Another Fine Mess
2006 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
2006 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
Best Challenge - Yankee Swap Plot Bunny Challenge
2006 Papa Bear Awards - Second Place
Best Yankee Swap Story
This story is written for the Smartgroups’ Yankee Swap challenge. This challenge was to submit a plot bunny into the pot, and take one at random and write a story from that random bunny. The plot bunny for this story is as follows:
“On a mission, Newkirk changes the Plan on the fly because he's convinced Carter will screw his part up - but when Carter does his part perfectly now Newkirk is in danger of messing everything up!”
As usual, I make no claims to the Hogan’s Heroes situations or characters.
* * * * * * * * * *
Chapter One - Newkirk
“And then without looking, he squeezed the bellow and the soot came streaming into my face,” Newkirk finished explaining. “So you see what I’m trying to say?”
Colonel Hogan sighed as Newkirk finished relating the incident. He looked at the English Corporal, who was wringing his hat in his hands and was clearly uncomfortable about the situation.
“What you are telling me,” Hogan said tiredly, “is that while Carter was blowing the soot from the stove pipe, you decided to stick your face in front of the opening.”
Newkirk was a bit startled by Hogan’s statement. “No,” he said quickly. “That’s not what I was saying!”
“It sounded like that to me,” Hogan countered. He knew what Newkirk was trying to do, and he was hoping that he wouldn’t have to come right out and confront the Englishman.
No,” Newkirk said again. “It wasn’t like that at all.” Newkirk was shaking his head.
“Then I don’t see the problem,” Hogan countered.
Newkirk began wringing his hat again. “Maybe this will help you see what I am trying to say,” he said. “You must remember when this happened.” He began reminding Hogan of the time when Carter was supposed to lead the Germans to believe that there was a factory outside Leadingham.
When Newkirk finished, Hogan sighed again. He did remember that incident, and how important it was that the Germans were given the correct English town. “The Germans were given the correct information,” he said softly.
“But only after you went to Klink’s office and gave it to them yourself!” Newkirk exclaimed.
“But in the end the mission was successful,” countered Hogan. “And ultimately, that is the most important thing.” He stood up from the chair he was sitting in and walked towards his personal locker. He glanced at Newkirk, who was still nervously wringing his hat in his hands. “I still don’t see what your problem with Carter is,” he said.
Now it was Newkirk’s turn to sigh. “I don’t have a problem with him, sir,” he replied. “He’s my friend. It’s just that this is such an important mission, and he always finds a way to mess things up.”
“And you haven’t?” Hogan asked, holding back a laugh.
“I didn’t say that,” Newkirk said, trying to defend himself to the Colonel. “You must remember the time when we found out about Carter’s Indian ancestry. He couldn’t even shoot the flaming arrow through the window to hit the passing trucks.”
Hogan closed his locker and turned to face Newkirk. He knew this could go on for a long time. Carter did find a way to make missions a little more complicated than they needed to be. But he also knew that in all the time his team had been together, none of them had flubbed a mission so bad that it couldn’t be accomplished. When it came down to it, the men had always come through some impossible situations successfully, and that included Carter.
“Newkirk” he said at last. “I know you’re simply looking out for the mission. Do you think that I haven’t given it enough thought to make the right decisions?”
Newkirk’s eyes widened at the accusation. “Oh no, sir,” he said quickly. “I just want to make sure that we pull it off.”
Hogan walked over to his office door and opened it. He motioned Newkirk towards the door. “I’m glad to hear that,” Hogan said. “We need to make sure that this mission is successful and we need everyone to work towards that goal.”
Newkirk hesitated and then slowly walked through the open doorway. Hogan followed him out to the common area of the barracks.
“I appreciate your concern,” Hogan reiterated. “But you’re missing the bigger picture. Maybe you’ve forgotten about the time that we needed to pass the false information from London to the Germans and Carter volunteered to go to town and get himself captured in order to accomplish the task?”
“Wasn’t that the time he met his girl Mady?” LeBeau asked from the washbasin, where he was cleaning the dishes. Hogan nodded.
Newkirk had taken a seat at the table in the room with his back to the door. “No, I hadn’t forgotten about that,” he replied. “But you remember how he told us of the difficulty he had to get the information to them.” Newkirk glanced nervously around the room at the rest of the men. “He’d given up and was heading back to camp when he finally succeeded in passing the information.”
“But he did succeed,” Hogan insisted.
Kinch was sitting at the table across from Newkirk, studying the latest Allied codebook they had received. He put the book down and stared at Newkirk. “Peter, we’ve all had difficulties on a mission,” he said. “And I think it was a brilliant idea to ask the Gestapo officer for a ride back to camp.”
Hogan smiled as he poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot on the stove. He had forced Newkirk out here so that the other men could help convince Newkirk that things would be fine.
LeBeau piped up as he wiped one of the cooking pots dry. “Oui,” he said. “We’ve all had our difficulties. But we all have also had very good missions – Carter included.”
“Right,” Kinch added. “Where would we be without Carter impersonating German officers?”
“But, but,” Newkirk stammered.
“But what, Newkirk?” LeBeau asked. “Andrew is the best German impersonator among us, and that’s what his role is this time. He’s the best man for the job.”
The barracks door opened silently and Carter entered.
Newkirk began wringing his hat again while sitting at the table. “I’m not saying that Carter is incompetent,” he said without raising his head. “It’s just that he always …”
“Always what, Newkirk?” Carter said.
Newkirk jumped when he heard Carter’s voice. “Andrew, I didn’t hear you come in,” he said nervously.
“Boy, isn’t that obvious,” replied Carter sarcastically. “I always what?” he repeated.
“Andrew,” Newkirk began. “I, I …”
Hogan saw how disappointed and hurt Carter looked, and how this situation could quickly get out of hand. “Newkirk and I have been talking about the upcoming mission,” he said.
Carter shot a look at Newkirk. “And he thinks I’m going to mess it up?” Carter asked. “Well, thanks a lot, buddy!”
“Andrew!” Newkirk exclaimed.
“Fellas!” Hogan said, raising his voice. “This is an important mission, and I appreciate everyone’s concern.”
“But he doesn’t want me to participate because he thinks I’m incompetent!” Carter exclaimed. “As if he never caused any problems! I bet he hasn’t mentioned the time he led a female Gestapo agent back to our tunnels and almost ruined our operation, has he?”
Hogan watched the sting of the statement wash across Newkirk’s face. The Englishman opened his mouth to reply, but Hogan cut him off. “Hold it down!” he said firmly.
The room grew quiet, and Hogan could feel the tension between the men. He sighed inwardly, knowing that if he didn’t diffuse this situation, the mission was doomed to fail before it even started. He looked from man to man before he spoke.
“Carter, Newkirk – you’re both going on this mission,” he said firmly. “You both know your parts, and you both know the plans.” He paused, waiting for their acknowledgment.
“Yes, sir,” Newkirk mumbled.
Carter nodded slowly. “Yes, sir,” he echoed.
“Good,” Hogan said finally. “This is one of the most important missions that we’ve had, and we must succeed.” He paused, looking at the two men. “Now I have confidence in you – both of you,” he said, looking at Newkirk. “And as your commander, that should be good enough. Is that understood?”
Newkirk had resumed wringing his hat in his hands. “Yes, sir,” he mumbled.
Hogan turned to look at Carter expectantly.
“Yes, sir,” Carter said. “I’ll do my part, even if I am incompetent.” He turned and left the barracks, slamming the door behind him.
Newkirk flinched at the sound, but didn’t turn around. He felt the eyes of every man in the barracks upon him, and he felt very small.
Hogan turned towards Newkirk. “Newkirk!” he said angrily.
“Yes, sir,” Newkirk replied, rising from the table. “I’ll go talk to him straight away.”
* * * * *
Newkirk sighed and rolled over on the hard bunk in the dark Gestapo cell. He had been haunted by the hurt look in his friend’s eyes ever since he had been thrown into this cell. “I was only looking out for the mission,” he explained to the stone wall. His words echoed in the quiet.
