Scene: The four mistresses have been transported through time to 2011. They're sitting in Applebee's at the bar, their eyes glued to the television screen above it. Everyone else is staring at them in their authentic Regency attire, their decolletage more visible than ever now that they're wearing Victoria's Secret push-up bras, their masses of hair adorned with feathers and combs, and gobs of mistress-y makeup on their faces.
Athena (sipping her chocolate martini): Those Moderns on the Housewives shows don't deserve all the beautiful clothes and jewels in which they prance about!
Hildur: No, they are not the prettiest. We are. We should have our own TB show.
Joan: TV, you dunderhead. According to Gurgle (She checks her new iPhone), TB is a horrible disease discovered by the Moderns.
Bunny (turning her face away from a man with an open shirt and gold chains around his neck waggling his brows at her from the other end of the bar) Don't be so cruel, Joan. And it's Google, not Gurgle.
Athena (tittering): Yes, but Joan gurgles like a thirsty baby on that flask of Bud Lite with Lime.
Joan (snarling): What do you care? At least I'm not sporting a chocolate mustache.
Hildur throws back her head and roars her approval of the insult, and the entire bar cringes. Athena wipes her hand across her mouth and narrows her eyes at Joan.
Bunny: Come now, you're acting like the Housewives. Behave with decorum in this century, the way Molly taught us.
Athena (tossing her head): Decorum and Molly don't belong in the same sentence.
Hildur: She bumbles. She says wrong things. Even more than I.
Bunny: But we still love her.
Joan (rolling her eyes): I suppose we do. But she's not here. She's with Harry.
Athena: And we know what they're doing. (She looks with lustful longing at the man with the gold chains)
A waitress approaches with a platter of chili cheese nachos. All the mistresses dig in. Athena eats one slowly and licks her lip in the man's direction.
Hildur: I want to discuss the wenches on Housewives. Especially Michaele on the DC Housewives.
Joan: Lud, isn't it deliciously shocking that Michaele sneaked into the President's private party in a resplendent scarlet gown--something wickedly sensual and exotic?
Hildur: And with a weasel of a man on her elbow.
Bunny (clearing her throat): I know the feeling.
Joan: She reminds me of me.
Athena (sighing with admiration): Yes, Michaele would have been a notorious mistress if she had lived in our time.
Hildur: I am intrigued by the housewives of New Jersey. I would like to fight them--in a pit of mud. They are the only challenge to Hildur among female Moderns.
Bunny (hiding a smile): I'm sure they'd love to combat you, Hildur.
Joan: Not those weak Housewives in Beverly Hills. Except for the one diminutive lady who can flip men on their backs, the rest make me ill.
Athena: Especially the one who claims she was a childhood actress. She is a simpering matron with no spark. Her sister--the beautiful one with long black tresses who resembles me, except that I am more beautiful--should have been the star. As I am.
Joan: Enough of those wealthy layabouts. What of the women who have to sing for their suppers? (she pulls out her iPhone, and they all watch a music video)Bunny (gasping): Why, I wouldn't have the temerity to demand a gentleman put a ring on it!
Hildur: If he likes it, he should. (She throws back her shoulders).
Joan (excited): And what of this one? (She shows them another music video)
Athena: She is a lady?
Bunny: In our time, she would have been queen of the mistresses!
Joan (reverence in her tone): I quite how ladies have evolved. They're more like us.
Hildur: If she is Lady Gaga, then I am Lady Hildur.
The man with the gold chains sidles by.
Athena (holds out her hand): If you like it, kind sir, then you must put a ring on it. Henceforth.
He makes a sound of disgust and walks away.
Joan laughs. Athena looks hurt. Bunny whispers something in Athena's ear and then in Hildur's. Hildur boosts Athena up onto the bar, where she strikes a Lady Gaga pose.
Athena (singing): Babe! There exists no star of a higher order. It's evident that I'll be...
Athena glows. One lone customer, a little old lady with carefully applied lipstick, claps for her. All the other customers and the bartender are too busy watching the football game on the TV screen.
Bunny (leaning over to Joan): Athena is a star, isn't she? Even if no one else in Applebee's appreciates her.
Joan (glowering): Bah. Let us leave before she makes further fools of us. (She puts an ancient, tattered pound note on the bar and stalks out).
Little Old Lady (grabbing Joan's elbow as she walks by): I know who you are. You're one of the four mistresses from When Harry Met Molly. You're Joan, the rude one.
Little Old Lady: And you're Hildur, the Icelandic mistress with a soft spot for Lord Byron.
Hildur (tears in her eyes): Modern crone, do you not know Byron is out of favor, banished to the Continent? I came to England to seek him, but--
Little Old Lady: Don't worry about Byron. Someday I'll tell you about George Clooney. He may not write poetry, but he's well worth studying.
Bunny and Athena approach.
Little Old Lady: Ah. I have all four of you now. And it's time to go.
Athena: Where? To Hollywood? Or a recording studio?
Little Old Lady: No. Back into the book. With Harry and Molly.
Hildur: But what about George Clooney?
Little Old Lady: Later, my dear mistresses.
Joan: Who are you?
Little Old Lady: The great-great-great-granddaughter of Finkle, the butler at Harry's hunting box. Now we've some delicious boiled hare and turtle soup for you back in the story. And some lovely men to share it with. Be good mistresses and say goodbye for now.
Athena (looking around wistfully): Goodbye, Applebee's! And all you Moderns!
Hildur: I would like to bring some chili cheese nachos with us.
Joan: And Bud Lite with Lime.
Bunny: And the Housewives show.
Little Old Lady: Impossible, my dears. At least you'll have each other.
The mistresses look at each other doubtfully.
Little Old Lady: You love each other.
The mistresses' expressions soften. And then they laugh together. They link arms, and without a backward glance, they exit Applebee's into a foggy night.
Bunny: Where would you go?
Hildur: The past?
Joan: Or the future?
Athena: And why?