Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 16: A Ship of Fools

A Texan saves the day

Previously Daddykins hired a lawyer to make sure his daughter kept her titles.

Dear Reader, I suspect that you have been wondering when our story occurred. If you look on the map of history, you will find it located somewhere between the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War, that fiasco called the War to End All Wars. Of course, that was the Big Lie. That war didn’t end anything. If anything, it created even more stress on the world stage.

Actually, one could say the time of the novel was around 1896. In fact, I think I will state that very thing. It was 1896.

In those days, Great Britain was the Big To-Do and America some backwater colony. However, the Americans were sneaking up on the British. Soon they would have to bail their cousins across the pond out and save them from the Kaiser. But that is another story.

Science was sciencing. But Albert still had not discovered his e=mc two Einsteinian theory. The Curies were still dating, and I don’t mean carbon dating. The only Big Bang anybody had heard of was the toilet flushing; indoor plumbing was all the rage.

The last we heard of her ladyship, Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe, she was on the S. S. Twit twit-twit-twittering toward Egypt. After a night of rolling in the hay with a certain Smythie Smathers, she awoke alone. No British troubleshooter for the Royal Beeswax and Petroleum Jelly Corporation of East Potterdam next to her.

In the dining room, she found him carousing with a certain Frenchwoman, Crepe Suzette.

“Dear, do not make a scene,” Smathers demanded, a smirk on his smirk of a face.

“I’m making a scene?” she said. “I’m making a scene. I’ll show you a scene.”

The American picked a sharp knife off the table and raised it over her head.

Someone behind her grabbed her hand and wrenched the knife from it. She turned around. Before her stood a long, tall Texan in a big white hat. He placed the knife on the table.

“What the–?” she went to say.

“Ma’am, this piece of British trash isn’t worth it.”

“I resemble that remark,” Smythie Smathers said from his table, his face white from his close call with a knife.

“Who in the name of Brooklyn do you think you are?” Marye said to the Texan. Our heroine was angry and getting angrier by the second.

“Studdley Duddley at your service, ma’am,” he tipped his hat toward her ladyship. “I am a Texan.”

Her ladyship thought, “But of course. Every adventure must have a Texan in it. It doesn’t matter if he has anything to contribute. They just drop from the sky to dirty the waters of the story. And this story has to have this fool.”

“Go try your risk at whist,” Smythie Smathers said to the Texan. “You’re not wanted at this party.”

“Many prefer the game of whist,” Studdley said, standing there with his tongue hanging out staring at her ladyship’s morning bosoms. “But me, I am a stud poker man. The emphasis being on ‘stud’, ma’am. As all my lady friends will testify, my war cry is ‘Stud, poke her’. Old Studdley does try his best. But it seems my services are not needed here. So, it’s onward and upward. Remember what old Studdley told you. If you ever make it to Texas, you will have the bluest eyes in the state.” He tipped his hat and dropped out of sight.

She looked at S. S. and frowned. “What do you have to say for yourself, you Smythie Smathers?”

He looked at the knife on the table, reached over and removed it from danger. Anything to get it out of the way of this Madwoman from Brooklyn Heights by way of Haggismarshe.

“It isn’t what you think,” he said quietly, then turned to Crepe Suzette. “Crepe, go feint a faint or do something quaint and make yourself scarce. I have to straighten out our American friend.”

Crepe slipped off into the morning to sweeten up some other man’s breakfast. After all, that is what she did.

“What do you mean,” her ladyship demanded, “straighten out our American friend? You’d better have a damned good answer or this Brooklyn Heights girl is going to be doing some straightening out herself.””

“I am sorry, Your Ladyship,” Smythie said. “I only meant … I certainly would be much more comfortable if you sat down and joined me for a cup of morning tea.”

“This had better be something on the better side of good,” she said. “I won’t have tea. I am a coffee-drinking woman and I like my coffee strong and straight-up, no cream, no sugar. Like I like my men. And you don’t qualify.” She pulled out a chair and sat down and stared at him with a don’t mess-with-me stare.

S. S. called over to a waiter. “A cup of coffee for her ladyship.”

The waiter frowned. He would get the coffee but it wasn’t right. One had tea, not coffee. He had a cup of the black drink once. It tasted awful. And he couldn’t sleep for a week afterward. But he would get it. After all, that was his job. Getting things.

He went and pulled a cup off the counter. He poured coffee into the cup. He whispered to another waiter nearby, “When she is through with her coffee, we’re going to have to destroy the cup. The dishwasher will never get the awful taste of the black brew out of the cup.”

The coffee arrived with sugar and cream.

“You can take that away,” her ladyship said to the waiter. “Can’t stand sugar or cream with my coffee.” She lifted the cup to her lips.

