‘That’s my stuff he’s selling!’ says dead literary genius
A lawyer representing the Ghost of Charles Dickens filed suit Monday alleging copyright and patent infringement against U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump.
“Mr. Trump has taken the spirit, if not the exact letter, of Mr. Dickens’s classic work, ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ and used it for his own personal and political gain,” stated Eugene Harrison, a New Jersey-based, intellectual property attorney, during a press conference in front of Manhattan District Court, where he entered the legal paperwork.
After announcing the civil action, Harrison read out the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, the 1859 Dickens novel portraying the corruption of the ruling classes:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
The attorney went on to explain, “Clearly Mr. Trump has taken this original passage and run with it for his own enrichment.”
“Granted, he focused on the darker elements,” Harrison said. “But there is no doubt, if you read the president-elect’s stump speeches, that on several occasions he used my client’s work as a blueprint to market his campaign.”
The English novelist, who died of a stroke at his U.K. country home, Gad’s Hill Place, in June 1870, appeared in spectral form with his lawyer on the steps of the court to drive home the serious nature of his suit against Trump.
“That’s my stuff he’s selling,” the Ghost of Dickens moaned woefully, looking pale and gaunt but with his trademark goatee intact.
Harrison noted there were distinct parallels to other literary works by Dickens, paraphrasing some of President-Elect Trump’s better known campaign comments to illustrate his point:
“Mexicans are rapists.”
“Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?”
“You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. What the hell do you have to lose voting for me?”
“I’m smart because I avoid taxes.”
“I’ll keep you in suspense about accepting the election results.”
“I alone can fix the system.”
“If those things don’t sound like someone parlaying the ‘worst of times’ and the zeitgeist of a lying, malevolent elite class transformed into a money-making, power-grabbing scheme, the Ghost of Mr. Dickens and I are not sure what does,” Harrison said. “Clearly our suit has merit.”
The esteemed writer of world-famous works of English literature such as Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist, who floated in an ethereal haze alongside Harrison, was accompanied by a shadowy, robed ghoul who closely resembled the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come depicted in another of his famous tales, A Christmas Carol.
“Mr. Future, as I call him, became more of a presence in my afterlife as the 2016 campaign rolled along,” the Spirit of Dickens explained, jabbing his thumb at the menacing apparition. “So I put him on the payroll as security. He comes in handy when some of the Pre-Alt-Right crowd start asking for autographs. Jeff Davis, Henry Ford, Woody Wilson, Walt Disney, John Wayne, Strom Thurmond, Scalia, that gang.”
His attorney was adamant in stating that Dickens never depicted even his villains using some of the language attributed to Trump.
“No one in Mr. Dickens’s pantheon of celebrated literary works is portrayed as discussing the grabbing of a woman by her you-know-what,” Harrison said. “His foulest miscreants never stooped so low.”
The Ghost of Dickens nodded his head emphatically and agreed: “Not even Fagin.”
The copyright and patent civil claim requests unspecified damages, as well as an injunction against any suggestion of Dickens’s work in future advertising or marketing campaigns.
The lawsuit also requests a personal apology from Trump for impugning the Dickens name, although Harrison said they were hopeful only for remuneration, not a mea culpa.
“The apology clause was inserted simply as a matter of principle. At best, we’re only anticipating some settlement money, not a miracle” Harrison said, chuckling. “We’re not Tiny Tim.”
Before exiting through a nearby portal to the netherworld, the otherworldly aura of Dickens used his translucent hand to wave away further questions about his decision to file the civil lawsuit against Trump, especially now that most of the writer’s work is in the public domain.
However, after repeated prompting by a reporter from celebrity news and gossip outlet TMZ about his “more elegant cut of suit,” the deceased but still renowned author, who was separated from his wife, Catherine, and living with his mistress, actress Nelly Ternan, at the time of his death, revealed his three-button, black silk coat was tailored by Henry Poole & Co., Savile Row, London.
(November 21, 2016)