Rip [Off] Van Winkle

by Daniel MacDougall

          The following is not so much a satire of Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving, as it is a complete travesty of the greatest writers of our time. Some characters have been changed to fit the story, and some characters have been added. See if you, the reader, can guess which famous book I steal the style of in each section

          1) Anyone who has traveled the primordial expanses of the Kaatskill Mountains, a desolate, detached, chain of the Appalachian Mountains, breaking away like an island by some tectonic movement, has been lucky to return. The shadows cast by the setting sun vaguely reflect that of some monster rising in the dimming sun, and one can only shiver with fear. But the worst part of it all; at night, every night, a cool ominous fog rolls in. First it devours your feet and ankles, then soon consumes your entire body as you can distinguish the moon rising over the trees.

          Dangerous beasts live in these woods. Very rarely, one of the little ones, a Compy, as they were called, will hop up to one of the village boys and beg for food. Then, coming out of the woods, their numbers and ferocity would grow until the men of the village would have to run them off with their guns. These incidents left one boy without a forefinger.

         2) The village was nestled at the feet of these mountains, and it is here that we meet our Romantic Hero, Rip Van Winkle, amongst the beautifully aged Dutch style houses. He and Dame Van Winkle, a shrewd foul-tempered lady, live in the most weather beaten of these. A soft spoken man, often given to loafing, Rip is popular amongst the men and women of the village and takes special time just to play with the children only to find himself henpecked for not working the fields. Rip was happy with his life, but one day, just to escape the wrath of his wife, he takes the dog, Wolf, out hunting in the mountains. The author now sets our time just before the American Revolution, under the rule of King George III.

          3) And then, calling from a hill, Rip spotted a man with the heavy burden of a large keg on his back.

          "Lemme gives you a hand there, pal", Rip said and strutted down to the man.

          "Much obliged, young man", the man said honestly. "My name is Vito Reberto, proud and loyal servant of Don Pasteleno. Signor Van Winkle, we's been lookin' for a guy like you. Lemme take you's to the Don.

          Rip took the barrel on to his back. "No need, I'll just be on my way when we're done with this."

          Vito picked up the gun as if to carry it and gently tapped on Rip's chest. "I insist. The Family will love ya's". He sneered at Wolf, standing in his way and strutted up the hill just as Rip had strutted down it and left Rip with the cumbersome load.

          Rip mumbled something profane under his breath.

          4) On they traveled- uphill and downhill. The whole time, the weight of the keg grew heavier and heavier upon Rip's back as if the drought within was gaining mass with each step. The first patch of fog was spotted in the deepest valley of the mountains, Lenduras Ellenas, or Land Lake in the tongue of man. A pursuing worg let up a cry.

          "Hurry, we haven't much time to reach shelter", Vito urged.

          At last, they came to the rogue ranger's gathering place.

          The frightened Rip was immediately approached by whom he could only have perceived to be Don Pasteleno.

          "What chance do you think you have against the forces of Dark Lady Van Winkle?"

          "My task is desperate, but it is the only path".

          "But, why? Why risk your life only to deliver the weapon into the hands of the enemy? Give me the dog, and with it, I shall destroy the darkness", Pasteleno said with a growing, yellow desire in his eyes.

          "It can not be that way", Rip said, cowering from the growing man.

          "P-please, Rip. As your friend, I beg you!" He paused. "Here", he offered, "have a drink".

          5) And so they drank. They drank Vermouth until they here happy. Then they drank Grapa. And then, they drank Cognac until they were glowing with delight.

          "Let's open this new drink", offered Pateleno.

          It was good and dry. Soon I found myself drifting off to sleep, where there was no worry and duty.

          6) Awakening, Rip found that he was no longer himself. He was frailer, and had a beard down to his mid-sternum. He felt uncomfortable in this new body, and when he realized his dog had left him, his personal discomfort was multiplied by abandonment. What evil beast had done this to him? These emotions were taken over by a deep rage, and he picked up a heavy club of a stick next to him. He paced slowly back to town, swinging at every shadow in front of him. On arriving he stumbled into an unfamiliar tavern, The Wood-side Pub.

          "Hello, Frank", he said to the bartender.

          "Welcome back Rip", the man said. "The Mrs. Still nagging you?"

          "Of course". And they talked on about life for an hour or so. But when Rip went to pay, the only response was "No, Mr. Van Winkle, your money is no good here!"

          He came across a new stranger. "Who are you and why are you here?" asked the man.

          "I am Rip Van Winkle, who the are you?"

          "I am the mayor of 4 years in this town", the man replied confidently. "Mayor Van Bummel".

          "No you're not. Nicholas Vedder is my mayor."

          "He died 18 years ago."

          "Oh, bull****, you little punk. I was just talkin' about him with Frank in the bar there", he proclaimed pointing at a dilapidated, long condemned building.

          "There never was a Frank, and that is just an old, abandoned house. Are you mad?"

          "All sleep and no grog make Rip a dull boy"

          7) "Take his gun", the mayor ordered his personal guards, turning away.

          Rip raised the gun quickly to the mayor's head. Three other guns raised to Rip's head simultaneously. "This gun may be falling apart, but what are you willing to gamble this shot will still fire? Would you risk your life, and give the command to kill me?"

          Van Bummel stood silently, indecisively. Spotting a vaguely familiar face, happening upon this seen, Rip spoke again.

          "You, woman! What is your name?"

          "J-Judith Gardenier", the frightened and flabbergasted young woman of 25 responded.

          "And what is your maiden name?" he again unforgivingly questioned.

          "Van Winkle" she said puzzled.

          "Then will you not take up for your own father?" he asked.

          Immediately, the tumblers fell into place in her head, and everything became clear. She charged and embraced her father. Four guns fell simultaneously, and Rip was allowed to speak. He was caught up on events in the town and in he world and the news shocked him. He told his story, and though wholly disbelieved, people had no other explanation for his reappearance, so his story became the only legend in the town.

          "Rip", he was once asked by a doubting young newspaper reporter, "how the hell do you expect us to believe this?"

          "I don't really. But if your not going to believe me, why waste you time here instead of in the tavern?"

So, can you guess the famous books each section imitates? Here are your answers:

1) Jurassic Park - Michael Chrichton

2) Sparknotes Various

3) The Godfather Mario Puzo

4) Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

5) A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemmingway

6) The Shining Stephen King

        7) Patriot Games Tom Clancy

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