Under the Hooked Cross – 2: Argus

Previous instalments: 1

Under the Hooked Cross“Thirty seconds to booster separation.”

Silversmith was more alone than he’d been for months. He could bellow, “The Führer is a Jewish comedian!” into his throat mike and everyone would assume they had misheard. As good a moment as any to question what the hell he was doing here.

He could trace it back fourteen years, to a second pint of Guinness.

“Study at Oxford? Are you mad?” He was still Seamus Silversmith then, student at Trinity College in Dublin and grandson of a man who had fought in the IRA under Michael Collins.

Carlton smiled. “Something against the fair land of my parentage?”

“Oh no, can’t think of a thing I could object to. Words ‘bunch of Nazi stooges’ never crossed my mind. Did you know my father’s Jewish?”

Carlton’s smile didn’t slip as he sipped his pint. Of course he knew everything that mattered about Silversmith. Carlton had a knack of knowing things. He knew Silversmith’s father was a Baltic immigrant who had taken the name because someone told him Silversmith sounded Irish, just as he knew that Silversmith’s Dubliner mother had raised him a Catholic. Silversmith suspected it was the point of the conversation Carlton was building up to.

“Don’t get me wrong George, I’ve nothing against the people,” said Silversmith. “Well most of them anyways.”

Actually, he’d hated the lot of them until a few months ago, but this was 1958, when the people of Britain elected a Liberal government and tried to defend it with shotguns and petrol bombs. It took the Panzers of the international policing operation less than a week to return the fascist government to what was left of Whitehall, but the people who died under their tracks had earned the respect of the students of Dublin.

Carlton sipped his beer as Silversmith talked on. “Forget Oxford. If I can’t get a doctorate here, I’ll try my luck in America.”

“You won’t find anyone asking you to help Argus in America,” said Carlton.

“Now who the feck might Argus be and why would I want to help him?”

“Argus is a loose organization of people who see the current British government in the same light as you.”

“Come off it. We both know the only arse that can do anything about the British government is polishing a chair in the Reichstag.”

“For now.”

Next week: Dancing Penguin


Full story available from Amazon in Kindle format.

Author notes


Cover by Manda Benson

These other stories by DJ Cockburn available online: Steel in the Morning, Newgate Jig, The Endocrine Tyranny, Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo, Foreclosure, Cassandra’s Cargo and Mars One.

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Posted in Under the Hooked Cross

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