1636 The Devil’s Opera – Snippet 27
A T & L TELEGRAPH
BEGIN: MBRG TO GVL
TO: ATWOOD COCHRAN
ADDR: LOOK IT UP
FROM: MARLA LINDER
DATE: 14 DEC 1635
DOES YOUR PORTABLE RECORDING RIG STILL WORK
IF SO, CAN YOU BRING TO MBURG FOR A ONE SONG GIG
PROBABLY ON OR AROUND JAN 14 TO 16
WILL PAY EXPENSES AND GOING RATE FOR RECORDING
OR IF TROMMLER BUYS IN YOU CAN TAKE ONE FIFTH OF DEAL
RESPOND BY TELEGRAPH
TELL MARCUS HI
Simon’s day turned out to be a good one. He ran messages for several merchants and delivered a package as well. At the end of the day, as he walked toward Frau Zenzi’s, he had three pfennigs in his pocket, and that was after spending the one Hans had given him for a piece of grilled sausage on a stick. That and the remaining roll from yesterday, despite it being a little the worse for wear, had given him more of a day’s meal than he could remember having since forever.
So he was in a good mood when he arrived at the bakery, whistling on his own as he claimed his broom and began sweeping.
“You are in a good mood today,” Frau Zenzi said as he worked.
“Yah. I made a couple of new friends yesterday, and pulled in a couple of coins today.” Simon bent down to look under the edge of the counter to make sure he had swept it clean underneath.
“That is good,” Frau Zenzi replied.
Simon continued sweeping. His good mood made the time pass swiftly, and before he knew it he was done. After he put the broom back in storage, Zenzi gave him a roll. He gave a florid bow in reply, then exited the bakery with her laughter ringing in his ears.
He looked around, but Hans was not in sight yet. There was still a bit of light coming over the roofs of the western houses, so he might be a bit early himself. He sat down on Zenzi’s steps and bit into the roll. It was crusty and filled with flavor. Before he knew it, he was almost done. He was about to finish the last piece, when he realize he hadn’t seen Schatzi yet today.
No sooner had that thought crossed his mind, than Simon saw her, nosing her way down the street. He whistled and she looked his way, ears perked. “Schatzi,” he called, holding out the last scrap of the bread. As always, she approached him slowly, getting just close enough to grab the bread, then scooting back out of his reach to eat it. A few chomps and it was gone. She looked at him for a moment, then moved on her way, following her route, sniffing for the scraps of food that would keep her and her pups alive.
“What was that all about?”
Simon jumped. Hans was leaning against the front of the building next door, hands in pockets, watching him.
“She is the only creature I know who is worse off than I am. I always give her a scrap of my food when I see her.”
Hans straightened. “Do you think that makes her yours?”
“I used to dream that it did, but no. She is too afraid to trust anyone.”
“Hmmph. I know people like that, too.”
So did Simon, and he nodded in agreement.
“I am surprised the knackers haven’t caught up with her,” Hans said.
Simon’s gut twisted at that. He knew that the knackers were charged with clearing stray animals from the streets. “We do not see them around here very often. And Schatzi’s smart, very smart. She would get away from them.”
“That would not take very much smarts. One whiff of them and if she had any sense at all she would be running the other way as fast as she could.” They both shared a laugh over that. Simon remembered the odor that clung to the last knackers he’d seen. Working with dead carcasses did not produce the finest of perfumes.
Hans turned. “Well, come on.”
Simon hurried to catch up with him. “Can I ask you something?”
“What did you mean when you told Fräulein Ursula there would be a fight tonight?”
“A fist fight.”
Simon was confused. Hans knew he was going to be in a fist fight?
Hans looked over at him and laughed at his expression. “For money, boy. A fist fight for money. See, there are men in town who arrange these, and other men in town, especially the well-to-do ones, come and watch them. Bets are laid on who will win, and a lot of money can change hands because of one of these fights.”
“Ah.” Simon nodded. “I have heard about those, but never saw one.”
“Look, boy, Simon, you remember what it was like last night at the arm wrestling?”
Simon nodded vigorously.
“It will be like that, only louder and more excited. People really like this.”
“Oh.” Simon thought about it. “Do you do this often?”
“Every few weeks.”
“Do you win?”
Hans laughed. “Every time so far. And with you as my luck,” he reached over and tousled Simon’s hair, “I am sure to keep winning.”
Simon thought about that as they kept walking. He was Hans’ luck. Okay, as the Americans said. He would be the best luck he could be.