Genius and Geniality: The Transience of Triumph
Zoe paused, sipped her tea, and looked at the expressions of disbelief on the other Angels' faces.
"And then," she said, "Victoria turned round, with the smoking pistol still in her hand, and she said—"
Victoria buried her head in her hands and groaned.
"She said, 'I believe I am able to ascertain your thoughts, ladies and gentlemen. Did I fire six shots or only five? Alas, such has been the excitement of the last few minutes that I find myself quite unable to answer that question. But given that this weapon is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world,' which it wasn't, of course, but they weren't to know that, 'And that it is capable of inflicting decapitation with but a single shot, the one question you must all ask yourselves is, "Do I feel that Fortune smiles upon me?" Well? Is this the case?'"
"There's no way Victoria said that," Samantha objected.
"Word for word," Zoe replied. "Eidetic memory. Go on, Victoria, tell them if I'm lying."
Victoria looked up, her face a fetching puce.
"Yes," she admitted in a small voice. "I did say that."
Isobel patted her on the shoulder. "You go, sister. I must say, I wouldn't have thought you'd go that far to reclaim Jane Austen."
"Oh, she explained that as well," Zoe said cheerfully. "She said, 'Kill my father and burn my ancestral home, and I will look on and scream. But lay one grubby finger on Mr. Darcy and you rouse the British Lion.'" She paused, as a thought struck her. "I suppose Mr. Darcy must be one of the characters in the book."
"Anyway," Victoria said with an air of finality. "That was that, and there's an end of it."
"We've still got to take the dresses back to the shop," Zoe reminded her.
"Could you do that? The lady there makes me uneasy. She keeps asking me if I'm happy, and sometimes her manner is positively queer."
"All right, I'll do it," Zoe said. "D'you want to come with me, Isobel? They've got a new range of nanoskirts we could look at."
"Before you do take the dresses back," Gia interrupted. "I think you may want to see this." She opened a folder, extracted a single sheet of paper, and pushed it across the table.
"'Unseen Austen,'" Zoe read. "'Lydia Bennet discovers it is her sister Elizabeth who is the heroine—'"
"Give me that," Victoria said, her voice as cold and hard as ice. She snatched the piece of paper, and glared at it. "Right. Miss Heriot, I shall expect you to be present, suitably dressed, on Thursday next. And this time, I would be obliged if you could bring a Varon-T disruptor. Pistols are too quick."
"Now look what you've done," Samantha said. "You've set her off again. Best not to tell her about—"
Gia sighed, and glanced at the counter, where the Minister of Chance was brewing up a calming herbal infusion. The way things were going, they'd need a few gallons of the stuff before they were done.
"Take a look at this IMDB listing," she said, handing Victoria another sheet of paper. "Will you welcome, please, Mr. Bennet-not-another-revolutionary-take-on-Pride-And-Prejudice..."
"Doctor Who" characters created by the BBC.
"Pride and Prejudice" was written by Jane Austen. It is in the public domain, and don't we all know it?
This Time Round created by Tyler Dion; the teashop by Daibhid Ceanaideach.
With apologies to P. G. Wodehouse, H. J. Fink, R. M. Fink and Dean Riesner.