G #3 – The Secret Zillionaires

Argath: “How dare you abandon me with the lice-ridden goat molester!”

Originally Published: 1/5/09 . 14 pages

There was a reality show on TV at the time called The Secret Millionaire, which had the same basic premise as the show in this ramble. I thought putting Argath and Algus on such a show was a hilarious proposition. This is another one of my favorite Gaiden’s. I especially love their dealing with the soup can and their fight over the bathroom.

(algus is relaxing on the porch swing one day when argath comes running up to him excitedly)

Argath: “Brother! I have exciting news!”

Algus: *excitedly* “Did a relative die?”

Argath: “No, not quite that good. But almost! We’re going to get an easy one hundred thousand dollars by being on this television program!”

(he shoves a long contract in algus’ face. Algus takes it and reads it over with a frown.)

Algus: “…Argath…this doesn’t say we’re going to *get* one hundred thousand dollars…it says we have to *give* one hundred thousand dollars.”

Argath: *paling* “What?”

(algus points at the contract and shoves it back in argath’s face)

Algus: “It says right here! Participants just GIVE one hundred thousand dollars of their own money to charity or needy people!”

Argath: “What?! And to whom?!”

Algus: “Did you even read this?”

Argath: “Of course I did!” *pause* “Well, I paid someone to.”

Algus: “Paid someone?! To read something? How lazy are you!? Who did you pay?”

Argath: “Him.”

(he points across the yard to atsuma, who’s standing with zell and franswa. He waves and smiles at them.)

Atsuma: “Hey, guy!”

Algus: “Him?! He’s a complete dofus!”

Argath: “He’s *your* former slave!”

Algus: “I fired him! And for good reason!”

Argath: “You’re the one who hired a slave who could read!”

Algus: “Well, at least you’re the fool who signed this contract. Not me.”

Argath: “I forged your signature! That’s as good as real!”

Algus: “How dare you! I refuse to go on television and give my money away!”

Argath: “We can’t back out now! Look! This part says we forfeit *two* hundred thousand dollars if we back out!”

Algus: “Oh, that part you could read!”

Argath: “What’s a hundred thousand dollars anyway? I insured my slave for more than that. And slaves are worthless!”

Algus: “They better be putting us up in a palace for this.”

Argath: “Of course they will! They can’t expect rich people to live like peasants!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(flash to them on the show. They’ve been shown to a ramshackle shack that’s dirty and in a bad neighborhood. They’re standing outside looking at it. Argath is looking around in confusion while algus glares at him.)

Argath: “This must be some mistake. This home isn’t fit for a cow.”

Algus: “Did you read any of the literature for this show?! At all?”

Cameraman: “Uh, you’re supposed to live here for a week and then at the end you give money away to people who deserve it.”

Brothers: *stare at him*

Argath: “Did this electronics bearing slave just speak to me?”

Algus: “Uh, I’ll handle this, brother.” *to cameraman* “So, you’re telling us that we’re expected to not only go inside this plague infested hell hole, but live here? And then we’re supposed to give money away? To peasants?”

Cameraman: “Yeah…this was all in the literature you signed.”

Algus: *glares at argath* “Legally, I didn’t sign anything.”

Argath: *staring at the door in disgust* “I’m not touching that handle. Open the door, Algus. The sun is giving me a tan.”

(algus reluctantly opens the door and they step inside. Looking around, they can see it’s pretty dingy and small, but it could be way worse. They start to explore, starting with the kitchen. Argath sees the stove and points to it in confusion.)

Argath: “What’s that?”

Algus: “I believe that’s a stove.”

Argath: “And what are we to do with it?”

Algus: “Peasants cook meals on it.”

Argath: “Where are the peasants who are going to cook our meals?”

Algus: “…I believe we are the peasants.”

Argath: “What?! They expect us to operate that death trap?!”

Algus: “I’m almost starting to hope this is candid camera.”

(he trudges off in one direction, and argath heads into the bedroom. The cameraman follows him. Argath pauses when he sees the cot set up in the bedroom and points to it.)

