This year for Shirochan The Moo indulges in a little mid-summer silliness. Shirochan offered Moo several choices and one of them involved DMDTR (A Moo favourite because of the death angle) with a person in it speaking German (The Moo still pines for Vienna.) So there never was any doubt in my mind which I would choose.
Additional note for all readers whose first language is not English. When Fraser and the German boyfriend are speaking to each other in German, the dialogue is not correct in English. I took the word order of German sentences, as though they were speaking German, but with English words. Thus, the syntax is wrong – on purpose. So, don’t try this at home.
With a final, exasperated “Just get out of your car!” Francesca’s tirade finally came to an end. With a dramatic smiting of her forehead with the heel of her hand, she turned and stormed away, leaving Fraser and Diefenbaker sitting in the corridor among the crowd of staring denizens of the 27th.
Normally a scene like that would have embarrassed Fraser but he was too puzzled to have his usual reaction. One instant Francesca had been speaking to him sweetly, helping him with his moral dilemma, and the next instant she had been flying at him like a harpy. It made no sense.
‘She might just be nervous about mating,’ Diefenbaker offered. Human marriage and bonding customs weren’t entirely comprehensible to the wolf but he had been able to gather the general gist of Francesca’s situation: that she was planning to take a mate in the near future. Why the she-human would be upset about it, he didn’t know. For as interesting as she-humans were, no sane wolf could understand them. Part of their charm.
“May be, may be,” Fraser agreed, for want of any other theory. With a little shrug the Mountie stood up and the two Canadians headed for the bullpen to look for Ray.
They found him at his desk. As soon as Ray saw Fraser he said, “You look all spaced out. What gives?”
Fraser came back to earth to answer. “I just had the most bizarre conversation with Francesca.”
Ray scratched behind his ear. “That’s a straight line so obvious I won’t even go near it.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Straight line. You say you had a bizarre conversation with Francesca and I have to say something like ‘What other kind of conversation could you have with her?’”
Fraser was in a puzzled enough state. This didn’t help.
“You mean everything I say is bizarre?”
“No, Fraser, I mean everything she says . . . no, wait . . . your way might be just as good.”
“As good as what?”
Ray groaned. “That’s not important right now, Fraser. Come on. Walk and talk. Tell me what she said on the way out to the car.”
“She and I didn’t go to a car,” Fraser fought to understand what was being said to him. “She said something about getting out of a car but I didn’t understand what she meant. Did you?” He looked to Diefenbaker for help but the wolf was just as lost as he was. Nothing any human said was making sense to him today, it seemed.
“No, while WE walk to the car.” Hoping that a physical demonstration would clarify the situation, Ray stood up from behind his desk and started walking out of the bullpen. Fraser and Diefenbaker trailed obediently after.
Just outside the front steps of the 27th the three friends saw a man standing on the sidewalk and talking to himself in German. Fraser, who understood German, could tell he was cursing. Ray, who understood body language and tonal inflection, could tell the same thing. Diefenbaker didn’t understand the concept of cursing but he could pick up the fact that this human was in a state of distress. Humans certainly got upset easily today.
Fraser approached the man. In polite German he offered “May I you help?”
The man whirled around to see who was talking to him. Ray noticed that he and the Mountie looked exactly alike except this man wore a suit and and eye-glasses.
The unknown man said to Fraser in German, “Ach, yes. I have this car rented.” He gestured to a black Mercedes beside which they were standing. “It starts not.”
“That should not a problem be,” Fraser assured him. “A rented car, the rental company must fix. You must only them call.”
“I cannot English speak!” declared Fraser’s look-alike. “My colleague has this car for me rented. But he answers not his phone. I can none help get!”
“Car trouble?” Ray guessed.
The man turned his attention to the blond detective. “Your friend speaks English. He can the rental company for me call, yes?”
“I speak also English,” Fraser said.
The man was surprised. “Really? I though you were out of Vienna. You have an accent of Vienna.”
“I for two years in Vienna worked, but that’s not important. I will for you translate.” Fraser gestured towards the car. “Please, get you the papers.”