Newkirk let out a sardonic laugh. Right. I was so concerned about Andrew screwing up that I decided to deviate from the plans, he thought. And now who’s sitting in the Gestapo jail cell.
Newkirk sat up, deciding that sleep would be impossible. Peter, old boy, when you mess things up, you really mess things up. Not only is the mission shot, but you probably will be too – and soon. This is another fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into. He leaned back against the cold stone wall. At least this isn’t the Hammelburg Gestapo headquarters. Old Hochstetter would really love to be the one to shoot one of the boys from Stalag 13.
The thought of Stalag 13 brought a pang of hurt with it. Right now, Andrew is probably back at camp telling the Colonel I messed things up and got myself captured, he thought. Maybe the Colonel will come up with a plan to salvage the mission and get me out of here as well. He shook his head at the thought. “On second thought,” he said softly. “I think I’d rather face the Gestapo than the Colonel.”
Chapter Two - Carter
Sergeant Andrew Carter stood in front of the washtub scrubbing his dirty clothes. He was angry and he was hurt. When he thought about the things Newkirk had said about him, he scrubbed harder.
“Boy!” he exclaimed, dunking a shirt into the washtub. “Some friend he’s turned out to be.” He pulled the shirt from the water and wrung it tightly. “Incompetent! Hmmph!” He wrung the shirt tighter.
“Be careful, mate,” a voice said behind him. “You don’t want to ring the green out of the fabric.” Newkirk walked around in front of the table where Carter had set up the washtub.
“And what if I do?” Carter replied huffily. “It’s my shirt!”
“Carter,” Newkirk replied. “Andrew…”
“Go away,” Carter ordered. “I have nothing to say to you.”
“Andrew, please,” Newkirk pleaded. “I just want to say I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what,” Carter replied with more than a touch of scorn. “Sorry that I am incompetent, or sorry that I heard you say it?”
Newkirk was silent. He couldn’t blame his friend for being angry with him. He hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings. “Neither,” he said at last. “I’m sorry I said it.”
“Like I’m going to believe that,” Carter replied angrily as he began scrubbing the shirt again.
“Honest,” Newkirk said. “I am sorry. I don’t know why I even said it.”
“Because it’s what you think,” Carter retorted. “And you’re afraid that I’ll mess things up.”
Newkirk sighed deeply. “No, that’s not the reason,” he muttered. “Truth is, I’m nervous about the mission.”
“Because you think I’ll mess it up,” Carter repeated, wringing the water from the shirt.
“No!” Newkirk exclaimed, a bit too loudly. “I wish you would quit saying that!”
“Look, pal,” Carter replied sarcastically. “The Colonel wants us to go on this mission, and that’s what we’ll do. But you’ve made your thoughts perfectly clear – you’d rather not go with me.”
“Andrew!” Newkirk exclaimed. “I didn’t mean that!”
“You said it,” Carter replied. “So you must mean it. It’s one of those unfriendly slips of the tongue.”
“You mean Freudian slip,” Newkirk corrected.
“Oh, so now I suppose I am dumb, too!” Carter exclaimed.
“Andrew, quit putting words in my mouth!” Newkirk replied. “I didn’t say that!”
“Why don’t you just go away,” Carter pleaded angrily. “I’d like to finish my laundry.” Carter put down the clean shirt and picked up another. “Why don’t you go back and try to talk the Colonel out of sending me on this mission.”
Newkirk sighed and shook his head. “Andrew, I am truly sorry I ever said anything,” he said. “I wish I could make you believe it.”
Carter stopped and looked at his friend. He could see the pained expression on his face. Maybe he really is sorry he said it, he thought. But why did he even say it in the first place? After all this time working together, I thought we had become friends. A small smile quivered on the edges of Carter’s mouth. Maybe I shouldn’t be too mad at him. I am pretty clumsy sometimes. “Look, I just want to finish my laundry before we go out tonight,” he said at last, pushing the shirt into the wash water and pulling it back out.
Newkirk smiled. “Friends?” he said, sticking his hand out.
Carter smiled back. “Shucks, of course,” he replied. As he brought his hand around to return the handshake, the soaking wet shirt flew from his grip and smacked right into Newkirk’s face before falling to the ground. Carter stifled a laugh as he said, “Oops, sorry pal.”
* * * * *
Carter sat in the Weingarten across from Gestapo Headquarters in Frankfurt, remembering his exchange with Newkirk. And he was worried about me messing things up, he thought. It was going to be hard enough rescuing Greta before, but now the Gestapo is really going to be hard to fool. Carter went over the mission again as he sipped his beer.
Greta Baumgarten was the wife of Germany’s leading physicist, and a very close friend of Magda Goebbels. Recently, she had become disenchanted with Germany’s situation and had decided to defect to the Allies, bringing with her the secrets of her husband’s work in atomic science. She had somehow made contact with the Underground requesting assistance, and when London heard of this, they were ecstatic. Plans were made for her escape, and all of the contact information was given to Greta. She was to make contact in Frankfurt, while she was accompanying her husband on his trip to one of his secret laboratories. Somehow the Gestapo had found out about her defection and arrested her as a traitor.
When London found out about her capture, they ordered Colonel Hogan to come up with a plan to rescue her. Not only could she compromise the entire Frankfurt Underground if she talked, but London desperately wanted the information about the German atomic research. Carter shuddered when he remembered Colonel Hogan reading the last words of London’s transmission … Failure is not an option.
Carter couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Everything was working beautifully. Carter was posing as an SS Colonel specializing in infiltrating the German Resistance, sent from Berlin to interrogate the prisoner to try and discover her Underground contacts. Newkirk was supposed to wait for his signal before moving in to help release Greta – but for some reason, Newkirk had decided to try to rescue Greta before Carter could convince the commanding Colonel to allow him to see the prisoner.
And now Newkirk was a prisoner, too.
Carter took a sip of his beer and stared at the top of the table, trying to think of a way to rescue both prisoners. This is another fine mess I find myself in, he thought. And now what do I do? With Newkirk captured, the original plan is ruined. I could go back to camp and tell the Colonel what happened – he’ll think up another plan. Carter shook his head slightly. No, it’s too far to go. I’d never get there in time. My only hope is to try to think up a plan to get both Greta and Newkirk out of there.
As he lifted his glass again, his gaze came to rest on the barmaid cleaning a table across the room. A sudden thought hit him. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that sooner? He put the glass back down on the table and waved her over. “I need to make an important phone call,” he told her when she arrived at the table. He gave her one of his lopsided boyish grins. “I’ll be back. Could you please save my table for me?”
The barmaid smiled back at him. Carter could see a slight flush of red in her cheeks. “Of course, Colonel,” she replied. The red color deepened and she added, “Don’t be long.”
Chapter Three – Newkirk Again
Newkirk was sitting at the table in Barracks Two with the newest member of Colonel Hogan’s team – Sergeant Andrew Carter. Carter had only been in camp a couple weeks since his transfer from Stalag 5, but the Englishman and the American had begun to form a bond of friendship. Newkirk couldn’t explain why – the two men were as opposite as they could be. Carter was a farm boy from the middle of America, naïve to the ways of the world. He was a street-wise bloke from the middle of London, getting into mischief since he was a lad.
As Newkirk shuffled the cards, he asked, “What’ll it be, Andrew?”
“I don’t know,” Carter replied. “I don’t know how to play very many card games. The only thing I played back home was ‘Go Fish’ with my mother.”
Newkirk was surprised. “You’re pulling my leg, mate!” he exclaimed. “You mean you never learned how to play gin-rummy back in Leapfrog?”
“That’s Bullfrog,” Carter corrected. “No, my mother didn’t believe in gambling.”
“Gambling!” Newkirk laughed. “Now why did she think a ruddy simple game like gin-rummy was gambling?”
Carter shrugged. “I dunno,” he said. “She just said that nothing good ever came out of gambling.”
Newkirk held back a laugh. “After some of the nights I had on the East-End, I’d agree with her,” he muttered. “Andrew, I think it’s time you learned how to play.”
