Marianne, a Friend from Germany

    Below is an extract from the first of three stories comprising Cool Brass, the second Slow Boat Media e-book.

    Marianne Messing, alluded to all over Reveries, shows up and shows off in each Cool Brass vignette. She and Caleb Abercrombie enjoy a connection closer than intimate. Their friendship emerged from instinct. From that start it’s matured into utmost trust.

    In a tangent, Hatun Sürücü, a 23-year-old woman the West barely noted and quickly forgot, despite having been one of the better publicized victims of clannish ignorance and exceptional violence, haunts the first and third stories of Cool Brass.

    Years on, Sürücü’s waste remains an incomprehensible indignity. Not only could she have done things and gone places, she might’ve become a big somebody. 

For a pair so entwined, his side of their visitors ledger paled. Open invitation aside, he’d yet been a guest of hers in Cologne. Between the Boston incident’s resolution and World Cup, Abercrombie had only once made Germany his intended destination. For Marianne’s wedding. That ceremony occurred in Berlin, a place where both were strangers.

    Her husband, Ahmet Olgun, came from Berlin. Born in Germany to Turkish nationals, society still regarded him as a Turk. About the same time Marianne turned her back on Hamburg, Olgun left Berlin. Both met in Cologne.

    Olgun then was so good-looking one could’ve mistaken him for a living porcelain figurine. The slim 22-year-old’s mustache failed bolstering his gravity. It simply made Olgun look like a teen trying his hardest to appear manly. Clean-shaven he would’ve been delicate. Downy almost.

    Perhaps Marianne sought someone to baby.

    Theirs was a courtship between foreigners. Despite being as German as Boris Becker, she saw Olgun as an “exotic.” Not a person purely for himself. Merely a screen upon which she projected. In turn, Olgun was bedazzled by what had always been within reach, though never in his grasp.

    It wasn’t love. Acquisition, maybe?

    In Berlin for their 1994 wedding, Abercrombie met the Olgun clan. The male members. Residing in a modern state as they did, patriarchy misguided them. Only men enjoyed freedom. Women covered their hair, were grindingly deferential, dressed in stifling modesty, and could expect nothing other than lives of baby-making drudgery,

    Should the two-legged chattel attempt leading a fuller, more rewarding, a satisfying life, two alternatives waited. Either familial ostracism or the distinct possibility of being an honor killing victim.

    Oh. One more thing. The older women, those who’d immigrated from Turkey, only spoke Turkic. Decades of living in Germany aside, their men had successfully kept them beasts of burden. Except for better television and cleaner water, the Olguns embodied the sort of everyday backwardness seen wherever Islam threw up ramparts against Western influences.

    Turks, not Muslim Arabs, the Olgun men adhered to Islam in checkerboard fashion. Pork? No. Alcohol? Yes. Promiscuity? Theirs? Certainly. Allowing any believing female the same latitude? Never! Intolerance? Absolutely.

    Across the stammtisch at the dark, smoke-choked watering hole where Galatasaray fans congregated, Abercrombie quickly grew to appreciate Olgun’s escape. To a man his masculine relatives were crude. From father on down, his being an American stimulated them. Filtered through television, hearsay and rumor, their vision of America rode on a high fantasia. More Oz than Kansas.

    His being an American the bride declared her kumpel flummoxed them.

    They knew Marianne had been a businesswoman. Quite a successful one apparently, having retired at such a young age. While none would pry into that former pursuit, each slavered to know how she’d amassed her fortune. However, should her American run off at the mouth like a gossipy woman … well, integrity maintained and information gained!

    Most nettlesome, while all were impressed by Marianne’s acumen, that a woman could possibly hold so much power over men unnerved the whole bunch. How they hadn’t fingered prayer beads Abercrombie didn’t know.

    Fortunately, Ahmet Olgun remained silent. The expected braggadocio or remonstrance never came. Such breast swelling and beating or complaint would’ve rendered him foolish. Abercrombie welcomed the younger man’s self-awareness. Even more so for questions unasked.

    Forget suspecting, Olgun must’ve known. A man who adeptly straddled milieus as he did, the ease which Marianne and Abercrombie comported themselves could only produce one conclusion. If the groom asked, Abercrombie, dreading it though respecting him, would’ve answered truthfully.

    Had he slept with Marianne? Yes. Did he still sleep with her? Yes. Should the urge arise in the future, would he sleep with her again? Abercrombie was grateful Olgun never insulted either man’s intelligence.

    On that 1994 Berlin afternoon truth was ducked. Thankfully. Abercrombie hoped lack of want or purpose, not the delayed likelihood of spousal confrontation, lengthened his absence from Germany.

    Marianne, on the other hand, became a faithful biennial holiday-maker to the United States. Specifically his civilized environs in Greater New York. Almost slavishly, she built her stays around him.

    At times her, for lack of a better word, subordination left him feeling reverse obligation. Abercrombie knew her devotion stemmed from unshakably believing she owed him. Would owe him. Big time. Forever. His making it plain they were square was immaterial. Marianne continued reimbursing him for the phantom debt.

    Intimacy before their Boston Adventure, its conclusion, absolutely melded them. Perhaps only shared children could’ve sealed the two dearer.

    Abercrombie considered telling Marianne how he approved of her current voluptuousness. He decided against it. Not that Marianne suffered easy embarrassment, but he believed she would’ve found such flattery half-witted.

    Or accused, “Oh? Now I’m fat?”

    An honest question for which there was no suitable response.

    Abercrombie saw the teen-aged Marianne as quite succulent. Of course when he first eyed her she posed tall, straight, sturdy, curvy and matter-of-factly naked. A vulnerability she reversed into intimidation.

     Then, who could’ve imagined her wearing Jil Sander ensembles, Frey Wille accessories, Prada footwear atop Wolford dessous (Abercrombie preferred dessous to underwear. Or even unterwäsche.)

    On a gentlemen’s club stage above the seated audience, looming in low heels really, she surveyed all below down her long sly nose. Angle and distance, foreshortened as they were, blackened her eyes. Cool cruel lips came the next night, when he knew her better.

    White key lights and blue fills raised her cheekbones, sharpened muscle masses. Slick black leaves of hair bound her head and refracted shimmers. …