Mobile Reconnaissance, Equine Deployment
2007 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
2007 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
2007 Papa Bear Awards - Second Place
Most Unique Story
When thinking about the Hogan’s Heroes universe and how it could possibly be crossed with other various universes, there may be several obvious choices that come to mind. This is not one of those. In fact, it is a pretty unlikely crossover, but I think it works … especially with Carter in the starring role.
The standard disclaimer applies – I make no claims to any non-original characters or situations that are used in this story. It is written purely for entertainment purposes.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Andrew Carter pushed his rake across the pile of gravel that Newkirk had
shoveled into the pothole in the road. He raked until the hole was completely
filled and then tamped the gravel down to tighten up the fill. He and Newkirk
were not the only prisoners working to make the road passing by Luft Stalag 13 a smoother and less bumpy ride. Colonel
Hogan always volunteered a work detail to maintain the road – though not because
he wanted to make things easier for the Germans who used the road. Colonel
Hogan always had other motives … one of which was heading towards them from the
direction of the town of
Carter looked up to see the produce cart heading towards them. “It’s about time,” he muttered to Newkirk.
Newkirk glanced in the direction Carter was indicating and saw the cart heading towards them. “Colonel, the produce cart is here,” he said loudly.
Hogan looked in the direction the Englishman was pointing. He clapped his hands together and began rounding his men up. “All right fellas,” he said. “It’s time for a short break.” The men stopped their work and gathered around their Colonel.
“Colonel Hogan!” Sergeant Schultz exclaimed as he pushed his way through the men to get to the American officer. “Kommandant Klink said there would be no more breaks on your details,” he said.
“Come on, Schultz,” Hogan said. “Five minutes won’t hurt anything.”
“No, no, no!” Schultz replied. “My orders are very clear. You are to work until the job is done.” The produce cart pulled to a stop in front of the men. “You are not …” Schultz spotted the cart filled with many types of seasonal fruits and vegetables. “supposed to …” He licked his lips hungrily. “I suppose five minutes wouldn’t hurt,” he said, reaching for a bright red apple.
“Please take!” the produce farmer said in his heavily accented broken English. “Many fruit. Many vegetable. First apples of year.” The farmer looked over at Hogan and nodded slightly when he said, “Cucumbers very nice.” He farmer tapped his finger on a large cucumber on top of the pile.
Hogan recognized the signal for him to take the vegetable. He quickly snatched it up before Schultz could grab it and add it to his ever growing pile of produce in his hands. He moved away from the noisy crowd around the cart and extracted the message from inside the vegetable.
Meet new contact tonight in my barn at midnight.
Hogan crumpled the message and put it in his pocket. He made eye contact with the farmer and nodded slightly to show that he understood the message.
* * * * *
Carter stepped up to the cart and grabbed three apples from the pile before the mob of prisoners surrounded the cart. He retreated to the front of the cart to eat his snack in peace. The cart was pulled by a beautiful gold palomino, which looked at Carter with large black eyes. Carter reached out and scratched the animal behind the ears. “Hi there, boy,” he said pleasantly. The horse raised his head and whinnied in response.
Carter leaned on his rake handle and munched his apples. After a moment, he heard a whisper.
“Pssst,” the voice said.
Carter looked around to see who was trying to get his attention. There was nobody close by and in fact, none of the other prisoners were even looking in his direction. He shrugged and continued eating his apple.
“Pssst,” the voice whispered again. “Are you going to eat that whole apple?”
Carter jumped and looked around. His fellow prisoners were scattered along the side of the road, but he again saw that none of them were near enough to be whispering to him. “Who said that?” he asked.
“I did,” the voice whispered back.
Carter jumped again. The voice seemed to be coming from the horse! He stared at the horse in amazement. “I think I’ve been out in the sun too long,” he muttered.
The horse’s upper lip began to move and the horse spoke again. “And I think you should be nice and give me one of your apples,” he said.
Carter felt his jaw drop. “I must be crazy,” he said. “Horses can’t talk.”
The horse snorted. “Well this one can,” he said. “Now can I have one of those apples or are you going to be selfish?”
Carter held out his hand containing the half eaten apple. The horse gingerly took it from his palm and began crunching it.
“Can you really talk?” Carter asked, leaning forward to get a closer look at the horse.
“That’s a pretty dumb question to ask,” the horse replied after swallowing the mouthful of apple. “Of course I can talk. Can’t you?”
“I’m a human being. We’re supposed to talk,” Carter said. “Whoever heard of a talking horse?”
“Probably the same person who feels the need to ask that question of a horse,” the horse countered. “What’s your name, Sergeant?”
