Invisible Enemy

A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack


The cedar lined room was cool and slightly humid and contained many boxes of cigars along with large covered white buckets. Zimmerman sat one of the buckets on a small table and removed the cover.
“How about this one?” Zimmerman asked, as he pushed the bucket toward Clancy.

Clancy bent forward and smelled the contents and looked up at Zimmerman and smiled. Reaching in, he pulled out a handful and examined the tobacco.
“Is this Sherlock’s Choice? It certainly looks and smells like it.”

“Not from Tinder Box”, it’s my own creation of it and my private stock. It took me two years to perfect it and I think I hit it dead on. Fill up and give it a try.”

Clancy lit up and took a couple of long, slow deep puffs, releasing the smoke slowly.
“I would say it’s perfect. I sure can’t tell the difference. Can you spare a pound or two?”

After breakfast Clancy drove to the car rental office and turned in the white BMW for a yellow Porsche 356 C convertible and headed back to the hotel to pack.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Samuel Fox, having important news for him forwarded from Munich with Fox’s orders, walked around in the area of the hotel hoping to catch Clancy when he came in,. He saw the yellow Porsche pull into the parking area and was surprised to see Clancy at the wheel. Fox stepped into a shadowed doorway until Clancy entered the hotel. After waiting a reasonable time, Fox climbed the stairs and discretely knocked on the door to room 15.

Clancy was trying to figure out just how to pack the two one pound tins of Zimmerman’s private blend when he heard the knocking at his door. He hurriedly stuffed them into opposite corners of his bag, stepped to the door and opened it.

“Lieutenant Fox! Have you come to say goodbye. Or, is there another reason you are here?

“Both”, Fox replied. ”May I come in?

Clancy waved him into the room and motioned that he should sit.

“There is fairly fresh coffee in the pot over there if you would like some, Lieutenant.”

“Perhaps later”, Fox replied. “But first I have important information for you from headquarters.”
“Along with my orders that arrived yesterday was a note asking me to inform you about Erich Graff. Graff is the Bavaria supervisor of all GDR secret service agents in that state and reports to Richard Stahlmann, co-founder of the service, who in turn reports to Moscow.
Graff was a police sergeant in the Berlin Police when the war ended and was recruited for the East German police force after a short internment. Several years later, he was badgered into the GDR Secret Service, Stasi, with the promise of serving in West Germany and being allowed to take his family with him. Reports have it that Richard Stahlmann is very unsatisfied with the recent lack of reports from Graff’s agents including what is going on in Mittenwald concerning the treasure supposedly hidden there; seems there are several of Graff’s people there trying to find it.

Clancy interrupted with, “How does all this affect my efforts in Mittenwald?”

“To continue, you are to avoid him if at all possible. A picture of Graff will be waiting when you arrive. It will be with your contact at the travel office. Other than that, play it by ear should avoiding him be impossible.”

“Well, that doesn’t help much; but then that is par for undefined circumstances” Clancy replied. “Thanks for telling me, at least I’ll
know him should I encounter him.”

“There’s more. Sources indicate that Graff is a bit fed up with Richard Stahlmann; his constant bullying and near impossible demands. In a meeting of agent supervisors recently, Stahlmann strongly ridiculed Graff who, by the way, is very happy living in Munich and would not relish being recalled to the east.”

Fox poured himself some coffee and sat in the straight chair by the vanity and watched Clancy as he packed.
Soon Clancy stopped to relight his pipe. Slowly and thoughtfully blew out a large cloud of smoke and asked.

“Did your people mention the possibility of Graff defecting?”

“No, they wouldn’t do such a thing unless it is positively going to happen.”

With that, Fox returned the empty coffee cup to the coffee tray and extended his hand to Clancy.

“I want to thank you for the education. It has been a pleasure meeting you and working with you. I wish I had been ordered to Mittenwald with you, but that’s the way it goes. Perhaps we will cross paths again.

“You never know”, Clancy said. Should you ever find yourself in New Hampshire, please look me up. I plan to be there for quite a while.”

Fox nodded and turned to open the door, turned back again and said,

“Best of luck, sir. If I can help at all, get in touch with me at Munich HQ. Your contact in Mittenwald can help you. He knows how.”