Argath: “What is that?”

Cameraman: “…It’s a cot.”

Argath: “And what exactly are you supposed to do with it?”

Cameraman: “You sleep on it.”

Argath: “…………..*What*?”

(algus comes back in)

Algus: “The toilet is not made from gold at all!”

Argath: “I’ve heard enough! Let’s get out of here!”

Cameraman: “You can’t leave now! We’re already filming! You’ll lose one million dollars if you do!”

Algus: “One million?! I thought it was two hundred thousand!”

Cameraman: “That was before filming started. Now that filming has started, you’ll lose a million.”

Algus: *glares at argath* “I hope you’ve learned your lesson – never hire some brain dead nincompoop to read an important contract for you!”

Argath: *holding the sheet between his thumb and forefinger like it’s covered in maggots* “What is this?!”

DAY ONE

(argath returns home empty handed but looking pleased. algus greets him urgently.)

Algus: “Did you locate the grocery store the peasants spoke of?”

Argath: “No. But I did wander into an exquisite bistro many blocks from here. So I am no longer hungry.”

Algus: “You ate at a restaurant?!”

Argath: “They were offering an impressive brunch – impossible to pass up.”

Algus: “Well where is the change?”

Argath: “Change? What change? I was only given $110! It was a struggle to eat for so little!”

Algus: “That was supposed to feed both of us for the day!”

Argath: “You can’t expect me to eat on less than $110 a day! Have you forgotten how much caviar costs?!”

Algus: “I am taking all of tomorrow’s money for myself. Then you’ll see if you enjoy being hungry!”

Cameraman: “Um…that $110 was supposed to last the *week*, not a day.”

Both: *blink blink*

Algus: “That’s it. I’ve had quite enough!”

Cameraman: “You can’t leave now! You’ll lose two million dollars!”

Algus: “Two million? Yesterday it was one!”

Cameraman: “Now we’ve been filming an entire day! It’s all in the contract you signed.”

Algus: *glares at argath* “Forged.”

Argath: “I am sure they’ll feed us. They won’t let people of our caliber starve.”

DAY TWO

(both of them are sitting around looking pale and stressed out.)

Argath: “I’m starving! I’m going to die at this rate! Then you’ll hear from my lawyers!”

Algus: “Perhaps we should check the cupboards.”

Argath: “Capital idea, brother!”

(they race into the kitchen and start to throw open the cabinets. algus grabs the one dusty can of soup they find. both stare at it as though they’ve never seen such a thing before.)

Algus: “I believe there’s food inside.”

Argath: “Well what are you waiting for then? Open it!”

Algus: “How?” *studies it* “This container is built like armor!”

Argath: “Well what pierces armor?”

Algus: “I vaguely remember seeing some kind of device that is meant to pierce this metal surface…”

Argath: “Even if we had one of those ‘devices’, how would we manage to operate it?”

Algus: “Perhaps we should try beating it open.”

Argath: “Go to it then!”

(algus starts beating it against the counter. argath glares at the cameraman.)

Argath: “What are you laughing at?”

DAY THREE

(argath and algus stand before a building labeled ‘soup kitchen’. they look over the long line.)

Argath: “What exactly *is* this wretched place?”

Algus: “It is a place where we can get food and not have to pay money.”

Argath: “But look at these peasants!” *points* “That one is wearing boots! Boots, Algus! Do you know what that means?”

Algus: *snaps* “Of course I do! But we can’t go on starving to death, can we? We have to eat something. That can of soup yesterday just did not work out.”

(flash to the apartment. a badly banged up can of soup lies discarded on the counter.)

Argath: *sighs and whines* “But we don’t know where this food came from! You don’t know what kind of meat you’ll be served! I bet it’s not even a purebred cow! They’ll probably serve some kind of beef/pork mixture! Bork! Oh god, the horror!”

Algus: *gulp* “That’s a risk we’ll simply have to take.”

(and so they both go join the line, their heads held high.)

