by Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno)
Orignally published in the October 2002, A.S. XXXVII issue of the Dragonflyre, a publication of the Barony of Vatavia.
There are tales not part of the canon of Vatavian history. While they involve people connected to the SCA they are incidental to the activities of the Society. But they should not be forgotten all together. This is one of them.
This starts at a science fiction convention named Wichacon II held at the then Holiday Inn Plaza on March 11-13, 1983. Among the attendees was a David Cooper who used the name Gabriel ap Morgan in the SCA. While Gabe was not a part of the group putting on the convention, he ended up Saturday evening volunteering to tend the bar in the suite on the 24th floor that was being used as the hospitality suite. And during the course of the evening heavily sampled the wares.
Also attending the con was a young lady by the name Debbie Vaughan. Debbie had a habit during that time of wandering cons in the late hours wearing nothing but sheer negligees. That evening she was wearing a blue one. And, of course, she wandered through the con suite. One these entrances occurred when Gabe was below the bar gathering more alcohol to set out. Now the bar was set next to the door of the suite with its open end at the door. The timing was that just as Gabe was beginning to rise up Debbie walked through. Traffic was such that she had to pause a moment at the door, and Gabe found himself unable to straighten out once his eyes reached chest level till she moved on. This was the extent that Gabe and Debbie interacted.
Another attendee was Paul Smith also known as Thorfinn Mjollnir. He had two parts to play in this story. The first involves cloven fruit. Popular at the time within the Society was the use of lemons that were studded with cloves as an icebreaker at events. Thorfinn wanting to do this at the con could not find a lemon so was using an orange. His second part was offering Gabe a place to sleep. Thorfinn had a room in the hotel, but Gabe, being a poor young airman, wanted to forgo that expense. So Thorfinn offered to allow him to sleep in his van which had a bed. The van was parked in the hotel parking garage which was the first six floors of the building. However, by the time Gabe wished to retire his inebriation was such that he could not find the van despite wandering the garage several times and finally passed out in a stairwell somewhere within the building.
The next morning Gabe stumbles out from his hiding hole feeling worse for the wear and drawing a blank on his activities of the night before. As it so happened, the SCA was given a panel to promote themselves that morning. And about this time they were coming in to do this panel. The first of these that Gabe met was Glen Echelbarger, known as Yves Henri Beauchasteau within the Society. Now Yves made his living as a programmer in the accounting department of Coleman, and looked very much the part of a corporate drone. But he had a wicked sense of humor. At this time had a running gag whereas a joke he would somehow work in a reference to guacamole. There was no particular reason to use guacamole, it was what tickled his fancy. So when Gabe confessed he could not remember what happened the night before and asked Yves if he knew, it was a mistake that would haunt him for years.
Yves had heard about Debbie and the cloven fruit, so without hesitation he answered, “You mean you don’t remember the lady in the blue negligee and the tub of guacamole with the clove oranges? It was rather disgusting of you Gabe.”
Gabe could vaguely remember the blue negligee, so could not discount Yves answer. But not quite willing to believe Yves, set out to find others to confirm this. Now come the part that could make you believe in telepathy. For though Yves remark was spontaneous and uncoordinated with anyone else, everyone else that Gabe talked to that morning confirmed it. Gabe was convinced.
Several months later, Jonathan Auker, Giovanni Arlotti de Lucca in the Society, decided to take pity on Gabe and told him that it was all a joke and nothing actually happen. Much relieved, Gabe went to Yves to tell him that he now knew that it was a joke. In a perfectly expressionless face and in a deadpan monotone Yves simply replied, “Are you sure?” This was enough to collapsed Gabe’s confidence and he slunk off.
June 1986. The Wednesday night dance practice was being held in the rec. center of McConnell AFB. Many would gather in the Village Inn on South Rock for a late dinner, dessert, or coffee. By this time Gabe had married and was currently living in the Kansas City area. On this particular night some new had joined the crowd. Most of the crowd had left when a reference was made to the “Guacamole Story”. The new people had not heard this story wanted to know what it was. So they were regaled with the story. As it was finished, a voice was heard to say, “Are you talking about David Cooper?” We turned around and sitting in a nearby booth were a middle aged woman and a teenage boy who was likely to be her son. None of us recognized her. Now the story had been told with Gabe this and Gabe that, so we were at a lost as how she made the connection. We warily answered “yes.” “He is my son-in-law, I’ve never heard the Guacamole Story.” So we joyfully told the story for the second time that night. Her final comment was “When you next see him, tell him that you told me the Guacamole Story, and why Hywela ever married him I’ll never know.”