Munich, 6:20 P.M. the same day.

The special telephone, in a secret compartment in Erich Graff’s desk, uttered its distinctive ring. Graff, in the kitchen of their modern reproduction of a seventeen-hundred’s Alpine Chalet, dropped the carrot he was peeling and moved quickly. He retrieved the phone from its hiding place and flipped the switch on the attached scrambler.

“This is Stahlmann. What have you learned from Mittenwald, Graff?
We are getting a lot of pressure here to either confirm or reject that a Hitler treasure is hidden or buried there.”

“So far that is not possible. I have told our people working on the treasure question to put more effort into finding out. I’m told more searchers are showing up weekly and it is difficult to be discrete or to camouflage our efforts.”

Stahlmann’s manner changed abruptly along with the volume of his voice.

“This cannot go on forever, Graff. I must have results soon or we are both in serious trouble. I think you probably have the head to get this moving and for your benefit you better find out something.
I want you to go to Mittenwald and personally take charge of this problem. That is not only an order, but a warning as well.
One more thing, Graff. It has come to our attention from Moscow;
that there is the possibility an American is in the country specifically to investigate the possibility of Hitler’s diamonds being secreted at Mittenwald. The understanding is, he is a highly trained agent and was very effective in the war while working in Germany and France. He has a great deal of combat experience as well.
Above all, we do not want to cause a disturbance or attract attention, but should it become necessary or even expedient, eliminate this man. Lastly, Make sure you absolutely have the right person. Should you make a mistake, hell will break loose and it will be the end for both of us. If you don’t have the stomach for it, find someone who does.”

Graff gently sat the phone on its cradle and slowly returned to the kitchen; picked up the peeler and a carrot and stared blankly out the window above the sink. His wife turned to him, noticed that he was an ashen color and asked.

“Are you all right, you look terrible; like all the blood has drained from your face?”

Graff turned to face her while supporting himself on the sink.

“Now he wants me to murder a man. I have shot men when I was a police officer but only when I had to protect someone or myself.
I’m not a murderer nor will I order it done. I would give anything to get away from this whole mess; forget the GDR and Stasi, stay in the west and have a quiet life.”

“Could we do that”, she asked?

“I don’t know – perhaps if I worked it just right with the right people and we could get protection. Stahlmann would undoubtedly be after my skin. We would have to go into hiding or even leave the country. I wouldn’t want to leave my mother behind for that pig to use as a hostage to get us back. I’m thankful she is here with us, I would have to arrange for her to be with us. That should not be difficult where she is alone and old. I can plead hardship on her behalf. I’ll work on it and try to figure a way, starting with Mother. Now, I must pack and get on my way to Mittenwald first thing in the morning.”

“Go ahead. I’ll finish preparing dinner and then we can talk some more.”

Later that evening they sat near the fireplace to continue the conversation.

“I think it wise if you pack your and Mothers belongings. I have packed lightly so you will have to pack the remainder of my clothing. If this plan works, I will have to return to transfer funds, or withdraw them. Then sort out papers and files and destroy those not wanted. It is regretful but we must leave this home and furnishings. Pack only our most cherished possessions; pictures, small items, etcetera and wait for me to contact you.”

Clancy retired early that night and rose at five the next morning. At six he pulled out of the parking lot and turned the Porsche in the direction of highway B18. He looked forward to the four to five hour drive, part of which skirts the Austrian border and affords a great view of the mountains. About nine o’clock he stopped for breakfast. It was warming a bit when he left the roadside restaurant and promised to be a great day. Clancy put the top down on the Porsche and was thoroughly enjoying himself.
Erich Graff backed his Mercedes out of the garage but he was not looking forward to his drive at all. He was nervous and frightened. What he was planning could end in summary execution should he not be able to pull it off. To say the least, defection is frowned upon. His only hope was to make contact with the right people and get the whole thing settled before he had to report to Stahlmann or Stahlmann contacted him.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2016

Chapters: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Ch 13 | Ch 14 | Ch 15 | Ch 16 | Ch 17 |                    Ch 18

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 now retired.

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