“Carter,” Carter replied. “Andrew Carter. How did you know I was a Sergeant?”
The horse whinnied and nuzzled the stripes on Carter’s uniform. “I can see as well as talk,” the horse replied.
Carter couldn’t be sure, but he thought he could detect a mocking tone in the response. Before Carter could reply, Newkirk walked by and slapped him on the back. “Come on, Carter,” he said. “Let’s get back to work.”
Carter reached out and grabbed Newkirk’s arm. “Hey Newkirk,” he said. “You have to see this. This horse can talk!”
Newkirk stopped and stared at his friend. “Are you balmy, Carter?” he asked. “Horses can’t talk!”
“This one can,” Carter replied. “Watch this.” He held out another apple for the horse. “Do you want another apple?” Carter asked. The horse snorted and bobbed his head up and down before reaching out and snatching the apple from Carter’s palm.
Newkirk started laughing. “I guess you’re right,” he replied. “He did nod his head before eating the apple!”
“I tell you he spoke to me,” Carter insisted. “Aren’t you going to say anything horse?” he asked pleadingly.
The horse pricked his ears and shook his head, causing Newkirk to laugh harder. “You’re a regular Doctor bloody Doolittle, you are,” he replied. “What’s next? Are you going to have him do arithmetic? Hey horse, what’s two plus two?” Newkirk continued laughing as he stomped a foot on the ground four times.
“Four!” the horse replied.
Newkirk stopped laughing. He had heard the response, but hadn’t seen Carter’s lips move. The Englishman quickly looked around to see if anyone was trying to play a trick on him. Seeing nobody, he began laughing again. “I get it now,” he said. “You’re learning to be a ventriloquist and want to try it out on me.”
“No,” Carter insisted. “I didn’t say that … the horse did!”
Newkirk continued to laugh. “Hey everybody,” he shouted. “Carter here says this horse can talk! Come and ‘ave a listen.”
The men began laughing and teasing Carter. He heard many types of mocking animal sounds coming from his fellow prisoners. And among the oinks and whinnies and quacks, he thought he heard the horse quietly laughing at him.
“All right, break it up!” Hogan ordered, causing the men to scatter. “Break’s over – let’s get back to work!”
Carter went back to raking the gravel that Newkirk shoveled into the potholes. The Englishman teased him all afternoon, but Carter didn’t pay attention. He kept thinking about the horse … a talking horse!
“Hurry up, Carter,” Hogan prodded. “You’re going to be late.”
Carter pulled the black shirt over his head. “I don’t see why I have to go,” he complained.
“It’s your turn, mate,” Newkirk replied, dabbing some black camouflage face paint on his friend. “Besides, it should be easy.”
“Should be?” Carter replied.
“Quit complaining,” Hogan ordered. “All you have to do is to go to the barn, meet the contact, exchange code phrases and bring him back here.”
“And not get caught,” Newkirk added.
“You would have to add that one, pal,” Carter retorted.
When Carter was ready, Hogan patted him on the back and gave him a push towards the ladder. “Get going,” he said.
* * * * *
Carter opened the barn door and hurried inside. He looked around, expecting to see someone waiting for him. Instead he found darkness. “Hello?” he asked tentatively. “Is anyone in here?”
“You are,” a voice replied.
Carter recognized the voice immediately. “It’s the horse again,” he muttered. “Either that or I am really going crazy.” Carter heard a snort and footsteps coming towards him.
“I vote for the horse,” the voice said. “Hello, Andrew.”
Carter finally saw the horse as it walked up to him and nuzzled his hands. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Did you bring any apples?” the horse asked.
“No, I didn’t bring any apples,” Carter replied. “I didn’t come here to see you.”
“You didn’t?” the horse asked.
“No,” Carter replied. “I came here to meet a new Underground contact.”
whinnied playfully. “Then you did come to see me,” he said. “The wine in
“What?” carter exclaimed. He recognized the first part of the code phrase he was supposed to use to identify the new contact.
the wine in
“I heard what you said,” Carter replied. “I just can’t believe you said it.”
The horse snorted impatiently. “Don’t you have something to say to me?” he asked.
Carter said, suddenly realizing that he had not used the return phrase. “But
the beer is better in
The horse whinnied. “That’s right,” he replied. “Call me Ed.”
“Colonel Hogan is not going to believe this!” Carter muttered. “Our contact is a horse!”
“Well what did you expect, a chicken?” Ed replied.
”No, I expected a human being,” Carter said.
“So do the Germans,” Ed pointed out. “They won’t expect me, so I can gather the information much easier.”
