Fifth Week Fiction – A Sneak Peek

I had an idea to post some personal fiction that was appropriately “cozy” for this time of year, but searching through my work brought up…very little. In fact, it mostly resulted in me saying, “Whoa, that needs to be fixed. And that. And that… And I definitely don’t write that way anymore…”

So you know what that means: ALL ABOARD THE FAN FICTION TRAIN! I decided I might give a little peek at my year-long project after all. It’s the Christmas present you never always wanted!

No preamble for you. The only thing I’ll tell you is that, yes, this is in script format.



The Cast

For Part I, in Alphabetical Order

Dodo: Valentina’s slow-witted and subservient henchbird. Looks like a giant black toucan with a metal helmet. Never speaks. He hates working for Valentina but is too dumb/lazy to quit.

The Fireworks Mole: A humble fellow who’s traveled far to sell his fireworks. He’s the first visitor Nimbus Land has seen in many years. Wears green overalls and a green cap; keeps his clawed feet and hands exposed.

Garro: The royal sculptor of Nimbus Land. He sculpts and gilds statues for the King and Queen and is also their close friend. Has a green curl of hair on his forehead and wears typical Nimbus garb: a fez, work vest, and parachute pants. (Hammer time!) He narrates Part I.

King Nimbus: The kindly, if excitable, ruler of Nimbus Land. He enjoys collecting birds, autographs, and statues and is exuberantly playful – if sometimes long-winded. He wears a pyjama set in blue and purple stripes, and has a gold medallion around his neck. His hair curl and mustache are brown.

Queen Nimbus: The calmer monarch; she is sensible and generous and keeps the King in check if he rambles. Can be the more emotional one when grieved. She wears a white head cover with gold embroidery, a pink sari and green wrap that covers her arms and hands. Her hair curl is magenta.

Valentina: The palace castellan (in charge of the workers, though she doesn’t often do her job). She plots to overthrow the King and Queen and rule Nimbus Land. She is not a Nimbusan. Wears a white dress with a slit up one side, and her bust is…voluptuous. Her hair is a parrot. Don’t question it.

[lol, free image ’cause I don’t got art skillz]
[Travel to Nimbus Land]

Open with running shot of LAND’S END & BEAN VALLEY. It’s midday. The camera pans over the sea cove, beaches, cliffs, up into Bean Valley’s vines. A quarter through the shot, Garro as narrator begins to speak:

NARRATOR (GARRO)

If you are any sort of traveler, chances are you have at one time or another determined to visit the end of the world. Perhaps you’ve already been. If so, you’ve likely seen the cliffs looking out to the sea, or the sleeping volcano near the cape, or Bean Valley with all its vines climbing into a blinding bright sky.

The shot slows as it swivels through BEAN VALLEY. you can see the ocean off the cliffs glinting in the sun.

NARRATOR (GARRO)

Yes, these are wondrous sights, it’s true. And I’m supposing you took in these sights, breathed the air of adventure, and then…

[Scene cuts to black]

NARRATOR (GARRO)

…promptly turned yourself around and went back home. (pause) My friend, don’t you know that there’s more when you travel…up?

Cut back to BEAN VALLEY. Camera soars upward, weaving through corkscrew vines of all colors. The running shot moves faster and faster until it bursts through thick, fluffy cumulous clouds.

NARRATOR (GARRO)

(enthusiastic) THIS, my friend, is Nimbus Land! See what all those travelers have missed for years and years?

Pan over NIMBUS LAND: shows homes made from the vines poking through the clouds. There is a palace at the east end of the kingdom. It’s a middle-east inspired building with rounded turrets, and the vines seem to grow all through it. The palace itself is a mix of white marble and pink stone.

[The citizens of Nimbus Land are cloud people, and everyone is nice and plump and smiling.]

NARRATOR (GARRO)

We’ve been STARVING for guests. It’s not easy, you know, being so far out of sight and never getting a chance to really host someone.

Enter the MARKET AREA of Nimbus Land, where shopkeepers and the hotel proprietor bustle about. The shops show off colorful garments, bright accessories, and art creations.

