Judge Simon F. awoke in his comfortable double bed and yawned heartily. He stretched himself and found it liberating not to show any considerations to anyone in bed anymore. The daylight in the sleeping room of his villa indicated that the morning had already advanced by far. Simon was wondering why his maid did let him sleep that long. He decided to take his breakfast in bed this time. It was that kind of luxury he was only able to enjoy because of his divorce. His ex-wife would surely disapprove, which made breakfast in bed only sweeter. Just the thought of it brought a big fat smile on the judge’s face. Excited, the judge rang the bell in order to call for the new maid that he recently employed. She had good manners, but she was not submissive enough for the judge’s taste, considering his high position. Her appearance, especially wearing that neat uniform, compensated him in full for her flaws. Of course, he took care of details like that in the application process already. Lolling in bed, the judge impatiently awaited his lovely maid and tried to detect the tripping sound of her slim, gazelle-like feet.
Five minutes later judge F. grew impatient. Actually, somebody should have shown up by now, either the old hag-maid Rosemarie or the young, tasty new lady in her sexy maid dress. A glance at the clock radio on the bedside table unsettled him even more because he noticed the red digits on the display were missing. Cursing his situation to be left waiting, the judge grabbed the remote control and tried to activate his flat screen TV to kill some time, until somebody would find it in his heart to look after him. To his eternal surprise the flat screen TV didn’t work either. He realized that the tiny, red light at the bottom of this new technical wonder was also not lit.
Just in that moment, the door opened and a moderately dressed man came in. The judge realized immediately that this man was a stranger. He couldn’t even make out his face because it was concealed behind a dense, black beard on the lower side and hidden behind huge sunglasses on the upper side. The hat on top of this unknown, uncanny face made the impression of a disguise complete, although the stranger didn’t really wear a mask.
»You rang?«, asked the stranger without any emotion in his voice. As if the stranger was a mere servant, the judge yelled, »Damn you, boy. Why didn’t somebody wake me up? Tell the maid, I take my breakfast in bed! And somebody better take a look after that damn TV and the clock radio. They are broken. Got it?« The stranger shrugged his shoulders and emotionless he replied, »No breakfast today. You should lie down and wait until we call for you.« Without reacting to the judge’s outburst of rage, the stranger simply left and closed the door. The soft noise of a key turning inside a lock didn’t sound to well in the judge’s ear. Puzzled, Simon started to think about these strange happenings in silence. Did that stranger really just lock him up in his own bedroom? Was he taken prisoner? That was not possible for a man of his position and power, the judge thought, or was it?
Furiously, the judge turned red, jumped out of bed, and rushed to his wardrobe. Hastily, he got dressed with his most impressive and expensive suit and rapidly, he combed his gray, thinning hair in front of the mirror on the old dressing table his ex-wife always had used. This situation was definitely to grotesque for the judges understanding. He was a judge, a somebody, and most definitely not a nobody. As a man of power, the judge decided to have that outrageous bastard in his house fired, no matter what. With fire in his eyes, he stormed the bedroom-door.
After the second attempt to open the door somehow, judge Simon F. gave up. The door was locked for sure and forcing the door open also didn’t work. A malicious grin appeared on the judges face as he tried to grab his mobile from the charging station, where it always was placed to recharge over night. But the charging station was as empty as the judge’s stomach, which just started to growl. The influential judge teared open both door leafs of the terrace door, which lead into the garden, with a vengeance and rushed outside. But after his first step into freedom he realized that somebody obviously foresaw his reaction to confinement because two grim looking, gigantic men immediately approached him and grabbed him under his arms. Their firm grip and determination made resistance futile. Equipped with dense beards, sunglasses, and hats, the judge knew instinctively that these brutal men belonged to the stranger in the house. Such an outfit surely wasn’t any fashion phenomenon the judge had missed and it was out of place to wear sunglasses in early autumn as well. Something was going on and Simon had to find out what. Surprisingly, these giants didn’t drag the judge back into the house, they shoved him right in the middle of the garden. They brought the judge to a well hidden garden garnish right in the middle of these perfectly trimmed hedges Simon cherished so much, until now. Today these hedges seemed much taller and a tad frightening, considering the judges awkward situation. To the judges astonishment, another stranger seemed already waiting for him, sitting relaxed in the judges comfortable garden chair.
