looks around]
Vanessa: None!
Annibal: Ahem!
Vanessa: Okay, well... one!
Charlie: [Primly] There is no need to discuss such personal matters with us. We only wish to be on our way, and not become embroiled in the sordid private lives of strangers!
Vanessa: That's just fine, I wouldn't want you to get involved in my sordid affairs. However, I will have to kill all of you.
Charlie: But you have only just met us. Very few of us tend to inspire that kind of violence instantly!
Harvey: Indeed, dear woman! I found you all initially rather annoying and perplexing, but I certainly didn't wish death on you! Now, I'm rather quite fond of you all!
Charlie: [To Harvey] What a lovely thing to say, Colonel! [To Vanessa, gesturing to Harvey] This man is a decorated war hero! [Horrified] Surely you do not mean to suggest that his opinion is not to be trusted?!
Austin: [Forlorn to Vanessa] Yes, why are you trying to kill us? We have only been in this dimension for a few days, and we came here to save the world, destroy HARMA if we can and stop any insane gods from destroying this world. Why would you want to stop that? [Frowns] Are you a HARMA supporter?
Vanessa: That sounds like just the sort of thing someone would say if they were here to destroy OUR world? And no, I'm not a HARMA supporter, but they are but an irrelevance compared to your crimes!
Austin: [Aghast] Crimes? What crimes?
Alice: Stealing a moving carriage, ruining a china shoppe, fleeing the scene of an accident, possession of.. oh wait, are you asking her or me?
Vanessa: I don't care about your petty larceny -- I'm here because of the genocide! [Pause] To stop it, not to cause it.
Austin: But we did not come here to commit genocide, we came to prevent it. [Curious] Who did you think we wanted to kill?
Harvey: Or are you here to stop these people stopping the genocide? Are you pro genocide?
Clint: Well, being pro-genocide isn't a crime as long as you don't actually go out and kill anyone!  [Stares at Vanessa suspiciously.]
Charlie: [Raises an eyebrow at Clint's words] Perhaps not a crime, but one prefers not to associate with those who are pro-genocide! [To Vanessa, helpfully] They tend to be rather single-minded and have never read any interesting books!
Vanessa: It seems like you've both had a lot of experience with the pro-genocide movement!
Harvey: What makes you say that? Do you think this group is a collective of mass murderers?
Vanessa: The dark magic you used to get Annibal and the others here!
Austin: But we did not bring them here. Why would we? We have never even met them before now.
Vanessa: Just the sort of thing a liar would say! [Waves the treeline] Chaaaaarge!
Harvey: [Looks towards the trees for a few momentsI think this poor creature may suffer from deep seated psychological issues, troupe.
Vanessa: [Irritated] Can you give me a moment? [Storms over to the trees]
Alice: She seems to, but she also seems quite sure we are evil people. I wonder why? I mean, other than Stinky's rather peculiar confession!
Harvey: [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn] Hmm, I wonder. You said that I resemble someone you know in your dimension. I wonder if that means there are people who resemble you, in my dimension? A group of pro genocide rogues, perhaps!
Austin: I thought that we were unique in this dimension, no duplicates. Wasn't that a known known? [Ponders] Perhaps that was the previous dimension, or another?
Charlie: Indeed, it is rather hard to keep up with one's dimension in our line of work! Perhaps there are duplicates of us in this world, though I think more likely this woman is simply mad!
Anna: She does seem like an idiot. No offence, Alice.
Alice: Uh... hm. [To the party] Let's steal one of the other carriages before the cowboys come back and start singing.
Austin: [Alarmed] Good idea! [Looks for the best available carriage] Let's get going.
Anna: Yes! Let's find one of the cowboys, beat him up and then steal his carriage!
Alice: Or... we could, you know, just steal one, now that they are all hiding!
Anna: What are you? Some sort of narc? Dur, I vote we boot this narc out!
Dur: That’s absurd dear! Why would we get rid of perfectly good narcotics?
Anna: Oh. Okay. I mean, I do too!
[VANESSA appears at the treelike.]
Vanessa: Oh great! You're still there! We're almost ready!
Dur: Um… Perhaps we should not be here when they are fully ready…
Anna: [Claps her hands] You heard the boss, people! Let's get a carriage!
Clint: Heck with that!  We're in cowboy country -- we should borrow horses.  Yeehaw!
Charlie: [To Clint] We must have a carriage so that we can take our chest with us! [Claps her hands more loudly than Anna] Chop chop! Let us get the chest and commandeer a carriage, quickly!
Harvey: I believe, dear woman, that these people refer to them as wagons!
Alice: I think she's bluffing! Let's see what she's got!
Harvey: I'm inclined to agree with you, dear girl! I think she's as nutty as a particularly nutty nut cake, what!
Austin: We still need a carriage and we still need to leave. You could just use your imagination.
[Enter VANN VAN HELVANSING, VANCE VAN HELVANSING and VANDAN VAN HELVANSING, three enormous and well armed men. They each hold bows with flaming arrows.]
Alice: Huh. I think my imagination is pretty good!




End of scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act III, Scene IV. The Picnic. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and ANNA are here, running from the hail of flaming arrows shot by VANESSA, VANN, VANCE and VANDAN. Each of CHARLIE, CLINT, ALICE and HARVEY heft the chest.]
Alice: Look! We might all fit in this carriage! [Points to the only non-flaming carriage]
Austin: [Rushes over to the non-flaming carriage and tries to get in] Don't just stand there! Get a move on. [Calmly] Alice, would you drive please?
Charlie: [Quickly tries to step in front of Alice and take the reins] Oh, let me, Alice! You can sit in back and do a bit of coloring. Wouldn't that be nice?!
Austin: Best let Alice drive, Sarge. Don't you need to record everything in your journal?
Alice: [Elbows her way to front] He's right, Charlie, don't you have some graphs to draw or some such?
[The party clamber on, barely fitting in around the chest, with ANNA hanging onto the back. The carriage moves away slowly.]
Vann: Do not let the demons escape! [Fires a flaming arrow]
Clint: [Sticks his head out the window to put out any flames] Happy trails, guys!
Charlie: Why do they assume we are demons?! [To Clint] While you have your head stuck outside, do ask them, won't you?!
[Arrows rain down on the carriage, with CLINT narrowly avoiding one as he pulls his head in.]
Alice: [Driving super slowly] Oh my god! They're going to catch us!
Dur: Is she serious with this? Alice if you don't begin driving like your natural self, I will have no other option but to schedule you for a full physical to ensure you are not ill!
Alice: Well, if maybe y'all might grab those there banjos and start playing some of that there hillbilly chase music we might get this here chase started. Partner!
Harvey: [Picking up a banjo] Well, I don't know about hillbilly music, but perhaps this will suit! [Starts to play Flight of the Valkyries slowly and amateurly]
Charlie: [Hurriedly grabs a washboard and begins thumping on it awkwardly, trying to follow Austin's tune] Quickly, someone begin blowing rhythmically into a jug!
Alice: Me! Me! I've always been told that I'm great at blow jugs!
Charlie: [Urgently] You cannot be in the band! You are DRIVING! Aren't you?!
Austin: [Takes a Banjo and starts playing a Cotton Eyed Joe as best he can] The things I do to save the world! [Grimaces at his own playing]
[A huge hail of flaming arrows descends, only for the the carriage to zoom off as the hillbilly music starts.]
Alice: Yeeeeeeha!
Harvey: And we are off! Perhaps eastwards this time, west was very much a poor directional choice.
Alice: You got it!
[ALICE turns the carriage at high speed, sending ANNA flying off and the party heading back towards VANESSA and the others.]
Alice: This way's East, right?
Charlie: North! Go Nooooooorth!
Harvey: Indeed! Basically, any direction but the one you're currently heading in, dear girl!
Alice: Oh my god! You're such a bunch of back side drivers!
[Swerves the carriage violently again causing the huge volley of flaming arrows to miss. Somehow the party bravely keep up their music playing.]
Alice: [Turning back to look at the party so she can't see that the carriage is heading straight towards the river] Better?
Clint: [Banging a couple of spoons together] Don't forget to stop and get Dur's groupie!
Dur: Yeah! She's my most trusted lieutenant of the Dur's Irrational Reign of Terror, or D.I.R.T for short! We're revolustionaries!
Alice: Say revolustionaries again and I swear I'll drive this thing straight into the river!
[This is exactly where the carriage is going right now!]
Dur: You already are!
Charlie: [To Alice, thumping frantically on the washboard] Try SOUTH, you absurd girl!!
Austin: [To Charlie] Temper temper. Does some one need to have quiet time?
Alice: I thought this was south!
[Too late! The carriage flies over the edge of the river, somehow climbing high enough to make it to the other side. It lands with a hard crunch, sending everyone sliding around as it bounces high in the air and flips several times, rolling over and over, until eventually it stops, right side up. VANESSA and the others look on in amazement.]
Vanessa: Are... are they still playing music?
Vance: That's some commitment to their sound.
Alice: Wow! Let's do that again!
Austin: [Finishes playing and tries to get up and straighten his clothes] Excellent driving Alice, looks like those loosers are stuck on the other side.
Alice: Thanks Aus! Shall we get out and taunt them?
Austin: Taunting is barely better than mockery, and quite beneath me. [Look at the enemy] I'll do it if I must. [Gets out of the carriage. Shouts at the baddies] Maybe you could take a bus?
Charlie: [To Austin, clapping her hands briskly] That seems a sufficient amount of taunting! Now, let us be on our way at once.
Vanessa: Hey! There's no need to be mean about it!
Alice: Yeah, by Felicia! [Drops her mic]
[VANESSA and the others race to a nearby carriage and start it up.]
Harvey: By the saints, are they going to try the same thing? We should make a tactical withdrawal, just in case they do!
Alice: Only losers do that!
[The carriage starts racing towards the riverbank.]
Alice: Hm, maybe we should make a move after all!
Clint: [Taunts the villains further]
Alice: [Watching Clint's silent and motionless taunting, sighs] Zing.
I mean... come on!
Charlie: [Scolding] We shall have plenty of time to catalog and evaluate the effectiveness of each party member's taunts as we travel! We must depart!
Austin: Indeed Sarge, lets get the team moving. Staying here certainly wont improve Mr Scar's taunting. [Matter of factly] I thought my own taunt to be a little lack lustre, but then again, I am just too nice for that sort of thing.
Alice: [Laughs so hard that milk comes down her nose] Oh Aus! You're so funny! That has cheered me right up after witnessing Clint's mediocre taunting.
[The party race to their carriage as the other one leaps into the air and starts to fly over the river.]
Austin: [Looks offended] The truth will out!
Alice: Look! They're going to make it!
[The other carriage certainly looks like it will easily make it across. The various VANS lean out, waving weapons angrily.]
Alice: I think they're really angry with Clint for having put forth such a lame effort!
Harvey: Perhaps they have mistaken him as a mime! Enraged they look!
Charlie: [Shakes her head] More likely they suffer from constipation as a result of their appalling diets!
Clint: Well now that they're properly angry, shall we make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here?
on holiday for about 3 weeks starting Wednesday.
original plan to go to Italy has had to be modified, alas
[The VANS all draw weapons... take aim...]
Alice: Oh man! They're going to hit us!
[A huge shark inexplicably leaps out of the river and swallows the other carriage whole.]
Charlie: [Astonished] Was that a freshwater shark, or a seawater shark with a poor sense of direction?!
Clint: That can't have been a river shark, surely! [Makes a mental note not to go swimming here]
Charlie: [Fretting] Oh, I wish I had taken some measurements while I had the opportunity! [Looks at the party hopefully] Did anyone make a sketch? Preferably a highly detailed one?
Harvey: By the saints, did you see the size of it?
Alice: Sure did. They say he's five hundred pounds of bottom-dwelling fury, don't you know. No one knows how old he is, but if you ask me, and most people do, he's a hundred years if he's a day. Got me a sketch of it, too. [Shows the party a picture of what looks like a brown splotch]
Harvey: Gah! What a shame it's out of focus! You could have made a lot of gold from selling it to the papers!
Alice: Aw man! If you can squint you can see it, though, right?
Charlie: [Peers hopefully at the sketch] I can see it, I think! Would you say its teeth are spear-like? Or serrated?
Alice: Teeth? I thought it had a beak!
Austin: Serrated. [Looks at the river] Shame.
Alice: Why? What's so sad about that?
[Bubbles and blood float to the surface of the river.]
Alice: Ah. I see. Well, lucky that she didn't leap out and catch us then, wasn't it? I guess it's probably down to my driving... I mean, some might say hero!
Dur: Some, but not us! Perhaps we should be on our way…
Alice: Thanks Dur! You're so nice!
Charlie: [Claps her hands. Anxiously] Right, follow me, group! If even Dur thinks we have dallied too long, I fear we are in very deep trouble already!
Alice: Oh please. You're such a "glass is half full of poison that will kill me and everyone within a a hundred feet of me" kind of person!
[A bloody hand clamps onto the riverbank as someone starts to pull themselves out of the river.]
Alice: Oh. Maybe that wasn't shark blood?
Austin: Time to go! Alice, would you be a darling and drive?
Clint: Time to be heroes again and run away!
Harvey: Wait! Are you really going to leave that person get ripped to pieces by that shark?
Alice: Maybe he might drown first?
Clint: I'm assuming that the owner of that hand has ripped her way out of the shark and doesn't want our help!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Come, Colonel! Let us assist this poor wretch! [Hurries to assist the survivor]
[VANESSA somersaults onto the bank, a shark fin in her mouth. She spits it onto the ground in front of CHARLIE and HARVEY.]
Alice: [Revving up the horses] Come on! Let's go!
Harvey: [Stops in his tracks] Yes, I think that perhaps, we had better go!
[Several other bloodied hands and arms grab onto the bank as ALICE puts her hand on the horn, which plays "La Cucaracha".]
Harvey: [Watching the hands rise from the water] By the saints, zombie shark victims! What fresh hell! Come dear woman, we must get to the carriage immediately!
Alice: Let's go! Come on!
Harvey: To the carriage! Wagon! [Attempts to help Charlie into the carriage]
[Everyone loads into the carriage as ALICE roars off as fast as it can go, which is to say, not really that fast. VANESSA and the others start to run.]
Alice: I don't think they're zombies! I think they just killed a shark!
Harvey: Either that was a pathetic giant shark, or they are incredibly powerful aquatic combatants!
Alice: It was a pathetic giant shark that seems to be a long way from the ocean! And... was it trying to protect us?
Austin: Why would it try to protect us? Did some one train a shark to protect us? [Looks at Charlie] Sarge, how far have you taken your cryptozooology studies?
Alice: That would be so cool! We could never be defeated! He'd come everywhere with us! [Thinks] Oh, unless we had to go upstairs... then he wouldn't really be all that good at all!
Austin: Perhaps Sarge could do some more [jazz hands] splicing and grow a guard shark with legs? [after thought] and lungs.
Alice: Oh! And maybe with a top hat and monocle! And maybe a pocket watch... because then he'd look sharp!
Austin: Great. We need this by Friday, Sarge, can you action that?
Harvey: I think you're overlooking the one serious flaw in your top hat, monacle wearing, stairs climbing shark protector, troupe! It was just roundly beaten by that lady and her goons!
Austin: We were just accessorising. It would be way cooler than a pug in a handbag.
Alice: It does seem surprising that they were able to beat up our shark! Maybe they were the demons!
Charlie: [Enthralled] Perhaps they WERE demons! [To Austin, eagerly] And, by all means, I should be delighted to work with you on your shark project! Let us gather samples and begin!
Alice: Hang on a sec. Are we gathering bits of shark or getting the hell away from those scary guys who just ate a shark?
Charlie: [To Alice, astonished] How can I interview them and ascertain their demonic ancestry if we run now?! And what of my project with Mr. Sleaze?!
Clint: What I have to say you may not be ready to here, but Sarge, some monsters aren't interested in science and stuff and should only be studied after appropriate safety precautions have been taken.
Alice: Oh my GOD! His name is Austin and he's sitting right there! And anyway, Stinky, you're way more monstrous than Aus!
Clint: And I shouldn't be studied without first taking precautions!
Off to Bulgaria until the 24th
Austin: [To Charlie] I was not suggesting a collaboration, I thought this was your line of work. I could draw up some IP rights documents if required?
;; Off to Bulgaria until the 24th
; have a fab time!
Harvey: Perhaps we can discuss after we have made our escape! I'm not sure we can count on land dwelling sharks helping us out again if we're caught by those rogues!
;;; Off to Bulgaria until the 24th
;;; have a fab time!
; Enjoy!!!
Charlie: [To Harvey, reluctantly] Yes, perhaps you're right, Colonel! [To the group] Let us flee at once, in dramatic fashion!
Clint: Ha! This is the life! [Looks around for something he can use to slow the slavering horde]
Thanks for the well wishes. Sitting in Heathrow for several hours,
which gives me time to email.
[The carriage splutters along, slowly getting away from the rampaging horde.]
Alice: Yeeeha!
End of scene, next one coming right up
Heathrow: The delayiest place on earth!
[Book XI, Act III, Scene V. The Rickety Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT and DUR are here, driving as fast as they can in a westerly direction.]
Alice: Uh, so I don't really know where we're going. I'm just driving as fast as I can.
Charlie: Indeed, none of us know! Do any of you see any signs of life? Other than the people who were possibly trying to kill us earlier? [Looks out the window and scans the horizon]
Good to have you back on our side of the pond,
Tom! Enjoy your trip!
Alice: Not really. Who were they? And that shark was... surprising! It's like a bunch of people seem to know we were coming.
Charlie: [Modestly] Well, I am rather well-known in certain academic circles. Perhaps there was a press release?!
Dur: Or maybe someone printed Wanted posters of us again?
Austin: They didn't look like the reading types.
Alice: Don't be silly, Dur, who would want you? [To Charlie] But what did the press release say? Kill these people?
Harvey: Possibly something along the lines of, Wanted, Dead Or Deader! She seemed to recognise you, but not me!
Austin: And she seemed to think that we were practising the demonology. [Looks worried]
Alice: And not in a good way! [Mutters to Austin] I know, I know, but she's sitting right there!
Charlie: [Huffily] Demonology, like cryptozoology, is a perfectly respectable field of study!
Austin: So you're not into it for the fame, money and the men?
; out for rest of day
Alice: Forget her fame, money and men, how do we know there aren't more crazies waiting to attack us? [Thinks] Or save us?
Harvey: I think its a safe bet dear girl, to assume there are many crazies on our path, both foul and fair, what!
Charlie: [Nods at Harvey's words, jotting on a notepad as she speaks] Indeed, we must be ready for anything and ever vigilant! [Mutters to herself] Spear-shaped teeth, fresh water. . . .
Alice: And don't forget its really long beak and red stripe on its back!
Clint: I thought the stripe was green?
Austin: It wasn't a stripe, it was a houndstooth pattern!
Charlie: [To Alice, scolding] Your sketch did not capture any of this finer detail! [excitedly scribbles notes of the party's dubious observations]
Harvey: I must say, I believe you are being made fun of, dear woman! However, saying that, I thought it quite odd when it played a brief battle call on its bagpipes!
Alice: That wasn't bagpipes, it's how Charlie sounds when she's excited!
Charlie: [Furiously writing and muttering] Bagpipes . . . excited. . . ! [Stops and reads her notes, flushing] You will all be sorry when I conveniently forget to mention you in the footnotes of my article on my thrilling new discovery!
Alice: Will we? [The carriage suddenly screeches to a halt]
Charlie: [Grabs a nearby seat, lurching] Alice, we do NOT have time to stop for a comfort break!
Harvey: [To Alice] By the saints, this is certainly not the place to discuss who does, or does not get mentioned in a future book! I did not think such a thing would concern you that much, dear girl!
Alice: Forget whether I'm going to be the second or third author -- I'm more concerned about that rickety bridge we're about to drive over. [Points at the almost comically badly designed bridge up ahead]
Austin: [Takes a look] Looks like a PFI. Best stay clear of that!
Harvey: What is a piffy? Looks more like a rickety old bridge to me!
Alice: PFI. Partly Financed Indecision. It means he'd like to buy it, but isn't sure he can afford it. I don't think we can drive across it.
Charlie: [Nods] Right, Dur you cross it on foot, and if you survive, we shall follow one by one! [Discreetly looks at Alice's hips] Wisest that Alice should go last, I think.
Dur: Why do I have to cross it first?! You KNOW I'm the most cowardly out of all of us! And it's not like there's a free meal waiting for me on the other side!
Alice: [Nods at Charlie's words] Good idea, Charlie, that way I'll know if it is safe to cross! [Peers over the edge] It's just a gorge, maybe we should just go down and climb back up the other side?
Harvey: I'm not sure we would get the chest back up the other side. [Steps gingerly onto the bridge]
Austin: So we should look in the chest and see if it's worth carrying with us.
[HARVEY puts a toe on the bridge and it creaks massively, with multiple small pieces of wood falling off.]
Alice: Looks like you were smart to suggest I go last, Charlie!
Charlie: [Alarmed] Yes, upon reflection, I think we had best avoid this bridge! [Looks at the chest skeptically] Can we really carry this with us? Some of us are extremely weak and lacking in muscle tone! [To Dur and Austin] No offense!
Harvey: [Steps quickly back from the bridge] Deathtrap! [Turns to the others] We've no problem getting the chest down, gravity will take of that. It's the return journey up the other side that is the problem, what.
How deep and wide is the gorge?
Alice: Let's see, it's about thirty feet deep and another thirty or so wide. It's fairly steep on the other side, alright, but with the bulk afforded to us by Charlie and Clint, I think we can get it up.
Charlie: [Defensively] You try being married to an accomplished pastry chef and giving birth to two of his children and then see how YOUR hips fare!
Alice: Ew! Is that an invitation to some sort of threesome? Yeeesh, Charlie!
Harvey: Indeed, madam! Well, let's try to get this down and back up again, before those rogues catch up with us!
Austin: Is no one else curious about what is in the box? It could be kidnapped damsel in distress, or a demon, or a vast wealth in gemstones, or the latest secret hair conditioner formula from Vibal Bassoon, or free sandwiches?
Harvey: Or perhaps inside that chest is a smaller chest and inside that is another smaller chest and inside that is an even smaller chest and so on until there is a chest so small it would not even fit a gnats handkerchief!
Charlie: We COULD try dropping the chest into the chasm and see what is inside? [Fretfully] Though if we break what is inside, perhaps it will spell doom for the entire world!
Alice: Hang on second! [Turns to Austin] Vibal Bassoon, you say? You know, maybe Austin is right? Maybe we should open it!
Austin: [Tries to open/pick the lock on the chest] Let's see ...
[The chest appears to be completely sealed.]
Alice: If we dropped it and broke it, it might make it harder to carry!
Clint: Is now really the best time to be doing this? Shouldn't we wait until we've put a few armies between us and the baddies?
Alice: Listen! Someone's coming! From the same direction we did!
Harvey: I'd imagine that's the army of shark beating goons which are following in our wake!
Charlie: Quickly! Let us enter the chasm!
Alice: [Steps onto the steep side] Careful! You don't to [slips and falls, tumbling over and over until she hits the ground] fall.
Harvey: [Concerned] Are you alright dear girl? That was quite a graceless tumble, what!
Alice: [Leaps to her feet] I'm fine! [Thinks] Maybe a little dizzy...
Austin: [Tries to climb down carefully and help Alice] Don't move! you may have broken something!
Alice: I have broken something! I heard it crack!
Dur: [Panicking] Someone call a doctor! Oh wait! I AM a Doctor! [Goes to examine Alice]
Harvey: [To Alice] Ah, you are in the good hands of the doctor, all will be right with the world! [To the others] Someone help me with the chest, we are running quite out of time.
Alice: [Shows the grotesque statue of a cat with a preposterous pink bow that she stole from the China Shop] What do you think, Dur? Can you fix it? Or do you know as little about china as you do about humans?
Charlie: [To Harvey] I'll help you, Colonel! [Grabs the chest and prepares to descend]
Dur: [Inspecting the broken cat carefully] I'm afraid this is going to require surgery my dear girl. Exactly what part of your body did this fall out of?
Charlie: [To Dur] There is no time for that now! Help us carry this chest at once!
Alice: [To Dur] My pussy? It fell out of my pocket!
[CHARLIE, CLINT and HARVEY manage to climb down with the chest without any drama.]
Austin: [Once the chest is down] Excellent work team! [Stretches after all of the exertion]
Harvey: Now the fun really starts! [Points upwards] Getting this back up the other side!
Clint: Seems like a job for Alice, Dur, and the lawyer to me!
So I'm headed back to the US 8 days early, because I'm not sure if
in 8 days they'll let me back in..
Most stressful holiday I've had for a while!
Harvey: [Laughs long, loud and alone]
Nightmare Tom, hopefully you'll have no issues
getting back. I heard this morning they are
suspending all flights into the US from Europe
after tomorrow. Don't know if that's mainland or
includes UK or Ireland.
Charlie: [To Clint, scolding] This is no time for your [finger quotes] comedy, Mr. Scar! Let us all work together to make it to the top, despite our many shortcomings [nods discreetly at Austin and Dur].
Looks like Bulgaria's OK for now, so
GREAT time to get out while the gettin'
is good, Tom! Safe travels! Keep us posted!
Alice: Quite right! Austin and I have neither the physique nor the rough hands for such an enterprise! [Looks up] Maybe those guys could help? [Points to a bunch of ninjas who are clinging to the underside of the bridge]
Harvey: By the saints, I don't think they're the chest carrying type! Chest carving, perhaps, and I don't mean carpenters!
Alice: How come they can hang on the bridge without it falling?
Austin: Perhaps there is another shark in the water to motivate them
Harvey: Perhaps they're the support ninjas!
Alice: Aw! So, they sneak up on someone who's feeling blue and cheer them up? That's really nice!
[One of the NINJAS looks down.]
Ninja: Oh my god! Do you think you could stop talking for just two minutes? Can we get some peace and quiet? You know, you don't have to blurt out every thought that comes into your empty head!
Alice: [Smiles and tears up] He sounds just like Daddy!
All Irish universities have shut down! I've spent the last few hours
at the food riots... not because we need any, but I can't miss a
good riot!
Harvey: [Roars at the ninjas] You there, no need to be so blasted rude, what!
Food riots pah! I'm holding out for the toilet
paper riots! That's when the real frenzy starts!
Charlie: [To the ninjas, helpfully] You might find that bridge easier to traverse from the top side, rather than the bottom!
Ninja: Sh! We're waiting to ambush someone!
Austin: You should have repaired the bridge first!
[The ninja, DAMBE CAPOEIRA, hangs upside down from his legs.]
Dambe: What are you talking about? This bridge is perfect. It has the soul of a warrior and the grace of a princess. The wind whistles through its majestic structure giving a sound not unlike sleeping pandas. Now, all of you, stop bothering us and get the hell out of here! Dambe Capoeira
Austin: [Indignantly] Charming! [To Charlie] Sarge, round up the team and let's get moving! [Carefully goes to the edge of the river and looks for a way across.
Harvey: [Looks at the chest] You know, we'd be out of here far more quickly if a few of you chaps helped us up the gorge with this chest!
Dambe: Look, you fat bastard! We're about to -- hey! They've got a chest too! Where did you get it?
Harvey: [Huffily] None of your business, you skinny git! Asking us stupid questions, or insulting us unnecessarily is not going to get us out of here any quicker you know! [Sucks in his stomach]
Charlie: [To Harvey, reassuringly] Just think of it as soft muscle! [To the ninjas] How exciting! What is in your chest?!
Dambe: We don't have a chest! We're about to ambush someone to take theirs and destroy it.
Austin: We should really stop troubling these people, they are clearly very very busy. Let's get going.
Harvey: I'm not sure about that, they just seem to be hanging around! [Laughs long, loud and alone]
Alice: Are we really going to let them ambush someone? I mean, they seem like dicks, don't they?
Dambe: Hey!
Alice: No offence.
Dambe: Oh, okay.
Harvey: Hmm, you mean that group with the chest who were following behind us? With a chest? A big, important looking one.
Austin: That would be the most rational conclusion. We should leave before they get here!
Charlie: [Cheerily] Good luck with your ambush! [To the party] Quickly, let us be on our way!
Dambe: Go on! Get out of here you losers!
Alice: [To the party] Are we really going to let them ambush those other chest bearers?
Charlie: I thought they were waiting to ambush us, and we cleverly outwitted them!
Alice: [Clearly confused] Oh. Yeah... that's what I thought too. [Sniggers] Stupid ninjas!
[As the party start to heft the chest up the other side, they hear another carriage approaching from the same direction they were coming.]
Harvey: [Huffing and puffing] Come troupe, we must be quick before we become engaged in this battle!
Dambe: Just be quiet! We're about to ambush a Hierophantic Knight, these guys are smart!
[The carriage stops.]
Clint: [Quietly, to the party] Hasn't met many of the Hierophantic Knights, has he?
Back in Texas now. Huzzah!
Dambe: [To the other ninjas] They've stopped. I think someone abandoned a carriage just before the bridge. What kind of idiot would do that?
Nice and relaxed after your vacation??
Clint: [To the party] Think we can trick them into taking the bridge?
;; Nice and relaxed after your vacation??
Taking what was meant to be my last week of holiday just visiting
the family,
so I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions!
Alice: I don't know... it looks pretty heavy.
Austin: [Nods] And they would have to have terrible taste in bridges [Does a double take] No, he meant walk over the bridge!
Dambe: Why the hell would they walk over it when they have a perfectly fine carriage?
Harvey: They'll need to push the other carriage out of the way first! Or drive it over the bridge!
Charlie: [Boldly] We must assist this Knight! If she--or he!--has another chest, perhaps we could work together to gain a better understanding of our present, rather ill-defined goals!
Harvey: But what if this knight is one and the same as the lady who spoke to clouds, attacked us without provocation and quite literally, dejawed a shark?
Alice: Surely she wasn't a Hierophantic Knight? She wouldn't have attacked us!
Austin: Exactly. Let's go before we get killed in someone else's fight!
Alice: [Scrambling up the hill, pausing to look back] Come on, then, and don't leave the chest behind!
Charlie: [Indignantly] Get back here and help us with this chest! You should be ashamed of yourself, expecting a frail old man [gestures to Harvey] to do a job you are too lazy to do!
Alice: Should I? I've spent my whole life having frail old men do things for me -- they're called staff! Besides, [gestures to the red faced and puffing Harvey] he's as strong as an ox!
Austin: Several oxen.
Alice: In fact, it's a little insulting to suggest he's not capable of it. You know, you should be ashamed of your ageist behaviour, Charlie!
Charlie: [Defensively] I never said he was not capable, just elderly and frail!
Dur: They sound kinda like you're saying the same thing!
Alice: In that case, let the poor old man lift the chest up!
Harvey: [Obviously annoyed] By the saints, we'd be up there by now if not for all this jibber jabbering! Onwards!
Austin: It's certainly not quality listening. [COnsiders this] Although somewhat better than Country music.
Alice: Come on, let's help if it'll stop them complaining so much!
Harvey: Once we get to the top, we can then see what's what with this Knight, what!
Charlie: [Excited] Perhaps it will be someone we know, and we can coordinate efforts!
[The carriage races across the bridge just as the party heft the chest up to the other side. DAMBE and the other ninjas clamber over the edges and on top with incredible dexterity.]
Dambe: Halt or we shall kill you!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act III, Scene V. The Bridge. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, having heaved their chest up with an unusual display of teamwork. They can see the ninjas standing in front of carriage all holding flaming arrows. A man's voice comes from within the carriage.]
Man: Perhaps you could just lend me one of your outfits. Your fashion sensibilities are so ghastly that I would gladly kill myself to be free of it, sir!
Alice: Hey, is it just me or does the bridge look perfect now?
It does!
Harvey: By the saints, you're right, dear girl! Perhaps we only imagined it being a rickety old affair!
Dambe: We want your chest, you demon loving scumbags!
Man: [Still not visible] Demon loving? Well, yes, my colleague is rather gruff, but I wouldn't describe her as a demon.
Heya, should we be on 03.06.004 instead of 03.05.004?
Harvey: [Mopping his brow] I don't recognise that persons voice, do any of you, troupe?
Charlie: [Listens carefully] It is difficult to tell, but those ninjas seem very anti-demon, do they not?! Most intolerant!
Dur: Well, not everyone has been married to a demon like you and I have. They have no idea what they are missing out on!
Alice: I was married to a demon too. I killed him and ate his brain.
Yes she did!
Dambe: Step out now! [Fires a lit arrow onto the carriage roof.]
[The man alights from the carriage, it is SEBASTIAN LITE, a Hierophantic Knight that both ALICE and AUSTIN have met and got on well with in the past. SEBASTIAN wears a preposterously ruffly shirt and other fine clothes.]
Sebastian: I say! This is a rental!

