The Card
Jeff Evans

Papa Bear Awards 20062006 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Challenge - Triskaidekaphobia Challenge


This story is a response to the SmartGroups Triskaidekaphobia Challenge issued by Nancy “nom-de-plume13”. The challenge is as follows:




The 13 Challenges of Stalag 13


Mission Briefing: The assignment here, should you choose to accept it, is to complete as many of the challenges on the list as possible within the next year.


Episode 13, Hogan’s Hofbrau: Write a story set just before, during or right after the episode.


1300 Words: Write a story using only 1300 words.


13 Chapters: Write a story with only thirteen chapters.


13 Minutes: The One Minute Challenge revisited and multiplied by thirteen, giving us a story that takes place in thirteen minutes.


13 Days: This story takes place over the course of thirteen days, and something has to happen that’s important to the story on each of the thirteen days.


Friday the 13th: It’s considered an unlucky day for various reasons, but what would make it unlucky for the gang at Stalag 13?


Number 13: Use the number 13 exactly thirteen times over the course of the story, and no, using it as Stalag 13 does not count toward the total.


13:00 Hours: Instead of the usual night maneuvers, the mission HAS to be pulled off in broad daylight at exactly 13:00 (That’s one o’clock PM to you, Crittendon! :)


13 Characters: Use thirteen canon characters in the story.  They can be named characters from any episode, or you can use people like the German guard in The Collector General who knows only one word in English  ‘E-mer-gen-cy?’  just as long as you describe them well enough for everyone to recognize them.


13 Other Characters: There’s over a thousand prisoners held at Stalag 13, and at least one hundred guards, yet we’ve only met a handful of them over the course of the series.  This story is all about coming up with thirteen of those men and how they fit into the operation.


The 13th Guest: Thirteen new prisoners just arrived at Stalag 13.  The only problem is, one of them is a German spy.  How do our heroes discover which one, and how do they deal with him?


Combination Challenge: Use as many of these challenges in the same story as possible.


Bakers Dozen: The 13th Challenge is to write a story using Sgt. Richard Baker as the lead character.




This story uses ten of the thirteen challenges. The only ones not used are 13th guest, 13 minutes and Friday the 13th. If you strip out this introduction and the chapter titles, it checks in at exactly 1313 words – just 13 words over the 1300 challenge. The word thirteen is used thirteen times, excluding the chapter titles. It contains 13 chapters averaging 100 words each and representing a single day. Baker is the main focus of this story, but 13 canon characters make an appearance, as to 13 other prisoners, though by name only. There is also a reference to the boys helping the barmaid Hilda out at the Hofbrau.


The standard disclaimer applies. I make no claims to the characters or events of the Hogan’s Heroes universe.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Chapter 1 – Day 1


“So let me get this straight,” Kinch said. “You are trying to get everyone to sign this birthday card for Colonel Hogan?”


“That’s right,” Baker replied, nodding. “His birthday is in thirteen days.”


“And you think you can pull it off in thirteen days?” Kinch asked.


“I don’t see why not,” Baker replied. “Everyone likes Colonel Hogan.”


“Hochstetter?” Kinch asked with a smile.


“Okay, not everyone,” Baker replied.


“It’s too bad everyone else is helping Hilda at the Hofbrau tonight,” Kinch commented.


“I’ll catch up with them later,” Baker replied. “After all, I have thirteen days.”


Baker slid the card across the table to Kinch. Kinch read it, thought for a few seconds and then scribbled a greeting in one corner.


“Good luck!” he said, handing the card back to Baker.


Chapter 2 – Day 2


Newkirk was sitting at the table in the barracks shuffling a deck of cards when Baker sat down across from him.


“Here,” Baker said, sliding the card across the table. “Sign this birthday card for the Colonel.”


“I’ll sign if you play a couple hands of Gin with me,” Newkirk replied.


“You’ve already taken all my money,” Baker responded. “Now sign.”


Newkirk read the card and then added a small note at the bottom of the card. “There,” he replied handing the card back. Then he started dealing cards. “Now, a couple hands, on credit.”


Baker sighed and picked up his cards. The two began picking up and discarding.


After a moment, Baker put his cards on the table. “Gin,” he said. “How many cards do you have?”


Thirteen,” replied Newkirk. “Thirteen bloody face cards.”


Baker laughed as he rose from the table. “I’ll collect from you later.”


Chapter 3 – Day 3


Carter was outside washing out a pair of socks in the wash bucket when Baker approached him.


“Hey Andrew, you want to sign this birthday card for the Colonel?” Baker asked.


Carter put the socks down and dried his hands on his jacket. “Sure,” he replied. “I could use a break anyway. This is the thirteenth pair of socks I’ve washed.”


“You have thirteen pairs of socks?” Baker asked.


“No, I just get bored so I wash the same pair over and over,” Carter replied sheepishly. He took the card from Baker and read it. Then he took the pencil and added a little greeting in the upper corner and handed it back. “Back to washing,” he said cheerfully.


Chapter 4 – Day 4


Baker was sitting by the barracks when Schultz walked by. “Hey Schultz,” he called out. “Want to sign a birthday card for Colonel Hogan?”


“It’s Colonel Hogan’s birthday?” Schultz asked.


