Lo! inside the carriage which, they hadn't noticed, in their urgent clambering, bore the coat of arms of Lord Minto, warmly wrapped in a shawl and blankets which almost hid him from view, was the six-year-old boy from Denholm, Wee Jeemy Murray, the garrulous lexicographer, who grinned at them and said: "mak yerseels comfy, oo've a lang wey tae gang if oo want tae reach Liverpool afore Maister Magnus Wheelwright flees the coop – Laird Minto telt us he suspects the Agent o filchin the insurance fae the sinkin o The Hesperus alang wi his business pairtner an potpanion, Jumbo Jack Jamieson; 'twis yer ain visit tae the Laird promptit him tae tak a luik amang his papers an he fund the infermation he needed - Ah'v um aw here in ma satchel; if needs be, oo've tae institute proceedins against the pair o scoondrels, efter oo've wheedled the details aboot Johnny Johnson's disappearance oot o thum; Ah've goat some thumbscrews an a pair o tongs which, fae ma studies o torture techniques, should dae the trick!" – and as he paused for breath, Sir Principle commented: "you have an astonishingly impressive knowledge for a lad of but six years, Master Murray, are you sure you aren't but an extremely small and young-looking man of many more years?" and Jeemy chuckled, "na, na, am truly only six, but Ah've bin readin since Ah wis three, and Ah've read every buik in Minto Hoose, thanks tae the indulgence o the laird; Ah ken he's a jackanapes an mair interestit in marivaudage wi some o the prettier lasses an wummin in the village than readin ony o the buiks hissel, cept fer Natral Histry; div ye ken he's drawn up a food web o aw the carnivores oan the Estate, an no jist the present yins? he's an amateur archaeologist an dug up remains o craters that's extinct; Ah fell intae yin o the holes when ma pals an Ah wis plyin Hidey Seek an Ah fund this:" at which he produced a huge tooth from the satchel and produced a huge tooth that he told them was from a Sauropod!
As they walked, taking an occasional post-chaise, Sir Principle MacFarlane indulged in his usual raillery against the gods who never seemed to be on his side: "where's our Guardian Angel when we need him, eh?" and his companion, Darcus Doubleday fretted that they would be too late to find the Earl of Minto's shipping agent who had managed the slave cargoes carried to America from Africa's Gold Coast in The Hesperus: "this is a eejit's errand," he groaned, stopping to remove another bit of grit from his shoe; and MacFarlane likewise stopped: "you've become rather hobbesian today, Darcus; not thinking of another Revolution. are you? remember what happened last time? certainly I do! which is the other reason for the proboscide in the MacFarlane coat-of-arms! oh, ho ho, I fairly pulled the wool over the Lord Lyon, King of Arms that time! ha ha ha!" and even Doubleday, rubbing his sore foot couldn't help laughing: "aye mon, bit thon wis a bonny picture, he didna ken whit wey tae look at it, up or doon, an his face gettin reeder an reeder aw the time! ain wey it lookit like a elephant's trunk, which wis whit it wis supposed tae be, an tither wey it wis a richt michty phallus, erect an ready tae ram! ha ha ha, whit a merry thocht!" and they were so busy laughing the didn't notice the carriage and three-pair approaching, until it drew up beside them and a voice from inside called out: "wud yese like a lift, gentleman?" and they both recognised it but were quite unable to place it until the door opened and they had climbed up and into the comfortable interior, when they both at once saw who their rescuer was!
