Fair Retail (scenes 5 - 7)

List of Plays

A Family Comedy in One Act by William Armstrong

Scene Five
Royal court of King Kudos.
Harmony and Advisor enter. Harmony sits on her throne.
HARMONY
The palace is buzzing with rumors that we have a visitor - a mysterious potentate from the east.
ADVISOR
Yes, Prince Rubles. He's asking for an audience with His Majesty.
King enters and sits on throne.
KING
Why do these eastern potentates always have to be mysterious? How come I've never heard of this "Rubbles" character? And why do they always expect me to give them a suite of rooms in the castle? Do I look like Howard Johnson? Let's make this short. Baron, if this meeting goes on for more that a couple of minutes, announce that my presence is required elsewhere on urgent matters of state. All right, [to a page offstage] allow His Highness passage.
VOICE 1
Allow His Highness passage.
VOICE 2 (more distant)
Allow His Highness passage.
VOICE 3 (more distant still)
A lousy sinus passage.
Juan enters wearing a Carnack hat (big silk pillow with a large plume), billowy pantaloons, curly-toed slippers, etc. He has an over-sized handlebar mustache and talks with an accent. A servant follows him.
ADVISOR
His Royal Highness, Prince Rubles, mysterious potentate from the east.
KING
Are you a sultan or what?
JUAN
My father was the Kahn's sultan. He had the wisdom of Solomon and the billing rate of Cleopatra. As the Kahn's sultan, he would borrow your sundial and tell you what time it was.
KING
So, you're a son of a consultant. What does that make you, an emir?
JUAN
I am the Pshaw of Purse-yah, not a mere emir. I am Prince Rubles, but, please, call me Frank.
Juan lowers himself to his knees, places his right palm on his forehead (mostly to hold his awkward hat), and bows all the way to the floor. As he slowly raises his head, he tries to catch the big plume under the hem of Harmony's gown so he can sneak a peek at her legs. King catches on to Juan's trick and rises in anger.
KING
Stop that! What is the meaning of this!?
JUAN
Forgive me. In my country, women like to have the Pshaw peek at their legs.
KING
In my country they might like it, too, but I don't like it.
JUAN
I wasn't going to look at your legs, sire.
KING
I meant her legs.
JUAN
You might not want to look at her legs, but I've never seen them. I meant no offense.
King returns on his throne. Juan stands up.
KING
Very well, what brings you to my palace? And please be frank, Frank.
JUAN
Tales of your daughter's legendary beauty and grace have reached my homeland. I was compelled to journey to your court and to see for myself if these fantastic accounts were true. But the reports don't do her justice. Her beauty makes my toes curl. As we say in my language, "She's babe-a-licious."
KING
You won't get any argument from me. Well, thank you for your visit, and please drop by again the next time you're in the neighborhood.
JUAN
But, Your Majesty, I would press my suit with her.
KING
Oh, no, we use steam irons down in the laundry.
JUAN
I meant that I would ask for your daughter's hand in marriage. My servants have a large, very large, extremely large, obscenely large cache of treasure for you if you agree, and I have a priceless magic mirror for Harmony. Allow me to prove myself right here in your home for 10 days. If you're not completely satisfied, just return me to Purse-yah with no obligation ...but keep the mirror as our free gift to you.
KING
I'm sorry; the Princess is not available right now. She is promised to a champion engaged in a crucial quest.
JUAN
She's waiting for an engaged man?
KING
It's a long story.
JUAN
Is she affianced? Has she plighted her troth?
KING
Her plight is serious, but it's not in the trough. No one will marry my daughter!
HARMONY
Father!
KING
What I mean is: we can't consider your proposal right now. She is sort of half-affianced.
JUAN
The Pshaw's heart is pshattered. But I promised to give the magic mirror to the fair Harmony.
Juan summons his servant to bring the mirror by clapping twice. The lights go out. King claps twice, and the lights come on again.
KING
Please don't clap like that. Our torches operate on a "clapper" spell.
As Juan presents the mirror to Harmony, the plume from his hat gets in the king's face.
JUAN
A magical mirror for a magical beauty.
King takes the mirror from Harmony.
KING
Let me see that mirror. Good heavens! He's made me a vampire! I don't have any reflection. Get me some garlic!
ADVISOR
I think garlic is for werewolves, sire.
JUAN
No, Your Majesty, it's no reflection on you. That's a magic mirror. You have to turn it on. Even then, it doesn't always show you your reflection.
KING
Yes, of course, show us how to operate the mirror.
King hands the mirror to Juan.
JUAN
Your Majesty certainly knows that knowledge is power. If I were to explain how the mirror works in front of the entire court, everyone here would know its secret. But if I show it only to the Princess, she will have a powerful tool that no one else can use. I humbly suggest that I teach only Her Highness the secret of the mirror.
