Having waited more than a century for the perfect gentleman who would compliment her beauty and wit, and having failed miserably in that endeavor, our dear author Jane Austen finally decided to give into the conventions of our uncivilized times and entered a speed dating program at the local pub.
As she fastened a rose shaped brooch that complimented her evening gown, she wondered if she would grow to repent her decision. After all, what lady of any social standing would allow herself to be wooed by twelve strange gentlemen for five minutes each, that too without being properly introduced? And how could she pick one among those gentleman without knowing anything about their backgrounds and families? But sadly conventional methods of getting a partner had not worked out so far and though she would admit it only begrudgingly, she was desperate to broaden her horizons. Hence, Jane looked at herself one last time in the mirror, made sure she was presentable and proceeded to the local pub.
Jane entered the pub and walked to the registry desk. Though she thought of herself as having a liberal bent of mind, she could not help but knit her brows at the dressing sense (or lack thereof) of the ladies in the pub. Jane could still not bring herself to show even her ankles in public (God knows she had tried). Jane just stared at all the ladies around her with a mixture of prejudice and sensibility.
She was given a tag at the registry desk and asked to write her name on it and stick it to her dress. Jane thought this was possibly the most brash and improper manner of introducing oneself that people had thought of in all of history. Why, she would rather just stand on a table and shout her name to everyone. As there seemed no way around this bizarre ritual, Jane wrote her name in a practised hand that showcased her poised and elegant handwriting. Then she stuck it awkwardly on her bosom right beside her rose brooch.
Jane was led to a numbered table and was left to wait for her suitors. She sat down uneasily and fiddled with the lace on her sleeve. A short sharp bell rang somewhere in the pub and there was a lot of shuffling as men wandered to their designated tables.
Jane’s first suitor was an American, he wore a tweed jacket that Jane thought was rather unfashionable. He also had a children’s mickey mouse watch that definitely looked perverted on the gentleman. He smiled at Jane as he sat down. There was something vaguely suspicious in his manner, he checked everyone around as if making sure no one was eavesdropping.
“You are Jane Austen, right?” he said in a whisper.
“Yes Sir, and I must say it is a pleasure…”
“Ya, ya, Ssssshhh, we don’t have much time, just listen to me…”
Jane was mortified to be interrupted so unceremoniously. She had heard that Americans were uncouth, but this was unacceptable! The American obviously oblivious to her outrage continued,
“I am Professor Langdon, I am a Professor of Symbology,”
Jane had her doubts if that was a real subject but she never got a chance to voice them.
“I have recently discovered clues in the writing of Shakespeare that will lead us to the fabled land of Avalon. This can happen only in the next twenty four hours. I am on a quest to find Avalon and save the world! I need your literary expertise on this quest. Meet me behind the pub in half an hour and we will leave for the Stonehenge.”
Jane was dumbfounded. “Sir, the bard of Avon, never wrote anything about Avalon. You may take my word for it I have read his works. Avalon is a legend and no person in their right mind would go looking for it. And pray tell, how would finding Avalon save the world? This is all pure nonsense if I have ever heard any! I have way too many suspicions about your sanity and your sensibilities to follow you anywhere, forget to the Stonehenge, of all places! It is not my place but I would suggest you meet with a shrink!”
“Sssh….woman! Who is the Symbology Professor here? Meet me behind the pub, the world hangs in balance!” The Professor got up to leave, but sat down again and with a naughty smile said, “I love how you are indicating that your boobs are a secret you would reveal only to me!”
Jane was aghast, “Excuse me! How scandalous! I would never indicate anything like that!”
“Oh please,” the Professor said, “You are wearing a rose on your brooch, you know what Subrosa means. Beneath the rose, secret knowledge, it is a symbol used by secret cults for centuries. I love how you are using it to indicate that your boobs are a secret. I will unravel that secret too, but in Avalon!” The Professor winked at Jane and left before she could react.
Before Jane could regain her composure, the bell rang again and another gentleman stepped up to the table. He looked handsome and wore a presentable three piece suit.
“The name is Bond.” he said, “James Bond.”
It was a rather peculiar method of introduction Jane thought.
“How do you like your martinis?” the gentleman asked rather suggestively, “I like mine shaken, not stirred!”
Jane sighed. It was going to be a rather long evening.