The Dead Revolutionary Sketch

Scene: The sewers of Paris, June 6th, 1832.

Jean Valjean, carrying an unconscious, heavily wounded Marius Pontmercy across his shoulders, encounters Inspector Javert in a Parisian sewer.

Javert: Valjean!

Valjean: Javert.

Javert (peering at him in the dim light): Why are you carrying that boy?

Valjean: I'm taking him to a doctor, and then home to my daughter.

Javert: I believe that's unnecessary.

Valjean: Why? What do you think is wrong with him?

Javert: I'll tell you what's wrong with him, Valjean. He's dead, that's what's wrong with him!

Valjean (craning his neck to look at Marius's eyes, which are as vacuous as ever): No, no, he's ...uh... unconscious.

Javert: Look, Valjean, I know a dead revolutionary when I see one, and

I'm looking at one right now.

Valjean: No, no, he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable boy, this revolutionary. Beautiful speeches!

Javert: The speeches don't enter into it. He's stone dead.

Valjean: No no no no, no, no! He's resting!

Javert: All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up! (shouting in Marius's ear) Bonjour, M'sieur Dim Revolutionary! I've got a lovely fresh pot of coffee for you if you show...(Valjean takes a small step)

Valjean: There, he moved!

Javert: No, he didn't, that was you taking a walk!

Valjean: I never!

Javert: Yes, you did!

Valjean: I never, never did anything...

Javert (takes hold of Marius's hair and turns his head from side to side, slapping his cheeks): Bon matin, M'sieur Revolutionary! Good morning, time for the riot! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Javert tries to take Marius from Valjean, but he cannot carry the boy, and Marius slides into the muck of the sewer. Valjean saves his head from going under the sludge by bending down and catching hold of the boy's hair)

Javert: Now that's what I call a dead revolutionary.

Valjean: No, no.....No, he's stunned.

Javert: Stunned?

Valjean: Oui. You stunned him before you could even wake him up. Dim revolutionaries stun easily, Inspector.

Javert: Now, see here, Valjean. I have had quite enough of your nonsense. That revolutionary is definitely deceased, with all of those bullet holes and incidental bayonet wounds. He probably exhausted his last breath with some trite nonsense about the Republic.

Valjean: Well, he's probably pining for his mistress.

Javert: Pining for his mistress? What kind of talk is that? Why did he fall out of your arms and into the -- "water"?

Valjean: Melodramatic revolutionaries prefer daydreaming on their backs. He's a marvelous boy, isn't he, Inspector? Lovely nostrils!

Javert: I observed that revolutionary very closely at the barricade, and I discovered the only reason that he was there at all was because he thought his lady-love had deserted him.


Valjean: I'm sure he had political convictions, too. If he hadn't been unconscious when I took him from the barricade, he would have run away from me, and all I'd have seen would have been the dust...Voom!

Javert: "Voom"? Valjean, this boy wouldn't "voom" if he was struck by lightning. He's demised!

Valjean: No no! He's pining!

Javert: He is not pining! He has passed on! This lawyer is no more! He has ceased to be! He has expired and gone to meet his maker! He is a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't carried him off, he'd be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He is off the twig! He has kicked the bucket, he has shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-REVOLUTIONARY!


Valjean: Well, I'd better bury him, then, and find my daughter someone else to marry -- or someone else for you to arrest for treason. (he looks around the sewer) Sorry, Inspector, it doesn't look like there are any other likely lads in sight.

Javert: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Valjean: I think I saw a drunkard at the barricade. He didn't seem to be wounded.


Javert (sweetly, if you can picture that): Was he committing crimes against the king?

Valjean: Not really.

Javert: Then I couldn't arrest him for treason, even assuming I could make it back to the barricade before he died like the rest of them. (long suffering sigh) I suppose I'll help you get this boy to a doctor so that the doctor can tell you the boy is dead, and then I'll arrest you.

Valjean: As long as this boy is safe, you can do what you will with me.

(They bend down and pick up Marius's body.)

The End.

(Shamelessly stolen without any permission whatsoever from Monty Python and Victor Hugo. M. Hugo is doubtless churning in his grave, and may the funniest troupe I've ever seen have mercy on me. They did it better, but then I could hardly have someone bang a revolutionary against a countertop.)

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