Standard disclaimers. You know the drill: Just for fun, more than friends, pretty tame, no money down. I have to acknowledge Enginerds story Fan Fiction I think it was, as an influence; If I have inadvertently plagiarized any parts of that story I apologize profusely to the author; I read it a couple of years ago but couldnt find it again to check out what I was imagining vs. remembering. As for the rest, well, Noel Coward Im not. But you knew that. Its another summer off for our heroes, and there isnt a lot to do in limbo, except bicker about the past four seasons.
Thanks to the pups who helped make some of the references a teensy bit less obscure than they would otherwise have been
Scene: the Cliffhanger Hilton. It's a large cave with all the furnishings carved out of rock-- the bed, the dressers, even the coathangers (Firmly attached to the closet pole, naturally) Bad hotel portrait of Fred and Wilma over the bed. Xena is trying to get comfortable in the granite armchair, paging through the carved stone tablets of the complimentary copy of "Be my Ghost-- Please!" and looking out of the window, where palm trees are waving back and forth in a storm. Every once in a while a coconut blows in through the window, followed by wisps of blue snow.
From the bathroom, Gabrielle can be heard over the sound of the shower singing, "Kind of a Drag" offkey.
Xena (slams the tablets down next to the pile of coconuts as Gab comes out of the bathroom). Well aint that just a kick in the head.
Gab: Alright, bring that up again.
X: Nuh-unh. You started it.
G: I just wanted to get my cards read, I didnt know symbolic musical was even a category.
X: If youre going to play with fire, couldnt you at least use protection?
G: That was uncalled for.
X: (glowering) Sorry. (pause) You could have sung Am I Blue.
G: Hey, is it MY fault we have to spend the summer dead again?
X: Look, everybody knows TV is dead in the summer.
G: So isnt making us dead too kind of redundant?
X: Were just taking turns, thats all. Me; you; us. Its symmetrical. At least this time I dont have to go swimming all over the lava pit looking for you. Where were you, anyway? I was peeling for months.
G: Whatsa matter, Xena, forget to pack your asbestos bathing suit? Or dont you use "protection"?
X: Very funny. Wanna play coconut shy? (Hefting coconut at her)
G;(Tossing it back) No.
X: If you hadnt tossed your staff away, maybe we could have invented baseball.
G: Whats baseball? Oh, Never mind, whats coconut shy?
X: Its a carnival game.. you know, hit the monkey, win a doll?
G: Or vice versa. Right, something youd be good at. I dont know about you, but crucifixion always wears me out. Im gonna hit the hay.
X :You wish.
G: What? Hey, this bed is hard as a rock.
X: No, Gabrielle, this bed IS a rock. Hay would be itchy, but better.
G. Great, just great. Another backbreaking oops. Sorry.
X: You should be.
Blue snow begins to drift in through the window, covering the pile of coconuts. Xena picks up a handful, makes a snowball, drops it down Gabs neck.
G: (squeaks and squirms) Arrrgghh. Ill get you, you (They have snowball fight with the blue snow. Its pretty much a draw.) Hmm. Does a snowball fight beat a lava pit?
X: You tell me.
G: (fingering the unmelting snow) What is this stuff, anyway?
X: Some kind of plastic, I think.
G: Well at least we get to spend the summer together this time, even if the accommodations do suck.
X: Could be worse. They could have decorated with Creepo-Roshis empty birdcages.
X: Your boyfriend the yoga teacher. Mr. Tantras-R-Us
G: Oh, yeah, the guy who had yin/yang up the caduceus. And for the record, he was NOT my boyfriend. And not much of an interior designer, either. Weird décor . Im sick of black and white, thats for sure. Although it does go with everything. Do they sell those wicker things all over the east, or did Ming Tien have a garage sale?
X: Dunno. Maybe its the remains of that wicker horse you wanted me to lug around for you.
G: I just thought it would be a conversation piece. Xena, that was three, four, seasons ago. Talk about beating a dead horse.
X: Hey. Watch it. Argos feelings get hurt a lot more easily than you realize.
G: Oh, yeah, Argos tender feelings.
X: Hey, at least you never had to appear in public with B 23 stenciled on your chest. She was mortified.
G: Good point. But you think being entirely covered in puff-paint designs was any better?
X: Hey, I thought it was fun.
G: You know Xena, Argos only been bumped off once. They keep killing US off all the time Do you think theyre morbid? Or are they just indulging a subconscious hatred of strong women for the benefit of the Neanderthals in the audience?
X: Hey, enough with the therapese. Subtext really is a dead issue.
G: Thank the gods--- er, producers er, fans.
X: Whatever. Could just be morbid. All that foreshadowing. If Ive nailed you once, Ive nailed you 100 times.
G: Oh yeah? This season proved I can lick you.
X: Hey, Im the one who won the arms race. Six of em. Hows that for multitasking?
G: You want an arms race, I challenge you to a squid-eating contest. Now thats an arms race. And you would lose.
X: As I recall it you were the one who lost your squid.
G: Dont change the subject. I finally got you back for the big drag, all on my own.
