A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack
~ CHAPTER TEN ~
Graff continued to worry and imagined every scenario that could possibly happen in Mittenwald.
He found a broadcast of a lively Polka band and increased the volume hoping to get his mind off what might happen. It didn’t help and he turned the radio off and tried to convince himself that all will work out well.
Upon entering the B18 Clancy immediately noticed the lane signs posting the legal minimum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph) on the left and 90 km/h (56 mph) on the center lane and 60 km/h (37 mph) in the right lane. This was all new to Clancy; added since he was last in Germany. He settled into the center lane and quickly brought the Porsche up to 90 mph; thoroughly enjoying the precision of the rented car. As he became more used to the auto, he ventured into the left lane and gradually pushed the engine to 122 mph and marveled at the ease of handling and engine smoothness of the relative small car.
The Austrian border crossings were not a problem – in and out of Austria in about forty minutes. The mountains, as he got closer to them, seemed to pop out of the morning haze. The sun appeared to accentuate their craggy structure, and caused the snow covered peaks to glisten.
A sign directed him off the Autobahn and forced him to slow when the
road narrowed, climbed and became winding as he got closer to the mountains.
He pulled into a turn-off and stopped; looked out over the land at the
deep valleys nestled between the high peaks with villages dotting the
road that ran through the valley. He made a promise of returning for a
vacation with Alma soon.
The road continued to wind, and at times steeply declined, as he neared Mittenwald. He came around a sharp turn and was greeted by a view of the valley that held the town of Mittenwald. Several miles on, a sign indicated the turn to Mittenwald center.
As he entered the town he passed the Town Hall resplendent with religious murals over its outer surface. He spotted the travel office and pulled into the closest parking spot; raised the top, locked the car and headed for the travel office. The town was pure Bavaria and looked like a picture out of Hansel and Gretel.
As he approached the travel office he looked around and wondered if it could be a holiday. The streets were crowded with people and the tourist season has passed. Skiing hasn’t really started yet except high in the mountains by the most expert skiers. Clancy stopped before entering the travel office, leaned against its wall and looked around to get the lay of the land in case he needed to move quickly around that area of the town; also taking note of any one else just hanging around.
A cow bell rang twice as he opened the door and entered the travel office. The office was empty save for a family of four with the mother attempting to keep two young boys in tow. They took no notice of Clancy who approached the opposite end of the counter just as a young man appeared through a sliding door carrying an arm full of travel folders.
The man approached the family, said a few words and disappeared into another room. Shortly an older man appeared and approached Clancy with his hand out and a salesman’s smile.
Clancy thought he detected an accent in the man’s otherwise perfect
German but decided he needed to hear more before he was sure. He followed
the man and noted his steady stride and upright bearing.
The man behind the desk seemed to straighten in his chair a bit upon hearing of Clancy’s toe. He got up, walked to a small safe and removed a small picture; returned and held the picture in front of him for several seconds thinking, “This could be Clancy”.
Clancy stood and reached across the desk and shook the man’s hand saying in English,
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2016
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