Sunday, May 21, 2017

Excerpt: Decadence in Weimar Germany

Note: taIWWan will be sharing excerpts from David Barry Temple's sci-fi novel, A Western Metempsychosis, about time travelers who go back in history to rescue the human race from fascists, imperialists, and capitalists. 
In this scene, the time travelers have just been re-joined by Earl in the body of a German Lieutenant. His mission is to transmigrate into Hitler and re-write history. Imagine if the communists won the revolution in Germany instead of the capitalists capitulating to fascism, just as Clinton's Democrats did to Sanders which resulted in Trump?  

After visiting the café regularly for almost three years, in October, 1921, their prayers were answered. For almost three years, they waited for a sign from Earl. As they sat at the table where they had first met Rosa, their coffee time was disturbed by a familiar language in a queer accent:
     “Adolph and I are to meet in one month’s time.” They looked up to see the Lieutenant, speaking English with an annoying New York accent though the syntax and lexicon was purely continental. The patrons around them looked over. “It is unsafe to talk here. Let’s scram!”
     His three friends from Page, Arizona couldn’t stop laughing. Earl’s accent still rang true though Wolfgang’s metempsychosis dust into Samuel, Samuel who time-traveled with the three cohorts, and sustained the spirit of Earl Stubbs and Rosa Luxemburg in the body of the Lieutenant. Earl’s dominant presence was leading the way to influencing a better man from the one who ordered death to the activists of German communism.
     Bertha, Martha, and Wolfgang covered their mouths to stifle themselves but drew attention as they stood to exit the café. Gail's Bertha, couldn’t contain the joy of seeing Earl again, though it was in another lifeline, place, and time. Just then, Leon's Wolfgang six-foot frame leaped on to the back of his brother, now the Lieutenant, disregarding Samuel and Rosa’s subliminal disdain; they could tolerate the brotherly love, but the Lieutenant, whose body was in its sixties, couldn’t handle the weight and promptly stumbled into a puddle on the cobblestone street.
     “What the hell is wrong with you?” he said as Bertha and Martha each extended a hand to help him up. “You don’t do that to a senior citizen!”
     “Come; let us go to Volkspark Friedrichshain; I know just the place we can chat,” said Martha who kept on top of tourism trends.
     Wolfgang led them down the street to his new AGA 6/16 PS Typ A Phaeton.
     “Pretty spiffy, eh?” chided Earl through Lieutenant Horst von Pflugk-Harttung. “You always had a fetish for convertibles.”
     “1418 cc four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a three speed manual transmission, a maximum of 20 PS; 15 kW; 20 hp.”
     “Not exactly your’66 Ford Mustang; 200 hp, 150 kW, "C-code" 289 cubic inch 4.7 Liter engine,” Bertha commented.
    “It will do; 23 skidoo!” Wolfgang shouted above the roar of the engine. “Let’s go!” They loaded into the car and drove to the park, stopping off on the way to pick up some French wine, cheese, and bread.
    “You’ve done well for yourself, dear brother,” called the Lieutenant from the front passenger seat, the ladies seated behind. “What may I ask is your line of work?”
     “I’m a pharmacist!” yelled Wolfgang, his driving scarf flapping in the wind.
     “I am not surprised!” said the Lieutenant shaking his head with a smile.
     “Need a run of cocaine? Berlin is ‘Powder City’ you know.” 
     “Oh just keep your eyes on the friggin’ road and stop flapping your mouth,” scolded Bertha from the rear.
     “Guess what Bertha does besides back-seat driving.”
     “She’s a librarian?”
     “That’s right, and a book shop clerk on weekends.”
     They all had a jolly time as the car lurched from left to right on the uneven pavement, especially with so many cobblestones removed for use as projectiles in riots. Occasional troupes of brown-shirted men patrolled the sidewalks. They watched in silence.
“Martha is a travel agent for a shipping company and has her own business on the side,” called Wolfgang.
 In ‘21, with inflation running high, it was a good thing the time-travelers had handsome jobs. The ruling class was booking cruises on fancy luxury liners and trains around Europe, to Africa and the Middle East, and to America with zeppelins and aircraft on the horizon; business was good. “No more immigrants in the ships’ hold; all Tiffany and mahogany these days.”
“She will be able to book us on a cruiser back to New York when this mission is over.”
The decadence of Berlin was all around them; prostitutes on many street corners downtown, gambling houses, opium dens, speakeasies, burlesque shows and open homosexuality. The three time travelers would have nothing to do with it. Wolfgang had seen it all before by the 1990’s, Bertha and Martha by the 1970’s.
“Did you know,” said Wolfgang, “that in the ‘90’s, there are still Christians who blame all this post-war degradation on the Jews?”
 “Some anti-Semites say the decay of moral values, in all areas of life, coincided with the height of Jewish power in Germany,” added Bertha.
“Is that so? I guess all the customers were Jewish, too,” laughed Wolfgang. “Most of my opium and cocaine clients at the pharmacy aren’t Jewish.”
 “And the customers at the beer halls in Munich aren’t either; they won’t even let a Jew in there to have a beer,” added Lieutenant Horst von Pflugk-Harttung.
“Even if half of the films were produced by Jewish writers, actors, directors, producers, etcetera, someone paid them to perform. They are just trying to earn a living giving the German people what they want,” Wolfgang pointed out.
“Well, I think those burlesque shows are hilarious,” said Martha. “When does Josephine Baker come on the scene?”
“Oh that’s in the late twenties. We will be finished with our mission here before that, I hope,” informed Bertha.
“I guess stuck-up hypocrites need someone to blame for dragging them into the modern world,” said Wolfgang.
The car was stopped in traffic by an ally where they could see a brown shirt receiving fellatio. “My Friends in Freikorps talk of German chastity and self-discipline while getting public blowjobs from poor Polish street urchins,” added the Lieutenant.
 By ’23, one U.S. dollar could buy 4.2 billion marks. Six wheelbarrows of banknotes could barely buy a loaf of bread. “A blowjob in Berlin costs thirty cents,” so the Lieutenant informed them.
“Now how would you know that, Herr von Pflugk-Harttung?” asked Martha raising an eyebrow. She wasn’t sure whose libido was talking; the Lieutenant’s, Earl’s, Samuel’s, or even, heaven forbid, Rosa’s. The Lieutenant blushed as the car’s occupants roared with laughter. 

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