A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack
~ CHAPTER TWELVE ~
“I have also found out, through an investigation I launched, and the help of the West German government, that your tobacconist friend Zimmerman did indeed come here after working in Washington and in London. However he was one of those who answered Hitler’s call for all Arians. The American Nazis gave him a short indoctrination; he pledged his life to Hitler and worked his way into the translation job in Washington. The rest of his story is essentially true; A real cleaver guy, and very dangerous. I suspect he will be in custody before the day is over.”
“You have to be doubly cautious, Clancy. Keep in mind, two men will have your back at all times and men will stake out your hotel at night, so yell out if needed."
The situation lightened considerable, with everyone having a laugh, and all relaxed a bit.
Do you have a line on this guy Richard Stahlmann as yet? Clancy asked.
While Clancy sat in the dining room, with Otto hovering three tables away, he felt, for the first time since this started, that he had some control over things. His recent activation and promotion, for however long it will last, has given him more confidence, and the ability to give orders rather than accept whatever came his way.
Clancy relaxed in his room after a fine meal, filled his old meerschaum when, at promptly three o’clock Fox knocked on his door. He shook hands with Fox an ushered him to a chair.
Clancy walked over to a table to retrieve matches and was about to relight when he turned and asked Fox if he was still smoking the Lumberman he bought in Freiberg. With an affirmative answer, he tossed his L.L. Bean pouch to Fox and suggested he light up. Fox was impressed with the Sherlock’s Choice imitation and a short conversation regarding pipes and tobacco ensued. The two men discussed Clancy’s plans for the next few days and where the whole thing might lead, both militarily and politically before Fox, when he finished his pipe, asked to be excused.
Meantime, on the other side of town in a secret room in the lower level of a Weinkeller, Richard Stahlmann was meeting with some group leaders of local Eastern agents.
The men glanced at each other waiting for someone to speak. After an uncomfortable silence one man stood, and cleared his throat.
The next morning, under the capable guidance of Hans, Clancy and Hans headed out on a sight-seeing tour. Soon Clancy spotted a green grocer and had Hans stop so he could buy some fruit. When he returned Hans handed Clancy an envelope telling him it was from Heir Eulund and asked him where he would like to go now. Before answering him, Clancy opened the envelope and removed a picture and note. The note told Clancy the picture, a fine studio portrait, is of Richard Stahlmann and to please keep his eyes open for him. He placed the picture and note in an inside pocket.
I would like to see the down-town area and perhaps walk around a bit, then have a look at every hotel whether it is just a guest house or a fine resort hotel. You can manage that, Hans?”
Naturally sir, I know them all. We will start in town and then go to the resort area. Please let me know if you want to stop anywhere”
They covered the town and Clancy marveled at the quaint architecture, so different from that of the cities and even rural farming sections. The painted facades of the buildings, almost all religious paintings, fascinated him and he wondered if the faith of the people was represented in the paintings or was it just a tourist attraction. As they went slowly from street to street Clancy looked for Stahlmann while thinking of Alma and how she would love this place. He must purchase something for her.
Hans stopped in front of the shop and Clancy got out, paused to look in the windows. All the while as he walked from window to window of the shop, he was trying to spot one of his backups. He wanted them closer in case, by sheer luck, he spotted Stahlmann. Otto watched him and decided there was something Clancy wanted and moved into view. When Clancy saw Otto, Clancy removed his hat and quickly waved it in front of his face as if shooing a fly away; a Platoon signal to follow him.
Clancy looked back to the taxi and noted that Hans had his nose in a book and passed the “come now” signal to Otto.
Otto entered the store shortly after Clancy and strolled around looking at the art in silver. He approached Clancy and asked,
Gotlieb smiled broadly at both men, clasped his hands behind him and bowed to both before going to the back room.
Quickly Clancy told Otto about the photo of Stahlmann and that he was looking for him.
Heir Gotlieb returned carrying a delicately carved Nordic Cross in shining Silver and a duplicate carved in Boxwood. Otto told Gotlieb he would return another time and left. Clancy told him he would take the wood cross.
Gotlieb went through the bow routine again just as Clancy turned and left the shop. Hans was still into his book when Clancy let himself into the back seat of the taxi.
Hans made a methodical tour of the hotels in central Mittenwald, stopping
at each and describing its merits in turn. They branched out from the
center and repeated the routine at a myriad of lesser hotels and a few
The shop was decorated finely with sections of huge wine casks housing hundreds of wine bottles. Several small carved tables with like chairs were strategically scattered around the room. A couple tables were occupied and several wine bottles and a green-aproned salesman were in attendance.
Clancy turned from the counter and made a big show of tasting the wine, all the while observing people coming and going from the shop. He played it out as long as he could and turned back.
Clancy paid him, folded the receipt, turned to leave and bumped a man, almost knocking him down. As he steadied the man he realized he was looking at Richard Stahlmann who had just come from the secret lower room. Clancy pardoned himself, lowered his head in a bow and left hoping Stahlmann didn’t recognize him.
Outside, Otto and Fox were slowly and cautiously nearing the Weinkeller on foot, wondering what Clancy was up to in there, when Stahlmann came through the door followed shortly by Clancy. Stahlmann turned right as a limousine pulled to the curb to pick him up. Otto and Fox moved in from their respective positions to capture Stahlmann when Clancy spotted his protectors and signaled them to stop and follow. The three converged on Hans’s taxi, it being closer than either of their own cars. Clancy instructed Hans to follow the limo as Otto was on his radio to the MPs.
Some miles away Stallman’s limo pulled into the drive of the Alpenhof, one of the luxury hotels Clancy had previously looked over. Two men emerged and surveyed the area before opening the limo door for Stahlmann. All three entered the hotel.
In the taxi, Clancy quickly told Fox to follow and see what room or suit Stahlmann occupies.
He turned to Otto, “Get on your radio and keep the MPs back until we find out where Stahlmann is. Tell them I will want two men guarding every door of the hotel and in the lobby. All others are to be with us when we go in the building. They are to wait for your next transmission and move in quickly. Emphasize; no helmets, armbands or Sam Browne belts. Hand guns only and concealed until needed.”
At this point Hans was completely bewildered and wondering what he had gotten into. Clancy looked at Hans and remembered he wasn’t one of them; having so much on his mined, he had simply ignored him for the last several minutes. He assured him all was OK and he was safe; that he would receive extra pay for today. All Hans could do was nod his head, pick up his book and slump as far into his seat as he could.
Otto followed the order and they waited, somewhat impatiently for Fox’s return, both men checking their weapons. Fox emerged from the hotel, stopped and lit his pipe, looked around and casually sauntered back to the taxi.
Clancy repeated the plan for Fox, and then told Otto to give the MPs the go ahead. Soon eight MPs were approaching the front of the hotel. Two went inside while the others bunched up on the walkway talking and laughing. Clancy went over to the group and asked for a light from a sergeant, smiled and laughed.
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