This was supposed to be a prequel to "Perfect Target", but it turned out to be more inspired by it, than actually fitting together with it seamlessly, since it is a different style.
It's supposed to be funny and while that's a good thing, it also means you can't take the characters serious all the time, which you should in "Perfect Target". I mean, I know, they were a bit teary and melodramatic, but I did take them serious.
The usual, I don't own the Brothers Grimm, though I wouldn't mind to, I don't own the Petermännchen, which I would be a bit embarrassed about owning …
Although, since it is a folk tale from the region I come from, I maybe do own it in a way, since folk tales belong to the people …
Aaaahhh, I know somebody's going to sue me for this.
Somebody probably collected these tales and feels very strong about owning them and just happens to stumble over this by a mistaken url.
I didn't say anything, I'm not claiming ownership of anything, really! Don't sue!
"I really think we have to reject this."
Pushing his glasses up, Jacob Grimm scanned the worn letter that had arrived this morning for what was at least the seventh time, shook his head and glanced over to the other man occupying the room, seeking a reaction.
Wilhelm Grimm was lounging on a narrow bed, that represented a good third of the room's scarce furniture.
With a little pang of envy, but also a good deal of admiration, that he could rarely suppress when watching his brother, Jacob reflected how Wilhelm could always look so perfectly casual in every situation.
Even here, in this room that reeked of old sweat, age-old dirt and something sickeningly sweet that he really didn't want to identify, Will managed to pull off the appearance of a gentleman down on his luck: Certainly not enduring the most flattering circumstances right now, but with an amount of style, that nevertheless conveyed the impression that this was only temporary and that he belonged in far better circles by rights.
No matter where they went, Will tended to take to new surroundings like a fish to water and needed no more then a few hours to make the currents flow his way, to get far bigger fish to bow their heads as they swam by and to have far more exquisite fish giggle and cling to his tail fin all day long.
Yes, illusion was their business and Wilhelm was a master of the art.
Somehow he had managed to carelessly fling himself onto the bed in just such a position that the sun shining in put distinct highlights on his blond curls and bathed his skin in just the right amount of light and shadow to make him look perfectly gorgeous.
Just once he would like to be able to imitate his brother's smooth charm, but to his constant dismay nature had seen it fit to bestow upon him a permanent awkward clumsiness from her rich cornucopia of endowments.
Since the older Grimm still didn't answer, Jacob spoke up again: "What they want us to do is take the treasure. We have to present a treasure or we won't get paid. So it's a stupid job."
Finally Wilhelm cracked his eyes open and shook his head. "Why do they need us for this? I mean, I don't get it, why don't they just dig up the whole place?"
"Apparently the evil spirit would kill them if they tried. The rules is: One try, you're on your own and at midnight." his brother elaborated.
The older Grimm frowned, pulling himself upright. "You mean we're up against an evil spirit that's keen on fair play? No cheating or what? Didn't anyone ever try?"
"Not for years. They live in peace right now and no one wants to conjure the wrath of the Petermännchen down on them." Jacob replied and let a hint of sarcasm enter his voice as he went on: "But now they've heard about us and they thought if we deal with the supernatural on a daily basis we might as well get the treasure for them to fill up the city coffers a bit."
"That's ridiculous!" Jumping up from the bed Wilhelm walked a few steps and stretched his arms, yawning. "I mean, if we would find a treasure, why on earth should we hand it over and get a meekly share in return? We'd keep the treasure, no?"
Faking consternation, his younger brother raised an eyebrow at him. "Go on Will, that would so go against our reputation. Bad PR if you catch my drift. We're noble and brave heroes who like to help people. We just ask for a little recompense, to cover our expenses, that's all. Yes, we do tend to have rather huge expenses, but that's to be expected. It's tough work. And all the money goes into that. Barely a Kreutzer left to buy a crust of bread."
Wilhelm waved an irritated hand at Jacob's expression of mock-melodrama. "Yeah, yeah, stop it. There won't be a treasure anyway, will there?"
"That could prove to be the problem, yes. We can't dig the place up and go: 'Oh, treasure's gone, too bad, nothing to do, that'll be 20 Gulden for our expenses.' That just won't do." the younger man argued in serious tones again.
Acknowledging his brother's words with a nearly imperceptible nod, Will rubbed his eyes. "What if we present some fake treasure?" he suggested.
Jacob bit his lip. "Risky. I don't really think they won't notice. And I'd rather not be hanging from a convenient beam in the town's marketplace – head down and in my underwear."
For a second there Wilhelm's sleepy mind took a not altogether averse interest in that idea, but then was clubbed down mercilessly by a hasty inner censor. 'No, bad brain! Bad brain! No images of Jake tied up and in his underwear! Stop right now!'
Will slumped down onto a stool and pushed the hair out of his face in a gesture of tired defeat. "Yeah, you're right.
So what are we gonna do?"
"Maybe we'll just not accept the job?" Jacob ventured carefully.
Will's eyes, that had just given in to the lead-like quality of the lids again, immediately snapped open: "No way! We can't throw that away, it'll be weeks before we get the next chance. We are totally run out of money. And it's Christmas soon. No. So, here's the plan: We dig, treasure is gone, someone took it by day, clear breach of the rules, Peter-spirit is fuming with fury and becomes a real threat, unless – we eliminate him! Well?"
Obviously expecting approval and applause, Will looked up at his brother but Jake's face was sceptical: "You mean the Petermännchen never noticed someone stole the treasure? That's not very convincing if you ask me."
Will seemed slightly irritated by his brother's criticism: "Well no, he just checks at night you see. The treasure was probably taken years ago. And our evil spirit got cheated. He, … I don't know, he … can't see in daylight, or he, yes, he dissolves in daylight, can't come out into the sun, that's why he never noticed."
"That's vampires, Will …"
"Whatever. Spirits fall into the same category."
His brother's lax handling of the actual matter of their business always annoyed Jacob: "Oh come on, he puts up this riddle about the treasure being hidden under the seventh pillar and kills everybody who gets it wrong, but he doesn't have any precautions in place in case somebody sneaks in by day and nicks the stuff? That's pathetic!"
Equally annoyed at the non-estimation of his plan, Wilhelm raised his voice to match his brother's: "It's a spirit from a fairytale. They're never bright, just dangerous. They stick to their rhymes and rules and don't move with the times. In modern times you have to be more adaptable to changing situations and that is where they fail to keep up."
In reaction to this statement Jake stared at his brother with a carefully blank face: "Will? You know, this management course you took seems to have put some very strange ideas into your head …"
"I got it for free, plus all the food and drink I could get down, plus additional allowances, just for presenting myself with the organiser and assuring the potential customers that Wilhelm Grimm is going to be on the course as well." the older Grimm defended himself.
"Yes, yes, I know. I just don't think this nonsense about mythical creatures being rooted in the past and not up to the challenges of modern times is going to work with the townspeople. I-" Jacob started but was cut off by his brother.
"I've had enough of this. It's settled. This is what we're going to do. Don't worry, I'm a very convincing guy." he said, flashing a self-confident grin. "Anyway, when the Petermännchen is after them, they won't want to argue with the only people who can save them, no?"
I'd like to say "Thank you" to everybody who reviewed one of my stories.
I got 4 reviews all in all and I'm ecstatic about each and every one of them.
I don't know if anybody who reviewed reads this story, but since 3 out of the 4 reviews were anonymous I at least want to try and express my gratitude via this way.
So: Thanks!!!! You've made my life happier in a little way. :-)