Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Indefatigable Schnickelfritzes, Part II: The Inflammable Schnickelfritzes

It should be stated at this point that no Schnickelfritz in the unsettlingly mediocre history of the Schnickelfritz family was ever a member of the Nazi party. While there were quite a number of Schnickelfritzes in the German armed forces throughout their history, even during the Second World War, none were members of the Nazi party or members of the SS.

            Indeed, not a Schnickelfritz in history ever amounted to anything of higher rank than Konteradmiral Dietrich Giuseppe Schnickelfritz, who served Kaiser Wilhelm II in the Imperial German Navy until 1918 for rather obvious reasons, as was covered in part one of this series.

            In fact, other than the unfortunate Luetnant Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz, who served in the Luftwaffe in World War Two, not a single Schnickelfritz that has chosen to serve in any form of military and/or police force, ever advanced beyond the ranks of non-commissioned officers. The history books are littered with lists of ‘Sergeant Schnickelfritzes’ having served in some capacity with nations all over the world, making my research of this family quite difficult.

            Now, I know what you’re thinking, but this time, I have to tell you, good reader, that you’re wrong. You are assuming that poor Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz was named after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, who was assassinated in 1914, which essentially kicked of World War I. This is simply untrue. Also, it would be incorrect to assume that his father, Kaspar Joachim Schnickelfritz, a semi-talented professional harpsicord player that never achieved national fame in Germany, named him after a college friend, because Kaspar Joachim never attended a university. Franz was given the middle name Ferdinand by his mother, Juanita, as Ferdinand was her father’s name.

            Kaspar and Juanita Schnickelfritz lived in Potsdam from 1920 until the Russian counterattack at the end of the war. Franz was born in 1925, and joined the Luftwaffe once he was of age, as he had always been fascinated with airplanes.

            It must be stressed that Franz looked upon the Nazi party with disdain, for by his own nature, Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz held no hatred for the Jewish people. In fact, there are many branches in the Schnickelfritz family tree that are completely Jewish, while a great number of others share an array of other religions. This seems to prove that, at the very least, there are darn few bigots in the Schnickelfritz family line, which appears to be the one consistency we can attribute to them. Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz regarded the Swastika painted on the tail of his plane with mirth, as you and I would with that impossible-to-remove dealer sticker on the bumper of a brand new car.

            However, Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz was indeed a warlike individual, hence his having joined the Luftwaffe. By June 6th, 1944, Franz had registered three kills in his Messerschmitt Bf-109, two of which were rumored to be fraudulent, having actually been carried out by wingmen that Franz fought alongside, and were shot down and killed in the same battle. Franz simply took credit for his deceased colleague’s kills and moved on. The first of his kills was a British transport plane, already set afire by another, unidentified Bf-109 pilot.

            At this point, you may recall that I referred to this particular Schnickelfritz as “poor Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz”. Well, you may not feel the same about him when I tell you why I said that.

            Due to the Fuhrer’s insistence that the Allied landings were going to occur in Calais, France, a city on the northern tip of the country, not Normandy to the southwest, most German tank and air units were moved there. This left only a scattering of available planes for defense of the beaches of Normandy.

            As misfortune would have it, or fortune, depending on your point of view, Luetnant Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz was one of three fighter pilots in the area. As his little group was informed of the mighty Allied armada pounding the German defenses, Franz and his two comrades scrambled for their aircraft. You would think, given the typical run of bad luck for anyone named Schnickelfritz that his plane failed to start, but nay, it did. Those Germans really do make good stuff. However, in Franz’s and his comrades’ haste, it was forgotten that his Bf-109 had last been used for reconnaissance.

            It was, therefore, unarmed.

            As he followed right along behind his two fellow airmen, Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz fell in line and strafed the enemy soldiers on the beach, only succeeding in capturing them on film every time he pulled the trigger. He did this not once, but thrice, before realizing that he seemed to have no effect on the soldiers below. This was most likely because, firstly, Franz was by no means a bright individual, and secondly, he had a habit of belting the German National Anthem as he piloted his missions, much to the annoyance of fellow fliers whenever he left his radio’s microphone keyed, which was the majority of the time. After three passes over the beaches of Normandy, all three airplanes had taken damage from ground fire and Franz’s small band turned tail for home.

            With his plane sputtering a bit, Franz throttled down and decided to kill some flight time to smoke a cigar. He cranked back the canopy just enough to ventilate the cockpit, but because of said cigar smoke, initially failed to notice the odor of fuel seeping inside. After some minutes, however, he did realize the problem, as according to the historical report of his fellow airmen, his singing of the German National Anthem halted mid-verse, followed shortly thereafter by the ironically Churchill-sized cigar falling from his mouth to the floor of the cockpit.

            Luetnant Franz Ferdinand Schnickelfritz’s Bf-109 exploded into an untenable ball of fire, thus ending his career of non-threatening aerial photography.

            Changing focus to more recent events, it has been discovered that Juan Ignacio Valdez-Schnickelfritz, a Deutschmexicaner, or Germano-Mexicano, has recently met with an unfortunate end, some twenty miles west of his home in Durango, Mexico.

            It may come as a surprise to some of you that there is a history of German migration into Mexico beginning in the 1800’s and blossoming after the ends of both World Wars. Juan Ignacio Valdez-Schnickelfritz was a product, or perhaps more accurately, a byproduct of that post-World War II influx of Schnickelfritzes.

            Born in July 1972, Juan Ignacio is the son of Helmut Tomás Schnickelfritz, the unremarkable member of an equally unremarkable Mariachi band, and Matilda Harriet Valdez, the seamstress for the band, who married in June of 1972. Juan Ignacio, despite the good influences and intentions of his honest and hard-working parents, was a bandito from the start.

            Juan Ignacio was in and out of jails throughout his life, serving many sentences for crimes including drug dealing, theft, armed robbery, and the illegal importation, duplication with overdubs in Español, and obviously enough, the subsequent exportation of copyrighted American soap operas, episodes of the Phil Donahue Show, and those of The Richard Simmons Show, back into the United States. All were made available in VHS and Beta formats.

            Upon his latest release from prison, his parents begged him to turn an honest leaf and earn a proper living. Promising them that he would, he searched for, found, and purchased, a twenty-seven-year-old GMC pickup truck equipped with a 500-gallon tank.

            Using this vehicle, he promptly went into business for himself, following a trend of entrepreneurship that he had learned from a fellow former inmate. That is, of locating pipelines of oil belonging to Pemex, a Mexican Oil Company, tapping into it, and liberating the contents. He then made contact with some old friends, who paid him a premium for the liquid loot.

            All was going well for Juan Ignacio Valdez-Schnickelfritz, until his third run, when his truck’s battery died. Having a slightly higher than average intelligence for a Schnickelfritz, Juan Ignacio had acquired a portable jump starter from a local mechanic’s shop, unbeknownst to the shop’s owner, and connected it. When this, too, failed to start the truck, Juan Ignacio incorrectly assumed that it was the fault of the portable jump starter, and angrily tossed the leads onto the oil-soaked ground surrounding the truck.

            The ensuing explosion disintegrated the truck, the portable jumper, and one annoyed and mischievous Juan Ignacio Valdez-Schnickelfritz. Fortunately, the inferno that followed was nowhere near population and no one else was hurt.

            More to come as the Schnickelfritz Investigations continue.

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