“I don’t know, Newkirk,” Carter started. “Mother was pretty serious about it.”
“Come on, Andrew,” Newkirk protested. “You’re a bloody prisoner of war now. It’s time to cut those apron strings and become a man. You didn’t plan to stay at home with your mother all your life, did you?”
“Oh, not at all,” Carter replied. “Me and my girl, Mary Jane, plan to get married after the war is over.”
“Mary Jane?” Newkirk asked. “Let me guess. You’ve been sweethearts since you were kids.” Carter nodded. “And you’re going to get married and live in a house next door to your parents.”
Carter shook his head. “No, not next door,” he replied. “We’re going to live in the room above the garage until we can find a place of our own in the neighborhood.”
Newkirk’s jaw dropped. “You’re not bloody serious,” he deadpanned. “You mean to tell me you only have one girl?”
“Of course!” Carter replied. “She’s the only girl for me.”
“But how do you know this, if you don’t sample what the world has to offer?” Newkirk asked.
“You mean date other girls?” Carter asked. “I don’t think Mary Jane would like that.”
Newkirk held back a laugh. “Andrew, when you are playing the field, you don’t tell them about the others.”
“But that wouldn’t be honest,” Carter said seriously.
Newkirk shook his head. “You’re hopeless, you know that?” he replied. “So you’re going to marry Mary Jane and live in the same neighborhood as your parents. How quaint!”
“Sure!” Carter said excitedly. “Me and Mary Jane are hoping that we can buy old man Johnson’s house on the corner someday. He’s getting pretty old and …”
“Please, spare me the details,” Newkirk said, waving his hands in the air. “I’m going to teach you how to play gin-rummy, even if you’re mother doesn’t like it.”
Carter shrugged. “Okay by me,” he replied. “It is hard to play?”
Newkirk shook his head. “No, it’s pretty easy,” he said, shuffling the cards. “But first, we have to decide what the stakes are.”
“Stakes?” Carter asked, looking confused.
“Sure, the stakes,” Newkirk said. “We have to decide how much each point is worth, so that when the game is over, the loser can pay the winner.”
“That sounds an awful lot like gambling,” Carter said.
“It’s not a bit like gambling,” Newkirk said reassuringly. “You see, gambling is based on luck – you bet money in the hopes you are lucky enough to win. Gin-rummy is based on skill – you’re using your old noggin to try and outthink your opponent.”
“You mean it’s like baseball,” Carter said.
“Baseball, blackjack, something like that,” Newkirk replied nonchalantly as he dealt the cards.
“Blackjack?” Carter asked. “What’s that?”
Newkirk smiled. “You have a lot to learn, Andrew,” he said.
The barracks door opened, allowing Hogan, LeBeau and Kinch to enter the room.
“Are we missing something?” LeBeau asked.
“No,” replied Newkirk. “I’m just teaching Andrew here how to play cards.”
“Newkirk, go easy on him,” Hogan warned. “He’s new to the camp and hasn’t been warned about you yet.”
Newkirk stared back at Hogan with a look of innocence. “Colonel, I don’t know what you mean,” he said. “I’m just teaching my friend here how to play gin-rummy. He’s never played before.”
A small smirk crossed Hogan’s face. “I see,” he said slowly, crossing over to sit next to Carter. “You don’t mind if I watch, do you?”
“Not at all,” Newkirk said. “The more the merrier, I always say.”
“And when do you always say that, Newkirk?” Kinch asked as he climbed into his bunk.
“I think I started saying it just about a minute ago,” Newkirk replied. He turned to Carter and began to explain the rules of the game. After a quick rundown, he asked, “You got it?”
Carter shrugged. “I think so,” he replied as he picked up his cards and looked at them.
Hogan glanced at the cards in Carter’s hand and almost choked on his breath.
“You okay, sir?” Newkirk asked.
Hogan tried to stop coughing and after a moment, he was able to answer. “Yes, there must be something in the air,” he rasped. “But don’t let me keep you from your game.”
Newkirk smiled. “Not a chance, sir,” he replied. “Now Andrew, do you know what you’re supposed to do?”
“I think so, but can you tell me again what the objective of the game is?” Carter asked.
Newkirk sighed. This obviously wasn’t going to be easy. “What your supposed to do is to get a hand full of sets of at least three of the same card or at least three consecutive cards of the same suit.”
“You mean like this?” Carter asked, putting his cards face up on the table in front of him.
Hogan burst out laughing as Newkirk stared at the cards on the table. “I believe the correct thing to say is gin, Carter!” he exclaimed.
“Bloody ‘ell,” Newkirk muttered. “Never played the game before in his life and I deal him a winning hand.”
“You mean I win?” Carter asked. “Wow, imagine that.”
Kinch was laughing in his bunk. “Yes, imagine that, Newkirk,” he said mockingly.
* * * * *
The sound of a key clicking in the cell door interrupted Newkirk’s thoughts. As the door opened, he raised his hands to shield his eyes from the blinding light of the outside hallway. After a moment, he could see the silhouette of a large man in the doorway.
“Get up,” a harsh voice ordered. “You’re coming with me.”
“Where?” Newkirk asked.
“We’ll ask the questions here,” the voice said. “You just make sure you answer them correctly. If you don’t …” The voice paused while the man chuckled. “Let’s just say that we have some very effective ways of getting the answers we want.”
Ain’t that ruddy wonderful, thought Newkirk.
Chapter Four – Carter Again
Newkirk and LeBeau were following Carter through the Stalag 13 compound.
“The last time I remember having the ring was in this area,” Carter said, searching the ground as he walked. “The next thing I noticed, I didn’t have it on anymore.”
“What’s so special about this ring?” Newkirk asked. “You said that you and Mary Jane weren’t married yet.”
“It’s not a wedding ring, Newkirk. It was given to me by my grandfather when I graduated high school,” Carter explained. “He said it would give me good fortune as I traveled through life.”
“It must not have worked,” LeBeau commented. “After all, you’ve ended up here.”
“But it could’ve been worse,” Carter pointed out. “I could’ve died when my plane was shot down.”
“Well listen to bleedin’ Mary Sunshine here,” Newkirk retorted sarcastically.
As they were searching the ground, a voice startled them. “You fellows looking for something?” asked the voice. The three men from Barracks Two looked up.
“We’re sure not looking for the likes of you, Anderson,” Newkirk replied. “I’d expect to find you over by the latrines with all of the other bad smelling sewage in this camp.”
Sergeant Anderson frowned and looked at his barrack mates who were gathered around him. “You watch your mouth, you stinkin’ limey, or I’ll …”
Newkirk straightened up. “You’ll what?” he asked daringly.
“Guys, can we keep looking for my ring?” Carter asked. “I’d like to find it.”
“So you lost a ring, eh?” Anderson asked. As he talked, he made several showy gestures to draw attention to his hands.
“Hey, that’s my ring!” Carter exclaimed as he noticed the shiny object on Anderson’s finger.
“Ah, but you are wrong, my friend,” Anderson said smoothly. “It’s my ring since it’s on my finger.”
“And where did you get it?” LeBeau asked.
“It’s an old family heirloom,” Anderson explained. “It’s been in my family, oh I’d say about two or three hours now.”
“Then it is my ring!” Carter exclaimed.
“Like I said, friend, it’s on my finger,” Anderson corrected.
“Come on, Sergeant,” Carter pleaded. “That ring was given to me by my grandfather.”
“My heart bleeds for you,” Anderson smirked. His friends around him snickered, and Anderson gave one of them a nudge with his elbow, obviously pleased with the situation.
“That’s not the only thing that’ll bleed of you don’t give it back,” Newkirk replied through clenched teeth.
Anderson glared at Newkirk before speaking. “Look, I’m a reasonable man,” he said smoothly, causing Newkirk to snort derisively. “I’m sure we can come to some sort of arrangement.”
“What do you want for it,” Carter asked.
Anderson smiled. “Well now, let’s see,” he said. “I think I could be persuaded to part with it for …” He paused while making an obvious show for his friends. “Let’s say two packs of cigarettes.”
