CONAN THE BIG, DUMB BARBARIAN
Steve (Ironhand) Block
INT. A TAVERN SOMEWHERE IN HYBORIA — NIGHT.
Torch-lit tavern scene. Assorted customers quaffing ale or wine and being rowdy after their assorted styles. Serving wenches hustling back and forth with ale and wine for thirsty, rowdy customers.
Conan and his friend Arus, a Gundernman mercenary almost as tall as Conan, but not as heavily muscled, enter the tavern, belly up to the bar, and order ale. Conan pays for both alejacks, while Arus watches the room. Then Conan turns to survey the room while they quaff.
A medium-sized, compactly muscled Corinthian merc staggers drunkenly by, stumbles, and falls against Conan. He bounces off again as if he had bumped into a mountain of solid rock. The Corinthian is in too good a mood to be angered, and Conan is concentrating on not spilling any of his ale. The Corinthian backs up and looks at Conan, impressed.
Say, you’re a big one, you are.
I’ll bet you’re pretty strong.
Conan grunts and shrugs. Arus rolls his eyes to the ceiling and snorts.
I bet you could even do a one-handed chinup.
Conan’s eyes flicker momentarily, then the flicker is replaced by a series of slow blinks.
Uhh… what’s a chinup?
Well, see that iron bar stretched across the top of that doorway over there?
He goes over to the tall doorway across which the tavern-keeper has thoughtfully positioned a chinning bar, jumps up, grabs the bar with one hand, and chins himself once. Then he drops to the floor and returns to Conan.
That’s a one-handed chinup. You have to be pretty strong to do it.
A big dumb grin slowly spreads across Conan’s face. Arus closes his eyes and buries his face in his drinking jack.
I bet I could do that.
He goes over to the chinning bar and with a grunt, chins himself one-handed, then drops to the floor and faces the Corinthian.
That was pretty good. But you being so big and heavy and all, you probably couldn’t do it twenty times in a row.
I bet I could! I’m a Cimmerian, I am!
Would you care to make a gentlemanly wager on it?
He spills a small pile of gold coins onto the bar from his beltpouch. The Corinthian’s eyes light up.
That’s a lot of gold! Would anyone like to help me cover this bet?
Several other mercenaries come forward, and between the lot of them, manage to cover Conan’s wager.
Uh, I’ll just stand here and watch these coins.
He moves up to stand next to the Corinthian. The latter looks disgruntled, but can’t think of a reason to object.
Conan goes back to the bar, leaps up, and grabs it one-handed, with his left hand, but with an overhand grip rather than the regulation underhand grip. He rapidly chins himself 20 times.
Hey! You didn’t do it right! You’re supposed to use an underhand grip!
He flips his hand over so rapidly that he doesn’t fall more than a fraction of an inch. Then he chins himself another 20 times. He remains hanging from the bar.
Hey, Pulchria, I think I strained my shoulder. Come over here and help me pull it out!
A buxom serving wench goes over to where Conan is still hanging from the bar, and looks at him questioningly.
Just grab me around the waist.
Pulchria jumps up and grabs Conan around the waist. She giggles as, with his free hand, he drags her further up so she can put her arms around his neck. Conan resumes chinning himself. After several reps, she suddenly squeals.
Conan chins himself another 20 reps, to the accompaniment of Pulchria’s squealing, giggling, and wriggling.
Thanks, Pulchria, that feels lots better. You can get down, now.
While Conan hangs at full arm’s length from the chinning bar, Pulchria lets go and drops to the floor, still giggling.
Conan chins himself one last time, with such a sudden surge of power that the bar jumps out of its socket. Conan drops to the floor, iron bar in his left hand. He goes over to the tavern bar while Arus scoops up all the gold.
(Grinning at the Corinthian and the other wagerers, all of whom are staring open-mouthed and goggle-eyed. There is nothing dumb about this grin. It is such a grin as a wolf might wear while examining three little pigs.)
Good thing it wasn’t my sword arm.
Conan and Arus leave the tavern. The wagerers all stand dumbfounded. Slowly they turn, to glare at the Corinthian, who is starting to sweat.
EXT. JUST OUTSIDE THE BAR — NIGHT.
Conan and Arus are exiting the tavern.
SFX: Sounds of stamping feet, yells, and fists pounding flesh emanate from the tavern.
(Shaking his head)
Conan, Conan, Conan…
(Chuckling as he counts his money)
I feel sorry for those suckers; I think they must never have seen a man of the west before. But they deserved what they got. And I deserved what I got.
“Conan” ©Copyright, Conan Properties, Inc. “Conan The Mighty” ©Copyright 1996, William Galen Gray.