Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday

Once Upon a Time in the House of Gerard Depardieu

translated from the French by Armoire Stevenson

Illustration by Annajones

There once was a bear who liked to drink vodka. He used to stay up at all hours of the night, drinking and playing pool with his friend Johnny.

Where was he? you may ask. He was in the city of Brotherly Love. Some refer to it as "Philadelphia." Some refer to it as the city of Brotherly Love. But all refer to it as "Philadelphia."1

In Pennsylvania they have caves. Many caves. Many of which contain bears. Each bear is different but share many features. For instance, each bear is frugal. However, different bears have different loves. Our hero, Bradley, loved track. And so his life was very good. But there was one obstacle to his life. And that was that he could not meet his hero, Michael Bolton.

One day, Bradley's sister, Pedro, had an idea. She decided to go to California to meet her cousin and pen pal, Elouise. She asked Bradley if he would like to go with her. Bradley said, "I decline." But Pedro tied him up and put him in her suitcase.


1. What was Bradley's great obstacle?

2. How do you decline something?

3. Was Bradley's sister, Pedro, very frugal?

Chapter II

When they got there, there were many nice ladies selling things. One lady asked Bradley, "Would you like some perfume? It smells like rocks." Bradley said, "I decline." But the lady tied him up and put him in her cupboard.


1. What does it mean to be lonely?

Chapter III

Bradley liked it in the lady's house. It smelled like rocks there. The lady fed Bradley a lot of kelp. He didn't like it much because he liked to eat wormwood, but they were in California now. He would get wormwood later, after he met the policeman. But right now, he had not yet met the policeman, and so he did not have a lot of wormwood.

One day, the lady opened a small business. It did not do as well as her previous employment. So she was forced let the bear go.

Unfortunately, she did not let Bradley go in Pennsylvania. She let him go in a giant forest in Peru. Bradley did not know the way back home. The airport was underground, but he did not know that. All he knew was that there was a canal between him and his home, and he was terrified of it.

Bradley was saddened, so he began to sing. He sang three songs, each worse than the last. When he was finished, he felt wretched.

It began to rain.


1. How did the lady's business do? Justify your answer.

2. Why was wormwood not available to Bradley at this time?

3. Is gambling a sin? Explain.

Chapter IV

The rain had damaged Bradley's meteor detecting equipment, and so a meteor hit the Earth. Helicopters came, and Bradley was taken away to a zoo where he was the last bear on Earth.

Bradley was fed a great deal at the zoo, and became so enormous that they were forced to let him go. They put him on a plane with a one-way ticket to Port-au-Prince, Jamaica. Here he met his friend Johnny, and a dialogue began.

BRADLEY: Greetings, Johnny. I am the last bear on Earth.
JOHNNY: How contemptible.
BRADLEY: How did you get here?
JOHNNY: I drove my water mobile.
BRADLEY: What happened to your car?
JOHNNY: It was consumed by elves.
BRADLEY: A bit of bad luck, Johnny.


1. Where is Port-au-Prince?

2. Do you find this depressing story personally meaningful?

Chapter V

One way to discover whether an oyster is alive is to boil him in water for ten hours. Johnny discovered this later that day, when he was eating an oyster. At this point, Bradley the Bear had been airlifted to Sweden, and the reason Johnny was eating oysters was to drown his sorrow. Oysters, you see, had exactly the same effect on Johnny that smoking has for the common man. It made him naseous. And for this he was thankful, for it helped him forget.

Now let us turn back the clock to when Johnny and Bradley were still in a discussion about the quality of modern elves.

JOHNNY: Is the quality of modern elves strained, Bradley?
BRADLEY: No. The quality of modern elves is not strained, Johnny.
JOHNNY: Then why did they eat my car?
BRADLEY: They felt it was necessary. You must forget, Johnny. At least you still have your health. After all, your fitness guru is the greatest.
JOHNNY: Good. But what should we do now?
BRADLEY: Let us drink red wine at the local tavern.

The local tavern was outside, so they sat outside. They planted their butts in their chairs so that they might sit at the table and drink strong red wine and try to forget the unforgettable, but forgetting was long in coming for they had much to forget. Each of them forgot a thing or two, but then the other would remember it.

JOHNNY: Do you remember when you were a track star, Bradley?
BRADLEY: I had forgotten. Can you recall the maid from when we went to the Golden Dragon?
JOHNNY: I had forgotten.