“What?” echoed Carter and LeBeau together.
“And two chocolate bars,” Anderson added.
“You’re balmy!” Newkirk commented.
“Hey, this is business,” Anderson said smiling.
“It’s bloody highway robbery, that’s what it is!” Newkirk exclaimed.
“I can’t help it if it’s got great sentimental value,” Anderson replied.
“Sentimental value?” Newkirk retorted. “You just found the ring a few hours ago!”
Anderson laughed. “I didn’t say it had value to me,” he said. “But it does to him.” He gestured towards Carter. “He doesn’t have to pay the price,” he said with a slight shrug. “Of course, he doesn’t have to have the ring either.”
“I think you are half right, as well as a half-wit,” Newkirk said. Anderson stopped laughing and glared at the Englishman. “He doesn’t have to pay anything, and he does have to have his ring back,” Newkirk finished.
Anderson’s eyes narrowed. “Are you threatening me, Newkirk?” he asked.
Carter noticed that Anderson’s friends had spread out a bit. They looked tense, as if they were ready to spring into action. He glanced at Newkirk and LeBeau, who also looked as if they were ready to fight. “Look,” he said, trying to prevent trouble. “I just want my ring. You’ll have to wait until I get my Red Cross package before I have what you want.”
Anderson said nothing for a moment before smiling. “Then come back and see me when you get it,” he said. He started to walk away, gesturing to his friends to follow. “But if you wait too long, the price might go up.” As he turned and resumed walking, he said over his shoulder, “After all, I might have grown attached to it by then!”
“Why that ruddy thief,” Newkirk commented. “He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.”
“Come on, Carter,” LeBeau said. “Let’s go back to the barracks. I’ve got two chocolate bars you can have. And I have a few cigarettes left from my last package.”
The men began to walk back towards Barracks Two. Carter was silent, looking at the ground dejectedly. He had been in the camp less than a month, and this was the first sign of trouble that he had encountered.
After a few steps of silence, Newkirk said, “I’ve got something to take care of before heading back to the barracks. I’ll meet you there.” He veered off from the others and walked away like a man on a mission.
When they returned to the barracks, Carter sat on his bunk looking at the floor while LeBeau related the incident to the other men. After a few moments of indignant comments, several of the men tossed cigarettes or chocolate bars on the table.
Kinch threw in an unopened pack and said, “You can have this pack, Carter. I’m trying to cut down anyway.”
Carter looked at the pile on the table, speechless. He swallowed hard and looked at the men in the barracks. “Gee, thanks fellas,” he said hoarsely.
Just then, Newkirk burst into the barracks, holding something shiny in his hands. “Here Carter,” he said breathlessly. “I got your ring back.”
Carter’s eyes grew wide. “You did?” he asked. “But how?” He looked at a smiling Newkirk and noticed that his right eye was puffing up and starting to darken. “You’re eye looks terrible!”
Newkirk’s smile broadened, making his eye close completely. “You should see the other chaps,” he said. “They look even worse!”
Carter’s mouth fell open. “You fought all of them?” he asked. “Just to get my ring?”
“Aw, it was nothing,” Newkirk insisted. “They aren’t as tough as they think they are. I ran up against tougher blokes on the streets growing up.” He tossed the ring towards Carter.
Carter caught the ring and put it on. “Thanks pal,” he said to Newkirk. “I owe you a lot for this.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Andrew,” Newkirk insisted. “That’s what friends are for.”
Carter smiled. “You just wait. Someday you’ll be in trouble and I’ll repay you by helping you out of it,” he said. He grabbed his gloves from under his mattress and began to put them on.
“Why are you putting your gloves on, Andrew?” Kinch asked.
“I’m going to wear them all the time now so that I don’t lose this ring again,” Carter replied.
“Even in the shower?” Newkirk asked with an impish grin.
Carter glanced over at Newkirk and realized he was teasing. He tossed a glove at him and just missed hitting him in the face. The glove sailed by and headed towards the door to Colonel Hogan’s office. At that moment, the door opened and Colonel Hogan stepped out into a face full of Carter’s glove.
* * * * *
The man in a black suit and hat stopped in front of Carter’s table, interrupting his thoughts. “Colonel Carterhof?” he asked. “My name is Otto Baum. May I join you?”
Carter looked up at the man and blinked, trying to regain focus. “Of course, Herr Baum,” he replied. “I’m so glad that you were able to find the time to join me. Can I get you a drink? A beer? Schnapps, perhaps?”
“Ja,” replied Otto. “A beer would do nicely.”
Carter looked around for Marlene, the barmaid, and found her staring in his direction. Even from a distance he noticed a small blush when she discovered that he had caught her staring. He smiled and motioned her over.
“Would it be too much trouble to get a beer for my friend?” he asked her. “And another for myself, as well.”
“Of course, anything for you, Colonel,” she replied suggestively and walked away.
Otto smiled. “Well, it looks like you’ve got an admirer,” he commented lightly.
Carter smiled back. “I noticed,” he replied. “This is good, as it will help with my plan.”
When Marlene returned with the beers, Carter asked, “Could you see that we are not disturbed? We have some very important business to discuss.” He paused and glanced around the room. “Very important business for the Fatherland,” he added, subtly brushing the insignia on his black SS uniform.
Marlene’s face grew serious. “Of course, Colonel,” she replied. “I will make sure you are not bothered. Would you like to move over to the table in the back corner? It is more private there.”
Carter looked around the sparsely populated room. “No, I think this will do fine,” he replied. “If I need anything, I’ll let you know.” After a pause, Carter gave her a warm smile. “And if I desire the pleasant company of a beautiful fräulein, I’ll let you know.”
The red in Marlene’s cheeks deepened when she heard the compliment, and she shyly looked at the floor. “Danke, Colonel,” she said. She quickly retreated, almost running into a couple of Luftwaffe officers as she glanced back towards Carter.
Otto chuckled. “So tell me about the trouble,” he said quietly.
Carter explained what had happened and how Newkirk was also a prisoner in Gestapo Headquarters. He also explained the plan that he had come up with to rescue both Greta and Newkirk at the same time.
“Do you think that will work?” Otto asked after Carter had finished.
“It’s the only thing I could think of on short notice,” Carter replied.
Otto took a sip of his beer while thinking about the plan. “I have to admit, they won’t be expecting this,” he commented. He glanced over at Marlene, who was busy carrying two large steins of beer to the Luftwaffe officers. “But do you think she’ll go along with it?” he asked, nodding slightly towards her.
Carter smiled. “You heard her,” he replied. “She said she’d do anything for me.”
Otto gave a small chuckle. “I don’t think this is what she had in mind,” he said smiling. After a momentary pause, he said, “Very well, Colonel Casanova, let’s give it a try.”
Carter motioned Marlene over without bothering to check to see if she was looking. He was confident that no matter where she was in the room, she was keeping an eye on his table. Sure enough, she quickly appeared at his table.
“Jawohl, Colonel?” she asked. “Can I get you something else?”
Carter smiled at her. “Marlene, how would you like to do me a personal favor?” he asked.
A small frown appeared on her face. “I beg your pardon, Colonel,” she said. “But I’m not that kind of a girl!”
Otto snorted into his beer, causing Marlene to glance in his direction. She tossed her head and started to walk away.
“Nein,” Carter said. “Please do not go away. That’s not what I meant.”
Marlene stopped and turned around, but didn’t return to the table. “And what exactly did you mean, Colonel,” she said. The emphasis on his title told Carter that he was in danger of losing her confidence.
He reached into the breast pocket of his uniform and removed his ID wallet. Opening it up, he held it out for her to examine. “I am from the Sicherheitsdienst, and I need your help,” he said.
Marlene slowly stepped forward and examined the identification papers. After looking at them for several seconds, she stepped closer to the table. “I’m so sorry, Colonel Carterhof,” she whispered. “I just assumed …”
Carter waved at her to stop. “Perfectly understandable, my dear,” he said. “I’m sure a beautiful fräulein such as yourself receives a great many unwanted suggestions.” He could see the red returning to her cheeks and he knew that he had won her back.
