The Taming of the Shrew

By Bob Hutchinson (UCSBDad)
Copyright 2000

Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Farscape belong to others, not I. Similarly the work of Freddy Mercury, Gram Parsons, and Roger McGuinn. This fanfic plot is, of course, entirely original with me.
Time: The early Elizabethan period of Farscape.
Rating: 90 proof.
Spoilers: Only for English majors.
Archiving: TGUT, of course. And the Globe Theater.


The Narrator walks onto the stage and faces the audience. "Greetings, good people of Earp. Our tale takes place on the far commerce planet of Fair Padua and concerns the adventures, amorous and otherwise, of Johnnio, a young man of Earp come to seek knowledge at Fair Padua. Now let us begin our tale."

The Narrator, turns and the curtain rises on Fair Padua, a commerce planet of great wealth and culture. The streets of Fair Padua are clogged with soldiers, sailors and merchants; singers, dancers, jugglers; peasants, artisans and players. Luxuries and necessities are sold on every street corner. Snatches of music and song are heard. Into this colorful assembly comes Johnnio, dressed in his Earp finest: an orange one-piece suit, covered with colorful patches. Johnnio stops, turns in a 360-degree circle, admiring Fair Padua and addresses the audience, obviously in awe of his surroundings.

"Since for the great desire I had
To see Fair Padua, nursery of arts,
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of a great Commerce Planet;
And by my father's love and leave am arm'd
With his good will and seeking good company,
Here let me breathe and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies.
Earp renown'd for grave citizens
Gave me my being and my father first,
An astronaut of great traffic through the world,
It shall become to serve all hopes conceived,
To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds:
And therefore for the time I study,
Virtue and that part of philosophy and wormholes
Will I apply that treats of happiness
By virtue specially to be achieved.
Tell me thy mind; for I have Earp left
And am to Fair Padua come, as he that leaves
A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep
And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst."

Two gentlemen observe this rude bumpkin from stage right. They are General d'Argo, a fierce condotierre , who has become a power on Fair Padua and his companion, Rygelio, the exiled Doge of Venezia. Rygelio speaks to his companion, "Odds bodkins, d'Argo. Who would wear an orange suit? He looks like a frelling pumpkin. I'll bet he even has white socks, too."

D'Argo snarls at his shorter companion. "'S'truth. I'm sure you're in the best position to examine his socks. Let us be off to the manse of my lord de Crais to try to advance our suit of his fair daughters. Not that it will do us any good."

Suddenly, a sly smile passes over the features of the small former tyrant. "This serf may be of some use to his betters before he leaves Fair Padua."

When Rygelio approaches Johnnio, our bumpkin kneels down next to him and starts to rub Rygelio's earbrow. "How you doing, Boy. Good Boy. I sure thought Fair Padua had a leash law."

Poor Rygelio has such a look of pleasure on his face, it is obvious why he cannot reply to this assault with a friendly weapon. General d'Argo comes to his aid. "Desist, there, Sirrah. That is Rygelio the rightful Doge of Venezia."

Johnnio takes his hand off of Rygelio's earbrow. "So, you boys spell it with an "e" on the end here in Fair Padua?"

Finally, Rygelio regains his dignity, such as he has any. "If you ever touch me again there, bumpkin, I'll file a sexual harassment lawsuit against you so fast..." Our Tiny Tyrant stops, mindful of his need for this serf. He smiles at Johnnio and bows. "I am Rygelio, the rightful Doge of Venezia. Driven from my own fair lands by the evil machinations of my cousin, the despised Bishan."

Johnnio nods solemnly. "I see that sort of thing all the time of ENN. Tanks in the streets, rebel troops setting up road blocks, jets flying low over the capital city while the government radio station plays martial music."

Rygelio and d'Argo look puzzled. "What the frell do you mean? The slime ball took all the soft money he could get from the special interest groups and then had the nerve to campaign on a reform platform. Of course the citizenry and the politicians ate it up." snarled His Diminutiveness. "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a politician that won't stay bought."

Suddenly, Rygelio's features form into smile. "But, come my boy, join us in some fellip nectar."

Johnnio, Rygelio and d'Argo enter a bar and order three fellip nectars. When their mugs arrive, d'Argo takes a long draught and smiles. "Do you know what I like about fellip nectar?"

Rygelio lifts his nose from the mug and replies. "Of course, I do. It's less filling."

D'Argo snarls at him. "Of course you like it because it's less filling. You have practically nothing to fill up. Real men like it because it tastes great."

