Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 31: Constipation

Previously, three strangers in an inn.

“Take two poops and see me in the morning,” Doctor Qwackers said, after examining Mary-Mary Smith, the Lady Marye Wimpleseed Prissypott. She lay in the bed of her convent room and pulled the sheets over her. The doctor shoved his stethoscope back into his bag.

“Doctor, how is that going to help me recover my memory?” Mary-Mary Smith wanted to know. She wanted to know badly. Real badly.

“Your memories are damned up. It’s the constipation of the sturm und drang you’ve undergone. The damn needs to break. As soon as the wall breaks, all your memories will be released. Don’t worry, my dear. The flood of your memories will come, I assure you.”

Mary-Mary Smith watched the elderly doctor leave her room. How much longer was it to be before she knew who she was? How much longer? She buried her face in her pillow and cried herself to sleep. It was early evening, and her hope was about gone.

Next Week, Back in Dear Olde England

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Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 28: A bit of sightseeing for Lady P. P. Not.

Previously the ghosts of Haggismarche received some good news.

When you’ve escaped a shipwreck and made land, it is a good thing to sit on a beach and cry. Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott, the former Mary-Mary Smith, sat on a beach and cried. She cried harder than she had ever cried before. Even harder than the night before she was sent off to marry an English lord. She cried, but did not know why she was crying. She was sitting on the beach and crying until finally she had cried herself out.

“Now that I’ve had my little cry, I’ll cry no more.” She looked out at the rising yellow sun. She had never seen anything so beautiful. Its beauty ran through her like first love. It was wonderful to be alive. There was only one itsy-bitsy little problem. She did not know where she was or how she had gotten on that empty beach early that morning. She sat in her white underdress and her corset, her dress and her hoop skirt torn off by the sea. She sat there in that sand and gazed at the sun and tried to remember. Her memory was not returning to her.

Mary-Mary was hungry. But she had no money. She had nothing but herself.

Mary-Mary picked herself up off the sand. In the distance, there were mountains. Little did she know that they were the Serra de Collserola. From up the beach and toward the north came the hum of ships as they sailed in and out of a nearby port. The sounds confused our heroine. Should she go in their direction?

After some hesitation, she decided against it. She picked herself up off the beach, saw a cobblestone street and took it. The street winded its way toward a broad shallow hill overlooking the sea. Perhaps on her way up that hill she could find a kind face or someone who could guide her to help. She passed a milkman, his cart delivering milk to the houses she passed. He gave her a look as did several women she spotted on the other side of the street. Perhaps they were upset that she had no shoes on. Where were her shoes anyway?

She came to a church, the Church of St. Teresa de Avila and walked past it, then turned around. Don’t churches help lost souls such as myself? She went through the large cedar doors and into the sanctuary. In the church, several women had their heads covered. One was lighting a votive candle. The rest knelt before the altar, praying. Behind the white marble altar, there were statues of the Mother of Jesus, Jesus, and St. Teresa de Avila.

Mary-Mary felt that she should not be in that place. She opened the entrance door to go back out into the sunlight. Then she fainted.

Several hours later she woke up in a bed. She found herself covered with a white sheet, lying on white sheets, her head against a white pillow. The room was white. There was nothing on the walls but a cross above the door.

In a chair sat a woman reading. Her black dress and black habit matched her black hair. She looked up from her prayer book, her face filled with peace. She smiled at Mary-Mary, then said several words in a language the survivor of the S. S. Twit did not understand.

“I don’t understand,” Mary-Mary heard herself say. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

The woman rose from her chair, said another thing, then left the room. Several minutes later she returned with a gray-haired man with a gray beard. He wore a cassock. He looked like a priest. Yes, he must be a priest.

“Señora? Señorita?” he stood by her bed and said. “You’re awake.” Then he noticed the wedding ring. “You had us worried, Señora. Would you like something to eat?”

“Yes please,” Mary-Mary said.

The priest turned to the woman she realized was a nun and said some words in the language Mary-Mary did not understand. The nun left.

“I am Father Jerome. You came into our church, and you fainted. We have been waiting for you to wake. Would you like to tell me something of yourself? How did God bring you to us?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know, Father. I woke up on the beach and walked up the streets until I came to your church. Something told me that I should come into the church. But I found it all very strange.”

The priest smiled. “That was God. He led you to us.”

The nun returned with a large bowl of soup and two slices of bread and a cup of hot tea.

