Lord Marymuck the Fourth and his wife, Elisabeth Marymuck, live in an over-sized mansion that never really gets the appreciation it deserves. Chandeliers and foliage erupt at every ceiling and corner, a diamond here, an unknown species of plant there. Long, extended corridors lead to bizarre, naked quarters usually only occupied by a bed and maybe a petite night table, and of course, a gargantuan chandelier that swings merrily throughout the night in each room.
And in a formulaic, clichéd fashion, Elisabeth Marymuck is improperly fed up with all this gold and glamor, as she always is and always has been. In times of pseudo-trouble, you can always hear her shouting,
“Who needs riches anyway?” “Why are there chandeliers in every room?” “Why can he afford chandeliers and not some new shoes, for me, why can’t he get me some new shoes?”
Women, no matter the era, always need their shoes.
Elisabeth can scarcely stand the spectacle or odor or communication of Lord Marymuck, which is why she obeys his every word. She finds it rather simple to do errands for the Lord, and concurrently run off with another man or a woman who would give her needed guidance.
On this particular day, Elisabeth is courting Nathaniel Maple, a slob of a man, who carries himself just about as well as he carries his demeanor, which overall is quite poor. Nathaniel is somewhat of a beggar and a vagrant, and he lives accordingly to his chosen lifestyle, in a close to conked bunker of a house that suffers from floorboards older than the Bahamas (which, at this point in time, have only been under British rule for about one hundred years) and windows scattered and shattered throughout – the only pane still in tact with glass glossier than any chandelier. Immersed in this senseless conglomeration of luxury and vagrancy, Elisabeth and Nathaniel sat wide-eyed.
They sat by this window with tea that churned and twisted whenever milk was supplemented, silver spoons with charred outlines resting gleefully in a consoling brunette soup.
Nathaniel notices how giant and pretty Elisabeth’s lips are. Nathaniel can’t help hearing white noise when her lips mov, wholly entranced by her arched, flapping jaw and a sinuous, sinister mouth that means nothing but trouble that he can’t and won’t oppose. He sits there sipping and nodding, sipping and nodding, sipping and nodding. He sits there awestruck and eager.
“It is quite an unfortunate affair, Nathaniel. I never meant to be pretentious – I was raised mild and caring, like any good woman today. And I just had to send it all tumbling down with marriage – a cruel, never ending gag that landed me where I am today, a would-be adulteress who can only complain about having everything.”
Elisabeth slams her hand on the table – gently enough to keep the tea in the glass, hard enough to make it spiral into oblivion and form little patterns of circles.
“And look at where solitude landed me,” says Nathaniel, “a house by the abbey I don’t and won’t believe in, a life practically constructed by monotony and a pitiable income. You’ve got a way with whining, Elisabeth. You’ve certainly got a way with things, Elisabeth.”
“I might have a way with things, but I’m not sure I get away with things. And don’t complain about monotony. You, my less than lovely Nathaniel, have yet to indulge yourself in marriage, which is the central focus of all monotony, especially with my husband.”
“And you, my disastrous dandelion, have not lived a life brimmed with sitting and waiting for the sun to come up, and then sitting and waiting again for it to go down. My life is the very designation of monotony.”
“You use your laziness and hunger for pity as an excuse to act like you’re full of monotony, but your life is just as rich and endearing as that of any beggar. You’re simply a beggar with a home.”
“I’m begging you to stop this conversation, it’s getting quite monotonous.”
And Elisabeth did stop the conversation – by sitting more aggressively than any married woman should on another man’s lap, her legs wrapping around his waist and the chair, her dress draping to the floor and a kiss that slaps Nathaniel in the face and calls him his bitch. He latches onto Elisabeth’s hair and pulls it back, making sure she was looking at him, right at him, right into him.
“Elisabeth, I am not an immoral man.”
“Today we will cleverly substitute morality for immorality, shall we?”
While Elisabeth and Nathaniel were climaxing in a harmonious sequence that even a symphony would admire, Lord Marymuck was purchasing a luminous centerpiece for the master bedroom, a chandelier so large, exquisite and posh that it only made sense to be placed amongst a colony of other overly priced items. It takes eleven men to lift and two more to install the behemoth. It has diamonds the size of grapefruit. It takes up the entire ceiling. After the installation is completed, one of the workers, the man who had sold Lord Marymuck the chandelier, notes his concern about the width and weight of the behemoth.