ADVISOR
Sire, your presence is required elsewhere on urgent matters of state.
KING
Oh, yes. Well, Frank, you show Harmony how that thing works and then have a safe trip home. I'll have the kitchen staff make you a batch of our famous Domania sticky buns for your journey. Thank you for your visit. Please call again. [to Advisor] Have the guards wait outside in case the princess calls for help. No offense, Frank.
JUAN
None taken.
KING
Everyone else, come with me.
ADVISOR
[to a page offstage] Attend the king elsewhere.
VOICE 1
Attend the king elsewhere.
VOICE 2 (more distant)
Attend the king elsewhere.
VOICE 3 (more distant still)
At ten, the king'll swear.
Everyone exits except Juan and Harmony. Harmony steps down from her throne.
JUAN
This is a wondrous device, Your Highness. With these buttons you can dial other magic mirrors. Watch. I'll dial the mirror in my palace back home.
Juan allows Harmony to look into the mirror.
HARMONY
Is that Purse-yah? It looks like Costa Fortuna!
JUAN
[with feigned innocence] It does, doesn't it?
Juan pricks Harmony with a small needle in his ring.
HARMONY
Ouch! You prick...ed me.
Harmony passes out and collapses into Juan's arms. Sight gag: Juan struggles to support her as she sways precariously from one side to another. Juan finally manages to steady her. He kidnaps her and escapes through the magic mirror. Fade out. End of scene 5.
Scene Six
Inside White Castle.
Mark and Boo enter warily on tiptoes. The scene can begin in front of the curtain to allow more time for scene change.
MARK
I never thought we would get inside White Castle without meeting the ogre.
BOO
He's nearby. I have enough magic to sense an enchanted creature.
MARK
Stay out of the way, Boo. Let me try to talk to Fluffy by myself.
BOO
He's very big and very strong, and I don't think he's very happy about everybody trying to kill him. I think I could help keep him calm.
MARK
Thanks, but if I'm going to earn the hand of Princess Harmony, I need to do this myself.
BOO
Okay, but I'll be near if you need me.
MARK
Thank you. You're a good fairy. You'll make an excellent godmother some day.
Curtain opens. Mark "turns a corner" and enters the ballroom with Boo behind. Ogre stands threateningly like an angry Incredible Hulk.
OGRE
What puny intruder is this?!
MARK
Hi, how are you doing today? My name's Mark. You certainly have a beautiful home here. I wonder if I could have a minute of your time.
Mark steps forward offering to shake hands. Ogre tries to bear-hug Mark.
OGRE
You're the twenty-seventh swashbuckler to hassle this castle. I'm going to crush you and put you in my compost pile.
MARK
I'm not a swashbuckler. I'm a swash-unbuckler, and I've got your belt.
Mark slips out of the ogre's hold and steals his belt in the process. The ogre's pants fall down revealing polka dot boxers.
MARK (continues)
I didn't do that to embarrass you, just to slow you down so we could talk.
OGRE
[almost crying] I used to be fast like you.
Ogre pulls up his pants and squats down to talk.
OGRE (continues)
You're not like the others. What do you want anyway?
MARK
I want what you want.
OGRE
Liar!
MARK
You're almost right. I'm a salesman.
OGRE
Oh yeah?! A salesman? All night long I get calls on that mirror. "Do you want to lower your mortgage?" "Will you come and look at our timeshares." "You can get two weeks' free home delivery of the Domania Times." Salesmen, bah! You don't even know what I want.
MARK
You're right. That's why I'm here ...to find out what you want and see if we can do some business together. You don't see many ogres these days. I'll bet some evil wizard changed you into an ogre. Am I right?
OGRE
You're right. I used to live peacefully with my wife and children until that wicked witch Krona turned me into this. But what do you want?
MARK
Like I said, I'm here to make a deal. I'm here to find out what you want and give it to you. In exchange, I'd like you to give back this castle and its lands.
OGRE
What could you possibly give me that would be worth all this? And why does everybody want this place all of a sudden?
MARK
The king of Domania has proclaimed that anyone who can (How can I put this discreetly?) remove you from this land will marry the princess.
OGRE
What does she look like?
MARK
She's really pretty! Even if she weren't a princess, I'd be in love with her.
OGRE
Well, then, why don't I just volunteer to leave this castle? That way I could claim the princess for my own.
MARK
I don't think that would work. Besides, I thought you said you were married.
OGRE
Oh, yeah. I forgot.
MARK
What's the one thing that you want most in this world?
OGRE
What I really want is to go back to the way I was. I don't like being an ogre. I don't have any friends, and I ruin the vegetables every time I walk in my garden.
MARK
So, if I could get you back to the way you were, you'd like that, wouldn't you?
OGRE
Yes, but Krona's magic is too powerful. You could never change me back.
