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It was just after 10pm, local time. Ricey
Bob, a man of unidentified profession,
uncertain age and a concealed country of
birth, stepped out of the bus from
Baden airport to Strassbourg. Everything
had gone smoothly. He had travelled
inconspicuously on Ryanair, and had
no attention to himself on the
flight, other than by ordering an
extortionate pre-packaged pannini. He
was pretty sure that no-one had followed
him, and that neither Mickey the Nose
Alex the Florist knew he was in town and
about to deliver them more bad news
the Sunday review section of the Daily
His clothes were inconspicuous -
a little cold for Strassbourg in February,
but not enough to give away the fact that
he was a stranger in a strange town. He'd
even gone so far as to ditch both of his
monocles in favour of contact lenses, and
had shaved off his trademark asymmetric
moustache. In this no-man's city that
neither France nor Germany, he could
been any one of a million nameless
strangers going about their daily
He collected his luggage - a single carry-
on bag (no point in hanging around in
front of the security cameras in baggage
reclaim) - from the back of the bus.
Instinctively, he reached into the pocket
his duffel coat for his meerschaum and
matches, but checked himself: that pipe,
with its obscene dolphin carvings, would
be recognized by any one of Mickey's
if they happened to be watching, which
they probably were. This was not a game
where you took chances. Not if you knew
what they'd done to Billy "two-legs"
Settling for a cigarette and checking his
spelling, he cautiously
scanned the side-streets leading off from
the bus station from behind his cupped
hands as the match flared. Satisfied that
he wasn't being watched, he extended
handle on his wheeled carry-on bag and
took three nonchalent strides in the
direction signposted "Centre Ville".
brought him up short. His heart leapt to
his throat, and his hand to the 24mm
ceramic-barreled Glock und Spiel in his
breast pocket. He checked himself just
time - getting his weapon out would be a
grave error, especially in this biting wind.
Slowly, he took another step, trying to
look unconcerned. RAT-a-tat-a-TAT.
Again, he stopped, the sweat breaking
on the brow beneath his fedora.
He cursed himself for not having forseen
this problem. How, he asked himself
a sense of rising panic, was he going to
walk casually and inconspicuously
the dark, silent streets of Strassbourg on
Sunday night, with the wheels of his
on luggage announcing to everyone
a hundred yards that he was an out-of-
If only, he thought to himself, someone,
somewhere had had the presence of
to invent a quiet-wheeled carry-on bag.
Perhaps the wheels would need to a be a
little larger - say four inches across.
Perhaps they'd need soft rubber tyres
instead of the tiny hard plastic wheels on
his current luggage. Perhaps it would be
few grams heavier, and have a couple of
inches less space for his collection of
But, standing in the cold, street-lit air of
Strassbourg, with a long walk through
quiet streets ahead of him, he would
willingly have sacrificed a little scarf-
carrying space to be rid of the rattle that
would draw attention to him like a
at a bar mitzvah.
It was going to be a long, tough night.
Henk, 20,000 (Flash site.)
Shock absorbing wheels; "quiet yet sturdy". How quiet? Mickey the Nose will never know. [jutta, Feb 03 2008, last modified Feb 04 2008]
Like this, although the 'stealth' effect is somewhat lessened by the flashing LEDs in the large, silent wheels. [hippo, Feb 04 2008]
This one is actually designed as carry-on and also has large, silent wheels, and it can be yours for the relatively bargaintastic price of $295 [hippo, Feb 04 2008]
Geddit? Geddit? [pertinax, Feb 04 2008]
||The small size of luggage wheels has been my luggage pet peeve for years now. It seems like the one piece of luggage that has acceptably large wheels costs $, oops I mean , 20,000. How hard is this? [Impotently shakes fist at industry at large.]
||Meanwhile, Ricey Bob would do well to travel with an attaché-case, as those of his unspecified profession have for years.
||//as those of his unspecified profession
have for years.// But that, of course, is
just what they'd be expecting....
||Henk site is horrible, and I bet those
cases are not as quiet as my little
$19.99, Canal Street, luggage truck
with its rubber wheels and nylon
bearings. I've had a hundred weight bag
of coal on it.... try getting that in a
||But, with all due respect (an amount which
is hard to quantify), a 'luggage truck' does
not sound like the sort of discreet carry-
on luggage which a person in an
unspecified profession might comfortably
||I don't have extravagant luggage, Samsonite 22"carry-on w/two wheels (too old for link), but mine comes with silent wheels that are interchangable with ones from inline skates. If they ever made a noise, I would change them out for soft inline skate wheels and maybe some spec7 bearings, all of which I can buy at any local sporting goods store. Thicken the grease and they will be as slilent as death. Same with my big hardsider, which would move that coal without flinching.
||[+] for the story, but most airlines (at least ones I've been on) seem to have a maximum weight limit of 6kg or so for carry-on bags. One would think that a presumably fit and healthy assassin could manage to actually carry such a bag for a few blocks.
||Conversely, if his bag is too heavy for him to carry comfortably, is it still a carry-on bag?
||Bonus joke: What kind of luggage do vultures take on holiday with them? Carry-on bags.
||//getting his weapon out would be a grave error, especially in this biting wind// Ha! Bun just for that.
||I didn't get that one and wondered about it. I know Glock is a brand of gun, but what about the rest? ("Glockenspiel" I would have gotten, but "Glock und Spiel" as a made-up compound corporate name in English text? Meh.)
||Glock und Spiel are manufacturers of
discreet weaponage for the discerning
unspecified professional. They also make
a small musical instrument, rather like a
metallic xylophone, but that is only a
||//a presumably fit and healthy assassin
could manage to actually carry such a
bag// That is three presumptions right
there. Ricey Bob's profession is very, very
||HENK?! TWENTY THOUSAND EURO FOR A SUITCASE?!?!
||I bought a quite nice car for a lot less than that.
||I think you should all be careful. Nine of ten bags are carriers.
||//Strassbourg// sp. "Strasbourg", unless this is an oblique reference to Vienna, in which case, it might be spelled "Strauss-burg".
||Their website describes the Henk cases as
||The absolute answer is skate board neoprene wheels...small, light weight, silent...and not much larger than the tiney wheels on luggage now days.
||"Glock und Spiel are manufacturers of discreet weaponage for the discerning unspecified professional"
||Not much discreet about a 24mm firearm. You could put both thumbs in the barrel.
||//sp. "Strasbourg"// I'll mention your
correction to Ricey Bob himself. I'm not
sure how he'll take it.
||//Not much discreet about a 24mm
firearm. // You misunderstand, herr
Bubba. At 24mm, the Glock und Spiel
P480 (also known as the "Tuesday
afternoon special") is one of the
shortest guns in the world. Muzzle
velocity suffers, of course, and it
requires an expert to fire a shot in even
approximately the right direction, but
its small size makes it a weapon of
choice for people who are not in the
profession that Ricey Bob denies not