Despite the dreary London weather, Lady Penelope was still very excited about being in the Royal Procession to christen the newest bidet installed at Buckingham Palace. She could hardly wait to queue up at a place where queueing up would soon become standard procedure.
There was a knock on the driver’s window. Lady Penelope ducked back in her own window, trying to pretend that she had not just been caught with her tongue blowing in the wind. (Sadly, she was always being caught with her excessively-large tongue doing such things. Damn that royal inbreeding. Her family really needed to branch out a little more with the matrimonial choices or there wouldn’t be a pretty one left in the bunch.)
The driver, whose full name was Ernest Knackersworth-Bellend, even though it’s not important to the story and you can immediately forget it, was appalled that someone would approach the vehicle in such a pedestrian manner. Still, he rolled down the window. “State your business.”
It was Rachel Maddow, investigative reporter and news-presentation specialist for MSNBC. “Hey, Ernie. Could I speak with Lady Penelope?”
Ernie turned to Lady Penelope. “Were you expecting Rachel Maddow?”
Lady Penelope turned to Ernie. “Is she on the guest list?”
Ernie: “We don’t have a guest list. I’m only asking you because you’ve asked me to ask you when people show up at the door and ask for you, instead of just letting them in and possibly allowing them to pinch the heirloom flatware.”
Lady: “Ah, good point. Well, we didn’t bring the flatware with us, although I did briefly consider it, so I suppose we could parlay for a moment or two. Raise the drawbridge.”
Ernie turned to the other side, reached behind him, and popped up the lock ditty on the passenger door opposite the Lady Who Had Not Brought Flatware. “The drawbridge has been raised.” Somewhere nearby, an underling blew on a gilded trumpet. Said underling was immediately knocked to the ground by a passerby who did not wish to have a soundtrack as she made her daily sojourn to the corner coffeehouse.
Rachel hopped inside, in that nimble but annoying way that naturally-athletic people do everything. “Lady Penelope, thank you for this opportunity to interview you.”
Lady Penelope: “Is that what we’re doing? How clever of you. This might be a festive lark after all.”
Rachel: “Well, Lady Penelope, it also might be a bit of a bumpy ride. Let’s start with the fact that your name is not Lady Penelope.”
Lady Penelope, maybe: “How dare you say such things!”
Rachel: “I dare because I take the time to do research, unlike so many of my counterparts who think the proper preparation for a news story is picking out the right tie. Your name is actually Agnes Gasbox, and you’re from New Jersey, not Upper Westly Scratchford-on-Avon as you indicate in your social media profiles. You are not royalty, Agnes.”
Penelope Gasbox: “I am not going to listen to this drivel. Ernest, toss her out immediately.”
Ernie: “Are you kidding? You haven’t paid me in three months. I’ve already shoved some microwave popcorn under the hood and I’m revving the engine. I’m watching all of Rachel’s show and taking notes like a woodpecker.”
Lady Gasbox, flummoxed but not yet giving in: “Prove your lies, you gel-haired harridan!”
Rachel: “Well, first off, we’re not in London. The Shubert Theatre behind us is actually in New York City. The Judy Holliday play on the marquee opened in 1956, a good ten years before your SnapTwit profile says you were born. And they don’t christen bidets at Buckingham Palace.”
Agnes, defeated and deflated, burst into tears. “Okay, fine, you’re right. I don’t know why I do the things I do.” Her big tongue flopped out in despair.
Rachel: “Oh, I do. You’ve been watching ‘Fox News’ too much. And by too much, I mean watching it all. They create something out of nothing, even though that nothing can easily be disproven in two seconds. Like this sad little example of you crying out for attention even though the whole scene is nothing but manipulated special effects.”
Agnes: “But they make me feel so special when I watch ‘Fox News’.”
Rachel: “Do they? Or do they play to your fears and use those fears to make others feel less special?”
Agnes, wiping away a tear with a tongue that should have its own zip code. “You’re right. I’ve lost my way. I’ve only been thinking of myself and not others, which is a basic plank in the Republican Party platform. Wait a minute. I like that plank. As long as I have someone to blame, none of this is my fault.”
Rachel, turning to Ernie: “She’s having a relapse. Just keep driving. But whatever you do, don’t go near Wall Street. We’ve got enough lost souls on our hands.”
Ernie nodded, just as the microwave engine dinged, letting him know the popcorn was ready. He snatched up the steaming bag of goodness and reached for a salt shaker. This was going to be a long ride, so he might as well keep up his strength…
Previously published. Modified slightly for this post.
Categories: Past Imperfect