“How can you gather information?” Carter asked.
“I pull the farmer’s cart as he sells his produce to the different installations in the area,” Ed explained. “I can learn a lot from those visits.”
you radio that information back to
“Andrew, do I look like I can operate a radio?” Ed replied.
Carter shook his head. “How come you didn’t say anything today when I told Newkirk you could talk?” he asked.
Ed snorted. “You don’t expect me to talk to just anybody, do you?” he replied.
Carter shook his head in disbelief. “Come on, let’s go. Colonel Hogan wanted me to bring you back to camp,” he said.
Ed snorted again and shook his head. “You know you can’t sneak me into your camp,” he said.
Carter stared at the horse for a second. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. You’d never fit into the tunnel,” he said.
you the information and you can take it back to your Colonel Hogan,” Ed
Carter nodded and Ed began reciting the intelligence information to the stunned American. When he had completed, he whinnied and asked “Do you think you can remember all that?”
Carter nodded. “I can remember it,” he replied. “But Colonel Hogan is not going to believe it.”
“Why not?” Ed asked.
“Because when I tell him that I got it from a horse, he’s going to think I am nuts!” Carter replied.
“I’ll be sure to tell him that,” Carter replied.
“One more thing,” Ed said. “The next time you come, can you bring me an apple or two?”
* * * * *
Colonel Hogan and the rest of the men were still in the tunnel when Carter returned to camp. Hogan frowned when he saw that his Sergeant was alone. “What happened?” he asked. “Didn’t you meet the contact?”
“Yes, I met the contact,” Carter said.
“Where is he?” Hogan asked.
“He couldn’t come,” Carter said. “He would have a hard time getting into camp unnoticed.”
“Come on, Carter,” Newkirk said. “Can’t you do anything right?”
“I can’t help it,” Carter complained. “He’s too big to fit into the tunnel.”
“Too big?” Newkirk sputtered. “How tall can he be?”
“Oh, he’s not that tall,” Carter replied. “He’s about as tall as I am. ”
“So he’s a short, fat, dumpy contact?” Hogan asked. “What’s the problem?”
Carter shook his head. “No, I don’t think he’s fat,” Carter said. “But I do think he would have trouble climbing down the stairs on four legs.”
“Four legs?” Hogan asked in astonishment.
“Colonel, our new contact is the produce man’s horse!” Carter exclaimed.
The men in the tunnel began laughing at Carter. “You and that horse,” LeBeau said. “That’s a good one!”
“Carter, you have gone ‘round the bend!” Newkirk exclaimed. “How is a horse going to pass information to you?”
“I told you this afternoon, that horse can talk!” Carter insisted.
“All right, knock it off fellas!” Hogan ordered. “Carter, did you get information or not?”
I got the information,” Carter said. “And Ed mentioned that
“Ed?” Hogan asked.
“That’s the horse’s name,” Carter replied.
Newkirk gave LeBeau a nudge. “I know what’s going on,” he said. “Carter’s pulling the same trick you did. His contact is a beautiful bird and he’s telling us it’s a horse so we won’t want to go out next time.”
“I never said Wilhelmina was a horse!” LeBeau exclaimed defensively. “I only said she was an old lady.”
“But Ed is really a horse!” Carter insisted.
“Quiet down!” Hogan ordered. “What’s the information that you were given, Carter?”
began reciting the information that Ed had relayed to him in the barn. When he
finished, he repeated, “And Ed said we should pass it off to
said all that,” Hogan said skeptically. When Carter nodded, Hogan let out a
sigh. “You’re not making this easy for me to believe.” He looked over at Kinch.
“Get in touch with
* * * * *
The men at
the table looked over at the bunk when they heard the rattle. Kinch bounded up
the ladder with a piece of paper in his hands. “Carter was right, Colonel,” he
“What did they say about the new contact?” Hogan asked.
Kinch smiled and looked at the men. “They said that when we get information from Ed, we should believe it,” he replied. “Apparently he’s got a foolproof cover story and can get information without the Germans knowing it.”
“Yeah, the bloke’s dressed up like a horse, according to Carter!” Newkirk exclaimed.
“I tell you he really is a horse!” Carter replied.
been reading the paper Kinch had handed him. He held up his hands and said, “Hold
it down!” He waited while the men grew quiet. “It seems as if we will be
working closely with this contact.
“I’ll go back out to meet him,” Carter offered.
Hogan shook his head. “No, I think I’d rather have Newkirk go,” Hogan replied.
“But sir, Ed is very particular about who he talks to,” Carter said.
Newkirk chortled. “You just don’t want us to discover that the new contact is a beautiful bird named Edwina,” he said, causing the rest of the men to laugh.