NARRATOR (GARRO)

We’re a social people, us Nimbusans. It’s a shame no one can find us, since we’re famed for being extraordinarily hospitable. But I suppose I can understand: it’s a hard climb from Bean Valley, and we don’t have many ways of announcing ourselves to everyone living Below.

[Nimbusans busy themselves at the market]

NARRATOR (GARRO)

Of course, there was that time the mole found us. We thought maybe that would open the way for more visitors, but after the baby Prince… Well. This certainly isn’t the time for me to talk tragedy with you.

What would you like to see first? The market? Maybe our five-star hotel and accommodations? Wait—of course you want a tour of the palace. King and Queen Nimbus still keep it open, after all, and despite the melancholy air it’s as beaut—

Hm? No tours, you say? Oh, you want to know what I mean about melancholy and tragedy.

Transition to GARRO’S WORKSHOP. There are gold statues on display everywhere—on the floor, on shelves, half-made on a stage at the back of the room. Garro stands by his gold vat; he’s in the middle of gilding a statue.

GARRO

(sighs and shakes his head) Well, it’s a long story, and it’ll only demoralize you before you’ve had a chance to enjoy our kingdom. Are you sure you want to begin that way?

(Garro looks deliberately into camera, then shrugs and looks away sadly.)

I guess I won’t change your mind. Ah, who knows? Maybe sharing the story will help us with the grief at the King and Queen’s loss.

[Scene gradually fades.]

GARRO

Let’s see…I think maybe it’s best to start our story…

 

[Valentina Deserves Attention]

Close up of Valentina’s face. Her wide mouth is pursed, and her eyes shift left to right. The parrot hangs glumly on her head.

GARRO

…here.

The shot zooms out and shows Valentina sitting in the Nimbus Palace THRONE ROOM. She’s stretched across the royal settee and has a martini glass dangling in her right hand. The throne room has rose walls. The floor is lapis lazuli. The tail ends of vines have crept through the room’s open windows, and birds are perched in them everywhere. Stairs lead from the settee down to the hallway door.

[Valentina languishes over the settee’s armrest.]

VALENTINA

So much that needs to be changed! Where do I start? More curtains over those windows. Think of the awful sun rash I’d get on my flawless skin! All along those stairs…

(She waves toward the hall door)

…I’d put rows of statues that reflect my lustrous beauty. In fact, why just by the stairs? Let’s fill the palace with them. But most importantly—

[Valentina’s thin but heavily-glossed lips twitch as one of the birds in the room chirrups happily.]

VALENTINA

(speaks through gritted teeth) MOST IMPORTANTLY I’ll throw out all these BEASTLY twittering noisemakers! It’s enough to give me a headache! Birds are meant to serve, not sing.

[Valentina holds her martini glass up for a drink, discovers it’s empty except for an olive rolling around the bottom. She reaches her other arm back and brings her knuckles down on Dodo, who is slumped behind the settee. Valentina hits his beak with a crunch, and Dodo stumbles back on impact.]

VALENTINA

Lunking idiot! It’s your job to keep this full. Now…FILL IT!

[Dodo pours drink from a shaker into Valentina’s glass.]

VALENTINA

It’s enough to drive an illustriously beautiful person mad, not receiving the attention one deserves. Or the riches. Or the authority. It’s almost as flummoxing as having a vapid feather-covered lard ball as your henchman.

[Dodo bristles, but knows better than to retaliate. He screws the cap back on the martini shaker.]

VALENTINA

(sighs) I could just stage a coup. It’d be easy enough fooling these gullible cotton-heads. But I’d have to risk…angering them. (Her eyes widen.) And it’s not a good idea to anger them… GUH!

[Valentina flings her head dramatically against the settee. Her parrot hair squawks.]

VALENTINA

If only take-overs were as simple as your marble-sized brain seems to be, Dodo.

[There’s a sound of footsteps approaching the throne room door. The guards outside greet someone.]

VALENTINA

(panicking, downs her drink and shoves the glass toward Dodo) The King and Queen! I thought they wouldn’t be back for at least another hour! Dodo! You cranial cavity, get out of the room!

(Dodo scuttles down the stairs.)

