The Days of the King

The Days of the King

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547549026
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/16/2011
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 794 KB

About the Author

FILIP FLORIAN is the author of Little Fingers which was named Best Debut Novel from the Romanian Writers' Union. He has also worked as a journalist and reporter for Radio Free Europe. 

Read an Excerpt

1
Farwell

The farewell evening in Berlin concluded just as it ought to have concluded: with the scrawny body
 of the dentist sprawled across the bed, his head buried in that moist, gigantic breast whose pair had
long ago been sliced offby the saber of a drunken hussar. Previously, he had drained six mugs of
beer, bought a drink for anyone who entered the tavern, clinked glasses, hugged friends and strangers
 (what a hubbub!), and won one last round of whist to the cheers of the kibitzers, mainly because his
fellow card players had connived to make him emerge triumphant, not cheating in broad daylight but
by the light of the candles on the tables and shelves. He departed from Der Große Bär after nightfall,
letting them think that he would quickly return from the latrine and order another round for one and
all; in any case, he left behind his coat on the back of his chair, a scuffed overcoat, rather short in the
sleeves, which had not found a place in his luggage for Bukarest, but which eased his exit from the
scene. Later, at the brothel, they welcomed him with whoops and tears, in the way whores do when
they take an occasion to heart. The establishment did not shut up shop in his honor, it is true, but the
girls were able to bid their farewells one by one, plundering Eleven Titties brothel. It was not until
April 14, when the daffodils were in bloom and his tomcat had wounded his muzzle and paw in one
of the neighborhood cat fights, that he read to his astonishment a short item in a gazette about the
holding of a plebiscite: “Today, the lieutenancy and the ministry have proclaimed, by means of bills
posted on the streets, the candidacy of Prince Karl of Hohenzollern to the throne of Romania. The
event seems to have filled the whole nation with rejoicing.” That evening, as the jovial Karl of
Prussia bantered with the other Karl (now at last a captain) in the foyer of the Berlin Opera House,
addressing him as “Turk”, the dentist felt no inclination for mugs of beer, for chatter and whist at the
bar, or for the eleven titties, two per five lively wenches and the one huge one on the chest of Rosa.
Frequently refilling his glass with schnapps, puffing his pipe and gazing through the open window at
the stars and the eaves of the houses across the way, Herr Strauss regretted not having taken the
young officer seriously. He fell asleep dreaming of beautiful women and impatient crowds waiting at
his door for him to quell their toothaches. A few days later, a courier of the dragoons regiment
handed him a yellowish envelope with a crest and the seal of the House of Hohenzollern-
Sigmaringen. It was raining buckets, but the envelope was dry when it emerged from beneath the
military cape.

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