Plot Bunnies Attack!
2005 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Challenge - Plolt Bunny Challenge
2005 Papa Bear Awards - Third Place
Most Unique Story
The Kommandant of Stalag Luft 13, Wilhelm Klink, marched across the compound of the Prisoner of War camp and stood before the ragtag lineup of men assembled. The portly Sergeant of the Guard, Hans Schultz, was shuffling his feet, looking for all intents and purposes like a man who had something to hide.
“Herr Kommandant,” he began reluctantly. Klink waved him into speeding up. “All prisoners present and accounted for—”
“Very good!” Klink shouted briskly, cutting off Schultz’s announcement.
“Except for Colonel Hogan,” Schultz completed in a mumble.
“That’s fine, Schultz, except for Colonel Ho—what do you mean ‘except for Colonel Hogan’?” Klink turned to the men. “Where is your senior officer?” he demanded.
“Probably still in Korea,” French Corporal Louis Le Beau muttered under his breath.
“Hey, we just got back from there, too!” Sergeant James Kinchloe replied, his voice equally low. “I thought he’d be heading to that hospital in Berlin to hand over that virus so the doctors can make a vaccine.”
“Just as well,” RAF Corporal Peter Newkirk added, “he’s still getting over that heart attack.”
“That was a fake,” Kinch reminded him.
“Seemed real to me,” Sergeant Andrew Carter objected.
“You weren’t even there!” Le Beau protested.
“Well, I know how to read,” Carter defended himself.
“I tell you what: there are a lot of people who are going to need to get medical attention before this is over,” Kinch predicted. “Just think of all the writer’s cramp once people realize how much is waiting to be done!”
“Gosh, I bet the Colonel’s looking pretty pruny at the moment,” Carter guessed, looking at the cards he had been dealt and discarding. “One, please.”
“Blimey,” Newkirk spat, seeing only doom in his own hand. “Is that any way to talk about a man who’s been at the bottom of a ravine for almost a year? What do you expect him to look like, Betty Grable?”
“Gee, that’d be nice,” Carter said wistfully. Then he turned and grinned at the Englishman. “But you don’t really mean that, do you? I mean, the Colonel couldn’t really—you’re pulling my leg.”
“Perish the thought, Carter.”
The door to the office opened, and Hogan stumbled out, looking weary and more than a little worse for wear. “Hi, fellas,” he sighed, coming into the common room to face his men.
“Blimey, gov’nor, how did you get here?” Newkirk exclaimed.
“Don’t ask me,” Hogan answered. “I always seem to end up here, somehow. But it’s up to the writers how I get back.” He tossed a bone onto the table.
“What is that, Colonel?” Le Beau asked, reaching for it.
“Don’t touch it!” Hogan suddenly snapped. Le Beau pulled his hand back. “It’s a plot bunny bone. I have dozens of them in my office. They’re there to tease people while they’re waiting for stories to be finished.”
“Gee, there’s no meat on it,” Carter observed, dismayed.
“Well, that one’s from way back when I was taken by the Gestapo. I’m still facing my shadows.” Hogan sighed. “But I’ve been at it for so long that everyone’s chewed it down to nothing and they’re almost starving.”
Hogan eased his way down onto the bench. “Still sore, Colonel?” Kinch asked.
Hogan winced and rubbed his lower back. “All that time on the bottom of the ravine takes it toll, Kinch.” Le Beau brought Hogan a cup of coffee. Hogan nodded his thanks and squeezed the bridge of his nose between his eyebrows. “Not to mention getting hit by a Gestapo officer’s car. And being beaten up every chance the Krauts feel the need for a punching bag—like when Heinrich Mueller was shot. I feel like every headache I’ve ever had is on me all at once. I’d like it if just once someone could find a way to get me out of that. They haven’t even released me!” He stopped and surveyed the others. “But how are you fellas going?”
“Kinch’s leg probably still aches a bit, Colonel,” Carter said reluctantly. He looked back at the radioman. “Sorry, Kinch.”
Kinch shrugged. “I told you it was okay,” he said. “Just make sure you keep on the safety catch next time.”
“Don’t call me sir,” Kinch said.
“Why not?” Le Beau intervened. “After all, you have been promoted.”
Kinch moaned. “Don’t remind me. I never wanted to be an officer.”
“Thanks,” Hogan sneered good-naturedly.
“No offense, sir.”
“How about your head, Carter?”
Carter put his hand up to his temple. “Well, I can see straight now, Colonel.”
“There’s a first time for everything,” Newkirk put in. The others grinned.
“Hey, it wasn’t my fault! We had to set those explosives.”
“Yeah, but you did it on the worst night—it wasn’t even a bomber’s moon! And we had that other bloke to carry. You didn’t have to walk back to camp with someone slung over your shoulders.” Newkirk stretched as his eyes stealthily crept to Carter’s hand. The young American furrowed his brow and shifted away from the RAF card shark.
“Oui? Well if we are trading stories, when is the last time any of you were asked to cook a gourmet meal for those filthy Boche, eh?” Le Beau said, as usual angered at the idea of sharing any of his skills with people he considered pigs.