No, not through the door, idiot; use the windows!

[Valentina shoves Dodo toward the closest window. She gives him four good heaves before his bulk finally squeezes through, and he flaps away clumsily.]

VALENTINA

(whips around as the door opens, prepares to greet the King and Queen) Majesties, I took the liberty to prepare the hall for recei – Oh! Garro! My, how…relieving to see you standing there.

[Garro stands just inside the throne room door. He appears to be puzzled at finding Valentina here.]

GARRO

Oh, Valentina. You weren’t who I expected to see. The King and Queen are out, I’m guessing? It’s not really receiving time yet, I suppose…

VALENTINA

(sugary-sweet) Garro, pardon me if I’m speaking out of line, but with the…dazzling work you do for the King and Queen, shouldn’t they be more considerate and punctual when you come to deliver your statues?

GARRO

(laughs) What a bizarre thing to say, Valentina! I have no deliveries today. I was looking for their Majesties so I could inform them – Oh! (suddenly VERY eager) I should tell YOU! Valentina! You won’t believe this: we have a VISITOR from Below! Isn’t that wonderful? It’s probably been decades since our last one! And he’s right here, ready to be introduced!

VALENTINA

(looking over Garro’s shoulder) ‘Right here’…where?

GARRO

Why, behind me where I just came…through…the door.

[Garro turns around and realizes he’s entered alone.]

GARRO

Oh dear. I seem to have lost him.

 

[The Mole Meets Royalty]

Panning through a hallway in NIMBUS PALACE. The scene design looks very much the same as it did in the throne room. The Mole appears as he turns into the hall. He wanders around and looks very lost.

GARRO (as NARRATOR)

Yes, It’s true what they say: a Nimbusan would forget his own face if it wasn’t stuck to his fluff. But I hope you don’t blame me. I promise you we pride ourselves on our hospitality. It’s just that…with so few guests to entertain, our hospitality can get a little rusty. And we might accidentally LOSE our guests.

[The mole approaches a couple tending to the birds in the hall. It’s the King and Queen, but the mole hasn’t realized this yet.]

MOLE

(slightly exasperated) Beg pardon, are y’all workers in this palace? Call me lost as a carrot in a crowd of potatoes, but I just got no clue where I’ve gotten myself.

[King and Queen Nimbus turn to greet the mole. The King is holding a light blue bird.]

KING NIMBUS

I say! You’re certainly an unfamiliar face. I don’t think I’ve seen you before. Need a bit of direction, do you?

MOLE

(scratches under his cap) Well, see now, I come from a place where our mazes are all underground, so this cloud stuff’s got me all dizzy and confused…

[King Nimbus turns excitedly to the Queen]

KING NIMBUS

Do you hear that? He’s someone from Below! I can’t think how long it’s been since we’ve had such a visit. (leans conspiratorially closer to the mole) Might I have your autograph?

[The mole blinks back, stupefied.]

QUEEN NIMBUS

(patiently) Perhaps we should try to help him first, dear. (She turns to the mole.) Where do you need to go?

MOLE

Eh…well, I came fixin’ to speak with Their Majesties about an enterprise of mine, and that statue-makin’ fella said he’d right take me to the throne room. But I lost sight of ‘im ‘bout ten turns back, and I got not even the faintest where I should look nex—

[He takes in the crowns that rest on both King and Queen Nimbus’s heads. His mouth widens.]

MOLE

(hushed) Cake my nails in dirt an’ call it a manicure. (He flattens himself to the floor in an exaggerated bow.) Your most illustrious…er … magnificent… SUPERLATIVE rulers. Thousand pardons; I had no idea this hall would lead me bargin’ in on your Worships all rude-like. Don’t take no offense at my manners, just an earthy mole like m’self—

KING NIMBUS

(interrupting) Offense? I say, you’re being a tad excessive, don’t you think?

[The mole peeks up from his supine position.]

MOLE

Beg…beg pardon?

QUEEN NIMBUS

No need, dear. Nothing wrong with having a pleasant conversation, after all. Now, what’s this enterprise you wanted to show us?


TO BE CONTINUED…

(P.S. Formatting in WordPress is evil.)

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