Argath: *sniffs air* “Something smells of goat.”

Algus: “Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve never gotten close enough to a goat to smell it.”

???????: “Well that’s a downright shame! I’ve been on many a date with goats! They’re mighty fine companions and dinner!”

(algus and argath stare in disgust. little do they know, they’ve just met cousin maxwell.)

Maxwell: “My name’s Cousin Maxwell! You fancy gents got yourselves some mighty clean hair! How you get all them lice to stay out?”

Algus and Argath: *take a big step back*

Maxwell: “Flossy and me just come down here to git ourselves some vittles! Didn’t we, Flossy? Our field don’t grow so much since Grandpa turned it into one o’ them fancy outdoor toilets!”

Flossy: *baas and twitches pathetically*

Argath: *frozen in fear* “Get us out of here, Algus.” *turns but algus is gone* “…Algus?”

(algus has run over to the cameraman looking furious.)

Algus: “This is the last straw! We demand to return home immediately!”

Cameraman: “You can’t leave now! You’ll lose eight million if you do!”

Algus: “Does this number double by the day?”

Cameraman: “Well, yeah. It’s all in the contract you signed.”

Algus: “I never signed anything!”

(argath comes running over.)

Argath: “How dare you abandon me with the lice-ridden goat molester!”

Algus: “It was the least you deserve after roping me into this disaster!”

Argath: “There are only 3 days left. Then we can go home and never speak of this again.”

Algus: “Well if we wish to eat we must get back in line with the foul smelling hooligan.”

(they both look over to where maxwell is stroking flossy. with every pet, wool falls off. he sees them and waves, displaying his nearly toothless grin.)

Argath: “Suddenly I’m no longer hungry.”

Algus: “Nor am I.”

DAY FOUR

(algus and argath are standing in front of a fast food restaurant looking disgusted.)

Argath: “This is a restaurant? It doesn’t even have a valet!”

Algus: “I know it’s disturbing. But we can get ourselves jobs, and we’ll be able to eat.”

Argath: “Eat *what* dare I ask.”

Algus: “…At this point we have no choice.”

(so they go inside and look around looking extremely uncomfortable. they unwillingly fill out applications. as they do so you can see a producer from the show talking to the manager. when they’re done with the applications, the manager takes them and looks them over.)

Manager: “Neither of you has any job experience?”

Algus: “At school we once had ‘trade places with your servant day’. We declined to participate.”

Manager: “…I see. Well, I guess I could use you. Come with me.”

(so they get changed into the uniform, complete with paper hats, and are shown to their jobs. algus is being instructed on how to use the soda fountain.)

Manager: “I’m sure you’ve used one of these before.”

Algus: “You assume too much.”

Manager: “…Okay. Well, it’s really easy.” *takes cup and fills it with ice then soda* “See? Think you can manage?”

Algus: “Of course!”

(so the manager walks off and algus is still standing there, looking at the machine)

Algus: “Working is easy! I don’t see what those slaves were always complaining about.”

(meanwhile, over to argath, the manager is spraying a table with a cleaner and then wipes it clean with a rag.)

Manager: “See? Piece of cake.”

Argath: *looks totally disgusted* “You cannot be serious.”

Manager: *shoves the rag and cleaner at him* “Have fun.”

(she walks away. argath holds the items like they’re diseased.)

Argath: “…You cannot be serious.”

(back up at the counter, algus is still standing there staring at the machine like it’s some kind of alien when the manager calls over to him.)

Manager: “Algus! I need 2 jumbo cokes, a large sprite and a super sized fresca!”

(algus looks at the pile of cups, all of which are large and similar in size.)

Algus: “What kind of code is this?”

(back to argath, some people leave the restaurant, leaving all their garbage behind on the table.)

Argath: *calls after them* “You filthy peasants! There’s no slave here to clean up after you!”

(he looks over to the manager, who is gesturing for him to clean the table.)

Argath: *gasp* “I’m that slave!”

