Mary's Boarding House and the Art of War, Episode Seven for Podcast

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance
After rescuing a teenage hiker from a fate worse than death, Henry Larond returns, much to his chagrin, to find the two Mormon missionaries, Smith and Wesson, painting the white picket fence in front of Mary Thornberg's Boarding House. An angry argument then ensues between Henry and Mary as a result; only to be interrupted by an unexpected demonstration of public nudity on the the part of Mary's attractive, young, female tenant, Joni; a newly avowed naturist, i.e; nudist.

Submitted: July 01, 2016

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Submitted: July 01, 2016

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Mary’s Boarding House and the Art of War (a podcast script)

Adapted for a podcast, from the original series of the same name, by Jim Pack

Original Copyright date April 6, 2015

(Episode Seven)

Mary Thornberg (reading)

“When near, we must make the enemy think we are far away".

(Sound track of Shamanistic by Kevin Macleod starts in the background, running to its entire length before finishing).

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Narrator

You are listening to Episode Seven of Mary’s Boarding House and the Art of War, by the Long Knife Writer Jim Pack.  My name is Ryan Running Dog, a Western Shoshone of the Cedar Valley Goshute Band of Indians.  I am your host and Narrator.  Okay, listen very carefully long knives, as I paint the following panorama into your pinky white long knife brains. 

By the way, this episode is entitled:  Forbidden Fruit

Picture in your minds a dusty path, heading eastward towards the Sierra Madre Mountains.  Two mounted horsemen are seen in silhouette, as the dawn begins break on the horizon.  See them now in your mind’s eyes.  Now pretend your eyes are no longer eyes, but lenses of a camera, which now zooms in to reveal who these two long knife riders are, Henry Larond and Deputy Sheriff, Parker Lawrence, as they ride abreast of each other up the path.  Both men are dressed warmly and donning wide brimmed hats.  The early morning air is still quite chilly, but it will warm up considerably throughout the day. 

Henry is riding his mare Anabell and Parker is riding Bluebell, Henry’s other mare. This is no pleasure ride however, as both long knives are looking quite grim and serious.  Both are moving at the trot, almost as if they were trying to keep time to the soundtrack from the instrumental “Shamanistic” by Kevin MacLeod (its on iTunes). In fact, you are listening to it right now.

(Sound effect of horse trotting up a dirt road is heard)

Henry

Mind telling me how I got tapped for this so called “voluntary assignment?”

Parker

Does indentured servitude rub you the wrong way Henry?  Get used to it son.  Abraham Lincoln might have freed the slaves, but not parolees working off their community service hours.  Now as for this particular chore, you can personally thank me for that.  I reminded the Sheriff that you were now in receipt of your two ponies.  He seemed quite pleased to have you aboard as a volunteer; at least, for one or two days worth of volunteering, hopefully only one.  I personally want to find this hiker and get home long before sundown, it gets mighty cold on this side the Sierras after sundown; at least in April, bad for my rheumatism. 

Henry

Am I getting paid for this unique form of forced volunteerism?

Parker

No son.  That’s why they call it volunteerism.

Henry 

Usually the term “volunteerism” indicates a person’s free will is at play.

Parker

Not in your particular case it does.  By the way, how many community services hours were you saddled with by the parole board?

Henry

Two thousand.  Parker, doesn’t your department usually contract with an Apache to do its tracking for them?

Parker

Yeah, there’s kind of a thing going on with Johnny.  Too bad he’s not a felon, like you Henry.  We’d have more leverage with him that way.  In which case, he’d be much easier to negotiate with.  Johnny has gotten awful big for his britches lately and has nearly doubled his standard rate.  That’s why you and me are teaching him a lesson in humility right now.  I can never get his last name right, Agua Magua something or another.  Sounds Mexican to me, but he touts himself to be a full blood Apache.  I suspect a Mexican must have snuck into the family wickiup, at some point in time, within the last few hundreds years or so.  That surname just doesn’t sound Apache to me, not that I know what Apache sounds like.  My only experience with that particular tribe is completely contained within my various interactions with Johnny.  Not too many Apaches in this part of California.  He makes for a poor tribal ambassador.  He’s so opportunistic you would have thought he was a white man. That boy is a walking cash register.

