Invisible Enemy

A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack


They traveled about twenty feet when Clancy heard a slight shuffling sound behind him and turned quickly to see two men struggling over what appeared to be an old M1 bayonet. The blade dropped to the cobbles with a loud clinking sound as the assassin was subdued by a Judo throw and subsequent choke hold with a knee to the middle of his back. The action took less time than it took Clancy to retrieve his weapon from the leg holster. Clancy and Eulund approached the pair on the ground and Clancy, highly surprised, proclaimed:
“I know that man on top.”
“Henry Otto!” Clancy exclaimed, “Where in the world did you come from and what are you doing here. I haven’t heard from you since 1947”

Otto looked up and smiled as he positioned the assassin’s hands behind him and applied handcuffs. Getting to his feet he extended a hand to Clancy and said:

“Great to see you again Major, and by the way it’s First Lieutenant Otto. Yes, I’m still in the army. Let me revive this guy. The MPs will be here in a minute to get him. I spotted him following you when you left the travel office and radioed them immediately and then followed him.”

He no sooner finished speaking when An MP Jeep pulled up and blocked the entrance to the narrow walkway. Two solders came to collect the assassin while one guarded the entrance. They quickly dragged the groggy man to the Jeep and sped off.

Clancy asked, “Who was that? Was he after me?

“He is just one of hundreds of Eastern Block agents in Bavaria. This one happened to be a killer. I don’t know his name; it’s just a good thing I was here and spotted him being suspicious.” Yes Major, there is little doubt he was after you.”

Clancy thanked him again and suggested Otto join them for lunch.

“I can’t do that”. Otto explained. “I must follow up on this incident and we shouldn’t be seen together as I’m your assigned backup for a while. I know you didn’t want any backup but you can’t make that call. You get settled and meet me tomorrow at noon at the Violin Museum. It closes from twelve to two but I have access to it any time. We can hash things out there.”
“Fine”, Clancy replied. “I look forward to seeing you, Hank.”
“Oh by the way Hank, I was issued this useless weapon. Any Chance you can come up with a 1911 for me?”
“I think you are entitled to a sidearm, Major. You will have to sign for it.”

With that brief exchange they went their separate ways; the incident being unnoticed by all but a couple of people on the street. At the coffee shop, they sat at a table in a far corner and chatted through lunch. When the table was cleared and a second coffee delivered. Clancy got down to business asking:

“What is going on here? How do these people know who I am? Do they know why I am here?”

“Eulund replied: “There has obviously been a leak. It could be from the states, any contacts you made along the way or from Freiburg. There’s no way of knowing without a huge investigation. The important thing is, the East German Secret Service knows, and you are in danger. This is the very reason you have been assigned a backup even after those involved finally decided your cover was secure and you did not need one; which I understand was a strong request of yours.”

“Yes it was but also because the first backup was incompetent and on his first assignment. I do not need to train someone as well as do my job at the same time. This first one was a Lieutenant who was ill trained and had no experience what ever. Now, Otto is another story. We worked closely together during the war and had total mutual trust. If my cover has been blown, I’m very glad he’s here.”

“We should get back”, Eulund said. “I want to get you the material you want, give you some suggestions on things to do and explain the park map and how I have broken it into grids. Also, answer any questions you have.

Back in Eulund’s office they sat silently, both pondering the attempt on Clancy’s life.

“Do you have any idea who could have betrayed me”, Clancy asked.

“Was there anyone along the way who acted in a manner other than you would expect”?

“I’ve been thinking about that as we sat here. The only thing that continually comes to mind is a small incident that happened at the Freiburg Tobacconist. I had approached Zimmerman cautiously speaking heavily accented German telling him I was an American and did he speak English; turns out he spoke English fluently and had lived in both the U.S.A and England. We were interrupted by a couple of students entering the store.
One of them recognized me, calling me Mr. Frank, and commented that a friend had said I was a good teacher and had an excellent command of the German language. Well, that blew my attempt at being cautious and Zimmerman laughed when the boys left the shop and started calling me Clancy without any recognition codes passing between us. Of course he was expecting me, but it bothered me and I later had an opportunity to casually quiz him a bit.”