X: That wasnt you. It was whatsername .
G: (Quoting) "But she was in my body at the time."
X: You know Itll come to me
G: That was clever, at least.
X: The Goddess of Unconvincing Plastic Body Parts. And to think, she nearly got us cancelled. Didya know there was a newspaper headline, Whats more powerful than Xena? I could have died.
G: NOW whos being morbid? I cant believe youd worry about a thing like that They named a whole imaginary hurricane after you. What more do you want? Your face as a test pattern on every TV in America? How vain can you be?
X: Oh, Bite me (Rolls eyes) I just wanna
G: Have fun. I know. Been There (Rolling eyes right back)
X: Done That.. I bet they have a bad disco downstairs here too. Look at this place. Not even a rooster. How am I going to wake up in September?
G: You planning to hibernate?
X: Gest-- Aestivate.
X: Aestivate. It means take the summer off. Whatd you think I was going to do, just hang around?
G: Very funny. You know they left us both hanging, along with a few million fans.
X: Fans? The AC in here is already plenty, doncha think? (sweeping more blue snow off the bed)
G: (Sigh) I asked if you were going to sleep.
X: I WAS going to read, but theres not much selection here.
G: (picks up stone tablets) Be my ghost? Is that what we have to do next season? A whole year of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? Couldnt they have gotten Shirley Maclaine, at least?
X: Lets hope not. I plan to wake up on their screens in October, refreshed.. invigorated.. ready to give er, kick some computer-generated butt. Um.. on second thought.. call room service and ask them to send up some saltines, would you?
X: Because I may vomit.
G: Are you quoting Alexander Woolcott again? You know I hate it when you use anachronisms. And besides, he was a critic.
X: Cmon, you love em.
G: Critics? Do not.
X: No, anachronisms. Yes you do. Hey, no anachronisms, no showers no hot tub
G: Good point. Coating myself with olive oil and scraping it off with a stick isnt my idea of a good time.
X: On second thought.. (heading for the bottomless saddlebag of props)
G: Oh, no. No. Xena.. Aghh, I just washed my hair. Whats left of it.
X: Ok, ok. You promised you wouldnt say anything about the hair.
G: It was bad enough you had to practice on me. I just dont think the ChakramSchool of Hairdressing is going to work out, Xena. With your skills you can do anything when the series is over. Well, almost anything. That do-it-yourself-perm kit you tried on yourself wasnt
G: Alright, alright In the meanwhile, there must be some better way to invent the Buzz cut. Oh, why cant you just become a consultant like everybody else?
X: I SAID ok, OK? Sore subject.
G: So, tell me again why you want the saltines? Are you planning to eat them in bed, just to torment me?
X: No, I..
G: Whats wrong with the usual fish, hard bread plastic cheese the occasional bowl of sacrificial blood?
G: ?? (disbelieving look)
X: Gabrielle, havent you been overlooking something?
X: You know. The obvious. Dont tell me you havent noticed.
G: What, What?
X: My umm shape.
G: Your shape.
X: Do you have to repeat everything I say?
G: Do I have to ? (She gets a glare for that one and backs down) Er. No. Im sorry Xena, I really dont know what youre talking about.
X: Havent you noticed I have a new hobby? (holding up partly completed baby bootie)
G: Oh. You took up crocheting instead of embroidery. Thats it?
X: (Totally exasperated) No. I. Mean. The. Pitter. Patter. Of. Little. Feet. (waving booties)
G: You invited a rock band from the 70s to spend the summer being dead with us? Like there arent enough rocks here already? What do you think this is, a road tour?
X: (sigh.) I.. Gabrielle, Im going to have a baby.
G: Youre kidding.
X: Im not. Im really going to have a baby.
X: Its not a joke. Its not a piano. Its
G: Alright, give. Who is it thats more attractive than me this time? And dont give me that tired old It wasnt my fault it was one of the gods excuse.
X: Er I dont know. Maybe something I ate? (Gab scowls at her) I dont suppose youd believe me if I told you it was parthenogenesis?
G: Which means what? A building got you pregnant? Come off it, Xena thats worse than Salmonius and those toilet seat covers.
X: Not the Parthenon, if thats what you mean. You know weve traveled everywhere BUT Athens this season. No, I just well call it haploid happenstance . got pregnant?
X: Because I wanted to?
G: The old tick-tock got to you, hunh?
X: The what?
G: You dont have to explain it, I know what it is. The biological clock. The one that goes, "times almost up" "now or never" "baby or bust". Dont worry, Xena. Ill see you through this one too. Chin up.
X: What an unfortunate expression.
G: It is, isnt it? (they are silent for a moment) Xena? What if ?
G: What if the baby turns out to be a bad apple? What if its what if its another demon? Like . Hope?
X: It better not be.
G: But what if it is?
X: You have my permission to kill the little monster.
G: You say that now, but Xena I cant take another rift arc and it didnt even help the ratings any.
X: I know. I keep thinking about that the whole thing with what was her name? Longitude? Latitude?
G: You mean Meridian.
X: Yeah. Her.
G: What about it?