Too bad about Johnny; he’s a very good tracker; much better than you are Henry, no offence.  But he’s gotten so much good press lately, it has all gone to his head.  So that’s were you come in Henry.  You’re taking him down a peg or two.  By the way, if you happened to run into him in town, I would give him a pretty wide berth.  He won’t cotton to you under cutting his rate. 

Henry

You mean by working for free?

Parker

Yeah, he won’t be liking that at all.  Nice enough fellow when he’s sober, but kinda mean when he gets drunk.  Dangerous barroom brawl mean.

Henry

I don’t make it a practice to patronize saloons, unlike a certain deputy sheriff I happen to know.

Parker

Sorry Henry, I keep forgetting how holy and pure you’ve become.  You’re even a bigger fuddy duddy now than you were when you were a Mormon. 

Henry

So that’s the real reason the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors wanted me to have my horses back, to teach Johnny what’s his name a lesson?

Parker

Yeah, pretty much.  Right about now the Sheriff is probably giving him the bad news, “Sorry Johnny, but why should the county be paying your exorbitant rate, when we have Henry Larond willing do it for free; merely out of his own personal sense civic duty and the goodness of his brave and enduring heart”.  He probably won’t be mentioning that you’ll be working off community service time.  Johnny will probably already know about that anyway.  He’s good at figuring things out; always keeping his ear close to the ground that boy, especially when there is money involved. 

Henry

I assume I’m also not being compensated for the use of my two horses either? 

Parker

You mean the two horses you only had to pay a dollar each for, to get them returned to you by a very generous county government; those two horses?

Henry

Never mind.  I already know the answer to that question.

Parker

You’re a quick one Henry.  I admire that in you.  See any signs yet, indicating the young lady in question?

Henry

Yeah.  I’ve been seeing her tracks for the last two to three minutes.

Parker

Well, why didn’t you say so son?!!

Henry

You been too busy talking about Johnny. 

(Sound effect of Parker pulling up his horse and stepping down for a closer look on the path).

Parker

These be hers?

Henry

Give the man and 25 cent cigar.  She’s been running but not for exercise.  She’s running away from something that is scaring her.  She keeps turning from side to side, to look behind her as she runs.  

Parker

You wouldn’t happen to have Apache blood in you, would you Henry?  What was she running away from; a bear?

Henry 

Eighth Navaho. 

Parker

You’re daddy is quarter Navaho?  I didn’t know that.

Henry

No he’s all white.  My mother was quarter Navaho.  And no, it’s not a bear.  Bears don’t conceal their tracks.  Only men do that.  Something human has been chasing her from just off the path, adjacent to it but not on it, so his tracks won’t show up behind hers.  No bear is going to bother to do that. 

Parker

I did not know that about your mother.  She didn’t look all that Navaho to me.  How long ago was the girl being chased by this, non bear like, human?

Henry

Quite recently.

Parker (alarmed)

How recently?

Henry 

I don’t know for sure.  Why don’t you ask him?

(Shamanistic starts up again in the background soundtrack).

Narrator

Now picture this through your imaginary camera lenses long knives.  A frame shot now zooms up the path to close in on the long knife stranger that Henry Larond is now referring to.  Henry and Parker ride up to confront the stranger.  Parker has his hand resting on the butt of his service revolver, in case force becomes necessary.  The long knife stranger is also healed with his own side arm.  As they are trotting up to the man, Parker quietly warns Henry of the following.

Parker

Let me do all the talking Henry.  It’s what the county pays me for

Narrator

Then as they close in on the armed long knife stranger:

Parker

Excuse me sir.  May I ask you what it is that you are doing out here?

Stranger

I heard that there was a missing hiker; a young teenage girl.  I’m helping out in the search effort.

Narrator

While the long knife deputy talks to the man, Henry Larond trots his horse up ahead looking at the rest of the trail sign.  Now again in your imaginary camera lenses picture a close up on Henry Larond’s puzzled face as he tries to take in all that he is reading on the trail.  Then a look of anger and rage, mixed with alarm appears on his face.  He spurs Anabell’s flank, causing her to spin around and run full tilt, down the trail, right back to where Parker and the long knife stranger are still talking to each other.

