~35~

The Major grimaced briefly at the envelope before tossing it aside and leafing through the rest of the mail. He dealt with the rest of his correspondence before opening the one with the distinctive calligraphic "DRG" monogram on the flap.

He had not always faced the Earl's correspondence with such equanimity. The first time, he had torn the envelope open immediately, dreading what perverted sentiments might have been inside. The thought had also crossed his mind that it might be some sort of clue to the thief's next hare-brained scheme, which he would have to waste valuable time and energy deciphering, tracking down and putting a stop to.

It had turned out to be merely a note and a newspaper clipping. The note read, "This is what you'd be like if you were a Harry Potter fan." No salutation or signature, not that any had been necessary. The article had reported the story of a German man who had become so consumed with impatience with the queue to buy the penultimate Harry Potter novel that he had broken ranks, snatched up six copies of the blasted thing, punched a bystander who objected, and fled the store before being apprehended in the train station.

As if Klaus would ever read books filled with that much rot. Wizards indeed. Humph.

After that, the clippings arrived now and then, sometimes with a note, always having something to do with Germany or Germans. Apparently, in Eroica's mind, Germany=Klaus, and any reference to Germans that seemed to fit the Major was cut out and sent to Schloss Eberbach. Or in some cases, any reference that the pervert hoped would fit, like the one about the German couple who had given in to shameful perversions and told their employers they were spending the weekend at a training seminar when instead they were at some kind of pervert resort - that one he had set on fire instead of merely tossing into the wastebin. What would Conrad have thought when he took the trash out?

The articles were never insulting, not in any real way. Sometimes, the stories made him quietly proud, as in the inspiring case of the valiant employer who had fired all the nonsmokers in his office and had wisely resolved to hire only smokers in future. In other cases, such as that of the German swan who had fallen in love with a swan-shaped pedal boat, the Major didn't see the connection and wasn't certain he wanted to.

Klaus never replied in any way. He just skimmed the clippings, snorted, and threw them away.

So tonight it was with resignation and little interest that he tore the fancy envelope open and unfolded the clipping. No note this time, just the article.

"German men are the worst lovers in the world," the headline announced. "German men have been branded the ‘worst lovers in the world’ thanks to their selfishness. The survey was based on the poll of 10,000 women in 50 countries."

The Major read the entire article, feeling his face getting redder with every line. The news that Englishmen had been scored the tenth worst did not mollify him.

He stalked to the library, unconsciously mangling the clipping in his clenched fist as he went. "CONRAD!" he roared, catching sight of the man down the corridor. "Pack a bag immediately!" He tromped into the library, seized the phone, and called the airport. "A ticket on the very next flight to London!" he demanded.

It was an extreme measure, but Germany's honor was at stake.

 

 

Snippets

Eroica