Klaus Hnilica
Thursday August 25th, 2011

Charming White Lies at the New Wine Tavern …

Carl and Gerlinde (XIII)

„ Dearest Carl – I am afraid today we are out of luck with our New Wine! The Kronen Newspaper sang such high praises on it that all of Vienna seems to have decided to go and taste it! “ said  an annoyed Ferdinand Nowotny to his friend …

Damnation! Carl had imagined to end his Vienna vacation with Gerlinde and his friends in a different way! Indeed, he would certainly have liked to sit in this antique inner courtyard in the middle of the beautiful village of Perchtoldsdorf! Laughter  and song could be heard from all the tables, where people were drinking and eating to their heart’s content. Wonderful! He would also have liked to relish the taste of a few quarts of ‘Zweigelt’ or ‘Blue Portuguesian’ with Gerlinde. And certainly three or four half-quarts of ‘Green Veltliner’ would have been welcome to top it all!

“Didn’t I say from the start that we would definitely have to make a reservation, my dear Ferdi“ – lamented Nowotny’s colourfully made-up Berta in her sandpaper smoker’s voice. “But my golden Ferdinand always knows better“ – looking for allies, Berta looked towards Gerlinde and Hannelore. Both of them disappointedly shrugged their shoulders and barely managed a forced smile.

“My dearest Bertissima, I know“, interrupted Ferdinand, ”whatever I do, it is always the wrong thing!  But that is exactly why the two of us have now been married happily for twenty year, isn’t it?“

“Ha, ha, ha. Just keep talking this kind of nonsense, you joker“, groaned Berta while she opened her hand-bag in order to start a hectic search for her lipstick.…

“Ferdinand, wouldn’t it be a better idea to just leave“, this was Carl in an attempt at de-escalating the situation. “I am sure there are other pubs nearby, aren’t there?“

“Just a moment, my dear Carl! A true six-generation Nowotny, born in Prague, brought up in Brünn and married in the beautiful city of Vienna will not give up so easily!

And especially not if, at long last, our highly respected sales director from Germany honours us with his visit“, said a keen Ferdl, steering towards a stately waitress who wore a light-blue Dirndl dress, looked rather worn out and carried a big tray with empty glasses and pitchers towards the bar…

“You – are my last chance, beautiful girl“, Ferdinand yelled with a great gesture, using all the charme he could summon towards the Dirndl dress, “I am sure there is some secret place somewhere for guests as nice as we are, isn’t there?“

The beautiful girl wearing a not inexpensive Dirndl dress looked the one-head-smaller-than-she Ferdinand Nowotny up and down. First she was surprised, then she got more and more unwilling, since he never stopped smiling insolently at her…

With an air of irritation, she said that the gentleman certainly saw himself how crowded the place was! Every single table was occupied! Mind you, this state of affairs had been going on continuously ever since midday! As it was, everyone was already running around at the brink of their capacity, but the number of guests never seemed to get any less. Just like someone had broken open some door somewhere and let them all escape…

“But, really, my beautiful lady“, Ferdl kept imploring her, “I am sure there must be some small corner somewhere in this beautiful pleasure garden where we might sit down…“

“Most definitely and certainly not, sorry …“

“That is absolutely unbelievable – this cannot be your last verdict. You are such a nice lady, after all…“, Ferdl sucked up to her.

“Well, why don’t you just look how crowded this place already is. Do you see a vacancy anywhere at all?“
“Sorry, sorry, I certainly did not mean to offend you…“

”Once again, my dear sir! I really think I made matters perfectly clear, didn’t I? We are full and there is no vacancy anywhere! Sorry! Even if you find it hard to believe me or if you are deaf or blind  …!