“That’s not it at all,” Carter huffed.
Hogan cleared his throat loudly. “I said Newkirk is going out tomorrow and that’s final,” he said. “And I don’t want to hear any more about a talking horse,” he said to Carter.
Newkirk hurried into the barn and shut the door behind him. He looked around, hoping to find the contact already waiting for him. Instead, he saw a dim outline of a horse standing in one of the stalls.
”I suppose you are Ed,” Newkirk said sarcastically. The horse snorted and bobbed his head. “I thought so … Carter and his fantasies. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the contact to arrive.”
Newkirk settled down on a small pile of hay and waited. He grew more and more impatient as the minutes ticked by and no one arrived at the barn. After an hour of waiting, he decided to give up and head back to camp.
* * * * *
“What do you mean nobody showed up?” Hogan asked.
“Just what I said,” Newkirk replied. “Nobody showed up at the barn when I was there. It was just me and the horse.”
“That was Ed!” Carter exclaimed.
“Carter, that was a horse,” Newkirk replied. “If he was the contact, he didn’t seem to want to tell me anything.”
“Of course not,” Carter replied. “He probably doesn’t feel you are worth the effort to talk to.”
Newkirk opened his mouth to reply but was silenced when Hogan held up his hand to stop him. “Enough about the horse!” he ordered.
“But Colonel, he’ll only talk to me,” Carter insisted.
sighed in frustration. “All right, fine!” he huffed. “You can go out tomorrow …
but I’m going with you. If this contact of yours won’t talk with me, I don’t
* * * * *
Carter followed Colonel Hogan into the barn and quietly shut the door behind them. The two men stood quietly, listening for signs of their contact. Carter heard Ed snort and stamp a hoof restlessly.
“That’s Ed,” Carter said.
“Wonderful,” Hogan replied sarcastically.
“Hi, Ed,” Carter said cheerfully. “Come on over here. I brought some carrots tonight.”
Ed snorted again and walked slowly to where the two Americans were standing. Carter held out a carrot and Ed gingerly took it into his mouth.
is our contact?” Hogan asked. “This is the agent that
Carter nodded. “I’m sure he’ll be helpful, Colonel,” Carter replied. “The Germans won’t suspect that he’s an Underground agent.”
“Carter, I don’t even suspect that he’s an Underground agent!” Hogan retorted.
“Ed, this is Colonel Hogan,” Carter prompted. “You can talk to him. He’s okay.”
Ed pricked his ears from side to side and continued chewing the crunchy carrot.
“I have to hand it to you, Carter,” Hogan said. “When you come up with a story, you really stick to it!”
“But I’m telling you the truth, Colonel,” Carter insisted. “This is Ed and he can talk!”
Hogan sighed in annoyance. “Look, you wait here,” he said. “I’m going to scout around the area and see if our real contact is somewhere close by.” Carter opened his mouth to say something, but Hogan pointed a finger at him. “And if you say that this horse is our contact, I’m going to turn you over to the Gestapo myself!”
Carter watched silently as Hogan left the barn.
“He’s not a very trusting person,” Ed said after the barn door had closed.
“Why should he be,” Carter complained. “He thinks I’m crazy for saying you can talk.”
“But I can talk,” Ed pointed out.
“Well then why didn’t you say anything when the Colonel was here?” Carter asked.
get into that again,” Ed replied. “If it’s true that
“Why?” Carter asked.
“Because the Germans are sending reinforcements for the guards,” Ed replied. “They are supposed to be here in a few days. I just heard that this morning.”
“Oh, we’d better tell the Colonel so he can come up with a plan,” Carter said, starting for the barn door.
“Get back here,” Ed said. “He’ll need more information before he makes a plan.”
“Like what?” Carter asked, returning to the horse’s side.
“Like the best place to attack is on the west side,” Ed explained. “The stockpile is kept on that side near the fence.”
“That makes the planning easy,” Carter said.
“It would, if it weren’t for the guard post on that side,” Ed went on. “Two men and a machine gun that have a complete line of sight on the whole side. And the brush is cut back far enough to make it impossible for you to approach unobserved.”
“That’s not good,” Carter observed.
The barn door opened and Colonel Hogan walked in looking around. “I heard you talking to someone,” he said to Carter. “Is our contact here?”
“There’s no one here but us,’ Carter replied, pointing at Ed.
“But I heard two voices,” Hogan said with a confused look.
Carter shrugged. “I told you …”
Hogan held up a finger to stop Carter. “Just stay in here and keep quiet,” Hogan warned. “I’m going back out and look for our contact again.”
