Indiana Jones and the M&S towel
Ok, this is a total and utter piece of parody that I thought up one lunchtime, yes, I was board. One shot, it's a Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy cross with Indiana Jones. When Indy goes on a dig in England he was expecting some Stone Age relics, the odd piece of Roman pottery… funny how some days turn out…
(I do not own the rights to Indiana Jones or the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. And I deeply apologize if this work offends either the writers or avid followers of either. I also apologize for my poor attempt at historical continuity).
In the past it always seemed as though he had skirted around England somewhat during his globe trotting years. Quite small, mainly green, the entire map most certainly pink with not a gap in sight to hold a booby-trapped temple or ancient relic wanted by men of all stations. Yet Indiana Jones still found himself having his arm twisted to go on a dig in London.
"Explain again why I'm doing this?" Indy pressed as he packed his suitcase under the eye of Marcus Brody.
"Because it's good to keep up appearances. We have a meeting with the chairman of The British Museum about the tour of our Spanish collection so we may as well get some work done while were there." Marcus said as he passed Indy various items as he pointed to them.
"Great. I have to spend a week with a load of stiff upper lipped toffs." Indiana said in an attempted BBC English accent. Marcus smiled a little.
"We can show off you're work, cross of Coronado et cetera." Marcus continued.
"Ok, ok, I get the picture. Just as long as we're not going to run into Nazi's, relics of great power or snakes I'll enjoy the break." Indy said before picking up his revolver, turning it over in his hand then setting it down on the sideboard. "I won't need that then."
The pair flew into Croydon Airport and where greeted by the chair of the British Museum, Dr Robert Heath.
"The museum suffered during the blitz of London and many areas are still closed while we make repairs. Luckily the most valuable exhibits where removed prior to the bombing." Dr Robert explained at length on a taxi journey to the museum.
"We understand that there is a dig happening in London at the moment." Marcus put in, ever eager to get Indy interested once again after nearly half an hour of Dr Robert's extended drone about the tower of London when they went past.
"Yes, in Islington I believe. They are looking for the Stone Age caves that where there." Dr Robert said than continued at length in ever increasing machine-like drone about the prehistory of Islington and the surrounding area. Indy slumped in his set and tipped his Fedora over his eyes and went to sleep while Dr Robert, unaware that he had lost half his audience continued to tell Marcus the fascinating revelations they had discovered thanks to a large quantity of Rabbit bones found at the site.
After a lengthy meeting with the board at the museum, Indy and Marcus checking into a hotel.
"I don't know Marcus, it all sees a little premature loaning them the collection when we've only had it five minutes." Indy said as they checked in, "Thank you." Indy said to the lady behind the desk before taking his key.
"Look I know how emotionally attached you are to that cross."
"Emotional isn't the issue Marcus,"
"Correct! The fact is the museum is in need of money, especially after Walter Donovan died. And the rest of the trustees seem to be dropping like flies." Marcus said flippantly and Indy laughed.
"Died?! He's dead so much it would have been enough for fifty people." Indy said with an attempt at some kind of simile.
"True, but we still need the money. Anyway, we'll go and have a look at the dig in the morning, always useful for there to be an extra pair of hands."
"You mean mine?" Indy asked as they reached their rooms.
"Of course." Marcus concluded before going into his room. "I'll see you in the morning."
arrived at the dig early, Marcus in tow. It was a relief to be able
to get out of a suit and back into his trusty leather jacket. Marcus,
ever inappropriately dressed, had not taken Indy's advice and had
worn shoes instead of boots and the best suit he had brought, despite
Indy's insistence that it would be wet and muddy. It was both.
"Dr Jones?" A voice from below in one of the trenches said and Indy gave a suitable reply. Indy offered down a hand and helped up onto the surface a thirty year old man, muddy to the knee with his tan suede hat dappled with rain from the showers that came down every so often.
"Dr Heath told me you where coming. We could do with an extra pair of hands." The man nodded to both Indy and Marcus.
