1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT — snippet 21

 

1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – snippet 21:

 

 

Chapter 12

 

 

Grantville

 

            “Hey, Veda Mae. Can I share your table?”

            She looked up. The dining room at the Willard Hotel was crowded for lunch and it was Bryant Holloway. She had known him all his life and he was her cousin somehow through the Cunninghams, so she couldn’t very well say no. Therefore, she cleared her purse off the other side where it had been staking her claim and said, “Sure. Haven’t seen you for a while.”

            “I’ve been in Magdeburg since the middle of last winter. I’m just back for a month or so now for a fire prevention training conference.”

            “What’s Magdeburg like?”

            “Start with this. The Fire Marshall of our wonderful United States of Europe is that prick from Baltimore, Archie Stannard. One of the Masaniellos’ relatives who got caught in the Ring of Fire because of Vince and Carla’s fortieth anniversary party over at Pray Your Rosary Catholic Church, or whatever they’re calling it these days.”

            “What’s wrong with him?”

            “From the minute the Grantville fire department chief Steve Matheny picked him up as assistant chief, Stannard’s been trying to make us more ‘professional.’ Sometimes I thought that if I heard the word ‘professional’ one more time, I would gag. Steve kept us right up to the mark on equipment and training, but he didn’t preach about it. Stannard does. I guess I could have lived with that, though. Since the Ring of Fire, we’d all been on call 24/7 and that wears you out, so I sort of put it down to stress. But then in the fall of ‘32, Stearns made this agreement with What’s His Name, the captain general you know, and Stannard started on this kick of expanding modern fire prevention into the rest of the New United States. It’s one thing to work your ass off for Grantville. It’s something else when they expect you to do it for a bunch of foreigners.”

            Sensing a kindred spirit, Veda Mae actually smiled. “You didn’t have anyone in Magdeburg back then, did you?”

            “No. But they sent me over to Rudolstadt, right off the bat, as soon as Steve insisted that he needed me to go full-time rather than volunteer. Which I agreed to do, even though, with overtime, I was sure making more at Ollie’s than the government pays us. The count over there speaks some English, at least, even though he sounds like one of those Shakespeare plays that Lisa Dailey tried to make us read in high school.”

            “Shakespeare’s not so bad. We even read some of his stuff back in my day, and he sounded a lot like the King James Version. Which the Reverends Jones never should have gotten rid of and put in one of these so-called modern translations of the Bible.” Veda Mae veered off on a tangent, pursuing one of her favorite grievances. By the time she ran down, Bryant had finished half of his lunch.

            “Anyway, you asked what Magdeburg is like. We’re trying to prevent all of the wonderful Emperor Gustavus Adolphus’ Kraut allies from turning themselves into krispy kritters, which, if you ask me, most of them deserve. They’re the ones who messed up and caused the disaster at Underwood’s coal gas company. And now Quentin’s dead himself, poor guy. None of the Krauts up at Wietze went running to help him, as far as I’ve ever heard.

            “I’m not even at the Navy Yard, which might make some sense. I drew Station Number One. With Bibi Blackwood, of all people, as Captain and Officer in Charge. I never did hold with women ‘firefighters’ and I still don’t. They even had to change the word from ‘firemen.’”

            “I never heard anyone complain that Bibi couldn’t handle it. She’s a big woman.”

            Bryant couldn’t argue with that. Bibi was a big woman, all right. He nodded, then said, “At least her boys are grown and Sara stayed back here in Grantville with Dean and his new wife, so she’s not distracted by having to find child care and schools. I’ll give her that much.”

            “Kraut woman.”

            “Bibi?”

            “Dean’s new wife. Would you believe that her name is Krapp?”

            Bryant laughed so loud that people stared at them.

            “The whole town is going to pot,” Veda Mae said. “You can’t believe how many decent Americans are marrying these Kraut whores. There must be a half dozen or so who are actually taking classes at that Kraut church out on what used to be Route 250 on the way to Rudolstadt so they can marry them in Kraut ceremonies. And it won’t be any too soon for Ryan Baker and his girlfriend if you know what I mean, believe me. Little slut. She works in Cora Ennis’ kitchen at the cafe.”

