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Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)

Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics) - Joseph Conrad, Cedric Watts CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH REVIEWCalvin & Hobbes v. Heart of DarknessFrom the personal journal of Charles Marlow, Belgian Congo, 1902.March 16, 1902The mosquitos here are relentless. The humidity, oppressive. There is bitter humor in the fact that we travel in a steamer, yet our supply of potable water is running dangerously low, and has to be rigidly apportioned out. I dare not drink from the river, as dyssentary has already killed three of my men. I expect at this rate, we should reach the trading post in nine days.March 19, 1902This is no place for a civilized man. My body and mind fight me, as I press on through this horrid jungle, and now I suspect worse... hostility from unknown parties. Through the dense underbrush at river's side, I hear suspicious activity. Snickering and whispers. Occasionally movement. Are these natives? Perhaps rising up to fight the humane yolk of enlightened colonization? Agents of Kurtz, perhaps? He's a dangerous one... not to be underestimated.March 20, 1902The activity at river's side persists, and I am now certain we are being watched. Followed. This morning I caught a glimpse... just for a briefest instant, of what appeared to be a boy and tiger. A tiger? In the Congo? Tigers live in Asia. And how could a tiger be associating peacefully with a human boy? It defies the will of nature, unless... the only explanation I can think of is that I've stumbled into a colonialist literture crossover with R. Kipling's The Jungle Book. I stand at the ship's bow and yell into the jungle "Mowgli? I know it's you! Show yourself !" ...but the only answer is the steady buzz of insects and the occasional bird call.March 22, 1902My fortunes have changed, and I'm turning back down the river to seek medical attention. Kurtz will have to be another man's problem. While passing through a narrowing of the river, where trees stretched high over our tiny boat, and the dense vegetation pressed in on us from all sides, I was brutally accosted by the aforementioned tiger. He dropped down onto ship's deck from an overhanging vine and then rushed, tackling me in the style of an English rugby player- not at all what I'd expect from a tiger. I was knocked momentarily senseless, but believed I had heard the boy yelling something about "space man Spiff" and "defending the galaxy from the ivory-trading moon monky". I cannot say what the boy's intention was, but the tiger was further engaging me, and we rolled together down the deck, on a course that would ultimately deposit me in the mouth of the steamship's coal furnace. It was an assassination attempt! These were agents of Kurtz! The boy was no worry to me in this matter, but tigers are 400 lbs or more, and this one would easily overpower me, but for intervention by the Divine. Suddenly, and quite inexplicably, a fleet of 1960's-era attack helecopters (a device I had never before known nor heard of) appeared in the sky above us, blaring Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers (another invention I had not heard tell of, before this day). The tiger relented to look up at the spectacle, and I extricated myself immediately. It was not a moment too soon, for the helecopters then rained down a hail of mechanized gunfire, dispatching boy and tiger into the murky waters. The child's last words before sinking into the deep were enigmatic: "Adaptations don't count! VietNam won't happen for another sixty-two years...."His cryptic message still rings in my ears, like the throbbing beat of native drums. Its meaning eludes me, but surely Kurtz is behind it all. MATCH POINT: Heart of Darkness