Sebastian Lite

Charlie: We must assist this man! His manner of dress suggests he is entirely vulnerable to bullying and violence!
Alice: We know him! Austin and me -- he's a Knight!
Austin: And his dress sense has not improved since then, not one bit.
Alice: Are we going to stand here making unkind comments about his fabulous suit? Or are we going to help him?
Austin: I suppose we are fairly close in size. He's a heavier build, so one of my dancing enabled suits might work [Gets out a fabulous red suit] What do you think?
[The carriage starts to reverse, but the wheel has been clamped -- ninja style! SEBASTIAN dashingly defends himself as TARA TURQUOISE, who also met ALICE and AUSTIN, leaps out with and axe.]
Tara: What the hell is going on? Did you tell them it was a rental?

Tara Turquoise

Harvey: [To Alice and Austin] And did you part on good terms, when last you met?
Alice: [Draws her sword] Yes! Come on! Chaaaarge! [Starts racing towards the bridge, but stops] Or did we? [Thinks] Yes, yes we did. Chaaaaarge!
Harvey: Wait, which side are you attacking?
Charlie: [To Harvey, charging after Alice] Defend the poor man in the ladies' blouse, Colonel!
Alice: [Stops at Harvey's question] Uh... yeah, what she said!
Harvey: Very well! [Races towards the nearest ninja and performs a flying karate kick]
Clint: Haw! [Charges at a ninja and tries manufully to twist his head off.]
Austin: [Carefully puts the beautiful suit away then readies his sling] His taste in clothing is so awful! [Shoots at a ninja]
Alice: [Pulls out her nunchucks and starts swiping them around viciously] Back off, Ninjas, or you'll [bonk, hits herself in the face with one] ow!
[HARVEY flies through the air with surprising grace and connects with one of them, sending him flying over the bridge. CLINT also surprises one and, although he fails to remove his head, does force him over the edge. TARA takes advantage of the surprise and stabs one through the heart.]
Sebastian: Well, this is quite delicious!
Dur: Maybe it is more functional than it is stylish? [Sounding hopeful] Maybe it Is better for storing pantswiches?
Clint: Shouldn't be too hard. An inner pocket, reasonably sized, with a washable insulating removable liner should do the trick.
[A ninja, quite rightly, kicks CLINT in the face and sends him flying over the edge of the bridge, somehow hanging onto the wall.]
Dur: Are you mad! Why would you wash it, you lose all the additional flavoring that way!
Harvey: Man down! [Attempts to help Clint pull himself back up]
[DAMBE stabs HARVEY in the back as he pulls up CLINT.]
Dambe: You had the chance to escape! You -- yurk! [Blood seeps out through his mask]
Sebastian: [With his sword stuck through the back of Dambe's head] What a tiresome individual.
Austin: [Frowns at his sling. Tries to shoot a Ninja again] Take that!
Charlie: [To Dur, attacking the nearest ninja with a sword] See if you can find a doctor to help the colonel!
[AUSTIN successfully shoots the ninja in the face. He staggers back only to get stabbed by TARA, who gleefully cleans her sword on his beautiful black ninja outfit. The remaining ninjas quickly clamber over the edge and disappear.]
Sebastian: I say! That was most bracing!
Dur: I keep telling you, I AM a doctor! [Dur tries to stop the colonel’s bleeding with a pantswich and cast a healing spell on him]
[Much to everyone's surprise, HARVEY's wounds appear to heal.]
Sebastian: I say, you chaps. Jolly good show! [Does a double take] Fellow Knights?
Charlie: [Looks at Harvey in astonishment] Colonel, have you some sort of magical healing powers you neglected to mention?!
Alice: Maybe he's a doctor! Wouldn't that be great, Dur? Having a doctor be part of the party?
Austin: It would be a great relief. Maplin agrees.
Sebatian: A Knight who's also a doctor? What a time to be alive!
Harvey: [Opens and closes his mouth a few times and takes off his coat] Why, I've no idea whats what! Apart from the ruination of a damned fine jacket! [Pokes his finger through the knife rip]
Charlie: What a relief to finally have a doctor with the group! [To Sebastian] Yes, we are Knights! Do tell us all about your mission!
Tara: [Hands Harvey a purple velvet jacket with huge puffy sleeves] Here, Doc, take that one.
Sebastian: First, my inquisitive friend, tell me how you and these fine people came to be in a position assist us. Taking them from behind, as it were.
Austin: Using our cunning, skill, and fabulous acting we talked our way past them [Casually check his nails]
Tara: Unlikely. It seems far more likely that you abandoned your carriage and sneaked under the bridge, thus taking them from behind. [Grins evilly] I like it!
Austin: Shh! [Looks around in case some one is spying] Don't give it away!
Tara: Oooh! Good idea! Come on, you can ride with us, that is, as long as you don't mind sharing a luxurious carriage that's disturbingly well stocked with Louis XIV and a variety of exotic cheeses?
Austin: I believe that I speak for all of us in that we are most glad to accept your fine offer.
Tara: Great! It's just a pity you're a damned dirty narcotics agent! [Holds a knife to his throat] Who are you people?
[TARA is remarkably strong and she holds AUSTIN hard against the side of the bridge. The slightest move could slit his throat.]
Austin: Heirophantic knights!
Tara: [Pushes the knife harder] I know that! How did you know we would be here? Why were you waiting?
Austin: Those ninjas told us that you were coming, and that they were planning to ambush you and steal your trunk.
Alice: It's true!
Sebastian: But how is that they didn't attack you people?
Dur: [Nervously] Our charming good looks?
Charlie: [Modestly] We outsmarted them with a clever ruse!
Sebastian: [Laughs at Dur] I like this one! [To Charlie] Do tell! It seems like you abandoned your carriage and somehow knew they were here! What made you not cross the bridge?
Austin: The truth is ... erm maybe one of the others should tell this one?
Dur: We were too scared? At least I know I was!
I'll be back to posting Wednesday, I think.
I drove down to Houston to do some errands today and am heading back up
to Dallas tomorrow to wait out the next few weeks with family.
Harvey: It's a damnably curious thing! When we first approached the bridge, it looked ramshackled and barely held together! The epitome of rickety! Now however...[gestures towards the bridge] looks as if newly built!
[TARA and SEBASTIAN exchange a curious glance and she lets AUSTIN go.]
Sebastian: Innnnteresting! And do you have one of these? [Opens up the trunk of their carriage to reveal an identical crate]
Charlie: [To Sebastian, excited] Yes, we do! Does it have some sort of [mysteriously] mystical properties?!
Tara: It's a stupid box. [Stomps away and sits in the carriage]
Sebastian: [Nods, grinning] Yes it does! And it doesn't like when someone [points to the carriage, covering up his pointing finger even though Tara is already inside] tries to open it!
Austin: But we really should try to get them open. We need to know what is inside!
Sebastian: Agreed! [Hands over a thick metal tray] Best put that down the front of your pants... just in case!
Austin: [Looks from the Tray to his tailored trousers] Do you have anything a little more contoured?
Alice: Need a little help, eh, Aus?
Austin: A kind offer, but now is hardly the time! [Looks in his satchel for a groin guard. Mutters to himself] I'm sure I had two of these, there was a rather beautiful one in evening blue leather with silver studs.
Sebastian: [Observing as Austin takes out the groin guard] Rather understated, isn't it?
Charlie: [To Sebastian] What protections should the rest of us take?! Are the contents of the box terribly dangerous?
Austin: [Putting on his groin guard. To Sebastian] Absolutely, I had it made to go under my Jiu jitsu outfit. [Does some beautiful but rather gentle looking Jiu Jitsu punches, To Charlie] This is one of those 'protect your self first, discuss the danger later' type things I think?
Sebastian: On the contrary, it's more of a hide behind a very large rock while some idiot with a groin guard loses his penis trying to open a magical box type thing.
Austin: what we clearly need is an idiot with no penis.
Alice: Dur! This could be your moment!
Dur: Ha! Wait…. Hey! Tell that to my terrifying hoard of demon babies!
Alice: If they weren't so terrifying, I would! Anyway, weren't you the mother in that situation?
He was!
Dur: I choose not to remember… because it was TERRIFYING!!!
Alice: Huh, kind of like what ex-patients of yours say!
Oh please. It could have been beautiful!
Harvey: [To Sebastian] So chap, where did you get your chest, and do you know where you're delivering it to?
Clint: Does anyone have a blast shield we could borrow? Or an expendable peon?
I'm back up in Dallas, having basically just bipped on down to Houston
long enough to get my computer and then turn around and come back up here.
You'd be *amazed* at how easy the drive was! This virus is great
for traffic!
Sebastian: [To Harvey] It was really most remarkable. I found myself in a Frills 'n Flounce shop -- you know, for shirts -- when it was raided by HARMA officers. The owner of the shop pleaded with me to take her chest. And then, well, there were all these clowns, some sort of fake psychologist!
Seems like we're all health so far!
Who is now working from home?
Charlie: [Gasps] That is quite nearly what happened to us, though we were not shopping for frills and flounces!
Austin: And it was a fine china shop. Or it was before we arrived.
been working at home for 2 weeks +
Alice: Thanks to some frankly grotesque driving by someone who shall remain nameless, it was partially destroyed. So you guys had to deal with clowns too?
Sebastian: Yes, although, really, the whole thing was quite transparent. We simply breezed through the test. Other than Tara breaking the nose of one of them.
Harvey: Yes, they were incredibly annoying, what! We were attacked by HARMA officers during our test. So, must look at the positives!
Yup, working from Northern Ireland. Though I've also gained a new refugee house guest
Sebastian: And do you know where you are taking this chest?
Clint: I think to a zoo? I wasn't terribly clear on that bit!
Working from home for the last week or so,
except I was still technically on holiday so didn't.
Harvey: To a zoo? I don't think I had any idea where we were taking it!
Charlie: [Nodding] Indeed, the instructions were rather unclear! [To Sebastian] What were your instructions?
Sebastian: We were told to get it to The Tiger, that's when we had that delightful time with the clowns.
Alice: Tiger? We brought it to The Panther! That's Deucie, we're kind of an item, you know.
Sebastian: Oh! That's great! He talks about you all the time! You're Pixie Stix, right?
Alice: Uh... yeah!
Clint: See? To a zoo!
Harvey: [To Clint] I stand corrected, sir!
Austin: Or perhaps he just made it all up. He does have an odd sense of humour.
Alice: He does. And he says zoo too often. Why does he keep saying zoo? Is he homesick?
Charlie: [To Alice, helpfully] They prefer to call them slums, I believe.
Alice: Oooh! How exciting! Is that where all the [lowers her voice] poor people live?
No posting from me today, examining
in a PhD viva online all morning!
Harvey: I believe so, dear girl! Twenty families to a room, so I hear! And those are the lucky ones!
Charlie: [Brightly] But the crushing density of tightly packed bodies provides the warmth they need to survive the harsh winters, so it all works out quite well, really.
Austin: [Sudders at the thought] It sounds like hell. No, worse than hell. Even Mistoheusto wasn't that bad.
Charlie: [To Austin, reassuringly] Oh, WE need not live that way. [In a lower voice] Only Dur and Mr. Scar!
Austin: [A huge sigh of relief] Oh, that's okay then.
Harvey: [Sighs deeply] Once again, I am reminded of the loss of my ancestral home! A slum might someday be almost welcome!
Clint: [Nods in agreement.] At least there, they find the right uses for lawyers -- target practice -- and scholarly papers -- wiping your butt!
We'll soon be reduced to that in this country, for that matter! =)
Alice: Oh please, like that butt of yours has been near anything that could even remotely be used to wipe it!
Austin: [Winces at Alice's comment] Shall we get moving? [To Charlie] Could you muster the team and get them going please.
Sebastian: Ooooh! How delicious! A leader! A strong woman ordering you about! You must be so weak!
[TARA pokes her head out the carriage.]
Tara: Quit your yakkin' and get your ass in here!
Sebastian: Yes, Tara. Sorry, Tara. [To the party] Anyone know how to remove a Ninja Clamp from a carriage?
Charlie: [To Austin, gesturing to the Ninja Clamp] Mr. Sleaze, is this within your skill set?
Harvey: If not, we can possibly swap your clamped wheel for one of our unclamped carriage wheels.
Austin: [Examines the clamp and will remove it if possible] The things a lawyer must do to save the world!
Clint: Oh gosh no, we wouldn't want you to have to do your job! [Goes to get the spare wheel down, just in case.]
[AUSTIN sets to work, humming and hawing as he examines the lock.]
Alice: Wow, Stinky, you have a real spare tyre, don't you? No more panstwiches for you!
Harvey: Now now, dear girl! Fat shaming is most unbecoming, what! [Sucks in his gut]
Charlie: [Nods at Harvey's wise words. To Alice, eyeing her hips] Also, those who live in fat houses should never lob handfuls of fat at others!
Alice: Hey, keep it in your pants, lady!
Harvey: [To Sebastian] Do you have any idea why those ninjas wanted to kill you and take your chest?
Sebastian: None whatsoever, my well dressed friend! And nor do I have any idea how it is that you fine people all just happened to be here at the right time to come to our assistance!
Charlie: Perhaps we should join forces, given that our mission is so similar!
Austin: [Casually removes the ninja clamp] Well, that was a fiendishly cunning lock. Just as well I was here.
Alice: It certainly seemed to take a long time!
Austin: As no one has ever managed to pick a ninja clamp before now, it is a world record. [Looks casually impressed by his own brilliance]
Charlie: Splendid work, Mr. Sleaze! Now, let us depart at once!
Harvey: Let us hope we all fit, what! And do not come upon any more rickety, then not rickety bridges! Or ninjas for that matter!
Alice: Maybe we should give Austin a round of applause for being so great?
Harvey: I believe his modesty would abhor such an act, dear girl!
Clint: I'm just surprised he didn't bill us at his hourly rate!
Austin: Absolutely Colonel. No fuss please. If I stopped to be appreciated every time, I'd never get anything done!
Charlie: Excellent attitude, Mr. Sleaze! Praise only makes one weak and needy. That is how many parents ruin a child and doom them to a lifetime of emotion-driven poor decision-making. [Glances discreetly at Alice and then nods to her, just in case the glance was TOO discreet]
Alice: Oh, I know what you mean! That's why Daddy always pretended that he was disappointed in me. [Puts on a gruff voice] No daughter of mine will date a whole soccer team... or, you read like a three year old, or, that's the last time I'll bail you out of jail... [smiles] or even the classic, yes, we've changed the locks to stop you from getting in. Oh, how we laughed. [Thinks] Although, it WAS raining. And they DID change the locks. And I had lost my shoe. Hm.
[Awkward silence.]
Sebastian: Smashing! Let's get into the carriage before there are any more fond childhood memories.
End of scene, next one coming up!
[Book XI, Act III, Scene VII. Sebastian's Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, SEBASTIAN and TARA (driving) are here. Both chests are strapped to the carriage. Tara is driving quite fast, but in a controlled way.]
Sebastian: [To the party] Did you know where you were going?
Charlie: Not really, I am afraid! What were your plans?
Sebastian: We didn't have any -- and yet we found you at just the right time to save us. How delicious!
Austin: So where are you heading to?
Sebastian: I don't know! All I know is that we're bringing our chest there... as are you very... fine people, it appears!
Harvey: So perhaps any direction we go is the correct direction!
Dur: Seems a little TOO convenient, doesn’t it?
Alice: And didn't those cowboys seem to magically know where we would be so that they could save us?
Charlie: Perhaps we should all wish very hard, at the same time, to arrive at our destination?
Alice: Great idea! [Closes her eyes tightly for a moment, mumbling to herself, only to open them again] Yay! It worked!
Clint: Are you seriously suggesting we adopt the power of positive thinking, Sarge? Shouldn't you, as a scientist, be worried about sample size and good statistics before you get into pyramid power and healing crystals?
Alice: But it did work!
Austin: Did it? [Looks around to see if it's true]
Harvey: [To Alice, excited] Did you actually wish that you were in this carriage, with us? And here you are! Remarkable!
Charlie: [To Clint] How can one know the laws of science work precisely the same way in each dimension without experimentation?! This appears to be a world where things work in our favor for no particular reason, so that bears investigation!
Alice: [To Harvey] I did wish I was here with all of you! [Lowers her voice] Well, other than Dur, of course!
Harvey: [Nods in understanding] Not all miracles can be perfect, dear girl!
Alice: I guess whatever's in those boxes knows what it's doing, right?
Dur: [Stuffing a pantswich in his mouth] Either that or it is bending reality at random! How fun!
Austin: Let's hope that the more boxes we get together the more things go our way! [Ponders] Perhaps that's why we don't know where we're going, because it's luck created by the boxes? Just luck! Let's get going! West!
Alice: I think we should go west!
Tara: I want to go west!
Sebastian: West is best!
Everyone really wants to go west!
Clint: Westward, ho! [Pauses.] That's "ho" as in "go that way," not "ho" as in you, Alice.
Alice: Aw, so not jolly, then?
Charlie: [To Alice, helpfully] No, he is implying that you are a lady of ill repute, colloquially known as a [finger quotes] ho. [Wisely] The term is often used in a type of primitive [finger quotes] music that is spoken, rather than sung.
Alice: Gasp! Certainly not! Stinky wouldn't say that, would you, Stinky? Not after I wished you were here!
Dur: [Finishing his pantswich smugly] Bet you wish you had wish someone you wished wasn't here was here!
Austin: Unlikely! So, West it is. [Gets a comfy seat]
Harvey: [Sitting back in his seat, to Sebastian] How did you two meet? Was it due to the box, or were you travelling companions prior to finding it?
Sebastian: We're old pals, chums... mates!
Tara: He's a damned dirty stalker who's been following me for at least three dimensions.
[SEBASTIAN smiles.]
Sebastian: We go way back. So far back that we met you before you were you.
Charlie: [Intrigued] Before we were conceived?! In the womb? Or do you mean in terms of psychological development relating to the idea of self-awareness?
Sebastian: Ooooh! Doesn't she sound intelligent! Actually, what I meant is that we knew another version of him -- which is highly surprising.
Presumably he's referring to the Harvey from the
party's dimension
Charlie: Yes, are familiar with both versions, as well! Is this the first time you have encountered this phenomenon?
Harvey: By the saints, it's difficult to comprehend that there can be multiple versions of each of us!
Sebastian: Yes it is! [To Charlie] It's the first time we've encountered THIS particular phenomenon. A Hierophantic Knight with two different Realisations? How delicious!
Clint: Looks a little old and tough to me!
Sebastian: Perhaps, but I don't have the same experience of ... tasting men that you appear to.
Charlie: [To Clint, scolding] Cannibalism is nothing to joke about in front of Dur! [In a low voice] We do not want him to develop a taste for human flesh!
Clint: [Quietly, to Charlie.] It might come in handy next time we need to dispose of a body!
Sebastian: Oh, who hasn't had to consume the corpse of a high ranking government official in a bid to cover up a crime?
Charlie: Quite right, Colonel! [Hopefully] Though, perhaps the remark was intended for humorous effect? [To Sebastian] Was it?
Harvey: I truly hope I speak for us all... no one!
Austin: West?
Sebastian: [To Charlie] Sure!
[The carriage continues to speed west until it suddenly skids to a halt.]
Tara: Uh... you're gonna want to see this!
Charlie: [To Tara, excited] Is it another chest?!
Tara: [Turns to Charlie, smiling for once] It's a volumetric crapload of chests! It's a god damned reunion is what it is!
Clint: Maybe they're breeding?
Austin: Not everything is about breeding Mr Scar. Rather fortunately in your case. [looks out of the window.]
Alice: And also, Stinky, breeding usually involves more than one person.
[Everyone cranes their necks out various windows to see that they are bearing down on a small cottage, along with another fifty carriages, many of which are souped up fancy sports carriages. They can see dozens of Hierophantic Knights driving, including BODDY, IVAN MARSTERS, WILLOW, JUSILLA and DARIUS, all coming from different directions at high speed.]
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, we shall organize a conference, with ever so many sessions! [Quickly] I call the keynote!!
Alice: We don't have time to listen to your boring speech about Organising and Stuff! What the hell is going on? It's like we're all heading to that tiny cottage!
Austin: It would seem to be the obvious thing to do. [Checks his nails]
Charlie: [Concerned] I do not think a tiny cottage would be an ideal place for a conference of this magnitude! We should look for a reasonably priced hotel instead.
Austin: [Smiling] Well it has already stated by the looks of it. Do you want to skip the keynote and go and find a bigger venue? I'm sure Alice will take notes for you [Winks at Alice]
Alice: If by taking notes you mean draw pictures for a funny little flip book animation then yes!
[The carriages all pull up outside the cottage, completely surrounding it.]
Austin: [To Alice] I think that's what they do. [Gets out of the carriage]
Harvey: [Stomach rumbles massively] Perhaps this is a very fine roadside eatery! Must be, judging from all their customers!
Alice: Check this one out, Aus! [Runs through a huge flip book animation of what appears to be a black circle that doesn't move] And, of course, that's just the first part!
[The other Knights climb out of their carriages, many of them looking quite suspicious and uneasy. MACBRINDLEWORTH, legendary Hierophantic Knight and party animal that the party have met a couple of times, climbs out of a tiny sports carriage holding a martini glass.]
Mac: Is this where the party is?


