This is the continuation of a story that starts here…
Inigo Flamboya and Monsieur Fromage continued to stare at the hybrid vehicle wherein which resided (rumor had it) a pregnant woman who was about to uptick the global population at a really inconsiderate time. Base on the agonized screams exuding from the hybrid, it was a bit sad that the two men were not racing to assist in the uptick, positioning themselves in the nexus of origin, replete with a catcher’s mitt and a face shield. On the other hand, the intensity of the screaming, peppered as it was with exuberant profanities, would give anyone pause.
Fromage: “It appears that we have an issue here, in more ways than one. Whilst I certainly aspire to accommodate the guests at Bonnywood with professionalism and mildly-begrudging grace, I must admit that this scenario was not covered in my online certification. And as the father, I would assume that you should be the one who does whatever needs to be done whilst I look busy doing things that don’t need to be done.”
Flamboya: “Oh, I’m not the father. Trust me on that.”
Fromage: “That’s an interesting development. She’s your wife, n’est-ce pas?”
Flamboya: “On paper. It’s an arranged thing, you must understand. I haven’t been through that turnstile, so to speak.”
Fromage: “Strays a bit, does she?”
Flamboya: “You have no idea. Her dance card has been punched with the intensity of a woodpecker on an oak tree.”
Fromage: “I see. Nevertheless, Madame Dancer’s screams indicate that something must be done, as she is drowning out the lovely Mozart selection we have playing on the cleverly-hidden speakers placed around the Bonnywood environs. As hinted earlier, you should dive in and do what you can to silence the gams.”
Flamboya: “I didn’t even know she was pregnant until she mentioned such on the drive here.”
Fromage: “That seems odd. I’m not an expert, but it would seem that the mere physical transformation should have caught your eye, even if you haven’t punched her dance card. Are you a bit slow? I’m just trying to set the scene, mind you, no slander intended.”
Flamboya: “None taken. I’m used to people questioning our relationship, especially my boyfriends.”
Fromage: “Well, then, there’s the drop of the shoe that I was mildly anticipating based on your surname. In any case, I’m sure you can understand that I’m on a schedule. There are three cars behind you that require my attention. And it behooves me to behoove you that you need to tend to your Public Dancer so that none of us will be late for dinner. We have a very strict protocol here at Stabbington Abbey, and that includes having everyone seated before the first course is served, regardless of suspect birthings and offensive hybrid vehicles.”
Flamboya: “But I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies.”
Fromage: “You’ve established that. Still, duty calls, yours in the direction of the banshee and mine in the direction of anywhere that is not right here. Carry on.”
Fromage pirouetted toward the car next in line.
Flamboya reluctantly stepped forward and placed a tentative hand on the passenger door of the hybrid. At that precise moment, a powerful retort of wet flatulence erupted from said hybrid, the vibrations bouncing off the stained walls of Stabbington Manor and echoing into a previously-unmentioned but nearby pasture wherein several cows immediately stopped producing milk and never would again.
Flamboya took a deep breath (ill-advised, it must be noted) and opened the passenger door. “Petunia? How goes it with the birthing and whatnot””
Petunia, lowering her legs which had been splayed against the windshield in a rather un-chaste manner, had a confession to impart. “Apparently I wasn’t pregnant after all. It seems it was more about the cauliflower pie we had at the roadside diner in Hemington. Who knew?”
Flamboya: “I’m guessing you knew. Must you always be making up stories about the functions of your conjunction?”
Petunia: “You must understand that I was viciously ignored as a child.”
Flamboya: “And with good reason. Now get your lying ass out of the car so we can go pretend that we’re happy during the pre-dinner cocktail hour.”
Meanwhile, Monsieur Fromage approached the next car in line, one of those newly-fashionable contraptions known as a “convertible”. What wasn’t known is why the occupants had chosen to have the top down when local meteorological happenstances, such as the bucket-dumping rain, would indicate that the top should be up. As such, Monsieur Fromage was well aware that said occupants would not be his cup of tea on the Worthiness Spectrum of Live, and he reacted in a manner befitting of someone with a penchant for disapproval. “Good evening. What can I possibly do for you that requires the least amount of effort on my part?”
Occupant Number One, seated behind the drenched but artfully-glistening steering wheel, spoke first. “Hey, there. We done been invited to this here shindig and we are SO happy to be here I could squeal. My name is Kane, pleased to meet ya.”
Occupant Number Two, seated behind the glovebox which was oozing collected fluids onto her sensible but not especially-appealing shoes, spoke second: “And I’m Mabel. I’m squealing, too. This is SO exciting I could spit. The last time I got my panties this bunched up was when our prize pig Ethel took the blue ribbon at the county fair over to Yorkshire.”
Monsieur Fromage wanted to spit as well, although his motivation had a different source. “I trust that you have official invitations.”
Kane: “Sure do. They’re right here on the dashboard and… oh, seems like they got a bit wet. Still, they’s official and all. Here ya go.”
Monsieur Fromage did not accept the dangled dank documents. “Please desist. I’m not interested in touching anything that surfaces in your aquarium. Just gather your things and head inside. There are some extra-absorbent towels located in the antechamber, though I suspect said offerings may not have the necessary absorbency to make you clean again.” He pirouetted toward the next car in line.
Mabel looked at Kane: “I think he’s making fun of us. I don’t know if I want to go in that fancy house.”
