Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Six
15th August 1972
Going to the Airport was always a slog, even if you were just there to meet someone. That was why Big Mike had ended up tagging along and they were getting odd looks as they were parked outside the Arrivals exit of the Airline Ritchie’s guests would be flying in on. Every few minutes, Airport Security passed by eyeballing Ritchie’s old Chevy Nova. He figured that it was only matter of time before they stopped. He just hoped that Manfred would hurry up and get here before that happened.
“So, Crispy has this guy pulled over on a Friday night a couple weeks ago, expired tags” Mike said as he was telling the story. “Then when Crispy asked the guy if he knew why he was being pulled over, he starts going off on how he is a Sovern Citizen and he doesn’t have to obey any law he doesn’t agree with.”
Ritchie tried to hide his annoyance with that. They had been warned about that crowd and the trouble they had caused up north over the last few years. He also knew Crispy wasn’t the sort who deserved the trouble that came whenever one of those idiots got arrested.
“How did Crispy play it?” Ritchie asked.
“When the guy wouldn’t produce identification, Crispy detained him as a suspected illegal alien and put him in County where they threw him into a holding cell with some of the more entrepreneurial citizens from South-Central who were being transferred upstate. They didn’t get around to processing his paperwork until Monday morning.”
It was one thing to say that you didn’t believe in laws. It was another to find yourself in a place where the only law was the Law of the Jungle, and you were the next meal.
“Is the guy still breathing?” Ritchie asked in disbelief. He figured that if Crispy was smart he was keeping very quiet over this matter. That was until it blew over, then Crispy would be telling this story in every Cop bar on Southern California.
“In the hospital” Mike replied, “I figure he now has a size twelve asshole to match the rest of him.”
“That is kind of messed up” Ritchie said, “No one deserves to spend the weekend getting cornholed.”
“I don’t agree” Mike said, “Guys like that have been pulling the same sort of crap for ages and usually get away with it. It doesn’t matter if they are wearing robes and burning crosses or saying that they don’t have to respect the laws of a State they don’t recognize. It is just more of the same old shit as it has been since at least 1860, watch and see.”
“I guess” Ritchie replied. That was a reminder that despite appearances, Big Mike was extremely well educated.
It was then that Ritchie saw that behind them, the car from Airport Security had stopped and they were getting out. Keeping his hands on the wheel he watched as the Security Guard approached on foot. “If I could see your license and registration?” The Security Guard asked, the tone of his voice inadvertently adding an exclamation point at the end of what Mike had just been talking about.
“Does this work for you?” Ritchie asked, showing the Guard his badge. The look on the man’s face changed when Mike did the same thing.
“Sorry, Officers” The Security Guard said before beating a hasty retreat.
“Fuckers” Mike muttered as they watched the car speed away.
They sat in silence for a few minutes.
That was when Manfred von Mischner walked through the automatic doors carrying two suitcases and a garment bag. A blond woman was walking with him who he towered over, he’d told Ritchie that he was traveling with his girlfriend. Both of them looked tired after having basically spent an entire day flying. Seeing Ritchie and Mike getting out of Ritchie’s car they turned and started to walk in their direction. It wasn’t until they got up close that Ritchie remembered Manfred from years earlier in Greece and Panama, how he was taller than most people. Not Mike though and Manfred’s reaction was one of surprise.
“This is Manfred von Mischner and Suse Knispel” Ritchie said to Mike before turning to them and saying. “This is Mike Washington.”
Suse muttered something in German as she followed Ritchie to the trunk of the Nova to put their luggage in. She was clearly not in the mood to socialize. Manfred on the other hand, was perfectly happy to introduce himself to Mike.
“It’s just as well that Ritchie invited us” Manfred said, “Suse got kicked out of her house last week after her Godmother said she wanted all the children out because of Nelson Rockefeller. She didn’t want to go home to her parent’s house in Prague and having her staying with me in Wunsdorf would have started too much talk.”
“Too much talk?” Mike asked.
Manfred looked like he was trying to remember the word.
“Gossip” Ritchie said as he pushed the seat forward so that Suse could climb into the back seat.
“Thank you” Manfred said.
“You two living together would be a scandal or something?” Mike asked.
Manfred shook his head.
“Manfred’s father is a retired Three Star General and Suse is the daughter of the Inspector of the Bohemian Military” Ritchie said, “Them moving in together would result in their respective families to start planning their wedding within five minutes.”
“Less than that” Suse said from the back seat as Manfred squeezed in beside her.