Circumstances differently…Mr. Ratherquite

Today, Circumstances will be somewhat different. The professor is going to present a party scene for the sole purpose of introducing the characters: Mr. Ratherquite and his Ladies. I encourage you to take a look at their profile first, which can be found here.

And, now, the party…

The ballroom in Fats Henry’s castle seemed perfectly suited for a party. The guests were standing about in pockets speaking in hushed tones, or loud ones, depending on the particular pocket.

Mr. Ratherquite and his Ladies were standing by the punch table.

“My dear ladies,” Mr. Ratherquite began, but the red-haired lady cut him off abruptly.

“Mr. Ratherquite,” she said, with a sudden wave of her hand, “we must know something right now. And you mustn’t lie or take long to tell us.”

The corpulent lady nodded vigorously, shaking her curls back and forth.

Mr. Ratherquite seemed amused. “And what is it that you dear ladies want to know?”

“Well, Mr. Ratherquite,” the red-haired lady said accusingly, “we weren’t invited to this party, yet here we are!”

Mr. Ratherquite laughed heartily and took a sip of punch. “Come now, ladies,” he said. “Just because you aren’t invited to party doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show up! Like here.” Mr. Ratherquite lowered his voice and looked about furtively. “Who do you think noticed our entrance?”

The ladies remained silent, and only shook their heads.

“That’s right,” Mr. Ratherquite continued. “No one. So, don’t worry about the details and such. Leave that to your Mr. Ratherquite.”

The ladies looked at one another, then giggled.

Mr. Ratherquite smiled broadly. “Now,” he said, his voice rising, “time to go wish Mr. Fats Henry a happy birthday!”

Mr. Ratherquite and the ladies soon spotted Henry sitting in an armchair. He was leaning forward and pointing his finger menacingly at Bud Parker, who was sitting across from him, a look of it’s-not-my-fault in his eyes.

“There he is, ladies. Let us proceed.”

The troop set off immediately.

Henry was still in the middle of yelling at Parker when Mr. Ratherquite and the ladies stepped in between them.

Henry leaned back, expecting for Mr. Ratherquite and the ladies to pass through.

But they didn’t.

Henry rose. “You—”

“My good sir,” Mr. Ratherquite began, extending his hand and grasping Henry’s tightly, “we have just come to wish you a happy birthday. Haven’t we, ladies?”

Both ladies giggled and nodded.

Parker smiled and slipped away.

“I was in the middle—” Henry began angrily, but Mr. Ratherquite cut him off.

“You know, dear Mr. Henry, I personally know the emotional stress that one endures each birthday. Why, sometimes it can be downright dastardly!

Fats Henry tried to say something, but Mr. Ratherquite was on a roll now and couldn’t be stopped.

“Yes, so I completely understand—even though I don’t suffer from it myself.” Mr. Ratherquite laughed and wrapped his hands behind him. His belly wriggled. “I, Mr. Henry, have something very important to tell you, and you will hardly believe it!”

Henry was scowling now. He said in a deep, warning voice, “What…?”

“Well, just this: I have never looked my age!” Mr. Ratherquite stopped, no doubt expecting Henry to offer an exclamation of surprise. But he didn’t, and so he continued.

“The ladies think that I remain quite youthful in my appearance. Quite youthful. Quite boy-like.”

Henry was scowling largely now, but Mr. Ratherquite didn’t seem to notice.

“Isn’t that right, ladies?” Mr. Ratherquite asked, turning to them.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes,” the corpulent lady said, her blonde curls flapping back and forth.

“Of course it is!” the red-haired lady exclaimed.

“Now,” Mr. Ratherquite continued, “how old do you suppose me, hmm?”

Henry answered very slowly and very deliberately. “Forty-seven.”

Mr. Ratherquite suddenly stopped and the color drained from his face. His lower lip began to tremble somewhat. “Forty-seven…?” he echoed.

“Yeah,” Henry reaffirmed happily, sensing that Mr. Ratherquite was uncomfortable.

The ladies giggled.

“So how old are you?” Henry asked, gaining ground. “And, by the way, I don’t remember inviting you. How’d you get in, huh?”