            “I can see that it’s getting to be a problem. Hell, Veda Mae. Have you heard what Lenore’s dad did?”

            “Wes? Not a word. Not since he and the other people we sent over to Fulda were kidnapped by a bunch of ungrateful Krauts. That was in the paper a while back. I don’t have time to read the papers much, though.”

            “Well, the rest of our people over there got them back, including Wes. Anyway, he celebrated his delivery from the dungeon, or wherever he was, by marrying a Kraut woman himself. Sister of that Dietrich Bachmeier from Badenburg who’s a sort of cousin of the guy who’s Birdie Newhouse’s partner these days. That farmer up at Sundremda. Same last name.”

            “At his age, he should have known better. Wes, I mean. Stearns and Piazza must be nuts to have appointed someone as chief civilian administrator in one of our Kraut territories who would behave like that. He ought to have kept his distance, so they would respect him. What did they call it after World War II? ‘Nonfraternization policy.’ That’s it. Not that it worked the way it should have. Arnold Bellamy’s own mother was one of those Kraut war brides. He’s not from here, of course; he was from someplace in New Jersey when Natalie Fritz married him. So he’s half-Kraut himself. And Curtis Maggard’s mother, too. The woman’s as crazy as a coot. Well, of course, Stearns… Becky’s a Kraut, no matter what people say. Sometimes it seems to me that half of this town is going native. Thank god he’s no relative of mine. Neither one of them is, Stearns nor Jenkins.

            “Nor, thank heavens, the daughter of that idiot Pat Murphy. Did you hear that she’s back in town again, with that Kraut named Junker she works with? Junk’s a good name for him. Back from whatever it was she’s been doing down in Franconia. Probably up to no good. She’s working for Carol Unruh at the Department of Economic Resources, did you know. With that name, Carol’s likely a Kraut herself. I know her husband is, that Koch. She met him in Germany, up-time, for all he tells people that he was actually born in Greece.”

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
This entry was posted in 1632Snippet, Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top

Comments

6 Responses to 1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT — snippet 21

  1. Douglas says:

    Getting ugly…Melissa Mailey tried to avoid this right off. That’s why she supported the Jeff Higgins-Gretchen Richter romance and wedding.

  2. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Not to down-play this ugliness, but this is a minority of uptimers. Melissa wanted to avoid Officially Supported Bigotry.

  3. Alejo says:

    this bigotry was present from the beginning with the Club 250 crowd. There’s a gazette story that introduces the old lady. Very typical architype for bigotry: old, opinionated, set in her ways, with a disposition sour enough to ruin milk straight out of the cow. She’s also none too bright but thinks she knows everything and she likes to “tell the whole world” what she thinks. God help me, I’m related to someone like that. Felt the same old seething frustration I feel around this person when I was reading scenes where she figured prominently. She was a very well-written character, I must say.

  4. af says:

    Very soapish… like it should be in the Grantville Gazettes?

    As The World Turns…

  5. Drak Bibliophile says:

    On Baen’s Bar (1632Tech), there are people who complain about the “Perfect Uptimers”. They forget about the Club 250 idiots.

  6. Alejo says:

    Drak Bibliophyle, You are surely joking! Good lord! Guess they forgot Underwood, Chip Jenkins, and that fellow who beat his wife with with the bookish kid. I can not recall his name. Lefferts “persuaded” him to work for Don Francisco and to stop selling unalterd uptime books.

    My only big gripe with this series and, to be honest, it’s not that big a deal to me in the grand scheme of things, is the way in which music and musical figures are portrayed. I refer to the Carrico stories. They have a downtime art music violinist playing Irish folk music to inspire fellow art musicians to learn uptime classical music. I love Irish music as much as the next man but, I would’ve though Paganini, Corelli, or Tartini would’ve been better choices. There’s also a castrato who would be more in line with figures two generations later such as Pistocchi, Tosi or Siface. He’s also got Carissimi portrayed as one whose music was largely lost. The man perfected oratorio and his work isn’t at all forgotten. Like I said, in the grand scheme of things, my gripe is very minor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.