Tuesday, January 9, 2001

All About Evil: Hugo Philpotts

by Broteus Mitchell (Jan. 9, 2001)
(Originally published at compleatbellairs.com)

Dr. Mitchell: 
Welcome everyone to yet another installment of All About Evil. As you may recall, our last installment ended with a rather frustrated mad cobbler declaring that he was going to break the mirror we were using to communicate with. Well, I'm sorry to report to you that he did just that. However, we have been lucky enough to obtain a back-up mirror, once again on loan from the ever-generous Prospero. This mirror, he tells us, is competent but somewhat sarcastic, and he wouldn't mind terribly if it breaks. Ah, hah, hah!

Magic Mirror:
I heard that!

Dr. Mitchell:
Prospero also lent us a several cakes of soap to rub on the mirror incase it gets out of hand. Did you hear that as well?

Magic Mirror:
Empty threats from an armchair scholar.

Dr. Mitchell:
Please don't test me. Just do your job and transmit. All right, let's move on, shall we? There were a few questions from our audience in our last installment that were, how do I say, somewhat off topic and only served to frustrate our featured guest. Need I remind you, our guests are generally frustrated as it is and don't need any assistance from our audience. Please keep this in mind. But to be on the safe side, for this installment we have personally screened each audience member and are quite confident in their loyalty and sincerity in learning more about the dark side. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our evil viewers and guest. Allow me to introduce to you this evening our special guest Mr. Hugo C. Philpotts. Mr. Philpotts is the delightfully despicable villain of the John Bellairs novel The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn. Hugo is the rather materialistic nephew of the late millionaire Alpheus T. Winterborn. He is a graduate of Harvard and worked summers at the Hoosac Public Library. After graduation, Hugo worked his way up to vice-president of the First National Bank of Hoosac. Unfortunately, in trying to recover the hidden family treasure he ends up losing his job and is basically run out of town. For several years now he has stewed in his own misfortunes and hatred for certain Hoosac residents and is now willing to talk with us. Mr. Philpotts, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Hugo Philpotts:
My pleasure.

Dr. Mitchell:
What do you say we just throw caution to the wind and go ahead and open the floor to questions? Something tells me we are in for some good ones!

Philpotts: Why not?

Question from Audience #1:
Hey, enough of this stupid chin music already! What time does the movie start?

Dr. Mitchell:
I'm sorry. The movie?

Question from Audience #1:
Yeah, my ticket stub right here says "Showtime 7:30" and it's past that now thanks to all your yakin'. What gives?

Dr. Mitchell:
Your ticket stub? What movie were you hoping to see?

Question from Audience #1:
It says right here All About Eve!

Philpotts:
Would you mind if I fielded this one, Broty?

Dr. Mitchell:
Be my guest.

Philpotts:
Excuse me - Neanderthal, was it? Been reading long? You happen to be sitting in the audience of the talk show All About Evil not the movie All About Eve and there won't be any film here this or any other evening, especially one so wretched as that. Please, promptly exit to the rear.

Audience:
Applause

The voice of Bette Davis coming through the mirror:
Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.

Dr. Mitchell:
Would you like to try Life Buoy or Palm Olive first in this all-you-can-eat soap buffet?

Magic Mirror:
Yeeuchh! All right, all right, I'll be quiet and transmit like a good little mirror.

Dr. Mitchell:
...such a pain in the glass...who's next!?!

Woody Mingo:
Hello, my name is Woody Mingo, and first of all I just wanted to say what an honor it is to be able to speak with you Mr. Philpotts. Your cold-hearted malevolence and greedy nature have been a source of inspiration for countless bullies and other aspiring scoundrels like myself. Your torment of Anthony Monday is legendary.

Philpotts:
Why, thank you young man. You're most kind.

Mingo:
My question is this sir. What advice would you have for a budding bully like me? I mean, I want more than anything to be a really good bad guy. I just don't know where to start.

Philpotts:
Well Mr. Mingo, let me begin by saying how proud I am of you. I've read what you done to that sniveling little crybaby Lewis Barnavelt, and I must say, your work show great promise. See, you already have a wonderful head start in life. I was no bully back when I was your age. No, I was more what you might call a bully magnet. I attracted bullies attention simply because they were intimidated by my intellect. I knew then and there while my head was being dunked in the toilet, or when I was yet again thrown in the nearby river, that all of this was for a higher purpose, and that I was indeed destined for greater things. And for you, the prospects are almost limitless. Let's see...with your aptitude for aggressive, mindless behavior towards those weaker than yourself, you might consider a job as a coach or possibly even as a history professor. And one of the best perks of all in choosing this career path is that you never have to stop picking on children. Just look at me. I'm a grown man and still do it. It's one of life's simple pleasures.

