The Illustrious TR
I wrote this nine years ago, on what would have been Teddy Roosevelt's 145th birthday. Well, today would be #154. Of course, no President could live that long. Except for James Buchanan. Who's still alive, and lives three houses down from me.
Anyway...Happy Birthday to the Illustrious T.R.
From October 27, 2003....
Death of the Enumerator--A Short Play
Edwinus, the Ternary Enumerator of the High Court of his Royal Majesty
Krimdall, the Stablekeep of the High Court
Dan, the Stable Boy, who is 6'7" and 37 years old.
Theodore Roosevelt, who is celebrating on this day his 145th birthday
The Stables of His Royal Majesty (King Bob the Indomitable). On Tuesday. Two-ish.
Scene, the first
(Krimdall and Dan are eating lunch, at a round wooden table)
Edwinus (enters the stable area) o: Good Day, Stablekeep. I'm here to count the apes.
Krimdall (through a mouthful of food): We have no apes, here. We have only horses. And a cow. And a couple of chickens. And (points to Dan) the stableboy. But no apes.
Krimdall: Just horses. And the other things.
Edwinus (opening his ledger): I don't believe you, what is your name?
Krimdall (rises from his table, where he is eating with Dan): My name is Krimdall. You know that Eddie.
Edwinus (making a note): Good for you. My name is Edwinus.
Krimdall (pointedly): Do you have other business have you here, crowfoot?
Dan: You 'eard 'im!
Krimdall (to Dan): SHUT YOUR CREMDIDLIENT MOUTH, WHELP!
(to Edwinus): Crowfoot is an old English expression, meaning "Man with a Vulva."
Edwinus (rolling his eyes): Must everybody make jokes about that?
Krimdall: I tend to think so, yes.
Edwinus (explaining): There was magic involved. I was cursed.
Krimdall: Well, I kind of guessed, since I've been kicked by horses a few times, and never once did it cause me to grow female genitalia.
(There is an uncomfortable, protracted silence, like when grandma begins discussing her favorite porn during Thanksgiving dinner)
Dan (breaking the silence): Why is 'e 'ere? Is 'e talkin' about apes?
Krimdall (raising his hand to the boy): SO HELP ME JEEBUS!
Edwinus (stopping Krimdall): Stay your hand, Stableman! And use not the Man-Jeebus's name in vain.
Krimdall: You're right. My apologies.
Edwinus: Don't apologize to me. Apologize to Jeebus.
Krimdall (taking a penitent stance): I'm sorry Jeebus.
Theodore Roosevelt (entering, stage left): s'cool!
Dan (rising from his seat): 'Ey! You ain't Jeebus!
(The Illustrious T.R. takes his baseball glove off, and slaps Dan with it).
Edwinus, Krimdall (together): Good morrow, Mr. President.
T.R. (putting his glove in place): Ahh! Gracias, mi amigos. Donde esta el bano, por favor? (placing a hand against his stomach) No mas chalupas...ay!
(Krimdall points off stage)
T.R. (pulling his football helmet off): Much obliged.
Edwinus: Oh, Mr. President?
T.R. (pausing): Yes?
Edwinus: Happy birthday.
T.R.: Ass kisser.
Krimdall: Now, about those apes.
Edwinus: So, you admit that they're here?
Krimdall: Well. We have one. But he's really rather ornery.
Dan: He got quite cross with me when we played Connect 4 this morning.
Edwinus (quietly incredulous): He plays Connect 4?
Krimdall: He cheats.
Dan: 'e does cheat. That's why he got cross with me when I called 'im on it. He damn near killed me.
Krimdall: Yep. Tore Dan's arm off and hit him with it.
(Dan displays a stump, proudly, and Edwinus is a little disgusted)
Edwinus: Perhaps you should visit the apothecary about that.
Dan: Can't. Not on the insurance for another month.
Dan: Yeah. Got a daughter at home's had the rickets something terrible.
Krimdall: Would you like to see it?
Edwinus (disgusted): What? The Rickets?
Krimdall: No, Crowfoot. The Ape.
(Edwinus ponders this. For quite a long time, actually. In fact, Krimdall has left his lunch break, and is hard at work by the time Edwinus makes up his mind, some 39 minutes later).
Scene, the second: 39 minutes later
Edwinus: Marvelous. May I see him?
Krimdall (from the back of the stable): Beg pardon?
Edwinus: May I see the ape?
Krimdall (reminded): Oh. Certainly. Dan! Get the key!
(Dan walks over to Krimdall, takes the key off Krimdall's belt, and gives it to Krimdall)
Krimdall: What do you say?
Dan: Thank you. (under his breath): Jeebus.
(Edwinus violently slaps the boy. Krimdall kicks him once for good measure. Since Dan is so huge, it affects him little at all.)
Edwinus: Don't take the Man-Jeebus' name in vain.
(Krimdall directs Edwinus to a door, moves to unlock it)
Krimdall: Now, I have three rules about seeing the ape. One: No cussing. Two: No overt references to any Brit-Coms. He has a terrible aversion to anything coming off the BBC, and I don't want to have to be cleaning intestines, again. Stops the hell out of the sink.
(There is a pause)
And third: Don't mention anything about his wings.
Edwinus: His wings?
Krimdall: His wings. He's really sensitive.
(Krimdall opens the door. Edwinus enters. After 22 minutes, he comes out)
Krimdall: What did you think?
Edwinus: He beat me at Connect 4.
Krimdall: Did he cheat?
Edwinus: No. He beat me fairly each of the four times. Really rather remarkable.
Krimdall (nodding): Yep. Did you play red or black?
Edwinus: Black. Like my soul.
Krimdall: I guessed as such. By the way. Dan's dead. I think it's the Plague. It really messed his arm up.
Edwinus: I thought the ape ripped his arm off.
Krimdall: Oh yeah. You're right.
(Suddenly, T.R. bursts onto the scene)
T.R. (screaming): Deus ex Machina! Deus ex Machina!
(T.R. takes a samurai sword from the sheath on his back. With a quick slice, he eviscerates Edwinus. Blood sprays in a gush that drenches Krimdall.)
T.R. (screaming still, at the audience): I Am the God in the Machine!
(Exeunt, through the audience, T.R. occasionally loosening the intestines of random audience members, all the while singing Happy Birthday To Me).
Moral: Sometimes, it just seems funny to write "vulva," and then other bad stuff happens, and you get a story that makes absolutely no sense, and you get to a point where you just want to go to bed.
Good night, everybody.