The Mysterious Bookshop


Brand’s Heartwarming Thanksgiving Part Two.


Then, after what seemed like hours, one of the men in the doorway spoke.

‘May we come in, sir?’  said the tall one in a surprisingly high-pitched voice slightly inflected with a German or Eastern European accent..

‘What can I do for you gentlemen?’ asked Brand, outwardly calm but inwardly quaking.

‘We’re looking for a lost cat.  He is very small, basic black, and answers to the name of Moritz.  Hier, Katzchen!’ leaving no doubt that he, at least, was German.

‘Nope, nobody here by that name.  Now, if you’ll excuse me…’ said Brand with impeccable and unusual politeness.

‘Well, then, if there is nobody here by that name, you won’t mind if we trouble you to look,’ said the tall man.

‘Matter of fact, I do mind if you trouble me!’ shouted Brand as the three men clumped into the house from the stoop.

‘Just come right in, why dontcha?’ again shouted Brand.  Next thing, the short round German was holding a Luger under Brand’s nose. ‘Vat did you shay?’ he growled in a thick accent.

‘I don’t remember,’ whispered Brand, meekly.

‘Moritz! Moritz!’  And then of course Leo came out from behind the stove to be picked up by the third German, who hadn’t said a word yet and who was neither short nor tall nor fat nor thin. He had an air about him that made Brand think that perhaps this was the commander of the small unit.  ‘Ah, Moritz, there you are!  You bad cat!  Running away like that,’ said the commandant.  While this was going on, the other two, Tall and Short/Round were searching the apartment and not being particularly circumspect in so doing.

‘That old lady sent you, didn’t she?’ asked Brand.  At the smallest movement from Short/Round, Brand buttoned his lip and sat down hard on the one chair in the room.  Well, he lived there alone, except for Leo, briefly, so how many chairs did he need?

‘Here they are, Chef.’  On the low shelf on the tv cart, that’s where those books were!  And why did they call him ‘chef?’ Were they cooks?  Cooks of German food didn’t seem likely, so Brand figured it was a term of endearment. Strange folks, these Europeans. Brand thought of Europe as pretty much one monolith of strangeness as opposed to several different countries even though he was vaguely familiar with France, Italy, Germany, et al.  

‘SO!’  This shout from the Tall one brought Brand rudely out of his reverie.  With a start, he came out of his chair only to stumble and fall on his face before the three manner.  

‘Yes, that is it!  Grovel before us, swine!’

Good gosh, what was this, a bad WWII movie?  Brand struggled to his feet only to be pushed back into the chair.  Then the commandant spoke.

‘You are a spy!’

‘Are you kiddin’?’ sputtered Brand.  ‘Me, a spy!  That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard!’

‘Do you deny you have these incriminating materials?’

‘That stuff?  Those were here when I moved in!’

‘A likely story!  Frankly I expected a better cover story.  Was that the best you could do?’

‘I tell you, it was--’

‘Enough!  We will not stand here and debate uselessly!  You are a spy and we are taking you for the ultimate punishment!’

At that very moment, Leo/Moritz climbed laboriously into Brand’s lap, stomped his paws a little bit, and curled up to settle.  Good timing, Leo, thought Brand.

The tall German said harshly, ‘Don’t try and gain sympathy by playing nice with our cat!  You are a spy and you will be dealt with in the manner of all spies!’


Yikes!  Could this be the end for Brand?  One way to find out!  Tune in next time for another chapter in: Brand’s Heartwarming Thanksgiving!

Questions/Comments/Some kind of James Bond gadget?  

Written by Ian Kern — November 10, 2017

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

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