The Furious Arts.

June 14, 2009

military_sword_fighting

Chevy Chase knew two gentlemen who’d be well prepared if a dragon ran loose in Central Park. He was in New York promoting his role as a recovering drug addict opposite Seth Rogen as a substance abuse counsellor in Judd Apatow’s new movie “12 Step”. The tagline: the rather uninspired “It’s an awfully long walk”. He was proud of it, though, especially of the fruitful decision to cast Chase as the irresponsible reprobate and Rogen as the levelheaded voice of reason. Nothing in the film, however, reached the same heights of comic absurdity as what he was now witnessing. Two men were practicing swordfighting in the park. One of the combatants wore what looked like a faithful reproduction of a medieval helmet, the authenticity of which was undercut by his Guns N’ Roses T-shirt and khaki shorts. His friend was tall, bespectacled, and sported a long ponytail, and seemed to occupy more of a tutorial position, offering pointers on swing and thrust technique. Chevy Chase had found them absurd at first sight, but he’d soon developed a fondness for two people who clearly hadn’t considered the possible judgments of others. He walked over to them, hoping to be indoctrinated into the religion of swordsmithery.

“Hey, fellas,” he called out when he was within about ten feet of the duo. The helmeted wonder stopped his exercises and looked up.

“Hey… wow!” he exclaimed. “Are you…”

Chevy Chase shook off his query with a wave of his right hand. “Of course. Of course.”

“Wow! What are you doing here? I’m such a fan of Fletch!”

Chevy Chase smirked. “Of course. Of course. Listen, can I actually try that sword out for a while?”

The GN’R gladiator gasped. “Of course you can!” He placed the handle in Chevy Chase’s hand and stepped quickly to the left. Chevy Chase turned to stare down the tutor, who still hadn’t registered any discernible reaction to Chevy Chase’s presence. He scowled at his pal’s substitute and began to parry a series of weak thrusts. Chevy Chase sensed something ominous wafting from the professor, and a darkness he spent most of his waking life restraining began to build. The two locked eyes as the intensity of their sparring began to grow.

“Wow, this is exciting!” exclaimed the man’s friend. Neither of them paid attention to his exhortations. Chevy Chase began to bring the face of his blade down on his opponent’s weapon with increasing force. The professor began to flinch, becoming more and more furious, yet refusing to react, like a college freshman in a hazing ritual. Finally, one last blow, and the tutor’s sword thumped to the ground. The tutor looked down in shock, and when he looked up Chevy Chase could read him so easily he might have passed for a scholar in the furious arts. Before the tutor could advance on him Chevy Chase turned and ran from the park, zigging and zagging in a strange attempt to throw his nemesis off his trail, wondering in the process why anyone would need a sword in the mazes of Manhattan.

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