Penelope – Countess of Arcadia Sneak Peek Part Two

You know that feeling you get when your favorite author asks you if you’d like to host a story of theirs on your blog? Well, I didn’t either until this morning. Hint: it feels amazing. I might have smoked a cigarette afterwards if I, you know, smoked.

Helena Hann-Basquiat, dilettante, asked me if I’d like to host a part of her new Shakespeare-styled story and the word ‘yes’ exploded from me like the finale of a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. If you aren’t familiar with Helena you are in for a treat.

I command thee to read the first part of this story before continuing here. I also command thee to click Helena’s follow button while you’re over there. She get’s a little thrill each time someone touches her button. You may even enjoy it, too.

Thank you, Helena, for once again sharing your superior prose on this unworthy blog.


If you haven’t read Part One yet, GO BACK HERE and then follow the link at the end which will return you here.

Welcome to Part Two, where you get to meet the cast of characters (including a special first peek at the character art for Penelope herself!) as well as a chance to read Act One, Scene One of my new play, coming soon in paperback and e-book.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Penelope, Countess of Arcadia

3

A university student. After reading Alice in Wonderland during a particularly bad citric acid trip, Penny developed a penchant for dressing in outlandish striped socks and crinolines, and enjoys turning her hair into sculptured works of art that require a scholarly knowledge of both Salvador Dali and Dr. Seuss to understand and/or appreciate.

Helena

Penelope’s Penelope’s fiercely protective Aunt To make up for a crippling sense of high self-esteem, she dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into in order to fail spectacularly at something.

The Empress Claudia

Empress of the Society of the University of Arcadia. Conniving and manipulative, she’ll not be blamed for anything, and will not admit to any wrong-doing, even if she is caught with her sticky little hands in the cookie jar.

Genevieve

A Moneylender. A greedy pinch-thrift who does not forgive debts and has been known to exact terrible consequences upon those in default.

Dante

a member of the Society and friend to Penelope. He is a scholar and a poet, and is in a fiery relationship with Beatrice, also a friend to Penelope. Neither have any love for the Empress.

Gadgette

an Inspector of the University of Arcadia. A shrewd, clever, suspicious man, who takes Justice very personally.

Yorrick

A messenger, who sells his services, and has no loyalties one way or the other.

You

the audience, who feels it necessary to interject when it is completely inappropriate, destroying the illusion by breaking the fourth wall. What the fuck, You?

ACT ONE

Scene One

A tavern.  Outside it is pouring rain. The Empress waits in a booth in the back corner of the room. Genevieve enters, soaking wet and annoyed.

Genevieve

Gods!

‘Tis fine weather thou hast called me out in,

And surely I am chill-ed to the bone!

Empress

The rain is but a gift from God. Thou canst

Not pin foul weather on my blameless breast

Like a plague cross, nor hold me in debt for

Sickness incurred due to your improper

Preparation. Thou art no fool – thou know’st

A grey sky from blue.

 Genevieve

I came not to blame you for the rain, nor

Petition thee for sunshine. I come for

What is owed, and shall have it, else you face my wrath.

Empress

Surely thou speak’st of the bit of coin

You believe thou art due.

Genevieve

‘Tis no bit of coin, thou sanctimonious

Flap-mouthed maggot pie! It is a small prize,

And thou hast given me promises of

Reimbursement, sworn on the blood of thine own mother.

Empress

I said no such thing! I told you most

Assuredly that our society

Could not bear such a debt.

Genevieve

Mark me!

Thou mangled hedge-born promise-breaker!

I have given thee time most ample and

Sufficient, and my kindness has become

Like an ancient pair of breeches. I tire

Of your tongue-wagging, and cannot bear the

Sight of thee. Thy dress is like a dog’s breakfast!

Empress

Well, in truth, I did not choose these garments

Myself! I was in a rush to meet you,

And my aide did, in haste, dress me in these

Most unseemly vestments.

Genevieve

I care not a tick!

Only, where is my money that thou hast

Promis-ed? My garden is already quite well

Fertilized. I’ve no need for any more

Compost from thy putrid lips.

Empress

Methinks I need some air.

Genevieve

Methink’st thou art a general offence and

Every man should beat thee. [1]  Be off, then, and

Get some air. T’would be unwise to run, and

Prudent to return with what thou owest.

Empress

A moment, then. I’ll not flee, thou hast my word.

Genevieve

A valueless thing, broken and bespoiled.

Go, thou saucy, crook-pated malt worm,

Before my angry foot finds purchase in

The enormous mounds of thy bottom.

Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,

For I am sick when I do look on thee. [2]

Empress exits to side stage

Empress

Am I a fool, that I must contend with

Such nonsense that seems bound and determined

To dull my wits and ebb my strength? To have

Insults hurl’d upon me like an ass, when

I should have respect and all forms of duty?

Was it not I who, with demonstrations

Of mercy did allow those charg’d with

Petty disobediences to rejoin

Their brethren in the bosom of our fair

Society? Aye, t’was none but I did

Open arms and forgive. Now I find myself

With hounds nipping at my heels. But watch,

As I shall run quicker, smarter and faster

And show you all that this fox is clever,

And will not be caught. A ruthless creature, I

And not afraid of spilling a little blood.

The Countess! I hate the Countess, and she

Shall serve. When the hounds come sniffing ‘round,

I shall wound her, and they cannot help but

Follow that scent to where she lies bleeding.