(Sound effect of horse whinnying and spinning around, then the sound of pounding hooves).

Now long knives, cut an imaginary splice back to Parker, as he continues to question the long knife stranger who is now inching his right hand nearer to the butt his side arm.  In the distant background, as the two long knives are still talking, but not yet in focus,  looms Henry Larond, riding Anabel, still on that  dead run; closing the distance very fast. 

(Sound effect of pounding horse hooves, growing louder and louder).

Parker

So you are absolutely certain you did not see the young lady in question?

Stranger

Yes sir, I’m absolutely certain, unfortunately I did not.

Narrator

Now, still on that dead run, Henry Larond unhitches his lariat and throws it completely around the long knife stranger’s head.  As the lasso falls towards the man’s feet, Henry Larond pulls the rope taught, while wrapping the other end of the lariat around the horn of his saddle.  As the lariat synchs tight on the long knife’s ankles, Henry drags the man, feet first, back up the path, in the direction where he had just ridden from.

Parker (sound effect of him riding after them , while shouting at Henry)

Henry!! What in the Sam Hill are you doing!!!

(The Shamanistic instrumental is still continuing, faintly in the background sound track).

Narrator

Now long knife audience members, imagine that  your imaginary camera lenses are now panning after Henry Larond as he drags the long knife stranger to a certain point on the path, then he dismounts and loops part of the lariat around the hapless stranger’s neck and relieves him of his side arm, all in one quick motion. 

Henry 

You didn’t see her?!!  Here’s where you both scuffled and then you dragged her off the trail.  See the drag marks in dirt.  Her legs where kicking at your!!!  These are your boot prints!!!  What were you doing back on the path?  Trying to cover your tracks?!!  IS SHE STILL ALIVE?!!!

Parker

Henry, would you please not do that!!  I would very much like to avoid a lawsuit!!!

Narrator

Then suddenly a dirty and disheveled long knife teenage girl appears at the side of the path.  Her hands are bound in front her.  She runs up and starts kicking the long knife stranger, who is still pinned onto the ground by Henry Larond. 

Girl 

Bastard!!  You tried to rape me!!!

Narrator

Henry Larond now expertly hog ties the long knife stranger as if he were in a steer roping contest.  Then he stands up and calmly addresses Parker’s question.

Henry

What were you saying about a lawsuit?

(The narrator, Ryan Running Dog, now gets up and starts chanting and ghost dancing as the Shamanistic Instrumental grows in volume.  When the instrumental concludes, the next voice we hear is Mary’s, reading from her diary).

Mary

“Dear Diary, April 15th:

Today Henry Larond came back from a morning ride with Parker Lawrence; this time on Bluebell and leading Anabell.  Unfortunately, he came back from his ride much sooner than expected and happened to notice the two Mormon missionaries, Smith and Wesson, painting my white picket fence in the front yard.  I was hoping against hope that they might be finished long before Henry got back.  Obviously that hope was in vane.  Oh well, so much for wishful thinking and hoping on my part”.

Narrator

Now watch through your camera lenses long knives, as Henry Larond rides up to Mary and Joni with a disapproving look on his face, as they are standing off to the side to watch the two young, good looking, long knife Mormon missionaries’ progress.  All though the noon day sun is high in the sky and very hot, the two, now very sweaty Mormons missionaries are not working shirtless.  That is something that they just will not do.  When on duty, anyway, they remain in uniform; despite Joni’s pleading advice to them to the contrary.  

Mary (muttering to Joni)

Why are you so keen for them to take their shirts off, Joni?

Joni

Duh?  It’s broiling hot.  I want them to be comfortable.  Sometimes I wish I was a man; if I was you’d never see me working on a hot day like this with my shirt on.  In fact, why take half measures?  I’d walk around stark naked, even if I wasn’t a man, if it weren’t for those pesky neighbors next door; especially on a hot day like this.  Come to think of it, those pesky neighbors are on vacation, aren’t they? 

Mary (distracted by the approach of Henry)

Well, don’t let me stop you.