As they argue back and forth about "Less filling" or "Tastes great", Johnnio starts to wander away, muttering, "You'd think I could at least get in the commercial with Daisy Fuentes."

Suddenly, the two disputants notice Johnnio is leaving them and they hurry after him. "Come young fellow. We may be of some small service to you, as you can be to us." Says Rygelio slyly.

Johnnio looks interested. "If you guys need a pilot, I'm your man. I'll match Farscape 1 against anything around here. She's got a competition clutch and a four on the floor and she purrs like a kitten when the Lake pipes roar. Look at the sponsors I've had. He points to the patches on his orange suit. "Dominars Pizza. We deliver." "Fayetteville FFA 1994". "Lynnyrd Skynnard World Tour". "White Castle Burgers." "Moon Pies." "RC Cola"....

D'Argo and Rygelio look puzzled. D'Argo smiles at Johnnio. "Our problems are of a more personal, shall we say physical nature."

Johnnio steps back. "Sorry, guys. I'm not that kind of a guy. You buy me a drink on the first date, you get a warm handshake, no more."

D'Argo continues. "You misunderstand us. We are in love with the beauteous daughters of the wealthy lord de Crais. He is the richest merchant in all of Fair Padua. I love the fair Zhannia. I worship her smooth skull. The way the sun glances off her gold freckles on her wondrous blue face. The swell of her breast, the way she wraps those long legs..." Suddenly, d'Argo colors and stops.

Rygelio continues. "And I love the magnificent Pippia. I love her dowry. Her stock options. Her profit sharing. Her 401(k). Not to mention, her convertible debentures." Rygelio stops, obviously lost in lustful pecuniary thought.

Johnnio smiles. "Well, fine with me guys. But where do I fit in?"

D'Argo smiles ruefully. "It is the law in Fair Padua that the eldest daughter must marry before any of the younger daughters can wed. De Crais's eldest daughter is Aeryn, who has yet to find the proper match. She is a wonderful young woman, who simply needs to meet the right man to live in wedded bliss. And, of course, to free up her sisters."

Johnnio is trying to keep a straight face. "Aeryn, huh? I bet she has a great personality. She's a lot of fun, right? You guys can find another sucker."

Johnnio starts to walk away, when d'Argo comes up behind him and lifts him off the ground and puts him down in front of the window of the bar. He growls in Johnnio's ear. "As a matter of fact, she's quite beautiful. You should be able to see her walking home across the piazza quite soon now."

Suddenly, Johnnio gasps and cries, "Mother of God. What an ass."

D'Argo peers around Johnnio. "In fact, that's a burro, youngster."

Johnnio turns to D'Argo. "Ass, donkey, burro, whatever. It just reminded me of my far off and long lost Earp. I lost it there for a second."

Rygelio approaches Johnnio. "You are the male of your species, right?" His hand darts below the line of sight of the audience. Johnnio lets out a high pitched scream.

D'Argo mutters in Johnnio's ear. "Your Earp females don't look like that burro, do they?"

Johnnio doesn't answer for a long time, obviously lost in thought and staring at something across the piazza. "No, our ideal of female perfection would be the young lady in the black leather, crossing the piazza."

D'Argo smiles triumphantly. "That is Aeryn. Is she really the ideal of Earp feminine perfection ?"

Johnnio frowns. "Technically, the Earp ideal of feminine perfection is a beautiful, stacked nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store, but Aeryn's close enough for me."

The two conspirators share an evil grin behind Johnnio's back. Rygelio speaks. "Then Lord Johnnio, I may so address you, may I not. We three should be off to m'lud de Crais's mansion. His door is always open to young men of promise and fortune with hard, with noble hearts."

Johnnio is too entranced with the vision of the enchanting Aeryn to notice anything amiss.


Johnnio and his two companions enter the mansion of de Crais. John is overwhelmed by the opulent splendor. He has seen nothing on Earp to compare with it. D'Argo is eyeing a saucy chambermaid and Rygelio is examining a gold chased tea set with a proprietary air. The wealthy lord de Crais enters. He is unshaven, and his long hair hangs loosely around his face. In his hand is a well-punished margarita jug.

The three bow in unison to de Crais. He suddenly notices them and tries to put the jug down. "General D'Argo. Doge Rygelio. How good it is to see you again. And what is this? You have brought a fine young man with you to ask for the hand of my sweet, shy Aeryn? Of course, you have my blessings, me lad. I shall speak with Fra Laurence and post the banns this very night." De Crais turns and walks out, jumping into the air and clicking his heels as he does so. As he walks away, the three hear him singing, off key, "I got a woman mean as she can be, sometimes I believe she's almost mean as me."

