Die Ballade der Freunde Lederbengel Tom und Handschellen Jig · Novel · 160 pages
Text in German
Paperback · ISBN 978-3-8423-5787-7 · € 9,80 · E-Book · ISBN 978-3-7431-9963-7 · € 6,49
Books on Demand, Norderstedt, 2016
The ballad of the friends
Leather Freak Tom & Handcuff Jig
This short novel has been published first in 31 weekly sequels in an internet forum under the working title Trapped Freak (Freak in der Falle). It can be charming for an author to push ahead a story from chapter to chapter without knowing, how his heroes will overcome their difficulties, and how the will come to terms with the surrounding characters. With each further chapter, in the forum disappeared the edit-button of the preceding one. Contradictions in the plot, once edited, gave the imagination tough nuts to crack.
Examples of such reckless updating are well-known from the period of German Romanticism. In the romance novel Godwi oder Das Steinerne Bild der Mutter, Clemens Brentano sends the first-person narrator to the protagonist for to clear up inconsistencies in his life. Brentano himself denominated this opus Ein verwilderter Roman (A Ragged Novel), which invited the reviewers to the most controversial acceptance. Friedrich Schlegel wrote in the copy, dedicated him by the author: “A hundred spankings on the ass, this is what I would honestly grant you.“
If readers of the forum would have wished me something like that, as they had to follow during six months a long and complicated novel, that is beyond my knowledge.
This story is especially directed
to those who in the fifties have been on the threshold to puberty. And of course as well to all who are inquisitive to know something about the spirit of the peaceful two decades after the
ravaging World Wars I and II. Children are ever unconscious of the paradise in which they play. Only retrospection – after having advanced in years – enable a half reliable estimation, which may
turn out greatly different due to individual experiences. Those times had been marked by an enormous detachment and autonomy of the kids. In behalf of the parents existed loose control based on
the expectation, children and teens would act and move under the conditions of rationality and ethics. Trespasses were punished by slaps in the face or spanking the buttocks, both in school and
The schoolboys Tom and Jig appear
at the first glimpse as antithetic, as two thirteen years aged boys ever could be: athletic / weak, self-confident / sceptic, top spot in sport / in gymnastics to come in last, technically
interested / insatiably reading books, rascal / paragon. They don’t speak with each other and studiously shun themselves. Until one day they are the only pupils, who correctly write down a
dictation which interrogates the tricky use of [German] ss and ß.
Topic in the dictation is a scouting game between two groups of boy scouts. The group, which hunts up, overwhelms, and takes most prisoners, wins the game.
Tom, son of a furrier, possesses plenty of leather thongs which he cuts himself from odds and
ends. By his uncle, a member of the military police, he has access to handcuffs. He knows how to keep somebody very simply but perfectly imprisoned at a tree. He suspects, Jig does know it as
well. If he does, certainly not by experience in the woods, but from books of adventure stories. Full of presentiments, Tom takes the initiative. He proposes Jig: “Be at three o’clock in the
forest. If you be up for it. I wonder if you have the stomach to come.”
Jig, who as each boy in his form admires Tom, follows this unexpected invitation with flying colours. Tom takes him prisoner and offers him to become his fellow, if he is willing to pass a test of courage. The boys quickly find out, that they have the same strange desires. So they slide in a close friendship. Which continues, when Tom quits at once school and begins an apprenticeship in his father’s workshop.
Later on, they part company. Aloof from home, they live in different countries. Tom renounces to their common thread, which has been deeply interweaved in their friendship. But for Jig it has become one of the central themes in his life. One day, he chains himself slap-happy to a tree in the Sierra de Ávila, Spain. Very imprudent – because the key for the handcuffs gets quite suddenly out of reach. Whilst he sits helpless in the wood, the entire experiences with Tom replay themselves like a film before his eyes. Bit by bit dawns on him, that by his crass stupidity he manoeuvred himself onto a sideline, hopelessly condemned to lose his life in the wilderness.
I am sorry to say that the novel of Tom and Jig, as my other writings, is available only in German.