What's all this barmy stuff?
Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?
Not enough barminess for you?
The New Neighbors
- A Play in a 3 of Scenes -
by Tom Bubul
The stage opens on an overactive fog machine. That is to say, the stage is full of fog, not that there's a fog machine sitting in the middle of the stage. In fact, there's no fog machine anywhere near the stage... the fog is naturally magic. But anyway. The stage is foggy. Large, liquidy bits hang about in this fog, and there is no apparent background to the stage... just an infinity of these liquidy blobs and fog. There's also what looks like a house built in one of these liquidy blobs, in the background, and a man and woman onstage.
The man had a long bathrobe on, and a pointy hat. He also had a monocle on his left eye, some worn spiral tattoos on his right, and short wispy white hair that poked out from under the pointy hat. He was holding a pair of binoculars, and looking through a prop window at the house in the background, from between the curtains. The woman had an apron on and was holding a pan with bacon in. It looked as though she were cooking dinner, or, bacon, as the case may be.
Woman: Redpon Snobbits you old goat, don't think I don't see you looking out across the Ethereal at that new couple down the mist. It's not like you own this place, you know.
Redpon (R): Away with ye, wytch! I do own this place, I came here from the prime...
R: 36, thank you, 36 years ago, and I'll be damned if I don't own the place by now. By the Nine Hells, I planted the Ethereal Seed, I slaved over the funds to provide for us, and this is the thanks I get? I'll teach ye to call me, Redpon Snobbits, the 119th most powerful mage in all existence, an olde goat, Windy Snobbits!
Windy (W): Oh, calm down you. I'm sure they's nice people.
R: It dunna matter. I was here first, this is my space. It's not like the Ethereal isn't infinite... they just had to setup next to us though. Who do we bother?
W: (in the background) You bother me, sometimes...
R: Noone, that's who. And these posh kids move in next door. Just down the mists. That's new money for ye. They's always trying to outdo their elders. I'll teach em, I will.
W: Please dear. Don't get to excited. Remember your blood pressure.
R: Bloody pressure means not to me! I can change it with the snap of a finger, and ye knows that! I digress. I'll catch 'em. Juss you wait'n see, wytch, they'll do something they ain't supposed to be doin', an' I'll see.
W: It is their demiplane, dear. They technically can do what they want.
R: Maybe, but their demiplane is on my property. And I'm gonna do somethin' about it.
The curtains close.
The curtains reopen shortly, on a stage still heavily clogged with fog. Windy is pulling weeds outside of her and Redpon's little magical house, and a young aasimar girl wanders in. Long blonde hair braided into thin dreadlocks cascades over spikey-bit covered shoulders. Hanging about her neck are chains and amulets of sorts, one of which bears a largish Sensate symbol. Knee high, spurred boots give way to rolled up pant legs, and spiral tattoos ring round her arms and eyes.
Woman: (taps Windy on the back as she weeds her gardens) 'Ello, mis! I'm Aphrodite Rumguts, yore new neighbor! What a pleasure, it is!
Windy (W): (grinning widely and shaking the girl's hand) Pleasetameecha, Miss Rumguts! I'm Windy Snobbits. A nice demiplane, you got there.
Aphrodite(A): Thank you. We got the demiplane discount from Floating Corpse Realty... quite a deal. (she grins) Oh, and please, call me Aphie... all my friends do.
W: Isn't Floating Corpse Realty an Astral based organization?
A: Yes. That's why we got it discount, because this isn't the Astral. A bit of a fixer upper, yes, but it'll be top shape in no time I'm sure.
W: Oh, yes, I'm sure. (she squints at the house in the bubble in the background) Is that your husband down that way, trying to make that big cloud that's shaped like a hand do his bidding?
A: Yes, that'd be Sir Ronald Rumguts. He was a big noble back in Sigil, but we decided to come out and get some of this country air.
W: He looks like a nice enough fellow. Perhaps you two might stop up for dinner this evening, and I can introduce you to my husband. He's a bit eccentric, he is, but nice once you get to know him.
A: Oooh, that'd be grand! We can use a good home cooked...
W: Home conjured, you mean, I don't cook myself...
A: Well, yes, a good home conjured meal, like gramma used to make, that sort of thing. (she grinned)
W: Your gran used to conjure meals?
A: She's been doing it for the past 900 years. She's a lich, you see, but has a soft spot for the cullinaries.
W: Perhaps you can bring her down sometime, yes?
A: Maybe... though she's in Sigil right now courting. (she shrugged) About what time should we come down?
W: When you're feeling hungry, lass. Make sure you come a good hour or so before you're hungry to be safe though, Mr. Snobbits tends to get greedy when we're having guests. I keep telling him...
A: Right, we'll be there shortly. I can't wait to meet the old man, he sounds like such a peach. Cheerio!
W: (wavie wavies) Bye-bye now!
The stage gets extra foggy as the girl swims through the air towards the house in the background, and the curtains close.
The curtains open again on three rooms divided by walls with doors in. The Ethereal background is visible through windows in the backs of the rooms... and the third room, on the far right of the stage, is meant to be outside. The middle room, a dining room, holds the common dressings of a dining room. China cabinet, long oak table set for four, chairs, etc. The room on the far left, a kitchen, holds a big pentagram on the floor, some long black candles, and a little plaque on the back wall that reads "God Blesse This Demiplane." It also has Windy in it, with Redpon hanging over her shoulder. A transparent, completely baked goose hangs in midair in the center of the pentagram, in the center of the floor... and Windy is standing on the pentagram's borders focussing.
Redpon (R): Ye what?
Windy (W): Invited... (grunt) them over... (grunt) for dinner, Red... (grunt) pon. It won't kill ya... (grunt) to be nice.