The two conspirators lead Johnnio into the parlor where the three de Crais sisters are sitting. Zhannia is a vision in blue and Pippia is striking in a black and gray ensemble. Aeryn is in her saucy black leather. D'Argo heads for Zhannia's side and Rygelio for Pippia's. Johnnio goes straight for Aeryn. Arriving at her side, he smiles boyishly and drawls, "Hey, good lookin', what ya got cookin'?"

Before Johnnio can continue, Aeryn explodes out of her chair and knocks him onto his nether regions. Before Johnnio can collect himself, she is sitting astride him.

Aeryn looks Johnnio over carefully and then turns to her sisters. "Another weakling come to try to woo and wed me. Don't you two ever quit?"

Johnnio becomes angry at being called a weakling. "Listen up, darlin'. My senior year I was the starting middle linebacker for MIT. I am no weakling, honey."

Aeryn snickers. "You were the starting middle linebacker for the Mippippippi Institute of Technology? The Fighting Banana Slugs?"

Johnnio nods modestly, not wanting to brag in front of so delicate a young lady.

Aeryn sneers at him. "As I recall you lost to the Po Valley School for the Blind 35 to zip."

Johnnio colors slightly. "Hey. Our offense just couldn't get on track. They got us out of our game plan. You live by the big play, you die by the big play. The defense gave 110%. They really had their game faces on. Turnovers killed us. We lost our focus, but I was really proud of our guys, even if it was a long plane ride home. "

Aeryn looks disgusted. "Then you lost 49 to nada to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Home for Unwed Mothers."

Johnnio is looking more embarrassed. "They took their game to the next level. I just wanted to contribute to the team. They got us out of our rhythm. It's a game of inches. We came out flat. They were a better team than their record indicated. They showed a lot of heart. I had no idea their condition would change their center of gravity so much. On any given Sunday, you know."

Aeryn smiles at Johnnio. "And what about the 77 to zero shellacking you took from the Padua School for Refined Young Ladies?"

Johnnio is now angry. "You can't blame that on me. They brought in a ringer. You can't tell me that their wide receiver wasn't brought in from the PFL. You can tell a pro by his moves and that was a pro."

Suddenly Aeryn leaps off of Johnnio and starts running through the parlor, which is fortunately gargantuan. Her acceleration is wondrous. She changes directions effortlessly and at the end of the room turns and mimes waving something at Johnnio. Then, she does a bizarre dance at the end of the room. John is stunned. But watching the beautiful Aeryn dance, he can not help but say, "She's poultry in motion. I mean POETRY in motion."

In a flash, Aeryn is sitting back on Johnnio's chest.

Johnnio gasps. "You're number 80!"

Aeryn smiles. "Bet your sweet ass I am. That was the best game of my life. 578 yards of total offense, six receptions for touchdowns and one on the ground. And, I threw a pass on the option rollout for another. And every inch of it was over your sorry behind. And then what? I can't play in the PFL because I'm a woman. Hear me roar, or what."

Johnnio is amazed. He stares at Aeryn in awe. "You're not only a total babe, but you love football. You're legit, an impact player, you have great instincts and you can flat out play, Aeryn. What more can I ask for in a woman?"

Aeryn gives him one of those looks that sends 'scapers to the BB. "Have you done anything that might interest me, boy."

Johnnio bridles. "That's Mr. Boy to you, Missy. Well, last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got them on, I'll never know."

Aeryn rises, leaving Johnnio sprawled on the floor. "I think I feel a migraine coming on, sisters." With that Aeryn leaves the room, with Johnnio watching each and every sway of her hips.

The two sisters and D'Argo and Rygelio gather around our prostrate hero. Johnnio smiles at them ruefully. "Sorry guys, she obviously isn't interested in me."

Rygelio smiles hugely at him. "Johnnio, Baby, Sweetie. You da man! She's like puddles in your hand."

Johnnio frowns and then replies. "Putty. Putty in my hands. And she's crazy about me. Not!"

Zhannia smiled at Johnnio. "Look at you. No broken bones. No contusions. No concussion. Get up, get up."

Johnnio slowly rises to his feet. Zhannia grabs his hands and lifts them over his head. "Hallelujah, brothers and sisters. He can walk. Yes. Praise the Goddess. Can you walk Brother Johnnio? Can you feel the power of the Goddess? Somebody say Amen."

