Episode 7: In Which a Mystery Unravels
In the Governor’s office, Gov. Nigel Buttons Gwnnett and Sir Richard DeGranville were discussing the mysterious disappearance of the Widow Cocovin. After Gwinnett ordered a cavalry of horses (no riders, just horses) to search for her, DeGranville brought up another matter: Why was Ridickolas Nickleby, a British soldier, being held as a prisoner of war, when the British are still clearly in charge of Little Five Ports? Gwinnett explained that there’s give and take to war; he gave Nickleby to the colonists, and got Alaska in exchange. DeGranville pointed out that Alaska is Russian territory and that the colonists have no claim on it…and that the “Russian diplomat” who made the deal was simply a crazy old man who lives under the bridge.
Hector “Macho” Gazpacho was nailing up “Lost Horse” notices since his faithful steed Cacafuego had abandoned him; coming across the passed-out Arnedict Barnold, Hector (distracted by his grief) nailed a sign to Barnold’s backside, waking him up. They theorized that the disappearances of Cocovin and Cacafuego may be connected. Out of nowhere, Barnold asked “Are you saying she’s a witch?” Realizing that his relationship to Cocovin could be kept secret if she were burned at the stake, Hector agreed that she had bewitched him.
Princess Penelope went to Seth’s treehouse, afraid that she would be suspected of Cocovin’s disappearance. When Seth asked why she would be a suspect, Penelope explained that she was the last person seen with Cocovin…and also, she was stabbing her a little bit. Seth understandably freaked out.
DeGranville paid a visit to Nickleby’s barbershop for a wig-cut. DeGranville brought up the subject of Nickleby’s imprisonment, pointing out that if he were free, they could go anywhere together as friends. Nickleby replied that he could wait for his sentence to end, but DeGranville pointed out that it was a life sentence. They needed to find a way to get Nickleby’s freedom legally. (“We need to once…just once…get the governor to understand something.”)
Arnedict Barnold was gleefully anticipating the capture and execution of Cocovin, explaining that he hated all women since the sin of Eve. Hector reluctantly humored Barnold’s ranting.
BARNOLD: “Give me a platonic male hug.”
HECTOR: “This does not feel platonic.”
BARNOLD: “A lot of things happened in Plato’s time.”
Seth went to the Governor’s office to turn in Penelope, but Gov. Gwinnett was more concerned by the loss of Alaska, which he blamed on witchcraft. Seth retorted that there was no such thing as magic, and witches are just hippie chicks. Gwinnett tried to prove that magic is real by doing a silly sleight-of-hand trick.
Having left the treehouse to get food, Penelope was found by DeGranville. They went into the unattended Clermont Tavern to discuss various matters, including DeGraville’s relationship with Nickleby. (“I’m not gay! That is, I’m gay in the sense of the word in THIS time, not in Seth’s.”) He noticed the blood on Penelope’s hand, and she explained that she was only playing Stabbies with the Widow Cocovin. She warned him that if he told anyone, she would tell everyone he’s a gayfer.
Afterwards, DeGranville informed Gwinnett of his suspicions about Penelope. Gwinnett happily declared that Penelope should be rewarded as a witch-killer. DeGranville explained that the Widow Cocovin was not a witch, because she weighed more than a duck. DeGranville had one condition for bringing Penelope to justice…he wanted Nickleby’s freedom in return. When Gwinnett hesitated, DeGranville turned in his resignation, explaining that he valued friendship over duty. Gwinnett protested that he was DeGranville’s friend, but DeGranville replied that they had never been friends.
Seth returned to his treehouse to find Penelope waiting there. He was torn between his guilt over turning her in and his fear for his life. She tried to explain herself, but his panicked jabber would not let her get a word in. Finally, Seth punched her in the face and fled.
Gov. Gwinnett came into Nickleby’s barbershop and informed him that DeGranville had asked for his freedom. However, if Nickleby were set free, someone else would have to take his place at the end of the tether…and it would have to be DeGranville. Nickleby agreed to let DeGranville take his place, but only if he could stay with him as his rope-keeper.
Arnedict Barnold and Hector “Macho” Gazpacho set out in search of Cacafuego. As Barnold launched into one of his speeches, another horse leapt through the air and rammed him in the crotch. Hector realized that these flying ponies could be useful for the revolution, but Barnold was too preoccupied with his own pain to appreciate their strategic value. Barnold cried that his leg was broken, and he was now a useless cripple. He begged Hector to kill him, but instead, Hector took out his bottle of Fountain-of-Youth water and used it to heal him. Cacafuego arrived just in time to see Hector rubbing Barnold’s leg, and once again stormed off.
DeGranville tracked Penelope down. Bitter that both Seth and DeGranville had tried to turn her in, she declared that she could no longer trust anyone. Penelope and DeGranville agreed to settle matters in the traditional British manner…by playing Stabbies. As they got on the floor and leg-wrestled (because that’s what Stabbies involves), their physical contact stirred something within DeGranville. He was puzzled by how he could have feelings for both Nickleby and Penelope, but she assured him that he was simply human like everyone else. Then she offered to touch his weiner.
TO BE CONTINUED…