The Second World War: PART 7 - Roger Farrier - Paris (1944)
When the café on the corner first opened its doors in the August of 1923, Pierre Goddard and his father thought their clientele would consist mostly of businessmen.
Twenty-one years later, his father long gone from polio, with shoulder-length grey hair in a bun, the physical manifestation of a man in a mid-life crisis, and a World War in full swing, it had become frequented by Nazis. There were nine people, five German, drinking that afternoon when the escaped POW left his glass of Kronenberg untouched in the corner booth.
Roger Farrier strode into the door marked gentleman’s bathroom and let it close behind him. He pulled the cubicle door to and ran both taps at full strength. He slammed the button of the hand dryer. The lavatory filled with noise. He reached into the waistband of his trousers and produced a 7.65mm. He went over to the entrance, knelt behind it and aimed the pistol around knee height. His right hand dipped into his left jacket pocket and came back with a suppressor. The gun didn’t move from its intended target as his quick fingers screwed the attachment to the end.
It was somewhat clean and spacious for a French bathroom. To the ceiling it was tiled in black and white, with two mirrors at the basins and two cubicles to the rear. Their chains were rusty and the partition between the two was painted in a dark brown that suited. Overhead a single lamp was on the blink. There was a long tense moment, Farrier sighed in the acidic smell of bleach and immersed himself in thought, closing his eyes. The gun didn’t move once from his knee. Then, suddenly, creaking, the door ebbed open. His ears pricked up at a singsongy voice calling his name. The wooden eyes opened and saw the outstretched Luger go in first, the rest followed at a distance, wearily.
Farrier held his breath, frightened. If the four men drinking knew what was happening he would have to deal with them too. If that was the case, it would all be over in a heartbeat. There would have been a cock and the rattle of machine-gun fire and then nothing. He wouldn’t have felt a thing as the lead tore open the door. Roger cast the thought aside and waited for the single elbow to emerge and went in for the attack.
The moment had been opportune; a second’s hesitation would have resulted in the right hand bending around the door and letting off a shot. Instead, with his back in it, he shoved into the door shut. It thudded and the German was thrown clumsily into the corner. Farrier stood, raising the Walther and went for a headshot. He blew a chunk out of the wall and deafened the man for good measure. The second shot went wide as the Nazi charged into him, sending the gun and Farrier reeling. He got back up and joined his man in the middle of the floor. Farrier went first, firing off double jabs to the head. None connected. The Nazi stepped out of the line of fire and swung for the fences in wild, dangerous hooks. One of connected with Farrier’s midsection, his solar-plexus, or breathing hole, and winded him. He was for it now, Farrier thought.
The German’s gloved hands fumbled with the holster at his waist. Farrier sucked empty air, stepping forward in one apt movement and headbutted him. The German’s nose was broken, blood running into the mouth. It wasn’t an easy thing to look at. It gave him time to replace some of the missing air in his lungs. The lips on Farrier’s mouth widened and his white teeth were bared. He invested his hate into dodging the man’s every punch.
Farrier ducked and swerved, bobbing his head side-to-side, back around in circles, before an opportunity presented itself. He pushed his man back and gave himself some room. As the blond head jerked forwards for him, a nasty cross caved in his right eye. He followed through with an uppercut, he then grabbed the man by the ears and whirled him into a mirror. It cracked and shattered. Roger brought his knee up and into his stomach. No reaction. Farrier raised his arm and drove his elbow down onto the man’s back. There was a crunch. The German’s knees buckled and he sprawled out on the floor, arms and legs wide, completely unconscious.
It had all happened in an instant. The button of the hand drier slide back out and there was only the sound of running water. Roger loosened his tie. He rubbed his hands, now bloodied and bruised and splashed himself with the soothing liquid. He removed a dirty handkerchief from his suit pocket, wiping his face, trying to get something he couldn’t see off, and paused to regard the man staring back at him in the fractured mirror.
There was the rata tat of machine gun fire. Farrier leaped sideways. His head connected with the wall and His head rattled. He wanted it to be over. He couldn’t take much more of the quick bursts. He was ready to embrace death and then, as if in answer to his sudden, the machinegun fire ceased.
Pressing himself against the wall he saw the German on his feet charging for him. Farrier found his feet and there was a thwap. The door swung open and closed. A pint of blood splatted on the cubicle door. The German froze, turned on his heel and pitched over forward. His head bounced off the tiles and the other eight pints of blood followed. Farrier remained rooted.
There was a thud, then two in quicker successions and the door flung open. Standing at the door clutching a Sten Mk. II was a redhead. She had silky eyelashes, tall cheekbones and greenish blue eyes. They widened when they clapped on the figure of Roger Farrier.