A Parting Glass (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 17)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘A Parting Glass’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED as his author Annabelle Gray, the pair entering a castle set all bedecked in medieval tapestries and steampunk swag.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: This is it – what would have been home sweet home for Sheriff Antichristmas Beast of Nottingham, rest his monstrous soul. I still don’t get why he just keeled over and melted!

Allyn/Jack: The work of Hatter’s Shadow, no doubt. It is clearly a spirit as powerful as it is raving mad. The sooner it’s back inside Hatter’s body, the better off we’ll be.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: And a method of achieving that end is somewhere in this castle?

Image via www.homeartblog.com
Image via http://www.homeartblog.com

Allyn/Jack [nodding]: There is but one sure way to send a Wonderland spirit back to its host. [crosses to one of the castle walls and removes from it a hanging mirror ] A looking glass.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Hatter told you that?

Allyn/Jack [corner of his mouth drawn up in a smirk ]: If the madman had, what sense in believing him? No, I’ve had some experience with mirror magic. The Antichristmas utilized it a great deal during his life in Fairytale Forest. [places mirror in Sir Wilbur’s hands ] All you need do is show the Shadow his reflection, and he’ll return to his rightful place. You know the way back to where we left him, your body, and your knight inside it, I trust?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Well, sure, but aren’t you coming?

Allyn/Jack [shakes his head ]: No, not I. It’s past time to put this nonsense behind me. [begins speaking in a subtle singsong, eyes agleam ] Under cloud, beneath the stars, over snow one winter’s morn, I turn at last to paths that lead home. My destiny awaits at the North Pole.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Wait, though. What happens when the Shadow’s back inside Hatter? Do Wilbur and I automatically switch back to our rightful bodies, or are we stuck as we are? ‘Cause, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love being Wilbur, but what about when our whole history together flashes before his eyes like a cheesy OTP video on YouTube and he realizes we’re meant to be? He’ll want to kiss me, which means I’d be essentially kissing myself, which would be whack, because I’m just not that into me.

Allyn/Jack [stares flatly for some moments before speaking ]: Not one part of that was any of my concern. You deal with your own mess. I have the small matter of Christmas to attend to.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [grumpy ]: You know, you’re a lot less jolly than the traditional depictions of Santa Claus would lead one to believe. Go on, then. Safe travels home. I’ll give Hatter your regards – assuming he hasn’t bled to death, yet. Sheesh, this story’s gone out of all control.

[Sir Wilbur exits the stage, Allyn smiling chillingly after him.]

Allyn/Jack: You have no idea.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘cheesy OTP videos on YouTube’ and lyrics from Billy Boyd’s ‘The Last Goodbye’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

A Little Christmas Mad-gic (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 1)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘A Little Christmas Mad-gic’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a prop house with a faux-snow-covered roof in front of a starry black backdrop. Walking across the top ridge is Allyn-a-Dale, dressed in a nicely tailored Santa Claus suit, a stuffed sack slung over his shoulder.]

Allyn/Santa: Hi-ho, ho, ho, one more chimney to go,

And then home at long last, my first Christmas test passed!

[Steps up to the roof’s chimney and leans over to peer inside.]

Allyn/Santa: Hold a moment. There’s something curious about this one… whoa, WHOA!

[Between the slippery snow and the destabilizing weight on his back, he loses his balance and pitches headfirst into the chimney. While colorful lights flicker, the house turns (having been built on a rotating platform), its hollow back side revealing Allyn spinning around in a horizontally revolving cylinder, like a sock in a clothes dryer. The starry backdrop rises out of sight, revealing a sunshiny, picturesque garden scene, bordered with trees. The house’s platform base having wheels as well as rotation capabilities, it spins and rolls its way offstage, Allyn tumbling out as it disappears into the wings.]

Allyn/Santa [stumbling dizzily up to his feet ]: What in the world…?

[With the house out of the way, the stage right tree becomes viewable to the audience, along with Will Scarlet lounging on one of the branches in a long-tailed coat and a top hat embellished with ribbons, feathers, and pins.]

Will/Hatted Stranger [grinning widely ]: What in which world? And where in what world? And why, of all worlds, are you here?

