Invisible Enemy

A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack


When they left the O-mess, they drove to take a look at the club. It sat directly across the street from the 1938 Olympic Ice Rink. The building sat back farther than those on either side. This made the approach to the entrance quite wide and deep. The building was of dark stucco with bright yellow shutters at the windows. Above the double door hung a very large rough-cut plank with Silberne Schlittschuhe Club (silver skates) deeply carved into it and stained to contrast with the light wood. The plank still had the dark bark showing on the top and bottom edges.

Clancy asked, “It’s good for a large frontal assault with that wide entrance. Do you know what the back is like”?

“No, I don’t, but we will before any assault takes place.” Fisher answered. “We have a close replica of the building going up now. Our men will start extensive assault training the minute it is finished.”

“I want to be in on some of that training,” Clancy said. “It will be good to know what to expect as I will, more than likely, be in the building when it happens.”

“I’ll arrange that and set up a schedule for you. But now, let’s get back so Fox can take you to Special Services and get you outfitted with that moustache and some glasses. You are sure to be a handsome lothario,” Foster chuckled.

“That’s perfect,” Foster said when they returned from Special Services. “The moustache looks so natural and the glasses look like you were born with them, a real intellectual, and so, so sexy,” he kidded. “Now, you get everything straight before tonight – code words and signals, meeting spots. There are two back doors I’m told; one double opening into a storage room off the kitchen, and one into the kitchen/service bar. These, along with the front door, will offer avenues of escape, should that be necessary. I think about eight- thirty or nine o’clock will be a good time to get to the club; early enough for dinner but before the place starts hopping. OK”?

“Yes sir,” the three men replied in unison and left the office.

“Where are we going, Fox?” Otto asked.

“To the BOQ unless anyone has other ideas,” Fox answered.

“How about the Officers Club”? Otto quickly interjected. “It’s early and we can lift a couple there and talk strategy – good a place as any and better than most for privacy at this hour.”

“Do you have Jamison’s” Clancy asked the Sergeant behind the bar.

“Yes sir—how many”?

“One double Jamison and two Dewars; all on the rocks. Can you bring them to the table, please”?

When Clancy returned to the table, he noticed Fox filling his pipe from a familiar red pouch of PA and followed suit with Sherlock’s Choice. As the smoke billowed upward to the large smoke-eater in the ceiling, the three devised a signal for the three escape routs, plus the men’s room and bar end for talking. They decided on Platoon codes for danger and help and scratching an ear for, come here now. Next, they decided to eat at the Silver Skates; Clancy and Otto together at a table and Fox alone. The end of another round and they were off to the BOQ to spruce-up; deciding Fox to take a motor pool car to the club 20 minutes later than Otto and Clancy who left promptly at eight o’clock.

“Welcome to the Silver Skates Major--Lieutenant. Would you like a table?” The lovely hostess cooed in a velvet voice as they entered the restaurant.

“Yes please; for two.” Clancy responded.

The menu at the Silver Skates offered only two typical German dishes Sauerbraten and Weiner Schnitzel, along with a bunch of appetizers. The rest was strictly English and American from fried Kippers to grilled tenderloin wrapped in bacon; and a lot in between. The wine list was international as was the beer and liquor, offering a wide selection.

The waiter appeared after an appropriate time; white shirt, black bow tie, black trousers and a white wrap-around apron that almost reached the floor.

He bowed slightly and asked, glancing from one to the other, “Have you made a decision gentleman”?

“Not quite—another couple of minutes. Is there a wine list”?

“The last three pages of the menu, sir. I will return.”

Clancy ordered Sauerbraten and Otto preferred a tenderloin, rare. The wine choice, a ’49 Rhine Spatless.

They just started to eat when Otto, who was facing the door, tapped lightly on the table for Clancy’s attention and nodded toward the bar to his right. Clancy looked to the bar and saw Fox walk to the end, mount a stool, and light his lumberman. He never looked in the direction of Clancy although Clancy felt Fox knew exactly where they were.

Near the end of the meal, the hostess came to the table and bent over very close to Clancy, placing an arm across his shoulders.

“You are enjoying your meal, Major? And how about you lieutenant”? She asked in her best velvet voice.

“Oh, yes,” Clancy answered. ”It’s delicious.”

“My steak as well,” Otto offered. “Just a bit over cooked, but that’s O.K.”

“I haven’t seen you here before, Major. Did you just arrive”?

“That’s right. Fresh from USA,” Clancy returned; with the intent of setting the stage for answering more questions.

The hostess stood upright and suggested they call her if they desire anything, giving Clancy’s shoulder a tight squeeze before returning to her station.