“Some not so unwanted,” she said shyly, “as they are premature.” She refused to meet his eyes as her cheeks burned deep red.
Carter’s smile widened and he slid a chair back from the table. “Here, sit down,” he said. “Let me explain how I need your help.”
Marlene glanced back at the bar nervously. “I’ll get in trouble if I sit down,” she said. “I might lose my job.”
Carter laughed. “Nonsense,” he exclaimed. “If there’s any trouble, I’ll take care of it.”
Marlene hesitated another moment and then sat down. Carter began explaining about his two undercover agents who were being held at Gestapo Headquarters on suspicion of being spies. All the while, Marlene stared at him intently, not missing a single word of his explanation.
“And because they are undercover, you can’t just go in and order them to release your agents?” she asked. Carter nodded. “How can I help?” she asked. “Certainly you can’t expect them to release the agents to me?”
Carter laughed. “No, my dear,” he said smoothly. “It is a little more complicated than that.” He explained what he wanted her to do.
“Do you think you can get four or five of your friends to come along with you?” he asked. “Your story will be much more effective if there are more of you.”
Marlene nodded vigorously. “I live in a boarding house with fifteen other girls,” she said. “I can get some of them to help me out.”
“Excellent,” Carter replied. “We can begin after you are off work.” He paused, thinking of something else to ask. “One more thing. Do you have a problem with handcuffs?”
A coy smile spread across Marlene’s face as she rose from the table. “Now Colonel,” she said. “Don’t you think we should wait until after we rescue your agents to talk about that?” Now it was Carter’s turn to blush as she quickly retreated from the table.
Suds flew onto the table as Otto snorted into his beer and began laughing. “Colonel Casanova at work!” he exclaimed.
Chapter Five – Carter Goes In
Carter had been waiting about five minutes when Otto drove up to the agreed upon meeting place down the street from the Frankfurt Gestapo Headquarters. When the automobile stopped, Carter opened the passenger side door and got in.
“Everything is set,” said Otto when the door had closed. “When Greta leaves Gestapo Headquarters, I will take her away to a safe house until she can be moved to London.”
“The Gestapo will be pretty mad that she’s gone,” Carter commented. “Are you sure all your men will be safe?”
Otto smiled as he nodded. “Of course,” he said. “This is a big city – there are a lot of places to hide. What about your friend in there? Do you think he’ll pick up on what he’s supposed to do?”
Carter nodded. “Sure he will,” he replied. “We haven’t had a chance to go over it, but he’ll pick it up.”
“Do you think he can pull off his part?” Otto asked.
“Newkirk? It’ll be like taking candy from a baby for him,” Carter said. “The only unknown is Marlene and her friends. I hope I wasn’t wrong about her.”
Otto laughed. “Judging from the way she was fawning over you all night, I think she’d swim the English Channel for you,” he said.
“I just hope she can get enough of her friends to come along,” Carter commented. “We need to have a small crowd for this to have a good chance of working.”
Otto nodded up the street. “Is that a large enough crowd?” he asked.
Carter looked up the street and was amazed to see a group of at least a dozen young fräuleins heading towards them. “Wow,” he said. “I’d say that’s enough!” As the ladies drew near, he opened the door and stepped out of the car.
Marlene saw Carter emerge from the car and almost skipped the rest of the way until she was standing in front of him. “I got all the girls from my boarding house to come along, Colonel,” she said brightly. “They were excited at the prospect of helping out. Is this what you wanted?”
Carter smiled at her. “This is exactly what I was hoping for, Marlene,” he said. “You did a very good job. I may have to bring you along on more of my missions!”
Marlene smiled as her friends giggled. “We’re ready any time you are, sir,” she said, trying to act as serious and official as she could.
Carter almost laughed – and he noticed that Otto broke into a fit of coughs. “Very good,” Carter said to her. “Have you filled them in on what they are supposed to do?”
Marlene nodded eagerly. “We wait out here with your friend for ten minutes after you go in,” she said. “And then, we all go in and demand to see the officer in charge to complain about a strange man sneaking around our boarding house. You will be inside with that officer, and we are supposed to keep asking until they bring us into the room.”
Carter nodded. “That’s right,” he said.
“What if they won’t let us in?” she asked. “Should we force our way towards the office?”
Carter shook his head. “No. I don’t you getting hurt,” he said, then added quickly, “any of you ladies.”
Marlene beamed at him. “Don’t worry about us, sir,” she said. “We know what will make those Gestapo do whatever we want!”
Carter looked at the group assembled in front of him. A dozen young fräuleins, looking as if they were barely out of their teens – he had no doubt that they could get past the guards at the front desk. “Now remember,” he said to the girls. “The two we are trying to get out are my agents, working under cover. The Gestapo believes they are Underground agents, and they need to keep believing it. Understand?”
The girls excitedly voiced their understanding.
“Before I go in, I must confer with your leader,” Carter said, motioning Marlene towards the automobile. This caused a few whistles and comments from the girls. “Come on, ladies,” Carter protested. “Would you act like that if the Führer wanted to confer with Himmler?”
“We would if we knew that Himmler had a crush on him!” a voice from the crowd exclaimed.
Marlene whirled around towards the crowd. “Shush!” she exclaimed.
Carter could tell that her reaction was one of embarrassment rather than annoyance. He looked over at Otto, who made a show of whistling and staring at the sky as if he were ignoring the whole scene. Oh boy, he thought. I feel as though I am supervising a slumber party! He opened the car door and motioned for Marlene to get inside.
After they were both in, Carter closed the door and looked over at Marlene. The car was dark, but there was a dim light from a nearby streetlight that shone in through the windshield. Carter could tell that Marlene was flush with excitement. She’s very pretty, he thought for the first time. I hope nothing happens to her during this rescue. He shook the thoughts from his mind and focused on the issue at hand.
“Now, let’s make sure you have everything …” he started.
She interrupted him. “Everything is set,” she said quickly. “I have picked the two girls who will be in the special position. I will be one, and my best friend Gretchen will be the other.”
“You’re going to do it?” he asked.
“Oh yes,” she answered. “You said it might be more dangerous for the two girls, and I couldn’t ask my friends to take a risk that I wasn’t willing to take myself.”
Carter was impressed with the girl. “Marlene, I wanted to thank you for helping me with this,” he said. “I don’t think we would have a chance of pulling this off without you.”
“I told you before, anything for you, Colonel!” she said breathlessly, resting her hand on his knee.
Carter noticed she had a faraway look in her eyes. Oh brother, he thought. What have I got myself into? He cleared his throat before continuing. “I have to leave town right after this. I don’t often make it to Frankfurt …” He left the sentence trailing.
She smiled and leaned closer to him. “When you do, you’d better come see me,” she said. Their eyes met in the dim light and she surprised him by leaning forward and kissing him.
Carter was too surprised to react. He heard the jeers and whistles from her friends outside the car and realized that they had been looking in through the window.
When Marlene pulled away, she whispered, “And don’t forget your handcuffs!” She gave his knee a squeeze, causing him to jump and hit his head on the car roof.
She laughed. “Shouldn’t you be going in?” she asked.
“What?” he said rubbing the top of his head. “Oh yes, I should be going in now.”
Carter got out of the car and adjusted his uniform. He looked around at the giggling girls and wondered again if this was really such a good idea. Oh well, he thought. It was the only one I could come up with. He noticed that Otto had come up next to him. “Give me ten minutes and then send the girls in,” Carter said to him.
“Don’t I get a kiss too?” Otto asked with a chuckle. “Colonel Casanova!”
Carter could feel himself starting to flush as he walked towards Gestapo Headquarters.
* * * * *
The sergeant at the desk looked startled when Carter appeared before him. “Sergeant,” he yelled. “I am Colonel Carterhof from Berlin.” Carter pulled out his identification and waved it in front of the man. “I am here to interrogate the traitor you are holding. Take me to your commander!”
