Herb Neufeld and The Slaves of
Herb/VO: Hullo there. Another fiddle another Franc, as
they say. And now dear reader you find me once
again in the shade of a delightful café‚this time
brutally frank, as you who know me truly
understand. Savouring the delights of the assorted
lowlifes. Well not to exaggerate, that is to say
that my radar seems permanently tuned into certain
vibrations as emitted by lowlifes© or is it dear
reader, that they find me irresistible? Well,
doubtless on some far galaxy a green thing with
horns for eyes is scratching its butt and laughing
itself hoarse over my machinations, while gluing
its fourth ear to a tiny receiver which lke one of
those magical satellites enables it to listen to
the minutiae of life on a less exciting planet and
thus relax a moment. I for my part am not hoarse at
all, because I am, unusually, well oiled.
FX: Sound of crashing taxis, accompanying curses &c..
(Cont:) Well, well, give a dog a bone as they say, here
comes Charlie Eiche, and as we all know, he's
rarely not up to something twisted. Picture this then
FX: Breaking off my holiday for a few moments I give
chase, aided of course by the fuel in my veins...
Impulsive, aren't I?
FX: pant pant
Down an alleyway, over a blasted heath,. turn right
by the twisted oak, and there I espy Charlie
talking to an unidentified blond person of the
Herb Neufeld! My God, thought I'd seen the last
of you! Lieutenant Habicht had you deported, did
he. Or are you banned from
Just a habit Charles, couldn't resist it...sorry...
Who is this creep, Charlie?
No one special my little cabbage, just a....
FX: People squabbling, noise of running feet. Fade to:
Herb: It was later. Prematurely darkness had come down
upon me and to my surprise I found myself in a
strange armchair, smelling faintly of formaldehyde
and old roses. The inexplicable texture of brocade
upon my skin. Suddenly I was fully awake, and when
I ventured to open an aching eye, to my amazement
found that Charlie Eiche was sitting opposite me.
Charlie: They got her, Neufeld, and you didn't do a thing
to stop them!
Herb: I vaguely recall that at the time I was
unconcious, Charlie... hey do you have anything to
wet my whistle with? Ouch, take it easy Charlie..
explain to me what happened.. ouch ..
Charlie: Head hurts, huh, well just imagine what happened to
my little choux Sandra.. they got her, Neufeld.. I
thought you were a Dick.. and now you're nursing a
thick ear!.. where does that bring me to I might
Herb: Hey, slow down, Charlie..
Charlie: Neufeld, am I mad or are you not on a job..
Herb: This is supposed to be a break, you know, a quick
little sign on a muddy road just outside Roedersheim
Charlie: So you don't know about the white slave.....
Herb: Oh No! I might have known it... this is about the
most unlikely thing I can imagine...
Herb: Oh, come off it Charlie.. anyway how did you get
to find out..
Charlie: let me explain..
Herb: I really should be turning this thing over to the
Charlie: hold on a moment.. there could be something in it
for you.. like money? .. listen a minute ...
really.. Mutterstadt.. that unknown village -
thats where it all started, you
called Florians with those ingratiating Italians...
.. yes it's true.. one day I walked in, and when I
left, to cut a longer story shorter, to coin a
phrase, that girl, Sandra, was crouched in the back
of someone else's car, only at the time I'd
unofficially borrowed it.
When I got to
she sprang out, sobbing, so to speak into my
Herb: And to cut a shortened story shorter still..
Charlie: well, despite my more logical assumptions –
we fell in love... yes, before you say
anything more we really did..! .. but that mob from
Florians are after her and they want her back
Herb: come on, spill the beans or you'll never get her
Charlie:[wails] yes, I know, but what transpired was all
Herb: Listen, I'm illegal, I don't have a TV Licence!
Anyway I see, thats why the cops haven't been
Charlie: OK, I'll spill the beans... it's like this. Sandra
was the chief procurer for a cheap show... you
know... cheap girls who'd dance and sing and – you know-
anything else the customers asked them...
expensive champagne.. the lot..
Herb: I think I've been there sometime before..
Charlie: Strictly off the record.. OK?.. but then ...
listen, I'll pay you..
Herb: Nice, and unexpected, of you to offer Charlie.. 500
a day plus around 500 expenses...
Charlie: Anybody but you Herb, and I wouldn't Pay a dime..
Herb: Yeah, lets go into the charity aspects of this
later, Charlie, first complete the story!
Charlie: It turned out that she didn't know that all the
girls who suddenly left or who were offered jobs in
rather unusual places and then were not heard of
again were being drugged and then smuggled out of
the country and made into sort of white slaves..
Herb: Florians! The trendiest winebar in Mutterstadt,
the crossroads of
except if it's true, and then it's awful! Wow!
Charlie: Awful ..
Herb: And to think how much of my money Florians've
relieved me of!
Charlie: Yes, and to think they didn't need it..
Charlie: Mind numbing actually...!
Herb: Listen, I know we both like a drink but let's not
lose the point...
Charlie: Mind you, Sandra's a tough broad..
