Long ago, good King Fullbright of England departed for the Holy Land on a Great Crusade. During his absence, Prince Templeton, his greedy and treacherous brother, usurped the crown. Hannibal Hood was the people’s only hope. He robbed from the rich to feed the poor. He was beloved by all the people of England.
Hannibal Hood and Little BA
Walking through the forest
Laughing back and forth
At what the other one has to say
Reminiscing this and that
And having such a good time
Golly, what a day
Never ever thinking there was danger in the water
They were drinking; they just guzzled it down
Never dreaming that a scheming Sheriff and his posse
Was a-watching them and gathering around
Hannibal Hood and Little BA
Running through the forest
Jumping fences, dodging trees
And trying to get away
But escape and finally making it
Golly, what a day.
“Hey, Hannibal,” said Little BA, sneering grouchily as he peered through the trees, “we gotta be more careful. You always on the jazz, and one of these days, we’re gonna get caught. I don’t wanna have a rope around my neck just because you’re feeling like messing with the sheriff.”
“Oh, relax, Little BA,” grinned Hannibal, leaning against the tree behind him and popping his pipe between his teeth. “Besides, it would take a lot more than the sheriff and his men to hoist you off the ground!”
“It don’t feel right, Hannibal,” sighed Little BA, glancing around nervously. “Stealing all this gold from the rich. Makes me feel like a bad guy.”
“We aren’t stealing it,” assured Hannibal, a curl of smoke escaping his lips. He grinned, “We’re borrowing it!”
The sound of trumpets made Little BA jump, and he and Hannibal scurried to hide behind some foliage, waiting to see who was making their way through Losangeles Forest with such fanfare.
“Prince Templeton!” snarled Little BA, bashing his fist against the balm of his hand.
“It sure is,” chuckled Hannibal. “And look what’s sliding through his fingers as we speak.”
“Gold!” gasped Little BA, watching as the prince jostling back and forth in his coach, counting his seemingly endless pile of gold.
“Hey, Little BA,” said Hannibal, covering his pipe to put it out before sliding it into the pouch hanging from his belt, “what say we pay Prince Templeton a little visit and relieve him of that heavy gold? It must make the coach ride awfully low to have all that extra weight on it.”
Little BA smiled. No matter how he worried he was about being the bad guy, gold never ceased to speak to him. “Sounds good to me, Hannibal,” he nodded.
IN THE COACH
“Ah, Sir Frankie. Taxes! Taxes! Oh, how I love taxes! Tell me, Sir Frankie, where is our next stop to gather gold from the owing people. You know what I always say: rob the poor to feed the rich!” Prince Templeton laughed, tossing several gold coins into the bag before him. He tilted the large crown that rested on his brow further back as it continuously slipped down over his eyes. King Fullbright, Templeton’s brother, was the crown's real owner, and he had a much larger head than Templeton.
“Next stop, Vegas-ham, baby!” grinned Sir Frankie, trying not to laugh at how ridiculous Prince Templeton looked in that enormous crown and obnoxious purple robe he was wearing.
“Vegas-ham!” cried Templeton, closing his eyes as a look of pure satisfaction rolled over him. “Oh, Sir Frankie! Think of the taxes we can gather!”
OUTSIDE THE COACH
“Hannibal, this is stupid,” hissed Little BA, tugging at the dress Hannibal had made him put on. “I look ridiculous.”
“Wear this veil over your face so they can’t see your beard,” ordered Hannibal, handing Little BA a lovely, pink veil. Hannibal himself, looking smashing in his feminine garb, leaped out from the underbrush and waved his arms. “Fortune tellers! Fortune tellers! Get the dope with your horoscope! Yoo-hoo! Free fortunes today, and today only!” Hannibal used his best girl voice, smothering it with a sort of raspy sound that gave off the vibes of what a headache would sound like if it could talk.
Prince Templeton threw open the curtains of his coach and leaned out, “Fortune tellers! Oh, gosh! Stop the coach. Stop the coach, I said! Come here, ladies! Come and tell my fortune, you lovely women of the forest. Oh, gee, how exciting!”
Hannibal hurried over, batting his eyes as delicately as he could, “Oh, sire, it is an honor!”
“You have my permission to kiss my hands,” said Prince Templeton, throwing them out before him and revealing four sparkling rings adorning his fingers.
Hannibal raised an eyebrow and smiled, “Oh, thank you, sire.” He expertly slid off one ring while kissing the prince’s hand. He stepped aside to allow Little BA room, and the lovely man bent over, pulling his veil aside, and used his red rouged lips to pop the remaining gems from the rings into his mouth.
The dense Prince Templeton didn’t notice a thing.
“Oh, please, please, tell my fortune now!” urged Prince Templeton, taking Hannibal’s hand and pulling him up into the coach.
“Oh, surely, sire,” smiled Hannibal, seating himself on a plump pillow. “But you see, sire, this most certainly will not do to have another man here with us. It will break the spell! The air must be thick with a sort of desirous attraction, if you know what I mean. Another man would certainly kill the mood.”