»Good morning,« the strange man with the stovepipe hat greeted friendly. Judge F. inhaled the strange man’s appearance as if his life depended on it. The suit of that man was clearly out of the nineteenth century. His beard immediately reminded Simon of the ancient emperor Franz-Josef of Austria. The chin was clear and well shaven, but his cheeks and upper lip were covered by a dense beard, although that beard gave rather the impression that it was glued to the mans face. With that new insight, Simon took a closer look at the beards of his other oppressors and they also seemed false. Beard, glasses, and hats served only the purpose to hide their true identities. Despite of the friendly welcome, the judge turned red and mustered all anger in order to address the strangers properly, but he was simply pushed into a garden chair before he even had the chance to explode. The henchmen took position behind the judge, who was only able to stare at the next outrageous thing just right in front of him. At the small garden table stood a single hot cup of coffee. Judge Simon F. immediately realized that this cup was part of the dishes belonging to his household. It was the judges property these crooks were using without his permission.
»Franz did tell you to stay in your room,« said the strange would-be Franz-Josef. It was clear that no one would let F. take the initiative, but Simon’s anger was building up inside and he needed relief. »Do you not know who I AM?« Simon yelled in his best threatening tone. In the very next moment the judges head went dizzy. As the fog lifted from his mind, Simon felt half of his face in pain. Then Simon realized that there was a fluid dripping out of his mouth and it was partially running over his chin as well. »My courtesy to even talk to you is not really part of my job. I wished you would behave more civilized,« criticized the strange man. The judge spat out an ounce of blood and stared angrily at the intruder. How Simon wished to have these bastards thrown in jail right away, but for now he decided to be more diplomatic.
»Alright, let’s talk! And what is it you want?« asked Simon in hope to shed some light on these strange happenings. »I am not allowed to tell you. I am just doing my duty here,« the strange man replied amused. He was obviously pleased by the change in Simon’s behavior. Then he added, »Proceedings are underway. You will learn about everything in the right time.« Simon felt like biting a bullet. Could all of this be true? There had not been any summons or any information about an open case against him. In addition, Simon had accumulated a lot of political capital over the years, which should not even allow a case against him. Anger built up inside the judge, but all Simon did was giving the stranger his most evil stare.
Suddenly, another terrace door swung open, spitting out another one of those ridiculous bearded men with hats and sunglasses. Simon never used this particular door and he had to actually think hard, from which room of his villa that guy came from. Unsettled, the judge realized that it was his home office where that new intruder must have come from. The similarity of this man and the first stranger he met in the house was astonishing, but the notebook the crook carried made a difference. Unfortunately, it was judge Simon F.’s notebook that was under this lowlife’s arms.
»My computer is well protected with passwords, but it would make no difference if you gained access because I never committed any crime. It is meaningless to you whatever you may find on my computer,« mocked the judge his oppressors with hate in his eyes. The man ignored Simon completely and just nodded knowingly to that impertinent guy with the stovepipe hat, before going back where he came from. Acting as if the owner of this huge villa wasn’t even there, made Simon even more mad than he was before.
»Time is up. Go back to your room and remove all pieces of metal and all electronic devices that you are carrying around on your body or your clothing. We are leaving in five minutes,« informed the anciently clothed man, who seemed to be in charge of the other bearded man. For judge Simon F. this was all to much. He refused to do as asked and sat these five minutes silently in defiance on his garden chair. Angry about his impotence, he tried to remember everything about the looks of his oppressors, only to realize that it made no sense remembering a detailed description of a disguised man at all. As soon as he realized this obvious truth, everything went dark.
Time was up, and without getting even an order to do so, the two giant henchman pulled a sack over the judges head. The material was not densely woven, therefore, the judge would still be able to breath, but not even the slightest shimmer of light was able to penetrate the sack. In the next moment, earmuffs were mounted on the judge’s head, deafening him in addition to his unwelcome blindness. Helpless and in despair, Simon was pulled on his feet and finally he realized that he underestimated the threat of the situation completely. These men had no respect for his position or his power. They just followed their duties as single-minded as lemmings, walking over a cliff. They also behaved like living outside reality. But reality stated, judge Simon F. was a powerful man, although his captors deprived him of that power already. Upset, the judge let himself been taken away.
