Willie's War Ch. 05bySnurge©
'French and Russians they matter not A blow for blow and a shot for shot We love them not, we hate them not We hold the Vistula and the Vosges-gate We have but one and only hate We love as one, we hate as one We have one foe and one alone, ENGLAND!'
Yes, he thought, the continuing hostility of the British was an untidy element in what was otherwise a faultless plan.
He knew his history and he recalled his father's great disappointment and the hatred that had obsessed him at that time. During that war the British sea blockade had pushed the population of Germany to the verge of starvation, and although huge French armies had blocked German success on land for years, it was mainly the British who had broken the Alberich offensive in 1918.
That had been Germany's final frantic gamble to bring the war to a satisfactory conclusion before the Americans arrived in any great strength to assist the allies, and it had failed. Thereafter his father had blamed the English more than anyone else for Germany's eventual defeat. He remembered the last few months of that war, when every letter send home by his father from the disintegrating Western Front had been postmarked 'God Punish England'.
He thought things over for perhaps half an hour, then feeling suddenly inspired he strode out of the door into the outer office where an aide immediately leapt to his feet. "Is SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Strasser in town, Kleist?" he asked.
"Yes, sir." said the aide, "He'll be sauntering along the Kurfurstendamm at this moment I expect." a small smile flitted across the young officers mouth. "Major Strasser particularly enjoys the cabarets when he's in Berlin."
Naujocks glanced at his watch. "It's still only early evening. Have someone go and find him. Tell him I want to see him here right away."
Princess Ingrid had a lean face with a strong, wide mouth. Except for her fair skin and large expressive eyes her beauty was almost masculine. That was not alarming, since the princess was a man. His real name was Walther Holldobler, and Princess Ingrid was only his stage name, but everyone called him Ingrid. He was till wearing theatrical base and eyeliner from the cabaret, but that was all he was wearing. Beneath the bedcovers he was completely naked.
He was expecting a guest, but when he heard a key turn in the lock of his bedroom door, he nonetheless clutched the heavy Federdecke to his chin.
Hermann Strasser leaned his head through the doorway and presented a lurid grin. "Ingrid, meine Schatze, meine kleine Akelei. I've missed you."
Ingrid moved his legs slowly back and forth beneath the bedcovers. "I've missed you too, Hermann. Have you brought me a nice present?"
The man's gorilla frame almost filled the door. He was carrying a bottle, and he surveyed the room carefully before entering. "A fat little purse and a bottle of real champagne."
"How sweet of you."
"How sweet indeed." he rejoined, letting his eyes linger on the princess's pretty white throat. He sat on the edge of the bed, bent forward, and gently kissed him.
"How was Düsseldorf?" Ingrid asked.
Hermann lifted his nose as if he'd just detected a bad smell. "I never go to Düsseldorf. I work in Breslau."
"Oh, yes, of course." Ingrid sat up, realising he was confusing his guest with someone else. "Come and warm me up." he invited.
Hermann found it easy to adapt to the mood when he knew there was a naked body involved. He slipped off his jacket and trousers and rolled onto him, his erection already protruding through the gap in his underpants. He was a jaded man in many respects, and Ingrid was so youthful and ripe, and so effeminate. And he fully understood the need for distraction with a war raging. It was his duty to service those in need.
He leaned forward and gave her an enormous wet kiss. Ingrid received it with vengeance, pulling at his tongue with his own.
"Wait!" Hermann said. "I do believe...why yes, I swear I saw a public notice. Let me check." he threw the covers over his head and began nibbling down the transvestite's body as Ingrid laughed. He loved that laugh – the ring of fine crystal. He began kissing his belly just below the navel, ultimately seeking his thighs. Licking lightly just once, he raised his head. "I knew it." he said. "It says 'verboten,' here." He rolled him over and gripped his buttocks which were of a tender hue the French would call 'rose de dessous'. "Just has I suspected. Here too."
Ingrid giggled. "And what about my titties?"
Hermann rolled Ingrid back over and buried his face in his chest. "Same story. Both of them." he licked each of them, then sucked each nipple in turn while Ingrid stroked his head. "What fine boobs you have," he said, gathering them into a firm grasp. "The trouble is, I'm Bavarian, and whenever I see 'verboten' I read it as 'opportunity.'
"And what will become of this opportunity?" Ingrid murmured.
Hermann clucked joyfully. "Why, quite definitely it will lead to the fucking of your lovely round arse, my buttercup."
There was an abrupt knock on the bedroom door that interrupted negotiations, and Ingrid barked, "Fuck off! Go away and come back in the morning."
Hermann approved enthusiastically. "What an excellent idea. My sweetheart, your grasp of language is a godsend!"
Far from departing, the person outside lingered and spoken words came through the woodwork. "I have an urgent message for Sturmbannfuhrer Strasser." it called.
"What's the message?" rumbled Hermann, making no attempt to go near the door.
