Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hans and Spätzle - The Shoe Spoon Novel

This particular blog post was something that started around five or six years ago. Back then, it was actually an email chain going back and forth between me and Julian Potter due to how funny we thought the image was that Wade Griffith, a photographer, had discovered. 

What started out as a few emails began to grow into a full length story written by me, Julian, David Brashier and David Allen, one of Dallas' finest creative directors.

I had forgotten all about it until I discovered it in some old files so here it is for your own reading pleasure.

The great thing about this piece is it's an open story so if you feel that you can add to the saga, please be my guest. I'll review your content and post it if I deem it worthy.

Enjoy the read...



Hans never made it to the front lines. Most days, he stayed in his very own bunker he dug using a shoe spoon in the back of his grandmother's yard. He was always good about keeping his legs clean shaven and wanted so much to meet all the other German soldiers.

His pet kitty, Mr. Whiskers, kept a close watch on him as Hans had been known to eat other small animals and Mr. Whiskers was in no mood to become a small meal. He spent his time atop the green helmet. A place he called home or as Hans liked to call it, "My Lookout Kitty."


Hans’ older brother, Spätzle was extremely jealous of Han's ability to dig with a shoe spoon.  Of course, Spatzle wasn’t his original name, but after their mother left, the boys’ dad (Arnulf) renamed his oldest after his favorite German delicacy.

Soon after, Arnulf disappeared.  Some say he went to live out his dream as captain of a shrimp boat…but most others feared a more notorious theory.

The boy’s grandmother took great care of the boys…she was a seemingly caring and kind person…but getting along in years…Her only rule was to NEVER enter the room on the third floor – she called it the “knitting room”

One day while both of the boys were playing in the bunker, Mr. Whiskers inexplicably left his helmet and ran into grandmother’s house…straight up to the third floor.

The boys ran after him, and despite grandmother’s warning, they entered the “knitting room”…what they saw when they opened the door…would change their lives…and perhaps the course of history…forever.


The room was littered in documents with swastikas and empty make-up containers. As Hans looked around the room, there were numerous pictures of Adolph Hitler and Nazi memorabilia. Rows of German uniforms hung from a free standing rack in the room next to a full length mirror. Next to the mirror was what appeared to be a makeup sitting table lined with bright white bulbs. An array of brushes and small black mustaches were lined neatly on the make-up table while pictures of Adolph Hitler were taped to the mirror.

Looking closely at the pictures, Hans gasped in shock as all the pictures of Adolph exposed a very hefty chest. Obviously a women's chest of generous proportions. The head of Adolph Hitler on a 70 year old woman's body? Hans shrunk to the floor in disbelief.

As he held his hands over his head hoping that he would awake from a terrible nightmare, Mr. Whiskers screamed as the door swung open.


It was Grandmother!  She had a furious look on her face…a grimace the boys had only seen once in their lives when she caught them trying to electrocute a frog with a car battery and her curling iron.

Grandmother, except for her generous sized chest, had always been a masculine looking woman…strong chin…excessive facial hair…larger than normal adam’s apple.  The boys were petrified with fear.  Poor Han’s actually wet his pants, which was not uncommon because of the strict diet of apple sauce and sour kraut that was demanded by his grandmother.  Spatzle however, was allowed to eat whatever he wanted…another point of contention between the boys.

Besides being frightened, the boys were confused.  Growing up they had heard a spectrum of stories about Hitler…he was considered a monster by some…and a hero by others. They also heard that Hitler’s supposed death in the bunker may have been a farce…this was the main inspiration for Han’s obsession with digging bunker’s in the back yard with a shoe spoon.

Spatzle garnered up the courage to ask a question of his grandmother, although he suspected she would not tell the truth…”Grandmamma – did you know Adolph Hitler?  Are you Adolph Hitler?”  Grandma simply answered “No”…but the tale-tale signs of her deceit were evident – the boys had learned this over the years…her left eyelid would become uncontrollably twittery…and she became extremely flatulent.