R: But they're foreigners, and obviously quite snobbish! Seriously Windy Snobbits, sometimes I think ye do this just to make me upset!
W: Redpon... I'm trying... to summon... dinner. Bugger... off!
R: (aghast) Don't ye tell me to bugger off, woman! We've been married...
R: 65, thank you, 65 years, and still I can't get any respect from the likes of you!
Windy waves her hands about and points at the goose with both hands, frowning. A loud pop sounds through the room, as a silver, covered platter clangs to the floor, inside which is, hopefully, a goose.
W: There. Now I just need to make the fixins. Listen Pony, I never get to have people over. This could be the social occasion of the decade for me. When's the last time I had guests, really?
R: Please, don't call me Pony. Ye know I don't like it... makes me sound, eh, studdly or somesuch. As well, ye had guests only last month, I remember it. Ye were cooking gingerbread men and ended up summoning a poor bunch of kids from Oerth.
W: Well, they didn't count. They thought I was a witch.
R: Ye are!
W: (puts her hands on her waist) Dear....
R: Fine, fine, ye can have guests. Just don't say I never did anything for ye! An be sure to summon non-lumpy gravy, I hate lumps.
W: What do I look like, a short order conjurer?
R: Do I ask so much of ye?
Redpon moves into the middle room, where he sits in an easy chair and starts smoking a pipe. Several more pops fill the house, as rice, a gravy bowl (with non-lumpy gravy), broccoli, a basket of bread, some butter, potatoes, carrots, and a bottle of wine all clatter to the center of the pentagram. The broccoli was a little undercooked, but hey, noone's perfect. The doorgong rang, as Aphrodite Rumguts and a short, stout bearded man, who was apparently Sir Ronald Rumguts, stepped into the third room on the right.
W: Red, can you get the door? I believe our guests are here.
Red muttered, "Ye'll drive me to drink, wytch," as he wandered over to the door to open it up. He took off his hat as he opened the door, his white hair wisping all over the place as he stared into the face of Aphrodite Rumguts and her laughably short husband.
Aphrodite (A): Hello there! You must be Redpon!
R: That's Master Snobbits...
A: I'm Aphrodite, you can call me Aphie. This here's Ronald. Say hello, Ronald.
Ronald (Sir): (muttering) That's Sir Ronald...
Sir Ronald Rumguts and Master Redpon Snobbits glared malevolently at eachother, and both mumbled and coughed, "Munchkin."
R: Um. Hello. Come inside.
Sir: Right. Um.
Merriment, also known as Windy Snobbits, danced merrily through the dining room, placing the goose and other conjured food on the table. Redpon took his seat at the head of the table, and across from him sat Sir Ronald. Their wives sat across from eachother at the table center. As soon as they were settled, Redpon made a go for the goose.
W: Redpon, where're your manners? We need to say grace first.
They all folded their hands in uneasy silence as Windy spouted rhetoric about giving thanks to the animals for dying so they could eat them, the broccoli for growing nicely, and soforth. Redpon and Ronald stared at eachother.
R: Good. Now can I cut the bird?
Redpon waved his hands about, and nice pieces of the goose relocated themselves from the silver tray onto each person's respective dishes.
A: (loads her dish full of food, and starts eating) This is lovely, Windy! You must show me how to cook like this someday.
W: (nods) I slaved all day over a hot pentagram to make it... it is good though, thank you. Ronald, how are you? Tell me about yourself.
Sir: (staring at Redpon) I come from the Blood War, in the Lower Planes. My town got burned out by Fiends, so I killed a bunch of them. That's basically my life up until I met my sweet flower, Aphie.
A: (pinching Ronald's cheek) Aww, isn't he such a sweetie weetie?
W: Well, my Redpon is a big powerful wizard. Too bad he never lifts a finger around the house and constantly complains though. (she winks)
R: (blushing darkly) Excuse me for being aloof of such mundane tasks! It's part of my job as a Great Wizard, and ye know it. Ye see (he addresses his guests), I'm the...
R: Yes, 119th, thank ye, most powerful wizard in the multiverse. That means I have the right to read and smoke my pipe alot, and be vague about giving advice to adventurers who come to call.
Sir: Adventurers come calling, eh?
R: Oh, yes, all the time.
Windy grins, and Aphrodite gives throws her a knowing glance.
Sir: Yes, they consult me all the time too.
R: Into the arts of war, are ye? Blood Warrior, ye say? What sort of demons and devils do ye fight?
Sir: The Baatezu and Tanar'ri sort.
R: Never heard of them.
Sir: They're quite frightening, believe you me. See this scar here? Got it from a Pit Fiend.
R: (shrugs) If it was me, I would've run away from it.
Sir: Thasswhat I did. He got me while I was running away. Live to run away another day, I always say. It just so happens I managed to kill alot of things in my attempts at making beelines toward the nearest exit.
R: (nods slowly and knowingly) People will never learn not to get in the way of a good hero.
The conversation progressed in this way for several hours, before the new neighbors decided they were too full to eat anymore, and the men both having smoked enough pipe for weeks, decided it was Old Hero Sleepy Time(tm). The women grinned brightly and hugged eachother, while the men exchanged embarrassed glances. The Snobbitses watched the Rumgutses float back to their own demiplane and then went to their bedroom... which was put in place of the kitchen during all the fuss of dinner. It had two single beds in, because the Snobbitses were modest people... who never knowingly did "that sort of thing".
W: They're the nicest neighbors, aren't they?
W: Aww, what was that deary?
W: I knew you'd like them! You and Sir Ronald will grow to be great friends, I just know it.
R: Bah. He's just like I thought he'd be... knew he'd have good conversation, but a right posh bugger underneath.
W: (grinning) Goodnite, Redpon, you old goat.
R: Goodnite, ye old wytch.
All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.