“He was born in Milwaukee. When they needed German translators in Washington he volunteered; was later sent to London to work in a British/American decoding group. He became friendly with a tobacconist there who taught him blending skills. The Freiburg store was set up by the OSS at the close of the war and Zimmerman was recommended for the job when his tobacconist friend turned it down for health reasons.”

“I really dropped my guard with this guy. His story seemed so plausible. He even gave me two pounds of a special blend of English tobacco – a perfect copy of a popular American made product”.

I’m going to look into him immediately,” Eulund replied. “I have a feeling your initial apprehension about the recognition codes and Zimmerman was probably correct. You have survived too many tight spots in the past to ignore your instincts; don’t you think”?

“As soon as you find out anything please let me, and Lieutenant Otto know. I’m going to lay low until I meet with him tomorrow at the Violin Museum. Do you have a trusted taxi driver”?

Eulund thought for a second and replied, “Yes, I’ll call him to meet us at the hotel”. “Now, let’s get you outfitted with the park map and some brochures on interesting places here in Mittenwald”.

At the Hotel Ghasthof, Eulund introduced Clancy (Gordon Frank) to the manager bragging that his friend, Mr. Frank, was an eminent educator and had been guest lecturer at Freiburg University. The manager was impressed and promised to give Mr. Frank the best service the hotel had to offer; that his car will be securely parked and his bags, along with fresh coffee, brought to his room soon. With that the manager ushered them to Clancy’s room and, with a stiff bow, ceremoniously handed Clancy the key and left.

“This map is fine. I won’t have any trouble with it. I’ll pick up a compass or have Otto get one issued to me,” Clancy said as they went over the grids and distances and sipped coffee.

“I can get a compass for you and have it brought here in the morning”, Eulund said as a knock sounded at the door.

Clancy quickly retrieved the gun from its holster, and holding it behind his back, cautiously opened the door revealing a tall and thin young man, hat in hand who said in bad English;

“I am your taxi”.

Eulund went to the door and ushered the driver in and introduced him to Mr. Frank as Hans; suggesting he could speak in German if he wished.
They sat and talked about Mittenwald a bit before Eulund told Hans he would be needed for a week or two, and that the travel office will pay him for his time and expenses.

“I will be here each morning promptly at eight o’clock”, Hans said with a happy smile on his face, “And will be at your command as long as you wish, Mr. Frank”.

“That’s fine”, Eulund told Hans. “Keep an account of your time and expenses each day. Now, you can take me to my office, please”.

“Look over the pamphlets and decide what you might like to see while you’re here, Mr. Frank. I’ll see you sometime tomorrow,” Eulund said as they left.

Clancy returned to the map and plotted a logical path through the park, marking each grid with a number and arrows connecting grids to make a route to follow. He paused to pour coffee when there was another knock at the door. He again retrieved the small gun approached the door asking who it was knocking.

“It’s the porter with your luggage, Mr. Frank”.

Clancy let the porter in and thanked him.

The porter told him as he left the room, “There is a package that just came for you. I left it in the hall”, and reached through the doorway to retrieve it.

As the door closed, Clancy, at the table again, proceeded to cautiously open the box, feeling for wires or switches. He removed the paper packing to reveal a blued 1911 Colt pistol with 6 loaded magazines, the nose of the top 45cal. bullets shining dully against the dark metal magazines.
Under more packing sat a shoulder holster; not the military type with a strap going across the chest, but one consisting of an inch wide elasticized harness with a strap across the back for concealment.
He put on the harness, made a slight adjustment for his body, slid a magazine in the butt, set a round in the chamber and checked the safety.
Clancy felt safe again, thanked Otto silently and locked the 32 caliber automatic and its leg holster in his suitcase.

