Scene: A castle hall, with knight (a dead ringer for John Cleese) therein. Enter a scribe (Terry Jones or his twin), making notes in an official ledger.
Scribe: (looking up, officiously) “You are Sir Shred of DiCenci?”
Knight: “Indeed. And who might you be?”
Scribe: “They call me Much, Sir.”
Knight: “What, Much, the Miller’s son?”
Scribe: “No, Much Ado About Nothing, the village scribe. The burghers have sent me to
inspect the premises and ensure everything is up to code. I take it this is your
Knight: (self-importantly) “ I have the honor to hold this keep in fief.
Scribe: “Which makes you the responsible party, Sir. Now, let’s start with your
Knight: “I beg your pardon?”
Scribe: “Your moat has no riparian buffer. According to Royal decree a permit is required
for any tree clearing within bordering vegetated wetland.”
Knight: (indignantly) “This is a fortress, not a bloody arboretum! Ever read MacBeth? ‘I
looked toward Birnam, and anon methought the wood began to move.’ You can’t
have trees near the castle walls, they’ll give cover to the enemy!”
Scribe: “And to a host of native species, let’s not forget. Our environmental laws are
quite specific on this point. Those stumps you’ve left are no substitute for the
piles of coarse woody debris that should be providing nutrients on the forest floor
and habitat for dryads and other sylvan species that require large unfragmented
forest reserves to maintain viable populations.
Knight: “This is outrageous!”
Scribe: “Right you are, sir, and it’s made worse by the fact that you have fairy shrimp in
your moat. "
Knight: “Fairy shrimp?”
Scribe: “Any body of water with reproducing fairy shrimp is a vernal pool and subject to
Knight: “Look, are you clear on the concept of a moat? They’re meant to intimidate!
Nobody’s going to postpone his afternoon dip on account of some amorous prawns!Can you imagine a barbarian horde reacting to a moat full of fairy shrimp? ‘Oo, those langoustines look menacing, Attila, we’d best reconsider our amphibious assault!’ This ain’t a bathing pool, man, it’s a moat, stocked with sea serpents and crocodiles and a kraken under the drawbridge!"
Scribe: “Sea serpents and crocodiles are invasive species, sir, and introducing them to
your vernal pool provides a vector for their spread. Furthermore Kraken are
anadromous and need a clear passage to the sea for part of their life cycle. You’ll
have to provide a fish ladder to enable upstream passage. Now then, is that a red
dragon hide hanging on your wall?”
Knight: (Proudly) “Why, it is indeed. I’ll have you know I slew that great drake in single
Scribe: “Which makes it an illegal taking. Red dragons are a globally rare endangered
species. What’s more, only aboriginals are permitted to possess their body parts
for cultural or religious purposes. Are there Picts in your pedigree, my
Knight: Picts? Blast your impertinence! My blood may be blue, but I’m not dyed in the
woad, thou Elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog!”
Scribe: “Tsk, Tsk. There’s no call for abusive language, Sir. All complaints must be
made sensitively and with respect to the opinions of others. Also, I’ll also have
to cite you for quoting Shakespeare without attribution.”
Knight: “(drawing his sword) Knave, I’ll run you through! Have at thee!”
Scribe: (ignoring his impending demise while making notes) No pummel locks on that
broadsword…Possession of an assault weapon…Means of egress unmarked by
lighted exit signs…and that mountain spleenwort growing from the wall makes this
castle priority rare species habitat ”
(The vorpel blade goes snicker snack. Fade to black)