After Jakob had read his poem, entitled: A Plea to Miriam Apfelbaum, aloud, Dada and Magda sat silently embarrassed, while Miriam beamed and said "thankyou," then turned to her friends: "it's a joke really, Jakob may be making a name for himself as an avant garde poet and playwright, but he's actually a sentimental bourgeois, typically Jewish – he puts all his cynicism and anarchism into words but his actions tell the true story; and she showed them the engagement ring she was wearing for the first time and told them it had arrived at her parents flat, almost hidden in the middle of a bouquet of chrysanthemums! "if you think his poems in German sound revolutionary, you should hear his Yiddish; his Mamma can swear like a trooper in Yiddish but in German she is a typical, middle-class hausfrau who wouldn't say 'Scheiße to a Gans'! by the way in Yiddish that's 'Fick zu einer Gans'!" and it was Magda who spoke first: "from my own Mamma I learned Yiddish already, and my Pappa German, his fater's name was Blumenthal but my Pappa shortened it to Blume, because his Florist Shop is called Blume's," and Dada, who had told them about his experience under Dr Freud's hypnosis said: "while I was with my mother, in the regression, as Dr Freud calls it, we had a visit from her old school friend, a Jewish woman, Mrs Fischbein, and she told us a story about her husband; he has a Fish Shop in Trier and one day he had just painted a new sign outside and a couple of guys he knows stopped to admire it: Solly Fischbein - Fresh Fish Sold Here Daily and one of them, the taller asked: "how many days a week are you open?" and he replied: "six, I only close on Sabbath; my wife tells me I work to hard, how does she know, she's never here, the nearest she gets to a fish is when she eats it!" so the tall guy says: "well paint out Daily cause the market is open every day except Sabbath and you're here with the door open!" so Solly paints out the offending word; then the little guy asks: "where do you sell your fish? you got another shop?" and Solly shrugs: "do I look like an entrepreneur? how could I be at two shops at the smae time?" and the little guy says: "paint out Here, cause this is where your shop is!" so Solly paints out the second unnecessary word; then the tall guy asks: "do you give fish away?" and Solly looks daggers at him: "maybe an entrepreneur I'm not, but I'm a shopkeeper and shops sell things, if I gave them away my kids should run to school barefoot?" and the tall guy says: "paint out Sold, it's obviously and in a market and shops in markets sell stuff!" and agreeing with that, which he felt sounded just like he had said himself, painted it out; then the small guy asks: "before we turned the corner we knew there was a fish shop here, we could smell it, and in the window we can see it, so what's with the word Fish?"and although he could have said that they already knew it was a fish shop because they bought fish from him regularly, as did their wives, but he understood their reasoning, so he just painted it out; and when the tall guy asked: "without the word Fish, is there any point in the word Fresh?" and Solly swept it away with his paintbrush; and the tall guy asked: "do many people know you got a shop here, Solly?" and Solly bristled: "all the people in Trier know about Fischbeine's Fish Shop - four generations of Fischbeines have been running this shop, it's the best in town!" and the tall guy patted him on the shoulder: "we know that Solly, that's how we come here to buy our fisf from you, four generations of our families and everyone else's, so do you insult their intellegence? or is it in case they think you've died and your nephew Finklestein's running the shop?" and Solly took a deep breath, expanded his chest and stood on his toes so that he could look the tall guy straight in the eye: "there is no hope of Finklestein taking over my shop, my boy Ascher is coming into the business when he finishes school, I've already taught him most of what he needs to know and he can learn the rest when he starts work, and I don't need anyone insinuating that I'm about to turn up my toes and keel over, I'm as fit as a fiddle and in the pink - Fischbeine's fresh fish eaten daily is the best diet a man can have!" and the two guys olooked up where the name Fischbeine was the only part of the new sign left, so, with a sigh, Solly dipped his brush in the can and painted it out; and as the two guys bade him "good day," and walked away, at the back of his mind there was the kernel of an idea that he'd been taken for a ride, but he couldn't quite work out how, until he got home that night and told his wife all about it, after which she asked him where he'd bought the paint a brushes: "the Goldman Brothers store, that's who came by, Sammy and Danny Goldman!" and his wife simply said: "I rest my Case!" and as his friends laughed at the story he realised how close he was to them, probably closer than he had ever been to anyone in his life, other than his mother and his sisters, particularly Paula; and he realised that his own father, the Tax Inspector, who prowled the world like a wily tod, suspecting everyone, jealous of everyone, hating everyone, hurting his own wife and children, besotted with his envy and animosity and hatred and blaming, blaming, blaming always others, for his own failings, always others for what he did not have, did not achieve, and trying to pass on his xenophobic and carcinogenic creed to his children, poisoning their minds as his own was poisoned, and Dada realised that the hindsight which he had been able to take into his regression and back to those weeks with his mother and sister had removed the svales from his eyes and let him appreciate the difference between his father and mother, between the essential badness of the one and the essential goodness of the other and he opened his arms and drew his friends into an embrace which he swore would last a lifetime!
"Let us all stay Unfettered, for Nuptials," I say,
"Are Carcinogenic Chains that Bind,
The Deaf, the Dumb, the Halt and Blind,
The Weak in Body, Head and Mind,
Like Lambs who gambol on plovery hills,
Their Lives are spent in paying bills,
So let us stay Unfettered, Cast our Chains into the Bin,
And Devote ourselves to Pleasure, Dear, come and live in Sin!"