Johnnio looks askance at the sisters and their swains. "Are YOU talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to ME? Are you TALKIN' to me? The lady, Raven Haired Goddess that she is, doesn't like me at all. We'll just have to forget this."

Zhannia has a severe case of the vapors. Pippia is looking for a blunt object, but rejects Rygelio as too much of a lightweight. Then D'Argo sidles up to Johnnio, smiling as sincerely as he can manage. "Don't get cocky, kid. But you're in better shape for a suitor of Aeryn than anyone since the third grade. There's a party here tonight, get yourself some fab gear and be here or be squere. That is the Earp expression, right? We've raised the Princely Sum of 8 ducats, 4 shekels, 3 bob, 5 quid, and a partridge in a pear tree for your expenses." D'Argo slips a wad of bills into Johnnio's pocket. "And there's plenty more where that came from, Kid."

Johnnio leaves the de Crais palazzo, fingering the wad of bills in his pocket, but thinking that this is not the road to true love. Unbeknownst to Johnnio, a pair of beautiful blue eyes follow his progress across the piazza and out of sight.


Johnnio walks through the streets of Fair Padua, wrestling with his conscience. He knows that he cannot pursue Fair Aeryn for mercenary reasons, but how is he to prosper otherwise in Fair Padua? Not watching where he is going, he trips over a small, well-dressed cricket who is crushed by Johnnio's foot. Feeling suddenly better, Johnnio spots just the place for him to rest and consider his options. Ahead is the neon sign for Rick's Café Earp. "Hey," thinks Johnnio to himself, "everybody goes to Rick's."

Inside, Johnnio tips the maitre de' the partridge in a pear tree he received from D'Argo. While the poor being is trying to disentangle himself from the bird, Johnnio slips into the table by the piano player usually reserved for Senor Ferrari. Suddenly John is confronted by the cigarette girl, who whispers in his ear, "Cigars, cigarettes, chocolates? Resistance is futile." In normal times John might have been attracted to a long term relationship with the top heavy young lady, but he sees Fair Aeryn entering and standing by the piano player. He shoves the blonde away, engendering many questions on the BB as to whether he is acting like himself or not. Johnnio thinks to himself, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns of all the worlds, I have to walk into hers."

Aeryn, wearing a stunning, tight, low cut red dress, stands next to Sam, and begins to sing. Strangely, Sam can't play the piano.

"You must remember this,
A kiss is still a kiss,
The elemental things apply,
As time goes by."

Johnnio, wearing a trenchcoat and a fedora, looks at Aeryn in awe. He thinks, "She's hotter than the getaway car in a bank heist. She has more curves than Lombard Street, and a man could get lost in her cleavage. Hezmana, I'd love to run barefoot through her raven hair."

Suddenly the song is over and Johnnio leaves before Fair Aeryn can spot him. As he leaves, flipping a nickel in his hand, four yellow aliens with long antennae approach him. Johnnio smiles at them. "Hello, boys. Are you glad to see me, or do you have guns in your pockets?" They have guns in their pockets.


Johnnio is escorted to a small trattoria in the East Village. Softly, the Overture from "Aida" plays in the background. There, in the back, he is presented to a tall, purple being.

He turns and speaks softly to Johnnio. "Bon giorno, Giovanni. I am Don Piloto. I sort of run things here in Fair Padua, you might call me Mister Big. You've met my boys, Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Tom?"

John nods solemnly and kisses the being's claw. "Don Piloto. What do you want of me?"

"When one reaches a certain age, Giovanni, one begins to think of things not done. I have no grandchildren."

Johnnio blanches, imagining himself with a fourteen-foot tall honey with four arms ending in claws. He nods to Don Piloto, while planning his escape. Out of Don Piloto's line of sight, he begins to carve a bar of soap into a gun.

Don Piloto takes Johnnio's silence for the polite anticipation of fulfilling Don Piloto's every wish. After all, how many people don't stand around waiting to fulfill Don Piloto's every wish. "Giovanni, my granddaughter Aeryn is such a lovely child, but very stubborn. She needs a man to guide her and control her. A man such as yourself. You see, I already know that you are smitten with Aeryn." Don Piloto gives Johnnio a friendly punch in the side, cracking a rib and sending Johns half carved bar of soap flying.

Don Piloto smiles. "See, Sonny, he even carries his own soap with him. But he's a manly man, too. You cannot be from Earp, Giovanni. Surely you are from Sicilia?"