Charlie: [To Mac] Well, yes, OUR party is here!
Mac: [Gives Charlie a suspicious look] Does your party have martinis? And cheese? [Looks Alice up and down] And hookers?
Clint: Even better, we have someone who would do anything to be the keynote speaker!
Austin: And we bought friends we don't know very well but they have lots of cheese!
Alice: One of them is really nice!
[TARA climbs out of the carriage, looking angry, but brightens up.]
Tara: Mac! How the hell are you and why aren't you dead yet?
Mac: Will that be the topic of your keynote?
Tara: [Giggles foolishly] If you like!
Charlie: [Indignantly] I am giving the keynote!
Clint: What we have here is a dispute which can only be resolved in the best scientific manner -- whoever offers the organizers the better bribe gets to be the keynote speaker.
Surely that's how it works at your guys' conferences too!
Mac: I can think of at least four things more important than who's going to give the keynote at your non-existent conference. [Holds up a finger each time he adds one] Why the hell are we all here? Who is in that cottage? How have I not got any cheese? Who is responsible for find my hooker? And most importantly, what in Phili's name happened to my martini?
Charlie: [Flustered] A world-class conference must be envisioned before it can become reality! We are in the planning stages! [To the group] Come, let us go see what is happening in this cottage!
Austin: Let's just hope it's a party and not a conference! [Thinks] Or afternoon tea, or brunch. Anything but a conference.
Alice: Anything would be better than that!
[The party approach the cottage and can't help but notice that everyone else, including MAC, step back, clearly ready to dive for cover behind their carriages.]
Austin: They are making room for us. About time.
Alice: Making room for us to do what?
Harvey: It would seem, the ones to spring a trap!
Austin: So no red carpet then? [Gets out of the carriage to see what is going on]
[The party are already out of their carriage. Everyone else has stepped back slightly behind their own.]
Alice: It's like they know something about [points at the cottage] this mansion. [Spots Boddy] Hey, what do you know about this mansion that I don't?
Boddy: Lots.
Alice: Such as?
Boddy: It's a cottage not a mansion.
Alice: [Triumphantly to the party] See?
Charlie: [To Boddy] What is inside the cottage?
Boddy: Either nothing at all, someone who will be very surprised or... the most dangerous creature in the Realms.
Austin: Not the best of odds. Mr Dur, would you care to take a look inside and see what is in there?
Alice: Good idea, Aus, he's the most... brave.
Clint: That'll be the day! What are you guys waiting for? We've survived collapsing realities and now you're chickening out about a cottage? Haw! [Boldly goes to investigate where no one has investigated before.]
[CLINT strides away from the carriage and the door to the cottage swings open to reveal what appears to be a naked old man with long hair and beard; this is HERMAN KNIT.]
Herman: [Blinks in the light] Eh? What's going on here? What are all you people doing?

Herman Knit

Clint: [Hastily closes his eyes as he steps back outside.] Bimbo, lawyer, I think this is more your scene.
Austin: What is the problem Mr Scar? Were you expecting sheep?
Alice: Don't taunt him, Aus -- he's just had another romantic disappointment!
Herman: [Peers at the party] Can't say that I've killed you before. Who are you and what the, excuse my language, heck are all you doing here?
Austin: We have a delivery for you [Gestures to the trunk] Were you expecting it?
Harvey: And do mind your language sir, there are ladies present! No excuses for that sort of behaviour! Or for not wearing attire, for that matter!
Charlie: [Shielding her eyes, to Harvey] Yes, we can only hope that one of these chests contains a dressing gown!
[The party look at the chest and unmistakable blood seeping out of it.]
Herman: Did you bring a crate of body parts to my house?
Clint: Maybe, but I bet that's not the first time this has happened to you...
Harvey: By the saints, what have we being carrying all this time!
Herman: Never mind that! How did you find me?
Charlie: I am not altogether sure. It seemed we all just knew to come here!
Harvey: I certainly hope you've the kettle on! It would be the only thing you do have on! [Laughs long, loud and alone]
Herman: Did you bring an Aspect of the Demon here?
Clint: [Shrugs.] Maybe. Seems like the kind of thing we'd do. Sarge, get a clipboard and pen so this guy can sign for his deliveries.
Charlie: [To Clint, irked] That is NOT what my clipboard is for! [To Herman] Aspect of the demon? Could you elaborate? [Takes out a clipboard and prepares to take notes]
Herman: [Snatches the clipboard from Charlie and smacks Clint on the nose with it, knocking him to the ground covered in slightly more blood and snot than usual] You people better explain just how you found me before I get miffed.
Alice: You mean you're not already miffed?
Herman: Just kind of irked. [To Harvey] Pardon my language.
: We came this way because it seemed to be good idea. We don't even know where this is.
Herman: [Rips open the crate with his bare hands revealing a stack of body parts] What the hell? [Glares at the party with a terrifying glare] I'm going to kill you all! Every last one of you!
[MAC timidly steps forward, now holding a filled martini.]
Mac: Mr. Knit, sir? If I may...
Herman: [Turns his glare on Mac] No! [The martini glass shatters]
Alice: [Whispers to the party] I think they know each other.
Charlie: [Horrified, backing away] Perhaps there was a mix-up in delivery?! The whole process was rather vague, after all!
Austin: [Looks at the body parts] Are these the body parts of demons?
Herman: That's what they want me to figure out!
Austin: Is that something you like doing? Like a hobby?
[MAC shakes his head as a warning, but it's too late.]
Herman: It was a hobby... once. [Walks to one side and looks up wistfully] I was once full of joy... I had a beautiful wife... gorgeous children...
Alice: [Covering her eyes as she mutters to the party] Did he have underpants too?
Austin: [Alarmed at Mac's head shake, tries to run and hide in the carriage] Is his analyst around?
Charlie: [Riveted, listening] Oh, where is your family now?! On holiday?
Herman: No, they're dead. All dead. Killed in the most grotesque and gruesome fashion.
Clint: Hmm. Usually that kind of thing drives a man to become an "adventurer" of some sort!
at least judging by the typical backstories one sees!
Alice: Who did this terrible thing? What utter monster could be capable of such an awful act? What ... [spots Mac cringing and ducking behind his carriage] Oh. It was you, wasn't it?
Herman: [Turns and stares at the party with an icy, terrifying look] It was.
Dur: [Still looking into the box of limbs] Ummm.... are you going to eat these?
Mac: Oh boy. This is not going to to go well. [Takes out a syringe full liquified Epoisse de Bourgogne and shoots it into his arm, collapsing to the ground.]
Herman: [Storms over to Dur and grabs him by the throat, holding up high] No! I swore I would never eat another demon limb again! How DARE you people bring them here!
[What little modesty was provided by his long beard is now gone as he holds the now choking Dur aloft]
Alice: Oh my! [Fans herself and turns to Charlie] He really does have the most enormous... beard!
Dur: [Kicking his feet uselessly while choking] What... if... I... *gurk* eat... them... for... you?
Herman: You... you'd do that for me? [Slams Dur down on the ground] Just for that, I'm going to let you and your friends have a head start.
Alice: Ew! Do we have to eat head?
Sigh. Poor Alice!
Dur: A head start for what? Eating? Running? Both at the same time?
Clint: Does it matter, doc? They're your two best skills!
Charlie: [To Herman] Are you sure there was not some sort of misunderstanding? MacBrindleworth is a Knight of some esteem! Perhaps it was another aging, similarly built man with a drinking problem?
Austin: [To Boddy, worried] Is he "someone who will be very surprised" or, "the most dangerous creature in the Realms" ?
Boddy: [Leaping into his carriage and firing up the engine] He's both.
Mac: [Still hiding] There's no mistake. He's been pissed at me for a long time. Ever since the second time he killed me.
Herman: [To the party] Run. [To the general crowd] I'll eat your demon meat, but first I will kill three Knights. The last three who arrive in Acedia will die in horrific pain.
[Beep! TARA honks the horn of the carriage.]
Tara: Let's go!
Harvey: But wait! He's just one naked man, and there must be [quick count] over a hundred knights and assorted onlookers! Are you really going to let him kill three of you, for sport?
Charlie: Agreed, Colonel! [Dramatically] Charge that naked, hairy man, everyone!
Alice: [Defiantly steps in front of Herman] That'll be 10GP!
Happy Easter everyone -- no posting
until Tuesday!
Austin: Why would we want to go to Acedia anyway?
Have a great Easter, all
Sent from ProtonMail mobile -------- Original Message -------- On 10 Apr 2020, 09:39, dom
Mac: Run, you fools! Before he kills you!
Austin: [From the carriage] Come on! Let's go!
Charlie: Oh, dear! Come along, group! [Attempts to flee]
[TARA revs up the carriage as the party climb aboard.]
Alice: What's up with this guy that all the Knights are so terrified of him?
Sebastian: He's the First Knight!
Charlie: Ooooh, how interesting! [Disapprovingly] He has rather a poor attitude about the rest of us, though!
Austin: Why is no one else fleeing? And why in the Realms does he want to kill us? I'm a very nice person. He doesn't even know me! [Looks deeply offended]
Austin:  Why is no one else fleeing? And why in the Realms does he want to kill us? I'm a very nice person. He doesn't even know me! [Looks deeply offended]
Sebastian: Because he gave you a head start! He WILL kill three Knights. He hates us because he's the one who made us.
Clint: Well, that's fathers for you!
Dur: [Looking indecisive] But if we leave now, who is going to eat the demon limbs?!
Sebastian: Herman. And then he'll come looking to kill us!
Clint: Well, let's not be the closest when he finishes, then. We've got a world to save and being dead will make that harder.
Alice: What happens if he eats some demon?
Sebastian: Something terrible!
Charlie: Why did we bring demon parts to him then?! [Disapprovingly] That seems like a badly considered plan!
Austin: Well it was a very poor plan. Most of it was completely unplanned. By us at any rate.
Alice: Although, to be fair, Aus, if we had planned it, it would have been much poorer.
Sebastian: Herman can destroy living demon parts by eating them. When he does, though... phew!
Austin: [Looks alarmed] Bad old man flatulence! [To Tara] Drive! Drive now!
Harvey: So, lets see if I have this correct in my head. We've been duped into delivering a chest to some demon limb eater who, in lieu of a gratuity, has threatened to kill three knights? [To the party] Are you knights?
Charlie: [To Harvey] Indeed, we are! [In a lower voice] There isn't much to it, really. Primarily it just means we end up getting invited to rather lively weddings and baby showers from time to time!
Harvey: And I assume, your very lives threatened by mysterious naked demon limb eaters?
Alice: Just one, really, but ever since Charlie married him, he's been much nicer.
Tara: Herman wasn't always like this -- he was the first Knight, but when he tests flesh for demonic presence, a part of him turns dark. People close to him die.
Austin: Well, let's get out of here then. [Looks at Dur and Clint] Unless you two are bravely volunteering?
Harvey: Agreed, we should be on the off, what! And with speed!
Dur: [Already starting to run] Volunteer for what?
[The door of the cottage is kicked open from the inside as the carriage (which contains everyone, even the currently running DUR!) zooms away.]
Alice: [Glances back] To confront whatever he's just turned into!
Austin: Something like that [Looks back to see what came out of the cottage]
Clint: Other than each other, which three knights do we like the least, and should we take time to hobble them, do you think?
Alice: [Glares at Clint] What if they're already in the carriage with us?
[The party glance back to see that HERMAN is now dressed and shaved, and wears a natty suit. He holds what looks like a small cannon gun that he points at the back of the party's carriage.]
Herman: I'm comin'! [Fires the cannon]
End of Book XI, Act III!
NExt one starts tomorrow!
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene I. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, SEBASTIAN and TARA are here. A huge explosion rocks the carriage and it slips and slides, but TARA keeps it under control.]
Alice: Yeesh! This guy means business!
Charlie: [Holds onto the carriage] Not to worry, we are well used to hazardous, life-endangering carriage rides! [Looks pointedly at Alice]
Harvey: By the saints, why is he permitted to eat demon limbs if this is the consequence? Bad breath or flatulence is one thing, post meal, but this is quite extraordinary, what!
Alice: [To Charlie] Oh! Do you want me to drive?
Sebastian: This is the only way to test if a body part came from a True Original. The cost is high, but they are so dangerous that it is worth it.
Harvey: I see. [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn] Excuse me if this is common knowledge amongst you types, but what the blue blazes is a True Original?
Charlie: [Excited, whips out her notepad] Oh, DO tell! In as much detail as possible!
Sebastian: An orginal demon, of course! [Looksat the blank faces] Oh, so you've never seen one?
Austin: We might have. We have met a lot of demons and angels, and gods, and demi-gods, etc, etc
Sebastian: True Originals are insanely dangerous killing machines who represent true evil. They're also very into shameless self promotion, so if you met one, you would know.
Charlie: [To Alice] Perhaps your ex-husband?
Dur: [To Charlie, pointedly] Or yours.
Charlie: [To Dur, exasperated] Do be serious! I have no ex-husband!
Clint: Truly, it's remarkable how many of you guys have been marrying demons or the like!
Alice: When you look at our dating pool, Clint, are you really surprised? Bonald was a demon and he was really scumbaggish.
Sebastian: Was he scumbaggish and over a hundred feet tall?
Alice: No.
Sebastian: Then he wasn't a True Original.
Charlie: Studies show that most adults meet their spouse at work [looks appraisingly at the men of the party]. Is it any wonder some of us found we needed to dive a little deeper into the dating pool, so to speak?!
Austin: No, not at all. We're all very glad you did. Relieved, in fact! [Smirks]
Harvey: Are you seriously telling us that True Originals are over one hundred feet tall? Surely they would stand out quite noticeably! And be better known!
Charlie: [Laughs] Ooooh, I know what this is now! [To Sebastian] Is this the Hierophantic Knight version of a so-called [finger quotes] snipe hunt?
Sebastian: The last True Original was destroyed thousands of years ago. It seems like maybe some of it got into this dimension.
Austin: Bits of it? Surely those bits would have all rotted away by now?
Sebastian: Oh, sweet, naive Austin. True Originals don't rot away -- it's not like they die or anything. Their parts, no matter how small, can survive on their own.
Austin: Oh, sour, polished Sebastian, what do these parts, no matter how small, do?
Harvey: Apart from getting eaten by strange and naked old men, thereby turning them into rage fuelled murderers?
Sebastian: Well, darling Austin, I should think that depends on the body part, would you? I suspect the fingers are used for poking, the tongues used for tasting and the genitals, well, you get the picture.
Austin: [Dead pan] Well, charming and tastefully dressed Sebastian, surely even the finger of a 100 ft tall demon needs to be attached to an arm, in order to poke.
Sebastian: That is true, my most... deliciously attired Austin, but even a part of a finger can be attached in some way, typically completely absorbed. Hence the need for someone to test various body parts.
Austin: I am sure that one would know if one had absorbed a 100 ft tall demon's tongue!
Sebastian: That depends on how much of they absorbed.
Charlie: [To Sebastian] Can anyone absorb these parts?
Dur: [Looking shocked] Honestly Charlie, what would your husband think of you absorbing another demon's parts!? [Elbows Clint] Heh, see what I did there?
Charlie: [To Dur] No wonder you avoid bathing as a ploy to dissuade intimacy! You have a fundamental misunderstanding of sexual intercourse!
Austin: Considering his last partner, that is hardly surprising!
Alice: That and his years of medical malpractice and dangerous lack of training and ability to speak to humans!
Sebastian: [To Charlie] Oh no, one is born with the Aspect of the Demon.
Clint: Oh, that. Doesn't one of you guys have that?
Alice: Do we?
[The carriage slows down.]
Tara: I think there's a problem with one of the wheels!
Charlie: [To Clint] Just because I am married to a former demon does not mean anything with the word demon attached to it applies to me!
Sebastian: Let's see what's going on. [Draws his sword] Let's be careful here.
Austin: [Draws his dagger] This is not a good time to get a flat.
Alice: [Peers out] It looks like we're in the middle of nowhere... not sure there are many hiding spaces here!
Dur: Sure there are! [Hides behind Alice]
Charlie: [To Dur, sharply] Come along! If there is a tire to be changed, surely that will fall to someone like you or Mr. Scar! [Heads out to investigate the tire situation]
Alice: [Jumps] Ew! There's a creepy guy behind me!
[The party get out and check the back wheels. They seem fine.]
Austin: I expect it's just Mr Dur, the help. [Goes to look and check]
Clint: Are you sure that's right? Normally, the help gets paid.
Charlie: [To Clint, indignantly shaking a copper piece at him] He is very often given extraordinarily generous tips!
Austin: [Looks surprised] Do they get paid? Not really my area, but if it makes you happy, I don't see any harm.
Alice: [Disapprovingly] I don't know, Aus. The next thing you know they'll be organising labour unions and demanding a fair hourly wage. Imagine the chaos!
Clint: Gosh, you mean Dur might want to be treated like an actual human being? Imagine that! But it won't be relevant if we're killed by a demon-eating madman.
Austin: Sounds awful. [Takes a deep breath] Let us not dwell on such negativity. Now, what was troubling you?
Alice: Good lord, Stinky! Don't start giving him ideas! [Calls back to Tara] Are you sure there's something wrong? We can't find anything?
Tara: Actually, I'm sure there's nothing wrong.
Austin: [Uneasy] So what's the problem?
Harvey: Indeed, why have we stopped?
Charlie: [Clutching her sword] Surely it is too soon to stop for a rest?
Alice: Well, I didn't want to say anything, but I could do with going for a pee!
Sebastian: Sorry old friends, but it's nothing personal!
[The carriage starts to move away quickly.]
Harvey: I say, what skullduggery is this! [Tries to run after the carriage]
Alice: [Also running after the carriage] Hey! What the hell? Do you think you're going to win the race with us out of the carriage?
Sebastian: We don't need to win the race. We just need to get there before you!
Charlie: [Horrified, calls out] This is no way for a Knight to behave!!
Dur: Really? Because it seems like this is exactly the kind of thing that we might do!
Clint: Yeah, I think you guys are just mad because we didn't do it to them first. Now, let's find some horses or something.
Austin: [Looks around to see where they are] Anyone see a vacant carriage anywhere?
[The party appear to be in the middle of nowhere.]
Alice: I know where there are some horses!
Charlie: [To Alice, astonished] Are you familiar with this area?!
Alice: Of course not!
Dur: Then how do you know where we can get some horses from?
Alice: I didn't say I knew where we could get them, just that I knew where there are some.
Clint: You aren't, by any chance, thinking of the horses attached to that carriage over yonder? [Points at the party's distantly receding carriage.]
Alice: The carriage that so recently unceremoniously ejected us? [Beams] Yes!
Austin: And do you have some special rapport with those horse that will make them come back to you if you call them?
Harvey: [Smiling delightedly] Perhaps you have the hitherto undisplayed skill of a horse whisperer, what! One word from you and those bally horses will about turn and gallop back to us, keen for apples or sugar lumps, or both!
Charlie: Do be serious! I am much more likely to have such skills, given my remarkable ability to tame and train cats! Such skills are no doubt transferable.
Alice: [Claps happily at Harvey's words] That would be terrif! Don't worry, I'll give you some tips on how to get those little horrific balls of fur and claws to love you once I'm finished whispering to the horses. [Very, very loduly] Here horsey horsey! Heeeeere horsey! [In such a shrill and high pitched voice that everyone covers their ears] Heeeeeeeeeeeere H-for!
Charlie: [Helpfully] No, no, no! No self-respecting horse will come when called! [Pulls out a bit of string from her knapsack and hands it to Alice] Here, try waving this at them while I open a tin of tuna. That should get them bounding our way in no time!
Alice: Charlie! Oh my god! What is wrong with you? If you open that in front of Dur we'll never get any peace again! Every time someone touches a can he'll expect to get some food!
Austin: [Looking at the string and tuna] I think Alice's banshee scream is more likely to work.
Alice: Well then. Now we wait. I sure hope you all have the patience for this. Because you know what you're like. Some of you are very impatient. [Drums her fingers on a nearby rock] Oh my GOD! Where are those horses? We've been here, like four hours!
Harvey: Hmm, [looking over his shoulder] perhaps we should make haste in the direction the horses departed and meet them on their way back!
Alice: Yes, good idea! I can see the others are getting kind of restless. No doubt someone needs to pee.
Charlie: [To Alice, helpfully] Try not to think of water flowing it various forms, such as the insistent trickle of rain in a downspout after a spring shower!
Alice: You mean, things like rivers flowing? [Crosses her legs]
Austin: Or chilled Champagne pouring from the bottle to the glass.
Charlie: [Nods gravely] Or those dreadful garden fountains that feature nude, urinating children!
Austin: Or when the staff forget to turn the tap off. [Shakes his head in concern]
Dur: Horse! It’s whats for dinner!
Clint: Unless they don't come when Alice calls, in which case *we* may be what's for dinner instead!
Alice: Uh... I think the horse might be behind that bush there.
[She races behind the bush. An almost deafeningly loud SIGH comes out, followed by an even louder gushing of... let's just say champagne.]
Dur: Well, it certainly pees like a horse!!
Austin: She always has. [To the party] Anyone else need a pee? [Gets a small telescope from his satchel. Looks around for any form of transport]
Alice: [Comes out from behind the bush] No sign of any horse there!
[AUSTIN scans the horizon and makes an annoying "Aha!" sound.]
Austin: Aaahaa! Farmhouse ahoy! [Neatly puts his telescope away.Marches off towards the farmhouse]
Clint: Good thinking, lawyer! We can get some horses, maybe a dead pig for the doctor, maybe a live sheep for you!
I figured I'd better say it before someone suggested getting a
live sheep for Clint!
Austin: No thank you Mr Scar, I like most human beings prefer our own species for company. The sheep are all yours.
Harvey: [Walks towards the farmhouse, leaping across a newly formed champagne river] Lets hope this farmer has a carriage we can purchase, or borrow. Or horses. Or worst case, cows!
Alice: Cows? Are they things that milk comes in?
Charlie: [To Alice, scolding] We haven't time to indulge your city girl fantasies about life on the farm! Farms are filthy, foul-smelling places, and one never learns meets attractive, muscular farmboys who exist merely to seduce one and teach Important Lessons about What's Really Important in Life! [To Harvey] I shall give you a hint! It is NOT being a successful, professional woman who does not desire children!
Alice: But how is the high powered woman to learn that without visiting a small town at Philimas where she accidentally bangs into and spills coffee all over the dreamy local boy who's family run inn is in trouble because a mean property developer is about to run them out of business? Where the dreamy local boy has no time for Philimas and somehow finds the high powered woman annoying and, believe it or not, slightly funny, particularly given that they knew each other when they were kids and she had a real crush one him? Anyway, he's too busy organising the annual Philimas concert to raise money for orphans, knowing it might be the last one, but when our high powered woman bakes a bunch of wonderful Christmas cookies just after he brings back the impressive Philimas tree, they end up decorating it together and then go for a walk in the snow where they meet some carol singers, and then they go back home and, just as she's about to leave the inn, they realise they are standing under mistletoe! [Beat] I mean, that's just science, Charlie.
Hey, I like Christmas movies, okay??
Austin: [Alarmed. Looks from Charlie to Alice. To the others] Did we just die and go to hell or something? [Looks around]
Alice: [Sing songy voice] Only if you don't believe in Philimas!
Harvey: [Wiping a tear from his eye] By the saints, truly a touching Philimas tale, if ever I've heard one!
Alice: Look! There's another carriage coming! Oh, it's a Christmas miracle!
Clint: Bah! Such stories don't understand the true meaning of Philimas - prove to your loved ones how much you care by spending on them, on the one day of the year we're all supposed to be nice to each other before getting back to screwing each other over at the drop of a hat for the rest of the year.
Charlie: [Nods] Quite right, Mr. Scar! It is a celebration of excess and capitalism under the protective mantle of poorly understood folktales! [Waves to the carriage] Hello?!
Alice: It's Mac the Knight!
[She's correct. MAC's carriage, crammed with floosies, zooms towards them.]
Clint: [Dubiously] Maybe he'll prefer to give us a lift rather than having his floozies around to give *him* a ride?
Austin: only one way to find out! [ Heads to the Farmhouse]
Harvey: And is this Mac likely to try and kill us all?
Charlie: [Muses thoughtfully] Good question! Perhaps it depends on whether or not we have met this version of him!
Alice: We met him half an hour ago! I bet he's way more likely to help us than hang out with some floozies!
[The carriage zooms on by with MAC mooning the party as it does.]
Austin: [Forlorn] I guess he didn't recognise us?
Clint: I'm pretty sure he did! But if one of us had a carriage full of floozies and was on the run from a homicidal lunatic, I'm not sure he or she would stop to dismount the strumpets and pick up the rest of us, so why would he do differently?
Harvey: I thought knights were renowned for their chivalry and strict moral code? I guess the stories are all just stuff and nonsense, what!
Austin: I think most of those stories of chivalry and strict moral code are about a few knights like Peter, and myself.
Alice: Do you? [Shakes her head sadly] Do you, really? [To Harvey] Yeah, we're not those kind of Knights. I mean, Dur is one!
Charlie: Yes, his inclusion does diminish the institution, unfortunately. But we mostly work for the greater good of all humankind, though some of our methods are less noble than others!
Harvey: And no doubt a gaggle of floozies also weights the moral dilemma!
Alice: Hey! Floozies are people too! You know, they don't let just anyone into U Flooz!
Charlie: [To Alice] Oh, is that your alma mater?
Alice: [Drops her head] You know, they don't let just anyone into U Flooz.
Charlie: [Reassuringly] I have no doubt you were at the top of your class!
Alice: Sadly, they don't let just anyone into U Flooz.
Dur: What about nobodies, do they let nobodies in?
Clint: I think the main thing about getting into U Flooz is the application of large amounts of cash or alcohol.
Alice: [To Dur] Spoken like a true Floozalum!
Dur: [Excitedly]Really?! Do they grant medical degrees?
Alice: Oh my god! Am I the only one here who didn't get into U Flooz?
Clint: [Nods sagely.] Looks like it, Bimbo!
Austin: Where did you send your application? U flooze HQ in Queensview?
Harvey: Possibly medical degrees specialising in certain communicable diseases, what!
Charlie: [Intrigued] It sounds much more impressive than the title would suggest! [To Alice] Tell the Alumni Committee that you refuse to endow another building until they change the name. That will get their attention!
Alice: I never met the Alumni Committee, and no, Aus, I didn't contact U FLooze HQ, I just spoke directly to one of their field agents. I met him in a shady bar one night. He seemed to think that I had a great chance to get in. I mean, I had never heard of it before, but it sounded cool!
Austin: [Makes a note] Sounds like we may have a rogue agent. Do you remember his name?
Harvey: Sounds like it was some slimy chancer, attempting to take advantage of a lady!
Austin: It does indeed. There are always those willing to abuse the system, cut corners, and exploit others.
Alice: No, I'm sure he was legit! He even had the official FBI t-shirt. His name was Ben Dover.
Austin: [Looks relieved] I've never heard that name before. Certainly not on the management committee, nor in advertising, HR, catering [Flicks through a list], lighting, entertainments, H & S or procurement. Nope. A rogue.
Alice: Oh man! So there's no such organisation as the Federal Boobie Inspectors?
Harvey: Hmm, not an official governmental organisation, that's for sure, dear girl!
Charlie: [Wearily] Oh, Alice! What have we told you many, many times about speaking to strange men wearing trench coats?!
Alice: But I wasn't wearing a trenchcoat! [Thinks] Oh. I see. Well, that's all very disappointing!
[Stomps off in the direction of the farm.]
End of scene, next one coming up shortly!
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene II. The Farm. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, walking across a field towards a farmhouse.]
Alice: What are all these crunchy brown pies doing lying on the grass?
Clint: [Solemnly] It's an old farm game. You try to get people to step in as many as possible, and the more they've stepped in, the more sophisticated they must be!
Charlie: [To Clint, chuckling] Oh, these simple country folk and their absurd beliefs! [To Alice, firmly] Do not fall victim to their spurious reasoning! There is clearly no correlation between stepping on those bits of ground and one's sophistication.
Alice: [Bends down and looks at one of the pies] Well, it reeks, almost as bad as Clint, which suggests that stepping in them almost certainly correlates with lack of sophistication. I mean, just look at Clint!
Charlie: [Excited] Let us conduct research! [To Dur, commandingly] Step on one of these bits of earth, and we shall assess the resulting change to your relative degree of sophistication!
Dur: [Already smeared in pie all over] Did it help?
Alice: Well, you look filthy, smell disgusting and look really, really pathetic... so, yeah, I guess it did!
Austin: [Looks at Dur with disgust] Just when things could not get any worse, you make it worse!
Alice: That sounds like a challenge!
Harvey: [Moving as far from Dur as possible] Let us hope it is a challenge which goes unanswered, eh!
Charlie: [Scribbling furiously on a notepad, muttering] In both appearance and odor . . . marginally improved . . . more data needed to determined perceived level of sophistication. Field research required. . . .
Austin: [Uncomfortable. Physically distances himself from Dur] Can we get going?
Harvey: [Stepping quickly] Very much agreed!
Alice: Ah reckon there be an old boy down yonder. [Beams happily] That's how they speak on the farm!
Charlie: [Sternly] That is not how WE speak down on the farm! We must communicate clearly at all times, avoiding slang and colloquialisms as if lives depended upon it!
Clint: I reckon we might could do that, pardner.
Alice: [Shakes her head] Nope. I saw a really interesting documentary on how these people speak. I'm an expert in it.
Harvey: How wonderful! Why don't you give us all an example of your mastery over their terminology?
Charlie: [Quickly] Or, better yet, we could witness it ourselves, first-hand, by interacting with the locals!
Alice: [Glares at Charlie] I would be happy to act as your guide. Now, point me to where the scantily dressed and improbably attractive stable boy is. I mean, is at. That's how they said it country style.
Clint: Surely you mean the naive and impressionable milkmaid with the massive milk jugs! Find her and you'll find the improbably attractive stable boy.
Alice: No, no, no! That's not what happened in the documentary! The delightful and attractive niece of the Lord of the Manor goes to get her horse and finds him there, standing looking moody and dreamy.
Austin: Well, let's just hope for both.
Clint: Ah, chapter 17!
Charlie: [To Harvey, gesturing broadly to the rest of the party] This is what happens when adults fail to form meaningful intimate relationships with other adults!
Austin: Why do people in long term relationships think that they are better than everyone else?
Alice: Because we are! Some day you might have a relationship as wonderful as me and Deucie, and then you'll understand Aus!
Austin: [Sighs] I was including myself in my comment. Whilst I have not seen Amelia in sometime, that is no different to the rest of us.
Charlie: [To Alice] Oh? Is that why you so desperately wish to undertake a fantasy relationship with an imaginary farmhand?
Austin: You seem to have mistaken me for someone else. I am not desperate. Sociable perhaps, but not desperate.
Alice: But you are into the farmhand?
Austin: [Checkings his perfect nails] What in the realms are you talking about now? We are in a field. This is farmland and we are in it?
Harvey: Well, we should knock on the door and see if this moody farmhand has a carriage he can let us rent.
Alice: Oooh! I bet you will be "in" the farmhand before too long, Aus. Boom chikka boom!
[A truly enormous arrow, about six feet long whizzes overhead and lands about twenty feet from the party.]
Clint: I don't remember *that* part of "Molly the Merry Milkmaid"! [Looks for a spot in which to take cover.]
Charlie: [Gasps and covers her head] It's a giant arrow trap, quite obviously triggered by weak double entendre!
Harvey: By the saints! Yet another warm welcome awaits!
Alice: [Hiding behind an enormous cowpat] Look! There he is!
[ALICE points to PETE HANEY, a farming type in his fifties struggling to reload an immense crossbow that is about twenty feet across. He can barely lift an enormous bolt onto it.]
Pete: Damned oversized bolts!