After Hogan left, Ed snorted. “The best bet is to try to get the guards out of the way on the west side of the facility,” Ed continued explaining. “Then you’ll be able to throw some explosives into the stockpile.”
“You just said that you can’t reach the guards unobserved,” Carter said.
“I’ll take care of that,” Ed replied. “Just tell your Colonel that after I take care of the guards, he will have to take care of the stockpile quickly before reinforcements arrive.”
“How are you going to take care of the guards?” Carter asked.
“You leave that to me,” Ed said. “There’s just one more thing …” He pricked his ears from side to side as if hearing some undetectable sound. “You’ll need some Mk II hand grenades. Are you familiar with them?”
Carter perked up instantly. “Oh boy, am I!” he exclaimed. “Those are great. They are small and unlike the German hand grenades, very easy to arm. Just push the handle in, remove the pin and throw. When you let out the handle, it starts the fuse - five seconds later and kapow!” He began making explosive noises and waving his hands excitedly. He had been so focused on his explanation that he did not see Hogan walk into the barn and stare as he saw his Sergeant explaining the finer points of American hand grenades to a horse.
“Um, Carter?” Hogan asked. “What are you doing?”
Carter froze with a guilty look on his face. “I was, um, just talking about hand grenades,” he said.
“And why were you talking to this horse about hand grenades?” Hogan asked.
“Because Ed says we’re going to need some,” Carter replied.
“Ed? You talked to our contact?” Hogan asked, looking around the barn. “Where is he?”
Carter looked at Ed, who snorted and shook his head. He opened his mouth to begin to tell his commander about the horse again, but seeing the look on Hogan’s face, thought better of it. “He, um, couldn’t stick around,” he said.
“Damn,” Hogan muttered. “We needed to talk about how to take care of that synthetic fuel research facility.”
Ed whinnied softly.
“He gave me some information to pass on to you,” Carter said.
“Oh? More information from this unseen contact?” Hogan said. “It’s as though we were working with The Shadow.”
Ed snorted and began bobbing his head. Carter could have sworn the horse was laughing.
“Uh, yes sir,” Carter replied. “Anyway, I got this straight from the horse’s mouth.” He faltered for a moment when he heard Hogan groan, but then continued the explanation. “Ed says that the best place to attack the facility is on the west side. They keep the stockpile by the fence there.”
“It’s that easy?” Hogan asked. “Just walk up and light a match.”
“No, sir,” Carter replied, shaking his head. “They have two guards along the fence with a machine gun. They can see the whole side of the facility and it’s hard to sneak up on them without being seen.”
Hogan began pacing, as he always did when trying to think of a plan. “That’s just great,” he muttered. “How are we going to take out those guards in order to get to the stockpile?”
“Um, sir?” Carter interrupted. “Ed said he would take care of the guards. And once he does, we can throw some grenades on the stockpile.”
“How is he going to take care of the guards?” Hogan asked. “You just said you can’t approach them unseen.”
“That’s why we were discussing grenades, Colonel,” Carter explained. “He says we need to have some Mk II hand grenades.”
grenades?” Hogan asked. “Where am I going to get American hand grenades
here in the middle of
Carter shrugged. “He didn’t say,” he replied.
Hogan continued pacing, clearly not comfortable with the entire situation. “So we’re working with this invisible agent named Ed to blow up this facility,” he said testily. “Did he say when?”
Carter didn’t know what to say – Ed hadn’t mentioned a night. In the silence, Carter heard Ed snort and then heard the sound of a hoof clawing the ground. After a second, he heard the sound again. Hoping that he had interpreted the signal correctly, Carter said, “In two nights.”
“What time?” Hogan asked. “And where will he meet us?”
Now Carter began to sweat. He knew that Hogan would not believe him if he started talking about the horse again, but he also knew that the Colonel expected an answer. He stared at Ed, almost willing the horse to speak. “I think he said we should meet in the woods on the west side of the synthetic fuel facility,” Carter said. Ed pricked his ears and whinnied, bobbing his head up and down. “And I believe he mentioned eleven …” Ed snorted and shook his head. “No, I think it was midnight,” Carter said, correcting himself. Ed whinnied again and nuzzled around Carter’s pockets.
* * * * *
Hogan had watched the interplay between his young American charge and the horse. For some reason, Carter had been insisting that this horse could talk – though everyone knew that was impossible. However, as Carter was reciting the information he had received from the contact, Hogan was observing the horse. It almost seemed to be prompting the Sergeant. No, that can’t be. How could a horse be telling one of my guys all this information? When Carter finished, Hogan saw the horse nuzzle his pockets.