Suddenly Don Piloto's minions spring into action. Johnnio's measurements are taken for a new suit, a large number of new large denomination bills are placed in his wallet, breath freshener is squirted in his mouth, his nasal hair is trimmed, and a small flat package marked, "for prevention of disease only," is slyly slipped into his pocket by Fredo.

Don Piloto wraps his arms around Johnnio. "Aeryn is such a shy and gentle girl. She almost went into a convent, you know. She reminds me of my sainted wife. You must be very gentle with her, Giovanni. She knows nothing of the world as we men do."

Choking back a laugh, Johnnio sees an opening. "Aeryn is your granddaughter, Don Piloto?"

Don Piloto gets a far away look in his eyes. "It is a long story. But do not worry. I will have the finest geneticists assure that my grandchildren have their mother's intelligence, beauty, wit, and grace as well as my multi tasking abilities." Don Piloto, perhaps realizing he has committed a faux pas, stops and smiles gently at Johnnio. "And my grandchildren will have your...your...."

Johnnio completes the sentence for him. "Fashion sense? Sports savvy? Cooking Skills? Sense of humor? Southern charm? Bladder control?"

Don Piloto shudders slightly and motions for Tom to come over. "Giovanni, I have taken the liberty of drawing up your marriage contract with Aeryn. Don't worry, Tom is our consigliere, and he wrote every word of it. We took the liberty of signing it on your behalf. It's quite a simple document, really. If anything goes wrong, the boys come over and....But nothing will go wrong, will it?"

Johnnio gulps. "If something does go wrong, I get a seat in the Meadowlands next to Jimmy Hoffa, right?"

Don Piloto smiles beatifically, Johnnio kisses his claw again and quickly leaves.


Johnnio is walking away from the trattoria when a long, limousine slides to a stop and the rear door opens. From the sidewalk Johnnio can see a pair of white, or gray or blue legs, depending on your point of view. A sultry voice beckons, "Going my way, Big Guy?"

Johnnio climbs in the back with Pippia and finds Zhannia also in the limo. Zhannia is still dressed in her blue dress, but Pippia is in a fashionable white mini dress. Pippia smiles at Johnnio. "It's great to get into some more comfortable clothes. My usual look is kewl, but you have no idea what wearing a Wonderbra ® is like. At least I hope you have no idea what it's like. I do love my big sis Aeryn, and I'm not sure I'd wish some sort of a pervoid on her."

Zhannia interrupts. "Pippia. The way you do go on. I'm just sure that Aeryn will find Johnnio here to her liking. And there's nothing wrong with a man who likes a little role reversal every once in a while. Actually, wearing a garter belt will do wonders for your control, Johnnio." From Pippia's and Johnnio's looks, Zhannia realizes she may have been a little too forthcoming. "At least I have been told so. I would have no personal knowledge of any such thing."

Pippia keeps crossing and uncrossing her legs as Johnnio watches her hemline rise along with his blood pressure. Pippia smiles invitingly at Johnnio. "Look Big Guy, the two of us have raised every ducat we could and came up with, a bit over 4000 ducats. That should be enough for you to woo our big sis right into marital bliss and then some. So knock yourself out. Are you ready?"

Johnnio smiles raffishly. "I was born ready."

Zhannia smiles at Johnnio. "Well, if you need anything else, just whistle. You do know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

The limo lets Johnnio off at his rooms at the Chateau Shabby. He grins at the sisters and waves good bye.


It's nightfall at the palazzo of the de Crais's. Uniformed flunkies cater to the needs of the cream of Fair Paduan society as well as assorted movers, shakers, Eurotrash, phonies, and one lone Earp man. Johnnio makes his entrance dressed in a white suit with a black silk shirt. Mirrored shades complete the ensemble. He shoulders his way through the throng using the swim moves he perfected at MIT. His mind goes back to his glory days, in a young girl's eyes. In his mind's eye he sees outlined against a cold gray November sky, the Four Horseman riding again; War, Death, Pestilence and Aeryn. Suddenly, coming out of his reverie, he is standing in front of the gorgeous Aeryn. He smiles boyishly. "Dance, Darlin'?"

Aeryn stops for a microt to think up a devastating put down. Suddenly, the house band swings into "Jump, Jive and Wail." Johnnio taking Aeryn's silence for consent, grabs her, and rolls her over his hip. Aeryn falls backwards and looks like she will fall on her lovely rounded derriere, but rolls into a back flip and down into the splits. She immediately rises and she and Johnnio begin the Dirty Boogie. Johnnio and Aeryn are grace under pressure personified. They do the inside underarm, the tuck in, the hip lead, the kick step, the swivel step and the sit lift. Johnnio taps, he does a soft-shoe, he dances on the furniture. To be fair, Aeryn matches his every move, dancing backwards and in high heels.

