A new school year is fast approaching, and I’m willing to bet you haven’t even started on that assigned reading list you were supposed to complete over the summer, you lazy skidmark of a human being. No, you were too busy being distracted by shiny objects you found on the ground. Either that, or you spent the last few months making a thorough study of which household cleaning products get you the highest for the least amount of money. (Spoiler alert: It’s Bon Ami cleanser. Always has been.) In any case, who has time to read actual books these days? Who even has time to watch entire movies based on books? I mean, do you realize there are gorgeous Thai women being fisted by circus midgets on PornHub right this second? Okay, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to check that out, as long as you agree to come back to this article. Deal? All right. Go have some fun.
You back? Pretty amazing, right? That Kwanchanok, she opens like a flower. It’s really something to see. Where was I? Oh, right, the books thing. Like I was saying, you were given an assigned reading list, and you didn’t do it. So what happens next? You’re just screwed now? Never going to graduate? Doomed to a life of working at your father’s slowly failing office supply store in Westchester? To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, fuck that noise. It so happens that I did read all of the most frequently assigned novels from schools across America, and I’m here to tell you how they all turn out. Well, I didn’t read them personally. I farmed it out to these homeless guys who use the library to go boom-boom, so they’re near books a lot, and I paid them in rubbing alcohol and Red Vines. I can personally attest that Scabby Gerald and Bonzo The Sidewalk King read each and every last word of these books. Here, without any further ado, are those endings:
Moby Dick (Herman Melville, 1851) – Captain Ahab and his mortal enemy, the white whale Mobius “Moby” Dick, eventually come face to face at their high school reunion and realize that it was all a big misunderstanding the whole time. It was that bitch Jennifer who was spreading false rumors about them all along. Ahab and Moby become fast friends and open a bakery in Provincetown that sells those really expensive cupcakes. Unfortunately, it’s the 1850s and the ignorant peons of that era don’t know what a cupcake even is, so the bakery goes out of business. Ahab and Moby go their separate ways. They say they’ll keep in touch, but you know how it is. The moral of the story is not to trust Jennifer. Ever. She’s a bitch. And you can tell her I said so.
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee, 1960) – In an amazing ironic twist, the town of Maycomb is invaded by a flock of angry mutant mockingbirds who peck people’s eyes out and feast on the vitreous humor within. It’s perhaps a fitting punishment for the town’s racial injustice, but the avian avengers take things way too far. After some serious deliberation, kindly lawyer Atticus Finch decides to change his mockingbird-killing policy and instructs Scout and Jem to shoot as many of the winged creatures as they can. “In this case,” he says, “it would be a sin NOT to kill a mockingbird.” But it’s too late; the birds have won. The winged invaders enslave the people of Maycomb, including Scout, who dies of exhaustion in the grub mines.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain, 1884) – After finding the Mystic Runestone of the Gorgonauts in the murky waters of Aoxomoxoa, Huckleberry Finn and his sidekick, Jim the Blackamoor, cross the River of Ceaseless Sorrow into the land of the Skeleton People. Jim is slain in combat with the undead horde, but Huck survives and proceeds alone to Castle Phantasmagasm, where he does battle with the evil Lord Cromulux, who turns out to be his biological father. After slaying his foe in an epic duel, Huckleberry reclaims the Blade of a Thousand Suns and returns to the Amethyst Kingdom, where he is hailed as a god. Before he is allowed to join the Mystic Knights of the All-Seeing Orb, however, he has to complete one final task: kill Tom Sawyer. This sets up the sequel, Huckleberry Finn Vs. Tom Sawyer: Dawn of Reckoning.
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925) – Unable to live without his long-lost love Daisy Buchanan and tired of banging East Egg skanks, the reclusive and mysterious Jay Gatsby hides himself away in his West Egg home and continuously plays “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen at top volume on his phonograph, a full 50 years before it is written. (Is Gatsby, then, a time traveler? That’s a topic you can bullshit your way through in a term paper. You’re welcome.) Jay’s lavish parties come to an end, and he has trucks deliver huge shipments of prepackaged snack cakes to his front door. As Nick continues to spy on him from next door, Gatsby balloons to 400 pounds and begins an intense sexual relationship with a houseplant he refers to as “Suzie.” The mystery man’s famous mansion begins to smell very bad indeed, and Nick moves away in disgust. The novel ends with a crew of rescue workers tearing down a wall of Gatsby’s house so that the morbidly obese man can be taken to a nearby hospital. Are better days ahead for Gatsby? That’s up to the reader’s imagination.
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850) – In a facile twist that could not have been more obviously telegraphed, the red “A” on Hester Prynne’s dress becomes radioactive after a glowing chunk of space rock falls to earth and hits her house, splattering Hester’s daughter Pearl in the process. An enraged, grieving Hester grows to 50 times her original height and goes on a Godzilla-type rampage through Boston, crushing buildings and terrifying the judgmental hypocrites who once persecuted her. She picks up Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale as if they were dolls and makes them kiss. Then she eats them and wanders off into the Atlantic Ocean, never to be seen again. A feminist parable or a cautionary tale about the destructive potential of womankind? Flip a coin and write an essay about it, numbnuts.
1984 (George Orwell, 1949) – It ends with 1985. Don’t be a dumbass.
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Originally from Flint, MI, but now making his home in the suburbs of Chicago, Joe Blevins is a self-described darkener of doorsteps and a chronicler of all things that truly do not matter. Of late, he has been wasting the time of readers through The A.V. Club, Splitsider, and his own blog, Dead 2 Rights, which used to be about zombies before those became a cliche. Now it’s about god knows what.