A light snow fell from a dark gray sky as Clancy opened his eyes from a refreshing sleep and surveyed the day from his window. After the morning ritual, he dressed in the clothes he bought in Freiberg, with the 1911 tucked snugly under his left arm and two magazines in his jacket pocket. He grabbed his outer coat and hat and went looking for the dining room.

At 8:15 A.M., Clancy exited the hotel and was greeted by Hans. Clancy told him he wanted to buy a camera and then take a tour of the town; then be at the Violin Museum around 12:00 noon. He absorbed a mental picture of the town and took two rolls of film with his newly purchased Leica making note of back streets and main routes in and out.

Otto was waiting as Hans pulled up at the Violin Museum. He suggested Hans go to lunch and return about 1:30. Hans tipped his hat and drove away.

In the lounge of the museum, the two sat opposite each other on comfortable leather chairs separated by a low violin shaped table.

“Do you have any news for me, Hank, about the assassin”?

“I have more news than you probably want to hear. The assassin is in custody at the Provost Martial stockade in Garmish; being very uncooperative. He has given three names since the start of interrogation, so it’s doubtful any are his actual name – no I.D on him either. The brass there considers him a pro, and more than likely, imported for the job. They think he was brought in from Russia”.

“That‘s just the beginning. Erich Graff has been spotted in town. If you haven’t heard of him, he is the supervisor of all commie agents in Bavaria. He is staying with friends on the outskirts of town, known to be low level agents. The odd thing is he is making inquiries about you, rather openly, all over town. We think he wants to communicate for some reason. He also makes periodic visits to the area around the Mittenwald Travel Office; walks past and often watches from the café across the street. We’ll watch him for a while to see if we can learn something and then pick him up.”

“What could he want from me”? Clancy asked. “Do you think he is after me for a second try”?

“Doubtful, but don’t worry. We will stay on him. If he is second string, we will take Graff out if he even looks like he will make an attempt at you.”

“Another thing, we are calling Lieutenant Fox back into this. Considering the danger, you need more protection than one man can provide. Now, do you have everything you need? Oh yes, here is a compass for you and the form to sign for the “45”.

“I guess I have no say about Lieutenant Fox but I am not happy about it – at all.”

Otto was about to answer Clancy when a phone rang in a strange pattern.

“That’s my ring” Otto said and retrieved the handset.
“That is a big switch isn’t it”, he said after listening for several minutes. Yes, let him sweat for a while. “We will be there in an hour or so.”

“Ian, Eulund told me that Graff just walked into the travel office and enquired about you, saying he had to talk to you. Eulund took him in an office, locked the door and demanded to know why. Graff said he would only talk to you so Eulund was forced to reveal who he is. To make it short, Graff was ordered to kill you and considered it the last straw in his forced career in the GDR Secret Service. He has asked for protection and safe passage out of Germany for his family in turn for defecting and turning over all secret records he has as Bavarian secret service supervisor”.

The two men toured the museum as Hank Otto told of the vast history of violin making at Mittenwald and the famous craftsmen who founded the industry there, still carried on within the families who started it all.

They talked over old times and their close calls on assignments in Europe during the war, brought each other up to date on events and families since 1947, and genuinely enjoyed the renewed comradeship.

They left the museum just as Hans turned the corner and came to a stop.
Hans carried them to the travel office and they rushed in. Eulund was behind the counter and stepped out to greet them with yet more disturbing news.

“Have either of you heard of Richard Stahlmann”? Eulund asked.

Clancy shook his head in the negative while Otto frowned and said, “That SOB! He’s the cofounder of the GDR secret service; a total villain and killer. The last I heard, he was in charge of Western activities of the secret service.

“Right”, Eulund replied, “And he is in town. Graff told me he is hot to find the Hitler treasure they think is here and to stop you, Clancy, and the U.S.A, from getting near it – hence, the attempt on your life. My guess is there will be more attempts. Agents are looking for him and I think we will have him in a few days.

“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.

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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