Okay, okay, everyone who reads this is going to ask what I'm smoking. For your information, I don't smoke (either crack or cigarettes), I just have a really whacked up imagination. I might have to get therapy for it some time in my middle age, but right now I'm just having fun with it. Yippee. Anyway, this fic is a parody of a Fry & Laurie sketch/clip I saw on YouTube (blame my sis – she likes Hugh Laurie), and I thought, "Boy, how funny it would be to have Javert and Valjean do that!" So, that's precisely what I'm doing right now. This is supposed to be funny and utterly ridiculous. Just sit back and enjoy.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Hugo, humor belongs to Fry&Laurie, Inc. (j/k)
A young prison guard named Javert sat down at his desk in the tiny office that everyone had to walk into or past in order to get to the barracks. Of all the duties that had to be carried out in this dreadful prison, secretarial work was the one Javert disliked the most. Put him on watch in the murders' row or make him spend long hot hours watching over laborers in the quarries. Any of those things he could handle. But this? What more painful task could one conceive than filling out background reports on the various prisoners that came here? For one thing, it made him even more depressed about how many of beings walked this earth with absolutely no respect for the Law (though he was glad they were caught and sent here for punishment). Another thing was that very few prisoners wanted to make Javert's life easier by simply giving the information he needed and moving on. They had to spill out their whole life story or explain why they were innocent of the crime they had (or had not, according to the speaker) committed. Some even tried to switch their names and felonies so Javert would have to end up writing new reports.
The most irritating example, however, was yet to come.
(His other reason for hating this job was that his penmanship wasn't terribly good. But that's not really relevant.)
That day, a new batch of prisoners was coming in, and it was Javert's turn to fill out the reports. With a quiet grumble, he took up his post and prepared for a trial of vexation and ennui.
The first prisoner to come in was a fellow in his mid-to-late twenties. Javert couldn't resist raising a suspicious eyebrow when he observed the man's impressive bulk, but he soon grew easy again when he noticed the tired, worried, and almost frightened expression on the newcomer's face. Javert was actually interested in hearing what this man's crime was.
"All right," began Javert, picking up his pen. "What are you here for?"
The man let out a sigh and muttered something under his breath.
"Beg pardon?" asked Javert. "You need to speak up."
The man spoke a little louder, but it still sounded like gibberish, almost like, "I sole a roaf of lead."
"What?" asked Javert again.
"I STOLE A LOAF OF BREAD! HAPPY NOW?!"
The outburst had knocked Javert back a bit, but he quickly collected himself and jotted down the crime. Oh boy, he thought half-sarcastically, this IS going to be interesting. "Thank you," he answered flatly. "Now I need your name."
The question almost seemed to bring the prisoner out of his mellow, reluctantly-responsive state. "My whole name?"
"If you wouldn't mind," Javert replied dryly.
"Do you have a pencil?"
Javert gave him a questioning glance. "Just tell me your name."
"But I need a pencil," insisted the prisoner.
Rolling his eyes, Javert opened a drawer and took out a stub of a pencil and placed it on the desk. "Here you are."
"Good." The prisoner picked up the pencil with his large fingers. "Ready?"
"Yes," answered the guard, growing more vexed by the minute.
"All right. My name is Jean—" he dropped the pencil on the desk, "—Valjean."
Javert got as far as writing the first name when his gazed shifted to the pencil, and then to the prisoner. It was several moments before he spoke. "Come again?"
The prisoner picked up the pencil again. "My name is Jean (pencil drop) Valjean."
It took another minute for this incident to register in Javert's brain. "You mean . . . your middle name is—?" and he picked up the pencil and dropped it on the desk again.
"Yes, of course," replied Valjean, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
Javert arched an eyebrow again. "What kind of a name is that?"
Valjean looked offended. "It's my name."
Javert picked up the pencil again. "A bit unusual, isn't it, Jean (pencil drop) Valjean?"
The prisoner (whose last name we now know is Valjean) pinched the bridge of his nose in aggravation. "If I had a franc every time somebody said that to me, I probably wouldn't have been stealing bread."
"So," said Javert, "how do you spell (pencil drop), Jean (pencil drop) Valjean?"
"It's as it sounds."
Now this was really getting annoying. Trying to keep his cool, Javert asked, "Would you mind spelling it?"
Valjean whined and scowled like a little boy who was just told to go clean his room. "Do I have to?"
"Look, just to save time—"
"All right, all right. It's N-I-P-P-L-hyphen-E."