Prince Templeton glared at Sir Frankie. “Well, you heard the beautiful lady,” he snapped. “Get out of the coach! Leave us!”
Sir Frankie, who had seen the rings disappear from Prince Templeton’s fingers but honestly just didn’t care about life in general at this point, shrugged and exited the coach. “Okay, your Highness. No skin off my teeth,” he sighed.
“Now, close your eyes, sire,” urged Hannibal, sliding the curtains closed. “No peeking! From the mists of time, come forth, spirits. Yoo-hoo!”
Little BA, who had just so happened to catch a bunch of fireflies and put them in a transparent ball the night before, slid the glowing orb through the curtain, and Hannibal set it on the table, continuing the magical farce.
“Oh, sire, look!” he cried. “The spirits have arrived!”
“Oh, say!” said Prince Templeton, reaching out to touch the ball since he often couldn’t keep his hands to himself.
“Hey!” snapped Hannibal, slapping Prince Templeton’s hand. “Keep the hands back there, hotshot.”
“How dare you slap my royal hand!” cried Prince Templeton, a few tears pricking his eyes because that had actually stung quite a bit, but he didn’t want to admit a lady had hurt him.
“Well, don’t reach it out within slapping distance,” shot back Hannibal. “Now, let’s look in the crystal ball. Oh, I see great things in your future, Prince Templeton! Oh, look, sire, look!” Hannibal began rambling on about how illustrious and majestic Prince Templeton was, and as he talked, he picked up the bag of gold and slid it out through the curtains into the waiting arms of Little BA.
Sir Frankie watched the whole thing, leaning against the side of the coach. “This prince is a joke,” he said, crossing his arms. He watched as Little BA poured the bag of gold down the front of his dress. Little BA hurried over beneath the massive chest of gold some enormous guards held and slid beneath it. He pulled a dagger from his belt and dug a hole in the bottom of the chest, allowing the gold to spill out and down the front of his dress.
It was only moments later that Hannibal climbed down from the coach, sweet-talking and buttering up the prince the whole time, and he and Little BA waved goodbye as they limped away, their dresses bulging out in various places from the hundreds of gold coins they had gathered in their heist. The two waved shouted farewells and good tidings, batting their eyelashes and puckering their lips as flirtatiously as they could. It wasn’t until they had made it across the clearing the coach rested in that Prince Templeton noticed his rings. His eyes widened, and when he turned back into the coach to look for the missing gems, he found his bag of gold gone.
“Robbed!” he shrieked. “Sir Frankie, I’ve been robbed!”
“Yeah, no kidding,” said Sir Frankie, shaking his head. “Those two ladies ripped you off like you was a baby sucking a peppermint stick.”
“I can’t believe it! My gold! My rings! After them!” shrieked Prince Templeton, his body radiating complete and utter distress. “After them!”
The guards who had been standing around, not noticing all the gold pouring into Little BA’s dress for some reason, now began chasing the two bandits, some hurling javelins and some letting arrows whiz through the trees.
“Go on!” screamed Prince Templeton, banging on the side of the coach. “Drive on! Chase them down!”
Sir Frankie barely had time to climb aboard before the coach took off, rumbling at full speed over the uneven, muddy forest floor.
But alas, the royal gold hubcaps were gone.
Little BA had smuggled them off during the fortune-telling ordeal.
The wheels rattled and shook, and it only took a few protruding tree roots to bounce them clean off the axles, sending the coach crashing to the ground and dragging through the mud. The force of the drop sent Prince Templeton and Sir Frankie clear out the back window and face-first into the dirt as the panting, sweating, thundering horses pounded on, yanking the battered coach behind them and leaving Prince Templeton and Sir Frankie alone.
“Oh, why me, why me!” moaned Prince Templeton, slapping a fist against the puddle in which he lay. “All I ask for in life is free money and beautiful, immaculate clothing, and now I have neither!”
Sir Frankie, who was perfectly aware of the fact Prince Templeton had rooms literally full of gold and rooms literally full of beautiful, immaculate clothing back at the castle, shook his head and sighed, “Sometimes it be like that, princey. What can I say? Tough luck today.”
Prince Templeton, who was randomly holding his mother’s gold mirror, glared at Sir Frankie and pounced, smashing the mirror down over the nobleman’s head to work off some of the anger bottled up inside of him and also because he had very little control over his emotions and often reacted in overly dramatic and unnecessary ways.
“Hey!” yelped Sir Frankie. “What gives, man? Now you’ve not only got seven years bad luck, but you’ve also gone and broken your ma’s mirror.”
Prince Templeton, who had reacted purely out of rage, sank back, and realization flooded his eyes. “Oh! Oh!” he cried. “Oh, my mother’s mirror! Oh, no! Oh, Mama, no! I’ve got no gold, no clean clothes, and now my mother’s mirror is gone! This is the worst day of my entire life!”
Little did he know, it wasn’t going to get any better.