"Major Strasser is immediately required to attend Colonel Naujocks at SS Headquarters, sir." the voice answered.
Hermann's expression drooped, and his ardour immediately began to droop too. "Damn this bloody war!"
"I hope I didn't interrupt anything of vital importance by insisting you come here, Hermann." Albert Naujocks said when Herr Strasser joined him.
"No, no, sir. I was merely about to have dinner with a lady. It was nothing that cannot be done another time."
"That's good, because I'm going to need your assistance for the next few days. I've been thinking rather deeply about some things, and one of them is the British. The Fuehrer as become fixated with the war on Russia without first completing the subjugation of the English pest."
Hermann threw up his hands. "The English are on the defensive everywhere, surely there is no urgency to finish them off."
The senior officer's jaw set firm. "Of course there is urgency. The Fuehrer would have had them tucked on the shelve last year had he not been served by incompetent fools. Goering's air force failed to obliterate their army when it was cornered on the beaches at Dunkirk, and afterwards it failed to clear the way for a seaborne invasion of the British island.
"They are a thorn in our backside, Hermann. Their continuing defiance compels us to maintain a separate army just to hold them in check, and it's an army that could be thrown into the struggle with the Russians if England could be coaxed into making peace. At the moment the Fuehrer is torn between making a dash to seize the oilfields of Baku and taking Moscow before Christmas. Given the help of those formations sitting on their backsides along the North Sea coast he could do both."
Suddenly he lurched out from his chair and went to a map of the world that was tacked on the wall next to the one of Europe. He tapped North America with his forefinger. "Roosevelt is gaining support for his belligerence against us, but if the British are taken out of the picture he will cease to be a worry. It would be unfeasible for the Americans to attack mainland Europe from across the Atlantic, and they would have no reason for doing it."
Returning to his desk he reached for the sheet of paper that had caught his attention earlier. "Does the name Wilhelm Froehlich mean anything to you?"
Hermann scratched his slab of a chin and considered for a moment. "Well, yes. I recall that was the name of an effeminate queen that once lodged with Fraulein Dietz at Ravenskopf."
"Correct. He was memorable little thing, even I am willing to admit that. What do you know about his passions?"
Strasser put on a show of being affronted. "Practically nothing, sir. Gracious, I would never get involved with a queer. You know that."
The other man cocked an eyebrow and smiled faintly. He knew everything about Strasser, right down to the amount of toothpaste he put on his brush, and although homosexuality was a crime he had the option of turning a blind eye if it involved Party Members or faithful staff.
He tapped the paper in his hand with the same gesture that he had used to tap the map, then passed it over. "The creature is in trouble with the Gestapo. For subversion, of all things."
Strasser looked at the name. "It doesn't surprise me. He lost his homosexual lover in the war some time ago. He's a soft-hearted, emotional thing and a bit of a pacifist. He could easily be led astray."
"Having control of a pacifist can be useful to me at this time." said his chief. "I have come up with a rather cute idea that could cause some mischief for the British and may even help bring about their downfall. My idea involves this – um - person. It is quite inexpensive and simple to action, and I foresee no objection being raised by the Abwehr to trying it.
"I'd appreciate your help in arranging things, Hermann. If I can persuade our overeager Gestapo hotheads to release him it will mean a little trip abroad for our young pansy friend."
Herr Naujocks nodded. "Dead men and exiles, Hermann. Excellent company to be in. They don't argue or complain, and they find it hard to tell tales."
The room was small and austere, all four of its walls being lime-washed with their lower portions scarred by countless black scuff marks. There were no windows and there was no furniture either except for a chair and a narrow wooden trestle-table that served as a desk. On the table sat a notebook and a telephone.
There was a smell of disinfectant about the place, an antiseptic, fishy smell that made Willie Froehlich reluctant to breathe. It was like a hospital, but without promoting the good intensions of a hospital. He had been allowed no razor, so his cheeks and chin were matted with fine fluff, a thing that would have made him feel ridiculous in different circumstances.
The floor was surfaced with old and stained tiles, and the tiles were cold to his bare feet. Two heavyset young men stood behind him by the door. He was completely naked, and utterly terrified.
"Your name is Wilhelm Froehlich and you are a girly-queer. Is that correct?" a spiteful voice demanded.
Willie blinked painfully. His chest and arms hurt as if they had been punched. He tried to focus on his words, but although his tongue attempted to move it seemed to stay glued to the roof of his mouth. Nodding dumbly, he gazed at his feet.
"Answer!" the voice yelled viciously. "When I ask a question, I require an answer."
"Yes, yes I am." muttered Willie, shocked into speech.
"Look at me." the voice then rasped, and Willie lifted his head and peered through unkempt straggles of hair to view the wiry little man standing before him. His sinister eyes were hidden behind steel-rimmed glasses and he wasn't smiling.
"First, let me explain a couple of things, girly." the man said. "I'm going to demand co-operation from you, and my two colleagues are here to ensure I get it." he gestured towards the door where his assistants stood.
