“Ya!” Herr Sharpe declared excitedly as his head bobbed up and down like a plush nodding dog from the back of a car. His smile took up most of his face.
“Ya!” came the reply, in an even more excited tone – if that were even possible. The woman opposite Herr Sharpe nodded in unison with him and wore a smile to match his own. Her lank blonde hair hung around her shoulders and her top set of teeth stuck out distinctly further than the bottom. Her large, round glasses could accurately be described as bottle bottoms and the eyes that hid behind them were lit with joy. They looked each other in the eye, clutched each other’s elbows in a half-embrace, and nodded some more.
Sharpie’s head, meanwhile, bobbed back and forth as he tried to keep up with the nodding and the ‘ya’ing and the grinning. He was confused and confuddled. It was as though he was seeing another Herr Sharpe, albeit with less man-parts and more teeth.
“YA!” they crowed in unison and then broke into giggles.
“So…er…this is your sister then, is it?” Sharpie asked. Both turned suddenly to look at him, faces now serious as their grins slumped to the floor. They still clutched each other’s elbows. Sharpie took a step back and his eyes widened. He worried for a moment that he had interrupted some sort of ritual until they burst into giggles once more.
“Ya,” Herr Sharpe said, nodding at Sharpie this time. He spoke in his usual slow, methodical manner, careful to pronounce each word just right. “Zis is my sister. Her name is Frau Pumperschnitzel –”
“Nee Sharpe,” Frau Pumperschnitzel interrupted with an encouraging nod and an ever-present toothy grin.
“– nee Sharpe,” Herr Sharpe repeated with equal encouragement and obvious joy. “She is married to ze Herr Pumperschnitzel of the Pumperschnitzel and Dumpidump empire,” he continued, as though that was supposed to mean anything to anyone.
Sharpie looked on in wonder, mouth gaping open. His head began to nod, although whether this was due to a new found understanding or out of some sort of comradery with the Sharpe/Pumperschnitzel duo was uncertain.
“Huh,” he said and nodded again. “Pumperschnitzel and Dumpidump ‘ey? Impressive!” He didn’t really think it impressive of course, since he had no idea who or what they were (Pumperschnitzel and Dumpidump of course, he knew perfectly well who Herr Sharpe and his sister were).
“Ya, I am visiting mein bruder here in his new home of Undervorld, in ze spirit of integration. He says zis is how ve must progress. I have heard so many great tales. He loves it here very much. And you, Sharpie, he talks of you often too.” Her pattern of speech was identical to that of her brother. In fact, if you cut off her hair and took off her glasses, she’d look pretty similar too.
“Oh?” Sharpie asked and looked at Herr Sharpe questioningly.
“Only good zings, of course,” he answered.
“Ah,” Sharpie nodded and then surreptitiously rubbed his neck. He really did wonder how they managed to over-do the nodding as much as they do without getting chronic neck pain. “So…er…what now?” he asked with a mildly furrowed brow. Sharpie was used to unusual circumstances but this one really was taking the proverbial biscuit. He has no idea what to do with himself.
Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.
The threesome jumped, and Herr Sharpe and Sharpie looked around in surprise.
“Oh!” Frau Pumperschnitzel declared with delight. “It is my new mobile telephone!” She grinned again as she dug the device out of her pocket. The men had forgotten about the existence of such nuisances since living in the relatively calm but somewhat technologically backward Underworld.
Herr Sharpe gaped. “Mobile telephone? Oh my!” He lay a hand across his forehead in shock and his already pallor features paled. “My sister is rich! She has all ze technologies of ze modern times!”
“Oh ya,” Frau Pumperschnitzel nodded (yes, again with the nodding. It was an important part of the family’s communicative expressions). “Herr Pumperschnitzel is very good to me. He buys me vonderful presents.” She wandered off to answer her phone with some privacy. How the mobile signal had managed to reach down to a whole other world is anyone’s guess but when those double glazing salesmen want to reach you, they can reach you anywhere!
Herr Sharpe watched his sister walk away and his eyes told of his love for her. Sharpie, in turn, watched Herr Sharpe and smiled. He had grown to love Herr Sharpe as a brother of his own, as his endearing and dopey manner was a bumbling ball of fun. A few pecans short of a fruitcake, Sharpie thought, but kind and loveable all the same. Sharpie was wrong if he thought Herr Sharpe lacked fruitcake potential though, for Herr Sharpe is distinctly fruitcake-esque. A few bristles short of a brush perhaps, and not the brightest spark in the box. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and he’s dumber than a box of frogs. His battery probably isn’t fully charged and all that nodding has dented his brain, but he is endearing and loveable with it so it’s no wonder that he and Sharpie have become such great friends.
And now, seeing Frau Pumperschnitzel, Sharpie knew indubitably that their bumbling bumbleness ran in the family.
“You look like your sister, mate,” Sharpie said to Herr Sharpe, pulling him out of his reverie. “You’re almost like twins.”
“Oh, no no no no no,” Herr Sharpe replied, a deep furrow in his brow and a serious expression on his face. His nods had turned to shakes – short, sharp, shakes of the head. “Zat is not possible.”
“Er…why? I mean, you’re so similar…”
“No!” he shouted, rather defiantly. “She is not like me. I am an idiot but she is not,”
“Aw, no. C’mon now,” Sharpie said comfortingly.
“Besides,” Herr Sharpe continued, his solemn expression still firmly fixed on his face. “She is not a real sister. She vas adopted.”
Herr Sharpe is waiting for you. You can meet him here.