S. S. leaned over and whispered, “I am on a mission for the government.”

The black coffee shot from her mouth and onto his face. She laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding. You mean to tell me that the government asked you to bop me while I was mopping up the floor bopping you last night. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Let me just say plastics,” Smathers whispered some more as he wiped the coffee off his face.

“Plastics?” her ladyship quizzed.

“Yes, plastics,” Smathers whispered even more.

“What in the name of Abe Lincoln are plastics?” her ladyship asked.

“Shhhh,” Smathers whispered. “Someone who shouldn’t might hear you say the magic word. It might even be He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named.”

Our heroine was almost on the floor with laughter. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. What had made her think that this Smythie Smathers was worth her time of day, much less her night in bed? Her taste in men … could it get any worse? Compared to this clown, Dilly was Prince Charming.

Then again maybe he was on to something. She sat up straight and calmed herself. “Okay, I’m all ears. But remember John Smith did not raise a fool for a daughter. I may be a British ladyship but I ain’t some gullible rube you can reel in with your line about some plastics.”

“Yes, plastics. Oh, you mean you haven’t seen the movie ‘The Graduate’?”

“What’s a movie? It’s 1896 and I have never heard of this thing you call a movie. What the—is a graduate? I mean I graduated from high school. Guess that makes me a graduate. But I am not sure about you, fellow. What loony factory did you come out of?”

“I am from the future, old girl. I came here via a Delorean but I ran out of gas. Since I am on a secret mission, I had to practice my missionary work last night.”

“That had better be practice,” her ladyship leaned over and whispered. “If that is the best you can do, you had better find another position. Because you’re not that good at this one. And just what in the name of everything that is American is a Delorean?”

“No, no, no,” Smythie Smathers whispered back at her. “You misunderstand.”

“You deflower my honor,” her ladyship complained, “and now you’re coming up with some cock and bull story that you’re from the future. It’s slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am. Well, no thank you, sir. No thank you.” She goes to stand up.

S. S. puts his hand on her gloved hand.

“Let go of my hand,” her ladyship said, “or I’ll call Mr. Tex back over here. And he can wax up the floor with you.”

“Please let me explain,” he pleaded.

“First let go of my hand. Then explain.”

He released her hand like it was a hot potato.

“Make it fast,” she demanded. “I am in the mood for a good lunch. And you’re starting to turn my stomach.”

“Yes, yes,” he said, getting on with it. “As I said I am on a mission from the government in the future. I have to stop some woman named Mata Hari. If I seduce you, I will be able to seduce her. I realized that you would be the much harder to seduce. Now I know I can seduce her.”

“Mata Hari? I know that name. I met her on a train but I never knew she had fame, that dame. She promised me a knife in the heart if she caught up with me again.”

“Yes, that sounds like the one and the same. She’s a spy. If I seduce her, I can slow her down and she won’t be able to meet up with the world famous American big game hunter, Johnny Eager. He has a package for her.”

“I see. I am still not overly convinced you are being absolutely truthful. The future and all? Do you think I am one of your Crepe Suzettes? I am not a tart, French or otherwise. Sounds like you and your conscience ought to have a conversation. Spy indeed.”

“I am afraid I don’t have a conscience. When you are in the missionary game the way I am, you can’t afford one. It is the white man’s burden after all. I say, would you care to help me practice some more later. I could use another session and you’re quite good, you know.”

She jumped up and slapped him with one of her white gloves. “You cad. How dare you? You’re after one thing and it is not Mata Hari. You want to get back into my pantaloons, don’t you? Well, thank you very much, but no thank you.”

“May I be of service, ma’am?” A large man in an even larger uniform extra-large stepped up beside her.

“My, my, what big stripes you have,” her ladyship said. She smiled her largest smile of the day, even larger than she had smiled the night before.

“Sgt. Mack Truck of the United States Gyrenes at your service, ma’am.”

“Kind sergeant,” Marye said, “would you please take my arm and escort me from these proceedings? The stench is getting too much for me, and I fear I shall faint.”

He took her arm and the two walked away from Smythie Smathers’s table. Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott looked back at the spy’s table. He had been rejoined by Crepe Suzette. “May I offer you a treat, Sergeant,” she asked the big fellow, “for your gallant rescue?’

“I do like pastry, ma’am,” the Truck offered.

“I am sure you do.” She smiled an even wider smile than before.

Next week: Will Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott ever make it to Egypt?

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You just can’t win

An argument with myself

There is nary a cloud in the sky. Well, maybe a few. Not enough to need an umbrella. Still maybe an umbrella is needed.

Naw, be brave.

What if it rains?

You know it’s not going to rain. No rain in the forecast.

That’s true but I don’t know.

Even if it does, you’ll get a little wet. Water never hurt anybody. Now did it?