Suddenly the music stops and Johnnio shyly slips his arm around Aeryn's waist. Aeryn smiles, just a little to encourage Johnnio. Suddenly her smile turns into a snarl, but not for Johnnio. Coming towards the couple is Aeryn's old nemesis. The girl who was the popular cheerleader while Aeryn was a student athlete. The voluptuous blonde that all the boys wanted to hang around. The girl who stole Aeryn's only other boyfriend while poor Aeryn was nursing a torn rotator cuff. It was Gilina del Tecchio, and her friends, Matala and Tahleen. They are dressed like ladies who are no better than they should be.

Gilina stops in front of the two and smiles insincerely at them. "Look. Aeryn actually has a date. Did Daddy buy him for you? Or did you finally find someone who likes the smell of old sweat socks?" Gilina's friends giggle and Gilina leans against Johnnio, doing something below the audience's line of sight.

Gilina gasps. "You are the male of your species, aren't you. Want to come up and see me sometime, Big Boy? What do you say we blow this pop stand?"

Aeryn lowers her head so that no one will see the pain of her losing another boy friend. But Johnnio tightens his hold around Aeryn's waist and replies, "Thanks, but I'll dance with who brung me."

Stunned disbelief passes over Gilina's face, quickly replaced with grim determination. "Well, how about tomorrow? We could make it a foursome. " Gilina's friends giggle and look admiringly at Johnnio.

Johnnio pulls Aeryn closer to him. "Sorry. Aeryn and I are going out tomorrow."

Gilina sneers at Johnnio. "And where are you taking her to? A Joe Paterno retrospective? An ACL repair clinic? Sweat R' Us?"

Johnnio is stumped. He hadn't planned on seeing Aeryn and has no plans, but Rygelio saves the day. The Miniature Mogul elbows his way to their side and grandly proclaims, "Oh, Lord Johnnio is taking Aeryn to his castella in the mountains. It will all be very quiet and private. We've arranged for her duenna to go water skiing."

Gilina and her minions stalk off. Aeryn sneers at them. "So, you can dish it out, but you can't take it."

As the band starts up with "Unchained Melody", Johnnio takes Aeryn in his arms and guides her to the darkest part of the dance floor for a little dirty dancing.


Johnnio and Aeryn arrive at the castella, which is actually a love nest recently purchased by Rygelio and d'Argo. Aeryn is dressed in a conservative black two piece swimsuit that still shows her considerable charms to their best advantage. Johnnio has on his a black tee. He's wearing his baggies, huarachi sandals, too.

Aeryn stops in the middle of the room and looks around, suddenly noticing empty tequila bottles, assorted dead soldiers, and a collection of ladies underwear.

Suddenly unsure of herself, she turns to Johnnio. "What exactly is this place, Johnnio?"

Johnnio tries to reassure her. "Actually, this used to be the home of seven vertically challenged mining engineers and a young lady who kept house for them."

Aeryn frowns. "Wait a microt. I saw that on Jerry Springer. I hope you don't think I'm that kind of a girl?"

Before Johnnio can reassure her, they are interrupted. A large, dark haired man, graying at he temples walks in on them and heads for the refrigerator. He stops and looks Aeryn over with a wistful smile on his face. "Perfect, Aeryn. Perfect." He turns to Johnnio and gives him a wink. Then he goes on to the refrigerator and takes an icy cold Cerveza out and pops the top off.

Aeryn turns to Johnnio. "Who is that guy?"

Johnnio colors slightly. "It's no problem, Aeryn. You remember how Alfred Hitchcock used to like to put himself in his own movies? Well, this is the same principle."

Before Johnnio can continue, the man heads back outside. "Don't worry, Aeryn. I, and Johnnio, will see to it that this works out fine." He turns to Johnnio again and winks, "The game is afoot, Johnnio."

Johnnio looks at him sharply, "Watch your language. You know I don't like that sort of stuff. "

The man shrugs, grins again at Aeryn and is out the door and gone. But from outside, he calls back to the pair. "You'd better check the refrigerator, Johnnio."

Johnnio opens the refrigerator and gasps. "Oh my God!"

Aeryn rushes to his side. "What is it, Johnnio?"

Johnnio opens the door a little wider. Inside, something brown can be seen battling something green. Johnnio slams the door closed. "I knew that Rygelio wouldn't clean this place up. Food fight!"

