Torpid Slivers #8

How to Get Money out of Imperial Era Dragon-Model Pay Phones in Berlin

“While the clever Teutons at Siemens-Schuckertwerke have sired a wondrous reptile in the new Allgemeiner Telefondrache, it is not quite so hardy a lizard as its cast-iron elder sibling — the dragon-nozzled water pump that roosts on the capital’s kerbs. Indeed, the younger monster’s splendid belly does possess a certain vulnerability — not to any saintly blade, but to a well-soaped size 5 bolt depredator (ibid., Chapter 7), with which our more active readers are doubtless intimate. The sight of those iron jaws vomiting twenty times more than any legitimate coin-return should be worth the undertaking detailed below:

“Removal of the outer paunch-plate confronts us with the telephonic digestive apparatus, crisscrossed by several metallic wires that now become our focus. We must first observe that each of these wires is a compound strand: a pair of fibers twined together like one of Kriemhild’s pigtails.  Then — patience! — for only one wire ultimately concerns us, and can be discovered only from severing and re-weaving each, one at a time.

“We shall recognize our wire when, upon its disseverance, we find our ear-piece still receptive to the control-office of our Betriebemädchen, even though we no longer interest her (we can hear her servicing other connections). This means that we have disabled that part of the machine which telegraphs to the company its inactive status and want of new coin. It is thus in a perpetually active mood, and any morsel of specie flung down its gullet will remain in the penultimate chamber, never to reach the collection bin.

“We have, in effect, given our beast a case of constipation — of which we shall cure it after a day or two, when, disemboweling it once again, we simply re-attach the severed wire ends. This should prove a strong enough purgative to induce an upchuckage of shimmering Kaiser-chips into our reprobate yet industrious claws.”

(from Gentlemen Parasites Abroad in Western Europe: 44th Edition, Anon, 1906.)

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