Bessie’s Boys Chapter 29

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.

Meanwhile in the throne room Phillip sat, slumped over and looking dejected as he pondered if he had the energy to retire to his bedchambers and change out of his wet royal duds.  Boniface, still huffing like the old gray mare, ran in and bowed as though every muscle in his body ached.

“Your Majesty!  I haven’t been able to catch Flippertigibbit or Broadshoulders!”

The King sighed.  “You and my elite guard.”

Clarence and Alice rushed through another door and stopped long enough to gape and moan over their unfortunate turn.  Boniface drew his sword.

“Stop, you spy!”

Being especially spry and agile, Clarence rushed Boniface and grabbed the sword out of the old man’s hand. 

“You traitor!” Clarence said in his best hero’s voice.

Boniface hopped backwards, trying to place the throne between him and his young opponent.  “I prefer opportunist!”

Clarence took a fencing position.  “So it comes to this.”

“Not really.”  By now Boniface was fully ensconced behind Phillip.  “You took my sword!”  Sticking his tongue out, he added, “Thief!”

By coincidence, a troop of guards entered from another door.

“Oh!” Alice gasped.  “I think I’m going to faint!”

Grabbing her tiny waist, Clarence set her aright and slapped her face with love.  “Sorry, darling!  We don’t have time for that!”

Phillip held his head in his thin fingers.  “Throw your sword to the idiot.”

One of the guards tossed his epee to Clarence.

“Not that idiot.  The one standing behind me.”  The King was ready for his afternoon nap.

Being an Englishman of the highest moral rectitude, Clarence lobbed back to Boniface his sword.  Thus equipped, Elizabeth’s courtier jumped in front of the guards, creating a phalanx of sorts.

“En garde!” Boniface’s voice quavered.

“En garde!”  Clarence returned to his fencing pose.

Alice ran for the door.  “To England!”

Boniface lunged toward Clarence who was quick to counter.  The old courtier looked behind him at the guards.  “Aren’t you going to help me?”

They looked at the King who shrugged and said, “I say let them kill each other.”

Clarence and Boniface began fencing out the door following Alice’s path.  They had barely disappeared down one of the corridors when Lord Steppingstone bounded in from another door.  (Author’s note:  Steppingstone was a few years younger than Boniface and therefore had a tad more stamina.  Steppingstone’s family attributed their enhanced athletic conditioning to a steady diet of goat livers sautéed in ewe’s milk.)

“Your Majesty!  I haven’t been able to find them!  I’ve looked high and low!  Over things!  Under things!”

“Obviously not under the right things,” Phillip replied with a sad sigh.

Before Steppingstone could say a word, Rodney and Maria dashed in from yet another direction.

“All these corridors look the same,” Rodney muttered.

Maria stopped and gasped in English tones, “Uh oh!  There’s King Phillip!”

“Didn’t you know,” his Majesty said with a smirk, “all corridors lead to me.”

“And Lord Steppingstone!”  Rodney pointed at him.  “You’re the traitor!”

Phillip looked over at his guards.  “You know what I said about the last group that came through here?”

The head guard frowned.  “I think so, my Lord.”

“Same principle applies here.  Toss them both swords and let them fight it out.”

Before they realized what was going on, Rodney and Steppingstone found epees being thrown at them.   However, neither missed a beat and took a fencing stance.

“This farce has gone on long enough.” Steppingstone growled.

“I agree,” Rodney replied, clinching his muscled jaw.

Maria was unimpressed by the display of gallantry and ran to the nearest door.  “We don’t have time for chivalry, darling.  To England!”

Rodney retreated, following his beloved, yet he still maintained an outstanding show of fencing repartee.  Steppingstone tracked them out into the corridor.  Entering from the same door, Vacacabeza looked behind him, waving a shaking hand.

“Stop!  Halt.  It’s …futile…to…run….”  He would have said more but he collapsed in a faint on the marble floor.

Phillip shook his head.  “On days like this, I seriously consider retiring and leaving the kingdom to my crazy son.”

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