There it is, on the stage just over there: The imposing castle of the French bastard Gui de Loimbard.
Like anyone traveling through King Arthur's Britain, I ride my "horse" toward it by knocking two coconut halves together.
If you're a Monty Python fan, here's where you might chime in and say: "Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"
If you're not a Monty Python fan, here's where you look long and hard at the M.P. devotee -- who's by now practically choking with laughter at his own coconut joke -- and give a shrug that translates to, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Now please stop snorting on me."
But I digress. This is not at all a column about the large brown seeds of tropical palms or whether two swallows could carry one. Instead, we're focusing today on another great bit from Python comic history:
The infamous French Taunter.
My video adventure, titled "Jeers of Endearment," took place Tuesday at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater. My goal: to interview the Taunter, officially known as Guard No. 1, in the Good Company Players production of "Monty Python's Spamalot."
The French Taunter is a guard at the French bastard's castle. As fans know, Mr. Taunter is not exactly the most polite guy in the world. When King Arthur approaches the castle in the show, the Taunter appears overhead to hurl at him a torrent of verbal abuse -- a full-fledged assault of toilet humor -- topped with the most expressive and extended act of "blowing a raspberry" you'll see outside of a 3-year-old deprived of his Happy Meal toy.
And all delivered in a French accent so outrageous that even Pepe Le Pew would grab his ears and drop to the ground in agony.
But as a dedicated journalist, I knew I had to endure possible hardship to get the story. With Fresno Bee videographer Craig Kohlruss on hand to document the encounter, I braved the vicious insults and ferociously French taunts.
To get the full effect, you'll have to watch the video. But I offer two excerpts as a teaser:
DONALD: Hello? (No answer) Hello???
(Taunter opens top half of door and peeps out.)
TAUNTER: Who is it?
DONALD: Hi, my name is Donald. Of Fresno. I'm a writer, a scribe, for what we call a newspaper.
TAUNTER: A newspaper?
DONALD: Yes, a newspaper. It's going to come along in about 600 years. It's kind of like what you'd get if you paid a town crier a few pennies to write down all the news of the day. I'm also a blogger, but that's too hard to explain. (Taunter looks grumpy and bewildered). I'm wondering: Whose castle is this?
TAUNTER: This is the castle of of my master, Gui de Loimbard, the French bastard.
DONALD: Could you ask your master if I could come in and interview him? I'm doing a profile on King Arthur.
TAUNTER: Well, I'll ask him but I don't think he'll be very keen. He already's doing a three-minute story for ABC 30.
DONALD: Could I at least come in and ask him?
TAUNTER: Of course not, you American pig.
DONALD: Well, what country do you come from?
TAUNTER: I'm French. Why do think I have this outrageous accent, you silly journalist?
DONALD: Now listen. If you don't cooperate, I'm going to have to call my editor, and she's a wiz with nunchucks.
TAUNTER: You don't frighten me, American pig-dog journalist! Go and boil your bottom, son of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called columnist!
DONALD: Now look here, my good fella ...
TAUNTER: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal-food- trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!