X: It was just too contrived. There we were, helping the oppressed, and suddenly youre doing the Lady Macbeth thing with an imaginary dagger it conveniently appears in mid-air, and draws real blood. How convincing is that?
I think, if you want to get all psychological about it, you were attracted to Ms. Latitude.
G: Now, Xena.
X: Dont you "Now Xena" me. And dont think I didnt notice you kept dreaming about hugging her like Martin Pippin in the gods damned Daisy Field. You were all over her like a cheap chiton.
G: Who the Hades are you babbling on about now? Whos Martin Pippin? And is he a bird or an apple?
X: Neither, he was a story teller --like you-- and a good one. From the 1930s I think. You should have done more reading while you were on that archeological dig in our last future.
G: Dont you think youve gotten in enough digs already? I suppose you think he was one of my "boyfriends" too.
X: (making disgusted noise) Its a good thing they wrote the jealousy out of my character.
G: You werent
X; Unhuh. I was.
G: Sorry. You never needed to be. And Im not the pregnant one here.
X: Yeah? The fact is, I have a lot more reason to be jealous than you do. If I was the type.
G: Now wait a candlemark, here, Xena..
X: Tell me you didnt spend half of last season throwing yourself into the arms of other women.
G: Well, I..
X: Cmon. Whats up with that? What possessed you tolet me rephrase that.
G: Xena I just I was afraid you were getting bored with me.
G: You know. Same old you-protect-me-I-grab-your-arm bit. You haul me out of mid-air, I grab your breast, er, plate. We hug, say "I-love-you", punch the clock, and go home. I was afraid things were getting kind of, you know, stale. Between us.
X: What ever gave you that idea? I was about as demonstrative as I could be on Television. Its not fanfiction, after all.
G: Xeeenaah. Whyd you have to bring THAT up. Its so embarrassing.
X: What is?
G: All that gossip about our private lives. Were fictional characters, for Zeus sake! Its not like we were the President or something. But they write almost as much about us as the press did about him. All that hardening nipple fiction.
X: You can skip that part if you want. Whadda ya think the warnings are for? Too bad Congress doesnt have to use disclaimers.
G: You mean you read it?
X: I didnt say that.
G: You do, dont you. (Xena blushes)
X: I didnt say that.
G: You do, you read fan fiction. Xena, some of that stuff verges on pornography. Some of its definitely over the verge.
X: Ok, its a warlord thing, alright?
G: I cant believe you read pornography.
X And whats wrong with that?
G: Its Its
X: Hey. Waitagodsdanged minute. How do you know whats in it? Youve read it too.
G: Well I
X: You did, you read it too. And you have the nerve to criticize me.
G: Hey, Im a writer. I take a professional interest.
X: Professional interest, my vinyl-covered ass.
G: Ulp. (Turning from pink to bright red)
X: You read that one too, hunh?
G: I.. Oh.. er..
X: Theres no point in denying it now, kiddo.
G: Gahhh (Holding head in hands.)
X: Its ok. Gab?
G: Sorry. Its just.. really embarrassing.
X: Its ok. Its not like you burned villages or anything.
G: But how can you respect me now that..
X: What, you think you lost the moral high ground or something?
G: Something like that, yeah.
X: Its just a story, Gabrielle.
G: But stories are my lifeour lives. How can you say they arent important?
X: I didnt say that they arent important. Its just what we do is more important than what anyone says about it. We have lives of our own, independent of TV, of all that slash stuff.
G: But thats what people remember. What they hear. What they read.
X: But If we werent here to kick butt sometimes they wouldnt be around to hear it. Look, Gabrielle. Im gonna be bigger than a beached whale before you know it. I guess I was afraid you were getting bored with me too. That youd stop finding me attractive.
Mmm. Never. I dont need you to be anything other than what you are.
X: Really? You dont care if I fall short of fictional ideals?
G: Truly. I dont think Id like it anyway . Xena? What makes people think up stuff like that?
X: I dont know maybe they cant feel anything otherwise?
G: You mean theyre numb?
X: Yeah. Or their lives are really boring, and their imagination needs to be.. well tweaked? Were not like that.
G: Ya think? (touching her) Feel that?
X: Unhuh. Definitely.
G: So I dont need the handcuffs and the whip?
X: You finally bought me a new whip?
G: Im not sure Im going to give it to you. Now.
X: You want me to whine?
G: Nooo. Think.
G: Whats missing?
X: Whats missing, Lets see You bought the ginsu knives; I replaced the frying pan. I got you a new action sheep.. oh. The boots, right? I still owe you a new pair.
G: Bingo! Very good Xena. How about it?
X: Ok. Alright. Well go. You want to walk, or take a rug?
G: Walk, definitely walk. If you can, your whaleness. (Xena pouts) aww K, I wont tease you any more. Smooch?
X: Unhuh. (a peck)
G: Is it Autolychus, or is it Memorex?
X: One more for the road. (Longer kiss)
G: TV may be dead, but youre not.
X: Say that again? (extended kiss) Ummm. Neither are you. Might not be such a bad summer after all.
Return to The Bard's Corner