Tale Of Two Misfits

You find the weirdest things in site backups.

This is something I wrote back in June 2002 and that I (rather serendipitously) found lying around the very same night I watched Paperman.

It has absolutely nothing to do with anything, so I thought “why not?”.


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a young man who was not a king, nor nobility, nor a car salesman. In our world, he would NOT have worked in Marketing by any stretch of the imagination, for he kept to his word.

However, by the dint of being rather outspoken (not to mention being brave and noble), he obviously got into trouble quite often.

In the same time, and roughly the same place, there was also a young woman that shared the young man’s knack for getting in trouble, only slightly less so, for it would be unseemely for a girl of noble birth to go off galivanting after robbers and dragons, protecting the poor (especially those nearer the local pubs) and staying out late.

Mind you, she did most of those things anyway, and gave quite a good account of herself against the Red Dragon Of The Misty Mountain, the Evil Wizard Of The Glass Tower and the Nearly Unknown Pest At The Local Market before calling it a day and storming out of the realm looking for a nice swimming pool with a hammock strung up nearby under a leafy shade.

The lad, however, was nowhere near as lucky, since he not only managed to arrive late to challenge the Dragon, but also lost himself on the way to the Glass Tower and was chased out of the Market by the appointed representatives of the Cat-On-A-Stick Salesmen’s Union, who felt threatened by him entering the market and spearing a rather nasty mountain lion that was lurking about the place.

It should be obvious by now that these two were destined to meet, and so they did, for she bumped into him as she left the town, for which he apologised profusely and she called him a mindless twit.

Rather adequate, for a first meeting, since they both promptly forgot about each other, he going on to learn the mysteries of Swordfighting Without A Sword in a remote Buddhist monastery, and she heading a commercial empire that expanded as rapidly and as far as Genghis Khan’s, but without the hassles of pillaging, burning and cleaning up afterwards.

It was not until much later (when he could behead a gnat using nothing but his bare mind and she bought out all the Cat-On-A-Stick franchises and renamed them McRabbit) that they both met on the doorway of a roadside inn one rainy evening.

And she bumped into him (for which he apologised profusely) and called him a mindless twit again. Only this time he called her a pompous bat and they spent some time sorting out their differences, one bruise at a time.

For even though he was chivalrous and polite, she had a nasty uppercut and rather powerful kick, and he had to protect himself from grevious bodily harm.

They eventually fell to the ground exausted, and were much distraught when the innkeeper told them he was booked solid except for the one single room at the back where the stable boy slept. He naturally deferred to her and insisted she take the room, but she would have no such nonsense and insisted he be kicked out of the inn entirely, upon which another scuffle ensued.

Common sense (and the innkeeper’s supply of strong sturdy rope) prevailed, and they were both restrained and tied to the bed until the stable boy returned from the town with the sherriff and further disturbance of the peace was averted.

Forced to spend the time as best they could, and not really trusting each other, they shared tales of travel and plight whlist trying to squirm out of the ropes, eyeing each other warily and making no overt move to help one another.

They eventually receded as far as to their previous meeting and the halcyon years of their youth (when the Red Dragon scoured the land, the Wizard sneaked into the mansions at night and stole the silverware, and their fence sold the goods at the Market), and realised how much they actually had in common, besides being more than a match for each other in terms of intellect, healthy cynicism and a rather warped (if profusely imaginative) sense of humour.

Together, with their backs to each other, they untied the ropes (one step at a time, each making sure the other was proceeding accordingly and there were no second, third or fourth intentions), sneaked out of the room, sounded the alarm (they were both humane people) and proceeded to burn the inn to the ground, after which they stole a couple of horses and rode away. This last bit added considerably to the relief of the sherriff, who realised upon arriving that no one had been seriously hurt and what a fine kettle of fish he’d have been in if he had had to deal with those two personally.

They eventually had the chance of vigorously denying that they had anything to do with each other whatsoever, and were later observed to walk side by side at regular intervals rather than bump into each other occasionally.

But this is not their tale. Nor is it sure that they lived happily ever after, or that they did not require some form of counselling, psychoanalysis or simply a good healthy slap on the cheek every now and then.

No, this is the story of every pair of quirky young people that meet every now and then on the walkways of life, typically when they bump into each other and one of them calls the other a mindless twit.

Bless them.