Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 8

Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 8

  As I had hoped, Falcone’s friends denied all knowledge of the Marked Deck stating that they too had been victims and lost money to Falcone. I was happy, I now knew I was only facing one man, not four. ‘The way I see this, is that we all return any winnings to the loser and ask the Duchess for a New Deck.’ Everyone but Falcone, thought this an honourable solution, but then he was the big winner.

He was just about to jump up and protest when I remarked, ‘Before you do anything foolish Signor Falcone, one of the reasons I am in Florence is that I left behind me three dead men in Venice, and I mean men, not boys!’ Falcone’s face paled and he resumed his place at the table. He did not agree, but then he dare not disagree.

I signalled to the Duchess and asked her if she could oblige me with a new Deck of Cards, which she gladly provided, and as we had arranged beforehand, this was my own Marked Deck, but marked in such a subtle way that only I knew how.

I opened the Pack, split the cards in to four and passed one to each of the other players, Falcone included, ‘Please check all the cards, if you are satisfied that they are unmarked, then we will play!’ They all examined the cards meticulously but could find nothing, so consent to play was agreed upon.

Shall we cut the Cards, Highest card deals, Falcone muttered under his breath, but his friends all agreed, I cut the cards four times passing a stack to each of them and keeping the last for myself. When the cards were turned over Falcone won the deal with an Ace. He smirked confidently, he had not a clue he had been conned.

It was falling into place, just as I had planned, win a little, lose a lot, but always let Falcone think he was getting away with it. It was no hardship, Falcone was a mediocre gambler at best. Just a little longer, let him get his confidence back.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

A Happy New Year – 2018


A Happy and Prosperous New Year to all my friends and followers in all the corners of this Our World, Also to the other members of the WordPress Community.

I wish you freedom from illness and strife, from tyranny and oppression and that you may be allowed to live your lives in peace and plenty, you all have voices and opinions never be afraid to use them for the good of all, the Pen will always be mightier than the sword, never stop writing, use your voices for change!

Have a Great One – Malkie 

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 22

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 22

Olga arrived, and we started my tuition again, to be honest I found it fun, Another language is always useful in my profession, so why not Russian. There was no doubt in my mind that Olga was a excellent tutor. Mayhew for once left us to our own devices, maybe he had realised he had said too much. I think it more than likely he was sulking because Schultz hadn’t seen fit to take him along.

Things were going very well, Olga was delighted with my progress, we had progressed to question and answer sessions and short bursts of conversation. It was after one of these that Mayhew had to comment, ‘You are doing really fantastic, old sport! if I didn’t know better I’d take you for a Russki, you are Palenkov to a tee!’

I thanked him but said,’ Any credit should be given to Olga,’ she has been an absolutely   brilliant tutor, she makes it so easy, she, even has me thinking in Russian!’ Mayhew was feeling a little benevolent, so he gave Olga money for the sandwiches, no expense spared.

Whilst Olga was gone, I tried pumping him for more information, any little snippet might help in the long run. ‘Where will we be staying in East Germany? I’ve been there on assignments a couple of times, its really beautiful in places,’ I said trying to coax him in to starting a conversation.

‘I have never been there, but according to Schultz its some kind of hunting lodge, apparently quite close to the Polish border,’ volunteered Mayhew. ‘What about the bidding faction’s, how will they get there?’ I asked, I was interested.

‘They will be given a map reference, two days prior to the Auction. They will of course already be in Europe on standby, awaiting the final details,’ Stated Mayhew smugly, taking all the credit, for what, without a doubt had been Schultz’s plan.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

I sincerely apologise for the delay, my server has been experiencing difficulties.


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 20 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 20 )

  I was working at my usual morning surgery at the Infirmary, when Cathy Eddowes, who I knew as a patient and a woman of somewhat dubious reputation. In her company was an attractive blond – haired lady, of a totally different class to the drab Eddowes.

She was clean, well spoken and smartly dressed, although her clothes were not of the best quality, on top of her outer clothes she wore a clean white apron. I took her to be a high-class shopgirl, maybe down on her luck. I was not impressed by the company she was keeping, but then the Eddowes woman may just have been giving her directions.

Maybe I was making something out of nothing, It was just that they looked so incongruous together, definitely chalk and cheese, as my damned Mother would say. The blond lady introduced herself as Mary Jane Kelly, she had quite a pleasant lilt to her voice which I took to be Irish, I later found her to be Welsh, but no matter. She, had come to see me about an irritating rash on her on her lower left arm, on examination it appeared too be an insect bite of some kind. I made up some ointment and with her consent administered some to the offending area.

I gave her the remainder and asked her to administer it twice a day, and telling her to return in a weeks time so that I might check it once more. She, thanked me graciously and shook hands, I don’t know if it was my imagination or just wishful thinking, but she seemed to hold on to my hand and look in to my eyes a trifle longer than was necessary.

