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Thursday, 17 December 2009

image for 'A Yankee Soldier at the Court of King Arthur' by Mark Pain 'Don't Americans get history lessons at school?'

'An American soldier fell asleep on duty in Iraq, and began to have a strange dream ...

For he found himself in England at the time of King Arthur and his Merrie Men, and saw a poster nailed to a tree that said 'Ye Jousting Tournament Be At Chester This Friday; Bring Yer Own Bottle of Mead; Winner of Jousting Do Be Getting 12 Groats', and so the American decided he would enter the tournament, especially as he had no idea that his American accent came from and is still spoken in parts of England.

Wandering into the village of Camelot the soldier found a blacksmith's, and sneakily waiting for that tradesman to take his lunch break he borrowed the smith's tools and designed an AK47 assault rifle out of iron, with pump-action repeating fire, of course, and also made up light body armour, a helicopter and a crate of napalm.

'Now I'll be invincible at ye - I mean the tournament!', he laughed to himself, and spent the next few days practicing machine-gunning peasants for target practice, and successfully invited a maiden by the name of Annie to come and live with him, so they became an unmarried couple living together hundreds of years ahead of their time.

And soon Friday came, and the soldier went to the justin lees - the jousting fields - near Camelot, and many knights had gathered there. There was Sir Talkalot, with his unusual brown skin as he came from Darkest Illinois, Sir Viette and his luncheon basket filled with pickled eggs, Sir Mon Onde Mounte from the land of Canaan, and Sir Bian Worcrim of Den Haag in Holland, but all the knights were mightily astonished at the American soldier's arrival.

For although he had left his helicopter at home for Annie to clean up and polish, the Yankee had brought with him the napalm and AK47 assault rifle and was wearing his body armor, so knew he could not be beaten, and said so to the knights. 'You have your heavy armor and swords and horses, but I shall win this tournament!'

'For I have magic on my side!', and as the knights started laughing at him he quickly shut them up by firing a burst of machine-gun fire at a passing wizard, blowing him to lots of little pieces, and the bookmakers there quickly changed his odds from 12,000-1 against to 7-2 on favorite. And the jousting tournament then got under way.

Sir Talkalot easily won his first match against Sir McPain, as Sir McPain was a senile idiot who didn't know which country he was in, never mind win a joust, and Sir Talkalot's servants led Sir McPain away once more to a prison camp. Sir Viette had over-indulged in a rather decent Chablis with his pickled eggs,

and was disqualified for trying to drunkenly surrender before his match even started, and Sir Mon Onde Mounte was also disqualified after trying to preach non-violence to a crowd of bloodthirsty, heavily-armed knights. Sir Bian Worcrim had suddenly pretended he was an astrologist and starting wearing a false beard, and so the Yankee soldier had no choice but to face Sir Talkalot.

'One moment', Sir Talkalot announced, 'for let us henceforth not, and indeed never negativily say that this, the tournament awaited so eagerly by, and we shall indeed see this come to - and blossom into - fruition, for future generations that have, had, and will have had more tenses than an Afro-Caribbean-Hawaiian-Kenyan-Martian with the worst case of verbal verbiage since Tony Blair, say. What was I saying? Oh, yes. Let us now say we are ready to joust, ready to joust for freedom and democracy, ready to joust for all those childish things I like to go on about, and there can be little doubt this is the case, or to put it another way, blah blah blah blah blah.'

And so at one end of the field was Sir Talkalot with his coat of armor and lance, and sword and trusty steed Racecard, but in the worst mismatch since Bosnia-Herzegovina declared war on Nazi Germany in 1938 at the other end was the Yankee soldier with his AK47 assault rifle, napalm and body mail. Sir Talkalot began his charge straight away, though he had to stop for a few minutes to make another speech to the spectators about gender equality and health care reform, and was surprised that the Yankee just stood there and waited for him to arrive, and of course he was scared of the magical weapons that stranger had, but rode on towards his opponent anyway.

But the American suddenly realised with a shock that he had no idea how to fight, and that for generations Americans had relied on weapons to make themselves feel tough, whereas English knights were tough first and used weapons only as a last resort.

So true to form the Yankee started firing his machine-gun at Sir Talkalot, only to miss wildly, and then reached for his napalm cannisters. 'In the name of the Great Satan that Americans now disgracefully represent', he pompously announced, ' I hereby -' and was promptly killed by a passing Vietnamese child, muttering something about 'cannon fodder' to herself.

And so the Yankee never won the jousting tournament, which was awarded to Sir Talkalot just to get him to stop talking for a bit. Hundreds of years later you might think that other Yankees would have learned by then that Americans cannot win wars, but still they go and die in British and French colonies year after year for no real reason - they haven't even noticed yet that Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan were ruled by Britain and France.'

Rumours about Mark Twain's death have not been greatly exaggerated.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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