First contact

Once he’d killed his alarm clock by way of a well-aimed shoe, he stumbled straight to the office, where he took all material on Gum from the desk drawer. Down the street, he purchased a bag of croissants and rolls from his baker of trust, even paying his open credit with the last change he could find in his pockets. Questioning look; Was anything about to happen? Oh, nothing out of the usual, all in a day’s work; slight wink with the left eye, doorknob, door, doorbell ringing in the lack of a proper explanation. He ate while he walked

Means, motive, opportunity

“Of course, in return I’d may expect a few favours from you in return, sometime in the future, hm? Let’s say, for example, if I’d planned to go legit, then maybe I’d want you to affirm what a wonderful person I am in front of a court or so? And then maybe stick with me for a bit after that, just help me out a bit, y’know, the odd ends?” Gum leaned back, little rat eyes fixed on Macklin’s face, waiting for the response. This was certainly a surprising turn. Of course Macklin had material on Gum; a lot of

Gummy talk

The problem was, he thought as the cigarette died in the ashtray, that he had attempted the same thing over and over but expected a different result each time. The desktop light flickered through the smoke onto the desk full of papers, record discs, chocolate wrappings and stacked half-cleaned bowls. A fly buzzed by his ear as he fed the typewriter with fresh paper – the freshest he could afford, anyway, which was slightly yellow repress from the printer two streets over. Business had been hard the last months, and though he’d started saving on food before paper, there was

Excerpt from the 1923 diary of Theodor Wolff

As I walked through the doors, I was dazed by the sudden humid heat of the well-filled beer hall for a few seconds. “Mr. Wolff! Over here”, was the first thing I somewhat understood through the sound of laughing and tankards being banged on tables. In the thick smoke of cheap cigarettes, I could see some sort of shadow more solid than the others in the corner of the room, waving an arm at me. As I made my way over, the shadow melted into two people sitting on one side of a table under a small window, one chair

Up the River Valley

As the train was passing through the hills of Jiangxi, up the river valley, Ling could still not believe that he was finally going back. Staring out of the window, he thought of when he had last been here, just a few weeks after the Germans had come ashore. Now he was sitting in a German-made carriage, going over German-built railway tracks (well, paid for by German companies, but built by Chinese workers). He couldn’t complain: His sponsors had shied no expenses. He was travelling first class, the waiter had just cleared the remains of the excellent lunch from his