Pete Haney

Harvey: To Alice] Hmm, is that your dreamy, moody farm hand?
Clint: Hello there! Do you need a hand reloading that crossbow?
Alice: [To Harvey] No, I think that's Austin's one!
[PETE looks up.]
Pete: That would be great, thanks!
Austin: Hardly! Let's go help him. He obviously missed whatever he was aiming at.
Clint: [Calling over.] Alright, we're coming out to help you reload, and then we'll get back over here so you can shoot at us again!
Pete: Gee, that's real square of you folks! It's this winding mechanism here, it's a real pain to turn. I gotta be careful about trespassers you know, we get a lot of people poking around about Bessie.
Clint: I just bet you do! We're actually looking for something else, though. The... uh... lady here wants to talk to your farm hand, and we'd like to rent a carriage or something.
Harvey: That's the TrueAim 2.0 if I'm not mistaken! The winding mechanism on that particular model was always prone to jamming if not oiled at least six times a day with TrueAim-CostlyGlide(TM) lubricant.
Pete: [Taken aback] Why sir, you certainly know your weapons! And I must say, you have the demeanour of a man who's told many a kid to get off his lawn!
Charlie: [Shakes her head ruefully] Really, you should have bought a CostMore NeverJam 3.0. [Muses] Though, to be fair, that does require quite a lot of CostMore NeverJam Lubricating Jam!
Harvey: [To Pete] I am a military man, with a military mans knowledge of all things created to kill other military men, innocent onlookers and other and suchlike collateral damage. And why yes, sir, I get most annoyed at people trampling through my azaleas, the cads!
Alice: [Stomach rumbling massively] I wish I had some CostMore NeverJam Lubricating Jam!
Pete: NeverJam 3.0? Well, lah-di-dah, Miss Fancy Pants! [To Harvey] Me too, friend! That's why I hate trespassers so much!
Austin: I prefer the Nightstalker Costanarm with the auto lubricator v1.0. Sometimes the old ones are the best. Very reliable and [Gestures to the ballista] Much easier to load and transport.
Pete: Ah, old school eh. Not a bad device... They had a propensity to catch fire, but man, they sure doubled as a fine masturbation device.
Austin: [Looks horrified] I, I would not recommend using it for anything but the purpose it was designed for.
Charlie: [To Austin, scolding] Perhaps farm life is very lonely! Certainly, the smell would deter potential suitors. [To Pete] No offense!
Pete: None taken, your majesty! And, by the way, the smell never deterred Bessie!
Harvey: And this Bessie being the object of your trespassers desire?
Clint: Please, Colonel, there are innocent ears present! [Gestures at Dur.]
Pete: She's the most attractive pig in three counties!
Dur: Can we meet her?!
Pete: You sure can! She's just out playin' with the young 'uns!
Harvey: Piglets? Is she a proud pig mum?
Charlie: Oh, how darling! They are so sweet when they are young, almost kittenish!
Pete: [Beams] We sure are proud parents! Come on! [Starts walking towards a house]
Harvey: Erm, eh? [To the party] Did he just say what I think he said?
Alice: No, Uncle Harvey, he didn't say he had a big spread consisting of steaks, chops, a soused pigs head, complete with apple, golden honeyed locusts, jellied eels, thrushes ankles, snakes feet, crispy popadoms and curried Brussels sprouts.
Austin: [Sighs. To Pete] Do you have a carriage and horses trained to pull it?
Pete: Yes sir, I certainly do! Ah, there's Bess! Bess, come on and meet our new friends. They hate kids on their lawn almost as much as I do!
[Enter BESS HANEY, a pig wearing lipstick, walking on her four legs up to party.]
Bess: Oink!
Pete: [Laughs] You can say that again!

Bess Haney

Charlie: [To Bess, uncertainly] Hello, er, madame?
Dur: [Wiping away the drool as best he can] What a charmer!
[Rather rudely, BESS doesn't appear to answer CHARLIE, and instead starts sniffing around the base of a tree.]
Pete: Oh, she's just shy. [Gives Dur a look] Yeah, she's a cutie, ain't she?
Clint: She's the kind of vision that one doesn't soon forget, anyway!
Pete: Keep your paws to yourself, boy!
Charlie: [To Pete, reassuringly] Oh, not to worry! Not even Mr. Scar would not entertain such a perversion!
Austin: Let's hope not. Sarge, we need transparency here. Alice, could you use your linguistic skills in the local patois to ask this man if he has a carriage?
Alice: Sure thing, Aus, I know all sorts of words and stuff. [Thinks for a moment] What's a patois?
Bank holiday today, so no posting until tomorrow!
Austin: [[Sighs] Just talk to him in the same way he talks.
Charlie: [To Alice] Though take care that you understand what you are actually saying! [To Austin] One does not wish to become accidentally betrothed to a farm animal, etc.
Harvey: Indeed so, dear woman! Let's be cautious incase he's attempting to offload any offspring on potential suitors!
Austin: Perhaps we should just walk? Walking is relatively safe.
Alice: But it's too slow, we're in a race! [To Pete] You there, bumpkin! [Speaks slowly and loudly] Can we have your [does some vroom-vroom noises] car-riage? Mucho dinero, oui? [Turns to the party and gives them a thumbs up]
Pete: [Scratches his head] You better talk to my lovely wife about that. She makes all the decisions.
Charlie: [To Pete] Would you first like to ask her if she will speak with me? One does not wish to presume!
Pete: Sure thing. [Calls out] Betts! Betts?
[Enter BETTS HANEY, an improbably attractive young woman.]
Betts: Oh, quit your hollerin'! [Smiles at the party] Hi there! He showing off his pig again?


Charlie: [To Betts, relieved] Oh, how splendid! At first I was not sure [glances discreetly at Bess] I would be able to communicate with you. Now I can see it will be possible, as long as I make certain allowances for poor grammar usage and sloppy diction.
Betts: Well, excuse me, your majesty!
Charlie: [Amused] Oh, no! Even everyday citizens practice good hygiene where we live, not just royalty!
Austin: [To Betts, continuing Bett's humor] Her royal highness, Queen of Chuckles, master of all libraries, high inquisitor of all systematic reviews, and first of the obsessive hand washers, would like to know if we could borrow a carriage?
Harvey: Or a brace of horses, if you do not have a carriage, my dear woman! [Bows to Betts]
Dur: I thought we were looking for something to ride? Not something for dinner!
Betts: Why, sure you can borrow a carriage. You look like good, honest folk. [Looks the party up and down] Well, like folk. I do have a chore for you, though.
Clint: [Nodding] That's usually how those things go. Alice here is your gal for milking cows, Charlie for setting up a rota of some sort, the colonel oversees it all. I handle things which require immense strength, Dur does general menial labor, and the lawyer... uhhh... also contributes.
Austin: Management, Health and safety, S.O.P.s. Compliance. Those sort of things.
Betts: Well, goll-lee, you folks sure do use a lot of words. All we need is a good old fashioned piglet hunt. It'll help us and also prove that you are good farm folk. After all, it wouldn't do to lend our carriage to no city slickers, would it?
[BETTS, PETE and even BESS all roar laughing.]
Alice: [Laughs along, a little unnerved] Sure! [To the party] What are city's lickers?
Harvey: I believe it's a type of long tongued lizard, common in these parts, dear girl.
Alice: Ew! No surprise that even an ignorant country bumpkin wouldn't want to lend their carriage to one, then!
Betts: Are you talking about me?
Alice: Uh... no.
Harvey: [To Betts] I believe there was a mention of some piglet location chore? Surely one went to the market, one is here at home, one can be found gorging on roast beef, while another looks on enviously, and you will no doubt hear the tears of the last soon enough.
Betts: Ah, yes, quite helpful, thanks, but there are several others, racing around their pen.
Charlie: We have just the crew for this task! [Nods to Dur, Clint, and Alice] Into the pen, chop chop!
Alice: We're going to have to cut them up? Ew!
Betts: Nope. All of you got to go get some piglets. Otherwise how do we know you're not some lizard types?
Dur: Is this like bobbing for apples in that we have to catch it with our mouths and we get to eat what we catch?
Betts: No, it's more like running around in a pigpen trying to grab tiny squealing balls of rage who could take your hand off with one bite.
Charlie: [Cheerfully] In you go, Dur! If you lose your hand, we will fashion one for you out of wood, not to worry!
Clint: Don't think for one second that we're going to do all the work and you can share in the credit. This isn't graduate school!
Betts: The weird smellin' fella's right -- you all go in together.
Austin: We'll have it done in a jiffy. [To the party] Come on you lot, catching those piglets!
Charlie: [Reluctantly] Very well, but I only have so many grey suits! If I keep sacrificing them for tasks better done by servants, I might be forced to wear less professional clothing, like [casts her eyes over Alice] others.
Alice: Who likes makeovers!
Betts: [To Austin] Everyone gets a piglet. Including you, pretty boy.
Austin: But I do not want a piglet. Why would I want a piglet? My team are perfectly capable of catching them all for you, and it is most kind of you to give them some.
Betts: Aren't you cute? We're not giving you the piglets, you're getting them for us. That's the cost of borrowing our carriage. You need to prove you're good farm folk or you're going to have get walking.
[Off in the distance another carriage from earlier zooms by.]
Harvey: Hmm, we really do need to get moving, or else that maniac will be breathing down our very necks! [To Betts] Lead the way, dear lady! Time and tide wait for no piglets, what!
Betts: What about Princess?
Alice: Oh, I'll do it!
Betts: No. [Points at Austin] Him!
Austin: Flattery will get you no where. But it is appreciated.
Charlie: [To Austin] Come along, Mr. Sleaze! We will find a dry cleaners at the earliest convenience, not to worry!
Austin: [Puts on a pinafore, gloves and PPE gear on top of that and holds his hands out for Charlie to give him a piglet] I'll lead from the front, as usual!
Betts: Oh, this is gonna be great! [Rubs her hands together] We don't just hand them out, you gotta go catch 'em. Much hilarity will ensue!
End of scene. Piglet catchin' rules coming up next!
Hi folks, In this next scene, the party will each try to catch a piglet. Each time I make a post, I will roll (online using a verifiable source!) six 100 sided dice. I'll show the order they came up in and we will interpret them this
way: Alice Austin Charlie Clint Dur Harvey To catch a piglet, a character most roll 90 or more. Each time we reroll, there will be a +5 bonus added, to reflect that it gets easier. If you roll natural 10 or lower, some misfortune will befall your character, but only in an amusingly humiliating way. A natural 5 or lower means something truly disgusting happens. The natural 5 or 10 mean that these can happen even in the second and subsequent rolls. I won't roll in every post, but will always tell you in the post immediately beforehand that it's about to come. Here's the dice roller I'll
use: It will show all the dice rolls that I make today. To be absolutely fair, I've done one roll which you can later use to verify that the game is fair. The dice rolls
are: 30,77,81,35,52,35,+0 The +0 is something added on automatically, so just ignore it. This means Alice would have got 30, Austin 77 etc., so no one would have caught a piglet, but neither would anyone be humiliated. Next scene coming up right now, and the first piglet post will be once the scene is up and running!
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene III. The Pig Pen. BETTS, ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, all having entered into the huge pen in which six screaming piglets race around.]
Betts: Okay, go get them!
Alice: [Cautiously approaching] Maybe we could reason with them?
Dur: [Wipes away a tear] Reminds me of growing up at mom’s house!
Alice: Although, surely this place is cleaner and has better furniture?
Austin: They look very odd moving around without apples in their mouths.
Charlie: [Pacing the pen, ready to spring] They are darling little things, aren't they?! I do hope we do not hurt them!
Austin: [Tries his praying mantis Hero move, to catch a piglet] Shh!
Alice: [Looking guiltily at her sword] Oh. So we're NOT trying to kill them? [Puts her sword away]
Dice roll coming up with my next post, including
Hero Move from Austin!
Charlie: [To Alice, down on all fours in Downward Facing Pig position] Do be quiet! This maneuver requires focus!
;; Dice roll coming up with my next post, including 
;; Hero Move from Austin!
Charlie will attempt a Hero Move, as well!
Clint: [Spits on his hands and rubs them together.] Get over here!
Clint isn't fussed about getting his hands dirty.
Also, on my tablet, which originally gave me "spits on his hags,"
which I thought neither
Alice nor Charlie would appreciate!
Dice roll! 4,99,86,29,41,84
Alice: 4
Austin: 99 + 20
Charlie: 86 + 20
Clint: 29
Dur: 41
Harvey: 84
Alice: Focus schmocus! You think I'm going to be outwitted by a screaming bag of pink? [Grabs at the nearest piglet]
[ALICE immediately goes face first into a suspiciously deep pool of pig shit, while each of AUSTIN and CHARLIE easily swoop theirs up, the former doing so in such a maddeningly efficient way that his suit is somehow cleaner and more pressed than before. CLINT, DUR and HARVEY all miss, with HARVEY getting the closest.]
Betts: [Applauds] Do it again! Do it again!
What idiot designed this game??
Alice will do a hero move next time around.
Dur: [Gives a thumbs up to Alice] Now we match!
Dur will do a hero move next time too!
Charlie: [Hanging onto her wriggling pig, gleeful] Well done, Mr. Sleaze! Perhaps the next time we discuss advanced wrestling maneuvers, the others will listen more closely!
Alice: [Looks disgusted at Dur] Does your mouth always taste like this too? [Leaps at the pig]
Dice rolls! Everyone gets + 5.
Alice: 39 + 5 + 30 = 74.
Clint: 65 + 5 = 60
Dur: 26 + 5 + 35 = 66
Harvey: 66 + 5 = 71
No pigs caught!
[ALICE's pig just evades her, pausing for a moment to give her the middle trotter. HARVEY and DUR come close, with DUR doing an impressive somersault in his attempt, while CLINT merely collides with a fence post.]
Betts: [To Austin and Charlie] I'm starting to think that only you two are real farm folk!
Damned pigs! Alice will do another hero move!
Austin: Never give up hope! [Feeds his piglet some parma violets]
Harvey: By the saints, these are wily little piggies! Are they covered in grease? [Harvey will perform a hero move]
Charlie: [To Harvey, helpfully] Try getting on all fours! It makes them think you are one of them and builds trust!
Dice rolls! Everyone gets +10
Alice: 55 + 10 + 30 = 95
Clint: 41 + 10 = 51
Dur:  54 + 10 + 30 = 94
Harvey: 73 + 10 + 30 = 113
            [HARVEY does a backflip and lands in front of his piglet, easily scooping it up, while each of ALICE and DUR deftly snatch theirs up as CLINT staggers around on all fours, crashing into a post. Meanwhile, AUSTIN's piglet delicately munches on his snack.]
Alice: Yay! 
Charlie: [Exasperated, frustratedly wrestling with her wriggling pig to keep it from escaping again] Really, Mr. Scar! Surely you have a stronger natural affinity for these creatures than the rest of us! Focus on your inner pig!
Austin: Heaven knows he has had plenty of practice at that!
Alice: Be the pig, Clint! Phili knows, you do it often enough!
Clint will do a hero move next roll!
Harvey: [Encouragingly] Come on chaps, pluck up the little porkers!
Dice rolls! Clint gets +15
Clint: 65 + 15 + 30 = 110
[CLINT desperately throws himself onto a piglet, stunning it long enough that he grabs it by the tail, causing it to squeal unhappily as he drags it into his arms.]
Alice: [Covered from head to toe in pigshit] Not very dignified, is it?
Austin: I expect the pig has had better days. Mr Scar, I'm not so sure. This may be his finest hour.
Alice: Really?
[She regards CLINT. He's a filthy mess; his hair is dishevelled, he's filthy, his clothes are torn and his piglet is urinating all over him.]
Alice: Huh. I believe you might be correct, Austin!
Charlie: [To Clint, encouragingly] Do not despair, Mr. Scar! No doubt there are plenty of naive young farm girls who will find this new look of yours appealing!
Clint: [Confused.] What new look?
My sister-in-law went off maternity leave today and we've got both
the 3-year-old and the
3-month-old staying here during the days. Evidently I will need
to not only lock but soundproof
my bedroom!
Alice: This dapper, man about town, look.
Yeeesh, Tom, what on earth are you getting
upto in there that you would wake them up!!!
Harvey: Indeed so, even the air seems somehow fresher! [To his piglet] Doesn't it little Rashers, doesn't it seem fresher, what!
Rashers: Snoink!
Charlie: [Jealously tries to speak to her wriggling piglet] There now, er, Professor Fluffington, are we not the very best of friends? Far more successfully bonded than other piglet-party members?
Alice: [Laughs at Charlie] Oh, Charlie, you don't know how to handle animals the way us farm folk do. [Holds up her piglet] Don't you, Karl Porkerfeld? Aw, look! He's asleep! [Gently tries to wake Karl] Er, oh. Hm. Maybe we should get that carriage!
Harvey: [Looks closely, before covering Rashers eyes] Ah yes, I see, we should definitely be on the off, what!
Alice: Poor sleepy Karl Porkerfeld!
[BETTS and PETE applaud the party as they let themselves out of the pigpen.]
Pete: Well I'll be, that was the funniest thing I saw since Auntie Madge got her beard tangled in the mangle!
Charlie: [Gasps] Did Aunt Madge survive the mangler?!
Clint: Knowing aunts, I'd be more worried about whether the mangler survived Aunt Madge!
Pete: Oh, she was fine. I mean, we had to cut her out of it and that mangler was never the same, but the beard soon grew back.
Austin: Always good to hear a happy ending to any story. Where shall we put the piglets?
Pete: You can put their adorable pink tushies down in the pen over there. [Points to a nearby pen]
Alice: [Lays Karl Porkerfeld down in the pen] Goodbye sleepy pig!
Austin: [Puts Fionnghuala down in the pen requested] Here, have some extra parma violets.[Gives the piglet a few more sweets and a cautious pat]
Clint: [Deposits his recalcitrant pig with just a bit of care.] If there's any justice, I'll be seeing you again, fried and stuffed between two slices of bread. Now, about that carriage...
Harvey: [Turns his back to the party and leans over into the pen] Bye bye Rashers, hopefully you'll grow up to be a big and strong pig! [Turns back to the party with a suspicious bulge in his coat] Harvey's
Coat: Snoink!
Charlie: [Deposits her piglet in the pen] Goodbye, Professor [frowns] Whiskerton? Our time together was special and memorable!
Pete: Don't be sad. Betts will look after them. [Hands Charlie the keys of the carriage] Now, make sure you bring it back, right?
Charlie: [Accepts the keys gleefully] Of course! [To the party] To the carriage, group!
Dur: [In disbelief] Sure, that would be a first!
Alice: Don't say it right in front of him!
Pete: In front of who?
Alice: Uh... no one! [Heads to the carriage]
[BETTS walks past holding a bloody baseball bat.]
Betts: Have a good drive!
Harvey: We most certainly will! [Hurriedly heads towards the carriage]
Alice: Aw! Is she going to play baseball with the piglets? That's kind of sweet!
Harvey: Possibly, dear girl. By the saints, why am I suddenly thinking of the term, when pigs fly?
Clint: Looks like bacon for lunch. Much healthier than demon arm!
Charlie: Perhaps we had better make our exit while the farm folk are, er, occupied in no doubt wholesome country pleasures?!
Alice: Good idea! [Stops and looks at the carriage, which has "Haney's Pig Killery" painted on the side] Not exactly subtle, is it?
Harvey: Indeed so, about as subtle as a baseball bat to the head, what! Come all, let us be away before the knight killer appears!
[The party race off, the awful thumping sound of the baseball bat barely audible over the roar of the carriage.]
Alice: Who's got the map?
Charlie: [Hopefully] If I have a map, can you tell me where we are going?!
Austin: [Carefully peeling off the protective clothing] Oh the Sarge will have one. She's very organised like that.
Alice: We're supposed to be going to Acedia! Remember, last three there get killed?
Harvey: Well, let us hope we are not amongst the final three to arrive, dear girl!
Charlie: [Digging through her knapsack] I cannot find a map! Dur must have eaten it! [To the party] Perhaps we could find the nearest library?!
Austin: I don't suppose we could simply avoid Acedia for ever? That way no one will die, as there will never be a last three. It's not as if we have ever wanted to go there. It's not exactly the destination of the century.
Alice: Not a bad idea, Aus. And just as long as that demon eating madman will abide by that logic, we'll be fine. [To Charlie] Maybe those people on that bridge up ahead have a map?
[Up ahead is a bridge that crosses over the road that the party are driving on. It looks like it is packed with people.]
Clint: I've got it. [Sticks his head out the window.] Pardon me, boys, is this the Acedia highway?
Alice: Oh god, is he trying to flirt with them?
[The people on the bridge are too far to hear yet, but the party is getting closer and can see that there are hundreds of them on the bridge, several of whom are holding banners.]
Harvey: I say, what's all that kerfuffle?
Charlie: [To Harvey] They have the look of outside rowdies, wouldn't you say? [Wearily] I do hope they are not hairy and unwashed types grousing about various governmental programs, waving poorly constructed signs riddled with grammatical errors and rhetorical fallacies!
Harvey: [Shudders] Let us hope not, dear woman, for where so ever outside rowdies congregate, bongo players and fire jugglers are sure to spontaneously appear!
Austin: I can smell them from here!
Alice: I bet they're just dreamy man bun types, who don't live by any rules except their own, and they even disobey those ones!
[The crowd on the bridge start to cheer as the party approach. They can see that the largest banner reads "Death Race 1285"]
Yes, this is the year 1285!
Dur: [Looking worriedly at the sign] Oh if only they had taught us how to read in medical school!
Charlie: [Reading the banner, flabbergasted] Death Race?! Who would want to race to his or her death?
Alice: Only a fool! Or an idiot acting like a fool! Hey look, those guys there have a banner for Team Queens View! I wonder if Queens View has a team in the race. Boy, they must be a bunch of idiots!
Clint: What kind of odds do you think we can get? Might be worth placing a wager - if we lose, we'll be in no shape to collect on it anyway.
Harvey: [Scratches at a pricklish, ticklish sideburn] I say, you don't think that we are in this Death Race already, do you? The last three to arrive at that town are slaughtered. Why, it sure sounds like a race to me!
Alice: If we are, then it's a very poorly named race, isn't it? I mean, would Life Race be a better name? Anyway, I bet we're the favourites!
Austin: With me leading the team how could it be otherwise.
Charlie: [Irked] You may excel at piglet wrangling, Mr. Sleaze, but I lead this group! [Crossing her arms defiantly] And we will NOT be participating in a so-called [finger quotes] Death Race!
Alice: If anyone's going to be driving in a Death Race it's going to be me!
Harvey: If anyones going to be dying in a Death Race, let us hope it's not us! [Roars out the window at the crowd] You there, unwashed types, move aside, what!
Austin: [To Charlie] Sorry Chuckles, but at no point did I promote you to the leader of this group, nor did I retire. Now, if this is a Death Race, we are going to win. Alice will drive.
Charlie: [To Austin, huffily] Fine, see how well you do in your precious race without my organizational and research skills!
[As the party zoom beneath the bridge the crowd give a huge cheer. An excited commentator, MURRAY STALKER, last seen Book V, Act VII, Scene V as commentator at the Scientist Fights, speaks into a microphone.]
Murray: Harvey complains to the crowd for something that doesn't make any sense, and they just love it! And, unless I'm very much mistaken, the Queens View party have taken the lead!