Herb: Well, I hope so!
Charlie: Let me finish then... hiding behind this awful
place, Mutterstadt, there's a ring of smugglers,
and they specialise in getting unattached girls and
smuggling them out of the country..
Herb: Why didn't you tell me... or.. or the police, for
example... at the time ..
Charlie: You know that cop.. eh ..Habicht, Herb, he's so
paranoid he'd clap me in chains and I'd do five
years before he'd got round to clearing last
months paperwork and starting on the case!
Herb: Iknow what you mean, but somehow I can't imagine
Habicht being as excessive as that..
Charlie: Remember the time when he handcuffed you to the
chair... remember the time...
Herb: O.K. I give up, "the sheer weight of evidence.."
Charlie: That's Habichts' favourite line..
Herb: Well, continue, anyway
Charlie: Apparently they've been doing this for years, and
Sandra only found out because she became surprised
by the staff turnover... not very bright,
Sandra.... finally however she overheard someone
saying something and the pfennig dropped...
Charlie: So she
told me and I told her to get out.. afterÜdÜ
all it had nothing to do with her and...
Herb: Yes.. O.K., O.K.
Charlie: And that was how we ended up in this mess!
Herb: Fait Accompli
Herb: You blew it ..
later, Charlie is explaining
Charlie: I think the guy who's arranging the whole thing is
called Legard he's a builder or printer or
something like that anyway one evening he had a go
at Sandra, you know, verbal abuse, and then he
stomped off into the office. Later she told me
she heard him speaking, shouting actually, in some
foreign language or other on the 'phone. That's
all I know... but don't let on about the slaving
business before we get Sandra back..!
FX: Traffic noises.
Herb/VO: I spent the next few days hanging around the local
cafes and bars, looking for something or other that
would tell me something more detailed about
Sandra. She had two friends in Paris, one a dancer
at a small strip club just off Place d'Italie, and
the other a hooker who drove an E-Type Jaguar and
could be seen any evening in that small network of
narrow streets down by the Moulin Rouge. Kitsch,
isn't it.! .. But not if you're being held against
your will. By now Sandra's disappearing trick was
two days old and I hadn't turned over a stone.
Besides, all that coffee was beginning to give me
indigestion. And then one sunny morning I got to
talk to a man called Ponty
Ponty: Got any more cigarettes? Thanks [puffs] needed
that.. yes, where was I, Oh, Waiter another croque
monsieur please... yes, there's a lot of crime
around here .. ha ha, know a bit about that
myself.. ha ha.. know a man called Flaubert who
makes pots of Francs out of the girl.. you know..
well of course you said you were in that business
too© mind you, wouldn't try to get into that here©
ha© after all all the territories are covered, you
know what I mean, don't you..!
Herb: Interesting scene though... thought I'd look
around... sort of thought I could export some
Ponty: Well, I daresay I could introduce you to a couple
of people if you made it worth my while... after
all, international talent has a good price.. come
to think of it if I did the juggling there'd be a
share in it for you too, of course© what do you
make of that..
Herb: Tell me more.. what about..
Ponty: Another brandy Garcon!
Ponty: Yes, as I was saying there's another called Ewa or
something... never caught his name [drinks] that's
better.. international contact of some kind...
dunno where he's from but it had something to do
with blonds... can't think why blonds exactly..
Ponty: Yeah, you heard me.. blonds!
Herb: Myself I prefer Brunettes..
Ponty: Oh I dunno, anyway they said something about blonds
fetching good prices!
Ponty: Not always on the street..
Herb: High class walker wise?
Ponty: Hey, you know this business, keep outa this area,
Herb: Just curious, that's all..
Ponty: And you know what curiosity does, don't you..!
Herb: Relax, relax...
Ponty: You want information about this business, or don't
Herb: You know there's money in foreign talent like you
said... look, look around in the market and see if
there's any opening© both of us can profit fromÜdÜ
this.. possibility of turning over some real
dough.. we'll meet at your place ...say, this time
day after tomorrow.. and here's some cash to keep
you afloat [FX]
Ponty: It's that block there, second į‚įtage.. about seven
in the evening.. O.K? Au Revoir.
Fade to: Some time later:
Herb: It took me some time to get back to Charlie, and
when I managed to contact him at his Hotel, he was
on the point of leaving © and he muttered something
about a man called Can, and told me that he hung
out at the Bar Select on the Boulevard
was all Charlie seemed to know:
Fade to FX: traffic background
[cont:] The Select, in case you don't know it, is a
beautifully chic bar opposite La Coupole in
an hour there simply trying to look as if it was
well known to me too or I was awfully in too but
to little avail.. I failed miserably to fall in to
any sort of conversation.. then fate took its usual
FX: B/G Zooms to foreground:
Man in B/G: Told him he could get lost
Woman in B/G: What did he say?
Man in B/G: He said he'd get Can for that!
Woman in B/G: Poor Can, told him to watch out for Emile.. I
think he'll be in later.. I must warn him..