What about the wicked witch of the west?

Yeah, well she deserved it. You’re not her. You’re not going to melt. So forget the umbrella and get on with your walk.

I’m getting my umbrella.

What, and look like a fool.

Those are big clouds.

And they are not rain clouds. Admit that. They’re nice clouds. The kind of clouds you want on a summer’s day.

Still. I should carry my umbrella.

People will laugh at you.

If it rains, I’ll be the one laughing.

Okay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Then again maybe you’re right.

I walk a half mile and it starts raining.

See. I told you that you should carry an umbrella.

Uncle Bardie’s Creator: Rais Bhuiyan and Forgiveness

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Rais Bhuiyan:

 

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 15: Daddykins Does London

What’s a rich man without a solicitor?

Previously Johnny Eager, big game hunter extraordinaire, had a tete-a-tete with a rhinoceros.

The sign above the office door on the London street said “Flip, Fop & Flimby, Solicitors at Law.” “Kind of like lawyers, these solicitors, only English,” thought John Smith, Lady P. P.’s Daddykins. He checked the address to see if it was the one given him by his friend, the prominent New York City lawyer, Norman Amelioretius Nestorsteen. It was.

John Smith had come to London to “give the old girl a poke,” the old girl being his Pocahontas Shipping Line. It was his way of making sure the business got the hands-on treatment she needed. A poke here and a poke there and pretty soon things were hokey-pokey-ing along nicely. All that poking had turned the Shipping Line from a line of tramps into the proper ladies the ships were meant to be.

When he heard the news that there were those about to commit malfeasance against his only child and cheat her out of her titles, he did what he always did. He took matters into his own hands. He was not about to allow anyone to steal what was rightfully hers. But to get to the right course of action, he first had to gather all the facts. Then he would give things the poke they needed to resolve them in his little Mary-Mary’s favor.

He opened the door and stepped into the solicitors’ office. Behind two small desks sat two small men, one on the right, the other on the left. Immediately John Smith knew which was Fop and which was Flimby. Like Chessie, Quill’s older brother, Fop was dressed to the nines with a spot of rouge on each cheek. Any woman would have been pleased to be seen at his side in society. The American could tell he was a dandy dude or rather a doodley dandy as his rich buds back in the Big Apple would say. A regular fop-about.

However, to say that his partner, Flimby, was dog-faced insulted the breed. Hyena yes, dog no.

“Mr. Flimby?” John Smith bowed his head toward Flimby. “Mr. Fop?” He bowed in the direction of Flimby’s partner.

“Yes,“ Flimby said. He was always the one who said the said first.

“Isn’t there a Mr. Flip as well? At least, that’s what I was told.”

Flimby harrumphed his best harrumph, then spoke in a solictoristic monotone, “Not to be flippant about it, Mr. Flip is no longer with the firm. He became rather flippant with a case not too long ago. Drove the client flappers if you know what we mean. Ended in a duel and had himself dueled to death.”

“I see,” John Smith said, looking around the office. There were books and papers and papers and books scattered everywhere. “Let me introduce myself. My name is John Smith and I need your help.”

Fop took a sniff of snuff from his diamond snuff box. “You are not English.” Fop sniffed. “Aristocratic English gentlemen are our only clients.”

“You were recommended. Your reputation is highly regarded by your peers in America.”

Flimby was duly impressed that the firm’s reputation had made it all the way across the pond to the Colonies. He stood up to offer John Smith a chair. “Perhaps we could …”

“We cannot,” Fop interrupted. “It isn’t done, sir.”

Little did Fop know that what John Smith wanted he got. John Smith was a gambler, and he knew how to convince others to show their cards. He had bluffed most of his life. Bluffing was what he did and bluffing was what he would do now.

“I see,” John Smith said, accepting Mr. Flimby’s offer of a chair. “Then you don’t need money. Because I have money. A lot of money. And I am here to make any inconvenience worth your time.”

“You have money?” Flimby asked.

Fop challenged his partner, “It isn’t done, Mr. Flimby. How could we ever live with ourselves?”

“Money can soothe,” John Smith winked, “the worried mind.”

“That’s true, Mr. Fop. Money does soothe. And we do like money, do we not?”

“You’d sell your soul to the devil, Mr. Flimby, if you thought it would bring in a pound.”

“How else are you going to bribe Saint Peter to get him to let you through those Pearly Gates?” John Smith said. “Money does that.”

Fop was having none of this. “It will get you a first-class ticket to hell.”

This was always their strategy. Flimby would be hospitable, offer to take the case. Fop would have an excuse to refuse it. The client would offer more money. Eventually the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Mr. Fop would yield. Regretfully so. Still, he would yield.

“I would hate,” John Smith said, “to have you go against your conscience. I suppose I must find another solicitor to take the case. But I had heard you gentlemen were very receptive.”