“My dearest madam, someone wearing such a nice Dirndl dress should never get so worked up about a small affair.“
“Dear sir, stop coming up with all sorts of verbal nonsense. I really have better things to do …“ said the beautiful child wearing the nice Dirndl dress. Then she just turned and left Ferdinand standing there aghast.
Not knowing what to do next, he spent a moment just looking down on his shoes …

Totally unexpectedly, he suddenly noticed how an active, grey-haired gentleman wearing an elegant traditional costume walked from table to table, asked the guests in ever so friendly tones how they were doing and shook hands with individual persons, often laughing and always smiling…

Like a tracking dog who suddenly again sniffs the right trail, Ferdinand – practically steered by ghostly intervention – made his way towards this saviour in the person of a ‘Uncle-Who-Keeps-Greeting-People’ But even after the shortest of times, he saw that all his power of persuasion was no use. No matter how much he talked, how much charme he threw in, how much he lamented or begged, the friendly white hope wearing his traditional costume just kept shrugging and telling him what he already knew in ever so flowery phrases.

Wearily and frustrated, Ferdinand finally decided to back off! Now was the time to play his last trump card!

From one second to the next, he was totally changed. He suddenly moved towards Carl, lamenting noisily, throwing his arms up and crying with a desperate voice: “I am so sorry, Mister Embassador! Today, I really have to admit that I am a total failure! There is no place to sit for his Highness the Embassador anywhere in Perchtolsdorf! Your Eminence, I truly regret having to tell you that we are not welcome here …“

Before Ferdinand had finished the sentence, the active landlord wearing his traditional costume stood there. It seemed like he had suddenly appeared from nowhere. Steering him towards a corner, he said: “Sir, did I hear correctly? Were you just addressing someone as ‘Embassador’?“

“Well, certainly. I was going to finally show the Mister Embassador and his entourage the most beautiful New Wine Tavern around Vienna – but somehow or other, everything seems to have turned against us. They do not want us here…“

“Just a second, ladies and gentlemen“, the nice man yelled after the group assembled around ‘Embassador Carl’, as they were already halfway to the exit. …

“Just a second. I think I may probably have a solution to your problem. Just excuse me for a moment …“

He noisily clapped his hands and called for ’Antschi’, who turned out to be none other than the resolute waitress. Incidentally, she was again busy hurrying towards the bar with a full tray of wine and water decanters.

“Antschi, please go and tell Pepi to come quickly and put another table with two benches under the walnut tree for the Mister Embassador. That should be manageable – but hurry up, will you! His Excellence cannot wait any longer …“
“Yes, but …“

“No but – now put down your tray and get under way, otherwise I will get angry …“

Ferdinand was fascinated. He brimmed with keenness, “sir, that is absolutely unbelievable, Mister ……?“

“Perlach –  my name is Perlach and I own this New Wine Tavern!“

“Well, there you see again“, Ferdl flattered him, “as soon as the boss intervenes, everything works out, doesn’t it? It is just the same as with you, Mister Embassador …“

“But Mister Nowotny, I wish you would not mention this kind of thing“, Carl eloquently put in. He started enjoying his role more and more, “please do not make an extra fuss about me – today, we are totally private …“

“Your Excellence, I protest“, cried Herr Perlach with his loud voice and rainsed his index finger, “I protest, because I am sure we two have something in common: I, too, am on duty around the clock – day and night – I know no leisure time. That is probably just the same with you, Mister Embassador. Always on duty, always working …“
“Well, you might have a point there, my dear Herr Perlach, if you hold my post, it is hard to ever shun a duty“, Carl interrupted the good gentleman with an air of decorum.

“There you see, Your Excellence. Just like me“, cried Herr Perlach – and he sparkled like a freshly painted toy horse  …

Pride was among the sentiments he felt when he then accompanied the Mister Embassador and his entourage to the aforementioned places under the great walnut tree. The New Wine table with the comfortable benches and pillows Pepi had arranged were already waiting to be occupied.

And ’Antschi’ actively and looking around suspiciously, although with even darker spots on her neck and cleavage, hurried all over the place in order to serve the Mister Embassador at long last. …!

But even though Ferdinand was in the best possible of moods, he never managed to elicit a single word of praise from his chain-smoking Bertissima!

(Translated by EG)

And two weeks from now, on Thursday, Sept, 8th, 2011 you will again read something spooky with  “Determinedly…”.

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