Murray Stalker

Dur: Hear that? Sounds like we are winning! [Pulls out a pantswich for a quick mid-race snack]
Austin: [To Charlie] Neither did I demote you, Sarge, don't just give up like that it gives the team a bad role model. Now, what can we do to win? Let's focus on that.
Clint: Well, for one thing we can check whether "taking the lead" means we're the most or the least likely to die. And if the former, we can discuss a few changes at the top! I say we put the Colonel back in charge, what?
Alice: Who are we going to check with, Clint? With you? I think you're hardly likely to know!
Charlie: If only you knew someone who excelled at research! Perhaps such a person could learn the rules of this race and save the day for everyone!
Alice: Oh, Charlie! Yes, we can take a hint! Come on, I bet you know someone who excels at research!
Clint: Yeah, but is this really the best time to be looking for Deuce?
Alice: Is there ever a time when it's NOT a good time?
Harvey: And in the likely event of not finding this Deuce person, is there an alternative? I'm sure this good woman [bows to Charlie] could tell us the rules of this race, if only we could get our hands on a rule book! And by the way, how in the blue blazes does this announcer know our names, what?
Charlie: [Delighted] Splendid, we just need to pop into a local Visitors' Center, and I shall commence researching this event! It should only take an hour or so, depending on the quality of assistance and materials available.
Harvey: Surely one of these onlookers will have a copy of the rule book to hand! Racing sports bring out all types of fact and statistical, what's the word, overcoat? No. Anoraks! That's it! Anoraks!
Alice: Like that guy? [Points to the nerdiest man in the Realms, MOSTLY MAX, who is standing beside a barrier that's blocking the road]

Mostly Max

Harvey: [Glances out the window] Egads, the very epitome of the word, what! [To Max] You there, do you have a rule book we can borrow? Quickly, throw it through the carriage window!
Max: Sir, this is an official checkpoint for Death Race 1285. All racers must check in here and sign the official register.
Harvey: I did not see that written in the rules. Do you have a copy of the rule book to hand?
Charlie: [Eagerly] Oh, yes! We should be ever so grateful to obtain a copy of the rules. One prefers to win fairly!
Max: I certainly do! I never leave home without it. [Proudly holds up a massively thick book that looks like it has a post-it book mark on virtually every page]
Murray: I'm not sure what's happening here, but the Queens View party have failed to check in! Martin, what do you think? [Pause] Martin? Martin?
Austin: [To the Party] Do we want to check in? It sounds very dangerous. If we don't check in, we're not in the race!
Alice: And you know what that means, right?
Dur: That we don’t have to race to the death?
Clint: C'mon, doc, where's your sense of adventure? Besides, when have we ever been that lucky?
Harvey: I must admit, this all does seem quite a complicated and convoluted way for a demon-limb eating psychopath to determine who he's going to kill!
Alice: [To Dur] Well, I don't know, do I? I haven't see the rule book! But yes, it does seem unnecessarily complicated. Just the kind of thing a psychopath would do!
Austin: [To Max] What do the rules say about those who are not registered?
Max: [Pushes his glasses back and takes a hit of his inhaler] Rule 34, subsection D, paragraph ii, clearly states that those not registered may not take part in the Death Race. However, you are registered. You haven't yet checked in for this leg of the race.
Charlie: By whom were we registered?! Normally, I handle paperwork and such for the group, and I do not recall completing any such forms!
Dur: And what happens if we don't check in?
Clint: Gee, Sarge, ensuring that the paperwork gets done properly sounds like a job for the leader, and no competent leader would let a lapse like this slip!
Max: The paperwork has been done. It was fully completed by a Mr. Herman Slink.
Alice: Herman Slink? Is he a scary demon eater who might kill us?
Max: That's the man. [Waves a scolding finger at Dur] Guideline 4 clearly states that all teams should check in at predetermined locations so that they can get some rest, interact with the public and give interviews. Those last two, as I'm sure you know, are covered in Guidelines 17 and 24, respectively.
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, I should be delighted to provide interviews! I have so much valuable information to share with the scientific community.
Max: Excellent! I'm pleased that you are adhering to Guidelines 4, 17 and 24. [Points to a parking space] You can park over there.
Dur: Park? How do you win a death race while parked?
Max: You can't! That would be a clear violation of Rule 231, subsection C, paragraph xii!
Austin: So how do you win a this death race?
Max: [Impatiently] Have you even read Rule 912, subsection E, paragraph iv?
Austin: No, we have never seen the rules.
Clint: [Wearily] Which rule would we violate if we asked to see the rulebook?
Max: Oh! Well, that's not great! No wonder you're in last place! I mean, Guideline 1 suggests that racers should try to be familiar with the rules.
Max: Rule #2. Racers shall not consult the personal rulebook of any race official. [Shrugs] I think it's to stop bribery!
Charlie: [To Max] Ah, but doesn't it say in Appendix G that all racers must be given their own copy of the rule book? [To the party] Wouldn't it be dreadful if we had to file a complaint?
Max: [Scornfully] There is Appendix G! Everyone knows that the appendix was removed!
Charlie: [Triumphantly] Was it? What about the Memo on Appendix G, which called for the reinstatement of Appendix G? Frankly, I doubt your copy of the rules is up to date. Perhaps I could examine it for you, though I really must get to my interviews!
Dur: So we aren't allowed to bribe an official, but what do the rules say about assaulting a race official and taking their copy of the rules? It is a death race after all...
Austin: Temper temper! [Carefully scopes out the scene to see if there is a copy that he could 'borrow]
Harvey: Lets park up and see about getting our hands on some pre race sustenance, what! I'm famished! I'm sure we can discuss the rules with someone other than this pen pushing type!
Max: Oh, the race is already started. It started back at the shack when Herman Slink gave you the head start. Come on, you can park up over here. I'm glad you chose to go along with the guidelines. [Points to a parking space]
Charlie: [To Alice, in a low voice] Hurry, do let us park and try to investigate our current perplexing situation!
Alice: No problem, I really great at parallel parking.
[ALICE reverses the carriage at high speed and smashes into another carriage even though there is space enough for five carriages.]
Alice: Let's just straighten up...
[She crashes the gears and eventually pulls forward, hitting the carriage ahead, before crashing them again and reversing back.]
Alice: Perf!
Last from Max???
Charlie: [To Alice, covering her head in horror] At least we've stopped!
;; Last from Max???
Austin: Parking with authority, as usual, Alice!
Alice: You got to let people know not to mess with you!
Max: [Still grimacing] Er, great. Now, let's bring you back to meet your team.
Charlie: [Surprised] But we already have a team!
Max: Oh. So... you have your own cheerleader? Mechanic? Grizzled old racer with a drink problem who'll die in freak accident moments after figuring out a strategy for you to win?
Clint: Alice, me, and Harv?
Max: [Disappointed] But we've got the perkiest of cheerleaders! The crankiest of mechanics! The drunkest of ex-drivers!
Alice: [Sulkily] I'm perky!
Clint: Well, now that we've sorted that out, let's just... err.. borrow a copy of the rules, and then be on our merry way! I'll just be cannibalizing this mysteriously crunched carriage for spare parts... [Checks if anything can be salvaged from the wreckage of Alice's parking job.]
Harvey: And I barely drink! Just the odd few bottles of wine during breakfast lunch and dinner, followed by a champagne chaser before bed!
Austin: [Looks horrified] You'll be joining the QueensView temperance society if you're not careful!
Max: Look, let's just go into the rest area. The guidelines suggest you stay here for eight hours. I can also --
[A terrible CRASH sounds as CLINT roughly kicks the front bumper off one of the carriages that ALICE drove into.]
Max: Er, that's my carriage!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene IV. The Rest Area. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and MAX are there, walking towards a large tent from which the sounds of raucous music and dancing comes. Sitting outside smoking is KELLY CASSIDY, a bored looking cheerleader who clearly has seen better days.]
Max: Ah! There's your cheerleader now!
Kelly: Oh god. These losers?
Charlie: [To Max, looking at Kelly disapprovingly] We request a replacement cheerleader, one with more pep! This one is quite inadequate.
Harvey: And she definitely seems a bit light on the cheer, what!
Kelly: I've got pep coming out of my beep! Anyway, if you wanted to choose your cheerleader, you shouldn't beeping well have come in bleeping last.
Austin: Could you talk without censoring your own speech?
Charlie: [To Max] Must we really contend with such negativity? This will not cheer us on efficiently!
Austin: Wont she? I think she's pretty emo. We need to be cool to get ratings!
Kelly: [Glumly] It's the bleeping cheerleader code. I took an oath. [To Charlie] Look, lady, you're last to arrive by hours. You've got no chance.
Alice: Oh come on! Say it with pep! Yoooooooooou've [pause] gotnochance, rah!
Dur: Hey, I had to take an oath too! Of course I immediately forgot what the oath was…. But I still said the words!
Kelly: That doesn't surprise me.
Clint: Well, if we're coming in last place, you could cheer for three of us to live! That'd be cheertastic!
Kelly: And what if you get killed? What do you think that will do to my reputation for the next Death Race?
Alice: No racer will want you as their cheerleader so you'll end up being picked last by some suckers who accidentally killed a piglet?
Kelly: Well, that's a bit more specific than I had in mind, but, yeah, something like that.
Charlie: So, how will you help ensure we win?
Kelly: I don't care if you win or not. I'm mainly interested in sitting around bored making mean remarks about other girls.
Alice: Hey! I like her! We're going to be besties!
Kelly: [Rolls her eyes] Stop being so fetch.
Alice: [Applauds] She's so cool she can even make fetch a thing!
Clint: [Confused.] The jive talk you kids use these days...
My niece has just kindly invited me to a space tea party with
Minnie and Elsa.
Austin: [Upbeat] So what did the previous winners do to win?
Charlie: [Hopefully] Did they show a remarkable ability to conduct and organize research? [Gesturing to the rest of the party] And also demonstrate superior grooming skills [nods to Austin], deep military experience [nods to Harvey], and [looks at the others helplessly] so forth?
;; My niece has just kindly invited me to a space tea party with
So, was it a "space tea" party or a tea party
in space?! If it was the former, how was the
space tea? If it was the latter, how was space??
Harvey: Indeed, sir! I blame the influence of the modern postal service what! Anyone these days can send and receive literally tens of letters a day! In fact, people can sign up to become disciples of C list celebrities and receive dozens of unsolicited status musings and update letters from them! And they in turn then send out musings and updates on those letters to their own disciples, who in turn do the same thing! Those poor postpeople are walking their tired feet to stumps delivering them all!
Alice: Oh please! Surely photos of my avocado toast for breakfast is worth a few bloody stumps!
Kelly: Mainly the last couple of winners cheated, fought and drank their way to a victory in a way that was only possible because everyone else was worse at cheating and fighting and drank too much!
Harvey: [Brightening up] By the saints, we may still be in with a chance, troupe!
Austin: So, the Sarge is on research, Alice is our driver and offensive driving tactics, the Colonel is on guerilla warfare, Mr Scar on biochemical warfare tactics, deployment, and dirty tricks, and Mr Dur is the team medic. We can all do drunkenness whenever we have the good fortune. [Checks his list] I will be the party leader as usual, and i'm also on sabotage.
Alice: Really? What's that? Some kind of new form of cheese? Go on, I'll take a cheeky half sabotage!
On Fri, 22 May 2020 at 11:24, Conor Ryan
Austin: It could take many forms. A cheeky half Hebridean Blue, for example, at the right time and place, could put the oppositions driver to sleep.
Charlie: [Excited] And we could make false driving licenses that shows our opponents' licenses are expired! We would have the road all to ourselves instantly!
Alice: Wow! We can do that? Let’s make one for me that says I’m queen of the world, that way we can drive as fast as we want and won’t have to worry about cops and their “driving too fast” or “you’re a danger on the road” or “you hit those pedestrians”.
Harvey: Gah! If only we had a printing press to create those licenses! And pictures of our opponents to put on those licenses! And a laminating machine to laminate those licenses! Gah! Gah! And thrice gah!
Alice: Surely our surly cheerleader knows where to some fake IDs?
Kelly: I'm 31 years old.
Alice: Then why do you need a fake ID? Weirdo!
Clint: Obviously so she can pass herself off as younger and [finger quotes] hang with the cool crowd.
It was a tea party in space. Little attention was paid to the
difficulties of drinking tea in zero G.
Charlie: [Delighted] I have been told that I am rather [finger quotes] cool! [To Clint] My postdocs think I am both very humorous and familiar with the customs and conversant in the vernacular of the younger generation!
;; It was a tea party in space. Little attention was paid to the
Tsk! I hope you were sure to point that out!
Huh, that's funny, because in MY case my postdocs
actually do think I am both very humorous and
familiar with the customs and conversant in the
vernacular of the younger generation... hey!
Alice: What do the rules say about hanging with the cool crowd during the Death Race?
Kelly: Nothing. There's a whole bunch of guidelines, but only an idiot pays attention to them.
Clint: I don't suppose you'd care to tell us where the other competitors are and help us sabotage their carriages?
Bank holiday everywhere except
here today, so we'll pick up posting
‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ On Friday, May 22, 2020 5:31 PM, Tom Henderson
Kelly: No, that would be against the rules, and I swore to uphold the rules as part of my oath. Why don't you just go to the hospitality for the rest period as in the guidelines?
Charlie: Well, one does prefer to follow the rules! [To the party] Let us make our way to hospitality, group! It sounds quite pleasant.
Harvey: Certainly dear woman! It sounds quite welcoming, what!
Alice: Oh god, is it a lemonade and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off type affair?
[The party approach a large tent, from which the delightful sounds a string quartet waft.]
Charlie: [Listening approvingly] It certainly sounds like that sort of event! How marvelous!
Austin: We should just get going. Get a head start!
Alice: I thought the rules said we had to go in?
Kelly: No, the guidelines do. The rules don't mention it.
Austin: Great, lets get going then. We can tell them we have to go get fuel, and get a substantial head start in stead.
Harvey: But, but...sandwiches!
Alice: His name is Dur! And he's coming with us!
Harvey: [Shudders] So be it!
Charlie: So, the guidelines may be ignored but the rules must be followed, but no one who has ever won has paid attention to either? Do I have that correct??
Kelly: Uh... yeah, I guess that's about the size of it.
Clint: [Philosophically.] As in life, so in a death race. It's almost poetic. Fortunately, we're a bunch of life's real winners here.
Alice: [Looks from Clint to Dur] Sure.
Charlie: [Dramatically] Back to the carriage!
Harvey: Agreed, dear woman! A head start might just help us keep our heads!
Austin: It's also good practice in a death race to keep your head. Does anyone have a preference for on board films or music?
Charlie: None! We must have total silence so that we may concentrate fully!
Alice: No way, Joseph! We need some proper driving music. I'm thinking... [evil smile] Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows!
Dur: Who cares what we listen to while driving, let's pick up food for the journey!
Alice: Best not to let him into the fancy music/sandwich tent, or we'll never get out of here. [To Dur] There are sandwiches in the carriage!
Harvey: [Brightening] Are there, dear girl? Then what are we waiting for? Sandwiches for our stomachs and heads for our necks, that's the way!
Clint: Well, if we're going to win this, we'll have to jettison any excess weight we can, so say goodbye to padding for our bottoms!
Austin: No one was ever going to pad your bottom Mr Scar. Nothing is lost in that respect.
Alice: I don't know, Aus. Look at how enormous it is! It seems like there is a lot of padding there already.
Austin: I'd rather not.
Charlie: [Primly] Do stop sexually harassing one another, please!
Dur: Yeah! Go back to regular harassment, please!
Charlie: [Nods approvingly at Dur, handing him a copper piece] Indeed, that would be much more appropriate.
Harvey: Well people, let us sneak to our carriage, and aim to avoid all race officials! They may try to prevent our head start, what!
Kelly: So you're just going to sneak out of here quietly so no one knows you've got ahead of them?
Austin: Yes, do you have a better plan?
Kelly: No, I'm just really excited to be part of such a devious and underhand plan. [Points to a small gate beyond the tent] If we sneak out that way we won't run into any race officials who'll start moaning about the importance of guidelines.
Charlie: [Delighted] Marvelous! One might even say a good reason for CHEER! [Looks expectantly at Kelly]
[KELLY leaps onto a convenient chair.]
Kelly: [Blaringly loud] Hey you! Queens View fans! [Clap, clap] Hey you! Queens View fans! Step right up and clap your hands! [Clap, clap]
Alice: It's just so catchy! Hey you! Queens View fans! [Clap, clap] Hey you! Queens View fans! Step right up and clap your hands! [Clap, clap]
Harvey: By the saints dear girl, quiet please!
Austin: [Covering his ears] Stop! we have not sold tickets yet!
Kelly: [Blaringly loud] Hey you! Queens View fans, let's go beat those also rans! [Clap, clap, clap. Then, somehow even louder] Let's get going before they see, we're not gonna stop for tea!
Charlie: [To the party, in a low voice] Hurry, let us make our escape, whilst our cheerer poses a distraction!
Clint: Piece of cake. Sneaking out of parties during a distraction is probably our best-developed skill!
Kelly: Gooooooooooo stealth escape! Rah!
[ALICE points to a window in the tent, at which dozens of Knights now stand looking out.]
Alice: [Whispers] Do you think they've seen us?
Clint: Those guys? Who cares? They're dying soon anyway.
Alice: Not if they realise we're sneaking away early and they get ahead of us!
Charlie: [To Kelly, hissing] Do please cheer something more helpful, preferably something that signals we are all on our way for a long nap and not up to mischief!
Kelly: Let's go Queens View, let's go sleep now! [Clap clap]
Ivan: [Standing at the mesh window, addressing some of the other Knights] Are they sneaking off and do they think we can't hear and see them?
Clint: Haw! They don't suspect a thing! Those fools!
accidentally sent only to Conor
Alice: Idiots! Now, come on, let's get into our carriage and race away, leaving the fools here standing staring at that mirror. Hey, maybe we should moon them?
;; accidentally sent only to Conor
Well spotted, I had replied only to you!
Charlie: [Laughs weakly and waves at Ivan] Oh, hello! We did not see you there. We were just off to take a long rest.
Austin: Rest? I thought we were doing a training exercise? [Look of realisation] Oohh, rst. Yes. off for a long rest.
Harvey: [Stretches massively and yawns] By the saints, I'm absolutely done in! A big sleep is whats required!
Ivan: [Gives a huge yawn] Yeah... I'm suddenly quite tired too!
Charlie: [To Ivan, sympathetically] Yes, I think we should all turn in for a nice long rest!
[BODDY looks up from where he appears to be snorting parmesan off a hooker's rear end.]
Boddy: Boy, I'm really done in too!
[The entire tent starts to slowly walk to the door, yawning and stretching theatrically.]
Charlie: Marvelous, we should all retire for a good night's sleep and resume the race when all drivers are well-rested and alert!
Austin: It is in the guidelines.
[MAX appears as the racers all walk quickly from the tent.]
Max: But wait! There's the night's entertainment! Folk songs and spoon playing!
Clint: It's probably against the rules, but maybe you and your friends could enjoy their performance without us!
Charlie: Yes, I fear too much spoon-playing might over-excite us and keep us up all night! Best to make it an early night.
Max: But there's a luxury hotel set up for you! Each room has it's own safe!
Alice: It's own safe what?
Max: Space. It's like a little cocoon that you can sit into and all scary noises of the world are blocked out.
Austin: So what is the problem? That sounds great!
Max: [Relieved] It's just it's back over there, in the opposite direction. There's nothing over where you're going other than your carriages.
Austin: Yes, we will check our carriage before our power naps.
Charlie: Very wise, Mr. Sleaze!
Ivan: Us too!
Boddy: And us!
[All the other Knights join in.]
Max: Oh, okay, then. Just don't take too --
[MAX is barged out of the way as the entire group of racers walk quickly to their carriages.]
End of Scene, next one coming right up!
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene V. The Racer Tent. MAX is here, sitting dejectedly by the tent. MACBRINDLEWORTH, with a bunch of floozies hanging onto him.]
Mac was last seen mooning the party after they
were abandoned by Tara and Sebastian.
Mac: Hey, where's everyone gone?
Max: They're in bed! Back in the hotel. The guidelines say the race should pick up again at 11AM tomorrow.
Mac: Right, ladies. To the hotel!
End of scene, next one coming up in about 40 mins!
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene VI. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and KELLY are here, stuck in a huge traffic jam, with everyone honking horns indiscriminately. Up ahead, two carriages are wedged in the gate, blocking everyone, while just outside the gate are an array of TV reporter carriages, with a bunch of reporters excitedly addressing cameras.]
Alice: Look at that! Some idiot has got stuck! Honestly, do these people even know how to [scraaaaaaape, the carriage drags against a post] drive?
Austin: Clearly not. How are your off-road driving skills? Do you think the carriage is capable?
Charlie: [To Austin] Excellent suggestion! [In a low voice] She is marginally less likely to kill pedestrians or crash into buildings off-road!
Alice: Challenge extended! [Starts to drive across the grass, through some lovingly sown crops] Hey look! There's some guy standing the middle of the field. Do you think he wants us to stop?
Dur: As opposed to us driving over him? Maybe?
Alice: [Looks out] Hey! Get out of the way!
[The man doesn't budge, and just stands there, arms raised shoulder height from his body.]
Clint: Well, if he doesn't get out of the way, he hasn't got a brain!
Alice: He'll get out of the way.
[He doesn't. ALICE jams on the brakes and the carriage plows into the man, making a disgusting crunching sound as it does.]
Alice: Did we hit him?
Dur: I'm not getting out to check just to become your next victim!
Alice: Do you think he's okay?
Clint: I bet he's got a stake up his bum, and that's far worse than anything you did to him!
Charlie: [Horrified] Oh, if only we had a doctor! I shall go see if anything can be done for this poor man.
Alice: I don't know, Stinky, it could be beautiful!
[CHARLIE leaps out and checks out the victim. It's a scarecrow, and is quite dead.]
Austin: What an odd thing to do. Put a fake man way out here in the middle of nowhere.
Alice: Yeeesh, Austin! Dur is sitting right there! [Looks around] Hm, where are all those birds coming from?
Austin: I have no idea, let's not hang around to find out! [To Alice] Let's get moving!
Harvey: By the saints, his days of scaring crows are well and truly at an end! It's just truly strawful! [Laughs long, loud and alone]
Alice: [Shakes her head sadly at Harvey] Oh, Harvey. [Looks around] I don't know, Aus, the place is totally fenced in! All those news carriages are parked outside the gate.
Charlie: [Gasps] Are the crows now seeking their horrible vengeance?!
Austin: From past experience you are pretty good at driving through fences!
Alice: [Defensively] Only accidentally! Anyway, these look pretty sturdy. All those media carriages would have come in otherwise.
Harvey: Perhaps we can hack an exit through a few of the fences!
Austin: Perhaps Mr Scar can flex his boots to make a suitable exit for us?
Charlie: [Examines the fencing] Perhaps we could disassemble part of it ourselves?
Dur: Or perhaps we can try something more daring! [Look for any large stones he can cast Stone Shape on in an attempt to make a small ramp.]
[DUR waves his hands vaguely and a large part of the wall folds down into a delightful looking ramp.]
Austin: [Looks from Dur to the wall and back] Curiouser and curiouser!
Alice: It's a pity he didn't do that when... when... I mean... [looks shocked] good job, Dur? Wow, are we on drugs right now?
Charlie: [To Dur, beaming] Oh, I knew those years of patience and training would pay off, in time! [Hands Dur TWO copper pieces]
Dur: [Swallows the two copper pieces] Now if only the human body was as easy to work on!
Clint: Say, can we use that to hobble the other wagons?
Dur: I don't know, can we?
What level are we?
High enough to cast it a second time once
the party are through!
Alice: Don't be ridiculous, Clint! The other carriages aren't made out of stone. Yeeesh!
Harvey: I say, you people just never fail to surprise, what! However, standing here will soon lose our advantage!
Charlie: Excellent point, Colonel! [To Alice, dramatically] Onward, driver, and do not spare the horses!
Alice: Chaaaaarge! [Runs up the ramp, stopping at the top, panting, sweaty and red of face] Gasp!
Harvey: By the saints, dear girl, have you never heard of cardio?
Alice: I've heard of it, but when would I ever need to speak it?
Charlie: [Urgently] Just a little further! Keep going!
Alice: Hey! Why don't we just take the carriage?
Austin: [From the carriage. Puts down his newspaper] That would be a great idea.
Alice: [Staggers back] I'm kind of surprised you didn't think of that, Charlie!
Charlie: [Indignantly] That was what I meant! [To Dur] YOU understood the orders, did you not?!
Alice: Just because he THINKS he understood doesn't mean that he did, does it, Dur?
Charlie: [Glaring at Dur, waiting impatiently] Well?!
Alice: [Triumphantly] See? He doesn't even realise you're talking to him! Notice the dull look in the eyes? The way he doesn't even realise his hand is down his crotch?
Dur: [Looking between Charlie and Alice while they argue and absentmindedly eating a pantswich] What?
Harvey: [Gets into the carriage] Come come troupe, let us be on the road and seize our advantage!
Charlie: Well said, and [gives Alice and Dur a dirty look for emphasize] precisely my point, Colonel!
Alice: Well, actually, Charlie, I think you'll find it proves MY point!
Charlie: Oh, DO tell! What was your point, again?!
Harvey: I say, dear woman, lets give the girl a few minutes to catch her breath, eh! That was quite a steep incline, what!
Alice: That's right! And you know very well what my point was. [Sits in behind the wheel, but looks out at Charlie] Very well.
[The others climb into the carriage. ALICE turns to CHARLIE.]
Alice: Very, very well.
Austin: Let's focus on the race now? We are losing precious time.
Charlie: [Dramatically] Full steam ahead, group! No doubt we shall soon enjoy an insurmountable lead!
Alice: [Triumphantly to Charlie] That's right!
[The carriage zooms out through the gap, hotly pursued by some of the other carriages.]
Harvey: Ha, it's nice to feel on the road again! [Glances behind] Perhaps we should have loaded up on debris to leave in our wake? Rocks, or marbles, or banana skins and suchlike!
Alice: No, we're better off to maintain a low profile. We're way more likely to get there first if no one even knows where we are.
[At least thirty TV carriages race after the party.]
Charlie: [Looking back at the TV carriages unhappily] I think perhaps we have missed our opportunity to adopt a low profile!
Harvey: Damn and blast those paparazzis!!!!
Dur: Blast them with what? Does this carriage come equipped with canons? Fireworks?
Alice: Maybe drop something behind us that's slick and slippery?
Charlie: [To Austin] Surely you have large quantities of hair product that could act as a road-slickener?!
Alice: Hm, interesting that Austin is the first person you think of when someone says slick and slippery!
Austin: No, I have nothing of that nature.
Dur: Well? What else could we use? [Searches the carriage]
Austin: Gossip. That's what they desire most of all.
Harvey: By the saints, you're right! They live for the stuff! A shame we didn't start a few false rumours back in the rest area, send them off on the wrong trail, what!
Charlie: [Excited] Oh! I have ever so much notepaper, and we can scrawl down false tips and trail them behind us! [Eagerly starts handing out pencils and pieces of paper]
Alice: That's a great idea!
[She turns away from the steering wheel and writes out some juicy gossip. Somehow the carriage keeps driving straight.]
Alice: Look! [Reads] Austin Sleaze ate my hamster! [Tosses it out] That'll get them excited!
Charlie: [Gasps] Mr. Sleaze, how could you?!
Austin: [Calmly, while writing notes] Those are lies I tell you! All lies! [Writes] Alice stole a pair of beautiful pink Hugio-Bloss heels, in a desperate broke ex-IT girl shoplifting moment!
Alice: Shriek! I told you, Austin, those heels were resting in my bag! [Writes] Austin, Charlie and Dur ate Harvey's curried Brussels sprout collection!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Colonel, I would never do such a thing! [Scribbling furiously on a piece of paper] Alice Basset-Short does not verify the credentials of her sources before citing them in her work!
Alice: Hey! That's... hm. Okay, well, that's actually true! But I don't do any work, so I resent the implication that I do! [Writes] Dr. Charlie Parker-Kensington once cited a Wikipedia entry!
Charlie: [Outraged] I would NEVER! [Scribbles another note] Alice Basset-Short ate one of Dur TiRag's pantswiches!
Dur: What! How dare you! [With very poor spelling] Laundry day is a lie!
Alice: Shriek! [Writes on yet another piece of paper] Clint and Dur have been having an on-off affair for years!
Clint: [Scribbling furiously] Alice's hair is actually brown!
Dur: [Looking over Clint's shoulder] Yeah! And she's bad at math!
Alice: [Gasps at this shocking and cruel lie] Dur turned Harvey's favourite dog into Pantswiches!
Clint: I thought that actually happened, though!
Austin: [Pauses for thought] It might be better if we make up gossip about other competitors in the race?
Alice: Huh? Who cares about them? We're WAY more interesting!
Harvey: You certainly do seem to have the scoop on each other, what! I only know myself! [Writes a note stating "I think I may have been kidnapped" and throws it out the window]
Charlie: Oh, quickly! We must try to start rumors about our competition, as Mr. Sleaze rightly observed! [Scribbles] Ivan has undersized genitalia!
Alice: [Writing] MacBrindleworth stole a pair of beautiful pink Hugio-Bloss heels, in a desperate broke ex-IT girl shoplifting moment!
Austin: {Adds to Alice's note] Whilst disguised as Alice, in a vain attempt to besmirch her good name!
Alice: Oooh! [Adds to Austin's addition] And then ate someone's hamster, blaming it on Austin!
Charlie: [Looks anxiously at the TV carriages] Is it working??
[Rather incredibly, it is. The TV carriages have stopped and several scuffles have broken out as the reports vie with each other to grab the juicy goss.]
Harvey: [Delightedly] Ha, look at them! By the saints, it's like a feeding frenzy! [Stomach rumbles massively]
Clint: Maybe you should start carrying pantswiches for just such an emergency, Harv.
Alice: No.
Austin: Perhaps some sort of picnic hamper would be more suitable?
Harvey: Ha, I've had to fight my fair share of bears over a jammy sandwich in my time, let me tell you! Of course, they usually mauled me within an inch of my life and made off with my lunch, but its the principle of the thing!
Charlie: [Nods approvingly] One must always stick to one's principles! [Glances discreetly at the rest of the party] Unless one's principles are absurd, of course.
Austin: Perhaps some sort of armored hamper would suffice?
Alice: Do you really think there's any hamper anywhere heavily armoured enough to keep Dur from a jammy sandwich?
Austin: I'd rather not find out. Surely a better solution would be to have an ample supply of jam sandwiches for all those that desire them?
Harvey: [Stomach rumbles massively again] Or me, at the moment, come to think of it! I do hope there's a big race winners banquet!
Dur: [Suddenly very into the race] Free food?! [To Alice] Step on it frumpy!
Alice: [Looks around, confused] You talkin' to me?
Charlie: [To Dur, scolding] Alice is NOT frumpy. [Hesitates] Well, other than her alleged [finger quotes] laundry day undergarments. [To Alice] They really are dreadful, you know.
Clint: Let's not start this again! We've a race to win!
I can't get to the current scene page, btw.
Harvey: Indeed so, Mr Scar! Dirty knickers or not!
Alice: That's right, we don't care if Clint's knickers are dirty or not! You know, maybe it's laundry day!
Yes, the machine with the log is down;
hopefully back on Monday!
Harvey: I think Mr Scar having dirty underwear goes without question, dear girl!
Alice: True. The real question is who's underwear is it?
Charlie: [Intrigued] Oooh, is it Dur's?!
Alice: Oh, sweet, naive, Charlie. Dur doesn't have underwear!
Charlie: [Shuddering] Never tell me how you came to know that!
Harvey: Perhaps he jettisoned his underwear to make our carriage a little lighter, a little faster?
Austin: If he doesn't have underwear, where does he keep his pantswitches?
Alice: In his pants.
Yes, to all civilised people, pants means trousers!
Austin: Ohh, he keeps the sandwiches in his pants, but he's not wearing them! I see. That is a far more savoury arrangement!
But pantsswiches are much funnier in English LTS!
Harvey: [Shudders] Hmm, for some reason my hunger has just been quelled!
Charlie: [Urgently] Colonel, do tell me you haven't indulged in any of Dur's pantswiches?!
Alice: That's okay, Harvey. Just wait a few minutes and it'll be back! [Another carriage T-bones the party, smashing into the side, sending everyone flying and carriage rolling.]
End of scene, next one coming up.
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene VII. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and KELLY are here, being thrown about as the carriage rolls repeatedly.]
Alice: [Blindly bang on the horn] What the hell?
Harvey: [Holding his coat protectively while being tossed around] By the saints, we are undone!
[The carriage eventually comes to a halt, balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff.]
Alice: What the hell? That wasn't me!
Clint: You'll cause the accident next time, Bimbo, don't worry. [Crawls out of the carriage.] Now let's try not to fall off the cliff and then beat the crap out of whoever just hit us!
[The party drag themselves out of the carriage to see that the carriage is balanced precariously on edge of a cliff and that it has rolled down a fairly steep hill.]
Alice: Whoever hit us must be up on the top of that hill!
Harvey: That scoundrel! We need to get up there and give them a bloody good hiding! [Looks at the carriage and grimaces] I think we'll be avoiding that pig farm for the foreseeable future!
Austin: [Completes a few forms] Let's go and get the name and address for the insurance claim. [Checks his hair in a pocket mirror]
Clint: If they're at all smart they'll just lie. [Turns to Alice] Won't they, Miss Carmella Sutherland of 123 East 4th Street?
Austin: [Momentarily startled. Coolly] That was cos-play.
Alice: [Protectively steps in front of Austin] Miss Sutherland has no comment to make at this moment. Her refusal to comment should not be taken as an admission of guilt or acceptance of liability for the alleged, and, may I say, scurrilous accusations. [Hands over a business card written in crayon] Saul Hutz, Attorney at Law, esquire
Charlie: [Peers at the card curiously] You do realize that you have managed to misspell every single word on this card, including the word at?!
Austin: [Looks at the card] Thank you Alice, but I shall represent myself, if needs be.
Alice: [To Charlie] Oh really, smart guy? Where do you think the q should be in it?
Clint: Anyway, haven't you heard that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client?
Alice: Maybe he has more than one fool? I mean, client!
Austin: [Indignant] I shall find my own representation.
Alice: Good!
Charlie: Now that's settled, I suggest we begin making our way on foot, given the appalling state of our carriage!
[An arrow sails through the air with a whistling sound and lodges into ALICE's hat.]
Alice: Did anyone hear that?
Austin: I think you need a new hat, and we need a new carriage, and guns. [Takes cover]
Harvey: Damn and blast, but we are under attack once more! [Attempts to shield Charlie and Alice from any arrows] Quickly, find a place to hide!
Alice: How about in the carriage?
Dur: Is that too obvious? We’ll never win the hiding competition if we hide in the obvious places! That is what we’re doing right?
Harvey: Besides, one arrow, or forcefully thrown rock might send the entire carriage toppling down the cliff!
Alice: Don't be ridic! It's as steady as a rock! [A leaf from a nearby tree lands on the carriage. It immediately crashes over the edge and explodes.]
Alice: [Peers over the edge] Hm.
Charlie: Take shelter, group, and not in the carriage that is now in bits! [Tries to duck behind a nearby rock]
Harvey: [Looks for a route away from the archer] We must get away as soon as possible, before we are pinned down what! They have the high ground, so we are at a disadvantage!
Alice: [Hiding behind a rock with the others] Who would want to ambush us? I thought everyone loved us. Maybe Kelly could have a word with them?
[KELLY steps up.]
Kelly: Hey! You assholes! Stop shooting at us!
Clint: Good job, Kelly. You distract them, and I'll see if I can make my way up there and sort this all out! [Makes a carefully timed break for it, including presumably superfluous leaping and rolling and whatnot.]
a la
Charlie: [To Kelly] Yes, do make loads and loads of noise, preferably suggesting we are fleeing in that [points in the opposite direction of Clint] direction!
;; a la
Austin: Or we could fight back? [Readies his rock sling]
Alice: Good idea! How strong can they be?        [Several figures loom into view. It is the VAN HELSVANSING family that very nearly killed the party in the previous act. KELLY bravely steps in front.]
Kelly: [Blaringly loud] Hey you! Queens View fans! [Clap, clap] Hey you! Queens View fans! Step right up and clap your hands! [Clap, clap]
[KELLY gets shot through the throat and plummets over the cliff.]
Austin: I guess they are not fans! [Tries to shoot the closest Van Helsvansing]
Harvey: [Shocked] By the saints, she did you no harm! Animals!
Charlie: [To Harvey] Agreed, that was terribly wrong, and I am not at all inappropriately enjoying the ensuing silence!
Alice: Charlie! Stop being so accurate!
[AUSTIN shoots but is forced back behind the rock from a hail of flaming arrows.]
Charlie: [Looking around frantically] Can anyone see somewhere we might make a safe retreat?!
[Another carriage appears, driving towards the attackers at speed, barely staying upright as it bounces around.]
Austin: [Hiding behind Alice] I hope they are here to rescue us!
Dur: When have we ever been so lucky?!
Harvey: Based on the previous days events, I'd hazard to guess, never!
[The VAN HELVANSINGs scatter, with the unfortunate VANDAN getting run over.]
Vanessa: Vandaaaaaan! Noooooooo! Whyyyyyyy? [Waves her fist at the sky] Why? [The carriage skids to a halt between the VAN HELVANSINGs and the party. A man with a truly awful haircut looks out, beaming. This is DANE SHAWSON.]
Dane: For the lulz!

