Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Stealth luggage

  (+8, -4)
(+8, -4)
  [vote for,

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- Baden airport to Strassbourg. Everything had gone smoothly. He had travelled inconspicuously on Ryanair, and had drawn 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 nor Alex the Florist knew he was in town and about to deliver them more bad news than the Sunday review section of the Daily Mail.

His clothes were inconspicuous - perhaps 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 was neither France nor Germany, he could have been any one of a million nameless strangers going about their daily business.

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 of 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 men 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" McAllister.

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 the handle on his wheeled carry-on bag and took three nonchalent strides in the direction signposted "Centre Ville".

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tippa-tat-a. The noise 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 in 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 out on the brow beneath his fedora.

He cursed himself for not having forseen this problem. How, he asked himself with a sense of rising panic, was he going to walk casually and inconspicuously through the dark, silent streets of Strassbourg on a Sunday night, with the wheels of his carry- on luggage announcing to everyone within a hundred yards that he was an out-of- towner?

If only, he thought to himself, someone, somewhere had had the presence of mind 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 a few grams heavier, and have a couple of inches less space for his collection of scarves.

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 salmon at a bar mitzvah.

It was going to be a long, tough night.

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 03 2008

Henk, €20,000 (Flash site.) http://www.henk.com/
Shock absorbing wheels; "quiet yet sturdy". How quiet? Mickey the Nose will never know. [jutta, Feb 03 2008, last modified Feb 04 2008]

Zuca http://www.zuca.com/img/large-diagram.jpg
Like this, although the 'stealth' effect is somewhat lessened by the flashing LEDs in the large, silent wheels. [hippo, Feb 04 2008]

Zuca Pro http://www.zuca.com...a7dfd2f76c5f8d3f32c
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]

Glockenspiel http://www.dkimages...Glockenspiel-2.html
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.
jutta, Feb 03 2008

       //as those of his unspecified profession have for years.// But that, of course, is just what they'd be expecting....
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 03 2008

       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 Henk!
xenzag, Feb 03 2008

       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 use.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 03 2008

       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.
MisterQED, Feb 04 2008

       [+] 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.
imaginality, Feb 04 2008

       //getting his weapon out would be a grave error, especially in this biting wind// Ha! Bun just for that.
pertinax, Feb 04 2008

       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.)
jutta, Feb 04 2008

       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 sideline.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2008

       //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 much unspecified.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2008


       I bought a quite nice car for a lot less than that.
wagster, Feb 04 2008

       I think you should all be careful. Nine of ten bags are carriers.
Diodorus, Feb 04 2008

       //Strassbourg// sp. "Strasbourg", unless this is an oblique reference to Vienna, in which case, it might be spelled "Strauss-burg".
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 04 2008

       Their website describes the Henk cases as "retrofuturistic".
hippo, Feb 04 2008

       The absolute answer is skate board neoprene wheels...small, light weight, silent...and not much larger than the tiney wheels on luggage now days.
Blisterbob, Feb 04 2008

       "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.
normzone, Feb 04 2008

       //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 being in.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2008


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