Suddenly, the door explodes off of it's hinges and a primordial green-something that has been growing inside, having conquered the brown thing, leaps at Johnnio and puts an appendage down his throat. Aeryn leaps into action, delivering a flurry of blows to the green thing. As it turns to defend itself, Aeryn rips it from Johnnio's throat and hurls it into the outer darkness. She turns to Johnnio. "What did you see? Did you see the light and all your friends?"

Johnnio sits up groggily. "No, all I saw was green."

Aeryn looks into Johnnio's eyes and then throws her arms around him and kisses him passionately. She is ripping their clothing off, when they are interrupted by D'Argo. D'Argo is embarrassed, not having expected Johnnio, or Aeryn to be such fast workers. He smiles at he couple, "I just thought I'd bring you a few of the necessities. Some Barry White CDs. A couple of pounds of oysters. A six pack of Hynerian champagne."

Suddenly, Aeryn sees something that has fallen out of Johnnio's clothing. It is his wallet, bulging with more money than anyone from Earp could hope to acquire, unless.....Aeryn, as she does so well, puts two and two together and smells a rat. "You Mendacious Mercenary. You Redneck Romeo. They paid you to do this." She jumps up and heads for the door.

Johnnio stops her. "Aeryn don't go. Baby, please don't go. I love you. I do want to marry you."

Aeryn turns on Johnnio. "Me marry you? I'd have to be unconscious!"

With that, d'Argo's tongue hits her and she slides to the floor.

D'Argo smiles at Johnnio. "Sounds like a proposal and acceptance, to me, Kid."


It is the wedding of the season on Fair Padua. The church is jammed. Everyone who is anyone is in attendance. Everyone is dressed in their leather finest. It looks like Halloween on Castro Street. Suspiciously, even Gilina del Tecchio and her friends are in attendance.

Johnnio paces nervously, with d'Argo and Rygelio at his side. "I'm not sure about this, guys. Aeryn will freak when she wakes up and I'll be sleeping with the fishes."

D'Argo walks over to Johnnio and puts a fatherly arm around him and lifts him off the floor. "Johnnio, I've got two words for you, and they ain't happy birthday. It's a little message from a friend, a large friend, if you take my meaning. Jack Nicholson."

Johnnio looks puzzled. "Jack Nicholson sent me a message?"

D'Argo looks disgusted. "No, the message is Jack Nicholson."

Johnnio looks at Rygelio. "Is he telling the truth?"

Rygelio groans. "D'Argo, your problem is that you can't handle the truth, or a simple Earp cultural reference. The two words were Jimmy Hoffa."

Johnnio understands and heads for the altar.

Aeryn is a vision in white. Her long gown covers the fact that her legs are tied together. A large bouquet in her arms conceals the handcuffs on her wrists. A flowing veil covers the gag in her mouth. Lord de Crais, humming Happy Days Are Here Again, under his breath, escorts and half carries Aeryn down the aisle with the enthusiastic assistance of her two sisters. From the rear of the church, the soaring strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy are heard.

At the altar, Johnnio bravely lifts Aeryn's veil. His gaze is met by two blue eyes blazing with rage. He quickly drops the veil.

The priest speeds through the service, knowing that he wants to be well out of the way when the "lucky girl" is untied. The marriage proceeds normally until, "If anyone present knows why this man and this woman should not wed, let them speak now or forever hold their peace." The priest hears feminine giggles and sees a tall black form approach the altar.

Scorpio smiles and says, "That is my cue I believe." He motions to his back ups, Neim, Lt. Braca and Lt. Heskon. Suddenly a full orchestra booms out the opening of:

But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me-
He's just a poor boy from a poor family-
Spare him his life from this monstrosity-
Easy come easy go-,will you let me go-
Bismillah! No-,we will not let you go-let him go-
Bismillah! We will not let you go-let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go-let me go
Will not let you go-let me go
Will not let you go let me go
Mama mia,mama mia,mama mia let me go-
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me,for me,for me-
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye-
So you think you can love me and leave me to die-
Oh baby-Can't do this to me baby-
Just gotta get out-just gotta get right outta here-
Nothing really matters, Anyone can see, Nothing really matters-
,nothing really matters to me, Any way the wind blows....

Johnnio looks at Scorpio and sets his face in a fierce scowl. He won't let Scorpy take him alive. D'Argo mutters in Johnnio's ear. "Who are those guys?"

