Bessie’s Boys Chapter 27

Previously: England awaits the Spanish invasion. Elizabeth orders two of her young heroes to Spain on a mission. Each one has a beautiful but jealous lover.

Flummoxed, Phillip stopped in the middle of the courtyard and watched the young ladies disappear among the labyrinthine corridors.  Before he could reprimand his guards for moving too slow to catch the maidens, he saw Rodney scamper down a set of steps followed by a huffing Vacacabeza.  When clip clopping on the other staircase drew his attention, Phillip turned to see Clarence.“Stop!  Stop!” the monarch bellowed.  “Aha!  We’ve got them trapped!  We’ve got them trapped!”

Rodney straightway reversed his course and went up the steps, knocking Vacacabeza over, causing the ambassador to tumble.

Clarence, on the other hand, being lighter and therefore more fleet of foot, had made it to the bottom of his staircase before realizing he had come face to face with the royal guards.  He wasted no time in backtracking up the steps with the two guards in pursuit.  Three-fourths of the way up Clarence jumped to the bannister and leaped up to the balustrade.  Flinging himself over it, he disappeared down another hallway.  By the time the guards lumbered to the second landing, Clarence was nowhere to be seen.

Vacacabeza doddered across the courtyard and by unlucky happenstance  knocked the King on his ass.  Phillip stood as quickly as any old man in similar circumstances could recover from a fall.

“You fool!  Watch out where you’re going!”

“I’m sorry, your Majesty!”  The ambassador bowed.  He looked about at the four corners of the Alhambra.  “Which one do you want me to chase?”

Phillip sat on the edge of the central fountain.  “Neither.  I’m getting too old for this.”

Maria, clearly confused by the conflagration of corridors ran back into the courtyard but stopped on a peseta when she saw the King and her guardian.

“Mon dieu!” she sputtered in a French accent.

King Phillip pointed at her with great authority.  “Stop right there!”

Vacacabeza placed his boney hands on his ward’s shoulders.  “That’s right!  We’ve got you now!”

“And if my hunch is correct, we also have one of your confederates!”  An evil look of satisfaction crossed his wrinkled, bewhiskered face.

“What—what do you mean?” A Spanish fear clouded her voice.

“You know what we mean,” the King replied, motioning to his ambassador to go behind Maria.  Each old man went on his knees, lifted her skirt and reached under.  “Now we shall see who you are hiding.”

“What are you doing?” Maria asked with incredulity.

(Author’s note:  Actually, it was quite clear to Maria what they were doing.  What Maria probably meant was how could they be so crass to be doing it.  We can forgive her momentary lapse of cogency because of the extreme awkwardness of her situation.)

“We’re looking for spies!” Phillip replied.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Vacacabeza ordered in a sing-song voice.  His hand went between her legs and grabbed Phillip’s nose.  “Aha!  I think I’ve found him!  I’ve got you now!  You won’t get away!  You’re doomed! “

The King bit the ambassador’s fingers.  Vacacabeza pulled his arm away.  “Ouch!  That scoundrel bit me!”

Phillip withdrew his arm also and clambered to his feet.  “That was no scoundrel!  That was me!”

Maria reverted to righteous English indignation.  “I agree with him.  You are a scoundrel!”  Recovering her senses, she tiptoed between the two old men and scurried out of the courtyard.

“How could Spain become a world power with such incompetent people running it?” Phillip sputtered.

The ambassador stood, dusting off his coat.  “You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, your Majesty—“

“I’m talking about you, you idiot!”


Rodney, who must have had a terrible sense of direction, ran back into the courtyard.  “Uh oh.  Wrong way!”  He disappeared before the King and his minion could react.

“Do you want to chase him, or should I?”

Phillip sank on the fountain’s edge again.  “Oh, you go after him.  I’m worn out.”

“As you wish, Sire.”  He bowed before running after Rodney.  “Come back here, you spy!  Escape is impossible!

Phillip watched as Vacacabeza went into the wrong corridor.  After huffing a bit, the King muttered, “I hope the invasion goes better than this.”

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