The judge couldn’t possibly know how much time had past. From the surroundings he only new that he was lying on the floor inside the cargo hold of a small transporter. The cold floor, he was lying on, and the bumpy ride made it obvious where he was, but he knew nothing about their destination. Would his kidnappers have told him if he just had cooperated? It was too late to find out, therefore, the judge tried something else. Simon counted every bump and every noise that managed to penetrate his earmuffs and he tried to remember every ounce of information, which hopefully made it possible to find his kidnappers as soon as he was set free. Simon swore to himself that his revenge would be terrible and without mercy.
Finally, somebody removed the earmuffs and the judge’s sense of balance returned almost immediately. Being dragged out of the transport while still blindfolded and deafened had made him dizzy and shaky. As soon as Simon started to guess where he currently could be, the sack was removed as well and the judges guessing game was, therefore, cut short.
At first, blinking was the only thing possible for the judge in this bright light, but then his blurred vision turned to normal. Simon found himself in a small hall, used also as garage and for storage as it seemed. A long table with some baskets on it represented all furniture. Two small transporters took up most of the space, but as Simon tried to read their license plates he realized, there were none. It became obvious to Simon that his captors didn’t want to be found out at any cost. His whereabouts would remain a secret and it was carefully taken care of that Simon didn’t get any other clues as well. It would be next to impossible to uncover the identities of these crooks, the kidnapped judge thought disappointed.
With some uncertainty Simon looked around as something unexpected happened. Somebody removed the handcuffs that tied his hands behind his back. The handcuffs had been the last humiliation Simon has had to endure after being pushed into the transporter. He completely forgot about them, but now a big part of his lost self-confidence returned along with his partially regained freedom. He took a closer look at the guards now because they were completely different than those he met before. Instead of bearded men with sunglasses and hats, the villains here were wearing real masks in their hideout. All these grinning, white faces with the mustache and the tiny strip of beard from lip to chin seemed familiar. Simon knew that strange face, that black hair, and that stupid hat all to well. A mask like this was used in a film the judge once saw. He remembered that the mask represented a terrorist by the name of ‘Guy Fawkes’. In that film, the terrorist attacked the democratically elected ruling class, the authorities, with abnormal brutality in order to bring down the government. For Simon this masks represented the outrageous and disrespectful defiance of law and order itself.
As the passenger door of the van slammed shut, Simon was pulled out of his thoughts immediately and he even flinched. He recognized the bearded man he already had encountered his sleeping room immediately. To the judge’s disappointment the bearded man still had his hat on and in combination with the huge sunglasses Simon still wasn’t able to determine the crooks real face. This one has been called ‘Franz’ by the leader of the criminals that had invaded his home, Simon remembered, but again this served no purpose in identifying at least one of those villains.
Now that they were off, in retrospect the handcuffs had been rather unpleasant to wear and while Simon was rubbing his wrists, he observed the bearded man at work. Three baskets and some strange tool were lying soon in front of the man and without giving them any order, the masked guards shoved Simon to the table and to this Franz.
»How much?« Simon asked politely. The bearded man shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t know what the judge suggested. Therefore, Simon had to be more precise and asked, »How much will it cost me to be set free? That is the point in being kidnapped, isn’t it?« As the guards laughed out loud, judge Simon F. shrank visibly along with all his hope of a reasonable solution to his dilemma. Amused, the bearded figure replied, »You haven’t been kidnapped, you have been arrested. I am sure, Franz-Josef told you that proceedings are underway already.«
Although the judges heart now felt like a stone, he dryly replied, »Franz-Josef? Figures.« Graciously, Franz bowed down and the guards laughter had also stopped completely. Franz replied with a pleased voice, »Very generous, your honor.« Perplexed by the sudden change in atmosphere, judge F. immediately changed his approach to the situation. He also bowed slightly and gently he whispered, »Thank you, for clearing up this misunderstanding about the arrest for me. As no one was carrying a police uniform and no one did show me nether any identification nor an arrest warrant, my situation was not entirely clear to me.« The guards burst out in laughter again while Franz praised the judge’s fine sense of humor, but judge Simon F. felt even more uncomfortable now.
