This is part 32 of my black comedy novel, an exceptionally rude book that will offend you terribly if you dislike good, honest Anglo-Saxon swearing. If that’s you, click away. Otherwise, prepare for some fun 😉
Rich Nazi cunt
The present day
As soon as The Nurse has learned enough colloquial French, recovered most of her physical strength and achieved a reasonable level of emotional equilibrium, she packs a few freshly-smoked oysters into a clean hanky the Beach Bum has lent her. Then she stuffs an old straw hat on her head, waves a fond goodbye to him, and sets off for Dieppe town centre. The mute man stares after her, eyes overflowing with tears. He’ll miss her. She was kind, and nice, and fun, and unlike most people she wasn’t disgusted or frightened by the gaping mucky hole where his tongue should be.
Thinking back to her time back home in Britain, from the moment she escaped the loony bin to the time she fled The Inspector’s clutches and swam to freedom, The Nurse finds herself puzzled. In retrospect it seems so manic, so madly intense. All that time spent rushing from one end of the country to another on trains and in cars, being chased by the rozzers, getting mixed up with nutters galore, taking crazy risks, trepanning hundreds of victims, missing the mark and killing hundreds more. Hooking up with bell-ends like the Chief Surgeon, Hairy Dave, Chemical Dave, Julie and Mark, Scary Mary, Invisible Dan and the marvellously dreadful Lavinia. What on earth was she thinking?
As far as the future goes, The Nurse is determined to take things slowly and easily, chill out, lie back and smell the coffee, or whatever the fuck. She hasn’t killed or trepanned for a heck of a long time. She’s sort of gone off the boil as far as that’s concerned. No surprise really, since it got her into such trouble. But as someone who is reasonably self-aware she knows she is not a person who fares well when bored or frustrated. While it is only a matter of time before The Nurse will break out in one way or another, causing the usual gory chaos, for now she vows to take life easy.
Bearing all this in mind she walks a lot slower than usual, at a mid-speed stroll, determinedly taking in the attractive French landscape, the bright sky, the bobbing fishing boats and the quaint harbour. Worryingly, it’s hard work stopping the PTSD symptoms from poking through and making her look like a class-A nut-job. Steady does it, Katrine. Don’t drift. Don’t let the speeding up, head down, muttering, faraway glazed eyes thing take over. Head level. Breathe. Spine straight. Breathe. Stay conscious of the fucking view. Breathe. Smile pleasantly yet remotely. Breathe. Feel the sunshine. Feel the breeze. Breathe.
It is fucking exhausting holding the PTSD monster inside her body, a thing so tangible she can feel it roaming the draughty halls of her spirit, a perpetually-howling beast. Right now, to be honest, it is fucking exhausting being The Nurse, full-stop.
It might be a lovely summer’s day in an attractive French coastal town but life is mostly shit when you’re brassic. The Nurse has fuck-all money. Fuck-all anything, actually. Just the clothes she’s standing up in, a few fat joints of pure weed, the old straw hat, and a pocket full of rapidly-rotting oysters wrapped in a freshly-laundered cotton hanky. A sophisticated French madame she is not. She’s no kind of madame. She is rootless and stateless, a female human without clothing or job, references or reputation, with no roof over her head.
This is going to take some creative thinking. Luckily a beach is the perfect place to think creatively, with the sun shining high in the brilliant sky, the tickly-fine sand blowing against her bare brown shins and the little town of Dieppe getting closer, floating on a transparent mirage of heat-wrinkled air. Marching along parallel to the water The Nurse can almost feel Sussex and her beloved Brighton in the near-ish distance, a mere ferry voyage away for any cunt lucky enough to own a passport and fortunate enough not to be wanted by the police.
Mulling over everything that’s happened to her since she arrived en France, The Nurse finds inspiration unexpectedly quickly. That’s the beauty of the unconscious mind, especially one that lives inside a body that has come back from the brink of death to such a fit and healthy state. She’s feeling as sharp as fuck, a fact that makes her grin. Add the unmistakeable walker’s high you get after a few miles, when the rhythm settles in and you suddenly feel invincible, and she’s on fucking fire. Her PTSD symptoms skulk back to their dark, shit-strewn dungeon and sulkily scratch their massive, hairless bollocks, beaten back for the time being.
Fuzzily at first, then with increasing clarity, she recalls a story told by her grandfather when she was a little lass. George had fought the Jerries in World War Two and loved telling his granddaughter about his wartime adventures. A natural thief, he became trapped by the Germans a few miles from the coast while the legendary Dunkirk debacle was going on. Fearing for his life, George had gone a bit ape, nicking anything precious he could find that wasn’t tied down in a panicky, entirely illogical attempt to tempt fate away from himself and avoid being blown to smithereens.