The remainder of the day flew by, but all I could think of was Mary Jane Kelly, and the effect that she undoubtedly had on me, I felt elated, but also a little frightened. I don’t think I could stand to be hurt by a woman again.

Mary Jane Kelly’s Diary – April 4th 1886

I went with Cathy to the Whitechapel Infirmary today to see if the Doctor there could give me anything for the annoying rash I have on my left arm. The Doctor, Jack was his name, I do believe he took quite a fancy to me, but I wouldn’t turn him away. He was a handsome man in his own way, he is obviously a Gent, not a shred of doubt in my mind. The other girl’s say I ought to make a move on him, be sure of a warm bed. But I don’t know, there is something about him, I think someone has hurt him badly, I don’t want to give him more pain. He’s too good a man, and for sure you don’t meet many in our line of work.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Air Aces Of World War One


Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke – The German Father of Air Fighting 1891/ 1916

Oswald Boelcke was born in 1891, He was born in Saxony and was the third of six children. Both studious and athletic as a child, Oswald excelled in Maths and Physics. His father a Schoolteacher and staunch Nationalist and Militarist. Under his father’s influence At age 13 Oswald wrote a letter to the Kaiser to Military School. His wish was granted, but his parents objected so instead he attended Herzog Freidrich’s Gymnasium from which he graduated in 1911.

After attending Kreigsschule in Metz, he was promoted to Leutnant in the Prussian army. In mid 1914 Boelcke transferred to the Fleigertruppe. His flight training took place from may to August at the Halberstadter Fleigerschule, he passed his pilots exam on August 15th 1914. He was immediately transferred to active duty.

At his own instigation, Boelcke transferred to FFA62 in April 1915 which was based at Douai, This unit flew LVG C2’s on reconnaissance and artillery spotting duties. In July 1915, Boelcke, along with Immelman, Parschau and Wintgens were allowed to fly three of the five prototypes of the Fokker E1 Monoplane. Parschau was the first to fly it on the strict understanding that they kept within their own lines, The High Command had no desire to see it fall in to the hands of the enemy.

Kurt Wintgens was the first to shoot down an enemy aircraft flying the new Fokker E1. Boelcke won his first aerial combat on the 19th 0f August 1915, he also became an hero on the ground, he dived in to a canal near his Aerodrome, fully clothed to rescue a young French boy who was drowning. The boy’s parents requested that he be awarded the French Legion d’Honneur but instead he was awarded the Prussian Lifesaving Medal.

On the 22nd of September Boelcke was transferred to Metz, but was moved back to Fa62 in December, by the years end he had shot down four more aircraft. His friend and rival Max Immelman had scored his first victory before Boelcke, between them they had almost what amounted to a race of victories, with first one then the other in the lead.

The deadly effect of the new Aircraft led to what was known as the Fokker Scourge in 1916. On 1st November 1915, the day after his sixth victory, Boelcke was awarded the Royal House of Hohenzollern, the first pilot to gain this award, six days later his close friend and rival Immelman received the award. The scores were standing at Immelman 7 Boelcke 6 and Wintgens and Buddecke 3 each.

To be continued…..

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 7

Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 7

  Falcone stood, then sat down again, I have an Inclination that he was about to accuse me of cheating, but how could he without implicating himself. After all the marked deck was his, or if not his, he was certainly familiar with it. So he let it go, and so did I. The time to expose him was coming, but only when I was ready too.

The game continued and Falcone kept winning steadily, confident that my win must have been a fluke rather than skilful play, I was happy to keep losing, I wanted to lull him in to a false sense of security. I knew that his arrogance and overconfidence would bring about his downfall.

I was content, I had been feeling my way around the pack, I now had a reasonable idea of how they were marked and which cards were the highest, I was biding my time waiting for my turn to deal. Then I would wipe that self confident smirk of Falcone’s face. Once and for all.

When my turn to deal came around again, I dealt myself all the highest spades, which were then declared as trumps. No matter how the play went, I was certain to win all five tricks. The first trick was played and on my turn, I trumped it with the fante ( jack ) of Spades.  ‘My trick I believe Signori’ I said, placing the cards in front of me.

It was my lead so I led the Cavello ( horse of Spades) The other players knew they had no chance of beating my hand. ‘My trick again, I do believe!’ I said once more stacking the cards in front of me. The other players looked a trifle perplexed but Falcone looked as if he were ready to attack me. He would soon give himself away.

I led again, this time the Queen, Falcone almost leapt out of his chair. ‘Signori, you are cheating, you are robbing me and my friends.’ ‘Sit down Falcone, and listen well,’I said in the most menacing voice I could muster, ‘I admit I was cheating, but I was using a marked deck, the same deck that you were using when I joined the game, I ask you Signori’s how could I have cheated with your own marked deck!’