Hogan walked up to the pair and looked at the horse. It stopped nuzzling and looked back at the Colonel. “So you are our new contact … Ed?” he asked. The horse snorted and bobbed his head. Hogan was stunned. Did he just answer me?
Shaking his head a little, Hogan asked another question. “All the information that Carter just told me – that came from you?” he asked. Ed bobbed his head again. “And he says that you can talk,” Hogan said. Ed whinnied and bobbed his head some more. “Will you talk to me?” he asked. Ed shook his head in a negative manner. This is crazy! Here you are having a conversation with a horse and actually believing that he is responding to your questions as if he understood them! Get a grip on yourself, Rob!
continued to stare at the horse for a moment before shaking his head slightly.
“Let’s go, Carter,” he said. “We’ll pass this information by
“Yes, sir,” Carter replied and started for the door. Ed whinnied loudly.
“Carter,” Hogan said, causing the Sergeant to stop in his tracks.
“Yes, sir?” Carter asked.
“Before you leave, give the horse the carrots you have in your pocket,” Hogan said with a sigh.
* * * * *
Hogan began to unfold the paper. “Let me guess, we’re on our own on this one,” he said.
“Nope,” Kinch said with a small smile. “It’s all in the reply,” he said, pointing at the paper. “I took down every word.”
“What does it say, mon Colonel?” LeBeau asked.
Hogan silently read the message and let out a snort. “You gotta be kidding?”
“I had them repeat it for me three times,” Kinch said.
Hogan began to read the message aloud. “Information received and acknowledged. Full cooperation with Ed is a must. Whatever help Ed requests will be provided. Pineapple drop tonight - usual time and place,” he read.
“So this Ed requests American hand grenades and he gets them?” Kinch asked.
“Apparently so,” Hogan replied.
“Maybe he should request a few dancing girls for our morale!” Newkirk exclaimed with a laugh.
“I don’t think he would appreciate girls,” Carter shot back.
Before the argument could get started, Hogan stepped in. “All right, hold it down!” he said. “Carter, you and Newkirk will go out and pick up the grenades tonight.” He folded the message up and put it in his pocket. “And tomorrow night, we get to finally meet this mysterious contact.”
Carter crouched in the underbrush along with the rest of the group. They were at the edge of the clearing on the west side of the synthetic fuel plant, and Hogan was getting annoyed that their contact had not yet arrived.
“Where is that guy?” Hogan muttered. “It’s past midnight already.”
Carter wanted to blurt out that Ed was a horse and didn’t have a watch, but he thought better of it and kept his mouth shut. He patted the bag he was carrying over his shoulder to make sure that the grenades they had brought were still there. He felt a small tickling on the back of his neck. It went away for a second when he shrugged, but it came back and caused him to squirm. “Newkirk, cut it out!” he whispered loudly, slapping himself on the neck.
“Cut what out?” Newkirk asked from a dozen feet away, unseen in the darkness.
“What are you doing over there?” Carter asked. “I thought you were behind me.”
“Quiet!” ordered Hogan, trying to restore order. “We don’t have time for this.”
Both men muttered, “Yes, sir,” and grew quiet while they waited. Carter again felt the tickling on his neck. This time he quickly turned around to find himself staring into the long face of Ed. “Oh, it’s you,” he whispered.
“Yes, did you get the grenades?” Ed asked.
Carter patted the bag again. “Yes, right here,” he replied. “Let me tell the Colonel you are here.”
“No time for that,” Ed replied. “Here’s what we’re going to do.”
“I really think the Colonel should hear this,” Carter insisted.
Colonel can hear this, Carter,” Hogan whispered from his hiding place in the
darkness. “And so can this whole area of
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Ed repeated. “I will go take care of the sentries over there. When I do, you men should move as quickly as possible to the fence and throw the remaining grenades into the stockpile.”
“How are you going to take care of the guards?” Carter asked.
“Give me one of the grenades,” Ed replied.
“What? How can you throw one of those things?” Carter asked. “You can’t even pull the pin.”
“Quiet down and listen,” Ed ordered. When Carter grew quiet, the horse continued, “Put it in my mouth so that I am pushing the handle with my teeth and then pull the pin,” he instructed. “I’ll be able to walk up to the sentry post and drop it in their lap. When it blows up, you men need to move. Fast. Got it?”
“Yeah, I got it,” Carter said. “But Colonel Hogan isn’t going to like this.”
“Yes he will,” Ed assured his human friend. “Just be sure to tell him to move fast once the explosion occurs. The reinforcements will be on their way rather quickly. Now give me one of those grenades.”
