This is the preliminary draft of a new fight scene for Your Swash Is Unbuckled II (coming in 2009).


FLOUNCY'S FANCY

a 10-minute slap & tickle for a fop and his fancy

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2009
YOUR SWASH IS UNBUCKLED BY JEFF GOODE IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE PERFORMED, DOWNLOADED OR RE-TRANSMITTED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.
(The terraced lawn of a lavish estate. The manor house in the background. Enter SIR GAYLORD OF FLOUNCY with rapier and champagne, followed by SIR TWILLING OF BREEDLE, incensed.)

TWILLING
You go too far, Sir Gaylord!

FLOUNCY
And you go not quite far enough, Sir Twilling. Ah, but here’s a lovely spot.

(SIR GAYLORD opens his champagne at a small garden table.)

TWILLING
You have behaved in a most unmannerly and unmanly manner, and have affronted me in front of countless counts and countesses and sundry other witnesses, at a gala social gathering, whereat you are the host.

FLOUNCY
And you, a guest at my gathering, have accused me all too openly of being unmanly in front of those selfsame witnesses. And one wonders which is worse? To be girlish at a gala or be accused thereof, thereat.

TWILLING
Well... you are right about that. I suppose I owe you an apology.

FLOUNCY
It is too late for apologetics. You’ve impugned my masculinity to all in the vicinity. You have demeaned my manhood in a manner most scandalous. Every gossip at the gala has heard your despicable disparagements.

TWILLING
I fear that they have. Perhaps I should have kept my voice down.

FLOUNCY
Indeed, you should have, for such insinuations should only be issued in whispers.

TWILLING
(outraged) But you endeavored to kiss me!

FLOUNCY
Have you never kissed a man before??

TWILLING
No!

FLOUNCY
Nor had one kiss you in return?

TWILLING
Of course not!

FLOUNCY
Then how would you know that’s what I was trying to do?

TWILLING
I may not be as worldly-wise as a well-travelled gallant like yourself the stories of whose escapades have left ladies blushing all over Bristol but though I am ignorant in the ways of the world or at least the French-controlled parts of Europe the gist of the gesture was more than self-explanatory.

FLOUNCY
Then why did you so loudly demand an explanation?

TWILLING
Well, obviously, because your behavior was completely inexplicable.

FLOUNCY
And therefore far from obvious.

TWILLING
Well, that’s true.

FLOUNCY
Given the uncertainty of the circumstances, perhaps the imagined affection was in fact your own projection of inward inclinations upon an innocent mentor who had leaned in merely to whisper discreet financial advice in your ear.

TWILLING
That would explain it. (embarrassed) Perhaps I overreacted a bit prematurely.

FLOUNCY
Indeed you did. For now I have no recourse but to demand satisfaction.

TWILLING
But what sort of satisfaction could you have of me on a moonlit terrace overlooking the rear of your sumptuous estate on a bracingly cold winter night?

FLOUNCY
It is sumptuous, isn’t it?

TWILLING
If you don’t mind my saying.

(SIR GAYLORD draws his rapier.)

FLOUNCY
As an avowed effete, it pains me to do this to one so well-dressed as yourself.

TWILLING
Why, thank you. I should like to know your tailor as well.

FLOUNCY
But you leave me little leeway, Sir Twilling! You have backed me into a corner, as it were. Therefore I have been forced to lead you onto the lawn in the chill of winter to settles this affair like men.

TWILLING
A carriage race? At this hour?

FLOUNCY
No.

TWILLING
Cockfighting?

FLOUNCY
No. I mean through means martial. Rapier and repartee.

TWILLING
A duel?

FLOUNCY
To the death! Or until at least one of us squeals for mercy.

TWILLING
Oh, must we quarrel? The gala was going so swimmingly.

FLOUNCY
Well, it’s all ruined now! First, you refuse to kiss me. Then you accuse me of trying to kiss you.

TWILLING
But you did! Didn’t you?

FLOUNCY
Still you revile my virility! I am incensed beyond words at your query. Therefore, prepare to feel the sting of my withering rebuttal.

(SIR GAYLORD attacks. They fight, grunting and thrusting. After awhile...)

FLOUNCY
Respite?

TWILLING
Of course.

(They pause politely to catch their breaths. SIR GAYLORD drinks champagne. SIR TWILLING notices that SIR GAYLORD is not nearly as winded as he.)

TWILLING
If I may say, Sir Gaylord...

FLOUNCY
Say on, Sir Twilling.

TWILLING
For a notorious fop, you fight quite effectively.

FLOUNCY
One does not come to be the nation’s preeminent effeminate without knowing how to defend what’s left of one’s honor from the inevitable occurrence of slanderous aspersions.