The hypnotic regression had lasted half and hour according to the Grandfather Clock in Dr Freud's consulting room, but when he came out of it, blinking myopically and shaking his head as if to get water out of his ears after a swim, the young artist and now Artistic Director of Vienna's innovative and experimental Cabaret Voltaire, had experienced the passage of a whole fortnight and it was only when the Doctor called his daughter from the office next door and asked her to pop out for a copy of the morning paper, which bore the same date as when he had entered the building, that Dada – as he was known to his friends – accepted what he had been assured was the truth: "you are a remarkable subject, young man," said Freud, your artist's eyes has enabled you to absorb much more than the average person who seeks my help; you remind me of a young architect, I can't tell you his name, but he told me that instead of regression, he experienced progression and spoke of founding an Art School in Germany, which he named Bauhaus, and just like yourself, his report of his experience was highly visual and illustrative, and full of extraordinary detail – he was, I surmise, using his mind's ability to use foresight, and give ideas that have been developing, concrete form; in your case Dada, you were influenced by hindsight, and using your subconscious grief to affect your feelings towards your mother and sister; while you have told me that you lost your mother to cancer, and the loss of a loved-one in such circumstances has a lifelong effect, but the loss you described to me of your sister who also lives in Vienna but you have not seen for some years, has doubled your grief, and from the strength of feelings for her that you have just revealed, suggests to me that the sooner you can rediscover her, the quicker you both may come to terms with your shared loss; unresolved grief can in itself be carcinogenic – not to physicians, I must add, for it is a cancer of the mind, and our emotions, which can be just as crippling and painful and, I believe, deadly as cancer of the body; now you painted a picture in words and gestures of your mother as a muliebrity, but not in a picture book sense, her womanliness as you render it in words, is not an idealised women, but a very real and loving woman who has suffered in her life, yet still has the ability to demonstrate her love for her children and her skill for jugaad – to use limited resources in an innovative way, which in many households is exactly what mothers must do to keep their children fed, clothed, shod, sheltered, safe and warm in her embrace; I compliment you Dada, for your excellent choice of your mother, and I venture, your sister!" and Dada laughed, the relaxation he had felt during the two weeks he had lived under his mother's roof with Paula, and the revelations of Dr Freud's interpretation had confirmed his own feelings and decided him that the next thing he would do was to find Paula! he thanked the Doctor and offered to pay but Freud refused: "you are a struggling artist – I know what it is to struggle – but if you would give me an hour or so of your talent, and paint a portrait of my daughter, I would call it quits, what do you say?" and the young man clasped the Doctor's hand and pumped his arm until Freud had to ask him to stop, and having made an appointment with Miss Freud for an hour in the afternoon in two days time, when the Doctor took his rest break, Dada ran down the stairs and through the streets to meet Magda in the Central Café and tell her all about it – since meeting Jakob and joining the Cabaret Voltaire group, his life had changed out of all recognition and for the first time in his life his spirits rose and rose until he felt as if he was flying through the city like a dove!
"And now, Hans Steckrübe," said Count Baldur von Machfleine, "you will answer my questions truthfully and to the best of your ability, is that clear?" and Uncle Hans nodded glumly, he knew he was at their mercy and that they would not hesitate to dispose of him if he did not comply, and he could see that the second man, Dietrich Doopletag was itching to hurt him even more than he had already; "good," said Machfleine, "now, tell us what the two Americans - Major Prufrock and Major Martins - want you to do," so Steckrübe told them everything - how he had been in the van and listening to the sounds of copulation from the room below, and recording them on reels of magnetic tape, when the two Americans had burst in and overpowered him, "quite an easy task, I would have thought," said Machfleine, "you aren't a brave or imposing in any way, you're a nimmer, not a fighter, you have a winsome way about you which might make you attractive to children and I dare say you beleive that with a child your hearts beat as one, but in truth you are an ectogenous creature - do you know what that is?" and Hans shook his head mutely; "a parasite, but a parasite can be useful; do you know what a Double Agent is?" and again Hans shook his head, staring at them with fearful eyes; "well a Double Agent is someone who works for one master, as you do in the Gestapo - lowly worm though you may be - and also works for another master, as you do with the Americans; and I could quite easily betray you to Himmler and you would be flayed alive and then hanged from a butcher's hook, or with piano wire - I've seen it done and it isn't very pleasant to watch, worse, I dare say, for the victim; but I have a proposition to make to you, as really the only alternative left to you: you will become a Triple Agent, working for me, while the Americans believe you are their creature, and the Gestapo continue to pay your wages too," when Hans nodded, and behind his eyes his devious mind was attempting to work out how this might be something advantageous to him, when Macfleine said: "the Americans, were they to discouver that you are betraying them to me, would probably just shoot you, for they are less barbaric than Himmler, but if you were to betray me to either of your other masters - well, I assumeyou have heard of Vlad the Impaler? my preferred method is neither as quick as an American bullet, nor an SS hanging, but would give you plenty of time to regret that you had even thought of double-crossing me, let alone actually tried to; so, just say the word and Dietrich here will untie you and we can all three toast the success of new working arrangement - then you can make the hole in the floor and install your camera - I should very much to see what our esteemed friend gets up to with young Miss Mühlau!"