At the bar, Fox took in the scene and was surprised at how quickly the hostess made a play. He was surveying the dining room as he consumed a plate of grilled mixed German sausage and a large stein of beer. He made note of the swinging doors to the kitchen, the male and female rest rooms and the service bar for the dining room. One door was a puzzle. He noted that men would come to the bar, have a quick drink and converse with the barman for a short time. Some went to tables while others sauntered to the mystery door and quickly enter. Young women would do the same. The difference being that the women would return in a short time to the bar or take a table; some in a group of two or three, and others alone. In the time Fax watched the door no men came out. He waited for Clancy to finish his meal and gave him the signal to come to the end of the bar. Clancy ordered a brandy and casually struck up a conversation with the lieutenant. Fox related what he had noticed about the door in question and the strange goings and comings.

“We will have to watch that activity for a couple more nights to determine its relevancy. Good job Sam. Keep your eyes open.”

With that, Clancy ordered another brandy and returned to the table with the two glasses hoping any inquisitive eyes consider it a normal happening. They casually sipped the brandy while talking and laughing in a thoroughly relaxed mode. Clancy left money for the bill and they moved to the bar, selecting seats away from Fox and in front of one of several large mirrors that hung behind the long bar. From there they could see a reflection of the entire dining room.

About a half hour later Otto signaled Fox to the men’s room.

“Have any idea what is going on in that room, Fox”?

“I think it’s a meeting room of some kind; for receiving instructions or the like,” Fox responded.

“Yea, the Major does too; guess the only way we will find out is by getting in there.”

Otto left the men’s room first and saw, as he approached his bar stool, the hostess sitting on the other side of Clancy and draped all over his left shoulder with her abundant bosom pressed firmly against his arm. She was whispering in his ear. Clancy turned as Otto sat, winked at him and said:

“There you are! Are you about ready to leave? We have an early day tomorrow.”

“Yes sir, I am,” he responded.

Otto gulped the last of his drink and slid from the stool.

“See you tomorrow, Major,” The hostess said smiling at Clancy.

They sat in the day room of the BOQ waiting for Fox to return. Otto couldn’t resist kidding Clancy about the big hit he made with the Hostess.

“Did you even get her name”? He asked.

“Gisela – but aren’t they all Gisela in that business”?

“Well, I wouldn’t know.” Otto shot back with a silly grin.

“What do you think she will propose tomorrow? You are going back aren’t you”?

“Time will tell? Clancy said. Did you notice how the place was filling up and the girls were cozying up to the GIs all along the bar, and at some tables? They are not being very subtle about it. I wonder if Fox overheard anything at the bar.”

The two men discussed the obviousness of the place and wondered, because of that, if it weren’t just a high class pick-up joint. Clancy decided the operation might take longer than anticipated before they had enough evidence for a raid. They also concluded that the mystery room will be the answer and that an early morning break-in will give it to them. They will consult Major Foster in the morning.

The door opened and Fox stepped in tugging at his necktie and muttering something about hating these damn things.

“Did you pick up anything at the bar, Fox”?

“I overheard the barman give a couple of the girls numbers. However, none acted on them immediately so I couldn’t even guess the meaning or purpose of the numbers. It soon became too noisy to hear anything if more that a couple of feet away.”

The next morning, Major Foster agreed to the break-in and told the three men that only Clancy will go on this job, along with a squad of MPs trained for just such a mission. This will give you guards front and back, a couple of trained searchers/observers, an alarm specialist, and a lock specialist. You should be in and out in no more than twenty minutes depending on the number of locks to be opened once you get in. I’ll let you know when it is set-up; hopefully tomorrow night.

“Clancy, in the meantime, get as much as you can from that hostess who is working on you,” Foster said with a wry smile.

“Yes sir, I will do my best. How is the mock building of the restaurant coming? I hope it won’t take too long or we will be behind Mittenwald in our synced raid schedules.”

“Another couple of days and we can start training with it. I’ll give you a definite time tomorrow. I think two full days of run-throughs will be enough,” Foster responded.

That evening Clancy, Otto, and Fox arrived at the Silver Skates at varying times, Clancy at six-thirty, Otto at seven-fifteen and Fox at eight o’clock.
Clancy went directly to the bar and as close as he could get to the mystery door. He didn’t see Gisela, the hostess, anywhere for several minutes when she suddenly exited the mystery room looking angry with a deep frown distorting her forehead. She spotted Clancy and changed her expression quickly, walked to where he was sitting and kissed him on the cheek while gently rubbing the back of his neck.

“Are you having dinner tonight”? She asked.
“Yes, I’m waiting for my Aid, Lieutenant Otto. I’ll let you know when we want a table,” he replied as he placed his hand on hers and gave a gentle pat.

She kissed him again and moved to her station at the front of the dining room.