(They resume fighting.)

FLOUNCY
Your bladesmanship is likewise admirable, Sir Twilling. You have a keen grip. A wide stance. Your thrusts are haphazard, but that’s not uncommon in a young man.

TWILLING
What I lack in precision, I make up in exuberance.

FLOUNCY
So I’ve heard. But there is one thing I find perplexing in your prowess.

TWILLING
Do go on. I should be grateful for any tips you may tender.

FLOUNCY
For a person opposed to public displays of amorousness, I am surprised that you defend yourself so vigorously.

TWILLING
Well...we are dueling, aren’t we? Why would I be less than competitive?

FLOUNCY
Because, of course, if you win, you shall have to kiss me. And that is a conclusion to which you attest to be averse.

TWILLING
What? Why would I have to do that?

FLOUNCY
Well, it stands to reason, doesn’t it? The thrust of our conflict is to establish the nature of my manliness. Therefore I am dueling in the affirmative: "Sir Gaylord is a man’s man, and manly as one might expect of a man of his approximate stature, girth and boot size." Whereas you are dueling in the contrary, to wit: "Sir Gaylord is neither a man’s man, nor a man and is, in fact, altogether feminine to the point of being utterly delectable. And more to the point, were he a woman, and not a man as he so falsely professes, I should like nothing more than to kiss him." Which, if you win, you surely must, as there could be no more empirical proof of your proposition.

TWILLING
That does stand to reason.

FLOUNCY
Which places you on a bit of a philosophical pickle. You cannot prevail without availing yourself of the opportunity to take advantage.

TWILLING
It would be the manly thing to do.

FLOUNCY
And yet you cannot fail to prevail if you continue to fight so fiercely for my effeminacy.

TWILLING
Very well, then. Since I cannot in good conscience, defeat you... I surrender.

(SIR TWILLING abruptly lowers his weapon.)

FLOUNCY
Accepted!

(SIR GAYLORD kisses him.)

TWILLING
What was that?!

FLOUNCY
You surrendered. I took advantage of you. Didn’t we agree that was the masculine thing?

TWILLING
But now, my masculinity shall come into question!

FLOUNCY
Oh, poppycock! Your lapse was barely fleeting at best. And it occurred in the darkness and privacy of my front lawn. For all the world knows, you are still as much a man as when we left the gala together to come out onto this tree-lined terrace. No one inside could suspect that this was anything but a simple disagreement between gentlemen, which we have settled like gentlemen. And a lady.

TWILLING
Then poppycock yourself, Sir Gaylord!

FLOUNCY
Your tongue, Sir Twilling!

TWILLING
For surely, a man of your impeccable sense of design cannot have so soon forgotten the enormous bay windows you had installed in the hall overlooking the garden. (He gestures toward the house.) The view from that vantage is magnificent.

FLOUNCY
(waves to the house) Hello, Mrs. Calumet!

TWILLING
We’ve drawn quite a throng.

FLOUNCY
Well, you did do a bit of screaming as we stormed out of the ballroom.

TWILLING
I should have kept my voice down.

FLOUNCY
I suppose there is nothing for it, but for you to duel me again to prove your manhood.

TWILLING
I suppose not.

FLOUNCY
And remember, this time it is imperative that you prevail.

TWILLING
Do not fret for that. I shall defend my reputation like a male tigress defending the reputation of its young.

FLOUNCY
To your guard, then.

(They fight.)

FLOUNCY
(pleased) Oh. Oh, yes. Very nice. Well thrusted.

TWILLING
Sir Gaylord?

FLOUNCY
Yes, Sir Twilling?

TWILLING
I complimented you earlier on your skill at arms, but now it seems you fight noticeably better than you did even a few moments ago.

FLOUNCY
I am considerably better than I was then, for this is our second duel. One does not like to overexert oneself in the preliminaries. It leaves so little to the imagination.

TWILLING
So you were simply toying with me before?

FLOUNCY
Does that offend you?

TWILLING
I think it rather does. I begin to suspect that you have lured me out onto the lawn and into these duels, wherein I cannot hope to prevail, under false pretenses.

FLOUNCY
Did I? I should be chagrined to think I had defeated you fraudulently.

TWILLING
How do you expect to rectify the unsportsmanlike advantage?

FLOUNCY
Well, naturally, by allowing you to prevail. Therefore... I surrender.

(On SIR TWILLING’s next pass, SIR GAYLORD lowers his weapon and promptly finds himself in a comprising position.)

TWILLING
Aha! Victory! (to the house) You see?!

(SIR GAYLORD seizes SIR TWILLING and kisses him.)