“Have some nourishment. I have some duties to take care of. I will return late this afternoon, and we will see if we can sort this out, you and I with God’s help.”

Late that afternoon the priest returned. The nun had found Mary-Mary a long dress. It was white and she was sitting at the small table in the room.

“So, Señora,” the priest said. “I see the nuns have gotten you something more appropriate to wear, and you look like you’ve had some nourishment. You think you can talk now so that we may discover what brought you to us?”

Mary-Mary shook her head.

Father Jerome joined her at the table where she was sipping a cup of tea. He sat down and faced her from across the table. He folded his arms on the table and struck a pose that made her feel that he was totally listening to her.

“Where am I, Father?”

“You are on the outskirts of Barcelona in the convent attached to the Church of St. Teresa de Avila. You sound American but you have a little British accent to your English. From the ring on your finger, you must be a married woman.”

“Barcelona?”

“Catalonia”

Mary-Mary gave him a look as if he were talking about the moon.

“España. Spain.”

“The nun that was here when I woke,” she said slowly, struggling to see through the haze of her disorientation, “that has brought me soup and tea, she must be Spanish. Yes, she must. What am I doing in Barcelona?”

“That is what we need to find out. How did you come to be here?”

“All I know is that I woke up on the beach this morning. I saw a street and I started walking. I was starved. Other than that. I don’t remember anything else.”

“I have heard cases of such as yours. It is called amnesia. Something traumatic must have occurred. You can’t remember anything else?”

“No, Father. What am I going to do?” she asked, then resignedly, “What am I going to do?”

“Let us not worry about that right now. The important thing is that you recuperate. Please accept our hospitality until we, you and I, can figure out what you next move will be.”

“Thank you, Father. I am sorry I am such a bother. I wish I could be more help.”

“You are no bother. It is our mission to provide hospitality to the stranger, the outcast and the pilgrim. We, the nuns and I, are here to help in any way we can. When you are feeling better I would like for you to have a visit with the Abbess. She is the mother of this congregation. Her name is Mother Sarah, and she will be overjoyed that you are feeling better.”

“How come you speak my language so well when the others do not?”

“I spent ten years in a mission in Texas. I cared for both the Mexicans and the Anglos. My health became poor. Since Barcelona is my home, I was assigned to this church.”

“You are ill?”

“I am better,” Father Jerome said. “Now you must have your rest. I will see you in the morning after I celebrate mass. Are you Catholic?”

“I don’t know, Father. I don’t know.”

“Ah, I forgot. Even if you are not, let me give you this.” The priest handed her a rosary. He blessed it as it sat in her hand. “Perhaps you would like to pray the prayer.”

“Yes, Father, I would.”

“Then tomorrow I will teach you. I know the Madonna, the Mother of Our Lord, is watching over you. Listen for her voice. She will speak to you.”

Over the next few days, Mary-Mary recuperated as she opened herself up to the hospitality of the priest and the nuns. She found a place to sit outside in the sun. She would spend hours, sitting in her chair, praying the rosary and trying to remember. After about a week of this, she asked to speak to the Abbess.

It was a bright spring morning when she went to see the Abbess whose office was on the third floor of the Convent. Behind a small desk stacked with papers sat an older woman in a nun’s dress and habit. On the wall behind her was a picture of St. Teresa de Avila, smiling down upon her disciple with kindness. Mary-Mary looked at the woman. Mary-Mary looked at the picture. She looked back at the woman. The two could have been twins.

The woman rose from behind her desk. She embraced Mary-Mary like a mother embraces a daughter, then she guided Mary-Mary over to a sofa. The two sat down. The nun studied the young woman’s face for several minutes.

Finally, she asked, her voice very soft, “Are you doing well, my child?”

Mary-Mary shook her head yes.

“Are you starting to remember?”

Mary-Mary started to cry. She cried for several minutes. The nun waited. The nun reached into a pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She handed it to Mary-Mary. Mary-Mary wiped the tears from her face, then continued to sob.

“I can’t remember anything before that morning I came here. I am sorry, Mother. I am so sorry.”

Next Week: Wah Wah

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott #21: It’s a long swim to Temporary

Previously the S. S. Twit sank. Our heroine went over the side of ship.

A gush of wind lifted our heroine’s skirt and took her upward. Below and behind Marye, the ship was going down, down, down, and it was not coming back up. There was yelling and screaming and gnashing of teeth and splashing of feet. The hull was rolling over. The poop deck was pooping all over the water and crashing into the sea. The monster was sucking everyone and everything underwater.

