A Strange Helper-1943
The town where the meeting took place was a typical Balkan town. Two names, two languages, three religious persuasions, and three ethnic groups. A reflection of the wars that had traveled up and down the tear-stained Danube for centuries. It was a place haunted with the ghosts of history and history was being made again as Asher and David awaited the meeting.
Asher and David watched as they saw a car drive down the street.
Asher said, "I wonder how hard he will push the deal"
David said,"I don't know. Our contact said he had a number of other customers with a lot more money."
Asher grinned,"Ah yes, the Germans, the Hungarians, the Russians, the Americans, and the British. How does he keep track of them all?"
David replied, "Gotta admire the old scoundrel. I wonder why he is helping us?"
Asher shrugged, "Oh well, business is busness."
The car stopped. A man stepped out.
He said, "Greetings friends, I am glad to meet you. I trust you will enjoy my masters company."
Asher replied, "'Enjoy' is not the word but it should be profitable."
Then they drove to a small hotel to meet Andre Gyorgy, Master Smuggler of the Balkans.
Gyorgy said, "Welcome. I am glad to make your aquaintance. "
After after a nice meal and a long session of aesthetically attractive hypocrisies they began discussion.
Asher said, "You know, we are trusting you with a lot-and your record is to be honest, not of the highest. Do we have any guarentee?"
Gyorgy said, "Well you are standing here safely, are you not."
Asher replied, "Well our bosses know where we are-and starting a blood feud with us can be so bad for business. No?"
Gyorgy replied, "I have dealt with customers who have a lot more resources-and are a lot more ruthless then you."
Asher said,"Ah yes, but we can also ruin a lot of your business dealings with the Americans and English, which will annoy you more then a little."
Gyorgy replied, "Ah but, you would not have time for affairs which are far more important to you. As far as trust goes it is really irrelevant. I will grant that some of
my customers are not folk you would approve of. I also note that some of them would be most displeased at my helping you-though I can take care of myself in that regard. However you know as well as I do that your kin are in grave trouble and I am the only one to help them. However I am a businessman, and my philanthropy can only go so far. On the other hand, I am in a benevolent mood."
Then Gyorgy named his price. Asher took it immiediately.
Then Gyorgy said, "You were afraid I would demand more weren't you? Follow me and I will show you why I am giving a good deal"
Then they drove through the town to a small and quiet monastary, a rest from the worlds troubles.
Gyorgy said, "This place was built at the behest of a noble long ago. He over charged his serfs and whipped them when they could not pay. He robbed passing merchants, took their wares and held them for ransom, often torturing them with horrible cruelty. Yet he built this place. "
David replied ironically. "I have read of such things. Such people would think that because they could bribe the local Bishop, that therefore they could bribe the his Main Employer into making things more pleasant in the next world. Was that not so?"
Gyorgy smiled, "If a tyrannical robber baron can do thus, why not a mere smuggler?"
David replied, "Well I am not sure it works that way..."
Asher nudged him and whispered in his ear, "Don't be an idiotic fool. Do you want to jinx the deal?"
"Quite", whispered David back.
Then Asher said, "Well whatever your reasons, we appreciate your services".
Asher and David walked off.
Asher said, "Imagine, a remorseful gangster. No accounting for whims."
David replied, "I'm not sure I buy it. I wonder if we'll get burned".
Asher said, "I don't think it matters under the circumstance. "
David said, "Strange fellow. He was a nice host though."
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