TWILLING
What? You kissed me!

FLOUNCY
Not in the least! You were the victor, you kissed me.

TWILLING
I did not!

FLOUNCY
I remember kissing.

TWILLING
I did not desire to.

FLOUNCY
Then why did you bother to best me?

TWILLING
Because you surrendered.

FLOUNCY
You asked me to surrender.

TWILLING
I did not want you to surrender completely.

FLOUNCY
Oh.

TWILLING
Not all the way!

FLOUNCY
I do apologize. It is my first time surrendering.

TWILLING
Obviously!

FLOUNCY
But I am only trying to be a compliant host. To precisely what extent did you desire to overpower and take advantage of me?

TWILLING
To what extent?!

FLOUNCY
Is this more what you had in mind?

(SIR GAYLORD kisses SIR TWILLING again.)

TWILLING
No!

FLOUNCY
Or was it more like this?

(SIR GAYLORD kisses SIR TWILLING yet again.)

TWILLING
I do wish you would stop that!

FLOUNCY
Why?

TWILLING
Because you are making me rather light headed. And the night air is rather thin. And I seem to be suffering a sudden shortness of breath.

FLOUNCY
Here, have some champagne, to clear your head.

TWILLING
And now I think on it, I am not entirely certain I remember precisely what it is we are quarreling about.

FLOUNCY
It is really very simple: The two of us had a tiff over some piffle and stormed out of the ballroom and onto the lawn, bandying our blades about like schoolboys on a first date our swashes unbuckled, if you will in front of a gala full of witnesses.

TWILLING
I remember that part.

FLOUNCY
And as it is midwinter and therefore chilly, before very long, we shall have to storm back in and explain what exactly transpired on this moonlit terrace, or people shall begin to wonder. And you know that their imaginings are always far more sordid than the innocent incidents they gossip about. So it seems to me that regardless of the initial incitement for this excitement, you and I must agree to relate that having had a few words and more than a few blows, it came to pass that either you were victorious as you just were and took advantage of me.

TWILLING
No, that didn’t happen.

FLOUNCY
Or I, less plausibly, was victorious and took advantage of you as I did previously.

TWILLING
Well, no, that’s not it, either.

FLOUNCY
Or we were both victorious and took advantage of each other.

TWILLING
Cannot we both be defeated and remain un-taken-advantage of?

FLOUNCY
You must be lightheaded, for now you are coupling defeat with retention of honor, which is rather an oxymoron.

TWILLING
A what?

FLOUNCY
Have some more champagne.

TWILLING
And must we talk of coupling? I am still rather woozy and the night is still rather moonlit. And I am still rather trying to keep my thoughts straight in my head.

FLOUNCY
You are right! There is no time for talk. A crowd is gathering at the windows. We must duel again definitively. Winner take all. Is that straightforward enough?

TWILLING
Agreed.

(They fight.)

TWILLING
Wait, what do you mean "winner take all"?

FLOUNCY
I hadn’t thought about that. I suppose that should be up to the winner.

TWILLING
But we are endeavoring to ascertain each other’s manhood. Are we not?

FLOUNCY
Ascertainment, yes! That is what we are striving for. Getting a grip on our respective manhoods, as it were. Shall we stipulate also that the winner pay for dinner?

TWILLING
Why would he do that?

FLOUNCY
What, have you never made love to a man before?

TWILLING
Made love?!

FLOUNCY
You’ve never heard the term?

TWILLING
Of course, I’ve heard it.

FLOUNCY
(becoming enraged) But only in tawdy French romances and Turkish prison novels, is that it? Are you calling me Continental?

TWILLING
Not in the least! But as the owner of several hundred head of livestock, I have only hitherto heard the phrase affiliated with the field of animal husbandry. Or as it pertains to the weaker sex.

FLOUNCY
We shall see who is a member of the weaker sex!

(SIR GAYLORD presses the attack.)

TWILLING
No! Please! Don’t! Be gentle! Ow!

(SIR GAYLORD thrashes SIR TWILLING, until he is groveling on the ground.)

TWILLING
Mercy! Have mercy!

FLOUNCY
Now, who is unmanly and who is paying for dinner?

TWILLING
You are! You are!

(SIR TWILLING prepares for the worst.)

FLOUNCY
Very well then. I’m glad that’s settled. Now come back into the house before you catch cold.

(SIR GAYLORD starts back toward the house.)

TWILLING
So you’re not going to kiss me?

(SIR GAYLORD OF FLOUNCY comes back.)

FLOUNCY
(outraged) Kiss you? Kiss you?! (shrugs) Well, since you asked.

(SIR GAYLORD grabs him and kisses him again.)

~ FIN ~