Allyn/Santa: That’s what I’d like to know. I was about to make a delivery of gifts to the home of the Rabbit family when—

Will/Hatted Stranger: Which Rabbit? What Rabbit?

Allyn/Santa: White Rabbit, if I rightly recall the list I checked twice.

Will/Hatted Stranger [grinning more widely still ]: Whoopsy-daisy, that’ll do it! Fell down the rabbit hole; it all makes sense!

Allyn/Santa [frowning ]: Sense? It makes no sense at all.

Will/Hatted Stranger: No sense, nonsense, only sense to be found here is none-sense. Welcome to Wonderland!

Allyn/Santa [moaning ]: Oh, for pity’s sake. I only just completed one crazy quest in time for the Christmas rush. I don’t want any more madness!

Will/Hatted Stranger [laughing manically ]: Bad news for you, friend! We’re all mad, here. And you’re addressing the maddest of them all! [sweeps off hat in a bow-like gesture ] Artifice Cheshirecott, at your service – more commonly called the Mad Hatter.

Gotta love a little mashup madness. ;D
Gotta love a little mashup madness. ;D

Allyn/Santa [bows with a sigh ]: Jack Snow at yours – more commonly called Santa Claus. Now, would you be so good as to help me get home?

Will/Hatter [hopping down from the branch ]: More than good, I’ll be great! Where do you live, Santa Jack?

Allyn/Santa: In the northern polar region of Fairytale Forest.

Will/Hatter: Fairytales? Tsk, tut, you’re well off the track. Wonderland isn’t strictly a part of the fairytale genre, though you’ll find a lot of overlap – hence your stumbling in, just now.

Allyn/Santa [relieved ]: So getting back should be easy.

Will/Hatter: Should be, yes. Will be? [more mad laughter ] Oh, no! I mean to milk this plot twist for all it’s worth. Let our serial genre-hopping adventure begin!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Susan Francino and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘hat or hats’ and ‘artifice’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends:  Will and Allyn out!”

“Erinaceous” or “Scarlet’s Scorpion Struggle”

It’s Save-a-Word Saturday! For any who need a reminder of/never knew what that means, here’s how it goes:

Save-a-Word Saturday

1) Create a post linking back to the hosts, The Feather and the Rose.

2) Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in the post. (If you find yourself in want of options, Feather ‘n’ Rose recommended a site that may have some word-lovers drooling. Luciferous Logolepsy. Even its name is old and delicious!)

3) Provide a definition of your word, and use it in a sentence/short paragraph/mini story vaguely related to the particular week’s chosen theme.

4) Sign up properly on the host post’s linky list so participants can easily find each other and share their logophilistic joy.

5) Be a hero by sharing these retro words with the world!

I’ve been participating in the weekly fun via my Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” Facebook page, giving myself the extra challenge/fun of relating every word I pick to my re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend (a.k.a. the magnum opus to be self-published after the completion of “The Wilderhark Tales”). But I figure, hey, since I’ve gotten in the habit of having my vignettes all pre-written and ready to go, no reason I can’t pop over here real quick and post it for the blog-inclined to see, too!

So, without further delay, here’s my word-saving civic duty of the day.

The theme: Scorpions.

The word: “Erinaceous”, an adjective meaning “pertaining to a hedgehog”.

The example: “Scorpions??” Will Scarlet complains. “How in the world are we supposed to come up with an entertaining vignette based around scorpions?! Sherwood’s got nothing to do with them, the same goes for Avalon, and, so far as our author’s bothered to figure out, no one around here is a Scorpio. It’d be easier to play out a scene pertaining to a hedgehog!”

Allyn tips his head in a gesture of indifference. “I expect an erinaceous theme would present its own difficulties.”

“Rubbish,” Will declares. “A round of Wonderland croquet, a few levels of Sonic, a reading of ‘Mrs. What’s-her-name’ by Beatrix Potter… I could go all day.”

“I’m sure you could. But I’d say this conversation’s done its work, so… don’t.”

“Whodunit 4” or “Witch Way for Answers?”