Beep. Franz’s forehead got wrinkled again, as far as the little space between hat and sunglasses revealed. The strange looking detector struck again. It really was astonishing what this masterpiece of technology was able to detect. The judge sighed, »I know. I was told get rid of all of these things at home.« With regret, the judge pulled a money clip out of an inside pocket of his jacket and put it in the middle basket. The basket floor was already covered with the judge’s wristwatch, a small golden chain and some knobs made out of metal. Appalled, Franz pulled a neat package of 100-Euro notes from the money clip and nervously gave it back to the judge. »We are just simple civil servants out of the lower ranks, but we are no thieves. This money belongs to you, of course,« Franz stuttered embarrassed. His hands were shaking, as if they never held that amount of money ever before. At least not at once. As soon as judge F. took the money back and put it away, Franz relaxed. ‘A simple civil servant out of the lower ranks?’ Simon wondered. That sentence brought forth the memory of a book, which he was forced to read an eternity ago. But even the title of that book escaped him for the moment. Just the hate, he and his classmates had about that book, was still burning in his memory.
»Thank you, for your cooperation,« Franz stated and presented a damp cloth to Simon. The judge smirked at Franz because, how should he be able to wipe off the color of the ink-pad with just one hand? His other hand was in use, so he wouldn’t lose his trousers. The metal buckle of his belt fell victim to the evil, strange detector and this had left Simon in a very unfortunate situation. With fingers rubbing against thumb, the judge did his best to clean himself up. Simon was pleased that the guards were to polite to break out in laughter at his demise again. ‘After the admission to prison comes the prison cell,’ Simon thought and an icy chill ran down his back. The prospect of being fed with substandard food and the loss of virtually all amenities was not to pleasant to the judge. He knew that these low servants would only do their job and nothing more. These servants were only here to arrest him and those other servants with Franz-Josef existed only to secure some evidence against Simon. This narrow-minded behavior of low servants was all to well known by the judge, although it was much more fun not being the victim of this idiotic servants-bureaucracy.
After his arrest papers vanished into a case folder and the folder vanished into a box, the world turned dark again for Simon. With a sack over his head and earmuffs, Simon was brought back to the transporter. This time, the judge was allowed to sit on an emergency seat on the side of the loading area. It was not too comfortable, but it was much better than lying on a cold floor. In addition, he sat between two guards, who left him little room and who obliviously should prevent the judge in doing anything stupid. They even left out the handcuffs this time, which made traveling much more convenient.
Judge F. thought a lot about the last document he was forced to fill out and sign afterwards. Of course, he did it, but the true meaning of that document still eluded him. He had to disclose all of his assets. So he revealed everything he had already disclosed at his divorce. The judge smirked inside because comparing that data from his arrest with the data from his divorce would surely work in his favor. Just the wording used in all of these questions about his assets made the judge suspicious. Simon pushed aside all doubts as he himself had been clearly the only legal expert in the entire hall, of that he was sure of.
The ride to the unknown destination seemed shorter this time and the astonishment in the judge’s face must have been noticeable as Simon found himself in his own bedroom, after the sack was removed. »You look so surprised. Didn’t you want to go to work tomorrow?« Franz was wondering. »What kind of ridiculous arrest was that, when I am not even locked up? Am I just out on bail or what? When will you tell me, who is charging me with what?« the judge’s brusque voice barked at Franz. The low servant was shocked about this change in behavior, but he was clearly not intimidated. »Our duty was your arrest only and let me be clear on that, you are under arrest and you are still our prisoner, although you are not incarcerated. As soon as one of the high officials gives the order, we will become active again and as our prisoner you will comply. That is the law,« Franz explained calmly and turned around to leave. But judge Simon F. was at home, where he felt secure and powerful again. As a superior man of influence he blocked the path of this lowly servant and wanted to force this Franz to reveal everything.
His body crumbled in pain as the judge regained consciousness. After a felt eternity he managed to open his eyes. Somebody must have laid Simon on his bed. »Such a shame. He was so reasonable before we came back here. I think, he’ll never learn,« philosophized one of these gigantic guards, which had accompanied Franz obviously. The second guard reached out to Simon and turned the judge’s head. Full of fear the judge stared at his brutal opponent, who probably knocked him out in the first place. »We are better taking no chances with that one,« suggested this second crook and Simon detected a glare, full of hate, in the villains eyes, regardless of his disguise. Then, there was that pain again and after the pain followed the darkness.
Judge Simon F.
Verlag: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Texte: Reinhard Franz Forstner
Cover: Reinhard Franz Forstner
Übersetzung: Reinhard Franz Forstner
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 19.10.2019
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This book is dedicated to the life and work of Franz Kafka (✝ 3. June 1924)