(back to algus, he’s selected a cup, but hesitates at using the machine)

Manager’s voice: “I need those drinks!”

(algus takes a deep breath and puts the cup under the machine to start filling it with ice. since there are 2 ice dispensers, he takes a second cup and puts it under the second dispenser, looking somewhat confident. meanwhile, back over to argath, he has taken napkins and used them to cover the mess on the table. he is now studying the cleaner bottle.)

Argath: “Now how exactly does this operate?”

(he stares at the dispensing end of the nozzle as his finger accidentally presses on the trigger, managing to spray himself in the eyes. he screams and drops the bottle, fumbling his way to the counter, where algus is out of control with the soda machine. there are smashed cups and soda all over the floor, and algus has 5 cups under the dispensers.)

Argath: *rubbing eyes* “Poisoned! Poisoned! I’ve been poisoned!”

Algus: “Can’t you see I don’t have time for your rubbish now? This horrible machine has taken on a life of its own!”

Argath: “I can’t see because my eyes have been poisoned! This is your doing, isn’t it?! You thought you could get rid of me!”

Algus: “You’re deranged!”

Argath: “I won’t go down this easy!”

(with that he lunges across the counter, grabbing algus by the neck as they both fall to the ground, the soda from the misused machine raining down on them. the manager comes back and sees the whole thing.)

Manager: “That’s it! You’re fired!”

DAY FIVE

(the next day, both algus and argath arrive at the bathroom door at the same time. they both reach for the handle, then stop and glare at each other.)

Algus: “I have to use the facilities.”

Argath: “As do I.”

Algus: “Go use another!”

Argath: “There is only one bathroom in this nightmare shack, remember?”

Algus: “…Well. Since this problem has never come up before, we’ll have to come up with a way to solve it – I’ll go first.”

(he goes for the door again, but argath steps in front of him.)

Argath: “What grants you the right to go first?”

Algus: “My utter superiority.”

Argath: “How dare you!”

Algus: *waving argath away* “Why don’t you find a spot in the bushes with the other dogs?”

Argath: *gasps*

(the next thing we know, they’re both at each other’s throats again, fighting. they both fall to the floor, hurling insults at each other.)

Algus’ voice: “I hate you!”

Argath’s voice: “I despise you!”

Cameraman: *mutters to himself* “This is great TV.”

(after more fighting and yelling, algus, looking bruised, manages to pick himself up off the floor. he then struggles to move himself into the bathroom – clearly argath is grabbing at his legs – but he gets in there and slams the door.)

Argath: “Ow! Right on my fingers, you mindless ninny!”

(he then gets to his feet, also looking bruised and holding his hurt fingers with his other hand.)

Argath: “That’s it! I’ve had enough! Get me out of here and to a proper restroom – one with a mirror big enough to see my *entire* face!”

Cameraman: “No! You can’t leave now! You’ll lose 32 million if you do!”

(there’s the sound of the toilet flushing, then water running. algus then emerges, and he and argath sort of nod at each other. argath then goes in and shuts the door.)

Algus: “Well. That didn’t go so badly, now did it.”

DAY SIX

(both of them are sitting slumped on the couch not moving.)

Cameraman: “So what are you planning to do today?”

Algus: “I’m just going to sit here until I expire.”

Argath: “And all my possessions are going to be buried with me – like an Egyptian Pharaoh.”

Algus: “You stole that idea from me!”

Cameraman: “Why don’t you find a place to volunteer? I’m sure you can find a great charity to donate your money to tomorrow.”

(algus and argath look at each other in confusion, then back at the cameraman.)

Algus: “Vol…un…teer?”

Argath: “We are not familiar with this word.”

Cameraman: “For the love of… Just get in the van.”

(so they get in and are riding along.)

Argath: “Where exactly are you taking us?”

Cameraman: “You’ll see.”

Algus: “I won’t be shocked if we end up chained together in a forest at this point.”

Argath: “I’m beginning to suspect we’re actually on that ‘Survivor’ program.”

Cameraman: “You’re not on Survivor. That’s not even the same network.”