The sergeant had stood and snapped to attention upon Carter’s first word. “B-b-but sir,” he stammered. “Colonel Wexler is not here right now. Major Dietz is on duty tonight.”
“Then take me to him,” Carter ordered.
The sergeant reached for the phone. Carter slapped the man’s hand with his gloves. “Nein!” he shouted. “I said take me to him. Now!”
The sergeant gave a meek salute. “Jawohl, Colonel,” he said. “Come this way.”
Carter followed the man down the hall until they stopped in front of the Major’s door. The sergeant reached out to knock, but Carter brushed by him. “Never mind that,” he said arrogantly and opened the office door.
Major Dietz was startled when his office door opened. He rose from his desk in protest. “How dare you …” He stopped when he saw the markings on Carter’s uniform and snapped to attention. “Colonel!” he said, saluting.
Carter waved away the salute, slapping his gloves against his hand. “Major, I am Colonel Carterhof from Berlin,” he said. “I have been sent here to interrogate the traitor you are holding, a Frau Baumgarten. You will bring her here to your office at once!”
“B-b-but. Colonel,” Dietz said.
“What is this?” Carter yelled. “First your sergeant and now you. Do you all have a stuttering problem? I said bring her here at ONCE!”
“Major, I was not informed …” Dietz started. “I mean, it is very unusual for Berlin to …”
“Of course you were not informed!” Carter yelled. “You are not important! But Berlin considers this matter very important, and I am sure they will not take kindly to any uncooperative Captain who impede my investigation!” Carter paused to let the intended demotion take effect. It was not lost on the Major.
“Of course, sir!” he said forcefully. “I will do everything I can to help your investigation.”
Carter slammed his fist down on the Major’s desk. “Then bring the prisoner here AT ONCE!” he screamed.
Major Dietz had been startled by the outburst and had fallen backwards into his chair. He scrambled to his feet, causing Carter to smirk.
“Oh, one more thing,” Carter said calmly. “When I was here earlier in the day, there was a commotion in the building. I was told at the time that you were holding someone else you suspected of being in the Underground. You will bring him here as well.”
Major Dietz nodded vigorously and reached for his phone. “Sergeant, bring Frau Baumgarten and Hans Rumpelmeyer to my office immediately!” he said into the receiver.
Carter almost laughed when he heard the name Newkirk had given them. It didn’t surprise him though – it was Newkirk’s favorite name to use. “Did you say Hans Rumpelmeyer?” he asked.
“Jawohl, Colonel,” Dietz replied. “Do you know him?”
“I am familiar with him,” Carter replied. “A very dangerous man who has been eluding me for a while. I would advise you to guard him very closely.”
Major Dietz nodded. “He is being kept in solitary,” he replied.
“Good,” Carter said absently. “My superiors will be very glad to hear that. Maybe you aren’t so incompetent after all.”
Carter heard the door open and turned to see a defiant looking Newkirk stumble into the room, handcuffed to a large guard. Greta Baumgarten was handcuffed to the guard’s other arm with a scared look on her face.
“So, Hans Rumpelmeyer,” Carter said, slapping his gloves in his hand. “We meet again.”
Chapter Six – Newkirk Comes Out
After being roused from his cell, Newkirk was handcuffed to the guard and taken down the hall. Greta Baumgarten was removed from her cell, and Newkirk could see that she was scared of what was happening to her.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered to her. “It’ll be all right. Don’t be scared.”
The guard laughed loudly. “I would advise you both to be very scared,” he said. “There is someone here from Berlin to interrogate you, and he doesn’t look like he’s got any patience for the wrong answers. You might be in for a very long night.”
Upon hearing that, Greta gasped. “Oh no, please,” she begged. The guard said nothing as he tugged harder on her arm.
The guard opened one of the doors and shoved Newkirk inside. He stumbled into the room, followed by the guard dragging Greta along. Newkirk glared at the guard as he tried to steady himself. As he turned to see the occupants of the room, he heard a familiar voice.
“So, Hans Rumpelmeyer, we meet again,” said the voice.
Newkirk glanced over and saw Carter dressed in his SS Colonel uniform slapping his gloves in his hands. He straightened up, knowing that since the original plan was ruined, thanks to him, Carter expected him to play along with whatever plan he had come up with now. He tried to give Carter the most defiant look he could, but remained silent.
Carter steeped closer. “I told you we would catch you,” he said. “And now, here you are – caught trying to help this traitor escape. I guess that proves her guilt.”
Greta gasped. “Wait, I’ve never seen him before in my life!” she cried.
“Silence!” Carter yelled. “You will speak when I tell you to!”
“Hey, that’s no way to treat a lady,” Newkirk complained.
“And you, Hans Rumpelmeyer,” Carter said. “You must now be aware at this time, it will be impossible for you to escape.”
Newkirk noticed the emphasis that Carter had placed on a few words – and had then glanced towards the guard’s handcuffs. It took Newkirk only a split second to realize that Carter was telling him that something was about to happen and he had to free himself and Greta from the guard when it did. He didn’t say anything, but gave a very slight nod of acknowledgement.
Carter must have gotten the message, because he turned and walked back to the Major in charge. “And what information have you gotten from them, Major?” he asked.
“Nothing, Colonel,” the Major said. “They have been most uncooperative in answering our questions.”
Carter lashed out at the Major, slapping him in the face with his gloves. “You incompetent fool!” he screamed. “Of course they will be uncooperative. Do you think traitors and spies will gladly tell you everything they know just because you ask?”
The Major looked stunned. “N-n-no Major,” he stuttered. “I – I – I”
“Silence!” screamed Carter. He wheeled around to face Newkirk again. “Hans Rumpelmeyer, you are one of the most dangerous men in the Underground. You have eluded me for a long time and now you have been caught trying to help a traitor to the Third Reich escape Gestapo custody. It is time to stop playing games.”
Newkirk could see that Carter was trying to communicate to him – to let him know somehow either what was going to happen, or when it was going to start. “So you say,” Newkirk replied glibly. “What are you going to do about it?”
Newkirk watched Carter as he spoke. Carter smiled broadly when he understood what Newkirk had asked. “My dear Rumpelmeyer,” he said in a dangerously calm voice. “In about a minute, you will find out what I am going to do about it.”
Newkirk smiled. He had no clue what Carter’s plan was, or if the something that was about to happen was a diversion or a rescue attempt, but at least he knew it was going to happen soon.
Just then, the office door burst open and Newkirk’s jaw dropped as the room filled with young fräuleins. He looked around – there must have been at least ten of them, none of them older than their mid-twenties, and none of them hard on the eyes at all. One of the girls came over to stand by him, and gave him a knowing look, but said nothing. He looked over and saw that another girl had stationed herself beside Greta. He chuckled. Blimey, this is what I call a diversion!
The Major was shouting for the girls to quiet down, but it wasn’t helping. After a moment, Newkirk heard Carter say, “Fräuleins, quiet down please. One at a time.”
The girls grew quiet, and one of them stepped forward. “We want to know what you’re going to do about it,” she said to the Major.
The Major looked confused. “Do about what?” he asked. “Why are you here?”
The girl who had spoken turned to another girl and said, “Just like a man.” A giggle rippled through the crowd. “We want to know what you are going to do about the strange man who is hanging around our boarding house, looking in all the windows,” the girl said. “He just hangs around and peeks into all the windows – even when we are taking a shower! Imagine that!”
Newkirk poked the guard with his elbow. “I don’t know about you, but that sounds worth imagining to me!” he said.
The guard nodded his head eagerly. “Ja, ja,” he said, eyeing the girls in the room.
While Newkirk was poking the guard, he reached into his pocket and took out the key to the handcuffs. Once he had it, he looked around to try to make eye contact with Carter. He noticed Carter was ignoring everything else in the room and staring at him. He nodded to indicate that he had the key.
Carter stepped forward. “Fräuleins, I’m afraid you have come to the wrong place,” he said. “You want to go to the police, not the Gestapo.”