Dane Shawsonn

Charlie: [To Dane, slowly and carefully] We do not speak your language, young man! Are you here to rescue us?
Clint: Barring that, can we get a lift?
Dane: As sure as socks you can!
Harvey: Was that a yes or a no?
Austin: let's assume it's "yes" for now?
Charlie: [To Dane, speaking carefully] Young man, do you require a pair of socks in exchange for providing us with transportation?
Dane: [Squeals with laughter and applauds] You lot are so old! Come on, get on board before we're all killed!
Harvey: Finally, something I understood! [To Alice and Charlie] Please, after you!
Austin: Agreed. Let's get the heck out of here. [To Dane] Who are you are why are you helping us?
Dane: I'm soon to be the Number 1 TubeYou sensation and you, friends, are my ticket to fame and fortune!
Charlie: [Nods in recognition] Not to worry, group! I have daughters and know all about this TubedYou! [To Dane] Do you eat toxic household products for humorous effect? Or do you demonstrate complex and expensive beauty products whilst [finger quotes] sipping the tea?
Austin: Let's hope his tea is as good as Panse's.
Dur: [Crossing his arms stubbornly] You know, one of these days, I would really like if we were our own tickets to fame and fortune!
Dane: You could be! A freakshow like you lot would get sockfulls of mehs.
Alice: [To the party] Olds like you probably don't know, but meh is how the kids express mildly positive feelings now.
Dane: Thanks Grandma! [To Charlie, proudly] I'm the one who invented the Podtied challenge. [Beams] Two weeks in intensive care!
Charlie: [To Dane] Fascinating! And this act of great daring gained you what, exactly?
Clint: Fame, fortune, and brain damage, maybe?
Harvey: A drawer full of socks, perhaps? I've heard of this The TubedYou thing. Apparently some people make a living by whispering into a microphone and rubbing potatoes with a hair brush! The world has gone mad, gone mad I tell you!
Charlie: [Nods primly] I quite agree, Colonel. Why can they not find proper entry level jobs, such as research assistants [looks at Harvey] and [vaguely] entry-level military roles, and so forth?
Dane: Lots of mehs, tons of subscribes! It's great!
Alice: Wow! You must be super rich!
Dane: Well, I'm still living in Mom's basement, but I'm sure I'll be rich soon!
Harvey: Why don't you become a Shrill? I believe that's someone who gives, in a high pitched voice, favourable reviews to various events and products, receiving financial incentives in return!
Austin: No, don't do that. Someone might shoot you.
Charlie: [Shudders] How dreadful! [To Dane] How is it you see our party assisting you in your hollow quest for fame? We have very high morals and an important mission to accomplish, so we cannot assure you of our participation, you must understand!
Dane: [Unhappily to Harvey] I wish! Only the real famous inflatulencers get to be Shrills. I'm almost there. Listen to this. [Speaks in a massively high pitched voice] This toothbrush was invented by a Queens View dentist who hated that his patients had to pay so much for treatment!
Alice: [Gasp] We're from Queens View!
Dane: [To Charlie] I have a cunning and complex plan, that involves much overly complex and hilarious pouring of iced water over people!
[A barrage of flaming arrows thud into the carriage.]
Austin: [To Dane, watching the flaming arrows] Have you already procured the iced water?
Dane: Sure do! It's in the cupboard back there with the cinnamon, saltines, podtieds, bananas, pantyhose, condoms and milk.
Austin: What in the Realms are podtieds?
Charlie: [Wisely] I believe maids use them to cleanse our clothes!
Alice: It's what poor people get their servants to use when they can't afford to send their clothes out to be cleaned.
Austin: Oh, never heard of that before. [Shrugs]. Looks to see if they are still under attack]
[They are. The VAN HELVANSINGS are charging towards the carriage, pausing only to set up a small canon gun.]
Dane: So whaddya say? Are we gonna be TubedYou partners, or what?
Charlie: [To Dane] Our lawyer will need to approve the final agreement, of course, but provisionally, yes! [Urgently] Now DRIVE!
Harvey: If it means that we leave immediately, then yes! You can speak to our legal representation around the fine details of the partnership, en route!
Dane: Super! [Starts to drive] Just hand me a 24 page document full of unreadable legalise in which I sign away all my rights and I'll sign it. [Looks at the party sternly] As long as I get three new emoojis.
Alice: Ah, everyone loves those emotive cows!
Austin: [Casually finishing a document that is clearly much longer than 25 pages] Here you go. [Hand the document to Dane] Just sign here and here.
Dane: [Signs without even looking] Right! [Starts driving towards the canon] Everyone hang on, we're probably going to get hit by the canon!
Clint: Would that void the contract, lawyer?
Dane: Who cares about the contract! We're doing it for the lulz!
[DANE takes out his trusty miPhone and selfie stick and talks into it.]
Dane: Yo, chaos fans! This is your main Dane comin' at you from inside the soon to be on fire Queens View race carriage! [To the party] Everyone smile!
Alice: We're all gonna die!
End of scene, next one up on Monday 29th!
Austin: [Quietly pockets the contract. Looks smuggly at the view]
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[Book X, Act IV, Scene VII. The Carriage. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here being driven at high speed by DANE towards the canon.]
Dane: [Doing a "hang loose" sign to his miPhone camera] Don't forget those mehs, guys!
Austin: meh
Charlie: Have we only one choice of expression, the [finger quotes] meh? That is quite limiting! What if one has a much more nuanced opinion?
Austin: meh meh
Alice: Gosh, Charlie, you're such an old! When one needs to give a more nuanced reaction to something, one simply uses the thinking face emooji, you know, that one where the cow looks slightly constipated?
Charlie: [Disapprovingly] Yes, I am aware of the use of pictograms in modern communication, which largely serve to further weaken the communication skills of younger generations and make them more susceptible to the marketing of shoddy products!
Alice: [Makes a frowny face] Frowny face emooji!
Clint: Is there a "you kids get off my lawn" emooji?
Dane: Yep. It's the middle finger emooji.
Charlie: [To Dane] Is there one to express a sense of abiding dread for the future?
Clint: I think so -- it's the one with the wide open eyes and mouth, isn't it? Or is that the one for "have just been to the proctologist"?
Harvey: [To Clint] I don't understand any of this new fangled mumbo jumbo! If you are going to go to the trouble of writing a letter, then use words! Correctly spelled words, I tell you!
Dane: Words? Is that what people used before they could draw?
Charlie: [Appalled] They are what educated people use to communicate! Surely you have attended school and written an essay or completed an exam using words?!
Dane: Of course I did! I got three smiley faces and two love hearts for it!
Charlie: [Aghast] But how does that teach you how to improve your many and quite obvious flaws?!
Austin: What has that got to do with literacy? It's no wonder things are confused with you shooting off on tangents all of the time!
Dane: They're not flaws, they're TubeYoupportunities! I'm not an incessant chatter box who annoys people with stupid pranks, I'm an entertaining jokester! [Gestures to Alice] You see huge ass, I see twerking instructor. [Austin] Gay best friend. [Charlie] Hilarious over the top librarian out of her element. [Harvey] Angry silver surfer. [Clint and Dur] Well, I guess TubedYou isn't for everyone.
Austin: [Sighs. To Dane] I suppose I could do GAY if I have to, but it's not cool to make a mockery others. I would not want to be associated with that.
Dur: Really? I thought we would be the ones doing all the gross stuff on camera.
Dane: It's not all about eating dog poo and milking cats, you know. You have to do it with a sense of style and pizzazz!
Alice: [Roars laughing at Austin] Oh, man, that's great! Now do "I don't like using the law to trick people"!
Clint: Is that sort of like me saying "I don't like to inflict mindless cartoonish violence on youngsters who annoy me?" [Regards Dane levelly.]
Dane: Sorry, I have no idea what you said. [To the party] Didn't understand a word. What kind of crazy accent is that?
Charlie: Though I do so enjoy wordplay, I must refrain from noting that it would also be like me saying I do not care for libraries and so forth, as we really must regain our focus on the mission at hand! [To Dane] Where are you taking us, young man?
Austin: Using the law to trick people is what I do for a living, it's great!
Alice: Huh. That's not funny at all, it's just kind of mean. [To Dane] Where are you taking us? I thought we were rushing headlong towards a canon!
Dane: That's what we're doing. It's just in slo-mo because it's cooler that way. [Points to the enormous cannon that the party have been bearing down on since the end of the last scene]
Austin: [To Alice] What's not funny about that? They are all criminals who have stolen, murdered, extorted, assaulted, etc They deserve to be brought to justice, by any legal means, the funnier the better!
Harvey: Well, hopefully this slow motion carries on long enough for us to dodge around any projectiles fired our way, what!
Apologies, no posting from me today
Alice: [To Austin] Oh! You're claiming that you only do it to crims? [Smiles] Now that IS funny. [VANESSA lights the cannon.]
Vanessa: Fi- [The carriage crashes into the cannon, mercifully before it fires.]
Charlie: [Astonished] Excellent driving, young man! Oh, sorry, I meant [quickly draws an emooji of a smiling cow giving an approving hoof up].
Vanessa: [Staggering away from the carriage] Why? Why are you people doing this?
Every time the party has seen Vanessa or
her family, she has tried to kill them
Austin: Because you keep trying to kill us! We don't even know you! [To Alice] And yes they were all criminals. I guess your loose moral compass and lack of ethical code gives you a wide grey area!
Alice: You mean like the back of your head?
Vanessa: [Indignantly] Not that! Why are you trying to bring a True Original into the world?
This is the name used by Sebastian to describe
certain kinds of extra super dangerous demons:
"True Originals are insanely dangerous killing
machines who represent true evil. They're also
very into shameless self promotion, so if you
met one, you would know."
Charlie: [Looks at Dane and gasps] Are YOU a True Original?!
Dane: I sure am!
Vanessa: He's not a True Original, he's just an idiot acting like a fool.
Dur: Then.... Am I a true original?
Austin: Come on, who is the true original?
Clint: Well, who do you know who best fits the description of a self-promoting psychopathic killing machine? Other than Dur.
Austin: Well, I never self promote, I'm just naturally beautiful
Vanessa: Clearly, none of you are the True Original, you're just enablers!
Dur: Sooooo….. Are YOU the true original?
Charlie: [Defensively] No one in my family remains a psychopathic killing machine!
Vanessa: [To Dur] Certainly not! [Looks at Charlie] Uh, what?
Alice: Although, in fairness, only about half of them ever were. [To Vanessa] So, you're not a True Original and we're not, right?
Vanessa: I don't have any proof you're not, which is why you have to die.
Charlie: So, your strategy is to kill everyone you cannot prove isn't a True Original?! This seems a very poorly considered plan.
Austin: [To Vanessa] What proof do you have that you are not a True Original? Perhaps you should kill yourself first? Do the Realms a favour!
Vanessa: [Ignoring Austin] It's a bit more nuanced than that! Our strategy is to kill anyone who has tried to help the True Originals, as the chances of them being one are significantly higher than someone who is say, a roller rink employee or a shirt designer.
Austin: So which true original did we help?
Vanessa: So you do admit it! Hah!
Austin: [Sighs] No. As far as we know we have not assisted any 'True Original' in any way, nor have we even met one. What makes you think that we have?
Clint: In fairness, meeting a True Original and not even noticing seems like just the kind of thing we'd do!
Charlie: [To Clint] Do be serious! [To Vanessa] Can you PROVE we assisted a True Original? If so, we insist upon seeing the evidence! If not, you will just have to accept our first-hand account as proof and cease attempting to murder us all without provocation!
Vanessa: You brought demon parts to Herman Knit. That's all the evidence we need.
That's the weird hermit that all the Knights
brought body parts to...
Charlie: Ah, but you must never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by ignorance!
Austin: And Herman was supposed to destroy them!
Alice: You mean... the guy who's forcing a bunch of Knights to take part in a Death Race to see which of them he's going to torture to death can't be trusted? [Does a mind blown gesture] Mindhole blown!
Vanessa: You are Tools of the Demon!
Alice: I thought we were enablers?
Vanessa: You're both!
Austin: [To Vanessa] We're neither of those things! You know nothing!
Vanessa: I know that my brothers have come around behind you and are about to kill all of you.
Austin: [Takes cover] You are just another wannabe murderer! [Readies his sling shot and takes a shot at Vanessa]
[VANN and VANCE VAN HELSVANSING come charging from behind the party, each carrying a flaming sword. Before anyone can do anything, DANE steps up.]
Dane: Stop! STOP! Everyone... just... stop!
Austin: Meh.
Dane: Hey! [Points at Vanessa] Hey! [At her brothers] Hey! [At the party] Hey!
Charlie: [Expectantly] Yes? Have you a suggestion for how we might resolve our impasse?!
Dane: What? No way, hose! I just forgot to start my camera rolling and was hoping you could recreate that crash. It was totally socks!
Clint: You'll just have to get your footage some other way. We're a little busy here! [Moves to defend the party.]
[The party adopt defensive positions, all with weapons drawn, just as a slew of fast carriages race down the nearby road.]
Alice: Hey! The others in the race have just passed us!
Charlie: How maddening! We must get back to the race at once!
Harvey: By the saints, how is it that everyone you troupe meet want to kill you?
Austin: It's mostly jealousy.
; on hols this week!
Alice: Sometimes it's just mistaken identity!
Harvey: But sadly, not in this instance, eh!
Charlie: [Sword ready, surveying the attackers unhappily] In this case, I believe it is more mistaken intention, as we certainly had no intention of assisting a True Original!
Harvey: Just so, dear woman! Your better nature was taken advantage of, and as a group, swindled and hoodwinked into nefarious purpose! [Draws his sword] Which has in turn, has resulted in this current predicament!
Clint: [Brightly] Well, now that that's established, we must be off. There's a bunch of collaborationists in those carriages that just went zooming by and we've got to stop them!
Vanessa: Thanks, we'll kill you first and then go after them. We have a really, really fast carriage. We'll simply pass them on some back roads and set up an ambush.
Charlie: We have saved the world many, many times, so you may find us more difficult to defeat than you expect!
Harvey: Take note of that! I've known these people only a very short time, and can categorically testify that what the dear woman says is true and correct, what! Cowboys, ninjas, HARMA and piglets all fall before them!
Vanessa: Then prepare yourselves for an epic battle, for you are facing the siblings that fought a dragon for 48 hours straight... that lay siege to the battlements of Fort Portford for a month...
[Each of VANN and VANCE stand beside her, all three of them dramatically looking up to the sky.]
Vann: That won the week-long poetry slam of Dyslexia...
Vance: The staring competition of Anaesthesa...
Harvey: [Looks at the three before turning to the party and whispers] Let's slip away while they are telling us how wonderful they are!
Charlie: [Nods at Harvey and motions urgently for the party to follow her. Stage whispers] Quietly!!!
Vanessa: The epic domino stacking of Dystopia...
Alice: But our carriage has been destroyed by that idiot! [Gestures angrily at Dane]
Dane: Hey, the camera really does add ten pounds! [Looks out from behind his camera] Oh, in this case, it removes them. Sock!
Charlie: [To Alice, in a low voice] Then perhaps we had better walks briskly!
[The party quickly walk to the carriage and climb in. It is a super sleek looking sports carriage, an exquisitely designed masterpiece of Talian precision engineering.]
Alice: Wow! This thing is amazing! Look, the horses are in the back!
Harvey: What an incredibly fantastic piece of engineering! It's even still got it's new carriage smell! And new horses smell to boot!
Alice: And look! Instead of one of those little cardboard pine trees hanging from the rear view mirror, it has a tiny little actual pine tree!
Harvey: Quite extraordinary! And look, the reigns even come with lamb skin gloves stitched into them!
Charlie: [Delighted] And the owner's manual is leather-bound and has an excellent index and well-organized table of contents!
Harvey: [Sighs deeply] I practically weep at the assumed write-off state of this carriage by the time we're done with it!
Dom is on holiday
Austin: [Squealing with girlish glee at the light up vanity mirror stitched into the real panda skin sun visor] So, so beautiful! [Wipes away a tear] And this carriage is quite extraordinary too!
Dur: Is there a free buffet in the back?!
Clint: What a magnificent carriage! Let's have Alice drive so we can total it.
Alice: [As Dur helps himself to some delicious canapés in the back] It's just all so shiny! Right, let's go.
[She revs up the horses so loudly it sounds like there are dozens back there, before driving off really, really, really slowly.]
Charlie: I may come to regret this, but--Alice, do HURRY!
Alice: But it's just so beautiful! Okay, you did ask for it.
[ALICE floors the accelerator and the horses roar into life, catapulting the carriage forward and an enormous speed.]
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act IV, Scene IX. The Bella Carriagio. ALICE is pinned back to the driver seat, the view out ahead looking like the classic hyperspace jump, while each of AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY and DANE, are all slammed against the back wall by G-force, covered in fancy canapés, which DUR, somehow is still managing to eat.]
Alice: This is the greatest moment of my life!
Dur: Best not to waste any, right? [Scraping Canape's from any surface he can]
Alice: So... fast...
[The carriage zips past the other racers, eliciting shocked gasps and angrily waved fists. The passing scenery turns to a blur.]
Clint: Just keep us under control, Bimbo, and we've got this thing won!
Charlie: Magnificent! Though I do hope we are not sacrificing maneuverability for speed?
Alice: You two need to stop hassling me! I have total control over this thing!
[CRASH! A lemonade stand gets side swiped by the carriage, sending kids running away screaming.]
Austin: [Covered in lemonade] Please don't let me die... sticky!
Charlie: [Concerned] It's splendid that we are going so much faster than our competitors, but are you sure you know where we are going? There is no point racing in any direction but that of the finish line!
Alice: Know where we're going? I can't even see where we're going!
Charlie: [Alarmed] Then how do we know that we are winning?!
Clint: It's not whether you won or lose, Sarge, it's how you play the game. And we're doing it with style.
Alice: Because we're the fastest!
Harvey: Surely it's very much about winning or losing!!! Three will die if we're last!
Austin: Sarge, get your map out!
Alice: I bet there's one in the glovebox. Let's see, I bet this button opens it. [ALICE presses a button. It does not open the glovebox, but it does open back the convertible roof, which clearly has not been designed to be open at speed. There is a horrific ripping sound and the carriage flies into the air.]
Away for two weeks! QV returns on July 27
[Book X, Act IV, Scene I. The Bella Carragio. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR and HARVEY are here, clinging for dear life as the carriage flies high into the air, all screaming in terror.]
Alice: [Stops screaming] Oh look, the carriage has a Jeepies. We didn't even need a map! [Starts screaming again] We're all gonna die!
Charlie: [To Alice, gripping her seat for dear life] Try pressing more buttons!
Welcome back all!
Harvey: [Holding onto the seat with one hand] Press all the buttons!!!!
[ALICE desperately hammers on various buttons, causing various compartments to open, windows to wind down and some inexplicably blaring muzak to start.]
Alice: Nothing! Are there some near you guys?
Charlie: [Shouting over the Muzak, looking around frantically] I don't think so! Press more buttons!
Are there any controls where Charlie is sitting?
[Fortunately there is a selection of innocuous looking buttons near the rest of the party, none of which seem very likely to unleash some chickaloons.]
Alice: [Hammers at the buttons] Er, I think I've started a small fire!
Harvey: [Starts clicking, pulling and pushing various buttons] Where the blue blazes is the parachute?
Charlie: [Frantically pressing buttons at random] Or perhaps a fire extinguisher!
Austin: [Nimbly pressing all of the buttons near him] Wings! This carriage needs wings!
[All sorts of compartments fly open, smacking various party members in the face and other delicate regions. AUSTIN presses one that gets stuck, just before the muzak turns to a deafening version of "Bland on the Sun", by far the catchiest tune from the popular band, Wings.]
Alice: Oh, well done, Aus, now I'll never get that song out of my head! Things just can't get any worse. [ALICE punches another button. The carriage immediately fills with Chickaloons*.]
All: [Singing] Blaaaaand on the Suuuun!
* Balloons filled with chickens.
Austin: Wonderful Alice, just fabulous. [Throws some chickaloons out of the window] I meant wings on the carriage, not the band or chicken wings!
Alice: You know how I said I thought I had started a small fire? Well, it's not really that small anymore.
Dur: Noooo! I’m too hungry to die! [Starts frantically shoving food in his mouth… and trying to press any buttons he finds]
Charlie: [Wails] Where is that owners' manual when you need it?!
Alice: I've got it! [Opens it up] Congratulations on the purchase of your new pet rock? What the hell? That's not right manual at all!
[The carriage hits the ground hard, jolting everyone and suddenly filling the cabin with thick black smoke.]
Dur: [Bits of half chewed food fly out of his mouth on impact] A-are we dead?
Austin: [Coughing] This is no time to celebrate with one of your disgusting cigars Mr Scar! I thought we had lost the roof? [Tries to get out of the carriage]
Clint: There's always time to celebrate with a disgusting cigar! Now, everyone out of the burning carriage! Women and children first, which in this group means I'm last.
Harvey: [Coughing hugely] By the saints, I can't tell which way is left or right, up or down!
Alice: [Completely obscured by smoke] It's this way, Harvey.
Clint: Just follow the lawyer's cologne, Harv!
Charlie: Follow me, group! I think I can see the door! [Promptly whacks into a wall]
Harvey: [Coughing hugely] The only benefit of this oxygen deprived darkness is that we can't see the ruination of this once glorious carriage!
Austin: Where the hell did that wall come from? [Searches for an escape]
Alice: Yay! I think I found a handle. [Amidst the chaos, the party hear a creaky handle turn. Suddenly a massive shower turns on, soaking everyone.]
Alice: Hey! That's not a door handle!
Charlie: [Relieved] At least it will douse the fire! Then perhaps we can find an exit!
Alice: Plus, it seems to have a kind of lavender scent!
[There is a terrific ripping sound from above, and a shaft of light shines in. Fresh air rushes in giving everyone a chance to finally breathe.]
Alice: Someone's torn the door off the carriage. I sure hope they didn't damage it!
Austin: Let's hope they have good insurance, just look a the damage!
Alice: I know! And I'm a REALLY careful driver!
Harvey: Yes indeed, every journey has been a smooth and safe success what! [Loudly] I say, who has defaced this fine carriage?
Charlie: Charitably, we shall say gravity, shall we?
Clint: Blaming our old nemesis yet again, eh?
Alice: Well, it's either that or rakes!
[Suddenly more smoke billows into the carriage, followed by its source, a grinning man hanging upside down smoking a huge cigar. He's wearing a necklace made out of what appear to be some strange combination of fingers and claws. This is DAVIS PAULS.]
Davis: [Still grinning] I don't know what I'm more impressed with, your timing or your accuracy! [Looks around] Hey, are you on fire?

