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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Importance of Being Earnest (not about the play) (08/04/11)

TITLE: Paris, 1928
By Cheryl von Drehle
08/07/11


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Scott Parker and his lovely wife Gertrude travelled from London to Paris in the spring of 1928. Mr. Parker was a bit of a snob and deliberately earnest in his ways, desiring to obtain knowledge and culture from his first trip abroad. Mrs. Parker enjoyed each day as it came to her, taking delight in people and pleasurable experiences. As one can imagine, the Parkers disagreed over just about any activity they undertook on their Paris trip.

By day Mr. Parker diligently dragged his wife to museums and art galleries and libraries and cemeteries. By night Gertie cajoled her husband into taking her to fancy restaurants and music halls and dances. Mr. Parker read every description and headstone and book title that crossed his path; soberly noting down all that he learned on his momentous journey. Gertie gaily chatted with every passerby, gleaning information about the local people and life on the Left Bank, the artists and the writers in Paris, their comings and goings. She treasured every piece of local gossip.

On their last day in Paris they finally agreed on something: lunch at a left bank cafe, Closerie des Lilas. Upon arriving Scott quickly discovered this to be a mistaken choice: too crowded and a bit low class he solemnly opined. But Gertie was charmed by the ambiance and colorful crowd of people and insisted they stay. As they approached the only available table, the proprietor of the cafe rushed up to them, waving them away with brusque gestures and unintelligible French expletives. The normally reserved Mr. Parker did not take perceived injustices lightly.

"English please; I do not speak French."

"Pardon, monsieur," the owner sneered, his tone quite understandable, if not his words. "This table is ... how would you say it ... taken." The proprietor roughly ushered them back towards the door where a line was now forming.

"I don't see anyone sitting there. We were here first, and I want that table."

Just then, a group of three young men carelessly brushed past them and sat down at the coveted table without hesitation. Righteously indignant now, Scott protested in a tirade: "Why do those men get this table? We were here first! And besides, they are loud and drunk and don't look like they even have any money...probably just indigent writers, and boorish Americans at that!"

"C'est la vie," hissed the proprietor, ignoring them as he moved on to other tasks. Gertie looked back over her shoulder at the carousing men, who were genially eying her. And then she blushed with recognition. "Oh my, Mr. Parker," she cooed to her husband. "American writers indeed. They get the table because that is the importance of being Ernest!"


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This article has been read 268 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen08/12/11
VERY, VERY CLEVER!!! LOVED IT!!! TERRIFIC JOB!!!
I think that Earnest definitely earned the place at the table! Most writers would! LOL
Andrea Willard08/13/11
Gertrude recognizes the truth. Wonderfully written. I envision your writings in novels and magazines.
Leola Ogle 08/13/11
Well done. I loved it! I would've rushed up and begged an autograph. God bless!
darlene hight08/14/11
Tee hee! I also thought about Hemmingway. Nicely done!