“How the hell did you get this boat here?” Jim wondered out loud as the lake’s utter seclusion fully registered.
“Ok…so your family did?”
“I don’t get it.”
“I had it built here.”
“Oh!” Jim said smacking his head. Despite being a simple enough thing to guess the economic disparity between him and the giant was as great as the ratio of their height. Making it hard to see eye to eye on several levels at once.
Jonas Luckadoo was taller than Dutch. Jim guessed he must be pretty close to seven feet.
“Did you ever consider playing basketball?”
“Now that wouldn’t be very fair would it?”
“Guess not,” Jim said as he recalled that even Lizzy was atypically tall. She stood just below Jim’s nose. This was a feature he rarely encountered in women.
Elsa, the young woman who was piloting the boat as Jim and his host shared a pipe was the first person of average height he’d encountered. She had chestnut brown hair and the greenest eyes he’d ever seen. He figured she was a lot closer in age to him than her apparent lover.
But he had no time for romance. Much less rivalry. He was curious. Never had he seen a man of these dimensions. Let alone one from the leisure classes.
“Say, Mr. Luckadoo, why is everybody round here so god-damned tall?”
His host shrugged and grinned wryly, “Must be the mountain air.”
“Nah.” Jim said letting his intuition guide him. “There’s something real weird going on out here.”
“Says the man washing up barefoot on private property.”
“Ach, komm off it Jonas, tell heem…it is such a interesting story.” Elsa interjected.
“HEY!” Jim exploded rising to his feet.
“I see you have the famous Celtic temper.” Jonas said coolly as he ruffled Jim’s hair.
“Do not mind heem. It is joke between us.”
“Some joke.” Jim muttered as he attempted to hold his chin aloft through the embarrassment.
Luckadoo chuckled. “I’m afraid I have a threefold advantage. Don’t let it sting your pride. I did not earn it. Neither this wealth, nor this body, nor the strength within it are to my credit. It is all utterly hereditary.”
“Ja, Jonas tell heem. He knows much now. Already seen dem.”
Jonas shook his head.
“That is for another time. I suppose I must apologize for baring a familiarity that you weren’t prepared for. Elsa is a whore…or rather was.”
“So, it’s not a joke.”
“It is a fact. Facts can be funny.”
“I don’t find it funny at all.”
“My mother was a whore.” Jonas stated matter of factly. “I collected Elsa from the same Bavarian brothel in which I was conceived. She is my third cousin.”
“Luckadoo don’t sound like a kraut name to me.”
“My father was Scottish. Though I’m not entirely certain as to the actual origin of the name.”
“So, you’re a literal bastard as well as a metaphorical?” Jim ventured a liberty.
“No. My parents were lawfully married before my birth.”
“Isn’t that taboo with ya rich folk?”
“The marriage was arranged.” Jonas answered as they came to rest at a dock.
“An arranged marriage to a whore?”
“Yes, my family has always been eccentric. Now, you asked about height. The early 20th century had a fascination with eugenics. It especially effected aristocrats who were already accustomed to obsessing over lineage…I don’t suppose you’ve ever heard of the Potsdam giants?”
Jim shook his head.
“When King Frederick the first was prince of Prussia he formed a peculiar unit. A taller man could more easily operate a muzzleloader. Being German old Freddy took everything to the extreme and founded a regiment of giants. It included tall men from many countries. Some like my maternal ancestor James Kirkland came from Ireland.”
“So, you’re not a kraut at all.”
“My father is Hessian.” Elsa said with wounded pride.
Kirkland’s heir chuckled. “Yes, Hessian. Notice how you didn’t say German. It is small wonder that they succumbed to Rome. The fireworks of the Reich were the consequence of overcrowding. The Teutonic will has a profound dispassion for unity. A nation of warring princes as Lord Russell put it.”
Elsa stuck out here tongue.
“That’s how we the posterity of the forcefully conscripted came to be. Through three violent centuries much of honor fell by the wayside in favor of survival. The sons and daughters of Kirkland were scattered throughout the continent. That is until my father’s clan began collecting them.”
“I see.” Jim said as his head spun from the sheer madness of it all.
“That, my boy, is why despite our common national origin I could toss you like a hammer at the games.”
“And you plan to do that nasty upper crust thing and bang your cousin? Keep them freak genes goin?”
“I doubt my wife would be very happy about that.” Jonas grinned.
Jim’s heart thrilled at the news. “O.”
“Yes and speaking of Charlotte…let’s get of this damned boat. I do believe I smell duck à l’orange.”
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