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 21

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 21

  The following morning, once I had showered and ate a somewhat hearty breakfast. I made my way to the Office to meet Schultz and Mayhew. Mayhew seemed pleased to see me, Schultz just dismissed me in his usual affable way. I think beneath that cool exterior he rather likes me, or at least, knowing his reputation I’d like to think so.

Mayhew, who was probably trying to prove his worth to Schultz, Said,’Good Morning, its nice to see you’ in Russian, I answered also in Russian, ‘Yes! nice to see you too!’ Schultz for the first time almost managed a smile. Mayhew was gushing, ‘Wonderful you spoke that like a native, by the time we are ready for the operation, you will be perfect old boy!’

Schultz surprisingly left, saying he would return in a couple of hours. That was just enough time for me to pump Mayhew, if I could only get him to play along. ‘Do we know when we are leaving for the Auction, Only I have to pack and sort out my girlfriend too, she has to take time off from her job, it would be nice to have a better idea!’ I attempted to wheedle a date out of Mayhew.

As close as I can tell at this moment in time, It will be in approximately eighteen days-time unless there are any unforeseen delays,’ replied Mayhew in his usual patronising manner. ‘How will we be travelling?’ I queried, and where too?

‘We will be travelling by private Jet, and we will be travelling to East Germany for the Auction, now you know almost as much as I do?’ was Mayhew’s reply. But I didn’t want to know almost as much as he knew, I wanted to know everything.

‘Is that where Sergei and the Warheads are?’ I queried,’ Is that where Schultz has gone?’ ‘I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to inform you of Schultz’s whereabouts, other than to say that it is all linked to the Auction,’ He answered trying to appear evasive. He didn’t realise that by not answering he had given me the information I required, Tommy was right, he was as thick as three short planks.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

A Very Bizarre Christmas Eve


Re- Blogged from Brave and Reckless Blog

A Very Bizarre Christmas Eve

  Several years ago, we decided to spend Christmas Eve in one of the City Public Houses we often frequented. As we had expected, we met up with a lot of friends and acquaintances with the same idea. We had what we considered a good night, it was just a few minutes before midnight, so we decided to finish our drinks and call it a night.

Almost dead on Midnight, the doors shot open, and two big fat guys in Santa suits rode in to the pub on kiddie’s tricycles. They immediately did two laps of the pub. Brenda, our friendly and sociable landlady had a screaming fit behind the bar, and while all this was happening, the track playing on the jukebox was ‘Hey! Santa, where’s my fucking bike?’ by Australian comedian Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson.

As you can probably imagine these events turned a good night in to an unforgettable one!

(C) Damian Grange 2017

The song ‘Hey Santa’ by Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson is available on U Tube ( Adults Only )

I will be having a short rest over Christmas My next post will be the day after Boxing day

A big thank you to all my followers for a wonderful first few months on WordPress




A Merry Christmas to Everyone


I wish a very merry and joyous Christmas to all my friends and followers in all four corners of this, our world, I hope that you all receive the gifts you wished for and that you give the most important gift – The gift of love to all around you.

This message I also wish to convey to everyone of the WordPress Family, because we are a family, Find your voice and use that voice to convey your thoughts. We can’t change the world, but we have the power in our hands to make people think.

Bless you all!

Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 6

  I made myself comfortable at the table and we began to play. Cattoni was dealing, he shuffled the pack, then handed it to Ruffio to cut the cards, they were then passed back to him. Cattoni dealt us five cards each, I perused my cards, not a winning hand but satisfactory for my purpose, I said, ‘Gioco’ I play, and laid my cards flat on the table.

The trump suit was hearts I had one, but of a low denomination, it suited my purpose I wanted to appear as an inept but wealthy gambler. Cavello who sat on my right folded. The next Player was Falcone himself, he knocked on the table, with something of a smug look on his face, obviously he knew he was holding the winning hand.

Cattoni, was the next player, He stated, ‘Terzo se devo, which basically means if there are only two players left in the game i will volunteer my services as a third. Ruffio who was the remaining player folded, so that left the three of us, to fight it out.

It was my turn to lead so I led a cavello of clubs, Falcone as i expected trumped it, looking quite pleased with himself. Cattoni as i had expected threw down a lower club. It was as expected Falcone’s trick. One to him, four to go. As winner it was his turn to lead.

As I thought he would make a grand play, He almost smirked as he placed the ace of Diamonds on the table, Cattoni threw down a six of Diamonds, I could have trumped him, but that would have been to easy, not what I wanted at all. My aim was to beat and totally humiliate him. Both as a gambler and also, as a man. I followed suit with a two of Diamonds. Two tricks to Falcone.

He confidently threw down the ace of Spades, Cattoni the down the seven of Spades, I picked up my cards, Fumbled with them for a moment, then threw down the two of Hearts.’I do believe this trick is mine!’ I stated confidently. Falcone looked furious. My plan was beginning to work.

(C) Damian Grange 2017