A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack
At the university office of Von Schmidt, Clancy and Fox were met with
volumes of gray-blue smoke and the strong odor of vanilla -- entering
just as Von Schmidt blew out a match.
“Now gentlemen, just what the hell is this all about?”
Von Schmidt asked as he lowered himself into his luxurious leather office
The two men stood waiting for an invitation to sit -- which didn’t
“Well?” Von Schmidt bellowed and followed up with, “Out
with it Mr. Frank, using Clancy’s alias, what is your problem
and who is this young man, a student?”
Clancy felt anger rising again at Von Schmidt’s abruptness and
wondered why in hell he was standing here being yelled at. He didn’t
ask to be here. He took his time and sat in one of the two chairs facing
the desk and replied as calmly as he could.
No, this man is not a student. He’s Second Lieutenant Samuel
Fox, CIC. He is an inexperienced agent assigned to protect my back while
I’m in this city. His attempt at following me was amateurish and
the silly hat he was wearing made him stand out among the people like
an eight foot giant. I would rather have no backup. I have taken care
of myself in highly dangerous situations, as you well know, and I doubt
if I need any help now; especially backup with doubtfully adequate training,
no experience and on his first assignment.”
Von Schmidt settled back in his chair and relit his pipe, all the while
glancing back and forth at the two men.
“Sit down, Lieutenant. Is what Mr. Frank, or should I say Mr.
Clancy says is fact?”
“Sir, I suppose it is seeing he completely out-maneuvered me
and I’m here. I’m sorry; I did the best I knew how. Apparently
I performed badly. I have no excuse, Sir”.
“What experience do you have in this type of surveillance, Lieutenant?”
“I have none Sir; just theory. This is my first assignment.”
“You never should have been assigned to this task, but you were
and we will try to make the best of it; how I’m not sure.”
Clancy came to his feet.
“Mr. President, I do not need a back-up while in Freiburg, and
perhaps never on this assignment. Can’t the lieutenant just be
sent back to his unit and let me get about my business? After all, we
are not at war.”
“That is impossible. Back-up is an integral part of the directive
from Washington and you do not have a choice. Lieutenant Fox, you will
continue with your daily observance of Mr. Clancy. Furthermore, you
will become a student here and attend all of his lectures. When needed,
Mr. Clancy will meet with you in the privacy of this office to correct
and direct you in the techniques of surveillance. You could not have
a better tutor.”
Clancy sat down and wished he had never made the trip from Harris Falls
“Von Schmidt continued, Lieutenant Fox is resident in your hotel,
Clancy, and you’ll have sufficient privacy there should you need
it; but be careful, there is no knowing who else might be registered
there. No, we are not at war, as you say, however it is the very thing
we are attempting to avoid. With the massive troops of the Eastern Block
vastly outnumbering allied forces and the communist’s desire to
convert all of Europe, NATO feels it wouldn’t take much for them
to start rolling west. Is this understood? And can we get about enjoying
“Understood, Clancy replied, come Lieutenant Fox.”
Meanwhile, a short distance outside Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, and
very close to the West German Border, Richard Stahlmann, co-founder of
the GDR secret service, gathered the heads of spy cells from across the
Standing behind a bare table in an equally small and stark room, Stahlmann
bellowed as his fist pounding made the small table quiver.
“We are very disappointed in the result obtained about troop
activities in your districts. It is imperative you impress on your people
the urgency of their duties and the absolute need for accurate and updated
information. Most importantly, Heir Graff is your district of Bavaria.
Your district is a holiday destination for a very large number of American
army personnel as well as air force and you have many effective female
agents working for you. What can be done to step up the acquisition
Erich Graff stood in front of his chair shifting his weight nervously
from one foot to the other; all the time wringing his hands behind his
back as the color drained from his face. He was afraid of his boss and
the ruthlessness of the GDR secret service. Once the war ended he thought
all those horrible SS and Gestapo people would be running for their lives
or already be dead, but it seems many of them simply changed their alliance.
Erich Graff fell into the GDR secret service by a stroke of bad luck
at the age of twenty four. He was a Sergeant in the Berlin police when
the Soviets entered Berlin and was captured, as were many police, and
taken into custody by the GBD.
As early as that, the Russians were planning the formation of a new police
force for East Germany along with a secret force to spy on citizens. Should
one refuse, they awaited either execution or imprisonment depending on
their former rank. Graff was conscripted into the secret force. Eventually,
he was ordered to “escape” to West Germany and take his parents.