MARK
You're right. I can't break her spell, but if I could, would you go back to your family and return this castle to the king?
OGRE
I'd jump at the chance. [Ogre hops] Do you think there's a way to break the spell?
MARK
Of course there is. Let's ask our magic expert. Have you met Boo?
OGRE
Boo who?
Boo steps out from behind Mark.
BOO
Don't cry, Fluffy! It's me.
OGRE
[to Boo] Nose! Long time, no see. [to Mark] Didn't you know I knew Nose?
MARK
No, I didn't know you knew Nose, but now I know you know Nose. You know, I know Nose as Boo.
OGRE
[to Mark] Ooo, so who are you?
BOO
Allow me to introduce you two. Fluffy, this is Mark. Mark, this is Fluffy.
Mark starts to shake hands when he realizes that he is still holding the ogre's belt. Mark smiles sheepishly and hands the belt to Fluffy who returns it to his pants.
MARK
Before we get started, can I ask you a personal question? Did you eat any of those men who attacked you?
OGRE
Of course not. I'm a vegetarian. Did you see my garden out behind the castle? One of those knights who attacked here - the big round one - stomped on my cabbage. I should have stomped on him, but he waddled off before I could get him.
Ogre stomps around acting out his words.
MARK
Where did you come from?
OGRE
I come from a beautiful land where you can just eat and sleep in the sun ...where you have no worries, no responsibilities ...where the grasses grow as high as your shoulder.
MARK
It sounds like my neighbor's yard. Well... Boo, is it possible to break this spell Krona has cast on Fluffy?
BOO
Only Krona could do it. Her magic is too strong for anyone else I know.
MARK
Would she be able to break it?
BOO
Sure. Reversing her own spell is the easiest thing that a witch can do. She wouldn't even need her magic wand, but why would she do it?
OGRE
It's hopeless. Oh, grrr! She wants me to stay an ogre.
MARK
What would Krona do if Fluffy started to attack her?
BOO
She'd cast a sleep spell or maybe a tickle spell - anything to stop him. She probably wouldn't change him back. Unless....
MARK
Unless what?
BOO
Unless she didn't have her magic wand.
MARK
Is there ever a time when she doesn't have her magic wand with her?
BOO
No way. She won't leave home without it.
MARK
What about when she takes a bath?
OGRE
Krona's an evil witch. I think your nose will tell you that she's never taken a bath.
BOO
She's never taken a bath. You'd have to pull the wand out of her hand.
MARK
So I'd have to sneak in and take her magic wand before she can fire off a spell. Then Fluffy could attack her, and she'll change him back.
OGRE
You make it sound easy, but she's a crafty old witch. I don't think she's going to let you sneak up on her.
MARK
Probably not. Okay, what do you know about her? Do you ever talk to her?
OGRE
Sometimes when I get lonely, I call her on that magic mirror. I can talk to her even though she's a long distance away. (I've got unlimited weekend minutes.) You know, that mirror even lets you travel to where she is. You can just walk through the mirror into her castle.
MARK
That's how I'll sneak up on her. I'll hide behind Fluffy until we get through the mirror. Then I'll grab the wand and Fluffy can threaten her.
BOO
Don't forget me. I can distract her before you go for the wand. She won't be looking in your direction, and she'll be sure to have the wand out of her pocket.
MARK
It sounds like a brilliant plan with no glaring errors. Let's do it. Fluffy, you lead the way. I'll be right behind you, and Nose will be in the rear.
Ogre calls Krona on the mirror as the others line up behind him. Lights up on Krona who answers her mirror.
OGRE
[talking to Krona in the mirror] I'm lonely, and I'm tired. I've had to face twenty-seven swashbucklers so far. I want to come and relax on the beach for a few minutes.
KRONA
No, you can't come here. Stop it! Don't come through!
Ogre, Mark, and Boo travel through the mirror. Krona steps back to avoid Ogre. Boo pops out as if she were at a surprise party. Mark darts in and snatches the wand from Krona. He runs back beside Ogre.
MARK
Go get her, Fluffy.
KRONA
Stay back! Don't attack me! I made you what you are today.
OGRE
Argh!
KRONA
Oops, I forgot. You don't like what you are today.
MARK
If you don't reverse your spell, he'll squash you like a tomato.
KRONA
I'm no tomato.
MARK
You can say that again. Okay, he'll squash you like a ...squash.
KRONA
[casting spell at Ogre] Cadabra-abra. Bibbity-bobbity-undo.
Krona waves her hands and Fluffy turns into a bunny rabbit.
MARK (continues)
Whoa! Fluffy, you're a bunny rabbit! What went wrong?
BOO
Nothing's wrong. That's what Fluffy was before the witch made him an ogre.
KRONA
Ha, ha. I'm not afraid of wild rabbits. You can't threaten me now. Who are you?