Johnnio is about to answer when he hears an acoustic guitar start, followed by a fiddle and a steel guitar. He turns to D'Argo and sings,

He's got him a house on the hill,
And he'll play comfy music
'Till you've had your fill,
He's a fireman's friend,
He's an all night DJ,
But he sure don't think much
Of the records he plays.
He's a drug store truck drivin' man,
He's the head of the Ku Klux Klan,
When summer rolls around,
He'll be lucky if he's not in town.

At the last note, Johnnio charges Scorpio and his minions. Scorpio sneers at Johnnio and sends his minions in. "Go ahead. Make my day, Earpman."

Johnnio fights like a man possessed, but they are too much for him. Gloating, Scorpio directs his myrmidons to haul Johnnio off. Suddenly, Aeryn rips the handcuffs binding her hands off, throwing her bridal bouquet to her delighted sisters. She reaches down and rips off the ropes around her legs. Tearing the gag from her mouth she screams at Scorpio and his friends, "Fill your hands, you sons of bitches."

Aeryn is a white blur, quickly eliminating Scorpio's companions before working over Scorpio himself. Finally, Scorpio is bent over on the floor, writhing in agony. Aeryn backs off and kicks Scorpio out of the church. (Revealing a fine set of legs as she does so.) The referee shoots both arms into the air. The crowd goes wild. While chanting, "We numbah one." "Roar, Aeryn, Roar" the crowd starts singing,

Drop kick him Aeryn through the goalposts of life,
End over end neither left nor to right,
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights,
Drop kick him Aeryn through the goal posts of life.

Johnnio looks at the departing Scorpio in awe. "A man has to know his limitations."

Aeryn turns to Johnnio, "Well, I suppose we should go through with this farce so my sisters can be happy. As soon as they're married, you can dump me and enjoy your money back on Earp."

Johnnio is stunned. "Aeryn, I love you and I want to marry you. I don't care about the money. I just care about you."

Aeryn looks at him suspiciously, "Do you expect me to believe that?"

Johnnio smiles. "I'll tell you what I believe, Aeryn. I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, long foreplay, show tunes, and that the novels of Thomas Pynchon are self-indulgent, overrated crap". He pauses to draw Aeryn closer to him. "I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, I believe that there oughtta be a constitutional amendment outlawing astro-turf and the designated hitter, I believe in the "sweet spot", voting every election, soft core pornography, chocolate chip cookies, opening your presents on Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last for 7 days. And I believe it would all be meaningless to me if I didn't have you."

Aeryn looks at Johnnio and smiles radiantly. She reaches over and grabs Fra Laurence and hauls him to his feet. "You aren't done yet!"

Fra Laurence, confused, starts talking, "Um, dearly beloved.."

Aeryn interrupts him. "You said that already."

Fra Laurence knows what he has to do. "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Too late, Aeryn is way ahead of him.


It is five days later at the honeymoon suite of the Padua Holiday Inn. The newlyweds are relaxing on the bed, looking exhausted but happy. A Barry White CD is playing in the background. Aeryn is feeding Johnnio some oysters. Johnnio pulls Aeryn close to him. "So we'll get season tickets for baseball, football, basketball, hockey and live next to a golf course with a tennis court nearby?"

Aeryn replies, "Of course, Johnnio. What ever you say."

Johnnio stares at Aeryn. "Are you sure you don't want to express an opinion here?"

Aeryn giggles. "Of course not, Johnnio. You are my husband, my lord and master, you make all the decisions, my darling."

Johnnio gets a sinking feeling in his stomach. He knows this can mean only one thing. He looks at his feet, and sure enough, there are the ruby slippers. Of their own volition, his heels start to click together as the magic words form in his mouth. The motel room and Aeryn start to fade around him.


John is sitting up in his bed on Moya, still saying, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

John looks around him, and finds himself looking into a pair of concerned beautiful, blue eyes.

"Are you all right, John?"

John smiles. "Yeah, Aeryn. I was just having a bad dream."

Aeryn smiles smugly. "Sebaceans don't dream. And I, for one, am quite happy with that."

John lies back down and puts his arms around Aeryn. "Aeryn, have I ever told you that you are hotter than the getaway car in a bank heist? Or that you have more curves than Lombard Street? That a man could get lost in your cleavage? That I'd love to run barefoot through your hair?"

Knowing that she is in some way being complimented, Aeryn smiles. "I don't believe you ever have. I'm sure I'd remember if you had said anything like that."

John kisses her lightly on the lips. "Speaking of beliefs, Aeryn. I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back.....