Fade to: later
Herb V/O: I waited for ages. My throat was getting sore and
my eyes were suffering from the cigarette smoke.
.. well I'm the delicate sort, you know
that.!..Then I saw a strange looking man wearing
tattered trousers and big red training shoes,
looking as if he could barely afford a Citron
Presse. He entered with the relaxed inattention of
a regular, as indeed he was, and stood at the bar a
moment before sitting down a few seats away from
me. Then he began to read a paper, the Canard
Enchaine, glancing over the top at times as if to
check something: after a while he began to rise for
some reason, when:
Waitress/Edie: That man there!
FX: people scattering
Fade to: some time later
Edie: Christ sake! They nearly killed him!
Herb: Well, Mademoiselle....eh..
Edie: Call me Edie..
Herb: Thanks.. they say he'll get over it. Bullet grazed
his skull and knocked him out.. nice hole in my
Edie: Lucky you weren't wearing it at the time.. Can must
have a thick skull to have deflected a bullet!
Herb: So you know this guy.. what's his name..?
Herb: Is that all you know about him?
Edie: Oh, he hangs around here.. don't know why.. last
time I spoke to him he offered me a job abroad
somewhere. said they wanted blonde waitresses...
didn't trust him much.. I mean what's he look like
to you all crumpled like he was...
Herb: Have another cognac on me.. look, that's
interesting, see, I'm an amateur writer and I'm
holidaying here in
sounds like a good scenario for a story..
Edie: So long it's no more than that.. round here half
the time you could be talking to some private dick
half the time!
Herb: Ha Ha!
Edie: There's no way you look like a
you look more like a faded discotheque flower..
Herb: Oh, what a nice thought..Ahhh!
Edie: Prefer to drink cognac at the Coupole anyway, much
better class of alcoholic here..
Herb: Where did you go before you worked at the Select?
Edie: Oh, I'm from
been here two years..
Herb: What's the crowd like at the Select, then? I mean
are they shifty or what..
Edie: Well, the usual mixture of course... some petty
crooks.. but mostly artistic sorts.. used to be a
hangout for the famous, but they all left when the
hangers-on discovered the place..
Herb: Usual deal..
Edie: You know, when your eyes aren't bloodshot, they're
really rather nice..!
Herb: I suspect that you're really jolly sweet..!
Edie: Do you really...really..?...
Herb: As a matter of fact...but tell me, do you know the
crowd that that Can man hangs out with..
Edie: Always remind me of civil servants.. don't know
why.. after all he's so wierd.. odd. but they
always reminded me of some bizarre sort of
burocracy -health ministry officials or something..
Herb: Officials? You mean, grey suits, small attaché
Edie: That sort of thing... something fishy about them
Herb: Have another... go on, spill the beans...
Edie: Well, I suppose it's that they spoke with such odd
accents.. bit like you really.. foreign, if you see
what I mean.. but then again in
Herb: English foreign, Spanish.. German.. what do you
Edie: Oh, No! Some of them are definitely not from the
northern part of
very respectable looking.. rich, I would say..
Herb: Well, that was an interesting basis for a story..
I must go now, but perhaps..
Edie: Well, why not, my day off is Friday...
Herb: I'm looking for a man called Charlie... yes of
course , you mean you haven't seen him.. but this
is surely where he's been staying.. I'm just a
Man: Haven't seen him since yesterday...
Herb: Was there anyone with him?
Man: Yes, I think I saw a slim blond woman with him..
Herb: About so tall? Could you recognise her from this
Man: Yes, that must be her... yes it is..
Amazing, Charlie disappeared with Sandra! Where
was my money! That was my main concern... but
still the mystery deepened.. it took me several
hours of hard searching to pick up the spoor on a
trail that seemed to be going rapidly cold...
Woman: Charlie? That drunken Kraut? Left without paying
his bill... suitcase was empty.. only cardboard
Herb: What about the blond girl... did h you see her
Woman: Flaming Boche Cop.. what's it to you anyway..
Herb: Look, here's a few hundred francs... so Charlie was
Woman: Well, that's better
Herb: Every little bit helps, doesn't it!
Woman: Of course..
Herb: this morning?
Woman: you knew then..!
Herb: Just a guess..
Woman: He had a bundle of things under his arm, the slob!
.. I should have known!
Herb: Was that all...
Woman: No..No.. he got a Pneumatique last
night, and he
looked a bit surprised when he read it, got kind of
jittery... I should have known.. him not being a
So Charlie had got a cable last night.. the
Pneumatique, in case you don't know, which I'm sure
you do, is a cable sent inside
not unnaturally this would be a fairly restricted
service.. therefore the person sending the message
would  be sending from a restricted area,
 would be in a hurry and  would have to know
that the pneumatique existed... that’s to say, be a
local... or me...or you, for that matter.. but
don't let me confuse you, after all I'm sure you
get the gist of it.. mind you, I still didn't.. now
I had something to go for, even if it was only my
Herb: Can you tell me the area that the pneumatique
Herb: Restricted,, isn't it?