Javert wrote the word down and looked at it. This was getting stranger by the second. "Um . . . this says 'Nipple.'"
Valjean looked at the guard as if he had just grown another head and six eyes. "Beg your pardon?"
"Look," said Javert, "N-I-P-P-L-E—"
"Hyphen-E," corrected Valjean.
"—hyphen-E. In my book, that spells 'Nipple.' It does not spell (pencil drop)."
Valjean stared at him again in bewilderment. "Have you gone mad? I thought the modern prison guard was a highly-trained law enforcement unit, and you can't even spell!"
Javert, now further vexed by the harsh remark of the prisoner about prison guards (considering that they do not, in fact, require a great deal of training), decided to keep things moving. "Just give me your address, Jean Nipple Valjean."
There was silence. Valjean stood as dumb as a post, as if he thought the request was not directed toward him. Javert looked up at him. "Your address, please."
"Oh," said Valjean, "you want to know my address?"
Javert clenched his teeth. "Yes."
"Or do you want to know Jean Nipple Valjean's address?"
"Your address." Javert could safely say at this point that this was the most unnerving procedure he had experienced to date.
"Fine. It's Number 22—" began Valjean, then he proceeded (with his ankles still fettered) to do a short dance shuffle with his feet, then reach over and lightly slap Javert on his right cheek, "—, Favrolles."
The slap nearly made Javert jump to his feet and knock the prisoner flat on his backside, but he refrained. "You'd better watch it," he remarked with a growl. This was simply going too far.
"Watch what?" Valjean cried, still completely unaware of the effect his behavior was having on the youth. "What is the matter with you?"
"Me? What's wrong with you?! Don't you think you're in enough hot water already? You've committed a felony against our government, and now you dare to assault a prison guard! Don't you realize how serious this all is?"
"Yes, I'm sure it's very serious! But giving your bloody address to a guard is probably not so serious. Or maybe it is now. Maybe the Law's changed since I last checked. Perhaps the department of secretaries has had to take stern measures against the rising tide of people giving their addresses to lawmen when they're asked."
Finding himself near the end of his rope, Javert merely sighed at Valjean's conspicuously facetious response. "All right, then," he said, standing up from his seat and picking up his stubby pencil piece once more. "Let me make sure I have this right, Jean (pencil drop) Valjean. Your address is Number 22—" (he performed the foot shuffle, then socked Valjean in the mouth) "—, Favrolles."
Though not completely knocked down, it took Valjean several seconds (due to his leg arms) to regain his balance and stand in front of the desk again. "No, no, no, you idiot! Sheesh! It's 22 (foot shuffle + cheek slap), Favrolles."
"Oh, I'm sorry," said Javert. "I thought it was 22 (foot shuffle + punch in the kisser), Favrolles."
"Well it isn't!" Valjean had to take a moment to spit out the blood that was beginning to gather in his mouth.
Javert grinned slightly as he looked at the blank space on the page where he was supposed to write the prisoner's address. "The warden always said my handwriting was atrocious."
"Get a typewriter, then!"
"Well, you know these prisons. We buy up all this real estate but never have enough left over to afford things like typewriters." He examined the blank space on the paper again. "You know, from some angles, it almost looks like 22—"
He did the foot shuffle again, then this time pulled out this nightstick and cracked it against Valjean's head. "—, Favrolles."
The unfortunate prisoner grabbed his head and lurched around the room in pain. "But, like you said," continued Javert, not noticing Valjean's condition, "we really should get a typewriter."
The pain finally wore off enough for Valjean to speak. "That . . . was . . . too . . . hard . . ."
"Well," answered Javert, "you must admit it's a difficult address to get the hang off—"
"NEVERMIND THE FREAKIN FANFIC! That was too hard, it really hurt!"
A voice boomed from overhead. "Awww, was that too much for you? You always act like a baby when we do these sorts of things. Now get back in your box. I've got something special planned for you in my next story."
"Oh, God," muttered Valjean as he dragged himself out of the room.
Javert sat down again and leaned back in his chair, a broad smile now spreading over his lips. "He's just a child, really."
"Yes, Javert. Yes he is."
I have no idea if they had typewriters back then. They probably didn't, which I think makes this even more ridiculous and amusing. But I guess that's up to you to decide. Wow, it's like American Idol where the audience decides on who's good and who sucks. Oh my gosh! This is the next "American Idol"-type reality show! (crickets chirping) Well, maybe not. Maybe it's the sugar-fueled overactive imagination talking. Oh well. See you around!