“In a few days,” Baker replied, handing him the card and pencil.


“Will there be a cake?” Schultz asked hopefully.


“I’m sure LeBeau will make something,” Baker replied smiling.


Schultz read the card and the greetings that were already there and added one of his own before handing it back. “Please save me a piece of that something,” he said. “Especially if it is chocolate cake.”


“I’ll be sure to do that,” Baker replied.


Chapter 5 – Day 5


LeBeau was standing at the stove in the barracks when Baker tracked him down. “What are you making?” he asked the Frenchman.


“A thirteen egg omelet,” LeBeau replied.


“How did you get hold of thirteen eggs?” Baker asked, sniffing the air around him.


“Max had extra this time,” LeBeau responded. “So I thought I would make us a treat.”


“Smells great,” Baker commented. “Do you want to sign this birthday card for the Colonel?”


LeBeau didn’t reply immediately, his attention focused on the folding of the omelet in the pan. After that task was accomplished, he said, “Of course!”


Bake handed him the card and pencil. LeBeau read the card and then added a small greeting in one of the remaining empty corners. Handing the card back, he turned back to the omelet and said, “Have a seat and I’ll get you a plate.”


Chapter 6 – Day 6


Bake caught up with Corporal Langenscheidt as he was standing guard outside the Kommandant’s office.


“Would you like to sign a birthday card for Colonel Hogan?” Baker asked him.


Ja,” Langenscheidt replied. “I would be glad to.”


Baker handed him the card and pencil and waited while he thought of something to say. After several minutes, the German handed the card back to him.


As he walked away, Baker read what Langenscheidt had written. It said simply “Hapy Brthday” in English. Baker laughed. He should have stuck to German!


Chapter 7 – Day 7


Baker entered the Kommandant’s office to see Helga sitting at the desk. “Hi Helga, would you like to sign Colonel Hogan’s birthday card?”


“Birthday card?” she asked. “I’d be happy to.”


He handed her the card and waited while she added her greeting.


As he left the office, he read what she wrote. He was glad that nobody could tell he was blushing!


Chapter 8 – Day 8


Baker saw General Burkhalter’s car enter the camp and walked over to talk to the General before he entered Klink’s office.


“General Burkhalter, would you like to sign a birthday card for Colonel Hogan” he asked.


“Hogan?” Burkhalter questioned. “Certainly.”


He took the card and added a greeting to it before entering Klink’s office without another word.


Baker read what the General had written. “Colonel Hogan, may you have many more birthdays as a prisoner here in Stalag 13.”


Chapter 9 – Day 9


Baker found Hilda in Klink’s office standing at the filing cabinet. “Hilda, would you like to sign a birthday card for Colonel Hogan?” he asked.


“Why naturally I would,” she responded with a smile.


Baker handed her the card and the pencil. She began reading the greetings that were already written and Baker could see her frown and let out a small growl. She walked over to her desk and began writing her greeting.


When she handed the card back to him, he smiled and left the office. Walking across the compound, he opened the card to read what she had written. This time he was very glad that nobody could tell he was blushing!


Chapter 10 – Day 10


Baker was sitting in the outer office when Hochstetter came to pay Klink a visit. “Major Hochstetter, would you like to sign a birthday card for Colonel Hogan?” he asked.


“No,” Hochstetter barked back.


“Don’t you have anything you want to say to him?” Baker persisted.


Hochstetter held out his hand for the card and began writing. He spoke as he wrote each word. “Hogan – I – will – catch – you – someday – Your – head – will – roll.” He handed the card back to Baker.


“Gee, you’re all heart, Major,” Baker replied sarcastically.


“Bah!” responded Hochstetter.


Chapter 11 – Day 11


Baker entered Klink’s office when the Kommandant was on the phone.


“I said thirteen guards and I mean thirteen guards!” he yelled, slamming the phone down. “What do you want?” he asked testily, seeing Baker for the first time.


“Would you like to sign Colonel Hogan’s birthday card?” Baker asked.


“He wouldn’t want me to,” Klink responded.


“General Burkhalter signed it,” Baker added.


“General Burkhalter,” Klink said crisply. “Why didn’t you say so? Give me that card!”


Baker handed Klink the card and he began reading the greetings already there. Baker noticed that Klink was blushing a bit. “Kommandant, are you blushing?” he asked with a smile.


“Hmph!” Klink replied and quickly scribbled a greeting. “Diiiis-misssed!”


Chapter 12 – Day 12


Baker was in Barracks Thirteen getting the signatures of the men housed there.


He read off the names as he checked the card. “Johnson, Manetti, O’Brien, Samuelson, Kirby, Smythe, MacDonald, DuBois, Jefferson, Miller, Blackford, Mason, Harrington. Thirteen signatures. Thanks guys!”


Baker smiled as he left the barracks. My mission is accomplished!


Chapter 13 – Day 13


At exactly 13:00 hours, Baker handed the card to Hogan. “Happy Birthday, sir,” he said.


Hogan looked at the card in surprise. He took it and started reading the greetings then quickly closed the card.


Baker had to laugh when he noticed that the Colonel was blushing. “I think they wish you a very happy birthday, sir!” he said with a laugh.



Text and original characters copyright 2004 by Jeff Evans

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.