Herb Neufeld and The Slaves of Paris



Ulla Thomsen








Parisian street noises, as kitsch as possible.


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

      in downtown Paris, France.   Montparnasse to be

      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

      opposite persuasion.



      Herb Neufeld!  My God, thought I'd seen the last

      of you!  Lieutenant Habicht had you deported, did

      he. Or are you banned from Heidelberg?



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

      holiday in Paris, you know, turn left at that

      little sign  on a muddy road just outside Roedersheim

that says 'Paris 300km' and here I am in France,O.K?


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...


Charlie:    Mutterstadt.....


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    

      know, near Ludwigshafen; that little wine bar  

      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 Heidelberg

      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

      told ...


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 Europe!  It's almost  funny,

      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..


Herb: Amazing!


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...


Herb: So..


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


Charlie:    What?


Herb: You blew it ..


Fade to:

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!


Herb: Sure


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..


Herb: Blonds?


Ponty: Yeah, you heard me.. blonds!


Herb: Myself I prefer Brunettes..

Ponty: Oh I dunno, anyway they said something about blonds

      fetching good prices!


Herb: Streetwise?


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 fromÜd[1]Ü
      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

      Montparnasse: apparently he had red boots© that

      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

      Montparnasse.  Like all the other chic bars in

      Paris, it is an incurably cliquey place.  I spent

      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

      heavy hand


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 


FX: conversations:


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:


FX: Gunshot/confusion


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..?


Edie: Can. Short for Canice, male version of Candice..


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 Paris... tell me more.. it

      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 detective, anyway..
      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 Marseilles... this was my first job..

      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 Paris everyone's



Herb: English foreign, Spanish.. German.. what do you



Edie: Oh, No!  Some of them are definitely not from the

      northern part of Europe.. I suppose most of them

      are from North Africa, sort of.. but     

      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...


Fade to: FX Street sounds


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

      friend actually....


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..


Herb V/O:

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

      here recently..


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 Paris by air-pipes...

      not unnaturally this would be a fairly restricted

      service.. therefore the person sending the message

      would [1] be sending from a restricted area,   

      [2] would be in a hurry and [3] 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



Fade To:

      FX Streetnoises:


Herb: Can you tell me the area that the pneumatique



Man:  Urghh


Herb: Restricted,, isn't it?