His stash, once he was eventually – and rather miraculously – picked up and returned to Blighty, included a rather fine Art Deco platinum diamond ring, a diamond-studded golden cross from the altar of a bombed-out church, a diamond necklace featuring huge old rose-cut gems backed with tinfoil, and a small square of rough paper that he’d found along with the cross, clearly identifying a well-known, much-hated Nazi collaborator: photo, name, date of birth and… yes! That was it! An address in Dieppe.
Now, can The Nurse recall the address from the ancient scrap of paper that had fascinated her so much as a child? The paper she’d kept until it fell apart, soft and worn thin along the folds? Oh, yes. She bloody well can. She may have almost died, gone mad, and recovered against the odds, but her excellent memory hasn’t been affected.
Interestingly, the address still exists. It’s close to the intersection of Rue De La Victoire and Avenue De La Republique. Fuck me. The Nurse stands on the pavement, thinking hard. It’s risky. Fucking risky. Should she go away and think about it more, sift carefully through the ins and outs of the idea like a sensible person would? No. There’s no wriggle room. She shakes herself, makes the decision, straightens her shoulders, strides up to the front of the house and knocks confidently.
The door is answered by a tiny, wizened, incredibly old man. He’s bent double thanks to an S-shaped spine, and his hands are folded into bird-like claws with long, curved nails. A few pure white hairs are plastered across his skull in a 1970s comb-over style. He’s wearing a smart scarlet cardigan with leather buttons over a checked purple and grey shirt, vivid golfing trousers featuring Disney cartoon characters, and an egg yolk yellow silk cravat. Blimey. The Nurse takes an inadvertent step backwards before her vision clears and she can take in the spectacle. Then she grins, holds out her hand and introduces herself. Bonjour, Monsieur. You don’t know me. My name is Katrine, and we need to have an important conversation.
It’s vital to get the right bloke. Otherwise she’ll be stuffed. As they shake hands the man’s cardigan sleeve pulls up to reveal the two centimetre long, livid pink, shiny scar she was hoping to find. Like many other high-level Nazi collaborators, he’d scraped a crap home-made tattoo of a Swastika into the skin of his inner arm in the late 1930s. After the war he’d fled justice after burning the symbol from his arm with a branding iron, absolutely agonising but the only reliable way to get rid of the dratted thing.
Now certain it’s him, she follows the man indoors. He shuffles along a dark corridor floored with shining, spotless diagonal brown and beige striped linoleum, then turns right into a sunny, high room with floor to ceiling windows and lots of spindly golden French furniture. He motions her to sit opposite him in front of a massive carved marble fireplace writhing with naked cherubs and tumbled fruits, and takes a chair himself, wincing as he sits. Now what can I do for you, Madame Katrine?
The Nurse extracts the note she has jotted from her pocket and hands it to him: Monsieur Joseph Trineaux, Nazi Collaborator, DOB 17th January 1919, and this address. Joseph goes grey and his hand flies to his throat in an instinctive protective gesture. Merde. The Nurse smiles kindly, which scares even more of the living shit out of him. Look sir, I’m not going to shop you, she says in her lumpy colloquial French. For reasons I cannot explain, I need money. A lot of money. I need to make myself a new life, and you’re fucking rolling in it. You’re on your last legs, an evil Nazi ex-collaborator. I think a million Euros is a fair sum to keep me quiet. I’ll keep schtum, you’ll keep your reputation, everyone’s happy. Give me the cash and I will fuck off. I give you my word as an Englishwoman, I will never return to this house.
Looking stunned, Joseph slowly nods and creaks to his feet, crossing the room to slide aside a nasty, dark brown Victorian painting of Rouen cathedral to reveal a shiny modern safe.
I am an old cunt, he explains with his back to her, in a calm, conversational tone, as he rummages. And yes, I have done some appalling things. I am a psycho, of course, and I have always found it hard to give a proper shit. But nevertheless… I still see the Nazis in my dreams, marching across my beloved France in their fucking jackboots, and I could spit with fury. Back then I was a young man, a fearful man, a stupid man. I was a greedy man, an easily-led man. And in my own inadequate way I feel ashamed. Then there’s you, Katrine. You’re a cunt too, but you’re the cunt who’s going to help me make cosmic amends at long last. You’re welcome to your million. Then you can fuck off.
This is the kind of language and logic that The Nurse understands and appreciates. She salutes Joseph, a mark of respect, then picks up the neat leather bag he has packed with used notes and leaves the building a wealthy woman. Well, that wasn’t too hard, was it? The Nurse reckons she’s made a pretty good start.
Armed with the Nazi’s ill-gotten cash, The Nurse buys a train ticket to Paris.