Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pickwick Pond

Before he began his career as a novelist, Dickens used to write stories illustrating pictures, describing what was happening in them and so forth. In keeping with our blog's title, I have decided to imitate Dickens and write a story about a picture. This picture was drawn by Robert Seymor, whom Dickens used to write for. Be sure you study the picture before you read, because after all, my story illustrates the picture, rather than the picture illustrating my story. Enjoy!

Ah! That was a winter of many years ago. Can you see me? I am the shortest person present. I am the only person to have skated without shoes. You may not notice me, being perhaps prejudiced by other narrations of that remarkable day into noticing only the …*cough* Corpulent Man in the center. I am not the man in the center. (Thank heaven!). I am in the lower left-hand corner, standing by a group of men, one of whom appears to be in a rather fallen state. The person in the considerably, shall we say, ‘lowered’ position, is my unfortunate master. The Corpulent chap in the middle is-, well, perhaps I should begin my narration at the beginning.
I shall start by saying how absurd a crowd of humans is. One human is bad enough, but when you get a lot of them together- well, have you heard of mob psychology? Now, I do not want to appear disloyal, for after all I have the responsibility to be man’s best friend, but the humans are both fickle and prone to make fools of themselves very readily with great skill. I know from experience, for I have lived among them for 15 years. On the 5th day of my 5th year of the man in the fallen state being my master, when both I and my master were notably younger and spryer, it chanced that my master’s whimsy took us to the town pond. This pond, a popular place in which to paddle in summer, periodically froze over during the winter months, and afforded great pleasure for both those whose winter pastime was skating; and also to those whose pastime year round was spectating. My master, being in those days younger and possessing nicely oiled joints, accordingly took his turn in impressing the crowd with feats of skating renown. But there happened to be at the same time a man of considerable girth- one might also add, of considerable impertinence, malintent, and of a exceedingly pompous, not to say windbag-ous character- there are other essences which I would like to add, but will refrain for the sake of charity. He is no other than the Man in the Middle. He was, preposterous fool, attempting to perform some of those same antics that my master was executing with such skill. It was obvious that he was encouraging competition between him and my master, but was of too cowardly a nature to openly challenge an expert. However, some equally feather-brained person- who has conveniently exited the scene- took it into his head to shout at the top of his atrocious lungs, ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ The crowd, who by this time in the proceedings had caught on to the pompous old windbag’s impertinent intents and were now only waiting for excuse to indulge in the enjoyment of seeing one of them fail, took up the cry. It was inevitable- there should be a competition between my master and the pompous windbag to see who could stay up and skating the longest. In the usual preliminaries of battles, words of defiance were exchanged. My Master stated, rightly so, that the Man in the Middle was fat, markedly so; and therefore by his unseemly weight he would inevitably fall the faster. There were several rotund persons present in the crowd of onlookers (I believe you may see them in the upper left hand corner), and on hearing this remark, loudly denied the fact. Sides were taken- the portly personages supporting the pompous windbag, and a mostly female crowd admiring my master’s trim physique taking up the other side. Now the battle began in earnest. The contestants were so rigorous in their antics that the only thing the eye could see was a fat blur and a thin blur. Faster and Faster, and the fat blob did not fall. Faster and Faster yet, and STILL the fat blur refused to blunder. But then Catastrophe Strikes! The Thin Blur loses balance- he topples for one sickening moment- and then he lies prostrate on the ice! And look! There, to all the astonished world, the crowd that had cheered for my master so vigorously only moments ago, has suddenly turned their attentions to the Fat Blur, who is by some evil fortune still upon his pudgy feet! Their interest in my master is failing and they now make the Fat Blur their hero! Even those who had formerly encouraged my master now stand about and mock him. They now cheer for the Pompous Windbag!
But look- is there not someone in the crowd, near the front, who looks not at the new celebrity? But if her attentions are not on the new hero, what are they turned upon? They are not upon my master either. Neither is her focus. Now that I think about it, I am not sure that she had ever taken sides, nor shouted for the tournament to begin. She is not looking at the scene in front of her. She is laughing; does she not seem to indulge in quiet humor, at the expense not only of the contestants, but of entire crowd? Does she not seem to invite you, observer, to join her in ridicule of the whole scene?


Miss Pickwickian said...

Very amusing. :-) I think the fat guy should have knocked over the skinny guy, instead of the skinny guy failing. :-) lol

Shayleen said...

hehe :D I like it.