Monday, June 06, 2005

183. Daddy's War

In a little cafe
just off the Boul 'Mich
I talked to Herr Springer;
that was Paris '37.
Springer was a classic,
shaven head and pebble spectacles,
passing me money in a grubby
envelope, not much, just enough;
my job was to supply
the Germans with information.
Well, there was no problem there,
I was working for the British and the French,
so whatever they told me
I simply passed on.
But the one thing I didn't like
is that they asked me
to surrender Springer's payments.
What for? Come on, chaps,
I'm a free-lance operator
and this cash comes in very handy:
it's not as though our own crowd
were forthcoming, believe me,
dollops of petty cash, dredged
up from the depths and signed for.
They made you feel like a pimp.

They treated me like shit.

So I lied about the payments
and decided, in anger,
to give Springer some real information
and get a bump in income.

We were nearly at war, of course,
and I was solid, patriotic.
But life was expensive, and those
people in Military Intelligence
were prancing about, looking down
their noses: God rot your grandmother.
And it's just not right,
I wasn't ALLOWED to keep
that extra bit of cash, understand?
So that started to work on me
and I began telling Springer
what was true and what was not.

My payments went up.
The Germans (being German)
demanded receipts, but we
worked out a system of double entries,
one real, one for my controllers.
With a regular income
I decided to get married to Beryl
the landlady's daughter
whose large thrusting tits
drove me insane
even though her father never liked me,
one-eyed, one -legged,
a walking reminder
of the War to end all Wars:
sorry about you, chum,
before my time.

September '39, war, a serious
drop in income. MI cast me loose
but the Germans didn't: as a
married man I had to listen.
Stands to reason.
The daytime job in sales
wasn't going so well,
and we had the house to pay for,
not to mention the furniture,
plus the new car, all on the HP,
and there was a child on the way.

Your family comes first, am I right?

I didn't care much for the bombs
but Springer promised
they'd avoid my house (haha!)
so we were still in touch
through a newsagent's window
in Notting Hill. I had to decide
if what I was doing was wrong
or just necessary.

The child was a girl, Mandy,
and this was my small little family,
the first touch of warmth and love
in my sad solitary life: nothing,
nothing could be more important.

It was November '43
when they came; the neighbours,
previously friendly, threw stones.
I was taken to Parkhurst,
remanded, the solicitor
viewed me like a piece of dirt.

We were a nation at war.

Now it appears they will hang me.
Dear sweet Mandy!