Friday, March 5, 2010

Traveling At Night

Traveling At Night

Some rock or pothole had jolted him awake. Frankly, he was surprised that he’d fallen asleep in the first place. These frontier goat paths through the mountains didn’t really qualify as roads in broad daylight, and sending a coach rumbling through these mountains at night time was insane. Typical of little Stinky though.
He wondered if the driver and escorts were Frankfurter or Wiener agents. The two outriders had Wiener accents and old sergeant manners, but Adolf who sat across from was clearly part of Kunegunde’s agency. He wondered if that fixed smile would become alive if Adolf was watching some poor wretch being tortured. The way Adolf always knew where he’d planted his small backup pistol was unnerving.
At least Adolf did seem very solicitous of Hans, the poor Stagonian servant. That man looked like someone who had tried one of the bad dream powders from Asia. Clumsy, retarded, obedient to the letter of every instruction, the poor fellow had to be dressed and cleaned by Adolf Badmann.

He wished he could look out, even though it was nighttime. Moonlight on the high snowfield was always lovely. He would love to share that with his s ... aide. The lad slept the innocent and cheerful sleep of youth, while his secretary slept the experienced sleep of the old campaigner. The last time he had come this way, he smiled to remember it, he’d been amused by the fantasies of sweet, little Stuftliana. She’d more than half expected to be introduced into some rude fastness where men with horned helmets growled about the battlements or roistered drunkenly in the courtyard.

So she was a mother now. He shook his head. Time passes. Things change, but she’d been a vastly better companion than Badmann’s mannequin like fixed, blue smile. In the dark coach, Adolf’s face looked varnished.

He thought of the note from Dilbers he’d found in yesterday’s brats and wondered how many monasteries they were trying to slip past

There was a quick rapping on the blinds. Adolf pulled one back slightly. “Ja?”
“Hussars, Meine Herr.”
“Hussars?” There was an incongruous note of surprise.
“Hussars,” was confirmed by the rider outside.
Badmann frowned a moment. “Ask them for fresh horses, and show them the documents from the blue case.”
“Now which case was that?”
“Blau, meine Herr.”
“Ja. Gut. And make sure that Hans has his blunderbuss ready.”
“Ja, meine Herr.”

There was stirring in the coach as everybody checked their frizzens and made sure that their other tools were accessible as the clatter of the wheels slowed.

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