Episode 4 (a flashback):
Poker Night at the Casino Royale
This episode finds us in a flashback sequence at the Casino Royale, Potzdorf,
in the Kingdom of Carpania, some years ago.
The role of the Baron will be played by Count Alexander von Beregshasy, and
the Dowager Empress by Baroness Ilse von Beregshasy. Please note that the Dramatic
Fictitious Character Re-enactors Guild insists that any role portraying a titled
personage must be played by a person with an actual title. Count Backwards (a.k.a.
Lord Ruthven) has been granted a special dispensation in exchange for his kind
offer of non-intervention with a knuckle-duster.
A while back and somewhere other than here...
After having escaped the asylum and fleeing into Europe, we find that Pandora
Pitstop has ensconced herself in the royal court of Carpania, in the capital
city of Potzdorf, as a courtesan and mistress to the wicked and conceited Baron
Also having escaped from the asylum, Aubrey Lord Ruthven has been almost completely
lost to his alter ego, the evil Count Backwards. Now an official card-carrying
no-goodnik, hes travelled to Carpania to sell an assortment of film prop
firearms to an unsuspecting Baron planning to overthrow the throne of Carpania.
(It really is amazing what you can pick up in the Exchange and Mart under the
heading unwanted gifts).
Lady Lavinia Kydd-Leatherette is continuing her post-graduate (or is that post-expulsion?)
grand tour of all the best gambling houses in Europe. She is in town trying
to achieve the means to get out and has organised a little fund raising soirée
in the form of a private strip-poker all-nighter at the Casino Royale. Miss
Kitten Kaboodle is at the Casino testing a new card counting device she recently
acquired (stole) for her employer The Hooded Claw. She has assumed the identity
of another player Lady Lavinia had arranged who suddenly fell victim to some
sort of mysterious seizure moments before the first hand was dealt. The seclusion
of a private game seemed to be a good way to test the device to Kitten. What
she didnt know was the revealing nature of this particular private game.
Our flashback begins in a lavish rococo-decorated, chandelier-lit private salon
in the exclusive Casino Royale. Here, six people are sitting round a table in
various states of disrobement. The atmosphere is tense and hazy with cigar smoke.
The floor is strewn with various items of clothing, empty champagne bottles,
and crisp packets. A pile of chips, a lacy red garter, a set of car keys, and
a dry cleaning receipt sit in the middle of the table. At this desperate stage
of the game the stakes are high and anything yes anything goes.
Above the mantle piece a portrait of the Dowager Empress Angelique la Magnifique
dominates the décor. The Empress gazes serenely down with glassy green
eyes. No one has noticed that the Empress eyes should actually be pale
But first lets introduce tonights players, starting with the dealer
Lady Lavinia who is wearing little more than a corset and nipple
tassels. (The intentional diverting of other players attention is just
short of cheating in some rule books). Needless to say this cool hustler possesses
most of the chips and is likely to cash them in and then quickly dash out of
town after the game.
To her right is the wealthy tobacco merchant Senior Emilio Vargas, an Ambassador
from a banana republic in central South America. At the moment hes got
most of the table cloth guarding his dignity. He is a gentleman smoother than
a dish of guacamole and a gracious and generous loser too. Hes spent most
of the night giving personal demonstrations of his rather professional cigar
rolling technique on Lady Lavinias thigh.
And on his right is Madam Marina Ihopoven, the mysterious heiress to an international
waffle fortune. Shes hanging onto her fur coat, high heels, and jewellery,
but only just. Shes also been developing a nervous twitch all evening
as she keeps tugging at her ear and flinching, thus finding it impossible to
maintain a poker face.
Next to her is Baron von Stuppe, a lesser member of the Carpanian Royal House
Hes managed to keep his frilly shirt, breeches, and buckle-shoes. Flamboyant
in dress and flamboyant in nature, this high-maintenance high roller likes to
hang out in casinos, as their so glittery lighting displays him to his best
advantage. But the determined look on his face is due to his desperate need
to win back his chateau from Lady Lavinia, which he lost to her in a previous
hand through a bluff with a pair of twos.
