Cinema to Fiction, A Pair of Tights (1929)

The ice-cream parlor

Based on the comic movie ‘A Pair of Tights’ of 1929
written by/with Charlie.translate1

Marion was holding four new ice-cream cones in her hands while trying to shake off the big brown dog that was attacking her. The four-legged friend had probably been attracted by the ice-cream that she had already dropped on the sidewalk earlier. She hadn’t had any hands free to open the door with and so she’d given it a powerful kick with her leg outstretched. After she quickly walked through the door, she stopped too close to it. The swinging door kicked back and the sidewalk was littered with ice-cream. I would have loved to help her out, but had to stay behind the wheel and endure the bickering of my stupid boss Edgar and Marion’s equally stupid friend Anita in the backseat of my car. It had been Marion’s idea to take those two with us to dinner. It was all fine with me. Then Edgar could pay the bill and Anita would have a bit of company, I figured.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, as the combination of the two turned out to be a disaster.


The reason that I couldn’t leave my car was a cop who took the parking ban in front of the ice-cream parlor very seriously. As the sun was shining this morning, I had rolled up the hood of my car and we were driving with the top open. Which made the conversation with the cop much easier.

Come on, we’re just waiting for my friend, she’ll be here with the ice-cream any minute’, I said, but the cop wasn’t one to argue with.
‘Then keep moving around the block’, he said and from then on controlled carefully whether we never stood in front of the ice-cream parlor for more than three seconds.

Twenty minutes earlier we had passed this lovely ice-cream parlor on our way to the restaurant. With great enthusiasm, Marion had suggested to get us some ice-cream. Much to my surprise, tight-eyed Edgar was immediately on board. Even after those first cones fell, he gave Marion new money without complaining much. I suspect he simply hoped that everyone would then eat less in the restaurant and it would actually save him money in the end.


As I was driving around the block I had missed the beginning of the scene. The first image I saw was that of the big dog and my tiny friend fighting over the new cones. Marion had no hands free again so she tried to push the dog away with her bum, but he jumped higher and started climbing her back with his front legs. When the animal came dangerously close to the ice-cream with their mouth, Marion tried to be as tall as possible. Which is not so easy for someone of one meter fifty-two. With her quivering lips and her big eyes she looked a bit like a kid who’s been treated unfair. When the dog snapped at her again, she put her hands in the air. By doing so, she managed to bring the cones far away from the drooling dog's mouth. However, now they were right in front of a large fan. It blew the scoops off the cones, right in Edgar’s face! Anita had to hold her belly with both hands because she was laughing so shamelessly hard. I couldn't hold back a smile either. Edgar looked like a clown with a pie thrown in his face. Then I had to accelerate quickly because the cop was on our heels. Then the cop got driven over his own heels by the next car passing by. When we passed by the parlor again, there was no sign of Marion. The cop was already approaching us again from behind a parked car. I was so busy looking at the cop when I drove off that I collided with another driver. It was a real dandy who wore a Picasso hat slant on his head. He was complaining next to the car, thereby focusing mainly on Edgar, who hadn’t done anything. He had been sitting innocently in the back and had lost his bowler hat in the collision on top of that. Right at that moment Marion showed up with four cones. The dandy looked at Marion, looked at her ice-cream, did not hesitate for a moment and planted all of the four cones on the Edgar’s bald head. Edgar now looked like a four-horned bull. As the dandy was a well-mannered person, he gave Marion new money for cones, making her anger melt like snow in the sun. Or like ice-cream on a bold man’s head. Edgar wiped the ice-cream off his head and threw it heedlessly to his back. The cream accidentally ended up in the middle of the cop’s face, who was watching us from behind a parked car without us being aware of that. I would have really liked to leave this place by then, but Marion had gone back for ice-cream. So I drove to the ice-cream parlor once more.

 Having gotten there I saw her standing with her dress fully covered in ice-cream. The cop was standing right behind us and a car to our right was about to leave its parking space. This left me no choice but to drive backwards. Even if that meant driving right over the cop, who reappeared on the front side of the car, unharmed, but outraged, and began to write us a fine. While doing so, he casually leaned against another parked car that just drove away, causing him, his pen and his booklet to fall to the ground. I seized the opportunity to drive on, leaving the cop gasping for exhaust gases. When I stopped again in front of the ice-cream parlor, I saw a kid with his face full of ice-cream. To my bewilderment the kid was holding Marion by her ankle and was hopping up and down and around with her as if she’d be some kind of doll. Anita decided to intervene and went off to teach him a lesson. She pinched the kid's ear roughly until he let go of Marion. When he turned towards Anita, Marion gave him the kick-on-the-ass that he rightly deserved. After throwing the kid a few meters further, Anita went to the ice-cream parlor, saying to Marion in a know-it-all-kind-of-tone:
get the cones.’

Marion stayed behind, somewhat embarrassed. I was just about to get out of the car and comfort her, but the cop placed himself between us and started approaching me. I had no choice but to get the hell out of there again. Luckily, another car just drove in between us and hit the cop full on his nose.

When me and Edgar were back in position, we saw how Anita's attempt to get the cones had caused mere devastation. Potsherds and soil were lying everywhere. The kid, who apparently lived right above the ice-cream parlor, had thrown down one of his plants just when Anita was coming out with the cones. Judging from his old man's ice-smeared face, I think the ice-cream she had thrown at the kid in return had ended up with the wrong person.

 The kid's father had come down furiously, but Anita grabbed his nose and turned it around a few times. I saw that Edgar was very impressed. Then the tide turned. The man had swept Anita’s legs and now she sat there with her legs stretched out between the remains of the ice-cream, the pot and the soil. Edgar could not let this slide, besides, he’d clearly like to try that trick of turning the nose by himself. I would have loved to see Edgar in action for a change, but the cop was on my back again...

When I drove back I couldn't believe my eyes. Not only did Edgar, the kid's father and Marion join Anita on the ground, a whole crowd was sitting there with them in that same position of an open-minded toddler. However, I didn't have time to wonder where all those people suddenly came from. With my foot impatiently over the gas pedal and the cop third-wheeling me, I signaled my friends to quickly get into the car. They had barely closed the door when my foot hit the gas pedal. That was just as well. The cop sprinted, jumped and pulled the open hood of the car onto the street with him while we drove off with our stomachs rumbling.

And as for the cop…

He was lying flat on the ground and had to admit whimpering that he had lost the game.



Charlie.translate = a translation machine that translates early 20th century comic films from the medium of film to the medium of fiction. Charlie.translate is programmed to rewrite those parts of the original story that are based on racism, sexism and gender essentialism without actually deviating of the material.