Davis Pauls

Austin: Alice is always on fire! Beautiful driving!
Clint: And now she's branched out into piloting and [diplomatically] she's just as good a pilot as a driver!
Charlie: [To Davis] You are praising our accuracy and timing? Not that I am surprised, given the strong leadership of the group, but--why?!
Harvey: Perhaps we can talk outside, once we escape this potential death trap, eh! Those horses might explode at any moment!
Austin: [Tries to get out of the carriage and to a safe distance. Panicking] Let's go!
Davis: Exploding horses, eh? Looks like we'll be eating meat tonight. [Reaches his hand down to hoist someone up] Come on, once you see what you landed on, you'll understand why your timing was so goo.
[AUSTIN nimbly climbs up over DAVIS and out onto the carriage. DAVIS looks surprised but amused.]
Davis: Well, alright then!
Austin: [To Davis] Thank you for your assistance, most appreciated [Checks his hair in a pocket mirror, and straightens his cuff. Looks to see what they landed on]
Charlie: [Absently shakes Davis' extended hand and then exits the carriage] Is it the finish line?! [Hurries to join Austin in examining the landing spot of the carriage]
Harvey: [To Davis, begins to extend his hand before noticing the necklace and dropping his hand] Good day sir! [Starts getting out of the carriage]
[Everyone climbs out on top of the carriage to see that they carriage is at the bottom of a huge ravine. Standing to one is ADRIAN PAULS, a very finely dressed man who does golf clap.]
Adrian: That, my friends, was quite the most well timed entrance I've seen since the day I climbed through the window of the Countess! [Takes off his huge, feathered hat and does a massive bow] We are in your debt.
Davis: [Biting a finger nail] This idiot is my brother.
Alice: Er, who's finger is that?
Davis: [Shrugs] I don't know. They call kind of blend together after a while.