As if on cue, the room erupted in a mass protest. Newkirk took advantage of the confusion to unlock the handcuff from his wrist. As he did, he noticed the girl next to him stick her arm out, motioning for him to put the handcuff onto her wrist. As he stepped back, she slid quickly into place next to the guard and Newkirk quietly closed the cuff on her wrist. He moved around to the other side, and removed the cuff from Greta’s wrist, motioning for her to step back and remain silent. The other girl slid into place and Newkirk quietly chained her to the guard.
As he stepped back, the girl that had taken his place was motioning for him to stay by the door, and was also making motions as if she was unlocking something. Then she pointed to the guard’s pocket. Newkirk nodded and gently slipped the key back into the pocket.
Newkirk returned to Greta and whispered, “Don’t worry. We’ll be out of here in a second.”
Greta was white with fear, but managed a feeble smile. “Danke,” she said softly.
Carter raised his hands and shouted above the din, “Quiet!” The room grew quiet. “That’s better,” he said. “Fräuleins, I’m afraid we can’t help you right now. But if you will step outside, we will take your complaints in a moment.”
The girls grumbled, but Newkirk noticed that they started to move towards the door, sweeping both Greta and himself with them. He moved along with them as they left the office and headed towards freedom.
Chapter Seven – Carter and Newkirk: Mission Accomplished
Carter watched the crowd of girls leave the room, checking to make sure that Newkirk and Greta made it out safe. He then began pacing and staring at the ground. Now his job was to stall the Gestapo long enough for the girls to make it outside so that Otto could take Greta away.
When he heard the door close, he stopped pacing. “So, Herr Rumpelmeyer,” he said. He looked up and met Marlene’s gaze. She gave him a small wink, which almost caused him to smile.
“What is this?” he shouted, and whirled to face Major Dietz. “I told you Rumpelmeyer was dangerous and now you’ve let him escape!”
Major Dietz jumped in alarm and looked over at the two girls handcuffed to the sergeant. “Sergeant, where are they?” he shouted. “Why are those girls here?”
The sergeant’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly.
Carter walked over and stood in front of Marlene. “Why is it,” he said calmly, “that you are handcuffed to this man instead of Hans Rumpelmeyer?”
“I don’t know,” Marlene answered. “I just came in here with the other girls, and the next thing I know, I tried to raise my arm and found myself handcuffed.”
Carter shifted his gaze to the guard. “And you,” he said dangerously. “Why is it that two people attached to you have disappeared, only to be replaced without your knowledge?”
“I don’t know, Colonel,” the guard replied.
“You don’t know?” screamed Carter. “A traitor to the Fatherland and the most dangerous man in the Underground escape under your nose, and you don’t know?”
“Colonel,” Major Dietz started.
Carter whirled around. “Silence!” he screamed. “Major Dietz, I warned you that Berlin considers this matter very important. They will not be very happy with you when I tell them what has happened.”
Major Dietz swallowed nervously and opened his mouth to speak.
Carter pointed his finger at the Major. “If the next words out of your mouth are that you are sorry and you don’t know how this could have happened, I promise you that you will be on a train heading east so fast that you will be eating borscht for breakfast!” he screamed.
Major Dietz closed his mouth and looked straight ahead.
Carter turned back to the sergeant. “Sergeant, do you plan to keep those girls as souvenirs?” he asked.
The sergeant shook his head. “No sir, I don’t,” he replied.
“Then why don’t you remove the handcuffs and let them leave,” Carter said calmly. “Before I rip your arms off and let the girls take them home!!”
Carter watched the guard fumble though his pocket to find the key and remove the handcuffs. He also noticed that Marlene was trying very hard to suppress a snicker. When the girls were free, he smiled at them. “Fräuleins, I am terribly sorry if this has inconvenienced you,” he said. “You are free to go.”
“But Colonel,” Major Dietz protested. “What if they know what happened to Hans Rumpelmeyer and Frau Baumgarten?”
Carter whirled again to face Major Dietz. “Major!” he shouted. “I do not take kindly to incompetent fools trying to pass off blame to innocent young girls for their own mistakes!”
Major Dietz shrank back away from Carter. “Yes, Colonel Carterhof,” he said meekly.
“Now I suggest that you telephone your colonel and tell him what has happened,” Carter said.
“But he is asleep, Colonel,” Dietz protested. “He does not like to be awakened.”
“I don’t care if he’s sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles!” Carter screamed. “Ring him now and tell him to expect to lose a Major if the two escaped prisoners are not found!”
Major Dietz fumbled with the telephone receiver before he managed to pick it up and raise it to his ear.
“And you, Sergeant,” he said, turning to face the shaking guard. “I suggest that you round up every man in this building and go look for the prisoners.”
“Every man, sir?” the sergeant asked.
“I said every man!” Carter shouted.
The sergeant flew out of the room like a shot, and Carter turned in time to see Major Dietz put down the telephone receiver.
“Major, I would suggest that you find these prisoners before I get back to Berlin and make my report,” Carter said. “Otherwise, you might be taking their place in front of the firing squad.” He turned and strode out of the office.
When he reached the street, he saw the group of girls waiting outside. He tipped his hat to them and said, “Thank you for your help, fräuleins.” He looked for Marlene and didn’t see her in the group. “Where is Marlene?” he asked.
One of the girls pointed down the street, and Carter saw her standing alongside his car waiting. He tipped his hat again at the girls and walked towards Marlene.
“We did it,” she said with large smile on her face.
Carter smiled back. “Yes, that we did,” he said. “You were great.” He paused for a second and then quickly added, “All of you girls were great. You performed an excellent service to your country tonight.”
Marlene giggled. “I realize that,” she said. “And I realize just exactly what kind of service, too.”
A small frown formed on Carter’s face. “I don’t think I understand,” he said cautiously.
She reached forward and grabbed Carter’s hands. “Colonel, if you really are a colonel” she said. “I am not as naïve as I may appear to be.”
Carter’s frown deepened.
“If those people truly were Gestapo agents, you wouldn’t have had to go through all of that to get them released,” she said.
“But they were undercover,” Carter insisted.
“I’m sure they were,” Marlene countered. “And one of them is crouched in the back of your automobile waiting for you to get away before the Gestapo get wise to your trick.”
Carter’s eyes widened. He realized then that she knew he wasn’t really part of the Gestapo. “Marlene, you won’t …” he started.
She put a finger to his lips. “I won’t say anything,” she said. “Your secret is safe with me.”
Carter gazed into her eyes, looking for any hint that she might not be telling the truth. He smiled at her. “Thank you,” he said. “But as you said, I must be going before the Gestapo get wise to my trick.”
As Carter pulled his hands away, she quickly threw her arms around his neck and pulled him close for a long kiss. “I hope I’ll see you again,” she said breathlessly when their lips had parted.
Carter gave her one of his lopsided grins. “Boy, how can a guy say no after a goodbye like that!” he said.
Marlene pulled away and began to run down the street. Before she had gotten halfway to her friends, she stopped and turned around, blowing Carter a kiss and waving.
Carter was startled from his thoughts by Newkirk banging on the car window. Quickly Carter ran around and got into the car and drove away.
* * * * *
Newkirk crouched in the back seat of the car that they had brought from Stalag 13, waiting for Carter to leave Gestapo Headquarters. Every so often, he would raise his head to glance up the street towards the group of girls that had led him to freedom.
After a while, he was startled to see the girl that had taken his place next to the guard walking towards the car. She stopped alongside, and casually glanced into the back. Seeing Newkirk, she flashed a smile and gave him a quick wave before totally ignoring him.
Not long afterwards, he saw that Carter was outside talking to her. Blast it, Carter! Get in here and let’s go, he thought. We need to be back in camp before morning roll call!
Newkirk felt his jaw drop as he saw the girl throw her arms around Carter and plant a huge kiss on his lips before walking away. Blimey!
When Carter remained motionless after she left, Newkirk reached over and banged on the car glass, motioning for him to get in. He watched Carter run around the car and get into the driver seat. As the car zoomed along the deserted streets of Frankfurt, Newkirk climbed into the front.
