Friday, 12 February 2016

Toplitz-Hande's shandy!

.... Toplitz-Hande had forgotten, of course, that the phrase 'too successful' could never be used in relation to the troops of Gelderland. (Below) The martial display that follows could be characterised as a pantomime; except that a pantomime would almost certainly have involved a better display of aggression, precision and military co-ordination. The fighting is about as well handled as King Wilhelm's copy of 'Der bumper booke of salads'. After a few rounds of slashing and hacking, punctuated by cries of 'Aaaargh!', 'Ow, that really stings!' and 'Dammit, I'm on your side!', a single Nabstrian soldier remains forlornly alive. Crouching, the poor fellow glances forwards and backwards - Rheinfunkt, in red behind the stream, is much further away from the Nabstrian than the Nabstrian is to the edge of the battlefield! Perhaps if his luck holds out, the retreating soldier might just make it ...

(Above, right) Toplitz-Hande stands in the nearby wood. He looks at Rheinfunkt, waiting for the latter to spring into action. However, the Gelderland garrison troops seem in no great hurry to activate themselves. Instead, Rheinfunkt and Lackwitz seem deep in conversation.

'So you're a philosopher, eh?' says the Colonel to the Captain. 'Actually, I'm quite a fan of philosophy'. The Colonel points to his wig. 'Few things expand the mind quite as much as a musket ball through the temple. Take that Immanuel Kant, for instance'.
'Immanuel who?', says Lackwitz.
Lackwitz blanches. 'Look, I was only asking'.
'No', says Rheinfunkt. 'Kant. Immanuel'.
'You need a manual?' says Lackwitz, incredulously. 'In my day it was all trial and error. And then prison, of course'.
Rheinfunkt, exploiting the privileges of rank, flicks Lackwitz on the nose. 'No, no! The philosopher Imanuel Kant! I met him at Konigsberg University in the 1740s. He was working on what became Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces. Of course, then it was a work in progress'.
'Very interesting', says Lackwitz, clearly entirely uninterested, and holds his nose gingerly.
'Yes' says the Colonel. 'Although then the book was a rollicking, steamy novel about forbidden love in a pottery works, tentatively entitled Fifty Shades of Clay. But he quickly found out he could have much more fun, and make much more money, through seat of the pants philosophy. Dangerous stuff. The girls couldn't get enough of it'.
Lackwitz begins to show some interest. 'Really? What kind of stuff?'
'Dangerous stuff. Top shelf ethics. German dungeon astronomy. Special imported Dutch hard mathematics. And then there was the stuff about democracy'.
'Democracy?' says Lackwitz, appalled.
'Yes', says Rheinfunkt, shaking his head in disgust. 'Dirty, filthy democracy-related stuff. Women with men; men with women; women with women; men with men - all free, all living in a more plural and equitable society. It was enough to make your stomach turn. And then he got animals involved as well'.
'Animals?' says Lackwitz, revolted.
'Oh, yes', says the Colonel. 'All shared equally among the men and women to enable them to farm in a manner that would produce a secure surplus: a surplus that that could be used to help the less well-off'.
Lackwitz is reduced almost to dry heaving. 'And ... he got away with it?'
'He was clever - selling the stuff through back-street shops. Still, he also had some marvelous ideas', says Rheinfunkt. 'Epistemology'.
'He did what?' replies Lackwitz.
Rheinfunkt sighs. 'Epistemology'.
'He did it where?' says Lackwitz, looking even more confused.

Luckily for Lackwitz, his nose is spared another good flicking as Rheinfunkt notices suddenly the ever more exaggerated gesticulations on the part of Toplitz-Hande, who seems to be pointing towards the enemy and shouting, a variety of colourful metaphors indicating that he feels that Rheinfunkt should now do something to contribute towards the defeat of the enemy. Suddenly noticing the single Nabstrian left alive, Rheinfunkt now rallies his men for the final attack!
'Charge men! Charge! Charge!' He vigorously waves his sword, in the process knocking his wig slightly askew. 'Forward! Though death may await us! Though we might be hideously mutilated! Though we might be scorched and maimed beyond the recognition of our own mother!'
'Charge! Kill!' his men scream.
'Er, am I the only one here who's rather more conflicted about this attack', says Lackwitz, eyeing the remaining Nabstrian who, though crouching, still seems rather too tall for Lackwitz's liking.
Before the poor Nabstrian has a chance to move again, Rheinfunkt is able to leap the stream, his wig falling off in the process; he then races forwards and lays about the poor soldier with the butt of his pistol. With a final cry of 'Hurrah!' the regular is beaten down and taken prisoner by the Colonel!

A victory for Gelderland and the Wilhelmites! Loud cheers erupt from the remaining Royal troops. As the soldiers of Gelderland slap their thighs and prepare to celebrate with halves of shandy, Colonel Zeigler can only look on through his telescope cursing: pipped at the post!

With the minor defeat at Gross Schnitzelring compounded by the trouncing at the battle of Heisenleman, the War of the Spanish Suck Session comes to a painful close for Nabstria and Grand Fenwick. All is gloom and doom. The two defeated powers can only hope that political negotiation can deliver a merciful peace. In Rotenburg and Saukopf-Bachscuttel, on the other hand, the populace go wild with excitement: bells are rung, along with a few Nabstrian necks; songs are sung; children dance in the street; and a variety of inappropriate activity is conducted with vegetables. With war now over, and with Wilhelm once again ensconced on the throne of Gelderland, a new Golden Age can begin: prosperity beckons; trade will flourish; a number of painful skin diseases will probably be cured through inventive use of leeches; and a new recipe for Battenburg cake is likely to be found.

God save King Wilhelm! Peace for all! The Wars of the Gelderland Succession are over! Probably.

1 comment:

  1. A Nabstrian defeat? Or perhaps a very meagre Bachscuttel victory...Col Zeigler is, as we speak, being feted in Nabstria for his daring 'Return of the King'. This act alone has saved the Burggraviate from ruinious expense. Nabstria may have been bested on the field of battle but it remains unbowed, even in defeat! Still, the outbreak of peace has enabled the Burggravina's pastry chefs to go back to their profession, instead of providing the King with vast quantities of fodder. Their Viennese Fancies are quite delightful.