Carter reached into the bag and removed one of the small grenades. He gently placed it into Ed’s open mouth with the handle facing up. He waited until Ed bit down on the grenade, depressing the handle and then quickly pulled the pin. Ed snorted and walked quietly into the darkness.
“Good luck,” Carter whispered loudly.
“Carter, would you keep it down!” Hogan ordered.
Carter inched forward until he was crouched beside his commander. “Sorry, sir,” he said. “I was just wishing Ed luck. He’s on his way to take out the sentries.”
“What? Our contact was here and is already on the move?” Hogan gasped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“You wouldn’t have believed me,” Carter replied, nodding towards the clearing around the facility.
Hogan looked in that direction and almost gasped aloud in shock. He could see the shadow of a horse seeming to graze on the grass growing along the fence. The shadow was inching closer to the guard post. “That’s a …” he started.
“That’s Ed,” Carter said. He became aware of rustling as the rest of the group huddled around. “And he said that when the explosion takes out the sentries, we need to move quickly.”
“Explosion?” Hogan asked. “What explosion?”
“I gave him one of the grenades,” Carter explained. “He’s going to drop it in the guard post.”
“You did what?” Hogan asked. “You gave a horse a live grenade?”
“Andrew, if we make it back to camp, remind me to let you ‘ave it,” Newkirk muttered.
“Look, you all can yell at me later,” Carter said insistently, reaching into his bag. “But right now we have to get ready. Now everyone take a grenade and get ready!”
Hogan was shocked. He couldn’t believe that Carter could have given a horse a live grenade – or that the horse could even use a grenade. But there it was in the clearing, getting closer and closer to the guard post. He could see the sentries in the post pointing at the animal and making noises, trying to get the animal to come closer. “You know, he just might pull it off,” he commented. “Look.” He pointed at the scene in front of them.
“Look at that, they are inviting it closer,” Kinch said.
“It’s a he, not an it,” Carter corrected.
“Shhhh!” Hogan said. “Everyone take a grenade and get ready.”
Carter quickly passed out the remaining grenades to the men. They crouched in the underbrush and waited. Ed was only a few feet away from the guard post when they saw his head bob up and down and then heard a squeal as he turned and bolted away from the fence.
“What was that?” they heard one of the guards say in German.
“I don’t know, but he dropped it in here,” the other guard replied.
Seconds later they saw the two guards flying limply through the air as the explosion shook the guard post. “Okay, now!” Hogan ordered as he broke out of the underbrush and sprinted towards the fence. One after another, the men tossed their grenades in the direction of the stockpile behind the fence. As they were running away, they heard the sound of shouts and confusion before they were drowned out by the sound of a large explosion. They stopped to admire the fireball rising in the night time sky.
“Well, I guess it worked,” Hogan commented. “Now let’s get back to camp.”
“But Colonel, shouldn’t we make sure Ed got away?” Carter asked worriedly.
“Carter, this whole section of woods is going to be crawling with Krauts in a few minutes,” Hogan said. “We don’t want to be here.”
“But Ed …” Carter said meekly.
“Carter, why are you worried about a horse?” Kinch asked with a smile. “Do you think the Germans will suspect him?”
“Yeah, are you afraid that he’ll talk if he’s picked up by the Gestapo?” Newkirk chided.
“Come on, let’s go before the Gestapo picks us up,” Hogan said.
* * * * *
removed the radio headset and set it on the desk. “
Hogan walked over to the desk and accepted the microphone Kinch offered. “Put it on speaker,” he said, waiving away the headset. He waited while Kinch plugged in the small speaker so the rest of the men could hear. “Mama Bear, this is Papa Bear,” he said.
“Papa Bear, a jolly good show on synthetic fuel facility,” the voice on the radio said.
“Thanks, Mama Bear,” Hogan replied. “We aim to please.”
“And we’re so glad you were able to work with
the new agent we sent,”
“Mama Bear, about this new agent …” Hogan said.
“Smashing idea, isn’t it?”
Hogan heard a collective gasp echo on the tunnel walls as his men reacted to what they had heard. “Excuse me, did you say horse?” Hogan asked.
“Right,” Hogan replied tentatively. He looked around at the shocked expressions on his men’s faces – all except for Carter, who was trying unsuccessfully to suppress a smile.
“So how did you manage?”
“Mister Ed?” Hogan asked. “You call him mister?”
“Well, it’s a play on words actually,”
“No, he managed to pick one of my men to talk to,” Hogan replied. “The rest of us thought he was a bit crazy.”
“Oh no, we don’t mind a bit,” Hogan said, making a wry face.
