Though I said I didn’t promise to make Mystery Science Theater 3000 out of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, I did say I might. And here, I did a little bit more. I hope you enjoy. The whole MiSTing, however much there ends up being, should be gathered at this link.
The story so far: The birds of Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is a skinny old critter. And that’s about it; we have yet to meet him ourselves.
I don’t think any riffs here need me to explain them, but if you disagree, let me know. I can probably guess what was in my mind back on Monday or so.
TOM: Chapter One, Part Two.
> AT THE OLD STONE WALL
CROW: o/` Down by the old stone wall! o/`
> Little Mr. Chippy suddenly set up a great twitter.
JOEL: It’s the Rankin/Bass Screenshots Without Context account.
> Anybody could see that he was frightened. And one of Jolly
> Robin’s sons,
CROW: Joel Robinson?
JOEL: Hey! That’s …
CROW: Can’t take it, huh?
> perched in an apple tree near the stone wall
> where Mr. Chippy lived in a wild grapevine, wondered what
> could be the matter.
TOM: Is that reindeer?
CROW: It’s some fox sulking about grapes again.
> Presently, as he looked beneath him, he saw a long,
> slim shape dart from a chink of the old wall, and as quickly
> "Huh!" said young Master Robin.
TOM: [ As Alfred the Butler ] As Mister Wayne said you might, sir.
> "Foolish people who
> build their homes on walls must expect snakes for visitors."
CROW: Checks out, yeah.
> And feeling quite wise and grown up, he turned his back on
> Mr. Chippy,
JOEL: You know in the British edition of this book he was Mr Crispy.
TOM: In the British edition Mr Chippy is a nightmarish blob that’s been a children’s show host since 1978.
> as if it really made no difference to him if Mr.
> Chippy did have a dangerous caller.
CROW: Just let it go to voice-mail and then never check it.
> Meanwhile others of the bird neighbors began to echo
> Mr. Chippy’s warning notes.
TOM: Oh, it’s retweeting.
> And young Master Robin thought
> everybody was silly to make such a fuss over the misfortunes
> of a humble person like Mr. Chippy.
CROW: Not caring if a little person gets hurt will never have a bad consequence for a bigwig like me!
> "If they don’t look out they’ll scare all the
> angleworms back into their holes," he grumbled—a remark
> which shows that he knew little about the ways of the world.
JOEL: Youth has such naive ideas about angleworm homes, yeah.
> And when Rusty Wren swerved near him and called to him to
> look out for Mr. Chippy’s visitor
TOM: Look out! Look out! The old man of the Chippy!
> —that he was "a bad
> one"—young Master Robin actually puffed himself up with
CROW: You know to the angleworms all the birds freaking out is a good thing.
> "He seems to think I’m in danger of falling out of
> this tree," he sneered aloud. "He doesn’t know that I can
> handle myself in a tree as well as he can."
JOEL: Is … is he drunk?
TOM: [ As a drunk Robin ] ‘You’re all just jealous! You can’t handle me! You all are lucky my *chick* is here!’
> As he spoke,
> Master Robin all but tumbled off his perch.
> But he caught
> himself just in time, then looked around hastily to see if
> anybody had noticed his awkwardness.
TOM: Shouldn’t have gone bragging how even the Ancient Greek Gods couldn’t make him fall.
> All this time poor Mr. Chippy’s cries continued.
JOEL: [ As Bob Newhart ] ‘So if you see our copilot running up and down the aisles screaming things like, oh, you know, we’re gonna die, maybe put your life jackets on just in case.’
> There was really no reason for his alarm. For his wife was
> away from home, with all their children.
CROW: Ooooh. Yeah, we get it.
> But Mr. Chippy kept
> flying back and forth in a great flutter. He too called to
> young Master Robin that he’d better go home.
TOM: If there isn’t actual danger then this is just cyberbullying.
TOM: Joel, make him stop.
> Still that knowing youngster paid no heed to his
> elder’s advice.
JOEL: If the tweets are too loud you’re too old, man.
> "If snakes climb trees I’ve never seen them do it,"
> he scoffed.
CROW: You’ve never seen snakes climb trees? It’s, like, the coolest thing! They double up kinda like a paperclip?
> "Hi, there! Haven’t you seen——" Mr. Chippy
> started to say.
JOEL: Friendly ol’ sucker, isn’t he?
> But before he could finish his question
> Master Robin interrupted him rudely.
CROW: If Master Robin’s like this what do you suppose the Apprentice Robins are like?
> "Certainly I saw him," he cried. "I saw him come out
> of the wall and go in again."
TOM: You sawed him in two?
> "He’ll get you if you don’t go away!" Mr. Chippy
JOEL: Unless he’s away waiting for you to get there, I mean.
> "Let him try!" Master Robin scoffed. He was sorry
> that Mr. Chippy did not hear him.
TOM: *That’s* the line you come up with?
JOEL: Birds don’t get staircase wit.
> But that distracted little
> person had already hurried off to warn somebody else.
CROW: Mr Chippy’s going to be up for a Pleasant Valley Medal of Honor.
TOM: Sounds like _Tale Of Mr Chippy_ is the book we should be reading.
> It was no time at all before Rusty Wren’s wife gave a
> piercing scream.
JOEL: Rusty Wren’s wrife.
CROW: Rusty Wren wife, Rusty Wren life.
> "That fat Robin boy—he’ll be caught!" she wailed.
CROW: [ ‘Batman’ announcer ] What’s *this*?
> Now, it made Master Robin very angry to be spoken of
> in such a way as that.
JOEL: Fine, ‘That fat Robin boy — he’ll be *captured*.’ Happy?
> "Fat!" he burst out in a loud tone as he stared in
> Mrs. Wren’s direction. "Who’s fat?"
TOM: Fatty Raccoon plummets from a broken branch behind them.
> "You are!" said a strange, grumpy voice right behind
> him—or so it seemed to young Master Robin.
CROW: Is this it? Has Grumpy Weasel finally entered his book?
JOEL: He’s like Columbo, he shows up the latest he possibly can.
[ To continue … ? ]