HENRY 12-11-2016

The authorities came by this morning. Two Polizei knocked on my door. I saw them through the window in the door, debated whether I should pretend I wasn’t home but as I was relatively confident I had done no wrong, I opened the door.

Grüß Gott!”

I live in Germany, in the state of Bavaria. The greeting, Grüß Gott is a standard greeting here. It’s used in place of Guten Tag —Good Day, but it literally means, Greet God. The literal meaning irks me to no end. I’m a non-believer, an agnostic, borderline atheist. In other parts of Germany the typical response is, “wenn du ihn siehst—when you see him.“ I like that answer, but this was probably not the best time to use it. The male cop in this dynamic duo was far bigger than I could ever hope to be and his smile was not friendly.

This entire conversation was German, but I’ll dispense with writing the German and then translating; it makes things easier for all of us.

“Good morning, can I help you?”

“We have reports that you have buried an animal or perhaps a person on your private property. This is not allowed.”

Stunned, I looked at the female partner. She glared at me. I think she wanted to eat me alive. Now shocked, all I could say was, “What?”

He thumbed over his shoulder in the direction of our courtyard. I pushed myself up on tiptoes but couldn’t see over his shoulder.

“I don’t understand.”

Finally, the big guy took a step to the side and pointed at something in the center of the courtyard. I saw the Pampas Grass planted in the cobblestoned ground and a small tree.

“Listen, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The female moved a step closer, invading my personal space and lisped in English, “Ve haff testimo… witness who say you bury something in Hof.” She looked over shoulder in the same direction her partner had. Then she pointed. “You haff a marker even.”

“Uh, could you repeat that in German? I don’t understand your English.”

I think that pissed her off, because she let loose with a stream of heavily accented Bavarian dialect that knocked me back a step. I understood less of this dialect than I did her English, but I did get the gist of it. These cops were here because someone had called in and told the police that I had buried an animal, or maybe a person on my property and they based this on the marker in the middle of the courtyard.

I laughed. They glared. henry

“It’s a tree. I planted a tree and named it Henry. It’s a Mammoth Tree that grows about one meter every year, so I’ll get to see it mature before I die. You understand?”

They looked at each other and then back at me in obvious disbelief.

“We shall see. We dig it up and see for ourselves.”

They turned away and it was then I saw the shovel in the big cop’s hand.

“No! You are not going to dig up my tree.”

The woman cop smirked. The big cop walked towards Henry. By the time I got my bow and a couple of arrows, the big cop had made his first stab into the dirt around Henry. I brought him down with an arrow through the throat. The woman turned while pulling her pistol out of the holster. She didn’t have a chance. The arrow passed all the way through her, drilling a neat hole in her heart. She collapsed with a sigh.

This all happened in the space of five seconds. This act of self-defense went unseen behind the two meter high rock wall that surrounds the courtyard. It was silent. It was efficient and I had successfully defended Henry’s life. I dragged their bodies into the barn and under cover of darkness buried them behind the woodshed… without a damned marker!

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