Drama On Odyssey: Bernard And The Mechanist

Drama On Odyssey: Bernard And The Mechanist

Winning the hand of a proud young lady seems about as impossible as time travel... Or is it?

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[Setting is an old-fashioned workshop. BERNARD enters. ALGERNON appears to be working on some kind of vehicle]

BERNARD: Algernon? Algernon? Hello?

ALGERNON: [Sits up] Did you tell Professor Deshaies what I told you?

BERNARD: Well…. Not exactly. I doubt a teacher of the physical sciences would believe you had something called "prima-veritis," so I told him you had a slight case of the Measles, nothing serious, you'd recover by the end of Winter Holiday.

ALGERNON: Thank you… I guess. I was able to do some extra work on my time machine.

[Beat]

BERNARD: A time machine. Are you being serious?

ALGERNON: That I am, friend.

BERNARD: That's… You've said some insane things in the three years I've known you, but this-

ALGERNON: If I recall History lecture, people called Lemuel Pankhurst insane, and look where he is now.

BERNARD: You mean the inventor of airships? I would still call him insane.

ALGERNON: Only because you hate flying. That's why you stay here for Winter Holiday.

BERNARD: I stay in Lochere because I like it here. Although airships are crowded, they are never on time-

ALGERNON: Not to mention your fear of heights.

BERNARD: I am not afraid of heights.

ALGERNON: Yes you are. Remember that trip to Pennington's cabin last autumn? You were the only one who didn't want to hike to the cliffs.

BERNARD: I was under the weather.

ALGERNON: Of course you were. And I am currently in bed, wallowing in my own sick.

BERNARD: And you're going to go down in history as the inventor of time travel.

ALGERNON: And I shall.

BERNARD: If you say so. [He pauses, and picks up a small music box from a nearby table] What's this?

ALGERNON: Oh… That. It was supposed to be a gift for someone.

BERNARD: For Lady Clarice? Weren't you courting her?

ALGERNON: Not as of three days ago. She left me. In a letter of all things!

BERNARD: A letter?

ALGERNON: For Ingram. Ingram of all people!

BERNARD: Ingram? With his pride? He would make Veronica Halifax look like a pious nun.

ALGERNON: And yet you said you had your eyes on her since you were children.

BERNARD: At least she has more to her than her pride.

ALGERNON: Wasn't it you who said she was arrogant and impossible to impress?

BERNARD: Indeed. Say your "Time Machine" is successful. You could take her to Rome, the Enlightenment, even the distant future, and she'd do nothing but scoff at you. I'd do well with a Latin reading, she'd roll her eyes. When we played Lookabout as children, she'd pout if I found her item faster than she found mine. She would even scowl if I beat her at chess, and let me say, she was a worthy opponent. To beat her takes practice.

ALGERNON: Yet you like her. My apologies, but I think you lost me.

BERNARD: That's the difference between us. You'd prefer a lady think you're a god. I'd prefer to be human sometimes.

ALGERNON: Somehow, I find that hard to believe, Bernard.

[Beat]

BERNARD: She seemed to as well. Veronica Halifax likely thinks me far less than human.

ALGERNON: Once again, you've lost me. Remind me why you're fond of her.

BERNARD: I've told you she is impossible to impress. But, if you knew her like I do, despite that, you'd still try. When she wasn't competing with me, she had a good sense of humor, and a good heart, even if she would rather not show it. I remember when we were young, she enjoyed helping the wayward cats.

ALGERNON: Wayward? You mean stray?

BERNARD: Oh, yes, of course. Back home in Odira, we call them wayward. If it were up to her, no cat would be wayw- I mean stray. As I've said, she is intelligent, and… musical.

ALGERNON: Songstress?

BERNARD: No, a pianist.

ALGERNON: Like Beethoven.

BERNARD: As far as I know, she has not written any masterpieces yet, but…

ALGERNON: Go ahead and turn the key on that box.

BERNARD: [Turns the key on the music box, it plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata] Huh.

ALGERNON: It's truly a shame that Clarice will never receive that.

BERNARD: Veronica used to play this. I'd go as far to say it was her favorite. If she had to perform, she would always find a way to include this song.

ALGERNON: Really? Well then, why don't take it? Give it to her, I think she would appreciate it.

BERNARD: If a well-executed chess strategy, or even your so-called "time machine," if it works, won't impress her, I doubt a mere music box will.

ALGERNON: First of all, it will work. Second, you said she liked that song. When you hear it, you think of her? It's meaningful. If it doesn't impress her, it will at least make her look your way.

BERNARD: I suppose.

ALGERNON: When you give it to her, you need to write me to tell me what she thought.

BERNARD: I shall. I hope you are "better" by Yule Tide, Pennington invited us up to the cabin once again for a feast.

ALGERNON: Don't worry, I'm sure I will be. And you'll be sure to not look down while you're there.

BERNARD: Very humorous. I wish you luck… And a miracle on your "time machine." [He exits]

ALGERNON: Mark my words, it will work! [To the audience] I'll honestly never understand his countrymen. Always wishing to make things so complicated…

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