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A Rainy Night on Drury Lane, Part IV — Leering Pale Green Eyes

№143 ~7 minutes

In which I continue part four of the multi-part short story about an ineffectual detective with a lisp.

The plot thickens as Detective Wentworth is shot at by a mysterious German who then invites Detective Wentworth to meet his mitarbeiter. Where are they going? Who is he going to meet and why? And most importantly, why does everything smell like figs?

Find out this and more as you read the next instalment in our “A Rainy Night On Drury Lane” series entitled “Leering Pale Green Eyes”.

For those of you joining us for the first time, I implore — yes, implore even — you to read “Part I — With Sensual Red Lips” here. “Part II — The Brown Note” here. And “Part III — Underneath A Turquoise Sky” here.

Otherwise, feel free to continue.

As usual you can find the soundtrack below.

Silhouette of man standing in the rain.

Peering through the ominous night sky, the moon is shining down on an undisclosed industrial area. The only sounds heard in the background are the crickets with their lonely tune and some faint indistinct Baroque music playing on a gramophone.

Detective Wentworth is sitting on rickety wooden chair trying his best not to vomit into the burlap sack he’s wearing on his head. The car journey here, he could have handled but being blindfolded with an old burlap sack smelling of figs was more than he could handle. As he forces the nausea back down his throat he can hear a door opening in the distance and synchronised footsteps approaching. But before he has time to speak up, a hand grabs on to the burlap sack and pulls it off his head.

It doesn’t take long for his eyes to adjust as the only two sources of light comes from the moon peering in through the barred up windows and the thin cigarette held between the teeth of the shortest of the five men standing in front of him.

“I apologise for ze unsanitary sack you were forced to wear Herr Wentworth but we were not expecting visitors on such a short notice and I am afraid we are in no position to take risks right now. But I do not wish to seem impolite, can I get you something? You look a little thirsty, some water perhaps?”, the short man signals to one of the soldiers as he puffs to inhale another breath from his cigarette.

“Jawohl, Oberstleutnant König!”, springing to attention the soldier steps forward.

Lieutenant Colonel Walter König’s tone of voice turns noticeably harsher as he addresses the soldier, “Zu holen uns etwas Wasser und zwei Gläser. Wir wollen nicht, Herrn Wentworth zu denken, wir sind Barbaren.”

Eager to impress his commanding officer the soldier is only gone for a few minutes before returning with a canteen of water and two glasses.

“We need you to not find Senator Robert McWilliams. And as meine mitarbeiter Herrn Kuhnert already tried to unsuccessfully ‘persuade’ you using ze violence, I would like to appeal to your intelligence.”

As Detective Wentworth looks at Viktor Kuhnert, standing a bit further back, he can now see that he is a man not too different from himself. A slightly overweight man in in his mid-forties, dark brown hair, leering pale green eyes framed by thin glasses. Whilst Detective Wentworth had no need for glasses, his face was as unmemorable as Viktor Kuhnert’s.

“Time is no longer on our side so I am going to get to ze point. There is an ambitious and dangerous man in Deutsches Reich who is trying to start a revolution. Ze men I work for, and their Triumvirate, has already stopped him once but ze volk has begun sympathising with this common Gefreiter and his crusade for Lebensraum. Senator McWilliams shares our nationalistic views and he is vital to our plans to permanently remove this Gefreiter. So, Herr Wentworth, what will it take to get you to stay out of our plans? Money? Women? Men?”

For once in his life Detective Wentworth had managed to stay focused on the monologuing man in front of him, and had heard every word of the surprisingly good English he had spoken.

“Let me get thith thtraight, you’ll give me whatever I want and in exthhange I’ll jutht forget I ever heard of a man named Thenator Robert McWilliamth?”, he made his best effort to conceal the excitement over this prospective deal, he was quite tired of trying to find this elusive Senator anyway and given enough money he could retire again. And stay retired this time.

Whilst Detective Wentworth takes careful sips from his water glass — fighting the lingering nausea from the fig smelling bag — he daydreams about all the things he could buy with this imaginary money of his.

He had been eyeing the new Chevrolet Superior Series B that had come out earlier that year, “I could even get two of them and never have to look at my banged up Tin Litthie again”.

Instead of getting the cheapest scotch his local bootlegger usually had, he would get the third most expensive one.

As Detective Wentworth had gotten older his imagination had shrunk — however small it had been to begin with — and even his wildest dreams were now small and ordinary.

“I want 200,000 in American Dollarth—“, interrupting himself he then continued, “and I want to meet Marion Harrith”.

Lt. Colonel König pulls up a chair in front of Detective Wentworth and lighting himself another cigarette, he offers Detective Wentworth one.

“Yeth, thank you. What brand ith thith?”, having said his price out loud has given him enough confidence to try some small talk.

“Frühen Tod, it is a very common German brand. Now, Herr Wentworth, I do not know who this Frau Harris is but I am sure we can arrange for you to meet… and ze money, will not be a problem at all. In fact, as a sign of good faith we will give you half before you leave from here. So, we have an arrangement, ja? You will give us all ze information of Senator McWilliams and then this meeting never happened.”, Lt. Colonel König signals to the same soldier again and without catching his breath continues, “Kontakt Staatskommissar von Kahr und ihm sagen, zu einer Geld-Übertragung zustimmen, wird die Amerikaner mit uns zusammen.”

“Do you have all ze information with you?”, Lt. Colonel König says as he turns around to face Detective Wentworth.

“Most of them yeth, and a few fileth at my office. But I can burn thothe”, realising the ludicrousness of his proposal, he is about to continue when Lt. Colonel König puts up his hand in a stopping motion.

“I am afraid that will not do Herr Wentworth, I should see that we get everything. We do not want to risk leaving anything loose.. Me and meine mitarbeiter will take you to your office to get ze files, you will get ze first half of ze money and we will leave. We will call you to arrange ze rest of the arrangement, ja? If you are ready to go now, I’m afraid we are going to have to put ze sack back on your head.”

Nodding in compliance, Detective Wentworth finishes his cigarette and takes a deep breath just as the sack is put back on his head. The pungent smell of figs instantly makes him nauseous again.

“Find you happy plathe, find your happy plathe…”, he repeats to himself fighting the urge to vomit again.

Continue to Part V — Nothing But Yellow Newspapers here.

That Story on Drury Lane

Santa Goes Medieval on Everyone’s Asses

A Rainy Night on Drury Lane, Part VII — A White Blanket of Forgiveness

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