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Thread: What's in a Name?

  1. #1
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    What's in a Name?

    What’s In a Name?

    When Rear Admiral Roscoe H.Hillenkoetter alighted in the rain from his taxi outside the Ritz Hotel in London, he failed by an impressive display of amnesia, to enamour himself to the salacious attentions of the incumbent doorman. Despite the latter holding above his head, an umbrella of imperial proportions, said naval person, paid off the cab with a six penny tip and strode through the doors of the imposing façade, sidestepping the doorman’s advances.

    The flunky looked at the cabby, and exchanges of views were made between the two concerning the tightness of their North American cousins. This was unfortunately phrased in a parlance consisting mainly of adjectives derived from the earlier letters of the alphabet.

    Not that it would have worried the worthy seaman, as in general he was averse to what he regarded as uptight Brits with attitudes. In addition he was not exactly looking forward, in his capacity as Security Coordination Officer, to this unofficial ceremony of awarding an OBE to a Spanish wartime spy codenamed “Tricycle” at the Ritz bar.

    “The Limeys thought it appropriate. Hogwash!” he thought.

    Already having set up base camp at the bar, were Lieutenant Colonel Maldwyn Makgill Haldane, nicknamed Muldoon, a small individual of a retiring disposition, and Holt-Wilson from MI5, whose deep patriotism was such that he once confided to his diary that “all my life and all my strength are given to the finest cause on this earth – the ennoblement of all mankind by the example of the British race.” They had both earlier engaged in dinner at Simson’s Grand Cigar Divan in the Strand.

    “Where did your chap get his codename Tricycle?” asked Muldoon of his companion.

    “Oh it was quite ingenious actually. Carlos, which is his real name, is rather partial to three in a bed sex, so we had to get something to throw Jerry off the scent. The Hun has never understood our sense of humour anyway.”

    “How’s your drink? Barman!”

    “Don’t mind if I do,” said Muldoon.

    Two large brandies materialized.

    “Look, here’s Hilly just coming through the door. Make that three barman.”

    Rear Admiral Roscoe H.Hillenloetter joined the group and pleasantries were exchanged.

    “So what are you guys up to?” asked H.

    Muldoon, quite florid around the cheeks by now, was the first to reply.

    “It’s a bit disturbing old boy. In part of my capacity as censor at the War Office I’ve noted a worrying trend recently among soldiers in the Indian regiments to write poetry, an ominous sign of mental disquiet.”

    “Quite so,” said Holt-Wilson.

    The American viewed them both. To his mind the English were a race of cold-blooded queers with bad dental work that once conquered half the world but still had not figured out central heating. The warm beer and boiled food did not endear him either. But there was a war on and he had to play his part.

    He remembered once being introduced to Holt-Wilson’s wife, who made a point of telling him that her maiden name was Fiona Ffrench, with a small “f” and that she was related to the novelist William Le Quex (pronounced “Kew”). It had not gone down well when he had likewise informed her that he came from Texas and that was with a big “T”.

    Eventually they were joined by the awardee Carlos; a quiet man, swarthy and attired in a very un-British suit and beret. A few drinks at a quiet corner of the bar, some remarks by Muldoon to the effect that “When one is asked to avoid superlatives, I find it difficult to do so in describing the sterling work of this operative in the Allied cause.”

    The OBE was slipped legerdemain into his possession, warm dry handshakes, further congratulations and the party broke up.

    Well, not quite. Muldoon and Holt-Wilson repaired to the latter’s club, a short walk away for further drinks, whilst the Rear-Admiral and Tricycle were left to make their own plans.

    Outside it was still raining. The doorman made a point of giving full attention to the Spaniard, escorting him with extravagance to a waiting cab and received a swift fiver in his ever open hand before the door was closed, It was a ritual as closely choreographed as a pas de deux at Covent Garden and to any initiated observer, represented a fluidity of movement worthy of commendation.

    The American stood next and indicated that he wanted a taxi also to take him to Hampstead. When one rolled up to the kerb, the umbrella was again produced, he entered, the door was closed and no tip was forthcoming.

    The doorman leaned forward to the driver and said, “Hampstead,” then in a whisper, “Take the bugger round the long way, He’s as tight as a duck’s ***.”
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 10-15-2012 at 04:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    There's a fine crop of Malapropisms in this one Man:

    "...salacious attentions of the incumbant doorman..." (is he a sex maniac?) (possibly, given the the necessity to "sidestep his advances"

    "...he was adverse to..." rather than "averse".

