From a Cave in the Woods...

Pibgorn - The Borgia Cantus

8-11-2003 through 1-17-2004

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Pibgorn's third adventure, with a strong "Maltese Falcon" feel about it.1 The world saved by an accordion!


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The episode begins with a rather disgruntled-looking Geoff reporting to his new job as a piano player in a cabaret, but not without some ominous foreshadowing as we see a dark figure with a scoped rifle taking a dry shot at the back of Geoff's head. Pib and Dru appear to be the main act, and during their performance we see some flashbacks of Drusilla giving Geoff's minister some decidedly unparochial dreams, as well as said rumpled minister finding Geoff in a less than decorous embrace with a fairy. Not only was he fired from his job as a church organist, but he complains to Pib and Dru that his erstwhile parishioners razed his house and sowed the ground with salt - although I have it on good authority that Episcopalians are unlikely to behave in such an unseemly manner. The fact that his supernatural lovers secured him this replacement job seems to be of little comfort.

Suddenly a shot rings out from the darkness, and Drusilla collapses. Pibgorn grabs Dru and Geoff and carries them to a safe location, where Drusilla ponders over what could possibly have injured her against her will. Pausing the narrative to make rude jokes about the accordion as an infernal instrument, McEldowney segues into a monologue by the mysterious shooter, who we learn is named "Nat Bustard" and who talks like an old "Dragnet" episode. Whoever he is, he bursts in on Geoff, Pibgorn and Drusilla and empties his revolver into Dru, who bursts into flames. Pibgorn snatches Geoff from the inferno, and we see Drusilla transported into a book which falls to the floor.

After setting Geoff down, morphing her wings into a scanty dress and taking the opportunity for a quick snog, Pibgorn flies into the fire and discovers the book, which we see is entitled "The Borgia Cantus". Unfortunately, there is a fireman with a large axe in the fire with her, and it appears that her head is the intended object of the weapon. Pibgorn flees, pursued by the apparently incombustible fireman, and jumps off the roof of the building. The fireman sheds his uniform to reveal a demon, who pursues Pibgorn and catches her, causing her to drop the book into the lake below. While trying to throttle Pibgorn, the demon complains about how bad things are in Hell if fairies are being used to banish demons, but Pibgorn interrupts his complaints by reducing him in size with a "baiser de la fée" and punting him into the darkness. She then plunges into the lake looking for the book, but misses it in some weeds and speeds off with Geoff to a place where they can rest and be safe.

Meanwhile, we see Drusilla, clad in a red dress, drag herself out of the lake carrying the book and collapse on the shoreline. Drusilla recovers, but we see that her hair is shorter and she's now "Miss Cloverly", playing a role in Nat Bustard's universe. The passionate embrace is a giveaway that they knew each other before. Meanwhile, Pibgorn reduces Geoff to the size of a mouse and sticks him in the hole of a tree where he can rest, while she flies off to visit Maurice, coming back just in time to rescue Geoff from a hungry cat and a mother bird who is annoyed to find Geoff in the nest with her babies. While they fly off, Pibgorn asks Geoff about the book she found in his burning apartment, and he tells her it was just an old 1930's detective pulp.

A long description of the plot follows, which would be useful in understanding the remainder of the story arc: "A beautiful woman named Dinah Cloverly hires a couple of detectives to find a document her ex stole after their divorce... but one of the detectives gets murdered. The document goes missing, and a bunch of crooks turns up looking for it. The detective's name is Nat Bustard, and the crooks are Nigel Impersand and Armande Cloche. There's also a hired gun hand named Grinder Cohan and Impersand's cute but two-timing doxy Nonny Vogelsang. They're all scuffling around drugging and slugging and murdering each other over something called the Borgia Cantus, which is drifting from hand to hand leaving a trail of death".

Geoff wonders why Pibgorn wants to know about the book, and she tells him that a demon tried to kill her to get it. We switch to Drusilla, operating as Dinah Cloverly, working in her usual way to gain the confidence of Nat Bustard who we see looks unsurprisingly like Humphrey Bogart. Meanwhile, we see all the rest of the characters from the Borgia Cantus come strolling out of the lake.

Pibgorn takes Geoff to the cabaret and using her feminine charms persuades the owner to allow them to stay there. Drusilla/Dinah shows up, and various aspects of the Borgia Cantus plot play themselves out. Drusilla, however, breaks the plot by shooting Nat Bustard who bursts into flames. Maurice, who has been hitchhiking on Drusilla's hat, warns Geoff that things are going wrong, and Pibgorn, who has just finished her song, collapses into Geoff's arms with exhaustion at maintaining her size and appearance. Impersand and Cloche show up, mistaking Geoff and Pibgorn for Grinder Cohan and Nonny Vogelsang, tie them up and prepare to toss them into a lake. Geoff asks for a parting kiss from Dinah, which jolts Drusilla's personality awake for a moment.

Geoff and the unconscious Pibgorn, roped together, are thrown into the lake, but before Geoff can drown Pibgorn transmutes into a tree and Geoff is lifted to the surface. Walking out of the lake, Geoff is followed by hundreds of people who begin to assemble in Times Square. Meanwhile, along with Impersand and Cloche, Geoff, Pibgorn and Drusilla proceed to drug and slug and murder each other [Geoff is shot, but by a gun which is only lethal to demons] until Dru is KO'd by a good right from Pibgorn who extracts a rolled parchment from Dru's rather abundant pectoral region. They examine the document, which turns out to be the Dies Irae, a plainsong from the 13th century.


Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla,

The day of wrath, that day
which will reduce the world to ashes,


The Dies Irae was also incorporated by Mozart into the third movement of his  Requiem in C minor, K626.



Pibgorn sings the music, which has the effect of transforming all the people who came out of the Borgia Cantus into Demons. The particular demon who earlier tried to kill Pibgorn for the book snatches her again, but she is rescued by Drusilla, who also saves Geoff from being kissed by a bat-winged endomorph. It turns out that the book was being used as a repository for all the demons that Drusilla had been rounding up, and that Pibgorn has now freed them all, threatening the world with the Armageddon that Dru and Pib were working to avert. The only solution is to employ the ultimate weapon against demons... accordion music.

Drusilla procures an accordion for Geoff, boosts his amplification with a spell (after ripping off his shirt for dramatic effect), and Geoff plays a rousing polka which (after forcing them to dance for a while) vaporizes all the demons. Pibgorn and Drusilla use their joint power to round up the demonic essence and re-capture it in the Borgia Cantus, which Drusilla shoots into outer space. Unfortunately, our protagonistic demon, who introduces himself as the Watcher and had had the foresight to cover his ears, appears and threatens to kill Drusilla unless Pibgorn sings the Cantus again.

It looks like curtains for Dru until Nat Bustard appears and shoots the demon, allowing Drusilla to vaporize him. Returning to her role as Dinah Cloverly, Drusilla and Bustard finish out the plot. Bustard explains that after he had been incinerated by Dinah's shot, Maurice showed up and told his smoking residue that Drusilla was in trouble with the Watcher. His love for Dinah gave him the strength to reconstitute himself and come rescue her. On the way, however, he stopped in at a theater where he watches several Bogart movies, and realizes that he would rather be like "Bogey" than be evil, thus reclaiming his soul. After telling "Dinah" goodbye, Bustard walks off into the mist, with Maurice offering to provide him refuge in a copse of magic birch trees in his forest. The episode ends with Pib and Dru recreating Geoff's cottage as the penthouse of a skyscraper.



1. Thanks to Margaret Nupponen for bringing this to my attention.




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