“What are you doing?” Carter asked. “Get in the back. We might run into a checkpoint.”
“Checkpoint, hell!” Newkirk uttered. “What was all that back there?”
Carter was silent for a moment. “I’d prefer not to talk about it,” he said simply.
“What? You can’t be serious!” exclaimed Newkirk. “You come into Gestapo Headquarters with a troop of young ladies, and afterwards one gives you a tonsillectomy on the street - and you prefer not to talk about it?”
“That’s what I said,” Carter replied.
“Andrew, that’s cruel and inhuman punishment!” Newkirk cried.
“Newkirk,” Carter said calmly. “What goes on between a guy and his girl is nobody else’s business.”
“Girl?” Newkirk exclaimed. “I thought Mady was your girl. And before that, Mary Jane! What would Mady think if she knew about this?”
Newkirk noticed a small smile playing on Carter’s lips. “Newkirk,” Carter said. “You should know that when a guy is playing the field, he doesn’t tell the other girls.”
Newkirk began laughing. “You’re a pip, you know that Andrew?” he said.
Even though Carter didn’t look at Newkirk, the Englishman could tell that he had enjoyed the way things happened that night.
After riding for a while in silence, Newkirk cleared his throat. “Look, Andrew,” he said. “Thanks for getting me out of there.”
Carter was silent, staring straight ahead as he drove. Finally he said, “We had a mission to complete, and we did it. Now get in the back before we come to a checkpoint!”
Newkirk regarded his friend for a moment before scrambling into the back seat.
* * * * *
“What took you so long?” Hogan asked when he returned to the tunnel after roll call.
“Sorry, Colonel,” Newkirk replied. “It’s just that I …”
“The Gestapo was guarding her closer than we thought at first, Colonel,” Carter interrupted. “We had to be extra careful in order not to be caught ourselves. But everything went off without a hitch.”
Newkirk stared at Carter, speechless.
“Well, you did pull it off,” Hogan replied. “But it was close. Schultz was beside himself until you snuck out and got into line.”
“Sorry, Colonel,” Carter replied. “I guess we did cut it a little close.”
Hogan waved the apology away. “You two did a good job,” he commented. “Why don’t you go and get some sleep now. I’m sure you could use it.”
Newkirk and Carter headed towards the ladder up to the barracks.
“London sends their congratulations as well,” Kinch said from the radio set. “I also received a message from Otto in Frankfurt confirming that Greta is now safe and will be moved to London when the heat is off.”
“Great,” Hogan said happily. “Another mission in the books.”
“Otto added something else,” Kinch added. “But I don’t understand what it means.”
Carter was halfway up the ladder and stopped, causing Newkirk to bump into him.
“What’s the message, Kinch?” Hogan asked.
“It says, and I quote, tell Colonel Casanova that Marlene says to come back and visit sometime,” Kinch read. “And to bring his handcuffs.”
“Colonel Casanova?” Hogan asked.
Carter scampered the rest of the way up the ladder and was halfway to the barracks door when before he heard Colonel Hogan yell, “Carter!”
Chapter Eight – Newkirk and Carter: Friends
“And that’s what really happened on the Frankfurt mission last week, sir,” Newkirk said, his words echoing slightly on the tunnel walls. “I thought you should know the truth.”
Hogan regarded the Englishman for a moment. He was not very happy to hear that Newkirk almost blew the critical mission - but he could tell that Newkirk felt bad about it. He also knew that his men had a way of handling their own troubles without him having to get involved.
He spotted Carter coming down the ladder from the barracks above and knew just the thing to help the process along. “What you’re telling me is that everything that happened that night in Frankfurt was Carter’s doing?” he asked, making sure that Carter heard the question.
“Yes, sir,” Newkirk replied. “I had nothing to do with it.”
“Boy,” Carter exclaimed as he approached the two men. “Some friend you are, pinning it all on me!”
“Andrew, I didn’t hear you come down,” Newkirk said sheepishly.
“I can tell,” Carter replied angrily. “So you told the Colonel everything, huh?”
“Yes he did, Carter,” Hogan replied. “Everything – like how he bungled the original plan and got captured, and how you devised a plan of your own and was able to rescue both him and the girl.”
Carter’s face showed surprise. “He did? I thought he would try to tell you that it was all his idea,” he replied. “I guess I was wrong.”
“There’s only one part that he didn’t elaborate on,” Hogan said.
“What’s that, sir?” Carter replied.
“The girls,” Hogan said. “Were you really able to get a dozen young girls to help you out?”
“I’ve been trying to get him to talk about that all week,” Newkirk stated. “He just won’t talk. Maybe you can order him to tell us, Colonel.”
Carter opened his mouth to reply, but at that moment, Kinch yelled over from the radio set. “Colonel, an important message coming in for you.”
“Coming, Kinch,” Hogan replied and headed towards the radio.
After the Colonel left, Carter looked at his friend. “You really told him the truth?” he asked.
“I had to let him know what really went on,” Newkirk replied. “Especially after what we went through the day before we left. I was going to tell him the night we got back, but you interrupted and told him everything went as planned. Why, Andrew? You could have really rubbed it in – after all that talk I did about you messing things up all the time.”
Carter thought for a second before answering. “You’re right, I could have,” he replied. “But it didn’t matter what happened before, the mission was successful. It makes no difference to me who gets the credit, as long as everything works out.”
“Andrew, I am sorry about what I said before the mission,” Newkirk said. “And I owe you a lot for getting me out of the jam.”
“Aw, shucks,” said Carter. “That’s what friends are for.”
Newkirk smiled. Over Carter’s shoulder, he saw Hogan put down the radio headset, a small frown furrowing his forehead. “Something important, Colonel?” he asked, walking over to the radio set.
“Yeah,” Hogan replied. “The Underground needs another man to help out on an important mission.”
“You need a volunteer?” Newkirk asked.
“Well thanks, Newkirk!” Hogan replied.
“No, not me,” Newkirk replied. “I was thinking about Kinch. He hasn’t been out of camp in a while.”
“Thanks a lot, buddy,” Kinch replied. “You’re all heart.”
“Actually, they have requested a specific person,” Hogan replied.
“What?” Newkirk asked. “Who?”
“The message is from Otto in Frankfurt,” Hogan replied. He had been trying to hold back a smile but was failing fast. “Since they worked so well on the mission last week, he requests the aid of Colonel Casanova.” He looked at Carter and said, “Carter, you’re going to Frankfurt again!”
Carter’s eyes went wide. “Me?” he asked.
“Hey Carter,” Kinch said laughing. “Say hello to Marlene for us!”
Carter could feel his face redden as Newkirk slapped him on the back. “Right, and you remember what she said, don’t forget your handcuffs, mate!”
As mentioned before, this story was written in response to the Smartgroups’ Yankee Swap challenge. The original plot bunny for this story was:
“On a mission, Newkirk changes the Plan on the fly because he's convinced Carter will screw his part up - but when Carter does his part perfectly now Newkirk is in danger of messing everything up!”
I have taken a slightly different view of the bunny, and chose to focus on the results of Newkirk’s change of plans, and how Carter manages to bail him out. I also wanted to focus on the friendship between the two men, rather than just the “Laurel and Hardy” interplay that goes on. I hope the original submitter of the bunny approves of this story!
* * * * *
The scene where Newkirk and Greta escape was blatantly ripped off from the movie “The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz.” If you are not familiar with the movie, you are not alone … but I just had to use this scene to show how adept Newkirk is when it comes to picking pockets and locks. And also, it shows that Carter can really attract the girls when he needs to! Colonel Casanova indeed!!
* * * * *
The Underground agent Otto Baum is the same agent that appears in the episode “The Gestapo Takeover.” I have taken the liberty of placing him in the Frankfurt Underground helping Hogan’s men on this mission. As stated in the episode, Otto Baum is but one of his names, and it is the one he has chosen to use for this mission.
* * * * *
And just what is this mission in Frankfurt that calls Carter back? You’ll just have to use your imagination until that story is told.
Text and original characters copyright 2005 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.