    You also seem to have lost track of time a bit. The story opens suggesting that it is a post war period in which the "wartime spy" is to be honoured, but by half way through the tale we seem to be still at war, "But there was a war on and he had to play his part." This, though, I suspect is my fault, as I was immediately reminded of Garbo, who wasn't actually rewarded for his services until he was in his 70s and only just before he died. I think spies tend not to get their gongs (whether they survive or not) until it's all over, although Eddie Chapman was awarded the Iron Cross fairly promptly by the Germans for what was actually a faked saboutage of a DeHaviland factory.

    "Tricycle", hilarious - At least he wasn't, "Spit Roast!!!!"

    Loved the business about pronounced names, and the mental instability of Officers in Indian regiments who wrote poetry. LOL.

    I bet Garbo's spinning in his grave though...

    Live and be well - H

  3. #3
    Registered User zoolane's Avatar
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    OK I have readed and also like Hawk I to was thinking post-war era or something long as lines. I do not understand irony of piece but last paragraph did not really do it for me so speak. I suppose the irony is it 'Spanish and tight with his cash'.

    I think I will have to read few times more.
    English my native language and have characterizes of dyslexia.

    Copyright (C) 2011, Zoolane

    I have pass by English Exam.

  4. #4
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Dear Hawk

    Thanks for the feedback.

    “Averse” corrected.

    “Salacious,” Yes it’s stretching it a bit far in terms of intention. How about “rapacious?”

    Code name “Garbo.” I’m impressed, as you are spot on. He was awarded his OBE at the Ritz bar informally, but I used the spy “Tricycle” instead as he came across as more colourful and endearing.

    Eddie Chapman. Another great character. In fact I have a house in Hatfield near to the old De Havilland factory where the fake sabotage was executed.

    “Spit roast!!” I don’t know how you get away with it but you do. All I hope is that nobody from across the Pond requests clarification.


    Dear Zoo
    Thanks as always for struggling with my style. Sometimes, when in the mood, I just bang them out on my day off and don’t spend enough time checking from the reader’s point of view.
    Apologies.

    Best regards
    M.

  5. #5
    Registered User zoolane's Avatar
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    Do not 'Apologies' because that why you write and it me who has tried get it as reader. Sometime I am bit slow off mark but give me enough time, bit luck should sink in.
    English my native language and have characterizes of dyslexia.

    Copyright (C) 2011, Zoolane

    I have pass by English Exam.

  6. #6
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    Sorry for the belated reply. I have an excuse, but I'd gave to spend the balance of the afternoon 'splainin' it.

    Your characters always seem comical, like Commander Whitehead in the old Schweppes commercials. Of course, dry yet undeniably witty Peter Sellers movies also come to mind, plus Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham when they were writing helluva good reads rather than Immortal Literature. (Hope you take that as a compliment, which is what I meant.)

    The American's "take" on the British is spot on, but you expressed it in a way that isn't hackneyed. Just between you and me (and the anachronistic lamppost), some of us Americans (ahem) have rotten teeth as well. (Question of affordable dental insurance, etc.)

    My only criticism is of the opening:

    When Rear Admiral Roscoe H.Hillenkoetter alighted in the rain from his taxi outside the Ritz Hotel in London, he failed by an impressive display of amnesia, to enamour himself to the salacious attentions of the incumbent doorman. Despite the latter holding above his head, an umbrella of imperial proportions, said naval person, paid off the cab with a six penny tip and strode through the doors of the imposing façade, sidestepping the doorman’s advances.
    Could you tweak the word order ? Something to the order of:

    By an impressive display of amnesia, Rear Admiral Roscoe H.Hillenkoetter failed to enamour himself to the salacious attentions of the incumbent doorman. Alighting from his taxi outside the Ritz Hotel in rainy London, the naval person paid off the cab with a six penny tip and strode through the doors of the imposing façade sidestepping the advances of the doorman who held an umbrella of imperial proportions above his head.

    Why the "impressive display of anmesia"? Why is the doorman "incumbent"--"leaning?" Or --if he's really "in the mood" -- "lying down?" As other repliers have asked, is the doorman actually "salacious" (in the concupiscent sense) or merely "solicitous" (in the sense of angling for a big monetary tip.) If the former, changed"alighting" to "dismounting" from the taxi. If the former, you'd might be better off with a word that connotes both avariciousness and unwlecome attentiveness.

    "Enamour" himself "of", not "to"-- but even here you might want to change it to "take advantage of," "avail himself of," "accept the doorman's advances."

    The rest of the story seems entertaining, but I must admit yours ol' fooly is a "Yank" through and through (though not, heaven forbid ,a NY Yankee fan.) So much of the British humor -- especially involving the subset of British military culture -- sails right above my head like the fumes in a cigar lounge. For instance, the only thing "Garbo" means to me is the 1930s movie star who always said "I vant to be alone." (Which is what your ol' Auntie should do if she had any common sense.)
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 10-17-2012 at 03:34 PM.

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