1. Who was the maid at the Golden Dragon?

2. Who forgot the most?

3. Is forgetting possible when you are with Johnny?

4. What did they drink to forget?

5. Is the quality of modern elves strained? Answer in large words.

6. What about the oysters?

Chapter VI "Eye for Eye"

Here we come to a point in the story where we must reveal something, but we're not going to tell you what.


1. How are they going to get to Gerard Depardieu's house?

Chapter VII

Many superlatives have been applied to Johnny. When they were done drinking, he paid.

It was at that fateful moment that the Swedish mafia came into the bar to drink some laxatives and sat down in a small dark table in the corner. Johnny and Bradley pretended not to see them, and continued their conversation. Which was this:

JOHNNY: Do you think that the government should be overthrown?
BRADLEY: I think that, unless the production of modern grapes in increased, the government will be overthrown.
JOHNNY: Do you like grapes?
BRADLEY: Do you mean compared to penicillin? Because if you do, then yes, I like grapes. Because I do not like penicillin.
JOHNNY: Do you like a fuzzy kitten?
BRADLEY: I don't know, but if I had one, I could eat it and find out.
JOHNNY: Do you like a breakfast table?
BRADLEY: On that point, I am decidedly neutral.

At this moment, Bradley's fate was sealed. For the Swedish mafia, under the split-second impression that they were the Swiss mafia, airlifted Bradley to Sweden.2


1. Is Bradley an English name?

2. What is Bradley's relation to another popular English bear, Paddington Bear? Or his wicked stepson, Pooh Bear?

3. Can you determine what was Johnny's fatal mistake? Yes or no

Chapter VIII "A Sausage to Remember Me By"

Now, while on the flight, Bradley was tied up. With ropes.


1. Would Bradley ever buy a dog?

2. How about a cocker spaniel?

3. They are a savage breed.

Chapter IX

In Sweden, Bradley met a tall, dark, and mysterious airline captain named Cleo the Mighty. He had two arms, each of which would do his bidding. Bradley used his newfound friend as a decoy and escaped.

Bradley was forced to go into hiding. He adopted a new identity as Sandra Bullock. In order to maintain this facade, he penned a series of romance novels. Here is one of them:

Julip was twenty, sultry, and full-lipped with a full bosom full of rocks. She was all heart but as hard as nails. Her raven hair was as long as a small boat and she was sought by all of the professors. She was a dentist and her great love was teeth. Teeth were her life. She had no room in it for a tall, dark and mysterious stranger like the one who had just come through her door.

"Good evening," said the stranger. "I want to have my teeth cleaned."

Julip melted with anticipation. His violet eyes were so terribly slitted! His strong chin contained a cleft which made it very nice as chins go. His protruding jaw was pretty slitted and furthermore his hair was done with a bone which was nice.

"We're closed," she said. "You must come back later."

He took off his furry bone hat politely to reveal long chestnut locks as long as a small boat. He was every inch the barbarian!

But no, she must think of her work. She was a dentist first, and only second a lover of barbarians.

"We're closed," she repeated grimly. "And that means you."

He smiled ruefully and put his hat on the floor. "I want my teeth cleaned," he said. "I will not accept no for an answer."

Her heart pounded like a caged bird trying to pick the lock of its cage with its beak and then fly out into the room. She could see that he felt similarly. Or did he?

"Are you open?" he said with a smile that could kill a small duck.

"Perhaps tomorrow," she promised.

He took her watch away and would not let her see it. "It is tomorrow," he fibbed gently. He stared at her eyes. They were wide open and filled with a trembling emotion, an emotion he couldn't quite identify. Was it fear? Was it hunger? It was all of those things, and much more... But he couldn't tell.

Meanwhile, she was fuming at his rudeness. Couldn't he see that she was closed? Him and his damn furry hat! She didn't need his patronage! And furthermore, if he thought just because he was incredibly handsome that he would have his teeth cleaned, then he didn't know Julip McQuickie!

But there was more. Later in the book. And it went like this:

His bulging biceps carressed her knuckles. "Oh Julip," he said. "I have never known anyone who cares for her dog as you do."

"I feed him once a day," she acknowledged. She could feel a blush creep up her neck at his praise. Could he be talking to her? Or was this just a dream, like last night when she dreamed that the same thing happened?

But his lips upon her brow were no dream. They were a startling reality, as real as his biceps.


1. What color were his eyes?

2. Were his biceps real?

3. Does Julip have a dog?

4. How about a cocker spaniel?

1. Ben Franklin was from here! [back]

2. This was because of Bradley's neutrality. You see, Switzerland had been neutral in World War II. Hitler could not conquer it because of its mountains. Had Switzerland joined the war on the side of the Allies, then the Allies would have won. [back]