As he began, slowly, to come round, Hans Steckrübe was overcome by an absurd, utterly adoxal belief that he was in a saprogenic state, decaying and crumbling like mouldy cheese and was suffering from vermiculation, he could actually feel the worms or larvae eating through his body, but it was the aggress of the man Dieter that brought him, hurting, to his senses, especially the kick to his gut, for that produced a fit of vomiting which made him almost prefer the horrors which had felt so real to this hard awareness: he was bound to a wooden chair and the two men being urgently sought by the Gestapo were facing him, in the very room above that used by Himmler for his escapades with Elisabeth! if he screamed, and they were there, would the Reichsfuhrer-SS himself come running up the stairs to rescue him? not on your wienerschnitzel!
And that was when he had the brainwave: he crept up the stairs to the door of the room above that in which Himmler enjoyed Elisabeth and using a stethoscope he always carried, listened carefully – absolute silence, apart from the muted ticking of a clock; he peeped through the keyhole, the curtains were drawn and the room was in shadow; nothing moved, nothing stirred; using his lock-picks he carefully opened the door and silently entered, then turned to shut the door softly, and then the lights went on and he froze: "who are you?" the voice was steely, cold, antiseptic; Hans shivered although the room was warm: "Hans Steckrübe," his voice shivered; "what do you do, Hans Steckrübe?" there was an arrogance in the tone; "I work for the Gestapo," it sounded like an apology; "are you an Investigator, Hans Steckrübe?" there was a playfulness this time, as though it was laughing at him, mocking; "no, I am a warehouseman and cleaner," there it was, the admission, the scales were tipped against him, the person behind him held all the cards and he, Hans Steckrübe, was empty-handed; without being ordered to do so he raised his hands on either side of his head in an admission of defeat, failure, surrender; "turn round slowly, Hans Steckrübe," and he did so and found himself staring into the barrel of a very lethal-looking pistol which seemed to be aimed directly between his eyes and he began to feel that he was going cross-eyed, so with a great effort of will raised his head so that he could see, for the first time, the man who was holding the gun; he gave an involuntary start; "you know who I am, Hans Steckrübe?" but the question sounded more like a statement; "no sir, nosir, no!" and the man's mouth formed a thin and cold smile which did not reach his narrow, cold eyes: "oh, Hans Steckrübe, think of me as a schoolmaster, or examiner, when I ask you a question it isn't because I don't know the answer, it is to check that you are telling me the truth, so - you do know who I am, Hans Steckrübe?" and this time the man nodded, and so did Hans, although he desperately wished that he could have shaken his head to answer "no"; "good, now we are getting somewhere, Hans Steckrübe; how do you know who I am?" and Hans wished that he could put his hands in front of his face, but was afraid to take his eyes from the face of his examiner: "posters, in Gestapo HQ, they are all looking for you, but I don't know why, it doesn't say, and I'm just a cleaner," the man nodded again, then said: "a warehouseman, a stock-keeper, who can pick locks, are you also a thief, Hans Steckrübe?" and this time Hans shook his head, cautiously, he thought that he was beginning to understand how this game was played; "so you have permission to take a Gestapo van and park it outside this Hotel, do you, Hans Steckrübe?" and Hans began to feel that his understanding was skewed, how could the man possibly know about the van, then realised that it could be seen from the window and his stake-outs, as he thought of them, were now being conducted in broad daylight, a mistake! "no, sir, no, I am testing equipment," and he realised that he had said far, far too much; "what kind of equipment are you testing, Hans Steckrübe? cleaning products? or rat poison?" and Hans stammered: "s-s-surveillance equipment, sir," and the man nodded: "please continue, Hans Steckrübe, and tell me what kind of equipment and how are you testing it?" and Hans, keeping his hands up, said: "listening devices which transmit to the van where I record it on tape, sir," and waited; "and the Gestapo have authorised this use of official Gestapo surveillance equipment and a Gestapo van, by a layman, have they, Hans Steckrübe?" and he was confused: "yessir, I mean no sir, it is my own invention, sir," and the man lowered the pistol, so Hans slowly lowered his hands: "so you wanted to plant one of your devices in here to listen to me, is that right, Hans Steckrübe?" and when Hans realised where the pistol was now pointing, he crossed his hands in front of his groin and decided to tell the truth, or some of it: "no. sir, I was going to make a hole in the floor, under the bed and just above the ceiling rose downstairs and place a camera there, which I can operate remotely from my van, the Gestapo van, I mean, sir," and the man smiled, "good, Hans