Sunday, April 4, 2010

Magpie Entry #8


Victor: I’ve told you before, I don’t like doing this.
Mike: I know, but this is something special. I really need your help. An expert like you can tell me if this thing is worth real money. If so, well, there’s a big chunk of dough in it for you.
Victor: All right, let me have a look at it.



Mike: There. What do you think? Yeah, go ahead, take your time, no hurry. Look it over good.
Victor: I don’t need to look it over at all. I know what it is.
Mike: You do? You mean it’s famous?
Victor: You could say that. How did you get this?
Mike: There are two young men who sort of work for me. They – er – acquired it.
Victor: You’re a fence, aren’t you, Mike? And the two young men are punks who steal stuff for you, right?
Mike: Now, wait a minute. How they got it or how it got here isn’t the question. All I want to know from you is, what’s it worth?
Victor: What did you pay for it?
Mike: Well, I figured I could always sell it for fifty dollars – a hundred if I’m lucky. So I gave them thirty-five bucks for it.
Victor: Thirty-five bucks. Unbelievable…
Mike: It’s worth more? A lot more?
Victor: To you it’s worth nothing. You wasted your thirty-five bucks.
Mike: What are you trying to pull? It’s gotta be worth something.



Victor: Let me give you a bit of history. Way back in the year 1918, the royal family of imperial Russia, the Romanoffs, were assassinated by Bolshevik secret police. You’ve heard about this?
Mike: Sort of.
Victor: Then maybe you also heard that one of the daughters, Anastasia, managed to live through the assassination attempt and escaped.



She later lived in Europe for years under the name of Anna Anderson. The word got around in recent years that she had moved to the States and spent the rest of her life here. Nobody could verify this; she wanted to avoid all publicity.
Mike: And this thing belonged to her?
Victor: You guessed it. She had it with her at all times, the only thing she had been able to save.
Mike: And you’re trying to tell me it isn’t worth anything?



Victor: It isn’t worth anything to you. That girl, just a teenager at the time of the assassination attempt, was a royal princess: the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If you could put this up for auction I imagine the bidding would begin at around twenty million.
Mike: Holy smoke!
Victor: But if you tried to sell it you’d have cops and FBI and God knows who else after you. And they’d learn a lot about your operation you’d just as soon they didn’t know.
Mike: You wouldn’t consider buying it, would you?
Victor: I would not. There’s never going to be anything but headaches with this. Way I see it, the person who owns it – or owned it before it was stolen from him – was keeping it very quiet, and probably for good reason.
Mike: So what am I supposed to do?
Victor: I’ll tell you what you should do. Pay the two hoodlums who stole this to carefully take it back to the home they stole it from. Leave it on the doorstep with a note saying “Easter egg. Happy Easter!” Then press the doorbell and run like hell.

48 comments:

Derrick said...

Do you suppose he will?! I imagine there may be a lot of Russian-related stories for this piece.

JC said...

I like what you did with that ...

Muckala Family said...

Cute story! I love the story of Anastasia. It has always intrigued me. My children enjoy watching the cartoon Anastasia with me. Happy Easter.

Myda

Berowne said...

Derrick: "I imagine there may be a lot of Russian-related stories for this piece."

My thought exactly. I haven't read any others; they might be just like mine! :-)

Peter Goulding said...

Berowne, I doubt there'll be any like yours. You have a most unique style.

Berowne said...

Thanks to JC and the Muckalas for their friendly comments.

Catalyst said...

I must agree with Peter. Great job, Berowne!

Berowne said...

Happy Easter to all -- especially Peter Goulding and Catalyst for their encouraging comments.

willow said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I came "this" close to writing something almost identical to this, Mr. B! Some years back I was obsessed with the Grand Duchess Anastasia and Anna Anderson and read everything I could get my hands on about them. Well done. As you can tell, I LOVED this!!

Katherine said...

Happy Easter to you too Berowne! I loved your story! I hope they put it back!

Berowne said...

Katherine: "I loved your story! I hope they put it back!"

Truth to tell, I left out the bitter ending because it is so depressing. The two dopes left it in front of the wrong doorstep!

Berowne said...

willow: "Well done. As you can tell, I LOVED this!!"

Coming from the person who's responsible for this whole megillah, that's a comment indeed. Thanks.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Berowne, you entertain and educate at the same time! Reading your work is better than TV or even those old radio programs back in the good 'ol days. The only thing missing is the sound effects!

Rick

Yemalla said...

This is awesome! Do you ever wonder if Anastasia did really make it? It's such a mystery and somehow this egg has managed make it's way into the mystery in several stories. Collective conscience at work? Maybe Anastasia is guiding some of our hands...

Tumblewords: said...

Great job with this - a terrific read.

A Blogoddess Tale said...

Wonder if the ding-dong who stole it, was smart enough to leave well alone....or was Victor even smarter and trying to right a wrong? Interesting take.

joanny said...

Berowne

Your story was unique -- once again, you never fail to delight the reader....

Joanny

Jeanne said...