"Only the one I'm afraid." Indy intoned holding up his hands to make a point.
"Well it's better than nothing. I'm sorry, Dr David Brown." The man said extending a muddy hand to Indy who shock it, but sensing Marcus' fear of mud didn't both to offer the pleasantries to him.
"This is my colleague Marcus Brody." Indiana said and Marcus gave a sheepish smile.
"Well Henry-" David began,
"Pardon?" Indiana injected.
"I'm sorry, you are Dr Henry Jones?" David enquired and Indy gave an indifferent grunt.
"I prefer Indiana." Indy explained and David nodded.
"Let's get to work then."
After several hours of digging with no more equipment than a spade and a trowel that may have formally been a piece of dinner service of which it's name, for the moment, eluded Indy, they had begun to make some headway. The sky above slowly cleared and sun shone down into the trench and lit up the strata as they went down. Near to midday they hit something, hard.
"Hay David." Indy called and David appeared just above him with a colleague whom Indy hadn't been introduced to yet.
"What is it?" David asked jumping down.
"I think I've hit rock, listen." Indy said striking the ground with the edge of his trowel and raising a finger for silence so as they could all hear the definite sound of metal on stone.
"We found the top of a lava flow just over there, it could be a continuation." David commented as he and Indy began to remove more of the soil.
Within minutes the two archaeologists had removed most of the topsoil from the rock section within the trench and the pair stood to survey what they had found. Within the lava flow was a patch of rougher highly carbonised rock. It was almost perfectly rectangle with a small square section in one corner that extended a few centimetres outside of the main parameter of the rectangle. Apart form the rough section, the rest of the rock was smooth on the surface and the rectangle was in slight relieve.
"What does that remind you off?" David asked Indy and Indy squinted a little.
"I'm not sure, but it looks like a, well, towel." Indy said scratching his chin. Marcus peered down into the trench,
"Towel?!" Marcus exclaimed and Indy laughed.
"Pre-historic towel discovered. Was God and Marks and Spencer's Sales assistant?" David said nearly falling about with laughter.
Indy bent in closer to have a second look and in the back of his mind wondered how a bath towel ever ended up in a lava flow in the pre-history of Islington.
"Well, it'll be an interesting addition to you're Stone Age collection." Indy joked realising that he'd have to eat his own words, England wasn't all that boring after all.
"So, until further evidence to disprove this theory," Dr Jones said to his Friday afternoon class several weeks after returning from England, "It seems that Stone Age man used rough fibered cloth as a form of primitive towelling." Indiana said pointing to a chalk sketch he had made on the blackboard. "This is once again a demonstration of how early man began adapting the resources around him." Indy said just before the bell rang.
"Next week we will be addressing the issue of Stone Age weaponry, so please read chapters 11 to 13 in preparation. I will be in my office for the next hour if there are any problems." The class filled out, the last to leave, as normal, where many of the female students. Marcus appeared at the doorway and Indy beckoned him in.
"I can't believe that I just devoted part of my lesson to a pre-historic towel." Indy said and Marcus laughed.
"Well, a professor at the University of Chicago is developing a technique to date organic material, so in a few years we'll be able find out for sure if we really have unearthed the very first towel in history." Marcus said and Indy smiled.
"Well, is that find a good enough addition to our research department for you to break open the champagne?" Indy asked and Marcus smiled.
"Maybe just the wine."
Indy set his hat on his head before leaving the room with Marcus. Whatever the out come, he'd never be able to look at a towel in the same light again.
Rotten I know but it was worth a shot just to see how well it came out. Some points though, from what I could tell by my minimal research Croydon Airport was the main commercial airport before Heathrow stopped being a military airfield. The British Museum was bombed in the war and many of the valuable artefacts removed for their safety. Radiocarbon dating was discovered at the University of Chicago in 1949, and I guess this fic is set several years before then. David's comment about God the M&S sales assistant is a direct quotation from Hitchhikers.
Any comments, criticisms and questions happily received. Thanks for reading.