But Mr. Ratherquite wasn’t listening. His eyes were glazed over and his lips were still trembling. He turned and abruptly strode off.

“He’s Forty-two,” the red-haired lady said, before following Mr. Ratherquite and retreating.

Mr. Ratherquite made it back to the punch table. He took out his handkerchief and began to dab his brow. Then he covered his face.

The ladies came up behind him.

“Can you believe that ignorant hog?!” he asked. “Did you hear how old he thought me? I’ve not been insulted as badly since my older sister sat upon my foot. Why, he’s a scoundrel! How could he suppose my age to be that dreadful number?”

The red-haired lady shrugged. “One day it will be. Perhaps he can’t see too well.”

“Yes, perhaps that’s it,” the corpulent lady seconded.

Mr. Ratherquite peeked out from behind his handkerchief. “Do you think that was it?”

Both ladies nodded vigorously.

Mr. Ratherquite took down his refuge and put it into his pocket. “Of course that’s what happened! Mr. Henry is just blind!” He laughed to himself, then he became serious.

“Ladies,” he said quietly, “there’s Dr. Zauberer. Let’s go see him!”

They set off, and they were coming up from behind Dr. Zauberer.

It was going to be a surprise attack.


So—and you must answer honestly—what was your impression of Mr. Ratherquite and his Ladies?


51 Responses to “Circumstances differently…Mr. Ratherquite”

  1. 1 technophile9 August 6, 2013 at 11:06

    I meant Pride and Prejudice, not pride ad prejudice. I don’t want to look uncultured and illiterate!

    • 2 Professor VJ Duke August 6, 2013 at 12:15

      Don’t worry you don’t. I think it looks better the other way. :)

  2. 3 technophile9 August 5, 2013 at 20:55

    I thought it was really funny! Everyone seems to be comparing it to Austen, so is their some sort of intricate, literary backstory?

    • 4 Professor VJ Duke August 5, 2013 at 22:43

      Thank you so much! No, really there’s not. You see, the professor is a huge Mark Twain fan, and not at all a fan of Austen. Recently, his dear beloved (sometimes backstabbing) Punchy Family has convinced him to read Pride And Prejudice. It’s really a mystery how they convinced him.

      Are you an Austen fan?

      • 5 technophile9 August 6, 2013 at 11:03

        No, not particularly. I started to read pride ad prejudice, but I never got round to finishing it. Dammit, now I look uncultured!

      • 6 Professor VJ Duke August 6, 2013 at 12:15

        Don’t worry about it! Twain would be proud…

  3. 7 MikeW August 3, 2013 at 14:13

    Hi Prof, here’s a different take. Ratherquite is more of a scaled-down proactive, party-crasher version of Mr. Rourke of Fantasy Island, mixed-up with some Richard Simmons characteristics (not exactly), and has a sort of symbiotic relationship with his ladies, all of which are sort of a collective Tattoo, his sidekick. They are also Fantasy Island, surrounding him with what he longs to hear and see. The Jane Austen analogy goes to only to form.

    The Pride and Prejudice analogy misses at Mr. Henry, and the Collins comparison has merit, but veers away by the end. Mr. Henry is not all about manners, velvet gloves concealing avarice, snobbery, or whatever, he seems more openly crude, rude, and abusive like Jabba the Hut. Ratherquite interrupts Henry while he’s yelling at Parker: and Parker gets a reprieve from accusation. In this, Ratherquite, seemingly empty of substance, uses lightweight vanity to disarm, distract, and disrupt the trial of Parker. And, humorously, I see Ratherquite feigning hurt at the mistake of his age as an out. He is too easily turned again by his fantasy-entourage, ready to socially engineer yet another party-moment. Collins’ vanity in P&P is really close to the inner-Watusi of Collins, not just a tool.

    What I am not clear on is the merits of this interesting character’s social heroism. Is it really socially charitable? Or, had Parker actually been a duplicitous person like Wickham of P&P? We don’t know. If he was, then Ratherquite’s intervention was folly at its best, and slimy at its worst.

    And this might lead to a discussion of intervention. When is it folly? When is it wise? When is it sinister?

