On a Sunday afternoon Evelyn brought Vicky to the Uptown Theater on the corner of Lagoon and Hennepin south of the downtown area of Minneapolis. It had been briefly run as a porno house before being purchased by Landmark Theaters and brought into service as a revival theater. This weekend the Uptown was showing a Monty Python double feature. And Now For Something Completely Different along with Monty Python And The Holy Grail.
Of course in order to bring Vicky along he had to briefly explain both films to her parents.
“Well the first is basically a recreation of several of the original television sketches in the standard cinematic format. And the second film is a retelling of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail.”
Fortunately Evelyn didn’t have to explain how the shortfall in the production budget led to adoption of a major plot device or how an annoying critter had to be dealt with by a sacred artifact. Although it would have been nice if there were actually a Book Of Armaments in the New Testament.
Except for the passages about anchovies, of course.
Evelyn met Vicky at her home after Sunday Mass and took the bus down to the theater. After change of bus downtown they arrived before opening time and were at the head of the line of other local Monty Python fans. At roughly ten minutes before opening time a woman with long grey hair and wearing glasses with a clipboard walked up to the head of the line. To Evelyn she looked like John Lennon in drag and something about her just said that she was a closet communist.
And then he looked at the woman again.
Oh shit. He thought.
Stone recognized the woman.
On the second day of the war the Army Reserve company Stone was assigned to had mobilized at Fort Snelling. They were part of the 205th Infantry Brigade and assigned to the defense of Alaska from the Soviets. But now the 205th would be sent to Western Canada to fight the Soviet Airborne and Naval Infantry units that landed there. The original plan was for the unit to be flown to Alaska but with most of the airlift capacity destroyed on Day One the brigade would be transported by rail from the Amtrak station in Saint Paul. A mob of peace activists were blocking the entrance of the station.
And the woman was leading the mob.
Instead of beating the woman to a bloody pulp and granting the status of martyr he decided to do something worse.
He would mock her.
The woman launched into her impressive spiel about the evils of the American nuclear arsenal and the the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles which were presently deployed in North Dakota when Stone rudely interrupted her in his best impression of John Cleese.
“Madame, both my date and myself are too young to commit treason, and in case you haven’t noticed all of us here are waiting to see a Monty Python film.”
And with his right hand he gestured towards the other people waiting in line.
“And you didn’t actually believe we would take your sacred mission and delusion of importance seriously, did you?”
The woman was about to respond when Stone spoke again.
“And there’s also a reason those nice folks in the Kremlin call people like you a bunch of useful idiots, but then Soviet Communists never gave an actual damn about the emotional state of your lot. Seriously, you should take your silly petition and shove off.”
As the woman stormed away in anger Vicky spoke.
“That wasn’t nice.”
“It wasn’t meant to be nice.” He replied. “Beating her to a bloody pulp is clearly not an option, so what else can I do?”
After the screening Evelyn and Vicky had a meal at the McDonald’s across Hennepin Avenue from the theater.
She had a question.
“So what’s with the coconuts?”
“They didn’t have the funds to rent horses for the actors, so they used an old technique for simulating the sound of horses on the radio. And I may be wrong, but Graham Chapman also had a serious drinking problem at the time, which may explain his difficulty with counting up to five.”
“Oh right,” he said, “three.”
It was while waiting for the bus to go home that the peace activist walked up to them. She was still visibly angry at being humiliated and started to go off on him.
Stone responded as a drill sergeant.
“Madame, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has murdered no less than fifty million people since they seized power. And there is no excuse for supporting them, even in an indirect manner. As long as you support the Enemies of Mankind, then you will be identified as and dealt with as such and very likely this will be with a single round to the head.”
As the peace activists were blocking the entrance of the Amtrak station Stone had stepped away from his fellow combat riflemen and chambered a round in his weapon. He took careful aim and place the round between the lenses of her glasses.