Clancy nursed his Scotch as long as possible and ordered another just as Otto sat on the stool next to him.

“Anything new”? Otto asked.

“Later,” Clancy muttered as he shook his head from side to side.
“Shall we get a table, Lieutenant”? He asked as he raised his hand high and motioned to Gisela.

She escorted them to the same table they used the night before, menus tucked under her arm. As Otto sat and pulled himself under the table, he reached to raise his trouser lags when his hand brushed a wire with a small cylinder attached. He pushed away from the table while telling Clancy he would like to sit at a different table; that they sat here last night and he would like another view. Clancy looked at Gisela and shrugged his shoulders in resignation. She ushered them to another table without a word and dropped the menus in front of them. Otto pretended to drop his menu on the floor and checked out this table as he picked it up.

“What was that about?” Clancy asked.

“The table is bugged. I accidently brushed my hand against the wire and microphone when I adjusted my pant legs. Pretty sloppy job. They must have done it in a rush.

“I would say! I was sitting at the bar when Gisela came out of the room in question looking upset. I couldn’t see inside from that vantage point as I had hoped. She spotted me, came over and was all lovey-dovey. Even kissed me twice and rubbed my neck. She is good at playing that part and thinks she is setting me up for something; either information or blackmail. Time will tell.”

During the meal Gisela was extra attentive; asking several times if all was OK. Each time she came to the table she managed to touch Clancy or give him a light squeeze on the arm or shoulder. She completely ignored Otto; indicating it was only Clancy in whom she was interested.

After dinner, they moved to the bar as before and to seats selected to hopefully afford a better view of the mystery room, and perhaps a glimpse inside. Fox in the meantime settled himself on a stool closer to a waitress/waiter serving station. The idea was of eavesdropping on any conversations the waitresses might have while they waited for drinks.

Business was slow that evening and it wasn’t long before Gisela came over to Clancy and assumed the same position as earlier; caressing his neck and rubbing his shoulders.

She leaned in close and whispered, “I can get off early tonight, meine Liebe. We can go someplace quiet and have a drink or two.”

Clancy put his hand on hers and said, “That will be very nice. When can we leave?”

“In an hour or so,” she said and pressed her chest harder against his arm, turned and walked away.

As they started to leave, Fox hurried to the door and found a close tree to hide behind. He watched as Clancy and Gisela, arm-in-arm, turned left and walked away. Fox started to head for the other side of the street, wanting to get ahead of them but stopped when Otto exited the restaurant. Otto suggested that Fox get his car and move ahead quickly, stopping occasional to keep tabs on the couple and determine their destination.
Otto will follow on foot at a safe distance to deter any action against Clancy. He didn’t think that to be a problem as she, more than likely, was after information. He started off at a quick pace to make up distance; while checking his weapon and making it readily accessible should it be needed.

Several blocks later the couple turned into an obscure small hotel, far from any tourist attractions. As fox sat across the street in his car, Otto cautiously surveyed the hotel from the outside. Windows on the left side revealed a small dining room and a lounge with three booths. Clancy and Gisela were the only ones there, other than an old man bringing them drinks. Otto moved away and continued around the building, finding nothing but a rear door and six darkened windows. He returned to the back door and quietly went in. A dark back hall was lit by, what seemed like, a ten watt bulb. He moved past several rooms or closets, all quiet, and came to a curtain at the end. He pushed the curtain aside a bit and observed a reception area with the front door just beyond. The old man was now behind the desk with a newspaper opened on it. It was ghostly quiet in the hotel. There was not a sign of anyone else there. He retraced his steps and returned to the window with the view of the lounge. Gisela was really doing a job on Clancy. She was snuggled up to him with her head on his shoulder and her arm draped across his chest to his other shoulder. Otto wished he had a listening device.

“How long you will be here, meine Liebe?” Gisela asked.

“Not long – three or four days.”

“You must be very important to bring you all the way here for such a short time. I’ll be very sad when you leave. What is it you do?”

“Oh no, not important at all. Any company clerk can do it. It is just a soft job I was assigned to when the war ended. I have friends in government. I just supervise the movement of troops from one place to another. This one is secret so I must come here and do it myself,” Clancy answered, opening the door for more that might tell him what she is really after.

“I would say that is very important. What is so secret about it? We see men being moved in trucks all the time.”

“Well, these are very special and highly trained men from close by that we want here. They must be moved secretly and only a couple at a time,” Clancy bragged, thinking the commies probably know there are Special Forces at Bad Tölz, some thirty miles north, and the information will stir them up.

The old man returned to see if they wanted more drinks and Gisela immediately said no. She turned and whispered that she lives here and has a very good bottle of Schnapps in her apartment and they should go there.


Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2017

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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