Bessie’s Boys Chapter 28

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.

Like a tiny bird escaping a hungry cat, Alice ran through a heavy wooden door on the lowest level of the Alhambra, only to find herself in the kitchen.  Scullery maids mopped the rough stone floor, and frumpy old women were busy chopping vegetables and peeling fruit for the evening royal dinner. She stopped, not quite sure where to turn next.  She did know she had to exit soon because the aroma of soapy water mixed with freshly sliced orange made her nauseous. At first Alice decided to exit through the same door she entered, but a pair of brutish guards burst into the kitchen through that door.  She could have uttered an obscenity involving fecal material but instead scrammed in the opposite direction, not knowing where it would lead.  Along the way she knocked a large wooden bowl filled with oranges onto the floor.  Phillip’s thugs, trained to be inflict physical pain but lacking grace and agility, tripped on the bruised fruit and sprawled across the floor.  One of the cooks walloped them on their heads.

“How can we prepare the King’s supper with you dolts stumbling through the kitchen?”

Although quite aerobically fit, Clarence was running out of breath trying to elude the King’s men.  He slipped in a side chamber in order to catch his second wind.  He became aware other huffing and gasping other than his own.  It was deeper and faster.  Looking around, Clarence found himself face to face with Lord Boniface.  Because of his youth and great military training, he recovered post haste and dashed back through the door and down another corridor.

Quite by happenstance, Clarence and Alice encountered each other down another one of those confounded hallways.  After a quick embrace and kiss, Clarence beamed at her.

“My darling!  I’m so glad we’re together again!”  He grabbed her hand.  “I won’t ever let go of you.  We’ll escape this madhouse together!”

Clarence tried to move, but Alice would not budge.  “Clarence, tell me honestly. Is there another woman?”

“No time for chitchat, Alice dear.”  He tugged hard on her arm to dislodge her.   “We have to return to England!”

As they resumed their sprint, Alice added, “Very well.  But when we’re in London, you’re gonna catch hell!

Meanwhile, Maria decided the quickest way to go from the second floor to the courtyard would be to slide down the granite staircase bannister. She whipped one leg over the railing and let out a whoop as she slid downwards.  The speed at which she was moving caused Maria to worry she might crack her hip if she landed too hard on the courtyard.  Luckily for her, Senior Vacacabeza happened to be standing in just the right spot to break her fall.  Without even a la-di-da, she stood and ran off who knows where.  By the time Vacacabeza could stand, two more guards ran down the steps and knocked him on his ass again.

Rodney found himself cornered in the royal dining room by several guards coming from all directions.  Looking up, he spied the chandelier, jumped on a table and leapt on the fancy swag lamp, swinging back and forth until he could fly through a tall window.  Unfortunately, by doing so, Rodney landed on King Phillip, still sitting on the edge of the fountain.  The impact knocked both him and the King into the water.  It also put Rodney dangerously close to being captured.  He pulled himself out of the pool, shook a bit like a dog retrieving a water fowl on a hunt.  Then he ran through the yard, still not knowing how to get the hell out of that damned palace.  Phillip struggled out of the pool, only to be knocked back into it by two guards barreling through after Rodney.

Vacacabeza followed Maria back into the banquet hall.  (Author’s note:  Yes, I know.  They’ve gone back up the stairs somehow.  Just remember these people lived in the fifteenth century and did not have the benefit of an education in twenty-first century America.)  Maria slid under a banquet table.  Her guardian tried to follow her but his aching knees gave out and he landed face first on the floor.  Rodney ran in from another door.  He stopped.  

“Oh damn! Why am I back in here?”

Before he could answer himself, Rodney heard guards clanking down the hall and about to enter the banquet hall.  He had to hide under one of the long oaken tables.  He kept crawling along until he bumped into Maria’s backside.  She turned to see him.



The lovers cocked their heads as they heard the guards bang into Vacacabeza.  The couple could tell the Spaniards all fell down and went boom.  While Vacacabeza and the guards grumbled, Rodney and Maria shuffled in the opposite direction on their knees.

“Why are you dripping wet?” Maria asked in astonishment. Shaking her head, she added, “More importantly, I think I should be mad at you.”  Her French jealousy was showing again.

“No time for anger, love.  We have to get back to England!”

“And why should I go to England with you?”

“Why, to marry me, of course.”

“Oh goody!  I accept!”  She paused.  “Kiss me!”

“Escape first, kissing later!”

And then they vamoosed. 

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