Sam – A Top-Hatted, Caped Gentleman with Mutton-chop whiskers
Joe – Another Top-Hatted, Caped Gentleman with Mutton-chop whiskers
Setting:A Bus Stop
Sam: Good morrow to you, Joe!
Joe: Good morrow to you, Sam!
Sam: I say, Joe, how fares your mother, these days?
Joe: Why, Sam, she fares quite well! I shall tell her that you have enquired after her welfare, and I thank you for asking… although I do wonder the occasion of said enquiry. Pray tell?
Sam: Oh, my fine friend, ‘tis nothing, to be sure. …Only… I did hear tell that your mother is so odiferous that the local peasantry make use of her bathwater to fertilize their rented farmlands!
Joe: Oh. Right. Well, the old girl does sport a rather heightened bouquet, I’ll grant. But, Dear Sir, I should be remiss indeed were I not to enquire after the welfare of your own mother, now that you have shown mine own a kindness.
Sam: How very civil of you, Sir, in turn! And so I shall relate to you that my mother does excellent well, thank you! And, as you have promised to do, so I now promise to pass along to her your gracious sentiment!
Joe: Oh, not at all, my good man! …Of course, I must tell you that I am quite pleased that your mother does well! But tell me further, my good man: Is it also true what I have heard in the streets that your mother does well not only by herself but also by every scurvied, swagbellied dogsbody of a sailor who finds himself alone – that is to say, lonely – in the Port of Londontown?
Sam (chortling): Oh my how you do have a thumb on the pulse of our good town! You are correct when you say that my mother is, shall we say, cordial to a fault… and, indeed, charitable beyond the call to those poor souls of Christendom who are in need of the milk of human kindness!
Joe (sharing a chortle with his friend): Verily, the fine Dam is as knowledgable in the wants and needs of the individual mariner as our good Queen, herself, is knowledgable in the workings of her noble empire's navy!
Sam (clapping his fellow on the back): In this, then, we are in complete agreement! But, so long as we speak of politics…
Joe: Yes, Noble Sirrah?
Sam: I have heard tell among my associates, and I think I have no reason to doubt their assessments… Oh, I must say I do not know how to approach the matter…
Joe: There shall be no awkwardness between us! I tell you, as a gentleman, that you may be forthcoming howsoever, and wheresoever, the words lead!
Sam: Sir, they tell me... that your good mother…
Joe: Speak it, Sir!
Sam: Is rumoured to harbor certain… Republican sympathies!
Joe: (visibly taken aback at the affrontery of his associate): To the contrary, my good man -- there can be no doubt of the fact that my good mother is as Royalist as they come!
Sam: Alas, ‘tis contrary to that which I have heard tell… must we then resolve the matter with fisticuffs?
Joe: Nay, Sir! My mother’s honor hath been besmirched! This is a matter quite beyond mere pugilism! We shall duel! And I shall attain satisfaction!
Sam: Then a duel it is!(Both gentlemen produce pistols. They separate in opposing directions ten full paces. They turn. They fire. Joe is hit. Joe falls to the ground.)
Joe: My friend, ‘twould appear that you have undone me quite!
Sam: Alas, ‘twould appear as you say. (The bus arrives. Joe remains on the ground until the play’s conclusion.)
Sam: What ho! The bus is come! (Looking down at Joe) Good day to you, Sir!
Joe: And to you, Sir!
(Exit bus, Sam thereupon.)
Joe: My poor skills as a duelist give poor justice to my love of my sainted mother’s honor. Therefore, I die not of a bullet's insult to my person but rather of shame.
(Dies. An hour passes. Another bus comes. Sam returns, thereupon. Seeing Joe, lying dead, Sam kneels and reaches into his coat pocket. He withdraws, from Joe’s pocket, a picture of the English monarch. He turns over the picture and regards the back with gravity.)
Sam (reading): My beloved Son, Joseph, I beseech you to carry around on your person this picture of our Queen. Know that my love for you is second only to my love for Crown and Country! Your doting mother, Adelaide.
(pauses before speaking, again)
Here lies a most noble man whom I am honored to have called my friend. And although I have done an honor by the Queen in defending her sovereignty in the face of his mother’s rumoured Republicanism, the particularities of the deed now reveal themselves to have been other than I and my associates had, in all good conscience, imagined. (Places the picture in the pocket of his own overcoat) Rest now, noble Englishman. From this moment forward, I shall speak of your mother as a faithful subject of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria! God Save the Queen!
(Fade to black)