The serial whodunit’s trail of clues have led Bristol’s Criers to Bristol’s witches. Will an interview with the Normyl sisters cast some light on the murder of Jasper Trustworthy?

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Cousins Emeraude a’Right, Harold Angel, and Dorcas Oddpick – found the witches of Bristol in the last place they looked: The town graveyard. As it happened, this was also the first place they looked, and as sisters Gertrude and Beatrix Normyl were there, they thought it most time-efficient to discontinue their search.

Gertrude saw them coming from some paces off, and prodded Beatrix with her broomstick. “Look here, sister,” the green witch said. “It is the Town Criers, come to make inquiry of us as to the fate of Jasper Trustworthy.”

Gertrude Normyl, green witch and wise-woman of Bristol, seen here with a tiny owl which may be less a clue than it is simply adorable.
Photo cred to Steven Bourelle.

The Criers stopped short in surprise. “And by what witchcraft didst thou know of our coming??” Emeraude wondered.

“Indeed, it were a deduction most simple,” said Gertrude. “For, as I did leave the Swedish governess under the mistaken impression that Trustworthy hath been turned into a lizard of wood, I knew ‘twould be a matter of time only before that selfsame Swede did proclaim her supposed triumph to all who could make sense of her heavily accented jabber. And as our town’s Criers have attuned their ears to any and all news, however questionable, I have expected the better part of this hour to be visited by you and hounded for facts.”

Eyebrows raised, Harold turned to Emeraude. “That was some clever reasoning. Mayhap we could use these wise-women’s aid in our investigation.”

Beatrix chose that moment to cackle, chase at shadows, and pull expressions never before seen on a human face, causing Harold to amend, “Erm, or mayhap not both of them. (Why is it that half the people we’ve encountered this morning are mad?)”

“We’re all mad, here,” Dorcas said serenely. “’Tis a wonderland. Curiouser and curiouser. All ways are the Queen’s ways.”

“Grammercy for the reminder, Dorcas,” said Emeraude. The Criers had no time to dally: Her Majesty, Elizabeth – by God’s grace, the first sovereign of England to bear that name – was scheduled to arrive in town in less than two hours, and it would not do to have Jasper Trustworthy’s killer running around loose when that happened. With that in mind, Emeraude promptly brought the conversation back around to questioning the witches, asking Gertrude, “Were you aware that the real Jasper has been murdered?”

Gertrude blinked. “Murdered? And wherefore do you believe he hath been murdered?”

“Because we found him dead in the lake,” said Harold.

Beatrix Normyl, blue witch and outpatient from Bedlam Assylum, seen here ogling Conrad.
Photo cred to Steven Bourelle.

“Poor Jasper!” said Beatrix, wringing her hands. “Drowned in the lake! If only he were Conrad. Conrad can’t be drowned!”

“Conrad being…?” said Emeraude.

The blue witch pointed with a tortured-looking backscratcher to the tip of her hat, where dangled a tiny fish’s skeleton. “Conrad!” she announced, and broke into another round of cackles.

“It looks not as if Conrad’s lack of ability drown was enough to save him,” Harold remarked.

“And who’s to say that Jasper died by drowning?” said Emeraude. “He might have been beaten, stabbed or poisoned – or hexed,” she said, with a suspicious look at the witches, “ – and then tossed into the lake afterward.”

“Mayhap your investigation would go more smoothly,” suggested Gertrude, “were you to first ascertain the cause of Trustworthy’s death. The method might point to the murderer.”

“A wise-woman indeed!” said Emeraude. “Come, cousins – to the lake!”

Leaving words of farewell and gratitude behind them, the Criers made all haste back to the bridge over Lake Elizabeth. But, as they saw upon arrival, all haste was not enough.

“Oh, no,” Harold moaned.

“Huzzah!” Dorcas cheered. “Jasper woke up from his lake nap after all!”

“He did not awake, Dorcas,” Emeraude sighed. “He’s just gone. Someone has stolen the body.

How was Trustworthy killed? Whodunit? And where in all of England is the body?? As the questions pile skyward, stay tuned to find out what answers Bristol’s Town Criers turn up!