Kane: “It’s okay, darlin’. These are high-class folks, and we gotta get use to them, now that your Uncle Daddy done left us seven billion dollars.”
Monsieur Fromage, sensing a financial opportunity concerning dull knobs on a golden door, reverse-pirouetted. “Perhaps I misspoke. I would be happy to carry both of you to the front door on my back”
Kane: “Naw, that’s alright. We go it. You might want to help out the folks in the next car, what with the fire and all.”
Monsieur Fromage’s greedy eyes pirouetted, then widened. There was clearly something yellow-orange and crackling happening behind the windshield of the Mercedes Bends, one of those trendy knock-off vehicles that were all the rage in Montmarte this season. (The French, you know. All that absinthe.) Monsieur Fromage raced around the Bends and banged on the passenger window.
Said window was eventually lowered, the annoying delay courtesy of said passenger who was flummoxed by the intricacies of the window-lowering handle. (Which way do I turn it? This way? The other way?) As fresh air swarmed the car and brightened the yellow-orange, a female face poked through the opening. “Did you need something?”
Fromage: “I’m thinking you might need something. Like assistance with whatever is burning in your knock-off.”
Face: “I think that sounds rather rude. My knock-off is just fine, thank you, as if it were any of your business. Stop hitting on me. I have a boyfriend, you know.”
Fromage: “I don’t know anything about you. What I do know is that fires are not something we appreciate at Stabbington Abbey. Despite the rain, there are many ancient and dried-out things here, including the owners, that can combust if someone so much as drops a slice of jalapeno.”
Face turned toward the driver. “Are you aware of a fire, Pierre? This strange man seems to have an issue about it.”
Pierre: “What an odd thing to be worried about. How can there be a fire in a car, Lizette? You’d think we would have noticed.”
Lizette: “Precisely. Thank you for supporting me.” She turned to lambaste the Cheese Man.
Lizette turned back. “Oh, so you don’t support me? Are we going to have that discussion again, Pierre? Will I have to once again lockdown my knock-off?”
Pierre: “But…well… your hair is on fire.”
Lizette: “My hair?”
Pierre: “Your hair, your hat, something on your head is doing something it shouldn’t.”
Lizette reached forward and flopped down the visor on her side of the windshield, studying her image with the intensity of the vain. “Well, now. I suppose there is some cause for alarm.” She flipped the visor back up and stuck her face back out the window. “Excuse my earlier disavowal of your usefulness. It would be swell of you to do something that could mitigate the circumstances. I’m not particularly fond of having my ears melt. Or dying.”
Before Monsieur Fromage could compose a scathing reply, he was knocked aside by the temporarily-forgotten Kane, he of the thoroughly-drenched car that was not burning. Kane had a bucket of water which he used to thoroughly-drench Lizette and, by consequence, Pierre. He then turned away, tossing said bucket in the direction of a serving wench named Matilda. (Said Matilda would not appear in any subsequent scenes in this drama, despite her artistic catching of the bucket, but she was on screen long enough to earn membership in the Screen Actors Guild.) Kane muttered something along the lines of “some people don’t know when to harvest the crop when the corn is ripe” before clasping the hand of his beloved Mabel and breaching the first set of mahogany doors.
Lizette, drippingly: “Well, then. I think things are now in order. Can we go inside now? I’d like to attend to my wet beaver.”
Fromage: “I don’t even know how to respond to such a pronouncement.”
Lizette: “My beaver stole, unkind sir. It survived the wretched burning, but it’s a bit waterlogged and I need to fluff it up a bit before dinner.”
Fromage: “I’m just going to block out this thread of the conversation and focus on something else. How did you not know your head was ablaze? I’m mystified.”
Lizette: “Mystify no more. We were smoking some delicious marijuana cigarettes on the ride up.”
Fromage: “Marijuana? Surely you jest. We haven’t had that spirit here since 1869.”
Lizette: “I jest not. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but the trek to this abbey involves nothing but endless miles of dirty cows and dead trees. That alone would cause any decent person to light up, never mind the one radio station we could receive that kept playing Edith Piaf songs. We get it, Edith, your relationships didn’t work out. Let it go.”
Fromage: “I’m at a loss.”
Lizette: “So does this mean you do or do not need to see our invitations? We have them somewhere in this mess, although I’m sure the ink is a bit runny after that yokel doused us and then babbled about corn-husking.”
Fromage: “No, just go in the abbey. My nerves are thin and I’m one click away from grabbing a machete and ending up in a documentary.”
Lizette: “How nice for you. Anyway, we’re off.” She and Pierre pirouetted out of the car and raced toward the mahogany doors, although they did stop briefly in their journey so that Lizette could study the intricate pattern of the bricks in the circular drive. Because, marijuana.
Monsieur Fromage turned to the last car in the line.
It appeared to be empty, an unexpected analytical result.
He approached the driver’s side door and confirmed the emptiness. Wait, that wasn’t entirely true. There was a small notecard in the seat. He opened the door, plucked up said notecard and reviewed. “I’m already in the house. Are you ready for the game to begin?”
Then Monsieur Fromage spied an additional notecard in the passenger seat. He walked around to the other side, opened the door and reviewed, part deux. “I’m in there as well. Do you know where you’re going to?”
Monsieur Fromage glanced at the mahogany doors.
They glanced back at him, woodenly.
He sighed. It was going to be a long night.
To be continued…