Steckrübe, I am pleased that you are learning how to co-operate; you are spying on Reichsfuhrer Himmler, then, and his dalliances with the pretty girl, correct Hans Steckrübe?" and Hans hung his head - this man knew everything, perhaps even guessed at the familial connection, such as it was, between him and Elisabeth: "yes, sir," and the man asked him where the camera was, and Hans started to reach for his pocket, but the gun swung up, once again pointing at his face: "don't be stupid, Hans Steckrübe, and assume that I am stupid - you may have a gun in your pocket and think to shoot me, so Deiter, search him," and for the first time Hans realised that a second man - the second man whose photograph was displaed in HQ - was behind him, though where he had been Hans had no idea, and suddenly two hands patted down his arms, his torso and then the outside of his legs to his ankles, and up the insides, one hand giving his genitals a hard squeeze, where his leptodermous was especially sensitive and which made Hans yelp; a hand was thrust into his jacket pocket and the camera fished out and tossed towards the man with the gun, who caught it effortlessly with his left hand; he examined the camera: "now this is a little beauty, Hans Steckrübe, you are a very useful man, and your plethora of talents are wasted in the storeroom, but what is your interest in Himmler, I wonder? just a little perversion, is it? dirty pictures you can pass around your little circle of paedophiles? or something the two Americans have put you up to? speak, Hans Steckrübe, or I will put a bullet into that turnip you have at the top of your neck!" which was when Hans fainted.
And while the Bulgarian Assassin Extraordinaire was making preparations for his pièce de résistance, there was not a whisper in Berlin regarding the mysterious disappearance of Count Baldur von Machfleine and his batman, Dietrich Doopeltag; certainly plenty of people had been disappearing in Berlin and throughout Germany since the Nazis had come to power, but this was different, particularly since the people most obviously puzzled and wondering and nosing around in the sewers were the Gestapo and the SS who were usually the ones who did the disappearing; and questions were beginning to be asked higher up the ranks and as far as Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler was concerned, that rankled: he did not like it when Goebbels made snide comments about him mislaying things, or when Goering asked pointedly about losing things, or when the megalomaniac Fuhrer asked him if he was perhaps feeling too much under pressure and perhaps due a holiday; so Himmler was not at all a happy man, his already pallid complexion was turning distinctly reseda and he did not think the greenish tinge suited him or his position in the Party – he even began seeing more of Elisabeth Mühlau in the afternoons, rather than at night, and that put additional pressure on her Uncle, Hans Steckrübe, because the two Americans were putting the squeeze on him to keep recording the Reichsfuhrer-SS's trysts and they were even suggesting that he hide a camera somewhere in the room and take compromising photographs of Himmler and his neice and he felt that that was going too far, because although she wasn't really his neice and he was no-one's uncle, Elisabeth and Hans trusted one another and he did not like the idea of the Americans gloating over images of her, but at the same time they had so much on him already that he was unable to put up more than token resistence and that was how he found himself in the hotel room shortly after the occupants had finished with it and gone their separate ways; yes, it transpired that the ceiling rose was rather handily located above the bed and was very ornate and he felt he could probably fit his little secret camera inside it, with the lens aimed towards the bed and he could use the remote control shutter release he had invented – it was operated by a radio signal from the van and though he would rather see what was being photographed, he would need to rely on what activity he could hear through his headphones and let his imagination do the rest; the truth of the matter was, for all the danger and inconvenience the Americans were putting him in, it was certainly more exciting than his humdrum daily grind as a storekeeper/janitor at Gestapo Headquarters and he did rather fancy the idea that he was an otacust, a spy: he had done plenty of spying in his life – peeping through curtains or cracks in a door, which was why he had made the little camera in the first place. it was good to have a record of the sights he had seen; the prim schoolmistress, who had looked down her nose at him, being fucked by the Mayor of their little town. or the stout and piggy-eyed Baker's wife spit-roasted by her husband and his brother, or the town Miller sucking the cock of his apprentice while his wife and family were at Mass, and the octagenarian Priest, old Father Anselm, who had bored a handy hole in the confessional, so that any females seeking absolution had to suck his fat sausage before being sent of with three Hail Marys and an Our Father!