Further and further out to sea, Lady P. P. flew, her skirt buoying her above the water. The ship receded into the distance. Then the wind went calm.

Ksplash! She hit the water. Down, down, down, down into the deep she went, and down, down, down she went some more, her skirt dragging her deeper. She struggled desperately with the cloth. Finally, it was off, then she swam upward toward air.

Marye’s head popped out of the water and she found herself doing the breast stroke. One of her arms went in front of the other, then the other arm reached out and went down into the sea, pulling her toward what she hoped was the coastline.

If there had been a candidate to swim the English Channel in those days, it would have been her ladyship. She was that good of a swimmer. Swim, swim, swim. That’s all she did in her high school years. There were times her mother said that Mary-Mary Smith was no daughter of hers. She was really a fish, and one day she would find a tail at the end of her legs, not feet. So, if anyone could swim the Mediterranean and hit land, it was Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott.

As she swam, she speculated that it was possible that she was the only one who survived the dark cloud and the sinking of the S. S. Twit. The Twit had twittered its last twit and gone down into the sea, never to be seen again, and there was no getting over that. She started to cry. A long, hard, uncontrollable cry.

All those people one moment breathing, dancing, conversing, eating, singing, playing, bopping, now buried in a grave of water. What a waste. A terrible waste. Sgt Mack Truck of the United States Gyrenes, Studdley Duddley, the Stud from Texas who wanted to play Studdley Poke Her, the Captain Pedro Emmanuel Montoya Henandez Gabriel Garcia de Toledo San Cristobel y Mendoza Cantabria, the internationally famous Tootles “The Tootler” Tootle Lou and her buddies in the The Tootles International Orchestra. She mourned them all. Even Crepe Suzette. Even Smythie Smathers. And she especially mourned her Pippy. He might have been a Pipsqueak, but he could have been the One True Love she had been searching for.

One hundred and fifty passengers and the Tao had blown up in their faces. Some had gone splat, some had simply gone. They were to be no more. They were to be ghosts to follow her for the rest of her life. She would never escape that. One hour, two hours, three passed of grieving before her ladyship managed to control her emotions. How she had saved herself she did not know. But she had, and it was good to be alive.

On she swam, a long, hard slog ahead of her. But she slogged the slog and she swam the long swim. Onward and onward she drove herself, hoping she was driving herself toward some shore. Only one thing passed through her thoughts. Please, some land please, and thank you and soon. She could have used a compass. A map. Google Earth. A gps system. If only she had had an iPhone, it would have been really nice. Anything to give her hope that she was somewhere near.

North her ladyship swam, the cool Mediterranean night embracing her. There were times when she stopped, taking a few minutes to float, and she looked out at the sea around her and marveled at the miracle of it all. She had survived, and she felt at one with her surroundings.

She had come further than she had ever expected. She survived her mother always harping, always haranguing. Her mother forced her to marry some old fuddy duddy of a British lord. She came to like him, possibly even love him. Then he died. And in a bowl of soup of all things. She suffered through the months following his death, trying to see through the fog of her grief what direction she was to take. She took the Orient Express. She survived Mata Hari’s attempt on her young life.

The British ambassador in Istanbul had not believed her and shoved her off to his little flunky, Nyles Chowder Rucket, who wouldn’t come out from behind his little desk in his very small closet for hell or high water. She was American, you know, and she had survived the humiliation of that experience. She had met and dallied with Dilly O’Jones, her boyfriend from Brooklyn Heights. It was dissatisfying but she had realized she was too a real woman. All she needed was not just any man but a real man.

On board the S. S. Twit, she resisted the Captain’s Bed of Captain Pedro Emmanuel . When she thought of him, all she could think of was what a roller coaster of a name he had. She had been taken for a ride by the English oilman Smythie Smathers of the Royal Beeswax and Petroleum Jelly Corporation of East Potterdom and his little French tart, Crepe Suzette. She had lost her new German friend, the Bavarian gentleman’s gentleman Pipsqueak Pimplesquat. Though short and monocled, Pippy had been a perfect gentleman. Unlike some. They had developed a very close partnership dancing the light fantastic fantastically. They had come very close to a close encounter of the bodily kind.

