The Dresden affair

Submitted for Contest #98 in response to: Write a story involving a character who cannot return home.... view prompt

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Jun 17, 2021

Adventure Drama Creative Nonfiction

   The Dresden Affair

Suzanne Marsh

“Ah Georg, I have been waiting to talk to you. I have a job for you.”

“Thank you Herr Schmidt, what would have me do?”

“Kill Herr Rudolph Diesel. I must prevent him from selling his engine to the British. What

he is doing traitorous to Germany. We have learned that he is in Antwerp, he will

board the SS Dresden. Since you are techically still his apprentice; he has paid for your ticket

in second class. Germany is depending on you Georg.”

Georg Betz shrugged his thin shoulders, he had his assignment. The only thing that he could do was to follow the orders he had been given. He hated the thought of killing Diesel, he had been apprenticed to him for several years. Diesel had been kind and helpful to Georg, yet he had his orders; kill him, stop him from selling his engine to the British. Georg could not understand why Diesel wanted to sell his engine to the British; especially to use in their submarines. He could just as easily have sold the engine to Germany; the U Boats definitely would be much better suited to the engine. Apparently Diesel had other ideas. Georg would travel with Diesel until the opportune moment came for his demise.

The Dresden lay anchored in Antwerp when the Georg arrived. Diesel had waited to board; he wanted to be sure Georg was on board. Diesel sighed as he trudged up the gang way. He needed some sleep; food sounded good to him. They followed the steward to their cabins. Diesel had a cabin on A Deck; Georg had one on C deck. Somehow to Georg that did not seem fair. He had never been in first class, only second and once third.

The Dresden, left the dock on time. She sailed out into open waters; heading to England. Rudolph Diesel, hoped his wife would do as he asked with the twelve thousand marks he had left in a suitcase under the bed. Martha would know what to do with the marks; at least he hoped so. Diesel did not have the courage to tell his wife that they were no longer wealthy. It no doubt would come as a blow to her.

Georg had no idea what was happening he had a job to do that was all he really needed to know. Georg took a stroll around the deck; he spotted an area that looked as if he could push Diesel off from there. If Diesel would not jump he had a Luger to use as persuasion; he was not thrilled with the idea; a gun shot would draw people, the one thing he did not want. He hid the Luger knowing that tonight he may very well need it. He hoped Diesel would not argue but if he did the Luger would work well. He thought about all the times he had dined with Diesel and his family; he felt badly but then again he had gone with the higher bidder. Herr Schmidt was a prominent businessman, and industrialist. Georg did not understand the politics but he did understand five thousand marks. He would kill Diesel tonight, make it look like suicide. Everything would be copostetic once he completed his mission.

Georg sat in his cabin plotting the entire time. He looked at his watch, it was time to meet Rudolph for dinner. He hoped the Dresden had good food, after all it was a British ship. Georg made his way to the dining saloon. Rudolph motioned him over:

“Sit Georg, the food is excellent. British cuisine is very tastey at times. I took the liberty

of ordering two steaks rare, potatoes and green beans.”

Georg, his conscience bothering him a great deal, muttered:

“Thank you Rudolph I am sure it is fine.”

Georg ate dinner, Rudolph seemed as if he were in some other place:

“Rudolph are you all right, you seem so far away.”

“I am fine Georg, just tired.”

“Well after that wonderful meal, I think I will leave a wake up call and go to bed.”

These were the words that Georg had been waiting to here. He would wait until around midnight, then put his plan into action.

Georg laid down to rest, he had a busy night ahead of him. He envisioned telling Diesel why he had to die. What would Diesel’s response be? Jumping to one’s death certainly was not a way to celebrate selling an engine. Georg dozed until almost midnight. It was time at last to put his plan into action. He carefully made his way to A25. He quietly slipped in, careful not to make a sound. He looked around the cabin. Rudolph’s form was plainly visible sleeping in the bed. He looked around; clothes all folded and ready to put on in the morning; ‘to bad he won’t see the light of day.’ He noted the picture of the Diesel family that Rudolph always carried. He quietly manuevered his way to the bed. The Luger balanced in his hand. Georg felt as if he would vomit from nerves before he accomplished his goal. He gently placed the Luger to Diesel’s temple. Diesel awoke with a start to find a Luger pointed at his head:

“Georg, what is the meaning of this?”

“Rudolph come with me. You need some night air.”

“Georg, I don’t require night air.”

“Rudolph don’t make me use force.”

Diesel, did not comprehend why he was being awakened for night air. He had not said anything to Georg other than good night. Georg pushed him up the stairs toward the stern. Diesel would not beg for his life. He just hoped that if Georg did kill him he would pay the price in one way or another.

Time was getting away from Georg. He pushed Diesel toward the stern:

“Now please Rudolph simply jump overboard, make this easy for both of us.”

Rudolph balanced himself as he watched the water below. He was not going to jump, that much was clear to both of them. Suddenly, Georg gave Diesel push. Diesel plunged into the churing water. The last Georg saw of him he was going under for the second time.

Georg returned to his second class cabin. His plan worked beautifully. Now he had to plan where to get off the ship. The Dresden pulled into New Orleans harbor long enough to get supplies, then onto New York. Georg, snuck off the ship. He had to determine where to go. New Orleans was to easy for people looking for him to locate him. He saw a poster with a sketch of his face:

WANTED FOR QUESTION IN REGARDS TO THE MURDER OF RUDOLPH DIESEL.

Georg, had no idea how he was placed near the crime but he began to consider Texas, he could hide there safely while an investigation proceeded. Georg first went to Fredericksburg a large German settlement. He then went to New Braunfels where he hid for a few months. He reached Dallas, where a met a beautiful young German woman named Anna. He left Dallas just before Anna discovered she was pregnant with his child. Georg was already on his way to New York City, where he hid for the rest of his natural life. He once told his oldest daughter:

“I can never return to Germany there is a price on my head.”

“Dad, what could you have done?”

“It is nothing Maggie, forget I have said anything.”

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