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“The Aussie”

20 Nov

from September 30, 2009

“The Aussie”
A Play in Some Number of Acts

Characters

Col. Mayhew Meriwether, an Australian of ill-repute.
Lady Penelope Pennbrook, an Australian of ill-repute
Sir Miles Standish, awkwardly-named Australian lawyer, not of ill-repute
Former President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), who does not appear in this play at all
Piddles, a small Cocker Spaniel with a surprising secret

ACT ONE

The interior of a small office, furnished in 19th Century décor, mid-afternoon, in March, or perhaps April, one of those transitional months, on a stormy Thursday afternoon.

Seated behind the desk is SIR MILES STANDISH, lawyer.

Seated in front of the desk is LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK, wearing an expensive dress, yet also wearing a cheap necklace of faux pearls.

Enter COL. MAYHEW MERIWETHER

            I suppose you are all wondering why I have called you here today.

SIR MILES STANDISH

           Actually, Colonel, it was I that called you.

COL. MAYHEW MERIWETHER

           Oh bosh, have it your way.

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            If I may, I have been wondering why I have been called here. In fact, I am wondering what this silly little play is doing here at all. I was so looking forward to part three of “My Review of My Summer Vacation.”

COL. MAYHEW MERIWETHER

            (muttering) Oh, that rubbish.

SIR MILES STANDISH

            Perhaps introductions are in order. May I present the Lady Penelope Pennbrook, heir to the Pennbrook slag fortune, owner of Pennbrook quarries, and perhaps Australia’s leading expert on expertise?

COL. MAYHEW MERIWETHER

            (Bows to the Lady)

            And I, fair Madame, am Col. Mayhew Meriwether, though you may call me Al, for otherwise it is a dreadful amount of typing.

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          (distractedly) Charmed, I’m sure.

AL

          And I as well.

SIR MILES STANDISH

          I have summoned you here today in my official capacity as the Executor of the will of Bradford B. Jacobs-

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          (interrupting) Oh! He was the daring chap who founded Jacobs Landing!

AL

           Bloody Yankee ponce if you ask me.

SIR MILES STANDISH

          At any rate, I must inform you that you have both been named in his will.

AL

           I say!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          How unusual, considering that he died over 100 years before this play is set.

AL

          That is unusual.

SIR MILES STANDISH

          Let’s ignore that because it is not particularly relevant. I’ll skip the preliminaries, a whole load of “wherefores” and “what-nots” and such, and move ahead to the bequests.

AL

          Ah! The bequests!

SIR MILES STANDISH 

          Yes, the bequests. The will goes on to say “In the matter of my Australian affairs, I leave all of my land holdings and acreage, consisting of my small upstairs one-room flat in Mrs. Merloon’s boarding house, to my good friend Colonel Mayhew Meriwether, though that is a good bit to type so I shall henceforth call him Al.”

AL

          I never knew the man!

SIR MILES STANDISH

          “Furthermore, I leave all possessions within said small upstairs one-room flat in Mrs. Merloon’s boarding house, consisting of three pairs of footie pajamas, two pounds of roast beef (which must surely have gone bad, my having been in the New World these past several years) and several unpaid bills which I dispute, never having even heard of ‘Madame Wanda’s Physical Emporium.’ I do direct and instruct and empower my heir, Al, to pay these forthwith.”

AL

          What? I say, I never knew the man!

SIR MILES STANDISH

          It goes on and on like that. Tedious, really. “For the Lady Penelope Pennbrook, I leave my most valuable possession.”

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          Yes?

SIR MILES STANDISH

          “I leave what may be my most treasured of all my treasures.”

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            Yes?

 SIR MILES STANDISH

            “I leave my Coker Spaniel Piddles.”

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            What? A dog?

AL

            I tell you madam this whole play is bullshit!

            (storms out of the office.)