She had survived all this so she knew she would survive anything that came her way no matter what the Fates had in store. After all, she was her father’s daughter, Mary-Mary Smith, Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe.

She drew in a long deep breath and she swam on.

Next week: There’s s a rumble in the jungle.

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 20: S. S. Twit-tering Along

Previously the ghosts of Haggismarshe and the Prime Minister were upset.

The S. S. Twit’s crew calmed the passengers, telling them there was no iceberg. The panic turned into an applause, then the passengers dispersed. The S. S. Twit steamed along like the Little Steamboat That Could, happy with the knowledge that it was not about to be sent to Davy Jones’ Locker.

In the ballroom, Tootles “The Tootler” Tootle Lou and her Orchestra swung its swing with The Doodlebug Ragtime and “We’re going to rock it like it’s 1899″. Then they changed the pace with a rendition of “France may be a country, but Paris is a city.” It was a waltz.

“How exciting,” Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott said, her ladyship following her German companion’s dance steps. “We were almost on a sinking ship.”

“Some people like to follow the weather,” said the monocled German Pipsqueak Pimplesquat. “That does not mean they long to live through a hurricane. I have been through two sinkings, and I can guarantee you, fraulein, it is never exciting.”

There was such a longing in the music, the violins leading the singer into sadness territory. It had most of the listeners sobbing. It was that sad.

Such a loverly waltz with such a loverly man, her ladyship thought. Goose pimples pimpled up and down her spine. Her bosoms were blossoming at the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations between Haggismarshe and Bavaria with this Bavarian gentleman of a German. Her monocled partner seemed to fit her bill as a candidate for Mr. Right. And he spoke very good English too. So there would be no need for a translator between the sheets.

Outside a dark cloud moved out from the land, across the sea, and toward the S. S. Twit. It was very dark and very foreboding; that’s the kind of cloud it was.

Pipsqueak Pimplesquat, his face directly facing the tall woman’s bosoms, overcame his reticence to advance the relationship to a new level of diplomatic partnership and asked, “Shall we repair to my drawing room? I have some very nice drawings there. Drawings you most certainly will admire.” It seemed to be the right good move in his way of existentialist thinking, and it was well put.

Slam! Bam! The ship hit … something. Something big. Something hard.

Pipsqueak Pimplesqueak and Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott had a close encounter of the bodily kind. “My darling,” he said, feeling her bosoms up close and personal. “I did not know you cared.”

“I did not know I cared either,” her ladyship said.

From the crow’s nest, a sailor cried out, “We’ve been hit. I am not kidding. We are sinking. Oh, my gosh, we are sunk.” Then he jumped, flying off the tippy-top top of the ship and crashing down toward the deck. He missed the deck and hit the side of the ship and thumped off and into the sea.

Smythie Smathers was taking a dump, got a bump and a pump went up his rump. Thwump! and he was thumped across the plump toilet. Then he slumped and he crumpled. He was dead as a doorknob. Deader than a doorknob. He was really dead.

Crepe Suzette bit off more of a companion’s meat platter than her French tartness could chew, swallowed hard and choked to death.

Studdley Duddley stood and announced to his fellow poker-playing pals, “It has been an honor and downright fun to take your money. But I do believe it is time to skedaddle and rope myself a lifeboat.” He rose and left his tablemates stammered and stunned. Quick thinking was always Studdley’s greatest strength. Especially when it came to self-preservation.

The S. S. Twit had hit a snag. A rather big snag. The biggest snag you can imagine, dear Reader. It hit the Rock of Gibraltar. How the ship had gotten that far off course was anybody’s guess. After all, it should have been in Alexandria’s harbor, not the western Mediterranean.

Some blamed the ship’s pilot, Wongway Wongway, and his pilotage. His ineptness had guided him through a career of screw-ups. Though he kept screwing up, he kept being hired. You see, he worked cheap. Very cheap. What can a guy named Wongway Wongway do besides pilot boats? Open a Chinese restaurant even though he was not Chinese and could not cook? Maybe if Wongway Wongway had a gps or Google Earth, he would not have hit Gibraltar. No, he would have read the coordinates upside down. It was the way of things. The way the yin meets the yang and blows up in your face when you least expect it, that way of things. And some blamed the Captain for hiring him.

Pipsqueak, a gentleman’s gentleman in his best gentlemanly form, pried himself from her ladyship’s body and escorted her off the dance floor.