On his right is Sir Otto Redenbacher, the Carpanian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
a hopeless gambling addict and complete lush. Hes sporting only a large
monogrammed handkerchief on permanent loan from The Baron. And finally, on Lady
Lavinias left, is Lord Ruthven, a shifty looking foreign business associate
of the Barons whos down to his boxers and boots with some strange
not quite military issue head gear. A bit of a letch, he shamelessly flirts
with Lady Lavinia during the game, bragging to her about his title and family
name, but she believes theres something not quite right with him as the
Baron keeps referring to him as Backwards. His car keys are on the
table now in an attempt to keep his shorts.
Meanwhile, behind the Dowager Empresss portrait in a secret passage,
Pandora Pitstop is perched on a ladder, peering down on the game with interest.
Ms. Pitstop is alarmed to see Aubrey in Carpania and wonders if he has followed
her, seeking revenge for the incarceration of his favourite man-servant Boris.
But why should she worry? She has the protection of the Baron and the Royal
Court. When she arrived in Potzdorf, Pandora sought refuge in a house of ill
repute, The Annette Funacello Memorial - Five Star Bordello, where
she was talent-spotted by Baron von Stuppe who could clearly see that she had
a finishing school education and could be groomed for far worse
things. From there she was moved to the Barons chateau and as his paramour,
granted access to the Dowager Empress and given a place in the royal court.
For the past several months she has kept her eyes and ears open and her mouth
shut. Shes explored every inch of the chateau, court palace, and even
the casino and knows exactly which buttons to push to get results. On her day
off, however, she likes to take private tuition from Ivonavich Dragomilov (at
the Assassination Bureaus Potzdorf office) in the art of erotic
inhumations just for fun of course. Most of all she has found out
how to access the Dowager Empresss treasury but not until the time
is right for she realises that the political climate of Carpania may
be about to change. So for now shell continue to observe the game from
her hiding place, trying to figure out why the women at the table look so familiar
to her. Are they part of her long-forgotten past?
Back at the table, Madam Marina Ihopoven sits nervously holding yet another
bad hand. Her real game is Australian Rules Black Jack (you figure it out!).
The miniature camera concealed in her rhinestone brooch relays information back
to a remote screen viewed by the Hooded Claw at a secret location. Hes
enraged at this waste of time and expense on an ineffective card counting invention.
Miss Kitten cheekily insisted it be disguised as a Faberge cigarette case, but
its proving to be as much use as a tissue paper fish bowl. The Hooded
Claw continuously harasses Madam Marina through the audio link hidden in her
earrings. She squirms in her seat, uncomfortable in her state of undressed distress.
Miss Kitten usually enjoys her work as an operative in Claws Accomplice Team,
but not when she has to take a business trips with her tyranical boss HC.
The Hooded claw is an underworld investment crime boss but moves freely in the
legitimate world of finance as the well respected Sylvester Sneekly, an independent
financial advisor and accountant to the stars. His thrill is gambling on the
stock market with other peoples money and dabbling in stealing unpatented
inventions like the device Miss Kitten is testing without much success.
We join the poker game already in progress.
Ill see your dry cleaning receipt for your wifes mink and
raise you, says a slightly bored Lady Lavinia to Sir Otto as she casually
tosses a handful of chips into the pot.
My dear child you have ruined me, Sir Otto says with slurred speech
as he folds. It has, however, been an interesting pleasure nontheless.
I only hope I have better luck tomorrow with the Ruitanian Prim Minister. We
cannot afford to go to war. Sir Otto slumps forward onto the table, knocking
over whats left of his tenth blue martini.
Lord Ruthven leans his chair back on its rear legs and takes a long casual
drag on his cigar, then blows a few smoke rings at the Baron across the table
and drawls, One mans war is another mans wage.
The Baron, gurned at Lord Ruthven, kicks him in the shin under the table and
sends him tumbling backwards to the floor, taking the table cloth and everything
on it with him.
Ambassador Vargas blushes at his lack of camouflage, but a quick thinking Lady
Lavinia passes him an empty cigar box with a sly wink.
Now things are getting interesting, she thinks.
Lord Ruthven pulls himself up, brushing cigar ashes out of his singed chest
hair, and says, Its a sellers market and Im open to offers.
We have a deal, you can not renege on! says the Baron sternly as
he stands up and tries to intimidate Lord Ruthven with his height.
