A comedy about secession from the United States. More
A Socio-Political Comedy of Nearly National Proportions
“The first thing I noticed when I met Fletcher Hart was not his odd appearance. That came a bit later. No, the first thing I noticed as I approached, unannounced, on what he probably would have called his right flank, was that Fletcher Hart was preparing to fire what looked like a cannon.”
Such begins Part One of the story of the Grand Duchy of Belle Claire which is not just a story about a man’s refusal to continue as a part of a country and government that have become, in his opinion, irrevocably broken. It is a story of how people form community, as often flowing away from the past as flowing to the future. It is also a collection of the stories of the new citizens and the lives that lead them to a new start.
Grand Duchy is not just a story about a man’s refusal to continue as a part of a country and government that have become, in his opinion, irrevocably broken. It is a story of how people form community, as often flowing away from the past as flowing to the future. It is also a collection of the stories of the new citizens and the lives that lead them to a new start.
Fletcher: an eccentric ex-patriot with a cannon and a “coonskin” cap. Fletcher announces his secession from the United States and, unwittingly, begins a movement, a hejira, maybe a country.
Cole: a struggling reporter that arrives hoping to find a madman with aluminum-foil undergarments, spouting crazed dogma to the trees but finds himself intrigued by the nearly-accidental nature of the Duchy and its pure intentions.
Jimmy Day: an 81 year-old, ex-U.S. Congressman who is described as a mixture of Jubilation T. Cornpone, Charles Ponzi and P. T. Barnum. Jimmy left Washington in bit of a hurry in 1974 and with a shrug of disbelief – “What? Can’t a man relax on his houseboat on the Potomac and entertain a few buddies and several liquored-up, very naked women anymore?”
Kay: a former TWA flight attendant supervisor who cannot accept that the youngest of her three daughters, unlike the other two whose families live less than five miles away from Kay’s nest, is a wandering, free-spirited soul. Unconsciously, Kay reacts by turning her Catholic-religion-knob up to “Broil” and begins to minister to her flock, her flight-attendant employees. I did mention that Kay was a former TWA supervisor, right?
Charlie: an American redneck survivalist who comes to the Duchy with conspiracy theories and paranoia more complex than quantum physics, a mini-14 submachine gun, an enormous cache of freeze-dried, post-apocalyptic cuisine, and an artistry of growth and harvest techniques for certain sticky, stinky herbs.
Maggie: a red-headed siren who does not understand her magnetic call to the slimy, haunted and deadbeat men of the planet Earth. Maggie is a bar-napkin, grocery-receipt poet who usually gives her work away before having read it twice. She is still soft where she should be hard. Her heart is still warm where it should be cold. But she can feel those things changing and fears what may become of her unless she can find a safe harbor to call home.
Fred Only Fred: a former roadie for a rock and roll band and more than slightly affected by the easy access to drugs. Fred speaks infrequently and, even then, in Tourette’s-like non-sequiturs: Blotter Acid Cheeseball!
Raindog: a tall, stoic, orphan-for-life who gives great import to posture, appearance, manners and a pleasant body odor. Raindog was homeless prior to his arrival in the Duchy and found daily refuge in libraries. He read extensively in order to stay quiet and engaged in his choice of shelter and has a mind full of sometimes helpful but often disjointed knowledge and trivia.