    Sorry for this plague of words. It’s been a while since I took on the challenge of evaluating some engaging writing. I liked this short a lot, for how it made me think, and for the flow of the dialogue and scene navigation.

    • 8 Professor VJ Duke August 3, 2013 at 16:03

      Mike, this professor is thrilled that you enjoyed it! You understood perfectly. The ladies definitely surround Mr. Ratherquite with what he longs to hear and see.

      :lol: I do have to agree. Henry is more like Jabba than a gentlemen. You are absolutely right!

      I see what you’re saying here about Mr. R. Did he help Parker out on purpose? And is Parker a gentleman? (If you’re curious you can look at Parker’s profile. Just hover over the hut.) Though I would have to question Mr. R’s motives. To this professor, everything he does seems to be driven from pride…and folly, not necessarily from goodwill–though it’s a strong possibility.

      As always, I find your thoughts and ideas fascinating, and this professor appreciates them very much so!

      • 9 MikeW August 4, 2013 at 03:29

        Well that was a well woven piece, earning scrutiny.

      • 10 Professor VJ Duke August 5, 2013 at 11:20

        The professor is honored!

  4. 11 L. Marie August 2, 2013 at 15:37

    Mr. Ratherquite is rather quite clueless. I agree with those who mentioned Jane Austen and what she would make of his and his ladies’ behavior. You can’t help being intrigued by someone so boorish.

    • 12 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 16:31

      Boorish is the perfect word, I think. The professor is truly becoming depressed. He really can’t take much more of being compared to Austen! ;)

  5. 13 Simply Inquisitive August 2, 2013 at 01:22

    Mr. Ratherquite…. Hmm…. quite an interesting name I think. He reminds me of a cross between the butter guy (forget his name) in the Magical Legend of the Leprechaun movie and Mr. Collins from the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice. He’s a disturbing self righteous sort of fellow. The kind one would like to avoid at all cost, but never be able to. Who are the ladies and why are they so loyal to the tactless frump? Low self-esteem I suspect?? :-)

    • 14 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:45

      Hahaha! I see what you mean. This professor actually thinks it would be quite interesting holding a discussion with him and his ladies. But I do believe they’re great friends.

  6. 15 Angeline M August 1, 2013 at 23:15

    Cheeky and an idiot, can one be both? That’s what I think of Mr. Ratherquite. And how is it that these two ladies are affiliated with this, um…this man? My thoughts lead me someplace I’d rather not go to, but perhaps you will enlighten us in time.

    • 16 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:42

      That’s a good question. I would guess that they’re just acquaintances, but the only people who would really know the answer to that question would be Mr. Ratherquite and his Ladies. ;)

  7. 17 ladycheetah7 August 1, 2013 at 21:43

    Obnoxious pricks who deserves to be left to themselves on a deserted island.

    • 18 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:40

      :lol: How did I know that you’d feel that way?

      • 19 ladycheetah7 August 2, 2013 at 01:42

        Some things are just predictable. I would like to read more though. It helps when I have to face it in real time. :-)

      • 20 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:46

        That’s true. You mean you’d like another story about them?

      • 21 ladycheetah7 August 2, 2013 at 02:02


      • 22 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 02:11

        Okay then! Another Punchy short story! I’ll put it into the schedule.

  8. 23 navery101 August 1, 2013 at 21:26

    Simply splendid so far, Professor!

    • 24 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:40

      Thank you very much! :)

  9. 25 deanthefish August 1, 2013 at 19:07

    This is great… I think that this character might be compared to any from classic lit. Dare I suggest a little Podsnappery?

    • 26 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 19:36

      Mr. Fish! I am honored! :D

  10. 27 krugthethinker August 1, 2013 at 16:35

    I like them! Every story needs an impudent party-crasher, doesn’t it? :)

    • 28 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 16:40

      The professor is happy! I think you’re absolutely right!!! :D

  11. 29 Susan P August 1, 2013 at 14:08

    I will certainly require an enormous amount of time to discern my feelings about, erm, Mr. Ratherquite and company. I do, however, agree that birthdays can indeed be a source of distress.

    • 30 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 14:41

      Absolutely! Birthdays can be vexing; though, this professor doesn’t usually mind them. He’s timeless, you know.

