Thursday, November 19, 2009

Literal Aspirations

I've been bad, missed a week, and ended up rolling two prompts into each other.

Prompt 1: Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

"Through the rusted bars, tastes, rather than glimpses, were caught of the jumbled neighborhood; and nothing within range, nearer or lower than the summits of the two-great towers of Notre-Dame, had any promise on it of healthy life or wholesome aspirations."

Prompt 2: Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary

"They heard in the passage the sharp noise of a wooden leg on the boards."

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Through the rusted bars, tastes, rather than glimpses, were caught of the jumbled neighborhood; and nothing within range, nearer or lower than the summits of the two-great towers of Notre-Dame, had any promise on it of healthy life or wholesome aspirations. Pigeons. Delectable, fluttering, feathered imbeciles of the sky, flapping about the towers. He considered them with hunger and contempt.


He slid between the bars and gingerly picked his way among the detritus and grime of the alley. The sanitation workers' strike did nothing for the charm of the city. He scrambled up the tree, down a branch, and hopped to the balcony with all the skill, but none of the pomposity of a Circe de Soleil acrobat. He could hear inside a familiar male voice muttering about feminist theories.

He walked into the room, straight to the young woman sitting in an overstuffed armchair. His mistress scooped him up into her lap.

"There you are, muffin-face!" She cooed to him tenderly.

His yellow eyes were about to shoot a murderous look at the indignity, but slender fingers commenced to scratch the thick fur of his jowl, there, yeah, right... right there. He closed his eyes and started to purr. Still scratching, she turned her attention back to the other quivering male mass in the room.

"Bollocks to theory, Marcel. It's just common sense. I mean seriously, just look at it: Madame Bovary is supposedly written from the woman's point of view, but it's just a stinking pile of male chauvinistic manure. We are expected to sympathize with the husband; a country bumpkin who bought himself a young virgin straight from the convent, for breeding purposes. Then we are supposed to be aghast that she goes off and has a fling with some handsome young thing. Yeah sure, she is an idiot, but she is a baby seal thrown into the shark tank. To finish it off, her sins are deemed so unforgivable that she must die the most horrendous way that misogynistic twat Flaubert could think up."

Marcel cleared his throat. "So you are still planning on drawing parallels between Madame Bovary and Princes Diana in you essay?"

"You bet your sweet ass, I do." She grinned.

"Professor Vittet will be thrilled."

He was about to say more, but their attention was drawn to the loud banging from the direction of the hallway. They heard in the passage the sharp noise of a wooden leg on the boards. The door popped open and Mistress' younger brother bound in dressed in full pirate regalia, including hat, eye patch, peg leg, and a stuffed parrot.

"How do I look?" He preened in front of them.

"Terrifyingly bloodthirsty." She professed.

"Fearsome." Added Marcel.

The boy, satisfied, turned and hurried out of the room as fast as his mismatched legs allowed him.

Marcel raised a questioning eyebrow.

"School play. Musical version of Pirates of the Caribbean. She rolled her eyes.

"Well at least it's not Pirates of Penzance."

She chortled in mirthful agreement.

4 comments:

  1. Two gold stars for combining two weeks' assignments into one. Yay!

    Cool and clever and deliciously written, Vanda.
    I love 'delectable, fluttering, feathered imbeciles of the sky', and I want to hear more from that cat. He's a literary hero in the making; a slinky killer, utterly mercenary in his affections.

    I genefluct in unworthy admiration of your fabulous demolition of Flaubert! So true!

    And now the rest of my day will be filled with alarmingly hilarious visions of Captain Jack Sparrow appearing in a production of Pirates of Penzance, and all the chaos a singing Johnny Depp would bring to the proceedings.
    I think Hollywood should take that one up.

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  2. Thank you, thank you. I'm fond of that line myself. Flaubert had it coming!

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