The floor shook. It shook a lot and it began to lean to the port, then to the aft, then back to the portside. Everyone was heading for the doors, including Pipsqueak, her ladyship and the toot-toot-tootler. The singer pulled the door open and went through, shouting, “Tootle lou and skip to my do, my darlings. It’s toot, toot, tootsie goodbye. The Toot is out of here. Exit stage left.”

Lady Marye and Pipsqueak were right behind her out the door. On the deck, they encountered lots of pan and lots of demonium and lots of pandemonium. People were running to and fro, fro and to, and to and fro again. Pipsqueak yelled, “What’s going on?”

Someone passing someone else yelled back, “We’re running to-and-fro and, if that isn’t enough, we’re running fro-and-to.”

“I am going tootle-lou,” Tootles said and jumped over the side of the ship. On her way down to the water, she cried, “Yippee. I’m having a ding-dong daddy in a ping-pong-paddywack-give-a-dog-a-bone kind of day. Gee, I always wanted to say that and now I have.”

Splat.

The ship started to shake, rattle and roll.

Sgt Mack Truck took it all in his Girine stride. He had faced down Jessie and Frank James in Missouri. He had faced down the notorious Billy the Kid in Tombstone. He had faced down Sitting Bull at Little Big Horn. He had faced down the Spanish at San Juan Hill. He was a Girine and there was nothing he had not met before.

Standing on the deck, helping the ladies into the lifeboats, the sergeant did not see the thing coming. The flag pole above him broke loose from the ship and fell, fell, fell and ran straight into The Truck’s head, through his body, and out his foot. He stood on the deck for moments without thinking. That’s when it came to him. “I am dead. Oh yes, I am dead. No more United States Gyrenes for me.” Then Sgt. Mack Truck of the United States Gyrenes fell to the deck.

A lady was in the Captain’s Bed, her hormones hormoning next to Captain Pedro Emmanuel. Suddenly their hormones stopped their hormonizations. Out popped the Captain’s pooper from her amusement park of love, and he was on his feet. Something had happened to his ship.

“What the … ?” Captain Pedro Emmanuel asked as he pulled his pullover on and slid into his pants.

The woman in the Captain’s Bed said, “Slam bam thank-you ma’am. Just like a man. Always eating and running. You’re abandoning me like all the others.”

“Madame,” the captain said. “Have you no sense of decency? My ship is sinking and this is not the time for more piddle-paddling.”

“Excuses, excuses,” the woman said. “Always excuses.”

“Well,” the captain said, “why don’t you wait here. I will be back in a jiffy.”

“Right,” the woman said. “You know how to break a woman’s heart. You get your way with her, then you’re out of there.”

The captain gallantly leaned over and kissed her succulent lips. “I am sorry, my darling Señora. When I come back, I will take over where I left off. You will be satisfied. That I promise. Extremely satisfied.” Then he was out the door.

Of course, he wouldn’t come back. They never came back. It was always like this. She was always a woman on a sinking ship. But a woman could hope the Titanic wouldn’t sink, couldn’t she?

Captain Pedro Emmanuel Montoya Henandez Gabriel Garcia de Toledo San Cristobel y Mendoza Cantabria headed fore, then aft, then athwartship, then starboard, then port. He ran through the ship’s companionways and out onto the fo’castle and he ran smack dab into the Big Rock. The monster stared into his eyes. He stared back at Gibraltar and felt the S. S. Twit slowly sinking. Not much time.

“Everyman for himself!” he yelled below at the First Mate.

“Skipper!” the First Mate called back. “What about the passengers?”

“They’re all tourists, Señor First Mate,” the captain yelled above the screaming and the whining and the complaining and the crying and the yelling. “Get the hell off the ship.”

“Whatever happened to the captain going down with the ship?” the First Mate cried.

“You have been promoted,” the captain cried back. “You are the captain now.” Then he jumped.

That dark cloud I told you about earlier, dear Reader, it had arrived. It filled the sky above the S. S. Twit. The world had gone black.

Pipsqueak and her ladyship ran to the edge of the deck. They looked down into the waters below. The sea was azure. Besides that, it was blue. Bluer than blue. It was indeed blue.

“Shall we dance the light fantastic, mine fraulein?” Pippy said.

“You betcha,” Marye said. Over the side of the deck, she followed Pippy as he jumped. He let go of her hand and shoved her out to sea. His body hit the side of the boat and bounced into the water.

Next Week: A Nice Night for a Long Swim