There to be control for a group of agents in Bavaria. To Graff, this was
the best thing to happen to him since the war ended. Although he didn’t
like the work or those he worked for, He was in the west and living a
“We are all trying, Heir Stahlmann. The Americans are stepping
up lectures regarding too much drinking and caution when associating
with the locals, especially women. Information and Education classes
are held as well to inform troops of currant political positions, both
east and west, and of the dangers of breaking the peace. We are dealing
with a much more alert allied solder than in the past. Also, Military
Police have increased manpower and presence on the streets and in places
of entertainment. One no longer sees inebriated solders. They are carted
away quickly at the first signs of being drunk or drugged. Families
with whom military persons are friendly are being investigated to determine
if they are acceptable for fraternization. And, the Army CIC, by all
reports, is coordinating these activities.”
Graff paused and took a deep shuddering breath as he thought, “I
hope that satisfies the bastard.”
“Believe me, Heir Stahlmann, we are trying. One source has completely
dried up. Civilian workers on bases are being released in large number
and replaced by duty rosters of solders. And yet, sir, we still send
you information weekly. Increasing information is something we have
not been able to do recently and is doubtful we can soon, I’m
sorry to say.
Stahlmann, for a moment, was speechless wondering what happened to Graff.
Never before had Graff said a word other than in full agreement, and never
rebuked criticism. In the past Graff always took pleasure in bullying
the quiet man, but that might be over.
Stahlmann continued softly; “You and your people will have to
keep trying. Be innovative and come up with some new strategies. I understand
the problem. However, we have Moscow to satisfy. They also want to know
what is happening in Mittenwald. Agents have been aggressively and scientifically,
although covertly, searching for the treasure Heir Hitler supposedly
hid there. I have not received a report for several months. I want it
Back in Freiburg, Clancy, by now known around town as Mr. Frank, was
finishing his last scheduled lecture as forty or so students restlessly
waited to ask questions. Among them, Lieutenant Samuel Fox who dutifully
attended all lectures since he was ordered to become a student.
Fox became Clancy’s shadow and they would meet and talk often; sometimes
on the walk to the hotel, other times in Clancy’s room or at a dinner
table in various restaurants. On these occasions Clancy passively tutored
Fox in his surveillance techniques; being somewhat regretful he came down
so hard on him that first day. Fox was eager to learn and very grateful;
he even abandoned his favorite small cigars and took up the pipe he purchased
at the Freiburg Tobacconist along with an imported English blend.
Clancy, as ordered, reported to the College President’s office
at an appointed hour following his last lecture,.
“Fox will be joining us shortly and we will go over the rest
of your assignment”, Von Schmidt informed him.
Clancy immediately came back, “What has Fox to do with the rest
of my assignment, sir?”
“He is to go with you to Mittenwald and continue the education
you have afforded him along with functioning as your backup. His Commander
is pleased that you have taken him under your wing, so to speak. He
is about to become a First Lieutenant because of it. His commander informs
me that they consider what you have given him, and will continue to
give him, is as good as a couple of year’s experience. Fox is
a brilliant young man, they tell me, and the army is expecting great
things from him.”
“Well, that’s interesting“, Clancy came back and
was about to object but thought better of it. He hadn’t accomplished
anything voicing previous objections. “I’ll just go along
with it”, he thought to himself, “and let the kid learn
a few things on his own”.
The office door opened and the secretary ushered Fox in, a classy looking
sand blasted Lumberman protruding from the left corner of his mouth.
“You are to continue your assignment, Lieutenant, and will be
going to Mittenwald with Mr. Clancy, alias Gordon Frank. I’ll
make arrangements with your unit commander so don’t worry about
that. Just do as Clancy tells you and learn. You are expected to return
when this assignment ends as a better agent.”
Fox sprang from his chair exclaiming, “Great, I was hoping for
something like this, particularly with Mr. Clancy”.
At the outburst, Clancy slumped in his chair in surrender, locked his
fingers behind his neck and rolled his eyes to the ceiling.
Von Schmidt didn’t reply; only blew a couple of smoke rings that
quickly dissipated and floated upward.
“You have the weekend to organize and will leave separately
early Monday. You work out the details. Just two things; visit the Freiburg
Tobacconist tomorrow, planning to arrive there fifteen minutes apart.
Also, find separate hotels in Mittenwald. That’s it”, he
said matter-of-factly, “Keep in touch through channels you will
learn about in Mittenwald.”
The three men stood. Von Schmidt shook their hands vigorously and said,
“Be safe, gentlemen.”
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2016
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Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield,
Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean
War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is