Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

One of my fella Bloggers put a post on here a while back, referencing “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernie Hemingway. After reading this, I thought it’d be fun to write a series of blog-appropriate Cliff Notes versions of different classics. This is the first.

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles "What-the" Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and if you can’t figure that sentence out, then you’re a bigger idiot than Sydney Carton, who somehow manages to get himself beheaded in the original story.

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England. This, of course, has no bearing on the subject whatsoever, but I thought I’d throw it in so I’d look sophisticated.

This is the story of two cities, probably why the book is named thus, and tells of their mighty struggle in the inexorable march of time as they go forward through the darkness and wildly raging storms of turbulence, which threatened to rip the very fabric of civilization asunder. Okay….where was I? Ah, yes.

“'ark!” says the Cockney carriage driver, his breath misting about in the late night air. “Which one o’ you blighters ‘as a breath mint? Me breath is mistin’ about in the late night air.”

“Shut up, Joe,” shouts the passenger, Mr. Jarvis Lorry. “I’m sick of your blasted rattling…say, you’re right! You do need a breath mint! Why don’t you whip into this conveniently located Amoco station and grab a pack of peppermint Mentos?”

Once the errand is completed, the carriage continues its journey, but gets lost in the fog and drives down a very deep well.

“Blimey!” says Joe. “’Tis dark down ‘ere!”

Mr. Lorry coughs delicately. “Have another Mentos.”

Meanwhile, the French Revolution is in full swing and an army of revolutionaries storms the Bastille (pronounced Bar-chilly-omnibus), and begins randomly slaughtering the young and innocent. Three years later, the revolutionaries are in control of France and are killing anyone they view as an enemy.

These events matter little to Joe and Mr. Lorry, of course, because they are still languishing in the bottom of the well and, by this time, having finished off the Mentos, are getting extremely hungry.

Noticing a gleam in Joe’s eyes, Mr. Lorry casually mentions that he has been a life-long junk food addict, and therefore very fatty and unpalatable. Joe becomes thoughtful.

Back in France, the aforementioned Sydney Carton, who is in love with Lucie Manette, is going to the guillotine (pronounced galoshes) in order to save the life of a rival suitor, Charles Darnay. Darnay has been arrested by the revolutionaries and is scheduled for execution, but Carton sneaks into his cell, changes clothes with him, and allows Darnay to leave under his name.

Historians and literary critics have long puzzled over Carton’s mysterious actions. Why would he allow a rival for Lucie’s heart to escape from prison, knowing he himself would be executed in his stead? Many believe that Carton loved Lucie so much that he was willing to step aside, since he knew Lucie loved Darnay more than he. Yeah, right. My personal opinion is that the man was a complete and utter moron.

To back up this claim, I have recently uncovered an old journal in a Nashville antique shop, written by none other than Mr. Charles Darnay himself. I shall relate the last chilling entry.

1792, October 15th

Moo-hahahahahaaaaaa. Chortle, chortle, snicker! *cough* I fooled that idiot Carton into switching clothes and allowing me to leave the cell. He was under the impression that I would return within the hour, bearing Big Macs and large fries. The fool! As soon as I was out of the gates, I took the girl and fled.

This is an unsettling discovery, to say the least. Well, that’s my little “Tale of Two Cities” (see how neatly I tied that in?). Oh, and if you’re ever walking by a certain well in England, why not drop down a few Mentos?


Dan said...

Well isn't this just great. Thanks a lot for giving away the ending! Ugh!

Dan (scratching "Tales of Two Cities" off of his extensive "Ronald Colman Movies to Watch" list)

The Stupid Blogger said...

Oopsies! Sorry, Dan. That was very thoughtless of me. Ah, yes, Ronald Colman, who also starred in "The Horizon That Should Have Stayed Lost."

Jacob "Pickle Weasel" Nordby said...

Hey, Stupid,

Oh, and hi, Dan! (I just checked out your profile and you are a pretty fascinating dude--I can use that term because I live in Idaho and we call everyone dudes...even women. Also, before I start badgering Stupid, have you ever seen the film, The Secret? check out )

OK, Stupid, you have defiled a wonderful old book and the gods of English Lit are not happy, my good man. I read this book a couple of times as a kid--probably because, just like you, I had no TV or Nintendo to enrich my education. I was therefore cast out upon the barren plain of Old Classics.

The Tale was actually quite inspiring to me but it has been so long ago that I had forgotted the part about Darnay tricking Carton into thinking that he was shortly going to get a nice cheeseburger instead of what he really got--which was a nicked up guillotine (pronounced, GUYS-things, by the way) blade. HA.

The Stupid Blogger said...

The gods of English Lit be hanged...I mean, guillotined (pronounced Barcelona. Any mentioned of guys' things and guillotines in the same sentence is heretofore strictly prohibited.)

And as far as wonderful old books go, I have not yet begun to defile!

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Woo hoo hoo! Mebbe I should post my Scarlet Letter satire. Or at least the page I got into it. Y'all 'n' yer Old Classix are mining a gold...mine. Which is where you Yeah.

Well, anyway. Good stuff! Blimey! 'Tis bereft of sody beverages in here! Away I must squirt, and quit this place forthwith, for I must get me some.

Dan said...

Jacob -- thanks for the kind words, Dude. (Hey, this Dude stuff is fun!)

Believe it or not, a friend told me about that Secret website and I didn't quite know what to make of it. The last I heard from him was when one of his friends bought the DVD, and then had a group come over and watch it ... I never heard from my friend since then. Really!

I like the disclaimer at the bottom of the main page (after you skip the intro):

"The Secret is temporarily unavailable to viewers in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia due to contractual obligations."

Poor bastards!

Jacob "Pickle Weasel" Nordby said...


Well, I highly recommend The Secret. I purchased it and it has become a staple around my company. Also, in view of your philosophical bent (per your profile), I think you'd find it highly fascinating. It may even cause the disappearance of close friends :-)