For All Nails #81D: Conversation with a Servant
by Johnny Pez
- Bogotá, Kingdom of New Granada
- 15 June 1974
"You must admit, Joshua, these people certainly know how to throw a party," said Frau Merkel. She and her husband were out on the ballroom floor dancing to a Strauss FN1 waltz.
"It's not their party-making ability that concerns me," said Exterior Minister Joshua Merkel. "It's their war-making ability. They are entirely too good at it for my peace of mind."
"But they are our allies, aren't they?" said Frau Merkel.
"They were Mexico's allies," Merkel explained. "There are rumors of continued military cooperation between the two states, but officially relations between them are chilly. It was only after the announcement of Ferdinand's accession to the throne that the Mexicans even extended recognition to the Elbittar government. In the meantime, New Granada has the second-largest army in America, FN2 and it's as well-equipped as any in the world. Furthermore, there's some sort of secret project going on in Ciudad Hermión, or Ciudad Camacho as they're calling it these days."
For the past twelve years, the phrase "secret project" had become synonymous with "building an atomic bomb," so Merkel had no difficulty interpreting his wife's look of concern.
"I hope not," he said in reply to her unspoken question. "It's impossible to be sure, though. Nobody is even certain whether the Mexicans have the Bomb, though the general assumption in the cabinet is that they do. And it goes without saying that any Mexican Bomb will be under Mercator's control and not Moctezuma's."
The two of them finished the dance in silence, then retired back to their table. For reasons known only to the New Granadans, the Merkels had been seated next to Foreign Minister Takanashi of Japan and his wife. By chance or design, both couples were fluent in English, and they had been able to carry on a lively conversation, the chief topic of which (thanks to Greta and Frau Takanashi) was the relative merits of Bogotá's various marketplaces.
However, when Merkel and his wife reached their table, the Takanashis places were empty. Standing beside them was a uniformed servant with curiously unfocused eyes. "Good evening," Merkel greeted the servant in English, "I am Minister Merkel, and this is my wife, Greta."
The servant bowed until his hair was practically sweeping the floor. "The good evening to you also," he said in thickly-accented English when he was finished the bow. "I am Mr. Quon, who is parasite to the Foreign Minister Takanashi-san. The Takanashi-san and his wife are called away, and I am here to give the explain." Mr. Quon concluded his statement with another hair-sweeping bow.
Parasite? Clearly, Mr. Quon's (a Korean name, surely?) command of English was uncertain. "Do you have any idea when they'll be back?" Merkel asked. Even after all these years of dealing with foreigners, Merkel had to resist the temptation to raise his voice, as though Mr. Quon's unfamiliarity with English made him hard of hearing as well.
"It is less than the hour that they will be back," Mr. Quon answered. "It was naughty of you to fight the English."
"I beg your pardon?" said a puzzled Merkel.
"On 1939," Mr. Quon clarified slightly. "Von Bruning did not show the proper respect for pedigree. He went to war with the English, and made ally with the Mexicans, when he should have made ally with the English and went to war with the Mexicans."
"Ah, unfortunately," explained Merkel, "there was a revolution in the Ottoman Empire, and we and the British found ourselves on opposite sides."
"That was naughty also," Mr. Quon responded. "The Arabs were misbehaving, rebelling against their pedigreed masters in Constantinople. You should have helped the Turks to keep the Arabs in their proper place. Then you could join with the English and the North Americans and attack the Mexico. As it is, the Japanese and the Australians had to fight alone to save the Western Civilization."
"From the Mexicans?" wondered Merkel. "Aren't they also part of Western civilization?"
"They are not," Mr. Quon insisted. "They are the rebellious North Americans who mixed their blood with Indians and didn't show proper respect for pedigree. There are no white Mexicans any more, they married into the Mexicans, now only mongrels and Indians are left. Soon they will all sneak across into North America, and the Western Civilization will fall there. Then they will join with the Africans and invade Europe, just like in that book that Guy Matthias wrote. FN3 I have not read it, but everything that Matthias wrote in it is true. After that, there will --"
It was Foreign Minister Takanashi, and he did not look pleased. Merkel was amazed to see Mr. Quon bow even lower than he had before. Takanashi began to hector Mr. Quon in staccato Japanese, and Merkel found himself deeply regretting the fact that he didn't speak the language. Mr. Quon hung his head low and listened in silence until the Foreign Minister ran out of vituperation. Then he bowed lower than ever and shuffled out of the ballroom.
"Mr. Merkel, I must apologize for the behavior of my servant," said Takanashi. "Rest assured, he will be punished severely for his transgression."
Merkel, whose father had been a sales clerk before the Global War, and a general after it, shook his head at the departing champion of pedigree.
"I'm sure he wouldn't have it any other way."
(Forward to FAN #81E: Mistaken Identity.)
(Return to For All Nails.)