Henry (sound effect of him riding up)

Seriously, Mary?!!  You’re having them paint your picket fence?

Mary (almost sheepishly)

Just call me Thomasina Sawyer.  (pause, then she becomes defensive)  What?!!

Henry

Beware of Mormon’s bearing gifts of free labor.  It may seem free now, but I assure you there will be a price to pay for it later.

Mary

Well, you didn’t offer to paint my fence and they did.  So why not?!!

Henry

Oh, I see.  Are you trying to spark a “What can we do for Mary competition?” between me and the Mormon Church?

Mary

I didn’t ask them to paint it.  It was their idea!!

Henry

That’s a lot of paint for you to buy, or let me guess, they’re also paying for that paint out of their own pockets?

Mary

Neither is the case.  It was left over paint from the local Mormon ward, which wasn’t being used. 

Henry

Well, don’t worry about that.  Once they’ve got you properly hornswoggled into their particular brand of religion, you’ll have the opportunity to more than reimburse the ward for its generosity, by tithing 10% of your personal income. 

Narrator

The defensive long knife landlady now notices something quite unexpected.  Although, personally speaking, she should have seen it coming.

Joni

How do I turn on the sprinklers in the front yard Mary?  I want to run through them to get cooled off.

Mary (shouting)

JONI!!!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!  PUT YOUR CLOTHES BACK ON THIS VERY INSTANT!!!

Joni

What need is there for the formality of a bathing suit?  Besides you just told me and I quote, “Don’t let me stop you?”  So I didn’t. 

Oh hi, Henry, I didn’t see you there.  It’s a very hot day isn’t it?  Would you like to cool off with a naked run through the sprinkler system?  I am.  It should be very refreshing.  (pause) No?  What about you two Mormon boys?

(A brief reprise of Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije, Suite Op 60, Romance is heard, as the narration continues).

Narrator

Later that same day the, when the two long knife Mormon missionaries were almost finished with their painting chores and the now sexually frustrated female long knife, Joni, was forced to put her clothes back on, the born again long knife Henry Larond, riding his mare Anabel, approaches Smith and Wesson, to start marking his territory for a second time.

Henry

Howdy boys.  I see you two are making yourselves useful to Mary, along with fishing off my pier, even though I kindly asked you boys not to.

Smith

With all due respect Brother Larond, excuse me Ex-Brother Larond, we are not fishing right now, we are painting a white picket fence; which by the way is not a pier.  However, even if it were a pier, it is Miss Mary Thornberg’s pier and not yours.  And we are here at her kind invitation and permission.  Nevertheless, please feel free to get down from off your high horse to help, if you wish to do so; failing that, good day to you sir.

Narrator

At this snarky rebuff, Smith and Wesson return to painting the fence, turning their backs to the angry born again long knife.  

Now listen to the other female long knife Mary Thornberg as she reads from her diary again.

Mary (reading)

“Yikes!  I think I may have accidently sparked a holy war!!”

Narrator (sardonically)

Now, all you long knife camera lenses, listen and allow this day’s activities to dissolve away, into the next, as we just can’t seem to get enough of Mary’s Diary.

Mary (reading)

“Dear Diary, April 16th:

Henry has been patrolling the perimeter just outside my property line everyday in search of Harry Landers.  I suppose to confront him as to why he has been ‘staking us out’, as Henry puts it.  Fortunately, he has not yet encountered Harry.  I imagine Harry, for whatever reason, has decided to lay low and not risk anymore legal trouble, despite his vindictive nature.

What is even more worrisome, Henry has been making these patrols armed with his own rifle, which would be a definite parole violation, if found out.  Fortunately, he has never encountered anyone who has the authority to violate his parole.  I wonder where he got that rifle?  I did not ask where, when I saw it being slung in its scabbard, attached to his saddle.

Another worrisome topic for today’s diary entry is Joni’s newly obtained interest in naturism, i.e. her sudden penchant for walking around in the nude, in and outside of my boarding facility, for all the world to see.  Therefore, I have put my foot down with this very naughty young woman and warned her to cease and desist in such activities, at least, while she is a guest living under my roof.  She is now grounded, i.e. on very strict probation.

