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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Words from The Great Hercule: Heroines

Bonjour, mes amis.

I have been watching the bloggings of Ms. Daniels now for a month or so. She had taken the vacation, no? You silly humans and your holidays! Roaches have no such ideas. We celebrate every day as if it were a holiday, as if it were any day. It is the only day. Why wait for some other day when you have this day? This we do not understand. Such is our way I suppose… but I digress.

The topic has been one of the female hero. Heroines. Oui, I have known a great many in my day. I have been a familiar with some of them, and adversary of others, but that was when the Great Hercule swore allegiance to the darker side of things. For several generations I was a bastion of the evil ones, starting out as a messenger, graduating to sorcerer — that was when we feared not calling magic “magic” unlike these days — then ending up a mere familiar. But again, I digress.

Heroines. The strong women. The ones who refused to accept the societal expectations forced on them by the simple accident of lacking the Y chromosome… I see the Great Hercule impresses with his words, hm?

I would like share with you the some of the women I have known in my long life, those who have made the impact on both me and the world. Yes, I said the world.

My first encounter with the femme fatale was Jeanne. Jeanne d’Arc.

Or Joan to you. So young, so bold, yet so insufferably confident. My first attempt to familiar with a woman, and a failed one in reflection, judging by how it unraveled so exquisitely, so very quickly. Back then, once a girl has the ability to bear a child she was considered a woman, quite different from today. But Jeanne’s innocence in all things politics was her undoing. Undone by the English. I made careful notes about their treachery.

I wandered about France for decades, until I found my next female student, one worthy of my greatness. I dabbled with a few of the maidens most famous at the time, Madame Pompadour being just one of many, but it was for me the nubile Marie. Antionette, that is.

So carefree, so absent of the mind. A very different task from Jeanne. Not from France — she was born in Austria — it took a good deal of time to get her confidence. But I can be a charming bug. Marie, however, lacked the drive to self improvement — that which Jeanne had in abundance — which again was the heal of Achilles for her. I’m here to tell you that she did utter the words, “Let them eat cake,” but it was a joke, mes amis. Sadly, the French lacked much in the way of humor then. Again, I could not undo what had been done.

So I left France, stowing myself on a frigate bound for the treacherous Angelterre. And soon, while still a child, I won the companionship of the woman bound to be the greatest Queen England had since Elizabeth herself (regrettably, I never met her, but my cousin told me quite the stories of her court; not quite as chaste as history claims, and that is all the gossip I will share). Queen Victoria.

She used to carry me around on her shoulder, just hidden beneath the shawl of lace she wore. That was the reason for the wearing. No one would have ordained a Queen who walked about with a roach on her shoulder. When she said, “We are not amused” it was both her and me she was referring. Just to share, I was never amused, but she often was. With her the respect went both ways; she impressed me almost much as I impressed her. We had, what do you say?, a falling out over the small matter of Canada, an insignificant country I thought we should sell back to the French. She disagreed. Then came after me with her shoe. How quickly women change their minds, no?

Under threat of death by squishing I left London and traveled along the coast of England until, one day, I passed a school of children and overheard a young girl arguing with her schoolmaster about her “over active imagination.” The child’s guile intrigued me, so I befriended her. Her name was Agatha Miller, but instead of moving her into all things politic I let her move in the direction of her choosing. And she chose literature. You know her by her nom de plume, Agatha Christie.

With her, however, things were never easy. We argued almost constantly. In fact, we took a secret trip in order to reconcile our differences, and we “disappeared” for over a week. Oh, such was the stir over a the small vacation! Everyone else in the world can simply visit a fancy spa but with Agatha the media went crazy. Folie, I say. Sadly we, just as her marriage, could not recover.

I went away, this time to America. I was bound for New York, but an incompetent buffoon of a Port Master — after vulgar words and his swatting of newspaper — directed me to the wrong boat. I ended up in New Orleans. And here, I have stayed.

I allied myself with a noble family called the Witherspoons. I have taken the full responsibility of grooming the offsprings for their roles in world affairs, of a very different nature. My latest challenge is named (ridiculously) Winki, widow of my dear late friend, Will. I confess, I have no great hope here. But the Great Hercule has been fooled before. So. I will reserve my judgment for later. And offer her what guidance and wisdom I can. Even if she does not wish it.