Algus: “This experience is certainly as horrifying.”

Cameraman: “Okay, we’re here. Everybody out.”

(so they get out of the van.)

Argath: “So what exactly is this ‘volunteering’?”

Cameraman: “You seriously don’t know what it means? It means you do work to help a charity – for free.”

Both: *gasp*

Algus: “You expect us to be slaves?”

Cameraman: “It’s not like being a slave – it’s not against your will.”

Argath: “I question your definition of slavery. Mine is free to leave at any time.” *mutters* “If he dares…”

Algus: “And who says slaves don’t get paid? Mine got all the candy he could fit in that tiny pocket on the front of his jeans – which was more than generous!”

Cameraman: “………………..”

(then a lady comes over, and she has on a big smile and seems like the nicest woman in the world.)

Woman: “Oh! Are you here to volunteer? We really need a lot of help.”

Brothers: “………………..”

Woman: “Maybe you could give our van a good washing? And you, we could certainly use your help in cleaning the toilets!”

(the brothers just stare at her for a long moment. then argath just starts laughing hysterically, and algus cracks a smile. the woman looks confused.)

Argath: “I knew it! We’re on that ‘candid camera’ program!”

Cameraman: “They don’t even make that anymore.”

Argath: *still laughing* “Clean a toilet! Hysterical!”

Woman: “…I wasn’t joking…”

Algus: “Wash a car! Can you imagine *me* washing a car? They have machines that do that!”

(the bros keep laughing. the cameraman and the woman exchange a look.)

Cameraman: “This isn’t a joke. This is what volunteering is all about.”

(they abruptly stop laughing, and turn to look at the cameraman.)

Algus: “So…that was a serious assignment?”

Cameraman: “Yes.”

Argath: “And there is not even any money offered for doing this?”

Cameraman: “No! You’re vol-un-teer-ing!”

(the brothers look at each other, before looking once again the cameraman.)

Algus: “Over these past several days I have been forced to do many unpleasant things. I’ve had to use a common toilet. I stood in line with filthy commoners. I was forced to drink water from a faucet. I was put to work on a dangerous machine. I slept in a bed not fit for cattle. I had to eat soup from a can. I even had to share a bathroom with my own brother. But if you think I am about to wash a car, or my brother here is going to clean a toilet – those are things no self respecting gentleman would ever do.”

Cameraman: “You’re volunteering for a charity!”

Argath: “Get us away from this wretched place at once!”

Cameraman: “Look, you signed a contract. You have to do this. You don’t have a choice.”

Algus: “Then we’ll just have to break the contract.”

Cameraman: “You can’t! Not now! This is your last day! All you have to do tomorrow is give away one hundred thousand measly dollars and you can go home! That kind of money is like nothing to you! If you leave now, you’ll lose 64 MILLION!”

(algus and argath look at each other for a moment, then nod.)

Algus: “Then I suppose we have no choice.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(the next day. algus and argath are sitting on the porch swing, enjoying tea while argath’s slave tiernan stands nearby.)

Argath: “We certainly made the right choice.”

Algus: “No question about it. Best 64 million we ever spent, don’t you say?”

Argath: “Absolutely. Imagine – me! Cleaning a toilet! How disgusting! No human should be subjected to that!” *turns to tiernan* “What are you still doing standing there? You should be cleaning the toilet!”

Tiernan: “Yes, master.” *bows and runs out*

Argath: “Idiot. And you think you have them trained.”

Algus: “Slaves never seem to learn do they.”

(they sigh happily and swing the swing a bit.)

Argath: “What do you think they did with our money?”

Algus: “I hope it goes towards executive pay – to people who really deserve it. Do you know some of them don’t even get to fly on private jets?”

Argath: “What? Ridiculous! Why hasn’t anyone started a charity for that?”

Algus: “Because that would make sense, dear brother. And this is a disturbing, disturbing world we live in.” *pause* “When your slave is done with the toilet, have him wash my car.”

 

THE END

 

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