“Right then, carry on,”
Hogan put the microphone back on the table and looked at Carter, who was still trying unsuccessfully to suppress his smile. “It had to be you,” he said.
“What?” Carter asked.
“Um, Andrew,” Newkirk began. “I guess we owe you a bit of an apology. We didn’t believe you when you said you were talking to a horse.”
Carter let his smile come completely through now. “Oh, you believed that!” he exclaimed. “You just didn’t believe me when I said the horse was talking back!”
still don’t,” Lebeau replied. “But if
“It shouldn’t surprise any of you chaps,” Newkirk said. “After all, we British are mighty resourceful. If anyone could train a horse to talk, it would be us.”
“Just because your Prime Minister is named Winnie?” Kinch asked, bringing a round of laughter from the rest of the men.
Hogan laughed as he walked over to the beaming American Sergeant and slapped him on the back. “Well, Carter, I suppose if Newkirk could have his chimpanzee, then you can have your horse!” he said.
* * * * *
Carter smoothed another hill of gravel as he worked along with the rest of the prisoners in the noontime sun. While he waited for Newkirk to fill another pothole, he straightened up to wipe the sweat from his brow. Looking down the road, he saw a small cart pulled by a horse heading in their direction. “Lunch is coming, Colonel,” he said, drawing Hogan’s attention.
Hogan looked down the road and nodded. “All right men, time for a break,” he said.
As usual, Schultz put up the normal protest about the prisoners taking a break from work. And as usual, the protests stopped when Schultz caught sight of the cart piled high with edible treats.
Carter quickly grabbed an apple and a few carrots and walked to the head of the cart.
Ed,” he said, scratching the horse behind the ears. He held out a carrot to the
animal, who took it and crunched away happily. “
“You mean he can’t tell just by looking at me?” Ed replied with a whinny.
“I mean that he didn’t believe our contact was a horse that could talk,” Carter said, taking a bite from his apple.
walked up to the pair while they were eating. “
Ed snorted and bobbed his head up and down, causing Hogan to laugh. “I still can’t see how you got all that information from him, Carter. All he ever does is bob his head for yes and shake it for no.”
“He can do more than that, Colonel,” Carter replied.
“What would he say if I told him that I still have a hard time believing he can actually talk like a human?” Hogan wondered out loud. He held out the core of his apple and Ed gingerly snatched it up.
Carter was about to reply when Ed lifted his tail – and the two men heard several soft plops on the roadbed in response to the question. Carter tried but could not hold back his laughter.
Even Hogan found the reaction amusing. “I guess he told me,” he said with a smile. He shook his head in amazement and turned to get back to work.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The genesis for this story sprang from the 2006 Boston
Gathering. Early on Friday, I was having a conversation with Patti and Marg about crossovers and some of the more unlikely and
non-believable. Since I had already written a couple of them that could be
called “stretches” – namely the crossovers with Harry Potter and The Beverly
Hillbillies – the mention of Mr. Ed really caused a round of laughter. Later on
in the weekend, with both Kathy M. and Kathy F. joining in on the discussion,
the subject came up again. I suppose it was because we had just seen the movie The Ant Bully at the infamous
When you think about it, a horse is a horse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a horse, of course. That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed. I actually believed that a story could be created that would tend to fit the framework of both shows, which were really based on impossible premises in the first place. I knew that for it to fit with Hogan’s Heroes, it just had to be Carter who would talk to the horse, and on the other side, Ed would have to refuse to talk in front of anyone else. Aside from these ground rules, I felt that the characters could simply “be themselves” and the story would write itself!
With regards to the scene at the facility where Ed tosses the grenade into the guard post, let me assure you that no fictitious horse bits were harmed in the writing of this scene. In fact, a lot of care went into selecting the proper hand grenade for Ed to use. When researching the different types that were available at the time, the standard American Mk II, commonly called a pineapple, was the only one that I felt could possibly be handled safely by a horse. (Since I am not about to experiment with real grenades and real horses, you’ll have to take my word for this!) The German “potato masher” grenades at the time were more cumbersome to arm and activate. The description of the process just screamed out “opposable thumb” to me. However, the pineapple had a simple handle which, when depressed and the pin pulled, would be armed. When the handle was released, the fuse was triggered, giving approximately five seconds before the grenade exploded.
You might have noticed the very obvious “open ending” to this story, and may be wondering if there will be any more stories featuring Mr. Ed. All I will say is that the ending was left open just in case an idea happens to come to mind. After all, can you imagine Hochstetter being outsmarted by a horse?
Text and original characters copyright 2006 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.