————————————–

ACT TWO

Lady Penelope Pennbrook’s large estate. Lady Penelope and Piddles are on the lawn playing fetch. They are taking turns chasing the stick.

The lawn gently slopes downward to the sea, where we see storm clouds on the horizon. (Literally, not figuratively.)

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            (runs back with the stick)

            Oh Piddles, you have been such a joy to me these many months!

PIDDLES

            Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            (sweeps Piddles in her arms)

            I do so love you Piddles! There is so little time for romance when you are the heiress to a slag fortune.

            (sighs)

PIDDLES

            Arf arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            Would you like to play fetchies? Would’ums like to play fetchie wetchie?

PIDDLES

            Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            Fetchie!

            (throws the stick towards the water and watches as Piddles runs off)

            He is such a joy!

———————————–

ACT THREE

The interior of Bradford B. Jacobs’ rather shabby apartment. Al is packing up his bequests, three pairs of footie pajamas, having thrown the rancid roast beef in the trash. He is not happy.

AL

           (grumbling) How can one man rack up that many bills? Madame Wanda’s Physical Emporium! The man had the tastes of a beast. (looks at a bill in his hand) And for beasts, judging by this. What a scoundrel. I never even knew the man!

          (As Al passes though the small apartment, he knocks into a tiny bedside desk. A piece of paper flutters to the floor.)

           What’s this?

          (Quickly reads the paper)

          I say, this changes everything! Piddles!

          (Grabs his footie pajamas and rushes out)

———————————-

ACT FOUR

Lady Penelope Pennbrook’s large estate. Lady Penelope and Piddles are on the lawn playing fetch. They are taking turns chasing the stick. (Still.)

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          Oh Piddles!

 PIDDLES

          Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          What’s that Piddles? Is someone coming?

PIDDLES

          Arf arf! Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          Oh, Al is coming! I have not seen him since the reading of that very odd will.

PIDDLES

           Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           He’s here!

AL

            (walking up the lawn)
            Does that dog ever stop barking?

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          Oh, Piddles speaks to me! Arf arf, Piddles. Arf arf!

AL

          (muttering) Who writes this shit?

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           Excuse me?

AL

           I said you look radiant today, as radiant as the sun in the sky, though it be obscured by those storm clouds on the horizon.

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           Oh, you have the flattering tongue of a politician, though I suspect it is my slag fortune that you wish to be the recipient of your tongue’s attentions.

AL

           No my lady, it is your dog which I would like to be the recipient of my tongue’s attentions.

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           (holding Piddles close)
           Oh Piddles, what is this wonderful effect you have upon us?

AL

           No, no my Lady, you misunderstand me. As I was today cleaning up Bradford B. Jacobs’ rancid roast beef mess, I stumbled upon a document which should prove to be of keen interest to us both.

           (hands the Lady a yellowed, roast beef stained document)

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           (quickly scans the document)
           Can this be true? Dare I even say it aloud?

PIDDLES

            Arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           Yes, Piddles, I shall read it!

            (clears her throat)

            It is a letter to the Governor. “And so, as it has been proven that Piddles is a direct descendant of Sir Piddles, pure-bred sire of Piddles II and of proven virtue, I shall happily take you upon your word and accept your offer of one million pounds for the sale of my dog, payable upon my return from the New World.”

           Do you know what this means?

AL

           Yes, that dog is worth a fortune!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

          Oh, I could never sell Piddles!

AL

           And I, my Lady, could not bear to see to see you parted. I ask you, madam, will you marry me?

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

            Oh Piddles, what shall I do?

PIDDLES

            Arf arf!

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           Oh Al, Piddles is right. As heiress to a slag fortune I have so little time for romance. Shall it be? Yes, it shall be! We do! We shall marry you!

PIDDLES

            Arf!

AL

            We?

LADY PENEOLPE PENNBROOK

           Oh yes, what joy the three of us shall have!

AL

            How big is that slag fortune again?

 THE END

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