“The Gift Horse,” Season Five
NILES: I'm sorry I'm late, I was shopping for Dad's present.
FRASIER: Oh, it's all right, Niles. I did a bit of that myself this morning. I found a lovely little calfskin wallet with a matching key case.
FRASIER [calmly, with the top half of Frasier and the bottom half of a powerful chestnut quarterhorse, or possibly a Palomino]: Calfskin.
NILES [looking significantly at the horse half of Frasier]: Calfskin?!
FRASIER [peacefully, no shirt on]: Yes, and it was a full twenty dollars below our spending limit.
MARTIN [looking at photograph]: Oh, God, I can't wait to see this guy again. Mickey Doogan. We rode mounted patrol together.
FRASIER nickers warningly, stamping one hoof.
SHERRY: Oh, look at you. You look so big and handsome on your horse. [looks at another] Oh my God, when was this taken?
MARTIN: April Fools' Day.
FRASIER: [Tensely] Oh, yes, yes, that would explain why your horses are wearing brassieres.
MARTIN: Oh God, I loved that horse. Old Agides and I were together for eight years. Best partner I ever had.
SHERRY: Oh, we should get going.
SHERRY: Marty, where ever did you find a bra that could fit a horse?
FRASIER [kicking over priceless objets d’art in a fit of godly rage]: I am Kentauros, Bull-killer! If you wish to mock a god-beast with clothes, drape widow-weeds on a satyr, who is built for wine and japes, but leave great Agides and her noble flanks in peace! From the cloudlike ranks of the Magnesian mares of Mount Pelion, the sons of Ixion himself, by the strange and hovering cloud that even the nymphs dared not name and the gods themselves feared that spilled forth horse-seed, from the strange wild coupling of Dia and Zeus do our ranks spring, and they were not formed for clothes, old man! I stole my wife from the marriage feasts of the Lapiths – carried her screaming out of her own psychiatry practice, she who was named for the first and worst wife of them all – she whose strength won the respect of all centaurs, who allowed her to leave our camps unharmed and with her own maiden name! The Thessalonians themselves offer us the greatest hospitality they can muster – no bra made by Greek hands will ever fit a horse!
NILES: Hello, Daphne, Sherry. [to waitress] Double latte, please. [sits] Is Frasier with you?
SHERRY: No, he's out shopping for your dad.
NILES: That jackal! He’s going to go over the spending limit again and make me look like a fool! [Niles jumps to his feet and dashes out of the Café.]
SHERRY: What was that all about?
DAPHNE: Brother snit. Don't ask.
SHERRY: I thought Frasier was a centaur.
DAPHNE: Beg pardon?
SHERRY: When Niles called him a jackal just now, I mean. I thought –
DAPHNE [coldly]: I know what you thought.
SHERRY [undeterred]: I’ve always wanted to know – why isn’t Niles a centaur too, then? If they’re brothers?
DAPHNE: Niles is a mermaid.
SHERRY: Excuse me?
DAPHNE: You heard me.
SHERRY: But he’s –
DAPHNE [firmly]: A mermaid. I found him half-dead upon the shores of Baetica when I was appointed Legate of Gaul, rough all over with scales and panting with thirst. He threatened to sink any vessel ever I climbed in from here to Chersonnesos, and I claimed him as my war-bride and imprisoned him at the top of a lonely tower, miles from even the thinnest puddle. Triton gave me a carbuncle the size of my fist as dowry, and we were married over dry land and wet.
SHERRY: But –
DAPHNE: Sea-born in Phoenicia – kin to Melusine, friend to all suicides, salt-veined, innumerable grandson of Tethys, brother to Frasier. Both kin to Thetis, both inheritors of the spear of Pelian ash granted to all who are monster-born and god-gotten by the great lord Chiron; true brothers of the Dionysan barge, one very wet, one very dry, one sweet as a river and poisonous as the sea, the other proud as a mountain and virile as a fevered stallion. When Niles weeps, his tears become pearls. When Frasier grows wrathful, mountains boil over and cities are lost. They each agreed upon a spending limit of $60 for Martin’s birthday this year.
SHERRY: So is he a fish, like, all the way d –