Well, gentlemen and lady, it would seem the game has come to somewhat
of an unnatural end, Lady Lavinia interrupts as she quickly gatheres up
her winnings from the spill on the floor and swiftly scoops it into her travelling
Just then the whistling audio interference that has been plaguing Madam Marina
throughout the game has finally gotten to her. Enough already! she
blurts out, taking off her earrings and thrusting them into her coat pocket.
Everyone stops what they are doing and looks at her. Sir Otto just snores. She
realises her audience is waiting and says as she gets up Well, thanks
for a lovely evening; we really must do this again sometime soon. She
then grabs the useless counting device/cigarette case from the floor and
not wanting to stick around for the post-party fight flees the salon
quicker than a soggy rat up a drain pipe.
Ms. Pitstop is trying desperately to stifle her giggles at all this but then
realises that the Baron was quite serious about something, but what? She begins
to try to put two and two together; was this brewing storm between the Baron
and Aubrey actually the winds of change beginning to raise a light breeze? She
continues to watch as the two agitated aristocrats square up to each other and
began to exchange insults.
Am I right in thinking you mortgaged your chateau up to the roof tiles
to try and pay me?! shouts Lord Ruthven. I thought you had the cash!
Its a second mortgage actually, how else was I to get the funds?
My family is very old and respected; we just lack the readies. pleads
You mean the chateau wasnt yours to bet?! questions Lady
Lavinia as she pulls Sir Otto off the table and onto the floor. She then rolls
him up in the table cloth, leaving him to sleep it off, and finishes packing
up her loot.
You foreign aristos are all alike all show with no go, and all
you cash wasted on blow! This deal was for cash, all of it up front. Lord
Ruthven is seething now, his short temper now giving way to his alter ego Count
Backwards. Sir, you insult me and I demand satisfaction! Count Backwards
picks up one of Lady Lavinias opera length satin gloves and throws it
at Baron. I challenge you to a duel, pistols at dawn!
The Baron is furious and begins to roll up his deep lace cuffs. How dare
you! Why you little preposterous impostor, I ought to.
Senior Vargas is also ready to make his exit quickly in as dignified a manner
as he possibly can. Uh, excuse me dear lady, could you show me the back
way out of this room please? He continues to closely hold the open
but empty cigar box in front of himself.
Its right over there, to the left of the fireplace mantle. The
catch is in the ear of that bust of King Rudolph the Reluctant.
Thank you lovely lady; its been a charming evening, and with
that he kisses her hand and bows. Gentlemen, if you will excuse me...
he says while backing his way towards the mantle. He hits the hidden switch
and backs into the empty secret passage, for Ms. Pitstop was already gone, having
put Plan B into action.
Lady Lavinia closes her travel case and takes Count Backwards car keys.
She thinks shell make good her escape while the boys are otherwise distracted.
As she leaves the salon she just catches sight of Count Backwards taking an
upper cut to his glass jaw. The Baron whimpers and puts his aching hand into
a champagne bucket of ice.
Outside the casino is the Palace Pier and casino car park. Miss Kitten
Kaboodle stands to one side at the end of the pier, taking in deep breaths of
fresh sea air. Soon shell have to face her irate boss, but for now shell
just watch the sun rise. She takes the card counting device out of her fur coat
and opens the case yanking out the mechanism and drops it into
the sea. Shell keep the Faberge case as compensation, though.
Lady Lavinia leaves the casino still in her unmentionables
and looks for Count Backwards car. Upon finding it she puts her
travel case in the back seat and, while conducting a thorough search for booby
traps, discovers some strange, violent looking things in the boot and incriminating
documents in the glove box (parking tickets, a hip flask of laudanum, and some
envelopes and documents on headed paper from Arkham Asylum). She stuffs all
this into her case. Typical of Count Backwards, he has left the car in reverse.
She starts the car and it roars off the end of the pier backwards into the ocean.
Kiss Kitten watches and waves bye bye to the car as it is still in mid-air
and headed for the water. She then wanders off down the pier and into the distance.
A soaking wet Lady Lavinia surfaces, having only been able to save her travel
case containing the cash and documents. She climbs back up onto the pier just
in time to be picked up by
Senior Vargas, now driving a Bugatti and dressed in an immaculate white suit.
Ms. Pitstop was last seen looking out the window of a private compartment on
a train headed out of Carpania with a large jewel case on her lap. The Dowager
Empresss coat of arms was on the lid.