As the foul air overcame the room, Grandmother told the boys “NEVER EVER come back to this room…and NEVER NEVER EVER tell anyone about this.”

The boys agreed, and ran from the room…they felt guilty…but they knew what they had to do….


The boys' plan was simple in concept, but fraught with complications as to its execution. They had decided that their grandmother had to be exposed to the world as either the somewhat gender-confused Hitler impersonator that they feared, or, even more horrifying, an actual gender-transmuted Hitler. Either way, the road ahead was a treacherous one.

Choosing the right media outlet for this task was imperative. They considered Geraldo, but were concerned that he might not have the necessary credibility after the whole "Al Capone's Vault" fiasco. Fox news was also a possibility. But would a cross dressing Hitler really stand out among the Bill O'Reilly's and Sean Hannity's that graced their airwaves? Not to mention the prospect of their grandma/fuhrer being given her own 30 minute time slot on Fox. What about CNN? MTV? TMZ? There was a veritable alphabet soup of possibilities.

Once an agreement had been reached, they decided to act before they lost their nerve. Hans soaked a rag with ether, careful not to stain his lederhosen. With a trembling hand and a rumbling in the pit of his stomach, Spatzle picked up the telephone.


One ring. Two rings. Then, suddenly, a click of the receiver and a voice at the other end of the line that would chill every fiber of Spatzle’s being: “This is Harriet Goldfarb, how my I direct your call?”  Spatzle had meant to call the CIA, but in his haste had inexplicably dialed the JDL by mistake. Speechless, he  desperately groped for something, anything to say, until he blurted out the first thought that came to mind:

“Can you tell me where I might find a nice Pastrami on rye?”

The irony of the situation was not lost on Whiskers, who by now had overpowered the unsuspecting Hans, wresting the ether soaked cloth away from him. There was something about Whiskers that had always troubled the boys, something they couldn't quite put their finger on. There was the time their pet parakeet mysteriously disappeared. And other strange occurrences too: a bootleg mix of Cat Stevens inexplicably appearing on Hans's Wolkmon and an unsolicited VHS of Bye Bye Birdie arriving by parcel post with no return address. Unfortunately for the boys, they were never quite able to put zwei and zwei together.

As it turns out, Whiskers was no feline in the forest.  She had been around the litterbox a few times and when it came to counterintelligence, she was one Tidy Cat.


It wasn't like she'd intended to become a double-agent. Whiskers had started life with the intention of being a simple family pet in rural Kansas. Things had surely changed directions several times.

Her first "owner"--God, she hated that word--had been an eight year old girl, and they'd lived together on a farm in Hill City. Then she'd ended up living with a troupe of clowns, spending her nights sleeping in the glove box of their tiny car. After that, she'd moved to Pennsylvania, which is where she'd learned German and had been recruited as part of a network of couriers who could move around Europe without arousing suspicion.

That had been the life. One week, she would be living as the companion of a intermediate-end French prostitute. The next week, Whiskers would be on a train to Belgium, traveling with a salesman who dealt in clockwork marital aids. And then to Germany with the plastic surgeon pioneer who had perfected the first breast implant not made from wood. It had been he who had grafted the two tiny thumbs onto Whiskers' front paws.

The same front paws she was now using to hold the ether-soaked rag against Hans's nose and mouth. "Does this rag smell like ether to you?" she thought, smiling to herself at the joke as Hans lost consciousness and slumped to the floor.

All because of the invention of redial. If Spätzle had just dialed direct, instead of hitting redial on Whiskers's experimental Cat Phone, he wouldn't have known she'd been in touch with the JDL, and she wouldn't now be staring him down, trying to analyze his weaknesses and planning to kill him.

She didn't want him dead. They were on the same side, in fact. But, he'd possibly discovered her identity, and for that he must be silenced. She'd deal with the grandmother after she got the answer from the Home Office. First things first.