Adrian Pauls

Clint: Well. I wonder if we've even gone in the right general direction?
malformed html tag is making for an interesting log by the by!
Adrian: Considering the stylish manner in which you vanquished our tormentor, I would say you most certainly have, my good fellow.
Charlie: [Looks at the carriage] Were you being tormented by this ravine?
Adrian: Not really, I actually quite like it here. It's got that nice stream, there are some apple trees, I mean, other than the simply shocking lack of good tailors, I would probably give it an eight out of ten. Almost delightful!
Davis: [To Charlie] See what I have to put up with? We're fine with the ravine. It's just The Original that chased us in here to kill us was not even remotely delightful. [Points to a huge leg sticking out from under the carriage]
Austin: Why would there be a good taylor in this ravine? [Looks at Adrian] I guess you have been here for some time.
Harvey: [Looking at the leg] Are you telling me that we just killed, er, I mean, that an original just killed himself under our carriage?
Austin: He means we just killed a true original. Mostly Alice's excellent driving of course, and my rather brilliant leadership. I hope the carriage was fully comprehensive insurance.
[ADRIAN and DAVIS exchange an amused look and burst into laughter.]
Davis: Oh, my friends, you didn't kill him. You just made him angry. [Thinks] Angrier.
Adrian: On a anger scale of 1 to 10, he's probably now up to 2. [Looks Austin's clothes up and down] Nice suit, although somewhat plain. You should consider more lace and a large collar.
Harvey: [To the party] I think we should depart immediately, troupe! With much expediency, what!
Bank Holiday here today!
Davis: It'll soon be dark. You're welcome to stay with us, as I don't think that carriage will take you very far. [Everyone turns to look at the smoking wreck of the carriage, which, inexplicably explodes at that very moment.]
Alice: Ah, it's just a scratch!
Charlie: [To Davis] That is very kind of you, but we really must keep moving. You haven't a carriage we could borrow, by any chance? We would take excellent care of it! [Discreetly steps in front of the burning wreckage of their last carriage]
Harvey: Indeed, we should definitely be on the off! As far away from the rest of the owner of those now smoking feet! We have a race to win, what. Or not lose, at the very least!
Adrian: A race? Is it a race to be the most fashionable? Maybe I should join you!
Davis: [Laughs at Charlie] Even if we hadn't seen you crash your carriage onto True Original, we couldn't give you ours. The best we can do is offer you shelter. Then you can tell us how you managed to appear in mid air like that. That was pretty cool.
Austin: [Looking over Adrian] Let's hope for your sake that this is not a race to be fashionable.
Harvey: It is a race for life! Or rather, someone else's death, when I think about it. What do you mean by just appearing in mid air? [Looks around the smoky scene] Where are we, exactly?
Adrian: [Austin] Indeed, for how disappointing it would be to enter a race only to find that one has already won it!
Davis: Pretty much as I said. We were about the killed when there was a crazy noise your carriage appeared in mid air, leaving a rather a cool looking pair of fiery tracks in the sky for a few seconds. This is the Ravine of Despair.
Charlie: [To Davis, conversationally] And what brings you to such a dreadfully named place?
Clint: Probably got a research grant. You know how it goes.
Davis: We got to the massacre late because someone was busy buying some extra large lacy collars, so all the caves in the Pit of Despair were already booked out.
Austin: [Surprised] You have to book those places? [Looks at the true original] Do we need to burn this thing to make sure it doesn't come back to life?
Davis: You do if you don't some guy cutting your fingers off for trying to steal his cave! Nah, it's coming back to life whatever we do.
Harvey: [Scratches a pricklish ticklish sideburn. To Davis] What massacre?
Davis: [Does a double take] What massacre? Where have you been for the last five years? The Originals Massacre!
Charlie: So, Originals can be permanently killed, but True Originals cannot?
Davis: I think you misunderstand. The Originals Massacre is not where people get together to massacre Originals. It is where the True Originals get together to massacre any humans they can find.
Alice: Then why isn't called The True Originals Massacre?
Davis: It wouldn't fit on their caps.
Austin: Are we in imminent danger [Looks around]
Adrian: You have already succumbed to the curse of small collars!
Davis: Yes! Now come on!
Dur: Where are we going? [Hopefully] Brunch?
Adrian: Ah, if only, my friend. Brunch hasn't been a thing since the True Originals arrived.
Clint: The fiends! This evil must be dealt with!
Dur: [Collapsing to his knees is despair] You monsters! How do we get rid of them?
Charlie: One hesitates to side with evil, but I have always found brunch to be a rather messy and confusing affair, at best! Perhaps they are not ALL bad!
Alice: Brunch? Is that the thing people eat when normal people are heading home, still looking stylish even though they're still wearing the clothes from the night before and their make up still looks fresh?
Dur: Not the way I eat brunch!
Austin: [To Alice] But yes. [To Dur] Perhaps you could get a take away? [Sighs] If all else fails I know a few good recipes for demon.
Davis: Oh! Demon eater, eh?
Austin: [Casually] Never by choice. I was unfortunate enough to spend a year trapped in Mistoheusto. [Checks his perfect nails]
Harvey: [Stomach rumbles massively] By the saints, I'm so famished I could almost chew on a smoked demon toe right now, let me tell you!
Charlie: [To the party, huffily] Well, I must say, all of this talk of eating demons is quite offense! Some of us love and/or are related to people who were quite recently demons!
Austin: Demons eat demons too Sarge, if it makes you feel better. They would happily eat us.
Davis: You people are weird. I like it. You better come with us if you want to live.
Charlie: We DO want to live! [To the party] Come along, group!
Adrian: Huzzah! Quickly now, and watch your fingers... just in case! [Starts to lead the party along a rough path that leads up the side of the ravine]
Harvey: So, where are you leading us?
Adrian: We've got the most adorable cave. You'll just love it. Most of it is above water!
Charlie: [Less than delighted] A cave? Are you camping? Or very poor, perhaps?
Davis: Poor? Look, lady, where have you people been for the last five years? Everyone is poor!
Alice: Even me?
Adrian: Especially you!
Dur: Really? No wonder "laundry day" never seems to end, am I right?!
Alice: Well, Mr. Dur, if that is your real name, I'm pleased to tell you that it has ended. Would it surprise you to hear that I have the most delightful pair of bright blue underpants with ruffles so large you could hide [holds up her fingers] two hams in them?
Dur: You could hide a dozen hams in them and Deuce still wouldn't get in them!
Charlie: [Gasps] Dur, do stop being so accurate! You might hurt Alice's feelings, given her long-held delusions about Deuce's alleged interest in her!
Clint: Let the doc have his fun. You know how important having a contented staff is! We don't want him getting Robespierrrean ideas!
Austin: [To Adrian] You said that we fell out of the sky, I wonder if we went through some kind of portal, or a reveal. What year is it, and what is the closest town?
Alice: [To Clint] You underestimate the Power of The Ham!
Adrian: The year is Ox, and the nearest town was Townville, at least, it was until it was destroyed by the True Originals.
Austin: [Alarmed] Ox? You call your years after animals? Have you ever hear of the town o Queensview?
Davis: Nope.
Adrian: But it sounds fab-u-lous!
Davis: What else would we call years after?
Clint: I'd call them after animals with adjectives! Like "the year of the alcoholic beaver, in the century of the fruitbat." That sort of thing. Very elegant.
Harvey: Or use an incremental numbering system, what!
Adrian: How preposterous! How on earth would one know when time started? You jest, silly fellow!
Harvey: But surely you'll run out of animal names long before you run out of numbers! Stuff and nonsense, what!
Charlie: [Nods emphatically] I quite agree, Colonel! Such a system will lead only to madness and countless filing errors!
Harvey: Indeed so, my dear woman! I mean, what do you people use when you run out of animals? [Tuts] How long has this daft naming convention been in operation?
Davis: Ever since Donkey!
Austin: And what was the significance of 'Donkey'
Davis: You know, you guys sure ask a lot of really basic questions. Who are you and where did you come from?
Austin: A place called Queensview, it's in the Realms. Have you heard of it? [Sighs] I guess we could have jumped into another dimension again. [Looks into the distance, sadly] Lost another Lucy.
Davis: This is the Realms, but I've never heard of Queens View.
Adrian: Lucy? Stern girl with a disturbingly large amount of red hair? Likes to hit people with rolling pins? Possibly of Nordic extraction?
Austin: [Mildly alarmed] no, no a different Lucy. [To Davis] Perhaps we have gone back in time. That might explain your clothing?
Davis: It might explain mine, but can would it really explain his? [Points at Adrian's outrageously frilly collar] Tell me, what is it like in the future? Is everyone happy? Do we all share our resources?
Dur: Nope! Though there is plenty of food to go around, so long as you don’t mine dining out of dumpsters!
Davis: Huh, well that's disappointing. I suppose that means there are no flying carriages either so? At least you have dumpsters, though!
Charlie: Well, our carriage did fly recently, if only briefly!
Davis: What a time to be alive! So, if you really are from the future, what year is it then?
Clint: 1729. See how easy that was?
Adrian: I have literally no idea what that means.
Charlie: [Enthusiastically] It makes far more sense than an arbitrary system using random animals! Shall I explain it to you in great detail?!
Harvey: I feel, my dear woman, that you imparting your knowledge would be as pearls before swine, what! Tell me, what triggered this apocalyptic event with the Originals?
Davis: I've got no idea -- it was back in the Year of Snake. One day there was a comet in this sky, followed by an earthquake, and the next thing the True Originals are destroying everything they can find. You could try asking The Wise One. He's fairly smart.
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, that would be a wonderful change, thank you! Where might we find this Wise One?
Adrian: You might find him in our cave!
Harvey: [Glancing at the finger necklace] How many people live in your cave? I'd say it must be difficult finding food for all of you?
Austin: [Alarmed. Casually] Do you have much of a problem with cannibalism around these parts?
Davis: I wouldn't call it a problem so much as an opportunity. [Everyone pales slightly.]
Davis: [Laughs] I'm just messing with you! We have plenty to eat, as long as you like pigeon.
Austin: Excellent, we can have braised wood pigeon with cider apple sauce, and a confit of apples and shallots. Assuming that you have shallots?
Harvey: [Begins shaking with mirth] For, if you do not have shallots, then you have have plenty of shallnots! [Laughs long, loud and very much alone]
Dur: [Worriedly] I think we must have jarred something loose in his head in the fall? Perhaps I should take a look as a medical professional…
[DAVIS roars with laughter at HARVEY's hilarious word play.]
Adrian: Do we have shallots?
Davis: Not shallot of 'em!
Harvey: [Laughs even longer and louder] By the saints, that's the best thing! [Wipes tears from his eyes] There'shallot of wonderful jokes!
Charlie: No they [huge stagey emphasis] onion't!
Dur: [Grumpily] What's going on? Are we eating or aren't we?
Alice: [Getting in on the clever wordplay] No we ... [can barely contain her delight at her impending genius comment] apple! [Roars laughing, but then stops] Hey! That's not funny at all!
Davis: Not to worry, here we are. Cave sweet cave!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act V, Scene II. The Fairly Dark Cave. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, DAVIS and ADRIAN are here, making their way into a fairly dark cave.]
Davis: [Holding a torch] You'll love this place. We even have running water!
Clint: That's very handy if you... [mimes putting on sunglasses] have to take a leek.
Austin: [Mehs] I suppose we could use leeks in place of shallots?
Harvey: [Looks around the cave] I say, quite homely, what!
Charlie: Er, yes. Cozy! [Looks around hopefully] Where is your library?
Harvey: Perhaps you'll find it in the cellar...y! [Laughs to himself]
Davis: [Guffaws] Lettuce see!
Adrian: We don't have a cellar.
Davis: [Sighs] Alas, we don't actually have a library, but The Wise One knows lots of things. I bet he can answer any of your questions. Oh, be careful [points to a stream of disgusting looking water running through the cave] that's the running water.
Charlie: Then [huge stagey emphasis] peas take us to the Wise One!
Harvey: [Laughs long and loud, wiping tears from his eyes] Oh, what a joy! [Looks at the water] Hmm, running water indeed! Are cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio common ailments around here?
Davis: [Leading the party deeper into the cave] Sure, but no one ever dies from them.
Harvey: Hmm, perhaps you've built up a strong immunity to them!
Davis: Not really, it's just that people are usually killed by a True Original before they can die from something else.
Dur: [Nervously] Then perhaps we should talk to the Wise One a bit more swiftly?
Clint: I wonder if it's someone we know?
Austin: Like the old guy from the cottage?
Harvey: How likely do you think that is? I mean, we've appeared in some future timeline, or possibly another dimension, yet you all seem quite unfazed!
Dur: [Shrugs] Eh. You learn to get used to it.
Clint: [Nods in agreement] Just make sure you don't accidentally become your own grandfather. Or grandson.
Davis: [Chuckles] You people sure are weird.
[A male voice thunders from up ahead.]
Voice: Damned pigeon! That's my sock!
Dur: [Blinks] Better than his pants, this time...
Charlie: [Calls out] Helloooo?! Wise One? Can we assist you with your pigeon management?
Clint: [Glancing at Dur] If you need to cull the old and sick ones, we know someone who'd be, err, happy to take them off your hands!
Austin: Let us hope he is wearing his pants this time. And his trousers too.
[DAVIS leads the party around a corner in the cave to reveal everyone's favourite panstless scientist, FINLEY, who is now wearing a pair of underpants over his pants/trousers.]
Finley: Ah! Pukwudgie! Have you been dragged into this awful business too?
Charlie: Alistair! What a relief it is to see you. But do please tell us why you are living in a cave like a hobo!
Finley: Because it's so dangerous out there!
Harvey: I take it that you know the Wise One?
Finley: Eh? No, I have no clue who the chap is! Everyone here seems to think that I should. This isn't even my time!
Charlie: And how did you end up here?
Finley: [Dramatically] Alithor!
Alice: Who?
Finley: Alithor! Remember, a demon version of me, named Crawelthor was hell bent on taking over the world?
Alice: Not really.
Finley: And the Finley from your dimension sacrificed himself to create a new being, Alithor, who was no longer evil?
Alice: Yeah... I don't think we were involved in that.
Finley: Yes you were, he called you his children in the end. You were all totally freaked out!
Alice: That doesn't sound like us.
Finley: Good lord! It's partly how Persephone knew to join with Wilhelmina!
Alice: [Shakes her head slowly] Persephone? Nope, drawing a blank.
Finley: To create the new Phili!
Alice: Phili? Now, that's a name I definitely have not heard before.
Yes, all of this is true, from Book X, Act X. Everyone
but Harvey was there for it, even those who don't
remember it!
Clint: So how are *we* here?
Finley: It's actually quite fascinating and somewhat involved, but the short version is a wormhole (or Finley–Hilliard bridge or Finley–Ro Hilliard en wormhole) which, of course is a speculative structure linking disparate points in spacetime, and is based on a special solution of the Finley field equations. [Starts drawing with chalk on the wall] Theoretical models postulate it is an adelic homogeneous subset whose imaginary field is an ideal in a Z-graded ring.[Excitedly] A wormhole can be visualized as a tunnel with two ends at separate points in spacetime (i.e., different locations, or different points in time, or both). A wormhole can connect extremely long distances such as a billion light years or more, short distances such as a few meters, different universes, or different points in time. [Turns, beaming at Clint]
Charlie: [Excited] Of course, it is almost ludicrously simple! [Concerned] But, Alistair, is this really any life for an internationally renowned scientist [gestures at the cave in disgust]?! Surely there is something we can do to make this dreadful place safe for scientists to roam freely again!
Clint: Obviously, we just need to travel back and time and change things so that this version of the future never happens. It's always worked out before!
Alice: It's never worked out before! Any time we've tried it we've only made things worse, or found out that we were the ones who caused the problem in the first place, or that Clint is actually Harvey's great-great-great-great-great grandfather!
Sad, but true!
Clint: Yeah, but this time we'll have learned from our mistakes!
;; Sad, but true!
A long unblemished record of success, I say!
Harvey: Eh?
Alice: That doesn't really sound like us, Stinky.
Charlie: [Enthusiastically] But THIS time will no doubt be quite different!
: [Sighs] I am sure you will all do your best. [To Finlay] So, what now?
Harvey: [To Finlay] Are you saying, sir, that we need to travel back in time through your wormy hole to prevent these current events from occurring?
Finley: I am saying nothing of the sort! First, I already did travel back in time, so we are in the past relative to your time, second, wormholes are fundamentally unstable and cannot be simply employed whenever the whim takes you and, third, these events have occurred. The only possible course of action is to find a way to destroy the True Originals once and for all. [Gestures to a white board some distance behind him] I started working on a plan for several months ago.
Clint: Have you tried "feed them to am old man"?
Finley: They are between sixty and two hundred feet tall, so, no.
Harvey: [Shocked] By the saints, how are we to defeat a being that can be as much as two hundred feet tall?
Austin: We killed one earlier today, colonel.
Charlie: [Nodding enthusiastically] That's the spirit, Mr. Sleaze! Now we just need to build a fleet of flying cars to crash into them from a great height! [To Finley, eagerly] Is that your plan?!
Finley: Actually, I got distracted by something else and end up focusing on that instead. You see, there is the most incredible fungus here, Pukwudgie, that when you lick it makes -- wait, you killed one?
Davis: No, they didn't. They knocked one out.
Harvey: Quite correct, he, she, or it was rendered unconscious by our flying carriage, I believe. And I'd assume once conscious, will be more than a tad miffed!
Davis: He'll be downright irked.
Finley: Does he know where you went?
[The entire cave shakes and a terrifying roar sounds from outside.]
Davis: Maybe.
Austin: [Looks nervous, moves behind Alice] So will someone have to do the 'combine' thing that your other self did with Alithor?
Charlie: [Intrigued] Oh, is that what you're planning, Alistair?!
Finley: Certainly not! That would be far too dangerous. I was rather thinking we might send some intrepid adventurers to Alithor's lair to discover what he is doing.
Harvey: Indeed, a sound plan! Good luck with finding your group of suicidal adventurers, what! Good day!
Finley: Ah yes, about that...
Clint: [Sighs] What do we get out of it?
Austin: What do you get out of it Mr Scar? Fresh air, exercise and a chance to meet someone that doesn't mind your smell?
Harvey: A premature and early death? The opportunity to have our bones used as a tooth pick by some two hundred foot tall monster?
Charlie: [To Clint, encouragingly] Though, if you are already dead, you will not be aware of the misuse of your bones, so that part won't be SO terrible!
Finley: [Nods in agreement] Yes, yes! Similarly, you will hardly be aware of them eating your flesh, as you will almost certainly be dead very soon after they start.
Harvey: This is not an encouraging sales spiel!
Finley: Eh? Oh, well, you will save the world and, er, [weakly holds a fist up] you got this!
Charlie: [Dramatically] We shall defy the odds and save the realms, losing only some of our party to death and/or maiming in the process!
Dur: [Nervously] Perhaps some of us... or one of us... should stay behind and protect the cave. You know to ... er... secure the water source?
Alice: It better not be you, Dur. Who knows? You might fall in!
Clint: [Glancing from Dur to the water and back.] Might do the water some good. Clean it a little!
Dur: [Shudders at that thought] On second thought, certain death is sounding better and better!
Finley: Wonderful! Now, where is the Placebium?
Placebium is an ultra-rare mineral that the
party have occasionally used in the past
to defeat demons.
Austin: [Looks around helpful] Excellent, how much do you have?
Charlie: [Dismayed] Oh, we have no Placebium! [Hopefully] Is it plentiful and easy to find??
Harvey: [To Finley] Was that question directed at us, or are you thinking aloud?
Finley: [Startled] Did I just say something about kitten sneezes?
Alice: Uh... no.
Finley: Then I wasn't thinking aloud.
Charlie: [Hopefully] Do you have a source for Placebium, by any chance?
Austin: A source of kitten could be useful too?
Finley: Didn't you have the Placebium? In that fancy carriage I so lovingly designed for you?
Harvey: I think this man might be truly mad!
Austin: Was that in a large trunk also full of body parts?
Finley: [Disgusted] What? No! It was the power source behind the most beautiful carriage ever designed. If you had seen it, you would know what I'm talking about.
Dur: [Whistles] Wow! That must have been some carriage with all the bells and whistles right? Too bad we haven’t seen it!
Austin: All though it does sound a lot like the carriage we salvaged from those psychos who kept trying to kill us, what where their names again [Casually checks his nails]
Charlie: [Nods reluctantly at Austin's observation] Yes, it does a bit, doesn't it?! [To Finley] But if that carriage, for the sake of argument, ended up at the bottom of a chasm, where might we find additional Placebium?!
Finley: You lost the Placebium? Good lord, Pukwudgie! Do you have any idea what I had to go through to get it?
Alice: Yeeesh, so I guess it's not a matter of walking down to the local Placebium shop and buying a kilo?
Finley: Well, it is, but I was already wearing my pyjamas and was sitting on the couch, and my favourite show was about to start. Reel Housewives of Waterdeep -- it's about this deliciously trashy group of ladies married to some local fishermen -- so, yes, it was quite bothersome.
Charlie: [Disapprovingly] Yes, that show does sound quite bothersome! But if you simply must watch it, then we will send Dur to fetch the Placebium while the rest of us catch up on our paperwork and [looks at the rest of the party] well, likely the majority of the group will join you, Alistair!
Clint: [Already looking for the remote] Did you see the one where the one lady made fun of the other one's husband's trawler? Classic!
Finley: Ah yes! [Puts on what apparently is a woman's voice] What a cute a little tug! [Back to his normal voice] But, alas, you misunderstand me. That was back in our time, not here in this godforsaken past. I ventured away from the Reel Housewives to secret the supply that ended up in that carriage. Here, there is no Placebium and, [clutches Clint's shoulder reassuringly] no Reel Housewives!
Charlie: [Brightly] So, the news isn't ALL bad, then! [To Finley] Could we test alternative fuel sources, perhaps?
Clint: [Reeling*] The past is terrible! We might as well go on a suicide mission to locate any Placebium we can get our hands on. There won't be anything better to do.
* Heh!
Finley: That's the spirit lad! Just return to the carriage, avoid the two hundred foot tall demons and [stagily] net yourself a tasty catch!
Alice: Wait, I'm confused. I thought we were going to get some Placebium?
Finley: [To Clint] God, she's such a Lydia!
Charlie: [To Finley, confused] What is a Lydia? Is that another form of Placebium, perhaps a [looks at Alice] bleached version, smelling strongly of inexpensive beer?
Finley: Oh, Pukwudgie! Your education is sadly lacking.
Alice: I think you mean "you're".
Finley: [Beams] I'm sure you do!
Harvey: Where will we get more if the stash at the carriage is gone?
Finley: First we would need to build a time machine.
Charlie: [Thrilled] Oh, how exciting! Think of the papers we could write if we had access to a time machine, Alistair!!
Dur: Wait, you can build a MACHINE to time travel? We’ve just been doing it by accident…
Austin: Do you have the design plan for a time machine? The possibilities are limitless! We could go back to when the Dodo walked the Realms, and get as much Dodo skin as we like! We could all have Dodo skin shoes! [Does a twirl in delight]
Harvey: Or I could travel back and advise a young pre-Colonel Harvey Kingston Short the third, that happiness is not found at the bottom of a donut box! Or six!
Alice: And I could go back in time to when Deucie first proposed so I can relive that magical moment again!
Finley: No, no, no! First of all, a Time Machine is a not toy to be wasted on such fripperies! Second, I do not have a Time Machine, nor the equipment or knowledge to build one!
Clint: Well maybe you should start developing the knowledge so we can get back to the good times when take trashy reality tv rules the earth!
Austin: [To Finley] Do you know some one who can build one? Or are we back to plan A of sending Mr Scar back to where we crash landed and recover the Placebium from the wreckage?
Finley: I can build one.
Alice: Huzzah! We're saved!
Finley: At least, in theory, I can. I estimate it will be at least four thousand years before the materials needed will exist, though.
Charlie: [Dramatically] To the crash site! [To Austin, scolding] ALL of us, not just the more arguably expendable ones!
Harvey: [Downcast] And I assume that the fact there is not now a time machine sitting here waiting for us to use, means that you did not succeed in building one, sending it back in time to right now, when we need it most. Unless...[suspiciously] kept it for yourself!
Finley: Surely, sir, I wouldn't be sitting here in a cave on the very night of the finale of Reel Housewives of Riverboat Gamblers!
End of scene, next one coming up!
[Book XI, Act V, Scene IV. The Cave Exit. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, DAVIS, ADRIAN and FINLEY are here.]
Finley: Now, you look after them!
Davis: I certainly will, Finley! [Turns to the party with a bag of decomposing fingers] Better take one of these.
Harvey: [To Davis] Don't point your fingers at me! Why the blue blazes would I take one of your decomposing digits?
Austin: [Recoils in horror] Cannibals!
Davis: [Laughs] Nah, it's not to eat, they're for protection!
Dur: [Pauses, his finger almost all the way in his mouth already] Wait, they’re NOT for eating?
Charlie: [Aghast] What protection can severed fingers offer?!
Austin: [Puts on some marigolds and carefully takes 3 fingers and, grimacing, puts them in a ziploc bag] Let's hope we don't need to find out!
Davis: It's the smell. The True Originals are attracted to the smell of human flesh, these throw them off the trail. [Looks at the ziploc bag] That'll help them find you.
Clint: [Smugly] I'm probably good.
Harvey: [Takes a finger and points it at Client] Actually, troupe member Scar, if anything, you may smell too human!
Austin: True, Mr Scar smells worse than 10 unwashed humans. [ Nimbly threads the fingers onto a handkerchief that he can hold by one end]
Clint: [In fake dismay] Oh no. I guess I'll just have to stay behind so I don't endanger the mission. Have fun storming the castle!
Davis: Huh. I wouldn't have guessed that you'd chicken out, but okay. The rest of you brave people, let's go!
Dur: [Blushes] Oh shucks! I wouldn't call us brave! More likely due to frequent head injuries and the lask of research behind the effects of repeated time and dimensional travel has probably diminshed our ability to feel fear! [Suddenly terrified] OH MY GOD IS THAT A SPIDER?!
Charlie: [To Dur, beaming] That's the spirit! [To the party] Let us heedlessly charge into danger, group!
Harvey: Fingers at the ready, troupe!!
Davis: [Spots the spider] Mmm! Spider! [Yoinks it and chomps on a leg, before turning the party] Cheeky half leg, anyone?
Charlie: [Wrinkling her nose] Strangely, I do not have much of an appetite just now!
Alice: [With the tip of the decaying finger in her mouth] Does it taste worse than this?
Davis: [Nods sadly] At least it as actual food and not some guy's ass-scratchin'-finger.
Austin: [Looking at Alice] At least you know where it has been!
Alice: That's not much comfort... although at least it's not one of Dur's.
Austin: [Looking pale] Ok.
Alice: Stop looking pale! You're freaking me out, man! [To Dur, holding up the finger] Is this yours?
Charlie: [To Alice] To clarify, do you mean is this his own finger, from his hand? Or do you mean did he intend to eat or otherwise [grimaces] use this finger?
Clint: Or did he just give you the finger?
Alice: I just want to establish once and for all that Dur has had no contact, involvement or otherwise attachment to or with this finger!
Harvey: That's actually a good point, dear girl! Who did these fingers previously belong to and how did you come by them?
Charlie: [Uneasily] Ye-es, surely these were not voluntary contributions!
Austin: It would seem unlikely, but you never know for sure.
Davis: Most came from time travellers who crashed into one of The Originals. [Folds his arms and looks at the party, undressing their fingers with his eyes]
Adrian: Huh. I thought you got them from bodies left behind by The Originals!
Davis: [Sighs] Yes, I was just trying to mess with these guys.
Harvey: Well, I'm glad to see that an inappropriate sense of humour is still a thing in this dimension, or time, or wherever the blue blazes we are, what!
Austin: [Casually checking his nail] Whilst I understand that you are all terrified, we really should get moving.
Finley: That's the spirit! [Holds up what looks like a large sheet with a small backpack attached to it] Once you find the Placebium, you can connect to the control device and that will shield you from The Originals. At least, if the math holds up!
Harvey: You mean we hide under this sheet and hope we get neither spotted nor smelled by the two hundred foot tall Originals?
Finley: Isn't science wonderful?
Harvey: [Nods in agreement] We truly are living in a miraculous age!
Charlie: [Excited] Oh, I should be very interested in the science behind these marvelous sheets!
Finley: It's really quite fascinating! It uses a similar technology to that employed by cats stealing food!
Harvey: [Impressed] I say, that is wondrous! So, this sheet also has the ability to instantly grow razor sharp claws and launch a ferocious and unprovoked attack?
Finley: That only happened that on time! And it was user error. Some Research Assistants just can't follow simple instructions. [Si
Charlie: [To Finley, disapprovingly] You should not be involving cats in your experiments in any case! They are proud, noble creatures, and it compromises their dignity.
Finley: But just imagine if we could harness that power!
Austin: The power of dignity? [Looks over the party] We'd need a hell of a lot of it!
Charlie: [Eagerly] Oh, Alistair, do you think you COULD harness the power of cats, thus necessitating the party always travel with dozens of them?!
Alice: Oh god no! Then there'd be even more cat hair on your clothes than there already are, Charlie!
Clint: And it'd make you seem like even more of a crazy cat lady whose pets are just waiting for her to die so they can feast on her flesh.
Alice: Waiting for her to die or waiting for an opportunity to kill her?
Dur: On the other hand, if we had of herd of cats we would always have a free meal... you know, in case of emergency. [Licking his lips]
Charlie: [Indignantly] Do be serious! My cats adore me! [Surreptitiously tugs at her suit sleeves to hide obvious and numerous cat scratches]
Alice: Ew! You mean you would eat some of the vast quantity of cat food that we would carry everywhere with us for them to ignore and instead steal our food?
Dur: [Blinks] Sure. Among other things.
Clint: Plus, we'd always be warm in our little cat-fur suits. The lawyer's could look different from the rest of ours because, after all, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Austin: Let's hope that never happens [Checks his perfect suit] The thought of you in a, "little cat-fur suit", is a mental aberration that shall haunt me for the rest of my life.
Harvey: I feel our progress would truly be limited by travelling with a clowder of cats, what! For we would be forced to stop at every mysterious nook and cranny to give the cats ample time to investigate and sate their hunt for curiosity!
Charlie: [Sighs appreciatively] Yes, they are magnificent creatures, are they not?! [To Finley] Oh, Alistair, how many do you recommend we recruit to join the group? [Eagerly] Twenty?
Adrian: [Checking himself out in a beautiful hand mirror] I recommend zero. They are vain and frivolous creatures, more interested in preening than actually doing any work.
Harvey: [Looking at Adrian admiring himself] Indeed!
Austin: [Agreeing with Adrian, with his sleeve rolled up, while massaging Mapllin with shea butter] Indeed, I agree, they are vain beyond anything normal and decent!
Maplin is Austin's left forearm
Charlie: They are no such thing! They are pure-hearted, sweet-natured creatures who only wish to bring joy and tidiness into our lives!
Austin: [Surprised at Charlie's outburst] We are talking about cats are we not? I can only assume that you have never actually met one!
Harvey: [Abruptly] I do apologise, I must have drifted off for a moment or two, as I see the conversation has quite clearly moved on from cats!
Adrian: [Approvingly watching Austin groom Maplin] I say, that is quite the most spectacular forearm I have ever seen! Where did you get it from?
Harvey: Woe-hoe! Careful of your fingers there, Mr Sleaze, someone may be looking for a few additional trinkets for their necklace!
Clint: You mean, you're worried that someone might want the lawyer to give them the finger? That wouldn't be very handy, would it?
Adrian: A finger like that is too beautiful to destroy!
Austin: [To Adrian] Thank you, you have exceptional taste in arms. I was born with this arm. [Smugly] I grew it myself.
Charlie: [Glances at Austin's right forearm absently] Yes, it appears healthy and not malformed, like most adult forearms!
Davis: [Looks over] Huh. Yeah, that's a pretty fine looking arm alright. Better keep it covered up if you want it to stay attached.
Harvey: Well, let us hope that your arm is so minutely sized to the eyes of a two hundred foot tall super being, that it goes unnoticed! Plus, our cat sheet should help keep it concealed! Unless of course, it flies off in pursuit of a butterfly, laser pointer or some seemingly random air current!
Austin: [Carefully put Maplin away. To Harvey] It sounds foolish and we will probably all die!
Finley: That's the spirit! Oh, and if you don't all get killed, can someone pick up some milk on your way back?
Austin: Skimmed, semi or full fat?
Finley: Surprise me.
Charlie: [To Finley] If it would surprise you to receive no milk at all, then we shall indeed surprise you! [To the party] Let us be off, group!
Dur: I would rather surprise me by not dieing. Let's focus on that.
Austin: [To Dur] I expect that it is a very real risk when you milk cats.
Finley: [Stomach rumbling massively] Ah... cat milk, the nectar of the gods!
End of scene, next one coming right up
[Book XI, Act V, Scene V. The Cave Entrance. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, DAVIS and ADRIAN are here, slowly making their way down in the dark. All around what sounds like terrible thunder rings out and the ground keeps shaking.]
Alice: Oh my god, is that Finley's stomach again?
Harvey: Hmm, the man certainly did seem to love cats milk, what!
Adrian: [Wiping away a white moustache] Who doesn't?
Clint: To be fair, it could just be the echoes of Alice's snoring.
Austin: [Cautiously following close behind Alice] Unfortunately it is not.
Alice: [Looks around uneasily] Although if Stinky keeps talking, maybe it will be.
Charlie: Surely it is no more than a thunderstorm in the distance, which is a far far more plausible explanation than any of yours!
Dur: When have we ever been that lucky?
Davis: Actually, it's more likely an Original. Make sure you have your fingers handy!
Harvey: And let us hope we still have our hands handy by the time we return!
Charlie: An excellent goal, Colonel! [To the party, cheerily brandishing a finger] Prepare to face possible doom, group!
Alice: I don't understand why we're not negotiating our way down this step and uneven path without a sheet covering us.
Davis: Because then we mightn't see our way across the rickety bridge up ahead.
Harvey: Why is everything about this current task problematic?
Austin: I suppose that if it were easy, we would have been home for tea and scones by now.
[The ground shakes again.]
Davis: Better get your fingers out. If they smell us, we're dead. [To Austin] Better keep that unusually attractive arm covered up.
Harvey: [Holding his finger aloft] Right troupe, lets proceed to this bridge, cross it, don our cat sheet and make for the carriage!
Austin: [A little shocked, puts a forearm warmer on Maplin, then gets 'his' fingers out] Is this where the phrase 'get your finger out' comes from I wonder?
Charlie: [To Harvey] A bold, yet sensible plan, Colonel! Come along, group! Trust in the power of the cat sheet!
Alice: [To Austin] No, that was something someone said to a doctor with a really, really cold finger.
[The party descend the steep path and soon come to the edge of a clearing. About thirty feet away is a suspiciously rickety looking bridge that appears to be suspended over a deep valley.]
Bridge: Creaaaaak!
Harvey: [Stops suddenly] By the saints, who is in charge of Health and Safety around here! This is a disgrace!
Dur: [Looking at Harvey like he is speaking another language] What is this "health and safety" of which you speak?
Adrian: Ah, you'll be thinking of Steve!
Clint: If I know the good doctor, he'll actually be thinking of a ham sandwich.
Charlie: [To Dur, gesturing to the bridge] Perhaps you should test the bridge? You are the lightest of those who have the least to lose!
Austin: Each person that crosses the bridge may weaken it further, so last across may be at most risk. I shall go second.
Alice: Maybe the first person to cross will alert the baddies to our presence, thus endangering the second to cross? Well done for taking that risk, Aus!
Charlie: [To Dur, shaking her head in disappointment] You do not follow orders like a man interested in earning an honest copper piece! [Cautiously tests the bridge with one foot]
Harvey: [To Charlie] My dear lady, allow me to go first to test the bridges integrity! I will never forgive myself if you plunge to your death!
Dur: I'll do it! I'll forgive you for letting her plunge to her death!
Alice: Oh please. No one's plunging anywhere! The bridge will be fine.
[HARVEY daintily taps a toe on the bridge and it immediately falls to pieces, leaving just a thin network of badly nailed together bits of wood spanning across the gorge.]
Alice: [Pales slightly] See? Perf!
Charlie: [Viewing the bridge critically] Perhaps there is another way across?!
Davis: Ah, this old girl will be fine. [Leaps onto the plank] See? [Bounces up and down a bit] She mightn't be pretty but she won't let us down.
Clint: Not more than once, anyway!
Harvey: Indeed so, a truer sentence never uttered, Mr Scar! [Steps onto a plank, grimacing at the various creaking noises]
[The bridge gives a tremendous groan but holds.]
Davis: [Bouncing up and down a bit, grinning from ear to ear] It's kind of fun, isn't it?
Harvey: [Trying to keep his balance] I say sir, desist from your bouncing this instant!
Charlie: [Cheerily stepping onto the bridge] Indeed, until we all plunge to our deaths! [Muses] Though possibly that part would also be rather thrilling, until the grisly end!
Adrian: [Climbing onto the bridge on his hands and knees] Make him stop bouncing it!
Alice: [Also stepping on] I wonder if we should actually go across, you know, rather than just standing here?
Charlie: [To Alice] Agreed, we must be moving! [Calls out to the head of the line, ready to cross] Do move quickly, please. We must not dawdle!
Davis: [Laughs] Haw! That's what I like! A thirst for adventure! [Bounds across]
Adrian: [Wiping tears from his eyes] But not too fast, please! It's all very scary!
Harvey: [To Adrian] Do you want a piggy back over to the other side? Can't leave any man behind, what!
Austin: This should be entertaining!
sorry was out all day yesterday
Adrian: Do you have anything like a sedan chair!
Charlie: [Attempts to scurry over the bridge] Enough dawdling, chop chop!
Harvey: It's either my back or nothing, precious!
Alice: We're not dawdling, we're lollygagging!
Adrian: Oh dear. [Drapes a huge silken handkerchief over Harvey's back and climbs on] Mmm, soft!
Clint: Shame on you, making an octogenarian carry you across a bridge like this!
Adrian: Well, I didn't see you volunteer!
Austin: [To Adrian] Fortunately for you. I doubt that you have enough silk handkerchiefs!
Harvey: [Rising slowly, knee joints popping loudly] By the saints, are your bones made of dark matter? [Takes a few shuffling steps and gains his balanfe] Right then, let's be on the off across this bally bridge, what!
Charlie: [Watching Harvey uneasily] Colonel, perhaps that is work better delegated to the cadets? [To Clint, snapping her fingers] Assist your superior officer, cadet, or it's KP for you!
Austin: Cadet? He must be nearly 70!
Adrian: [Looks at Clint and wrinkles his nose up] No, your attractive friend is correct. It is unlikely we have enough silken handkerchieves to afford me sufficient protection from his stench. [Taps his heels gently into Harvey's side] Mush! [HARVEY staggers across the bridge, eventually throwing himself onto the other side.]
Adrian: [Leaps up looking alert] Hah! Beach head established!
Austin: [Carefully tries to cross the bridge] Why in the Realms did they build such a feeble bridge! Such shoddy workmanship!
Harvey: [Puffing and panting, to Adrian] Right you! Off!
Adrian: [Standing surveying the scene, looking heroic] Ah, I forgot my hat!
Charlie: [Eyeing Harvey in concern] Dur will get it!
Adrian: It is the fabulous purple velvet one with the most outrageous ostrich feather in it.
Dur: Fair warning, I am more likely to eat it than bring it back...
Adrian: Well, it is rather delicious, I must say!
Austin: [From Adrian to Dur] Who would have thought you two had common interests!
Harvey: It seems to me that a fabulous purple velvet hat with an ostrich feather stuck in it, is not the type of low key apparel required to sneak past two hundred feet tall super beings intent on ripping us from limb to limb, what!
Charlie: [Nods at Harvey's words] Yes, unless the opponent is resting amid a herd of ostriches, or perhaps has an ostrich allergy, neither of which seems likely.
Adrian: [Downcast] I fear neither are even remotely likely.
Davis: Excellent! Let's get the sheet out.
Austin: I do hope it goes well with my suit. It could be a horrible clash if they used ginger kittens!
Harvey: Right troupe, let us be as quiet and cautious as possible!
Alice: [Takes out a huge bag of crisps and crunches one] Good idea, Harvey. [Holds up the super crinkly bag] Crisp, anyone but Dur?
Davis: [Unfolds a huge parachute] I don't think there are any cats involved in this.
Harvey: [Takes a big crisp from the packet and loudly begins munching and crunching] Mmm, by the saints, cheese and cheese flavour, with extra cheesey cheese! My favourite!
Austin: [Takes a crips and a nibble of it] Where in the Realms did you get these?
Charlie: [Eyes the crisps] You would not happen to have a packet in Plain Toast flavor? I find these ones a bit too much.
Alice: No, but I could suck all the cheese and cheese flavourings off them and that might approximate it! [To Austin] I always have a pack with me in case of emergencies.
Austin: [To Alice] That is excellent planning! Perhaps I should make you our Sargent.
Dur: Hey! That sounds like something I would eat!
I will be out of the office tomorrow FYI and with the holiday on Monday your lovable doctor won’t return until Tuesday!
Clint: Yeah! Dur's in charge of food procurement! That probably explains why we have liver or kidneys so often...
Alice: Oh, wow! Sergeant! [Turns to Harvey] Is that good? That's like, queen, or something, right?
Charlie: [To Alice] No, it is a term used to mock strong women in positions of authority, here applied to Dur in an attempt to further demean me! [To Dur, brightly] No offense!
Austin: {motivational speaking voice] Sergeants are the Bastion of the military unit, leading from the front, skilled, quick witted and able. A force to be reckoned with. Being a sergeant is no mockery!
Alice: Harvey, what do you think? Is he being serious? And, for that matter, does he have a mandate to do this?
Harvey: I do not believe so, dear girl. He is a civilian, so neither has a mandate nor the authority to assign rank amongst this troupe!
Austin: We are all civilians, Colonel. Even you are retired!
Harvey: Indeed so, Mr Sleaze, indeed so! We are all rankless civilians!
Alice: Huh. That's strange. I thought Austin liked the man dates.
Charlie: [To Alice, helpfully] Mandate does not mean what you think it means. [Hands her a dictionary] Look up the word and then copy the definition down in your notepad, and I shall review the work later!
Alice: [Looks at the dictionary] What is this thing?
Harvey: [Looks at the cover] Why, it's a book used to look up the meaning of words, by describing the word you're looking for by a set of different words, which often in themselves, need to also be looked up to find their meaning!
Alice: That certainly sounds like a lot of words! Maybe if you simply didn't read the book in the first place you wouldn't have to look up the words in it?
Austin: Absolutely. It's a solution that makes it's own problems.
Alice: Well, we're just solving problems all over the place today!
Davis: Let's get under the sheet before one of the Originals spots us.
Harvey: [Steps under the sheet and holds it above his head and sniffs] Hmm, I hope this works, for this cat sheet smells more than a little of bull sheet, what!
Charlie: [Eagerly heads for the sheet, pulling Alice along] Marvelous, this will give us some focused time to strengthen your dictionary skills! By the time we leave this cat sheet, you will learn to love words!
Alice: I can think of two words I'd like to say right now!
[Everyone crowds under the sheet.]
Dur: Is one of them panstwich?
Alice: No.
Charlie: [Beaming] Are they thank and you?! You are quite welcome, and I hope the dictionary brings you many days and nights of unadulterated joy!
Alice: [Clenches her fists] Give me that! [Grabs the dictionary and flicks through some pages] Here we go. [Zips down through a page] Here we go. [Loudly] Crap!
Davis: Sh! There's one right in front of us! He's looking right at us!
End of scene!
[Book XI, Act V, Scene VI. Under The Sheet. ALICE, AUSTIN, CHARLIE, CLINT, DUR, HARVEY, DAVIS and ADRIAN are here, all standing very still.]
Davis: [Quietly] He's passing by real close. Real, real close.
Austin: [Quietly] How do you know it a male?
Dur: [Quietly and cowardly] Does that really matter right now?
Austin: [Whispers] More than you might think!
Charlie: Mr. Sleaze, do please refrain from making sexist assumptions! Our party alone is sufficient proof that males [nods not-so-subtly at Dur] are often the weaker of the species!
Davis: All True Originals are male.
Clint: [Beaming.] Maybe you should write a screed about the philosophical and theological ramifications of this useful fact, Sarge.
Alice: You could borrow my book with all the words. I bet Stinky would love to hear about how the most evil things to ever roam the Realms were all male.
Charlie: [Fascinated, whipping out a notepad] Oh, but how did they reproduce? Asexually?!
Austin: That's a very odd assumption!
Clint: Do they reproduce by having a piece of their body eaten, maybe?
Davis: Something like that. At least ingested in some way.
Charlie: [Puts away her notepad] Rather ghoulish, isn't it? I suppose that is what happens when an all-male race makes the rules!
Davis: That's nothing. You should hear their stance on public urination and genital scratching!
Harvey: Quite loudly and quite visibly to both, I'd imagine!
Davis: And don't get me started on their disturbing attitude to personal hygiene!
Charlie: [Brings out the notepad again, excited] Oh, do tell! And do they also show an inordinate interest in local sporting teams, closely linking their own sense of well-being and self-esteem to the relative success of that team? Whilst consuming large quantities of fried meats?