Here's the last installment of Chapter 1 for your Saturday. Next week I'll be settling into my publication schedule that I'll be doing for the rest of the calendar year, with one installment on Monday and one on Thursday every week. Monday, with chapter two, we'll meet Walter, a German metalworker.
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The day’s first rush of customers had come and gone. Louis stood behind the shop counter, discussing the news of the day with Felix Jobart as they played a game of draughts. Jobart owned the pork butcher shop down the street, but his busiest time of day was already past. By six in the morning every day he was in the kitchen: grinding sausage, cutting meat, cooking black pudding. By mid-morning the day’s meat cuts were laid out, newly made sausages lay glistening in their skins in the window, and Madame Jobart was reigning serenely from behind the counter in her immaculate white apron. Then Felix began a series of visits up and down the street which occupied him until lunch time.
“It will be a good thing for Austria-Hungary,” said Felix. “These Slavic nationalists and bomb throwers do nothing but cause violence. Now the empire can teach them a good lesson and earn some peace.”
Louis placed a hand thoughtfully on a piece and weighed his options. “My son-in-law says they will have to be careful what they are about.” He jumped two pieces, eliciting a grunt in response from Felix. “Henri knows about military matters, and he says that the Serbs have fought and won two wars in three years. When is the last time Austria-Hungary fought a war? Not since I was a boy. They fought the Prussians and lost before we did.” He sighed. “That was a bitter time.”
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The Parentheses of Palms
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