Monday, October 25, 2010

Enter the Holy Man

Autumn

(I apologize for the bad German in my posts. Forty odd years ago, I could read and mumble a bit of Deutsche along with some others ... all that burned away in a high fever about 1968 or 69. So I’m using dim memories of phrases common around the house .... in hopes of someday reviving access to those memories).

Father Umlaut, a cheerful, portly priest was putting up the buckets and brooms in the sacristy of St. Griselda’s. As usual, he’d had to clean up after the morning Mass. There were few Papists in his parish, and the episcopal directive that paid positions such as sexton (and except for musicians) had to be given to the “true Faithful” rather restricted the available pool of talent for sextons and such. No matter, he needed the little exercise it gave him, and the extra prayer time before the Eucharist. He was grateful for the good nature of the villagers. His Altar Sodality was mostly Protestant (and the reason that his main altar cloths were quilts). He finished locking up the chalice and rinsing out the cruet (most churches used two, one for water and one for wine ... since he tended to pour straight from the bottle which was shared with folks after Mass .... it being always donated by one of the local vintners .... he only needed one cruet).
He went out into the Sanctuary again, genuflected, and happily turned towards the doors and their enticing view of Bruderhansen beer garden across the road. Abruptly, a shadow detached itself from the stairs to the choir loft. “Eine Moment, mein Vater,” it whispered.
“Certainly, mein Herr ....?” Fr. Umlaut responded.
“Herr Schwartzmann, Vater,” the man whispered.
“You need Confession?” The priest asked the stranger.
“Nein. Ich nichts hier bin, Verstehe?” it whispered back.
“Ah,” the normally cheerful cleric was saddened. More difficulties, and now in his parish. “Sigh”.
“Kommen Sie vor dem Hurtshog.”
“The Hurtshog!?!” Father Umlaut quickly lowered his voice. There’d been rumors of a wound and an infection in the battle at the Gallian Depot. Were Last Rites needed for their patriotic ruler? “I’ll get my anointing kit,” he whispered to the stranger and turned back to the sacristy.
“Nein, nein,” the dark man responded. “Aber, Kommen Sie schnell, bitte.” The man tugged at Fr. Umlaut’s cassock urgently, so they went outside together. Father saw a tinker’s cart waiting beside the church and clambered aboard with Schwartzmann. They soon plodded out of town, but as soon as the road curved behind the first hill, Schwartzmann shouted and the horse broke into a swift trot. Startled, Father Umlaut looked more closely at the mane, tail, and rump rushing ahead of him. This was no tinker’s horse!
After they’d jounced down the road for about a half an hour, the cart turned onto a faint trace which Umlaut knew led to a dilapidated estate which had been an hunting lodge in a previous century. No sooner had the cart passed through the tree line, however, two dragoons rode quickly out of cover and challenged them. Schwartamann simply stood up in his seat and lifted the huge,, floppy hat. The troopers saluted and turned back to their hiding places.
Seconds later, the cart came into view of a very refurbished mansion. Fr Umlaut swept his eyes around quickly and spotted mounted Cuirassiers of the Lieb Garde posted about the park. Once again, the good priest worried for the safety of Frankszonia. As they drove through the gates, he noted that the sentry boxes were filled with Jaegers who stood guard with the crispness of Grenadiers. Two civilians came out to help the priest down.
“Herr Schwartzman,” one of the men said quietly to the priest’s companion.
“Herr Badmann,” the tinker replied.
“We’ve got some hot Frankfurters boiling.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Schwartamann completed what was obviously a ritual. “He seemed familiar?” he asked about the other civilian who was leading the cart and its horse away.
“Von Mack,” Baddmann grinned.
“Ah,” Schwartzmann nodded his acknowledgment.

As the party entered the gloomy hall, Fr. Umlaut heard a baby crying somewhere nearby. A door opened and a Russian hussar and a Turkish officer stepped towards them warily. “Well, Mackie,” the Turk asked in the local German dialect, “is this your little saint?”
“Prince Allbrick?” Fr Umlaut burst excitedly.
“Nein, Nein,” Schwartzmann interrupted, “Er ist der Pasha Pastrami!”
“Right,” the priest winked at the “Turk” who then introduced his friend, SomeRussian Guyovitch. They apologized for their unfamiliarity with local customs as they led the priest into a chamber where two ladies were soothing a cradle and a group of officers were clustered near the fireplace. Hottotrot and Beauphaup were seated with another lady beside a wounded officer lying on a chaise. Then, the Hurtshog rose somewhat stiffly from the cluster of officers.
“Benjamin,” the portly noble greeted Fr Umlaut. “I’d take you by the hand, but they’ve got it tapped to my side,” he chuckled. “Your Highness,” he called to the women by the cradle, “If you and your brother would be so good as to join us?” One of the ladies rose and joined with Guyovitch and the Pasha. Umlaut recognized the Duchess v. Kern.
“This is a pleasure!” the priest hugged her jovially. “We were all afraid that you’d been killed in one of Stanken’s mad schemes.”
“Unfortunately,” one of the officers responded grimly, “the order knows we’re all alive too.”
“The order?” Umlaut was shocked. “That was suppressed!”
“Yeah, right,” the “Pasha” responded. “I had to shoot my way through them at Aschenberg.”
“And,” Guyovitch added, “since they’re suppressed, they can’t possible be combining with von Pederastein from Stagonia, right?”
“That’s sickening,” Umlaut agreed.
“We’ve thought of a way of spotting them, however, before they strike,” a tall, dark officer volunteered in an heavy accent. “They will be hunted even as they stalk us.”
“And that,” the Hurtshog chimed in cheerfully, “is where you and your empty church come into the game.”

5 comments:

Kraxpelax said...

GAMMABLIXT


SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE

There's much in the world that you can't explain.
It's revealed for you to remember
by the whispering voice of a distant train
or a midnight rain in november.

Horizon within! You can always find
the keys to Enigma. Let's mention
one basic Truth: of spirited Mind
is Nature naught but extension.

Internal expanses! In dreams, ridden
by fear and longing you roam
that deep Southeast in your soul hidden
...on your random journey back home.

---

As a native Swede, I am particularly proud of my love poetry suite Sonnets for Katie.

My Poems

*

PoƩtudes

My Spanish Poetry



And: reciprocity: for mutual benefit, you will do me a favor promoting your own blog on mine!

The best way to do it is lining up as a Follower, since then your icon will advertise you indefinitely, and I will follow you in return. Let's forge a mighty alliance of synergy and common interest.

Yours,

- Peter Ingestad, Sweden

abdul666 said...

A glimpse full of excitement, interest and promises! Good to have you back to writing - keep regaling us!
Cheers,
Jean-Louis

Bluebear Jeff said...

Why do I suspect that the "empty church" will soon be filled?


-- Jeff

Martin said...

Hi Arthur!

I agree. It's good to have you back in the (writing) saddle again. I'm already looking forward to the next installment.

All the best,

Martin

Martin said...

Hi Arthur!

I agree. It's good to have you back in the (writing) saddle again. I'm already looking forward to the next installment.

All the best,

Martin