In this seventh interview, we meet the fourth of Ace’s five associates. Is see a dark-haired gentleman coming in, now. Gracious. He looks like a movie star. That slick suit accents his trim waist, and he’s got a carnation in the buttonhole. A cane, too, like Charlie Chaplin but he carries it in such a suave way it’s inconspicuous.
GW: Greetings, Bert.
Bert: Hello, theah.
GW: Oh, a New England accent?
Bert: Yes, indeed. Boston, to be precise.
GW: Is Bert a nickname?
Bert: It’s shortened, yes.
GW: What’s your full name?
Bert: Hubert Ewing Devery Christopher Bostock III.
GW: That’s … quite a name. That’s your legal name?
Bert: And my father’s before me, and his father’s before him. The Bostocks are what they call old money in Boston.
GW: A veritable princeling.
Bert: You mean the suit, I presume. I’m not rich. My father turned black sheep and he was disinherited before I was born.
GW: That sounds like a good story.
Bert: Does it? Wicked good. But I’m not sure. Father’s a doctor living in Panama. That’s where I was born.
GW: Sam scolded me for walking on eggshells, so I’ll just say it. Your skin is dark for a typical Bostonian. Are you part Panamanian?
Bert: Smaht. Very smaht. That’s exactly right. Dual citizenship.
GW: How did you come to meet Ace and your fellow associates?
Bert: The Great War. I met Quack first, and he managed to get us both captured. We ended up in the back of the truck heading for St. Vith with Ace and the others.
GW: Was it a memorable meeting?
Bert: Yah, the memory is clear. Ace understood German. She knew where we were going and why. She had blood stains on her flight suit and a look like a hawk or something I can’t even describe. Inside ten seconds it was clear who we were going to follow. Well, maybe Ace didn’t know, but we all knew.
GW: And now you’re an Ace Carroway associate, looking for trouble all over the world.
Bert: Much bettah than being a lawyah.
GW: A lawyah? Did you go to Hahvahd?
Bert: Yah. How did you know?
GW: I didn’t. I was trying to make a joke. It didn’t come off. So, to regroup, do you ever think you’re in over your head? That you’ll all die in a hail of bullets or something?
Bert: Yes and no. I mean, yes, intellectually. In my heart, though, I think I’m like everybody else. I think I’m immortal. Anyway, I hope I don’t die by bullets. Not my favorite way to die.
GW: What’s your favorite way to die?
GW: That’s quite the suggestive eyebrow wiggle, Bert. Perhaps, that’s enough said.
Bert: Moah than enough.
GW: Who’s your tailor?
Bert: A gentleman never reveals his tailor. But you might like this.
GW: Your cane? Oh! It’s actually a sword?
Bert: Technically, an épée. Heavier than a foil, not so heavy as a sabre.
GW: You’re right. That’s very sneaky, and I like it. Have you ever used it?
Bert: Alas, no, the situation has never arisen. I’m waiting for the day I can scare the pants off a would-be mugger with it.
GW: Is this sword your special ability in the group?
Bert: No! I’m not sure I have a special ability. I’m the one they push to the front to do the talking. I think that means I’m the most expendable.
GW: Eh, wouldn’t it mean you’re the most persuasive speaker?
Bert: That’s an optimistic way of putting it.
GW: Given the choice, I generally pick optimism. Thanks for speaking with us today, Bert.
Bert: My pleasure.
- Spoken with amazement: “Eh? You’re not going to call me out on being a hothead?”
- Normal griping: “Bumbling, comedic pack of dolts! This is no way to win a war!”
- Waxing eloquent at Quack’s expense: “You are not a doctor, sir! You were barely enrolled in medical school when the war broke out! Why else should I call you a quack? It’s only the truth.”
- Normal griping: “I’m gassed! Can we take a rest?”
- When sworn to tell the truth: “I hate to agree with the Quack, but he’s right on this one.”
- “Yaaaaah!” — The sound one makes when firing a machine gun.
- Giving lawyerly advice: “Ace. You don’t have to talk to any reporters.”
And a limerick!
The sharp-dressed Bostonian’s Bert.
His manner may sometimes be curt.
But throw him a curvy,
(A woman) observey!
He is an incorrigible flirt.