“You may express your concern, Mr. Avington. But do not be surprised when I take your concern and place it with the rest of the logs in the fire.”
“But, Lord Marymuck, the ceilings, even in a house as … enchanting as yours, may not have the proper support for an object of this magnitude.”
Lord Marymuck tilts his head up, gazing admiringly into the chandeliers lozenge eyes, a man in pure love with an inanimate object. He grins.
“Mr. Avington, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave for the immense amount of disrespect you’ve brought into my estate. A HOUSE? You think this is a HOUSE? This is a mansion, practically a castle, and you tell me how ‘enchanting’ you think it is. Well of course it’s bloody enchanting! I’ve put my heart and my soul and my grit and my labor into this home. Every pound I’ve ever earned through backbreaking, physically exerting and mentally strenuous effort has been put into this mansion, and I’ll be damn damned if a worm of a chandelier salesmen tells me I can’t have something – anything – whatever it may be.”
Avington sighs and tips his hat. His small wicker frame glasses rest on the point of his nose, and he scratches his beard tenderly before opening his mouth.
“I was sure a man born into riches would be a fiend, but a despicable liar and bigot, that I didn’t expect. You haven’t done a day’s work in your life, Marymuck. You’ve inherited an entire dynasty of wealth and riches and you go and ruin it with your personality. Well, it’s a damn shame, and a good day to you.” Avington tips his hat, stampeding out, impressed with himself, his shoulders back and his chest pouting. Marymuck has forgotten to listen and instead peers off into the yawning depths of the chandelier.
Elisabeth arrived at the mansion just before dusk, only to find Lord Marymuck in the master bedroom salivating in front of another mammoth, tacky piece of jewelry hanging from the ceiling. Marymuck is lying with his body in a crucifix, his pupils popping out his head, eyes bloodshot and set dead center for his newfangled show piece. Elisabeth plops into the bed beside him, still dressed, hair messed, a frown settled on her face as it does quite often when she lies next to her husband.
“It’s quite magnificent, isn’t it Lis?” asks Marymuck. ” There are four hundred and thirty seven diamonds spanning the width of almost twenty eight bulldogs. I’ll never take my eyes off of it. Even when I leave for Winchester, this image willl still be singed into my cortex and I will love it, as I love you, Elisabeth, with every fiber of my heart.”
“Thank you, Edmond” is all Elisabeth said.
In the glow of the morning Lord Marymuck sends for a carriage and hastily speeds away to Winchester, a kaleidoscope montage reeling through his head. Elizabeth awakes in the middle of the afternoon with her dress, and frown, still on.
She sends a servant to fetch Nathaniel Maple from his post as a professional hermit, and he arrives with a box of exotic tea from places Elisabeth has never heard of before, including a Maldivian blend punched with spices. They drink it, a subtle mention of bitter raspberry melting onto their tongues, and a sunny temperament running down their throats. They don’t say a word, because they both know why Nathaniel was there. When they had finished drinking their tea they fling themselves at one another in a precise, perfect moment that could have only been achieved through the absence of syllables.
Carried by all the moaning and sweating and panting and biting and hair pulling and choking and slapping, they move from the dining room to the master bedroom, naked, relentless, ready, ecstatic, and bold – much too bold. And while their heads burst with amorous complication, the bed swaying back and forth into the wall with each thrust, the delicate infrastructure of wood and plaster rupture into two holes that would make any man who loved his house cry. But they keep going, lost in a roaring, overused passion we all have seen, switching positions ceaselessly, never comfortable, always enjoying themselves, planning again for an in sync orgasm that would shake the foundations of everything they thought they knew about sex. And when they are both on the verge of shaking out the mansion, the chandelier which has four hundred and thirty seven diamonds in it that spans the length of twenty eight English bulldogs stopps swinging so merrily and instead comes thundering down with an inevitable crash that compresses Elisabeth’s and Nathaniel’s internal organs and crams the bed with blood.
Lord Marymuck returns two days later from Winchester, after receiving word from a servant about an eerie screech coming from the master bedroom. When the doors were opened, Marymuck’s eyes bloated with tears: his beautiful, leggy wife on top of a poor, broken down man, and a chandelier topping both of them. A ménage à trois from hell, or perhaps even France. Marymuck moseys to the wreckage, frailly stroking a diamond still connected to the chandelier, plump, lucid tears racing down his cheeks to his chin.
“What … what have they done to you?” is all Edmond Marymuck can say.