I shall form a trap so complete that she

Will not fail to step in’t. And the yips

Of pain, and the look of fear in her eyes

Will be the sweet cream I pour over my

Berries for dessert, and vengeance shall stain

My smiling lips.

Genevieve

Hast the air consumed thee, thou poxy cur?

Or hast thee, with thy dull wits, lost the way?

Doth thou need a map to find thy way back?

Or should I send a rescue party hither

To rescue thee?

Empress

I come, anon!

The air hast cleared my clouded mind, and it

Doth occur to me to double mine efforts

To locate the missing funds. Surely something

Hath gone amiss, as thou hast ascertained,

And I shall check the Society ledger,

For indeed I hath promised recompense

To your fair self, and I am no liar.

Genevieve

Just a clock

That never ceases chiming the hour,

Ringing the same song in my weary ears.

Empress

I only mean to say that if there hath

Been an error in accounting, the fault

Lies not with me, good lady, but with she

Who held the books. (Aside) That foul-mouthed tart with

The stryp-ed socks and multi-coloured hair

Who dared call me liar in front of the

Entire assemblage. I’ll not take the blame

When, with a little work, the sin can be

laid at her feet. Before this day is done,

mark my words – I’ll see her blood in the street.

Genevieve

Thou art to blame for naught, t’would appear, for

Thy protestations art the mewling of

Kittens that win the heart of the genteel

Farmer and are spared drowning. Very well.

Bring me such proof as shall vindicate, and

If a treasure I cannot collect, I

Will take my fee in a measure of flesh.

But ‘ware me, Empress – should all thy

explorations leave thee empty-handed,

I promise that t’will be thy hands I take

As my reward.

Exit Genevieve.

Empress

And thee I shall call villain!

‘Twill be thy claws that leave their mark when the

Countess, who wears naïveté like that

Cursed shirt of hers (The one that reads

Fuckest Thee, Thou Fucking Fuck) doth inquire

As to who hast delved into her affairs,

And made accusations of theft and

Misappropriation, I shall whisper

Into the Countess’ eager ears, telling

Of thy unsurmountable greed and avarice

And extend a hand of equally

Offended friendship so she canst not then

Doubt I am no villain. I shall play

The innocent dove, come to warn her of

Danger, and vow to follow her into

The dragon’s mouth. But in following her,

I do follow mine own dark ends. For when

The dragon doth open its fiery jaws,

‘Twill not be the charry beast’s fearsome teeth

The Countess will feel piercing her foolish

Breast, but mine own dagger, sharpened and

Envenom’d. And still, I shall declare my

Innocence. I know not how, but surely

There is some poor fool that I can rake ‘cross

The coals until his skin be like the Moor

At midnight – While I remain pure as

Freshly fallen snow. But soft! The rain doth break,

And there is much mischief to attend to!

Exit.

[1] All’s Well That Ends Well, Act II Scene III, William Shakespeare

[2] A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II Scene I, William Shakespeare

———–

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23 Comments on Penelope – Countess of Arcadia Sneak Peek Part Two

  1. Oh, I love it so so so so so so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *grinning HUGE* SO GOOD!

    Like

  3. Thy dress is like a dog’s breakfast. So much classic wit right here. This is tremendous!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh! Why does this bitch have it in for Penny so much? I’m not trying to spoil this for anyone, but there’s no WAY Penny will fall for her fake friendship.

    Okay – I love a good Shakespearean (or Jacobean) insult.
    “sanctimonious flap-mouthed maggot pie” “saucy, crook-pated malt worm” – God, I love you.

    And I want a tee shirt that says ‘Fuckest Thee, Thou Fucking Fuck.’ Posthaste!

    Like

  5. fan bloody tastic 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG!!! Doth does have be betwixt joy and pandemonium! Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This. Is. Amazing.

    Well done, Helena. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kristi Campbell - findingninee // February 2, 2015 at 11:36 pm // Reply

    Fucking awesome stuff. You are brilliant.
    It’s likely predictable for me to say but my favorite? This: Fuckest Thee, Thou Fucking Fuck.
    That. Is. Poetry. Of the bestest kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so fucking glad you liked it. Please do me the kindness of going and checking out the Pubslush campaign. Becoming a fan takes only a couple seconds and it’s not making a commitment to preorder anything but it will keep you advised as to when things are available and how the campaign is progressing. Again thank you so much for dropping by and partaking of my madness

      Like

  9. Kristi Campbell - findingninee // February 2, 2015 at 11:37 pm // Reply

    in fact, I just said it aloud, standing, as if in Shakespearian times, with an awkward little hand swoosh.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The whole world is a stage indeed, my dear. Fantastical! Adding to your conversation with friend Samara above, this indeed begs for an oral rendition. And I want in. I will audition for a part.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Counteth me in for auditions!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thine brilliance is surpassed only by thine wit.

    I love it. You boggle my mind with your words and your brain!

    And I think merchandising is a MUST! We all want “Fuckest Thee” t-shirts and I also vote for “Team Penelope” tshirts. Seriously. You could have people posting pics of them wearing the shirts and hashtag them. People LOVE to post pics of themselves. That’s why the ice bucket challenge took off. Appeal to our sense of humor with some funny and attractive shirts and our sense of vanity with some selfies…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been unsuccessful trying to start a trend, darling. The frustration isn’t worth it, but thank you for your enthusiasm. Maybe someday my writing will catch on. In the meantime, you can be all hipster about it… “I was reading Helena before she was cool…”

      Like

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