Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Sunny Land for Shady People

Debarking from his chartered felucca at the nearest open berth along the quay, a middle-aged, somewhat portly man dressed in a conspicuously heavy Rhenish fashion made his way along the docks to the customs house of the Presipality of Monte Cristo. Consulting his pearl-encrusted pocket-watch with some irritation, the man studiously avoided eye-contact with the other merchants, ship masters and teamsters milling about the building, keeping his eyes instead moving about the room, studiously considering the poor glazing of the windows on the arcade level above which, along with the oil lamps at the clerks' benches, provided the illumination into the somewhat grey chamber of commerce below.

At length, he reached the head of the line, and exhaling the tension accumulated during his unwonted indulgence of delay, greeted the clerk in a fractured, Franconian-accented Monagesque. "Buongiorno, I am called M. Stechung, Directeur-General of Krantz Stahlwerke of Bruttig."

The spectacularly bored clerk barely glanced up from his paperwork. "Business in Monte Cristo?"

"Ah, purely touristic, for the water cure, to tell the truth," the Franconian replied after a moment's hesitation in a vaguely guilty tone which verged on the confessional.

"Any goods to declare?"

"No; only my personal effects."


"Mit the required visas, here," M. Stechung responded, passing over the documents bound in a red leather portfolio embossed with the seal of the Pfalzgraftum of Waldreck. The clerk's eyes flickered only for a moment over the seals and signatures, the last of which was that of Baron de Montglace, Chancellor of Waldreck, himself.

"You are staying where and for how long?" inquired the clerk in disinterested monotone.

"Two weeks, at La Pensione Thelemitissima, on the Baie des Singes."

"Very good; enjoy your stay."



1 comment:

abdul666 said...

Don't trust the 'disinterested monotone' of a 'spectacularly bored [monte-Cristan] clerk', specially when presenting documents signed by Baron de Montglace, Chancellor of Waldreck, himself!

The Bureau de la Sécurité Nationale is already warned. "M. Stechung" will meet some very attractive ladies - mainly foreigners came, like himself, for the water cure, of course; the chambermaid at the Pensione Thelemitissima will be so comely and welcoming...
Somehow I doubt "M. Stechung" managed to obtain such remarkable signature precisely to benefit from free privilegied escorts?