Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Brief Visit to Schpröck Manor

Well, hello. How good of you to drop by. Pity you didn’t call ahead, but I suppose spontaneity has it charm, does it not? Please, please, do come in out of the rain, all of you, and enter my — ha ha — humble abode . . . if a 26-room mansion can be referred to as such. Schpröck Manor, you see, has been in my family for centuries. It is all I know, so, for me, I suppose I can call it “humble.”

You are staring at my two dobermans, Fritz and Dieter. Fine looking specimens, are they not? Ach! Gelassen, Fritz! You will not be rude to my guests! Oh, please, come all the way inside, they will not hurt you, not without my permission they won’t. Ha ha, that is my little joke! They really do not require my permission — they can hurt you of their own free will. Ha ha, I jest again! You see, they’ve been fed quite recently, so I do not anticipate any harm to you. But be careful of Fritz, all the same.

I suddenly notice you all seem famished! Can this be true? You seem weak and wan, as if the vapors that envelop this house are pestilential to you! I will ring the staff and have them prepare a meal. Tut, tut!-— it’s no bother, do not protest, it is my pleasure. A moment please. Karl, aufbereiten das abendessen, schnell! You see? It is all arranged. My staff, they live to do my bidding at any hour. They are most — I am sorry, my English fails me — pliant? Is that the word? Yes, pliant. Ha ha. That is my little word for them.

Please, come in and let me take you for a tour. I have guests so rarely — why, I cannot say, for I do enjoy the society of my fellow man, truly so. My family had at one time entertained the crowned heads of Europe. Do you see those chairs by the great hearth? The czar and czarina loved to sit there for hours upon end, talking to that good fellow Rasputin who bounced me on his knee when I was a child, calling me many an affectionate nickname — for I was a morose lad, and needed much cheering up. But come, come, let us enter the drawing room, and see what there is to be seen.

Surely you do not mind a little dust? No, no, of course you do not, I can see that. This was where we used to relax, before Papa saw the devil one night and did the most mischievous things. Yes, he quite broke our little family up, but I won’t bore you — it’s an old story and we really don’t speak of it now. Ah, and there he is, as he appeared in life! No, no, I am sorry, your eyes go to his portrait above the mantel, quite natural to be sure, but I mean behind you, yes! Behold, Papa!

Ladies, ladies, forgive me! Oh, how unforgivable of me, how terribly, terribly clumsy! Gentlemen, help me with them, they faint, they scream! Ladies, you will laugh when I tell you! Yes, you will! He is not alive, he won’t harm you. He’s been — oh, what’s the word? — Präparation von Tieren, what do you call it? — stuffed! that is it! Stuffed, he is! It was his will, he asked that it be so, and we put him here, in his favorite room. See? The Board of Health certificate hangs there, it is all legal, all proper! Come, come, ladies! And you, sir, why so pale, why do you shake so? He is like wood, like this stick of furniture, this chair, he will not trouble any of you! Come, come, now!

That’s right, compose yourselves, very good. A little fright, eh? But it’s all funny now, we will laugh soon, yes, we will. Please, step around here, all of you. Take your minds off of Papa, that was naughty of me and I do apologize. I ask you to observe the portraits of my ancestors, barons and baronesses all. Baron Ludwig the Mad. Baron Maximilian the Voracious. Baron Otto the Avenger. The Baroness Gerta von Schpröckenberger, also known as the Scarred Mistress. Many stories here, my friends. A history to be proud of! And over here —

Yes, young lady, you have a question? You are pointing and you have a question, something you wish to ask me, do you? Ah, of course! A conversation piece to be sure. We are all used to taxidermy now, are we not? We are made of sterner stuff than we were earlier, yes, I can see, you are all braver now, you are ready to appreciate and learn, to marvel and enjoy. Then let us step closer. Come see, for this is art, upon my soul it is.

Two hands, a woman’s hands. You can tell she is into her middle years, they are veined, but the skin is still smooth, smooth as the day when — let us just say, as smooth as life. Flesh as white as an angel’s. Exquisite nails, regal nails, the nails of nobility, painted with crimson lacquer. And upon her fingers are the rings of my family — can you not see the crest upon them? Surely you can witness the eagle’s talons crushing its prey, rending it to a furry pulp, such strength, such majesty! And on such lovely hands — delicate feminity adorned by brutish masculinity, can you feel the counterpoise, my friends? Looking at it, your mind walks a tightrope, it’s rawness and its fragility are little breezes that blow you each way, they seek to knock you off and save you. Ah, such hands! They belonged to my mother.