“Yeah, but I’m the one who got woken up in the middle of the night by ol’ Bald Eagle to negotiate it to our advantage!” Hogan answered. The door opened, and Schultz appeared. “And you!” Hogan cried, on a roll. “If you only knew how much trouble your dear brother is giving us!”
“Mein bruder?” Schultz asked, bewildered.
“Never mind, never mind,” Kinch said hastily, shooting a look at his commanding officer. Must have too many missions on his mind to realize Schultz can’t know about that!
“While we are speaking of trouble, do not forget I have a dear friend who is looking desperately to stop a Papa Bear!” Schultz added, with a grin on his face that could have swallowed an entire strudel, and a plateful of sauerbraten right after that.
“What?” Hogan said, startled.
Schultz smiled serenely. “I know nothing, Colonel Hogan… nothing.”
Hogan relaxed. “Don’t worry, Schultz,” he said. “Somehow I always end up back here.”
“You do not want to know what I know about the prisoner being kept privately in the camp?” he asked smugly.
“Are you talking about the good Doctor, Schultz? Or do you mean Major Glen Miller?” Hogan replied lightly. Schultz’s shoulders sagged. “We know all about that, Schultz… but you’ll never guess what we’ll do next!”
“I do not want to know,” the Sergeant replied.
“Oh, but Schultz, there are children involved!” Carter said, smiling. He loved kids; they all seemed to understand him.
“Ah! Der kinder!” Schultz said, his features taking in a faraway look. “I could have given them toys at one time…”
“I wish you could give toys to the kids I’ve been dealing with,” Hogan declared. “I’ve got a few little tyrants in town who need some help…and I haven’t been very successful yet.”
Schultz’s eyes widened. “Did you say in town, Colonel Hogan? Please do not tell me!”
Le Beau grumbled, “I do not seem to have very much to do besides cooking, Colonel.”
“And a fine job you do of it, Le Beau,” Hogan soothed. “If you hadn’t force fed us, most of us would be starving to death by now. You know how many meals I skip when I’m pacing.”
“Yeah, and when I’m stuck down in the tunnel for pages on end, you’re always the one to look after me,” Kinch added.
“Consider yourself a very crucial transitional plot device, mate,” Newkirk suggested.
“D’accord. I still wish I had more to do,” Le Beau muttered. “You know, I can be a very mysterious man.”
Hogan shook his head. “Save it for the frauleins.” He looked at Schultz. “What can we do for you, Schultz?”
“Colonel Hogan, the Kommandant wishes to see you in his office. Major Hochstetter is here.”
“Hochstetter?” Newkirk echoed. “I thought he was still recovering from the fire the gov’nor saved him from.”
“Hm—and the Ministry of Propaganda once again rears its ugly head,” Hogan grimaced. “There’s no way I’m taking pictures with Hochstetter,” he announced.
“You know about that?” Schultz said.
“Read, Schultz… you’ve gotta read. Otherwise you’ll be left behind all your life. Speaking of the Propaganda Ministry, I might add that I’m all too aware who your friend is, Schultz.”
Schultz twitched his moustache but said nothing.
“That’s going back a bit,” Kinch observed.
“Yeah, but nothing’s happened. Looks like I’ll be let off till the end of the war. With any luck,” Hogan replied.
Newkirk had grown quiet. Le Beau probed, “What is it, mon ami?”
Newkirk shrugged. “I miss my daughter. All this talk about things past… well, it just makes me think of her.”
Le Beau fought the urge to get comfort food from the stove. I will not be stereotyped! “Ah, Beth,” he said, nodding.
“We haven’t quite worked everything out yet.” Newkirk threw some cookies in the middle of the table, to up the ante on the game he had just fixed. He started to smile a bit; it wasn’t hard to make him feel better on the surface.
“I remember seeing that woman!” Schultz declared. “She is your daughter, Englander?”
“Leave it alone, Schultz,” Hogan suggested.
“Wait. Did this have anything to do with the pool party you asked the Kommandant about?”
“Pool party?” Kinch repeated, rubbing his forehead. “That was a long time ago.”
“I remember,” Le Beau said with a snarl. “I was going to be asked to cook again. Some peasant food.”
Hogan stood up and sighed. “I’d better go see what Hochstetter wants,” he said. “Otherwise we’ll have another plot bunny to deal with. Sorry, Le Beau, but I’m afraid that unless more people read this, there are going to be plenty more bones sitting in my office, and they’re losing meat every day. I don’t suppose you’d consider… making a soup out of some of them if the writers don’t come and claim them?”
Hogan ducked as the meatless bone on the table suddenly came flying at him, and realized that the bottom of the ravine might not be such a bad place to be after all.
15 July 2004
This story was written to remind people of all the unfinished Hogan’s Heroes stories sitting out on the net, waiting for writers to rescue the characters from their predicaments, and bring them to a peaceful conclusion.
Text and original characters copyright 2004 by Linda Groundwater
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.