      I like it! Mr. Ratherquite and company! That’s splendid. As soon as you have your feelings where Mr. Ratherquite and the company are concerned, let this professor know!

  12. 31 FictionFan August 1, 2013 at 13:25

    And this…this…this vain, middle-aged, gate-crashing, belly-wiggling, egotistical, did I mention vain, fool… this is the man you once assured me was the Darcy of the Punchy Lands??? That is so not :cool: !!!

    I’m off for some chocolate now to revive my flagging nervous system…

    • 32 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 14:40

      I had hoped that you had forgotten. But, yes, isn’t he a bit like Darby? I take it that you didn’t like him… But he is :cool: isn’t he?

      I don’t think that chocolate will help your nervous system…how do you suppose it will?

      • 33 FictionFan August 1, 2013 at 15:16

        No, he is nothing like Darby! Where are the smouldering eyes? The wet shirt? The impeccable manners?

        No he is not :cool: – the Professor is :cool: and this…this…creature is nothing like him!

        Chocolate helps with any little problem – it’s like a magic potion, only solid!

      • 34 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 15:51

        Creature? :lol: Well, the ladies are like Liz, then.

      • 35 FictionFan August 1, 2013 at 16:00

        How dare you? You know I think I am the reincarnation of Lizzie! So I’m a nameless, simpering groupie to that…that…yes, creature, am I??

        (More chocolate, quick…)

      • 36 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 16:34

        Oh, that’s true. I completely forgot. Of course, you’re not! You’re too :cool: I hope you’re not too angry with the professor…

      • 37 FictionFan August 1, 2013 at 17:32

        Never! How could I be angry with one so :cool: ?

      • 38 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 17:39


  13. 39 MissTiffany August 1, 2013 at 13:10

    I rather like Mr. Ratherquite and his ladies. And I say, this is precisely the kind of thing Miss Austen would delight in – the utter ridiculousness of Mr. Ratherquite’s character and the pomp and circumstance exercised by the people present – she would have great fun making fun of them.

    I liked it. Brought a smile to my face!

    • 40 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 14:37

      Thank you!!! Are you comparing this professor to Austen? :shock: Though I quite agree with you. It does seem like a thing Austen would do. (Don’t tell anyone!)

      • 41 MissTiffany August 1, 2013 at 15:48

        You’re welcome. Hmm, I might have. I can’t help it, it just seemed Austenesque to me. She would have loved Mr. Ratherquite (he reminds me of Mr. Collins in P&P…thinking every highly of himself.) But don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

      • 42 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 15:52

        The professor takes it as a huge compliment! :D

        Thank goodness!

  14. 43 The Dancing Rider August 1, 2013 at 13:04

    I think he needs a good slapping for appearing a pompous, self-absorbed/narcissistic prat! And the ladies should be throttled a good one for following him about and supporting whatever it is he does. Mostly, anyway.

    • 44 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 14:34

      Yes, I quite agree. And I think the ladies are to blame, partly, for his abhorrent behavior. Now, if you met him in person, what would you do?

      • 45 The Dancing Rider August 1, 2013 at 20:53

        I might say “Hmmm. Were you aware, dear Mr. Ratherquite, that the universe, for whatever reason, does not revolve around you?”

      • 46 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 01:40

        And it would be a great comeback. He’d probably take major offense, though.

      • 47 The Dancing Rider August 2, 2013 at 12:46

        Awwww. All in good jest! No hurt feeling intended! :)

      • 48 Professor VJ Duke August 2, 2013 at 13:27

        And you know, that would work splendidly. Mr. Ratherquite would forgive you on the spot!

      • 49 The Dancing Rider August 2, 2013 at 14:00

        Of course he would, because underneath it all, he is a gentleman!

  15. 50 Jackie August 1, 2013 at 12:53

    My impression of Mr. Ratherquiet is he is an overbearing narcissistic buffoon!

    • 51 Professor VJ Duke August 1, 2013 at 14:33

      Hahaha. I definitely agree with that one, Jackie! He’s the kind of guy that should be slapped in the face with a pair of gloves or something!

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