What’s that? Do you mean to be droll, asking me such a question? You see I can joke, so you can joke too, eh? I will allow it. But, is it possible? Can you mean it seriously? When did she die, you ask? My mother? Why, she is in the next room. You may speak to her if you like, although I didn’t plan for that until much later. But — but what is this? Where are you all going? Your dinner! This is — this is most precipitate, I must protest! Oh, please, please, I have visitors so seldom! Karl! Mama! They are leaving!


Blogger Kathleen said...

So, have you read Lemony Snickett?

6:30 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

No, I haven't, and I haven't seen the movie either (although I wanted to). Is it worth reading? It sounds funny.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Dreadmouse said...

(mental note - Herr Schprock must not be left alone with the cutlery. Especially the carving knives)

7:15 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

How do you come up with this stuff!? Schnell! By the way, I didn't much like the Snickett movie. I have a hard time watching people get killed because they are too dumb to be alive.

9:52 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Herr Schprock must not be left alone with the cutlery."

Actually, Dreadmouse, you calling me "Herr Schprock" played a part in my coming up with this twisted little post.

So, Scott, this is all Dreadmouse's fault.

10:03 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

So, how are those meds, Schprock? Oh, you're not taking them, you say? No, I hadn't noticed a difference at all.

I rather enjoyed Lemony Snickett myself.

11:56 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"So, how are those meds, Schprock? Oh, you're not taking them, you say? No, I hadn't noticed a difference at all."

Oh, I'm into yoga now. Makes all the difference. Yep, no more court-ordered medication for me. My body's a temple.

12:07 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...


Creepy, but nice.

2:34 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Creepy, but nice."


Thank you.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous dreadmouse said...

My fault? Cool, I'm a pseudomuse! Maybe I should change my nick to "dreadmuse?"

6:46 AM  
Blogger Mrs.T said...

No useful commentary here... but you totally made me laugh!

7:53 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

You know, when I first started reading this, it reminded me of that Dire Straits song My Parties. Then it got all twisted, and I don't think Mark Knofler wants to sing about your party.

8:04 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...


If you inspire the hair-raising, you could be called "dreadmousse."

"No useful commentary here... but you totally made me laugh!"

My anguish, my shame, my bitter tears make you laugh? You think it funny?


"Then it got all twisted, and I don't think Mark Knofler wants to sing about your party."

How about: "It's my party and I can cry if I want to…"

8:40 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

There used to be a character on SNL played by Christopher Walken. This reminds me of it, but with a psychotic twist. Haha!

8:41 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Christopher Walken would be perfect! I'll send him the script.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

OMG - I too pictured the Continental as I was reading this! BTW Mr. Schprock, you had me at the umlauts...

3:51 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I remember the Continental now, where the cameraman put on women's evening gloves and "she" was always trying to escape Christopher Walken's apartment. Very funny.

4:32 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I think you would appreciate the stories - considering the one you posted. Quick and easy reads.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

For the record I haven't seen the movie as I have incredibly huge Jim Carrey issues - he annoys within milliseconds.

6:56 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"For the record I haven't seen the movie as I have incredibly huge Jim Carrey issues - he annoys within milliseconds"

Uh oh. Do not click July in my archives. Do not scroll all the way down to the July 5th entry. Do not read a post entitled "And the Winner Is…" Really. Don't do it.

7:13 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I mean, don't copy and paste this into your browser:


7:16 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I'm just glad your readers set you straight (not really, but I can dream) and you now realise that Johnny Depp is really the greatest actor of our time. ;-)

I guess I should give JC a chance with the serious movies. It's just that I've only ever seen him contorting his face and looking ridiculous so I just want to smack the crap out of him. I shall do my best to add his serious films to my Netflix list.

6:58 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Actually, Johnny Depp probably is. But watch Jim Carey. I expect great things, GREAT things.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Movie review is up...bloody brilliant!!!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

The movie's shaping up then? So, Michael Walken shows Johnny Depp around his house, and Mark Knopfler plays the dead dad. Bea Arthur plays the mum right?

7:48 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Bea Arthur plays the mum right?"

Oh man, I'm still laughing!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

Hehe. Course Michael Walken would be Christopher Walken. Slight aberrance there... ahummm... !

11:15 AM  

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