The time: 1909
The place: West Shrewsburg, PA
The people: Reginald R.C. Cuthbert, 52, bail bondsman; and Horace X. Rutherford, age unknown, hay loft cleaner. And, Fentwicke, the ice-boy.
Cuthbert, enters a dim, gas-lamp parlour in the clapboard house of “The Worthington Arms” guest hotel. He is dressed in sooty clothing, worn shoes with stained spatter-dashes, and holding a rumpled top hat. He smokes a cheap cigar, and repeatedly pats his back trouser pocket to assure himself that a flask is still present. He paces nervously about the dingy room, muttering aloud to himself.
“Cheap rum! Rot-gut whisky! Gin that tastes like petrol! DAMNATION! What am I supposed to DO with sixteen barrels of such infernal swill?”
“Our BENEFACTOR, Mrs. H.M. Carrington-Evesham-Moss, shall sic her livery thugs on us if we don’t produce a profit for her soon! What is your plan now, your jape-necked heel??! We have no product! You used the last of the funding to purchase rotting barrels of swamp-fermented moonshine! No one would drink that, save for the manure-headed cronies you gamble with at the pool hall. You imbecile!”
A loud scrapping is heard from outside.
“Mind ye! Mind ye! Ice delivereeeee!” bellows a street urchin in a vexatious sing-song.
“The ice-boy is here,” Cuthbert meekly observes. “Maybe we can just make ourselves some cock-tails, and–”
“COCKTAILS?! Not that I would drink your gypsy-piss booze booty, but if I did, Hades itself would be frozen over before I guzzled our profits, you imbecile!”
Fentewicke the ice man enters, “Scuse me, sirs, the house boss says youze can pay for the iceess, today. That’s six coppers, if ye pleases, gents.”Cuthbert is struck with a revelation, as blinding as his Gypsy piss gin, right then and there. “Ruthy, my chap. We’ll freeze the booze!”
Fentwicke takes off his grubby flat cap and scratches his licey head. “Whotz, sir?” Whotz that mean?”
“It means, lad–it means, Ruthy–I have a solution to our problems.”
“Can I haves me three coppers now, sirs?” Fentwicke begs.
to be continued…
This Presentation of Masterpiece Theater Brought to You By:
If you want to continue the shenanigans, you ought to be here.