The scene is a village pub. Dr. Stuart, an expert Historian from Oxford University, is sitting by himself in the corner. Joe, an ex-student of his, approaches him.
Joe: Hi, long time since…remember me?
Stuart: I’m not quite myself at the moment –
Joe: You used to teach me – at university –
Joe: You seem a little pale…
Stuart: I feel a little pale…I feel cold…
Joe: Why? What’s the problem?
Stuart: I’ve just been holding a postcard…reading it…
Joe: A postcard – from someone you know…
Joe: An old postcard – about what?
Stuart: About reporting voluntarily for the field immediately…
Joe: Full of misspellings perhaps?
Stuart: Well one, yes, the German word for immediately is ‘soffort’ not s-o-f-o-r-t, but that’s not the point
Joe: Typical lecturer – always spotting the spellings!
Stuart: It was to Karl Lanzhammer – Dear Lanzhammer, I am now in Munich at the Ersatz Battalion. Currently I am under dental treatment. By the way I will report voluntarily for the field immediately…
Joe: Who is he?
Stuart: A despatch rider – the writer had just come back from the dentist
Joe: Ah yes, I feel a bit weak when I am at the dentist too. I remember when I used to play rugby for Oxford there were many occasions when after a scrum collapse – or even a small fight in the bars that I would have to go to the dentist. Some of them –
Stuart: – it’s not about the dentist!
Joe: So what was it – poor handwriting?
Stuart: It was poor, yes
Joe: Was it, well…just mundane?
Stuart: Yes that too – but more than that…
Joe: It all sounds pretty ordinary to me – a dentist, someone going into the field on a voluntary basis, writing to someone called Karl
Stuart: Yes I suppose it was the signature that sent the shudder through me
Joe: How so?
Stuart: ‘Adolf’, ‘Adolf Hitler’