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Lament of a Victorian Gentleman

By Amelia Ell

Two Victorian gentlemen mourn gender injustice in society.

FADE IN:

1 INT. STAINED WOOD DINING ROOM - MID-MORNING 

EDWARD and CHARLES, two dignified men with trim vests and glorious mustaches, sit at an intricately carved table. It is covered with a tablecloth imprinted with two indents where their bowls rest every morning. AGNES, the servant, brings them each a dish of Victorian Wheat Mush with sugar (The 1800s equivalent of the perfection that is Frosted Flakes). Their spoons and bowls click briefly in gentlemanly silence.

CHARLES 

You would never guess my astonishment this morning.

EDWARD 

What happened this morning, my dear Charles?

CHARLES 

This morning, my wife asked to have some of my Victorian Wheat Mush.

EDWARD 

Oh! She did indeed!

CHARLES 

She has never asked for such things before.

EDWARD 

Why, it will upset her constitution!

CHARLES 

Precisely what I told her. It is a breakfast for the man. Why else would the mascot be Wheaty Walter? Not Wheaty… Wendy.


Edward lets out an outburst of a laugh followed by a little bubbly burp.


EDWARD

Bah! Wheaty Wendy!


Another quiet moment of clinking. Charles plays disinterestedly with his Wheat Mush as it liquefies in the lukewarm puddle.

CHARLES 

I’ll have you know, with all their complaining of constitution, women actually have stronger blood than men.

EDWARD 

Oh! Why indeed?

CHARLES 

It’s true. I hear they develop a surplus every month and if their gossiping friends and acquaintances have no need of it, they simply discard it.

EDWARD 

Every month? What a terrible waste!


Charles almost stands up in the triumph of his argument.


CHARLES 

In any case, men are bigger than women and taller than women.

EDWARD 

But of course!

CHARLES 

She ought to know that surely, a man of such stature is in need of all the Wheat Mush he can rightfully get his hands on.

EDWARD 

No doubt.


Charles descends into a brooding silence. More clinking.

CHARLES 

Well, now we have it. I’ve right lost my appetite. Call the servant to come take away these dishes.


Edward hastily swallows another mouthful before Agnes brings them back downstairs. He burps.

UNDER THE TABLE.

Edward fidgets with the pointed toes of his leather shoes.

EDWARD (V.O.)

Well, Charles, why on earth would your wife ask for Wheat Mush all of a sudden after all these years of being perfectly full and fine without?

CHARLES (V.O.)

The woman is pregnant again. She calls them “cravings.”

EDWARD (V.O.)

Oh my.

CHARLES (V.O.)

She goes through all this trouble of pregnancy and insists on having more girls! Why, if I could be pregnant, I would at least have a son.


DISSOLVE TO BLACK.

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