Which was when, back in 1939, in the house on the Wannsee, where Dr Josef Goebbels kept his mistress, sultry movie actress Olga Konstantinovna Chekhova, her lover Vlado Chernozemski explained his plan for the assassination of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia during his State Visit to Berlin: "the Stink Bomb will cause panic and pandemonium – which is the purpose of all terrorism – and during that disruption I will shoot the nascent Usurper with a single bullet, or maybe two or three, if I have time!" his plan was to base himself either on the roof of one of the buildings along the route, "or in an apartment if I can gain access, whichever is easiest, but I would prefer the roof; that way I can escape across the rooftops to another block and come down in a different street;" he laid out maps on the table for the two American Majors to examine; the route for the Parade had been obtained by Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who, as a member of the SS, was on Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler's staff, and showed where SS and Gestapo personnel would be deployed along the route, principally to keep watch on the crowds who would be ordered to line the route and to encourage their flag-waving and cheering when the official cars passed by; Himmler himself had personally examined the route and there had already been three dry-runs, with Himmler and Prince Hubertus accompanied by a couple of SS bodyguards sitting in the State Daimler and making notes on all the attack-points they passed – these Attack Points were marked on the maps as the most dangerous places, either because of the narrowness of certain roads, or the slow-corners, where the vehicles would reduce speed to make sharp turns: "you see," said Vlado, "they've been studying previous assassinations, but none of them involved a Stink Bomb, that is my Secret Ingredient and they will not be prepared for it!" but J Alfred Prufrock, in the role of railbird, was unconvinced: "how exactly will the Stink Bomb do what you expect it to do? how can you know what the vehicles will do when the bomb is detonated?" and Chernozemski laughed: "because when it goes BANG! a manhole cover in front of the car carrying the Usurper will be blown open and the smell of rotting bodies, foul sewage and noxious poison gas will fill every nostril, the driver will slam on the brakes and the second car will smash into it, by wich time the Usurper will be dead and so will Himmler and anyone else in the car, very dead!" at which, Holly Martins, the other railbird, scratched his head and said: "and how, in the name of the Wee Man, are you gonna get your Stink Bomb into the manhole and make sure it blows the cover off?" and he knew as soon as he had said it that the answer would be stunningly simple: "because in my 'day job' as you Yankees so simply put it, I work for the Sanitation and Sewage Department of Berlin City and have been down that manhole many times, I have cleaned and oiled the cover and know that my bomb will raise it, easy!" and Martins knew he had walked into a trap but couldn't stop himself: "so how will you be able to ensure that it blows right in front of the car and not the one before it or the one following?" and Chernozemski pointed to the street plan: "because when the first car passes over the manhole, it will trigger the explosion which has a three second delay, so that it will be just before the second, the State Car, reaches it, simple," then Prufrock asked, "why not detonate it under the State Car?" Chernozemski smiled and replied: "the State Car is heavily armoured and to blow it up would require a great deal more high explosive than I have, and it would be difficult to ensure that the passengers were all killed; Prince Hubertus' report says that there will be seven passengers – the driver and a bodyguard in front, the Usurper and his wife in the middle, with Himmler, and two bodyguards behind them – stopping the car is essential and the Stink Bomb is the best way, as it will render all of the passengers immobile and make them, I think your expression is, Sitting Ducks, which will give me an easy target; I will shoot the Usurper through his evil eyethirl and then Himmler and make my getaway before anyone knows what has happened – the spectators will all be moving away as quickly as they can, with stinging eyes and feeling very sick, the Stink and the Gas will spread quickly, the bodyguards will be incapacitated, the gas will act like a fog and no-one will be able to see anything and there will be pandemonium, exactly what I need to be able to make my escape double-quick!"