But wouldn't it be tempting to just hang onto that little piece of history/fantasy?

Dedene said...

I would have kept the egg. A very cute story.

Berowne said...

R. Burnett: "Berowne, you entertain and educate at the same time!"
If that's really what happens, I'm gratified indeed. Thanks.
Yemalla: "This is awesome! Do you ever wonder if Anastasia did really make it?"
I know it means I'm being a wet blanket, but solid, scientific research has proved that she never did.
Tumblewords: "Great job with this - a terrific read."
Thanks for your generous comment on my tumbled words. :-)
And thanks to A Blogoddess Tale and joanny for such encouraging comments.
Jeanne: "But wouldn't it be tempting to just hang on to that little piece of history/fantasy?"
Tempting, yes. But I have to agree with Victor that to own such a thing would mean a variety of huge headaches.

Berowne said...

Dedene: "I would have kept the egg. A very cute story."
It's that well-known French influence at work on you. You probably felt, what an omelet I could make with this thing!" :-)

chiccoreal said...

That's one hot egg for the Bowry Boys to unload! Can see Edgar G. Robinson and James Cagney in this 30's detective story. These guys are smart! Love the history of Anastasia; was she the dame or not? G-r-e-a-t story B-e-r-o-w-n-e!

Maha said...

I was really caught in the story. Very interesting.

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: "That's one hot egg for the Bowry Boys to unload! Can see Edgar G. Robinson and James Cagney in this 30's detective story."
See if you can work Lee Tracy in there somewhere. :-)

JoeyRes said...

I might have to try to auction that egg. You think the FBI wouldn't believe my story?

Berowne said...

JoeyRes: "I might have to try to auction that egg. You think the FBI wouldn't believe my story?"
Forget the FBI. How would you explain the 20 million bucks to your husband? :-)

Brian Miller said...

facinating read...very ominous in the telling...you sucked me in though...

Teri said...

Loved this story. I don't know much about Anastasia and this, as others have pointed out, is a good take on some history. It makes me want to delve into it more. Thanks for the nudge.

Peg said...

Nice bit of history - and good advice. I love it!

Suz said...

I enjoy the way you tell a story..like listening to old radio....
which I do every Saturday night!
I love the other ending.....leaving it at the wrong house...on purpose ?
good tale

ds said...

Ring the bell and run like hell. Yes, indeedy! Fun way to bring real history into the story of a couple of bumbling crooks.

French Fancy said...

Wasn't the DNA test on Anna Anderson proof that she was not related? I seem to recall this from the back of my dusty brain.

I love the egg in your picture though - that's the second time I've seen it today.

Berowne said...

Fr Fancy: "Wasn't the DNA test on Anna Anderson proof that she was not related?"

Long before DNA tests there was solid evidence that she was not Anastasia, but people so loved the story of her escape that they didn't want to hear about it.

Berowne said...

And thanks to Brian Miller, Teri, Peg and ds for their comments.

Berowne said...

Suz: "I enjoy the way you tell a story."

And I enjoy the way you post a comment. :-)

Joan Tucker said...

very good story; I was swept up and I liked the dialogue. Joan T

tori said...

this post made me smile but I laughed out loud when you said you almost had it end with the egg being left outside the wrong door!! very funny!

Queenmothermamaw said...

Hi Browne, I love the story of Anastasia too and history period. Parts of my story are true but the family is not. Now, I will be back when I get your comment "Spasibo! Christos Voskres" translated. With the explanation mark, it has to be positive or strongly negative. Honestly I hoped I did not offend anyone with my simple attempt at some Russian words.
QMM

Berowne said...

Queenmothermamaw: "Now, I will be back when I get your comment "Spasibo! Christos Voskres" translated."

That's the way Russians greet each other on Easter: "Christ is risen!"

Berowne said...

tori: "this post made me smile"

Good -- that's what I was aiming for. :-)

Jo said...

Great post and one that immediately piqued my curiosity.

Not being terribly quixotic, I nonetheless found myself utterly fascinated over the years with the story of the Romanov's and, particularly Anastasia, whom I truly hoped and wished with every ounce of ferver I could muster survived to be 'Anna Anderson'.

Alas, it wasn't so.

Regardless, I remain fascinated and your story was a great addition to their legacy.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo
'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'

Poetikat said...

Great dialogue and I love the resolution.

Kat

steviewren said...

Love your dialogue driven stories! There is an art to making dialogue sound real and you have the knack.

Jennifer said...

Great read and I love the historical interweaving Berowne. Fun magpie!

Jenny said...

Darn, that's probably why we didn't see it on Antiques Roadshow.

Berowne said...

Wonderful, much-appreciated comments from Jo, Poetikat, steviewren and Jenny. Thanks

Pat said...

Wasn't it Ingrid Bergman who played her so convincingly? Sad that in the end her survival was found not to be true. Fun story.

Berowne said...

Pat: "Wasn't it Ingrid Bergman who played her so convincingly? "

Yep, half a century ago. Helen Hayes was in he film too.

 
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