Fop realized he was losing the case. Like the good solicitor he was, he yielded to a point of order. “It is possible that my conscience could be soothed if it was an interesting case. Of course, it would have to be interesting.”

“I see,” John Smith said. “It does involve a titled person.”

“Ah,” Flimby said, sitting back down behind his desk. “A titled person you say.”

“You don’t say.” Mr. Fop popped a lozenge into his mouth. His interest was piqued in a piquéd sort of way.

“I do say,” John Smith said.

“Tell us more.” Flimby was all ears and that was an easy thing to say since his ears looked like wings that could lift his head right off his tiny little body.

“It involves a certain Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe.”

“How do you know this lady?” Mr. Fop winked. “Your mistress?” A mischievous grin crossed his face. This was getting interesting indeed.

John Smith’s face turned red. But he held his anger in check. A smile crossed his lips. When he wanted to check his anger, he smiled. “I resent the implication, sir. Said lady is my daughter.”

“I do apologize, Mr. Smith,” Flimby said, “for my impetuous partner. At times, he gets carried away a bit. I am sure he meant no harm. Did you, Mr. Fop?”

“I do apologize,” Mr. Fop said apologizingly. “I only meant to say … oh, never mind. I apologize. Sincerely I do. Am I forgiven, Mr. Smith?”

“Well,” John Smith said hesitatingly. He now had these gentlemen in his hands. They owed him for the rudeness of Fop, and he wasn’t about to let the rooster out of the hen house, no sirree. “Here is the situation. There is talk coming from your House of Lords concerning my daughter. I want you to investigate the matter. If there is any proof, I would like a list of men who might be receptive to changing their minds. If you know what I mean.”

“We could do that,” Flimby said.

“It might be costly,” Mr. Fop said.

“You let me take care of the persuasion. You worry about the sense and sensibility. I want you to relate to me who has the sense and who has the sensibility. That way I can be persuasive with their pride and prejudice.”

“Ah,” Mr. Fop said, revealing his true self, a man who cared more for cash than for privilege. “This could be very interesting indeed. Might even involve members of the Queen’s own household. They might be persuaded. The old biddy does keep them on a short lease, economically speaking.”

John Smith rose out of his chair. “So, we have a deal?”

“I do believe so,” Flimby said. “It may take some time. But I do believe so.”

“How may we reach you, Sir?” Mr. Fop asked.

“I shall be at the Northanger Abbey Hotel. I can be reached there.” John Smith reached over and shook their hands. Then he went to the door, opened it and walked out onto the London street.

 Next Week a Texan saves the day.

Cause for celebrating

They’re all on their way to work. Some translators. Some teachers. Some work in banks and some don’t. They all have one thing in common. They’re on the way to a job.

They catch the Emerald City Express from the Yellow Brick Road to Wiz Blvd. They all work for the Wizard. They are the happiest of people. Well, most of them are. Some still have a hangover from last night’s partying till all hours.

They partied to celebrate Dorothy’s return to the Emerald City. She was gone for sixteen months. Doesn’t seem like much but Oz had gone to hell in a handbasket since she took off for Kansas. Now she was back, and already she had reasserted her position as the Go-to Kid. She had taken care of the Wicked Witch of the North.

Three months ago, WWN, better known as Hissy Fitt, came down from the North. She had revenge on her mind. She’d made a bid for the Munchkin Sock franchise and lost it to Snow White and the Seven Sneezes.

As she rode her broom into town, she kept saying, “Winter is coming.” Can you imagine? “Winter is coming.” What in the name of the long legged frog was that all about?

Hissy took the Emerald City in three seconds flat. Oztown didn’t have a clue what hit it. It had no defenses to speak of. Before you could say, “Before you could say,” the City was snowed in. The Munchkins were freezing in their little booties. Oz was affright with fright. There was snow everywhere.

At first, there weren’t any complaints. The kids got some time off from school. The workers got to stay home and drink eggnog. A month later and all the workers had used up their vacation and sick leave. The kids were driving their parents nuts because they were downright bored. “Enough of snow ice cream and snowball fights. We want to go back to school and play with our friends,” the kids said in their high-pitched kiddie voices.

And there was no break in the snow. It just kept coming down. The roof of the stadium dome was weighed down with snow. So much so, the roof came crashing down upon Oz’s Green Mealies, the Wiz’s own Quidditch Team. Just when they were about to give up hopeski, Dorothy’s house landed on Hissy’s head and killed her. Only her pointed ears could be seen. And quickly they melted.

At that moment, the snow went away. Suddenly it was springtime in Alaska again. So, as you can see, there was cause for celebrating. For now, they suffer through the hangovers and get back to what they do best. Their jobs.