Monday, February 22, 2010

Magpie Entry #2


“Come in, come in, Colonel. Sit down. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“The pleasure is mine, Ma’am. I hope you’re comfortable here in the hotel.”

“Oh, yes. The Forum is a great hotel. By the way, we’ve known each other for quite a while; call me Anna.”

“Oh, no, Ma’am. I mean, the General’s wife…”

“Couldn’t we forget all that General’s wife thing for a while? I feel almost as though I was here on vacation. You see, Colonel, I know Bratislava well; I went to school here as a teenager. And now, here I am staying at the famous Hotel Forum.”

“Wait, there’s something I want to show you. Here it is. This is a matchbox of this hotel that I kept from those days. It’s a memento of some of the happiest years of my life.”

“Ma’am, I do apologize for bringing this up, but Major Hertzog has put out an official proclamation doing away with the old name of this city, Brato...”


“Yes. Since March of ’39, this city has a new name, a proper German name: “Pressburg.” That is the only name that we can use when referring to this city in either conversation or in writing.”

“And that is on the orders of – Major Hertzog?”


“Colonel, I’m a little puzzled. My husband placed you in command here until he arrives next month. You certainly outrank a major. Why is this Hertzog giving orders?”

“Well, Ma’am, it’s a bit complicated. I realize you are new to the army and it must be confusing at times. It’s just that this is the way things are done”

“Is Major Hertzog SS?”

“Yes, but that has nothing to do…”

“I see. I think I understand. Don’t worry; I’ll say no more about it.”

“Perhaps that would be best.”

“Look at this picture, Colonel. Someone slipped it under my door back in Berlin. We were told that the Slovaks welcomed us when we came in ’39. Now here’s a picture of a woman who was forced to give the Nazi salute and she was crying as our troops marched in.”

“No, not at all, Ma’am. That’s a famous picture. Those are tears of joy. She is happy at the thought of her country becoming part of the Third Reich and that it will last for the next thousand years.”

“I see.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Ma’am?”

“Well, yes, Colonel. There is something; I wanted to ask a favor of you. I thought it wouldn’t be difficult – (she laughs) – but that’s before I heard about Major Hertzog! You see, I have a friend here in…uh…”


“Yes. Her husband has been arrested and is being held somewhere here in the city; they won’t tell her where. She swears he has done nothing wrong. This woman is an old school friend of mine, a very close friend, Colonel. I wonder if you could allow the man to be released to go home to his wife and family.”

“I wish I could be of help, Ma’am.”

“It would certainly mean a lot to me. It’s why I made the trip here.”

“I’ll submit the request to the proper authority and we’ll see what can be done.”

“The proper authority – that would be Major Hertzog?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“And that means there is little chance that this will happen?”

“Very little.”

“Perhaps there is a way that you could do this without having to bother friend Hertzog, without having to notify him of it?”

“Perhaps I should explain. I could easily do this. I could sign a paper and your friend’s husband would be home with her in a couple of hours. But Ma’am, I would be a dead man! Do you know how the SS handles people they regard as traitors?”

“I have tried not to think about it, actually.”

“Well, think about it for a moment. They use a hook, a huge sharp meat hook that they place here, see, right under the chin – and they HANG YOU LIKE MEAT!”

“Good heavens.”

“If I may offer some advice, Ma’am. Take the sightseeing tour of the city and then go back to Berlin and plan for what you might do when the war ends – and it looks like that might not be all that far in the future.”

“The news has been so bad lately. Colonel – do you think we might lose?”

“I bid you good day, Ma’am.”


Brian Miller said...

very nice story...sounds a bit afraid to speak the truth...i guess i probably would have been as well. wonderfully done!

Anonymous said...

No doubt your creative screen play writing skills are here at work. Great job. I can see it on film already and naturally filmed on location at the Hotel Forum, Bratislava! Smiles :) The Bach

Berowne said...

Thanks so much, Brian.

Berowne said...

Bachelor: "I can see it on film already and naturally filmed on location at the Hotel Forum, Bratislava!"

Good news. I just heard we can get James Cameron to direct!

Poetikat said...

I think Tom Tykwer would do something interesting with this.
I'm a big lover of foreign film (as I see you are too). Have you seen any of the Scandinavian films? The Swedish film, "Songs From the Second Floor" is a truly memorable one.

I liked the story; it rang true for me.


R. Burnett Baker said...

Berowne....thanks for visiting my space.

This is terrific! Reading it, I feel I watched an entire movie. An entire story in so few words!

joanny said...


It would make a wonderful play! To think situations actually happened or maybe still is in some parts of the world...
Kudos -- a good read to the end -- although this story could be a --to be continued. . .

Peter Goulding said...

The unspoken sentiment is often more frightening than the visual act. Sinister!

Berowne said...

Poetikat: >>The Swedish film, "Songs From the Second Floor" is a truly memorable one.<<

You have excellent taste in film, Poetikat.

Berowne said...

R. Burnett Baker: "This is terrific! Reading it, I feel I watched an entire movie."

Your comment is much appreciated, R. Burnett.

Berowne said...

My thanks to Peter Goulding and joanny for their encouraging comments.

Vicki Lane said...

A grim tale, well told!

willow said...

I'm thinking the Colonel must be from the south with all his "ma'am" talk.

Cool hat. Is it yours?

The Hausfrau said...

I definitely agree that this felt like a scene in a play or movie. Intriguing, and worthy of a shiver or two there at the end!

Berowne said...

"Intriguing"? A fine word, Hausfrau, and thanks.

Berowne said...

"A grim tale, well told."
My thanks to Vicki Lane.

Everyday Goddess said...

Wow! To show the power of brainwashing with such ease is a great skill. You rock.

I'm sure you've seen the film, Zelary? I netflixed it after Willow posted about it ~ very good.

Berowne said...

What an enthusiastic reception to my humble little effort; thanks, E. Goddess.

"I'm sure you've seen the film, Zelary?"

Yes, I netflixed it a few months ago. As you say, very good.

Elizabeth said...

Chilling and so well-written.

Berowne said...

A much-appreciated comment, Elizabeth -- thanks.

Jessie said...

well done. very vivid and concise.

thank you for stopping by my bloghome and leaving a few words. i hope you come by again soon. i enjoy the feedback.


Berowne said...

Jessie: "i hope you come by again soon. i enjoy the feedback."

No question, this blogging deal is a great way to build up a new list of friends.

steviewren said...

I admire people who can write successful dialog. Congrats on a job well done.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

ahh such history and supplemental figures! All I did was learn where Bratslava is/was ans then ignored that...You presented a better grasp of the history...I enjoyed and felt the fear!

Berowne said...

A great comment, Pat Transplanted -- thanks.

Berowne said...

And another warm thank-you to steviewren.

C.M. Jackson said...

what an awful time--thank you for the history,photos as well as a wonderful story--will it continue?

Jennifer said...

So many of us today don't know the sinister mood and danger of the time and in Europe. We can only imagine - through stories such as this one. Great job B!

Berowne said...

Jennifer: "Great job, B!"
Great comment, Jennifer -- and thanks.

Berowne said...

C.M. Jackson: "Thank you for the history, photos as well as a wonderful story--will it continue?"

Let's see what the next Magpie prompt is like.

spacedlaw said...

Creepy! Well done.

Berowne said...

Thanks so much, spacedlaw. BTW, what does "spacedlaw" mean?

Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.