The Tragic Affair of the Serpentine Bridge;
or, Sinking Beauty

by Roderick T. Long and Jorie B. Long

[written around ages 9 and 47 respectively, or 1973-ish, in San Diego; I suspect Stephen Leacock was a major influence. The Maelstrom came from Poe and Verne.]

Introduction [this section: sole author RTL]

As the authors of this writing, this ever so amazing writing,
Containing stories of adventures, stories of the true adventure,
Adventure beyond your wildest dreaming, your most addle-headed dreaming,
As the authors of this writing, this ever so illustrious writing,
All contained inside one volume, all in one exciting volume,
As the authors of this writing (as I think we’ve said before this)
We present this Introduction, this very rhythmic Introduction,
To be said in rhythmic rhythm, just like that in “Hiawatha,”
Longfellow’s poem, “Hiawatha,” the famous “Song of Hiawatha,”
So as the authors of this writing, we conclude our introduction.

     [following section: principal author JBL (though Thüle’s name and polka-dot robes are surely RTL’s contribution)]

Poinsettia Pierceheart, of stabbing beauty, devastating charm, and biting wit, is poised precariously on the edge of the Serpentine Bridge, scanning the moonlit bay for her lover. Suddenly, an Unidentified Object looms over the horizon. Fainting femininely, she falls and plummets delicately through the swirling waters below, and with mermaid-like grace, blowing dainty petite bubbles escaping from her poinsettia-like lips.

Plash! It is the U.O.! As we now see, unerringly, instantaneously, plunging after the plummeting Poinsettia. What is the meaning of this?

As the object flashes downwards, we see it is a youthful figure clothed in flowing polka-dot robes, with golden curls enwreathing his head. Streaking ever downwards, he thinks only of the sinking beauty. Strong arms encircle her lovingly as he, with no thought for himself, carries her, rising ever upward. Plink! They break the surface together. “Thüle!” she gasps. “Thüle Thwartthorn the IIIrd! I was waiting for you on the bridge. I summoned you because I’m suffering terrible nightmares of late.”

“What is the nature of your nocturnal visions?”

“Every night, I dream I am alone in a mansion at night. A knock comes to the door. I open and gaze outwards.”

     [following section: principal author RTL (though the joke about dropping a stitch is probably JBL’s)]

Thüle knits his eyebrows.

“The sight that greets my eyes is enough to bring the most courageous man in the world to his knees, terrorized.”

“What is the appearance of the apparition?” asks Thüle, knitting his eyebrows again.

“I will tell you his name,” quoth Poinsettia Pierceheart. She whispers it in his ear. He drops a stitch in the knitting of his eyebrows.

“What a strange coincidence!” he gasps. “The other day I met a man whose name was entirely different!” Upon this shocking piece of information, Poinsettia Pierceheart faints again.

Suddenly, arrows come whizzing all around them. Fearlessly, recklessly, courageously, bravely, Thüle Thwartthorn leaps into the water, clutching his precious, precocious, unconscious bundle in his arms. KER-PLOSH! That was Thüle Thwartthorn. PLINK! That was Poinsettia Pierceheart.

The air is filled with arrows, raining down upon Thüle Thwartthorn and Poinsettia Pierceheart as, two hearts beating as one, they stroke through the waters. Suddenly, Thüle shouts, “THE MAELSTROM!” Thüle and Poinsettia are drawn down, down, down through the murky depths. The winds howl, the waters swirl. Then – silence. Nothing is heard. Nothing is seen save one poinsettia leaf and one lock of golden hair, stuck together by an arrow thrust through the middles of the two together. It is the only sign to show that two lovers once swam here – a sign to go bobbing along on the waves forever.


Back to Juvenilia and Other Offenses