Sunday, January 20, 2008

Unexpected Tidings

Landgraf Bogey frowned and looked up as a disturbance in the reception chamber to his office intruded on his thoughts. The noise of voices rose to a crescendo, followed by thumps and bumps, and then the door to his office burst open. A large overcoated man, hat pulled down low over his face and carrying a large package lurched into the room. Servants and officers attempted to hold the man back, but he shrugged them off and stumbled toward the Landgraf.

“You’re…eeka…” the man mumbled, dropping the bundle onto the desk with a thud and collapsing into a nearby chair. Bogey was on his feet, moving to the man and gesturing to the crowd at the entrance.

“Shut that door!” he commanded.

Fräulein Effi, one of the ladies of the court, quickly pushed the door closed, but with herself still in the Landgraf’s office. She placed her back against the door and turned to Bogey, who was peeling open the wet coat of the stranger.

As she realized that the wetness was the man’s own blood, Effi sharply breathed in, making an “Ohh!” sound that she tried to stifle with her hand.

Bogey, shot Effi a stern glance, and turned back to the man. Or rather, he turned back to the body. Reaching inside the inner coat, covered in blood and worse, the Landgraf plucked out a folio of soaked papers, then turned to the frightened young woman.

“He could not have come far with all those holes in him,” Bogey stated matter of factly, gently peeling the red-stained papers apart before tossing them in the fireplace. “Why could he not live long enough to tell us something?”

Bogey strode to the desk and tore open the cover to the bundle. Effi, despite herself, could not resist crossing the room to her Landgraf’s side to look at the contents: toy soldiers, dozens of them, painted in white with various trims. Some kind of bill of lading lay beneath, but she could only see a few letters that read, "..eka Miniatures, Victoria..."

“Do you know who he is, Your Excellency?” Effi asked in a hushed whisper.

“Ja. He was Herr Jakoby, master of the ship Der Vogel.” Bogey lifted one of the soldiers and then glanced at the lists beneath. More to himself than to Effi, the Landgraf muttered, “So, Saxe-Jungbach is contracting with Herr Robson to raise an army, eh?”

Bogey rolled the bundle together and thrust it under his arm. He grabbed Effi by the arm, causing her to wince. “Forget all about the bundle. You got that? You can tell anyone about what happened here, but don’t mention the bundle!”

Effi twisted painfully, “You’re hurting me,” she cried.

Bogey released her arm. “You’re an angel, Fräulein. Now get me General Norris.”

5 comments:

Fitz-Badger said...

Interesting, and very noirish (so to speak).

abdul666 said...

Enthralling story, and fascinating potential. With a new (for me?) 'Saxe-Jungbach' and its army to discover... White-coated? Like the Hesse-Hamburgers, but different I guess... Part of the 'Österreich Über Alles' alliance, maybe?

Wondering, wondering...

Jean-Louis

Bluebear Jeff said...

If it helps at all, do remember that Koenig Maurice of Stagonia is a large "fat man" . . . (I always like Sidney Greenstreet's performances). And he always makes a good villan.


-- Jeff

Stokes Schwartz said...

Ah, but what about Herr Joel von Cairo and "Der Grosse Mann" (Herr Caspar von Guttman?

Best Regards,

Stokes

Ed Youngstrom said...

Thanks gents. I have a complete cast and character list of "Casablanca" that serves for most of my persons of note. And the others are mostly from Bogey's other noir movies, such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, etc.

Yes, Saxe-Jungbach has begun recruiting. This extremely cadet branch of the Saxon families takes its name from the "young stream" that seems to have been the genesis for my ancestor's "army name" in Sweden back in the 19th century. It was slightly Anglicized to "Youngstrom" on arrival in the US. Apparently, Great-Grandfather's surname was originally "Gustavsson" but he wanted something new to go with his new life.

I should be working on the background to Saxe-Jungbach in the next few days.

Ed v. H-F