“Ach yes.” The German man opened the car door and took some documents from the glove compartment. He handed the papers to Fraser. Holding the papers in one hand, Fraser held his other hand out to Ray saying “Your phone, please, Ray.”
Using Ray’s cell phone Fraser translated back and forth between a rental agency clerk and the unfortunate German and soon all was arranged. The man had only to wait there for rescue. Of course Fraser was too gallant to leave him alone while they waited, so the two fell into idle conversation about the man’s business dealings in Chicago and what he had seen so far in the Windy City.
Meanwhile Ray had been staring at the two of them and trying to make sense of the fact that the Mountie was apparently talking to his own clone. Eventually he was able to get Fraser’s attention.
“Fraser, who is this guy?”
With an apologetic look to the man, Fraser said. “You excuse. I have not my friend introduced.” Fraser introduced Ray and the German man whose name, he had learned, was Gunther.
“Yeah, charmed,” and then to Fraser he whispered, “Fraser, what the hell is going on? Is this guy a relative?”
“That’s just silly, Ray,” Fraser chided his friend. Then he went back to chatting in German with Gunther.
“Why came you here to this station?” the Mountie asked him.
A naughty look came into Gunther’s eye. “I have an American girlfriend here, a dear girl. Lovely. Know you Francesca?”
Ray and Diefenbaker picked up the name along with Fraser and they were all intrigued.
“Francesca Vecchio?” Fraser asked.
“Yes, Vecchio, A so lovely woman, yes?”
“Why then, you are the man she will marry!” Fraser declared happily. “Welcome in Chicago! I did not know her fiancé was out of Germany!” The Mountie turned to Ray and proclaimed. “Gunther here is Francesca’s intended.”
“Oh yeah?” This was almost as surprising as the appearance of Fraser’s double. Well Vecchio’s sister was nothing if not consistent. If she couldn’t get Fraser she got someone who was, at least in outward appearance, identical. “Go, Frannie,” he said approvingly under his breath.
“This man is the brother of Francesca, and I am her friend,” Fraser told Gunther. Fraser wasn’t sure if the fiction that Kowalski was Ray Vecchio could be maintained once these two were married but for the time being he didn’t feel it was right to break Ray’s cover just yet.
“Marry? With the Francesca? No, I do not with her marry!” protested Gunther, “She speaks none German and I speak none English.”
“You are not her fiancé?”
“No. She is a so delightful woman, but . . .”
Fraser was taken aback. He was spared any further conversation along these lines by the arrival of two employees of the Acme Car Rental Agency driving up in another rental car. There were two young men in the car and one of them got out and held his hand out to Gunther for the keys to the offending vehicle.
Gunther didn’t need English to know what to do. He gave the kid the keys. The kid motioned to the car that had just arrived and Gunther climbed into the back seat.
As the car drove off, Gunther called out the open window, “Many thanks. Good-bye,”
The car rental employee that had been left behind already had the hood open and was poking around inside the car. Fraser concluded that his work there was done, shrugged and said to Ray. “Let’s go.”
“Hold the phone, Fraser. What was all that about? What was he saying about Frannie?”
Fraser halted. “Ray, it’s very puzzling. He says he’s not engaged to Francesca. I can’t comment on the situation because I don’t understand it at all.”
Ray only leered, which made Fraser uncomfortable.
“You’re too innocent, Fraser. Don’t you see what’s going on?” Ray motioned Fraser to step closer to him and then lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “Frannie’s cheating on her fiancé with this German dude.”
Fraser was appalled. “Ray, that’s a highly unchivalrous accusation.”
“Come on, Fraser. You know darned well Frannie’s got it bad for you.”
Fraser blushed and turned away from Ray to look out into the street.
“Now this Gooner guy. . .”
“Whatever. He’s a ringer for you except he knows how to dress,” Ray pressed on. “So now she’s having herself a little fling before tying the knot.”
“I refuse to believe such a thing about my partner’s sister,” Fraser proclaimed. “There has to be another explanation.”
But poor Fraser, for all his desire to defend the integrity of Francesca Vecchio, had to admit there was something fishy when, a week later, Francesca announced that she had cancelled her wedding plans. Of course he was too much of gentleman to ask her about it.