While Henry was out patrolling horseback again today, I received a very unexpected caller.  A Mr. Alex Navarro and he had a very intriguing business proposition for me to consider”.

(Doorbell sound effect, then the sound effect of a door being opened).

Navarro

Hello Miss.

Mary

Hello.

Navarro

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Alex Navarro.

Mary

Stake President Navarro?

Navarro

Why yes.  You know who I am?  That’s very surprising.  I’m also surprised that a non LDS member would even be familiar with the title “stake president”. 

Mary

I heard your name and title bandied about by two Mormon missionaries. 

Navarro

Elder’s Smith and Wesson, I presume?

Mary

Yes.

Navarro

Have they made frequent mention of me?  If so I’m flattered.

Mary

No only once.  The first time they were here.  When they came to extend your invitation to Henry Larond to attend a Mormon meeting of some sort.  Their conversation that day was quite memorable.  That’s why I am able to remember your name and your official title.  Actually I don’t even know what a stake president is.  

Navarro

In protestant terms, I would be the equivalent of a local bishop.

Mary

But not a Mormon bishop?  I know you people have bishops.

Navarro

No, not a Mormon bishop.  My ranking is above an LDS bishop.  I meant a bishop in the protestant sense; like what the Lutherans have.  Which would out rank a pastor.  Anyway, so they mentioned my name only once?

Mary

Yes but a very memorable mention it was.  I remember Henry turning down your, or their, invitation to attend that meeting.

Navarro

Yes, it was a stake conference meeting.  I was very disappointed when they relayed his reasons for not wanting to attend the conference. 

Mary

Henry is not here right now, if that is who you are trying to see?

Navarro

No actually I’m here to see you and my reasons for wanting to speak with you have nothing to do whatsoever with Henry Larond, or any other church business for that matter.  Well, mostly not anyway.

Mary

Really?

Navarro

Yes.  Smith and Wesson mentioned to me that you board horses, as well as people, in your establishment. 

Mary

Not horses per se.  I do allow Henry to keep his two horses on the property as a favor to him.  I only have two stalls; one for each of his two horses.

Navarro

Yes Miss, I saw that to be the case when I pulled up onto your driveway.  However, if someone, someone like me perhaps, were to erect five more stalls.  Just like the metal ones you presently have.  Would you be amenable to boarding five more horses.  Five quarter horses to be precise.  Nice gentle souls, not a single high strung beast in the remuda.

Mary

Remuda?

Navarro

It’s a Spanish term, referring to a string of saddle broken horses. 

Mary

Oh, do you speak Spanish President Navarro?

Navarro

I should.  I was born in Mexico. 

Mary

And you own these five horses?

Navarro

Please call me Alex.  Yes I own these five horses, plus many more besides.  I’m running out of room and stall space on my ranch.

Nevertheless, back to the business at hand:  Perhaps at the rate of say, $300.00 per month, per animal.  I should expect that the initial cost of construction for the pens, would be deducted from the first month’s rental.  I would also be willing to pay Mr. Larond, or yourself perhaps, extra if you exercise them on a daily basis.  Say another $1,500.00 a month for all five horses?  Altogether that would mean another $3,000.00 a month in extra added income for you, minus Mr. Larond’s cut of course.  That is, if he is also agreeable to participate in this venture. 

Mary (now smiling quite broadly)

Would you like me to make you a cup of coffee, while we discuss the matter further, President Navarro?

Navarro

I’m sorry Miss, Mormons are encouraged not to drink coffee, although many do.  I’m just not one of them. 

Mary

Tea perhaps?

Navarro

No sorry Miss.  No tea either.  Would you happen to have any apple cider or juice?  I see you have an apple tree, with ripe apples upon it, right in the middle of your front yard.

Mary

Yes.  I think I could manage that. 

Navarro 

That would be splendid.

Narrator

Said the tall handsome Mexican spider, to the good looking female, long knife fly.

End of Episode seven, written by the Long knife writer Jim Pack

(Then another rendition of “Shamanistic” is heard as the Ryan Running Dog, the Narrator, reads the end credits, followed by more chanting and ghost dancing).

 


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