And before they had even reached the MacFarlane Castle Hotel, Hyman had received an SMS from Jinty: 'hi hymie, just thought i should let you know that although my father is a macfarlane (d'uh - like you wouldn't have figured that out) my babushka, my maternal grannie's name is rhoda morganstern and as you are from ny you might know her family? her father ike morganstern had a deli on delancey and the family's apartment was upstairs? jinty x' and it was like a bolt from the blue, a curved ball that took his breath away, a hand hitting the lost chord on the piano that threw him backwards and in that instant he was a kid peeping like a railbird through the great plate glass window of Morganstern's Original Kosher Delicatessen with the gold runcible lettering - the acme of Deli's to Hyman's 9-year-old mind where the creme de la creme of cheesecake was displayed to be craved and boy, Hyman could crave for The Lower East Side, in fact when it came to craving Morganstern's Cheesecake, Hyman could crave for the USA! he knew the Morgansterns; he knew who the Morgansterns were, but doubted that awareness was reciprocated; how could a family like the Morgansterns know the existence of, never mind anything about, a snotty 9-year-old in knickerbockers and a cap which he only had because Izzy, his elder brother, refused to wear it any more, he might as well be a paniola, returned from rounding up cattle on Hawaii for all they would acknowledge his existence but how could he tell Jinty anything of that? before their first date? OMG! already he was thinking of it as a date, a real Date, and not just an introduction to the Social History of this small part of Nova Scotia's Prince Edward Island, from Social History to Date is a Giant Leap for a snotty kid from The Lower East Side when the intended other party to the Date is a Morganstern from Delancey; which was when he realised he had been holding his breath and was already turning red in the face; he took a deep breath and realised - of course! her Babushka was a Morganstern, her daughter was a Morganstern. and Jinty is a Morganstern forget all the married names and that means she is Jewish and suddenly the Date became accessible even to a snotty-nosed kid standing outside the Deli and looking in, they could collaborate as equals, so he punched out a terse - for him - reply: 'Hi Jinty - best Cheesecake in New York from the best Deli in the USA and now I know where you learned your culinary skills, Hymie' which was when his finger froze - is my use of initial Caps a comment on her defiance of them? do I dare to put an x? should I put xx or an emoji of a slice of cake? but dithering never won fair lady so quickly he signed off with xxx and pressed send!
Although there are some who consider investigative reporters as little more than kibitzers, or rail-birds, offering opinions from the sidelines, from the safety of newspaper and magazine editorials, while standing behind the players' backs, rather than being part of the game, but nothing could be further from the truth: remember the incident at The Pink House? recall the people present when Donald Duck Trumpet-Trousers' Life Support was switched off? and in fact, Hyman Z Kaplan was in part the inspiration for Woody Allen's Zelig which showed him as being present at all the decisive events of the twentieth century; by creating a Feynman Diagram, Woody discovered that at every critical intersection in Time and Place, it was proven true that Kaplan Was Here! yep, forget Kilroy, Kaplan is the Boy! and yet, to the casual observer, he seems quite otiose, almost languid, a manner which in his early career led to him being nicknamed Oblomov, simply because he was thought never to get out of bed, or if he did, then only to wear pyjamas and a dressing gown; and yet, and yet, at a major Declaration of War, Royal Abdication, Presidential Inauguration or Assassination, Financial Collapse – who was there? Kaplan was There! he gained the greatest scoops, got the most insider lowdown, testified at the Trials of the Century; okay, the low point of his career came with his greatest bungle, a humdinger of a bungle, the bungle to bungle all others: yes, it was Hyman Z Kaplan who was ultimately responsible for the election of the Duck! it should have been otherwise, as David (call me Dave) Cameron felt about the European Union Referendum which split Great Britain asunder and which he expected, with every fibre of his being, to win, to keep Britain firmly and safely At The Table; and so it was with Kaplan's masterminding of Duck's Presidential Campaign and his creation of the Policy by Tweet system of political communication - cut out the Press and speak directly to the Electorate, show the The Man Behind The Mic; his candidate espoused blatant racism, sexism, an absolute rejection of anything remotely akin to owelty, xenophobia, his own petulant arrogance and the narcissism of a three-year-old - and won! – okay, not the Popular Vote which he lost by a million votes, but the corrupt system of the Electoral College – and that is the only vote that really counts in the US of A – tumbled him into office against all the odds and to Kaplan's mortification; so he regarded this mission, both to rescue the Bronx DA and send Sir Parlane MacFarlane into perpetual oblivion, as his Last Hurrah; but then he had met, or rather, encountered, Jinty MacFarlane, and felt like he was back in the Dating Game; could he combine that with his mission at MacFarlane Castle? by all the Gods and his Yiddish ancestry he would Try, and Win or Die!
It took but a parsec for the Chef to hoist lumps from the pork barrel, spread them on her work surface, comminute them into the mince required, mix them with herbs and stock in her pot and Lo! the slumgullion was bubbling in her biggest stewpan, another Dish of the Day was well on it's way; she thought back to her encounter with the five travellers from Gotham City and smiled to herself: the guy might be old enough to be her Father – strike that, Grandfather – but Hey! sometimes a gal can't be too choosey, and she had no intention of sacrificing her dreams to a life in MacFarlane County, like her Mammy and Grannie had; the guy didn't look bad, in fact he was decidedly good-looking and witty and if she was any judge of people – which she knew she definitely was – he was a good catch and when it came to catching guys, Jinty MacFarlane was an expert, so, she decided that if there was going to be a Mrs Kaplan, she would definitely be the one!