Audience:
Applause

Danny:
Hello, my name is Danny, and me and sister, we live next door to this really mean, smelly old mutt who barks all the time, and when he gets out he likes to chase and bite the neighborhood kids. Well, me and my sister, we like to throw rocks at the mangy mutt, only we don't call it mutt, we call it Philpotts. How do you like them apples?

Philpotts:
I'm flattered, really. What did you say your name was again, you vile little urchin?

Danny: Danny.

Philpotts: 
Well, Daniel, let me tell you something. I have a bothersome little mouse that has been staying with me rent-free for quite some time now, and to be perfectly honest, I'm growing rather tired of him. He seems to be getting into my antique collection and making holes wherever he sees fit, and I simply can't have that. Well, to make a long story short, up to this point, I haven't had the opportunity of naming the cute little rodent. But I think now I'll name him Danny before one of my mousetraps catches him and breaks his pathetic little neck. Take that to the bank!

Danny:
You meanie!!! Oooo, mister, if I had a rock right now!

Dr. Mitchell:
All right, all right, gentlemen please, I must... 

Philpotts:
How about some cheese there Daniel?

Dr. Mitchell:
Mr. Philpotts, please! Let's act like adults! Perhaps we should go to an intermission and give everyone a chance to cool down. Daniel! Have a seat please and put down that shoe. In all my days I never... I am so glad we decided to screen the audience first this week. A big help that was!

Magic Mirror:
O-over-head the moon is SCREEEEAMING, Whi-ite as turnips on the Rhine...
Five minute intermission that feels like thirty.
Dr. Mitchell:
Welcome back everyone. Sorry about all that. I think everyone has calmed down now and we should be able to proceed. Not one to break with tradition, why don't I get in my token question. Mr. Philpotts, please tell us whom of all the Bellairsian characters would you most like to go 5 rounds in the boxing ring with?

Philpotts:
What an excellent question! Would I be able to warm up on young Daniel here?

Dr. Mitchell:
Mr. Philpotts please!

Philpotts:
All right. Well, let's see... Not a day goes by that I don't think about what I would like to do to Anthony, Miss Eells, and that pompous brother of hers, Emerson, if I saw them again. Well, if I had a choice, I would set a date for the event, giving me ample time to "borrow" the gold statue from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. Need I remind everyone that this was the treasure my lovely uncle hid in that blasted weathervane?

Dr. Mitchell:
Oh yes, we remember.

Philpotts:
Well, I would then have it melted down so it would fit discreetly into my boxing glove and then I'd be ready for the fight. The first round of course I would reserve for Anthony. It shouldn't take more than a round to make him eat the canvas. Round two I would dance toe-to-toe with Miss Eells. And I wouldn't have any trouble tagging this woman. As you may recall I did it once before. Hah, hah, hah.

Dr. Mitchell:
Ahhh, yes! I do seem to recall an article in the Hoosac Daily Sentinel where someone broke into Miss Eells' home, clobbered her from behind and took the mirror that rightfully belonged to you. That was you? How on earth could you bring yourself to hit a defenseless old lady?

Philpotts:
From behind, naturally. Now, with Miss Eells counting stars, I would have 3 rounds saved for that know-it-all attorney. With great relish I would spend them stuffing that oversized cake hole of his with my boxing gloves... Ahhh yes, the stuff dreams are made of.

Dr. Mitchell:
Mr. Philpotts, it's been a pleasure. Any chance we will be seeing you again in one of the upcoming novels?

Philpotts:
I seriously doubt it. Someone out there doesn't much care for the Anthony Monday books. I can't quite figure out why. They're not without their charms. But I believe the last Monday book to see the light of print was The Mansion in the Mist and that was some time ago. I think I might lay low for a while and who knows what next. I've heard New Zebedee, Michigan and Duston Heights, Massachusetts are lovely little towns in the springtime and full of people you just love to hate.

Dr. Mitchell:
Yes indeed. That's our time - thank you and goodnight! And remember...believe only half of what you read!

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