On June 21 that year Lonely Tower was having an event that was the investiture of their founding baronage. Gabe had just won Crown Tourney. A fair number of Vatavians went to that event. The day was filled with activities and Gabe was busy with his duties as Prince. Finally, after court, Gabe had a break and the Vatavians gathered around him to say hi and catch up on things. In the middle of this I made the remake, “Saw your mother-in-law the other week. She says to tell you that she has heard the Guacamole Story, and why Hywela ever married him I’ll never know.” Halfway though this there was this wail of agony followed by “You told my mother-in-law the Guacamole Story!” And there in the middle of the Vatavians was this puddle of flesh that used to be Gabe.
Valor that year was also the site of Gabe’s coronation, and he was still not safe. At the feast, a number of Vatavian women began to process towards the head table for a presentation. Mammara Leona, who was the hall steward, moved to help with the presentation till she saw what it was and quickly backpedaled. For presented to Gabe was a tub of guacamole dip. Those who knew the story were in danger of landing on the floor laughing. The rest could only sit in puzzlement including the King of Ansteorra, Charles Inmen McMoor. Gabe reacted by simply putting his head on the table and softly sob “No, no, no.” King Charles kept asking what the joke was, while Hywela kept saying “Tell him, tell him.”
The final incident occurs a year later at the baronial Halloween party. This took place at what was known as the Baronial Keep on October 30, 1987. Gabe had moved back to Vatavia. A couple of weeks prior to the party Amy Billington, better known as Ceithlynn ni Ruaidhri, called up Hywela and asked if she could come as “Gabe’s worst nightmare”. She gleefully assented, and when Gabe, who was in the next room, asked what she was laughing about, she equivocated. The night of the party, Ceithlynn was a bit late arriving. When word came in that she had arrived, Hywela ran out of the building screaming “Did you do it, did you do it?” In response Ceithlynn opened her coat to show she was wearing a blue negligee, though not nearly as revealing as Debbie’s. A flying wedge formed around her least Gabe see her prematurely. They need not worry. Gabe was inside engrossed with telling a story to a half dozen people. Ceithlynn walked up next to him and he put his arm around her, still telling the story. In a show of incredible control, those around him, seeing what was about to happen, continued to politely to listen and laugh when he finished. At this point Ceithlynn said, “Hi sailor, what you’re doing?” It was only then that Gabe truly saw what she was wearing and that she was carrying a large bowl of guacamole. His arm immediately retracted and teleported two feet away. But Gabe was heard to say that, that was not the most embarrassing moment of the evening. It was when I was over in a corner retelling, yet again, the “Guacamole Story” to those who had not heard it.
Years later when Gabe became Baron of Vatavia, some of the remaining old timers considered adding yet another chapter to the “Guacamole Story”, but could not muster the inspiration or the motivation to do anything. There is a final coda however. As the story started at a science fiction convention, I have told this story at various cons, and it has spread. I have been told that someone who attended an Australian con overheard someone telling the “Guacamole Story”.
And the story continues to grow. On March 11, 2006, Gabe was given a bachelor's party to celebrate his pending nuptials. After dinner the party relocated to a certain Beach House in the southern environs of Vatavia. While he was admiring the views to be seen at said Beach House, he was accosted by a young lady. While what she was wearing was not a negligee, it was blue and hid little, and in her hands was a tub of guacamole. He was then given a personal and close view of her assets. He was similarly treated again by another young lady later that night. While it might be good to be king, it is not bad being a duke.
Recently (7/13/08) Glen Echelbarger encounter the above account and emailed me the following comments:
I worked in payroll not accounting. You pondered on my fixation with guacamole. From time to time I get hung up on something. When I was in college it was kumquats. It is just one of those things. When I originally told Gabe what he had done, everything had a factual background as far as the lady, the blue negligee, the oranges, etc. Now I had embellished what had happened, but that is another issue. I then added the bit about the bathtub with guacamole as a hook to say that I was putting him on. The idea of how much guacamole it would take to put a one inch layer in a bathtub is unfathomable let alone more. And the mess. But Gabe did not catch on that I was pulling his leg.
You mentioned that Paul played two parts in the story, but actually there was a third. After I told Gabe the story, he went looking for someone to confirm or deny it. The first person he ran into that was there was Paul. Gabe asked Paul whether the story I told was true. Paul having no idea what Gabe was talking about asked what story. This was a big mistake on Gabe's part because instead of asking what really did happen repeated my story. Paul quite cheerfully agreed that it was true. After that the story spread like wildfire. Everyone Gabe asked confirmed the truth of the story. I am not sure how it spread so quickly.
After the convention, Gabe moved off the base into a house. We had a house warming for him. One of the presents he received was from Beth (pre-Kermit). It was a Barbie doll in a blue negligee sitting in a tin of guacamole with oranges floating on the top.
Copyright © 1997 - present His Lordship Friar Thomas Bacon (David Moreno). All rights reserved.