Kaplan ended the call he had received just as they left the Diner and he walked over to rejoin his companions; no longer having the air of a mooncalf, he was more his regular jocose self: "that was my friend Callum," he said as he eased himself into the driver's seat, "he's just arrived at the hotel, booked in for a week under the name of Cardinal Ludovic – C Ludo, gettit? Cluedo, I just hope it doesn't blow our cover, but it seems they're pretty preoccupied, so we should be okay; some sort of acrimonious discussion has been taking place between the newly arrived Sir Parlane and his Factor, name of Gillyfeather MacFarlane, who's laid on a big reception for the returning Galahad but the Laird's having none of it! according to Callum, MacFarlane the Laird, flipped off MacFarlane the Factor, who's also his Uncle, and said he wanted a low profile till the news from The Bronx dies down, he doesn't want to draw too much attention to his return or he'll find the place surrounded by TV crews and undercover Mounties; he just wants the place to carry on as usual and him and Doubleday to have some peace and quiet – everyone in the place, guests, staff, could hear him ranting, but then he and Doubleday and a couple of girls went off to his private cabin overlooking the Ocean; Do Not Disturb! if he spots the DA in the place, I wouldn't lay odds on her coming out of there alive – so getting her out and to safety has to be our priority"
It was Isa who got the waitress talking, by telling her that she and her cousin - indicating Milly - had mothers who were sisters and their maiden name had been MacFarlane, and they often spoke of relatives who had gone 'over the water' and settled in Nova Scotia and they had promised their mothers to see if they could track any down; the waitress, a comely red-head, laughed and said: "ye'll find nae shortage o MacFarlanes ower here, honey, in fact ah cood probbly name three or fower folk ah ken o wha urny MacFarlanes, but they're aw merrit ontae MacFarlanes, lemme write doon yer maws' names and whaur they cumfae an Ah'll ask Jinty in the kitchen if she kens emdy wha micht be able tae help ye'se!" and, prepared for these sort of questions, Isa and Milly gave likely-sounding names and birthplaces for the fictitious mothers and the lass bustled away to confer with the knowledgeable Jinty; meanwhile the Transatlantic Famous Five ran over their back-story for their imminent arrival at the MacFarlane Castle Hotel; a few minutes later, Jinty herself, wearing chef's whites arrives at the table and pulled up a chair for herself: "Ah'm Jinty MacFarlane, pleased tae meet ye'se aw," and shook hands with each in turn, keeping hold of Hyman's for a few heartbeats too long, long enough to observe that he wasn't wearing a wedding ring and he was expensively dressed, certainly in comparison with the local menfolk, obviously a City Slicker, but she had no prejudice against single City Slickers, and when she said: "Ah ken there's entertainment laid on at the Castle, but ye ken thae things kin be a bit o a menagerie, rehearsed an laid oan fur tourists, na that Ah've owt against tourists, they're oor breed n bu'urr," and she laughed at her own joke, "but if ye want tae see real life Ah'd be happy tae tak ye tae some places aff the Tourist Trail, if ye ken whit a mean," and in addition to directing her remarks principally to Hyman, she actually gave him a blatant wink and, weak gobemouche that he was, he winked back and nodded: "well, Jinty, I for one would be delighted to take you up on that, I much prefer what they call Local Colour than the Package Tour stuff, and I'm sure the girls would be glad to have a break from me," and he looked around for confirmation, while Jinty said: "weel, there's a wee dance the nicht in St Columb's Kirk Ha' if ye'd fancy that, it'll jist be locals fae the Glen, we dinna get fowk fae the Castle, it's a wee workin village wi nae ancient ruins – except fer Black Boab, he's muncle an he's aboot ninety-three or fower, naebdy's quite sure, but Ah think he stoaped keepin coont a few year back, he still has a wee croft jist like the yins his great-great-grandparents wis brung up oan, apart fae his age he's goat a braw memory and he'll kin likely tell ye mair aboot the Aulden Days than me, the Gaelic's his first tongue and he's a rare singer, oh an iffen ye like Local Colour, we lassies kin still dae the Mooth Music," then she gave a long ululation that seemed to give Hyman a tingle down the back-bone and said she'd meet Him at the Castle gates at 7pm and take him in her own car, as she knew the roads and she wouldn't want him to scrape his own on any of the tight rocky bends; they shook hands on it and she returned to the kitchen while the four girls stared at Hyman and Sadie said: "you've only been here five minutes and you got picked up, it certainly constitutes an événement and in my book I'd say it takes the Matzo!" –
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