MARK
My name is Mark. I was the Chamber of Commerce 'Merchant of the Year' two years running.
KRONA
Well then, start running. You're no magical creature. Give me back my magic wand. It's useless to you.
MARK
You're right. I can't use the wand ...but I know someone who can.
Mark hands the wand to Boo.
BOO
Maybe we should turn her into a head of lettuce for Fluffy to eat.
KRONA
Enough of this foolishness! Give me the wand.
Krona starts to approach Boo, but Boo waves the wand at her and chants a spell.
BOO
You've always had a heart of ice,
But from now on, you will be nice.
Krona stops advancing. She smiles and acts very pleasant.
KRONA
Oh, where are my manners? Can I offer you some tea and cookies?
MARK
Good job, Boo. [to Krona] No, I'm sorry I can't stay for tea. I have to get back to Domania so I can marry Princess Harmony.
KRONA
Oh, Princess Harmony isn't in Domania. She's right here in Costa Fortuna. My sleazy little protégé Juan Lira kidnapped her, you know. Are you sure you can't stay and have just one ginger snap?
MARK
Boo, is she telling the truth?
BOO
Nice people usually do. I'd say "yes".
MARK
Krona, where is Lira? How can I find him?
KRONA
He's just over on the other side of the castle. Would you like to meet him?
Blackout. End of scene 6.
Scene Seven
Lira Palace interior.
Juan is sitting in a chair playing video games. Juan's Carnack hat and mustache are on the table. Otherwise, Juan is still in his Rubles attire. Harmony wakes up on the bed. Juan puts down the game.
JUAN
Hey, sleepyhead, would you like to go down to the beach?
HARMONY
What? Where am I? Juan Lira! You've brought me to Costa Fortuna! I demand that you return me to Domania at once.
Juan draws a short sword or long knife and approaches Harmony.
JUAN
No, you're here for a romantic vacation, and you're going to enjoy it if it kills you.
Mark bursts into the room followed by Boo and Krona. Juan is startled but manages to hold Harmony in front of him with the knife at her throat.
MARK
Unhand my princess, you fiend!
JUAN
Nobody move, or I'll harm Harmony.
Mark starts to move toward Juan, but Harmony yelps as Juan holds the knife tighter and warns....
JUAN (continues)
Ah, ah, ah! I mean it. If I cut her throat, you'll have two-part Harmony.
KRONA
Now, Juan, that's no way to treat a guest. Put down that nasty knife, and I'll get some ginger snaps and milk.
JUAN
Don't move! What have they done to you, Krona? Who is this guy? I'm confused.
KRONA
I'm not an evil witch anymore; I'm a good witch.
JUAN
You mean like the blimp?
KRONA
No, that's Goodyear. Apparently, this plucky fellow won King Kudos's contest and has come to claim Princess Harmony for his bride.
JUAN
Well, if he moves, he'll lose her forever.
MARK
You're the lowest scum of the earth, Your Highness.
HARMONY
Are you talking to me?
MARK
Oh, no, Your Highness, I meant His Highness.
JUAN
[lecherously] Hey - I like having you close, Harmony.
HARMONY
I'll bet you're just tickled.
Harmony tickles Juan with a feather from the Carnack hat. Juan brushes the plume away but scratches himself with his poisoned ring. He speaks groggily as he falls asleep.
JUAN
Awww no! ...sleeping potion from ...the ...ring.
Juan drops the knife and collapses onto the bed.
KRONA
You got him to scratch himself with that trick ring. That was very clever, Princess.
HARMONY
I always think better with a knife at my throat. [to Mark] You slew the ogre?
MARK
Not "slew" - but Boo knew what to do to subdue you-know-who through a coup. Then we flew to rescue you.
HARMONY
Then you are twice my champion - worthy of kudos. I can't tell you how glad I am that you won the contest, Mark. I've had a crush on you since we were kids.
Mark and Harmony embrace.
MARK
I've had a crush on you like an ogre's bear hug. That reminds me... Krona, would you please put Fluffy back where you found him?
KRONA
It's the least I can do.
HARMONY
Let's hurry to Domania, Mark. My father must be beside himself with worry.
Mark and Harmony start to head for the exit, but Krona stops them.
KRONA
Wait. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Juan brought you through the mirror. You can go back the same way.
Krona picks up Juan's mirror and holds it up to the couple.
MARK
[to Harmony] We can hitch a ride on the magic mirror. I've done it.
HARMONY
Well, let's do it. Let's get hitched. Here's my hand.
Mark takes Harmony's offered hand, and they prepare to go through the mirror. Boo lines up to follow them.
BOO
Can I be a flower girl at your wedding? I'm good with flowers.
Boo produces a bouquet from thin air. Lights fade out. End of play.


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Copyright © 2003 William Armstrong



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