"Karl enjoys knifework. He could make more of a woman of you in a few seconds than you've ever been in your life before, while Heinz prefers to use his fists. He hates queers, and you would end up a shapeless lump of snot and blood on the floor if I let him have his way with you. You would be unrecognisable as a member of the human race – which you probably don't belong to anyway."
Willie's blond hair was loose and matted and he had been crying; his eyes were red from it, and one of them was badly bruised. A cold feeling of sickness was crawling through him. Shock, anguish, despair – he could feel them all.
"Please... I don't know why you've brought me here. I don't know what I've done wrong."
The man's eyes flicked over Willie's unguarded face in scornful dismissal, the hard line of lips below his pug nose looking like a gash in his face. "You are a disgusting homosexual monstrosity, and you were found masquerading as a woman and co-habiting with a subversive."
"Herr Haushofer was a pacifist. He was my landlord. He gave me a room when I asked about work in his bookshop."
"He was distributing seditious pamphlets, subverting others with his lies and distorted ideas. He was preaching revolution and hate for the Fuehrer, and you were helping him."
"H-he wasn't a violent man, he just didn't agree with the war."
"The Fuehrer makes decisions about war and peace, no one else. Anyway, whatever your friend agreed or disagreed with doesn't matter any more. That man argued too much, and one of my associates lost patience with him an hour ago and shot him in the head.
Willie's shoulders slumped. He was shocked at the cold blooded murder of the old man, but he couldn't help an overriding feeling of concern for himself too. He didn't wish to admit it, but he nevertheless suspected that he would share a similar fate once the men there had no more use for him.
"You were a fool to leave Ravenskopf." his interrogator continued. "Many senior officers favour taking their furlough in that place these days and degenerate pantywaist freaks such as you are protected there."
"I couldn't stay." Willie said, his words clipped and unwilling, "Not after..."
His explanation petered out, but with a cynical twist to his mouth the interrogator finished for him. "Not after the death of you boyfriend, is that what you were about to say?"
He was about to say that. He and Eduard had only snatched brief interludes together since the beginning of the war, but they had been joyous and happy times, the kind of times only young lovers can know about. Then one morning Fraulein Dietz had told him of his death. Killed in action. The news seemed to affect him more than it did her. She went about her daily routine as sharp and efficiently as usual, while he had wept for days on end.
"Eduard was brave and kind."
The man's lips curled up in a sneer. "Probably had a big dick too, eh?"
The two men at the door sniggered.
Willie's lips worked silently for a moment, then he said: "He had a noble and generous mind, and I loved him."
The man slapped his hand down on the table. "Enough of the sentimental crap. He was just an officer like many others who have died in the service of the Reich. Now, I want names from you. I want to know the names of everyone you and that traitorous turd Hausofer spoke regularly with in the past three months."
Willie shuddered unsteadily, momentarily stunned by the ferocity of the man's words. "We didn't always talk about the war. Germany is winning. The Wehrmacht is victorious everywhere. Most people we spoke with support what is happening."
The interrogator seated himself at the table and drew a pen from the inner lining of his jacket. In his drab civilian clothes he would have seemed insignificant and innocuous in the street, ignored by good looking women and scorned by more intelligent men, but in that squalid claustrophobic room he could take on the role of a tyrant king, and he relished playing the part.
"I will decide what is important, and I'll decide who is guilty or innocent of crime. Give me some names. Begin with someone who didn't support the war."
Willie couldn't stop shivering. He was cold and very frightened, and he was ashamed because he wasn't brave and knew he was going to tell the man whatever he wanted to know.
Before he could say a word the telephone on the table jangled softly, and with a curse of irritation the man lifted the handset. "Yes, what is it? I'm busy ...What ...But I protest. I'm in the middle of something..." His fist tightened on the heavy bakelite receiver. "That's impossible..." He continued listening for a moment and his face flared with anger. "Yes damn it, yes. Very well."
He slammed the phone back onto its cradle, a look of fury predominant on his face. "Out, out!" he yelled at the men near the door. He rose up himself and as he passed Willy he glared malevolence. "We have been told to vacate the room for a few minutes to allow someone else to interview you. Don't move from this spot while we are away. If you move a millimetre I'll have Heinz to give you a reprimand when we return."
Soon after his three tormentors had departed two officers wearing the black uniform of the SS entered the chamber where he stood, and like a dream from the past come back to haunt him he recognised the Rottweiler features of Hermann Strasser and the more inscrutable face of the more senior officer who accompanied him. A man who he only knew as Herr Naujocks.
"It stinks in here. Smells like a mortuary." remarked the senior man.
"This is a subterranean cellar." replied Hermann Strasser, "We're twenty metres underground and I guess the ventilation is not too good."
The senior officer glanced at Willie with disapproval. "Put some clothes on for goodness sake."
Willie flinched. "The man who was here before said he'd punish me if I moved."
"As long as you are agreeable to what I say, he won't be coming back. Cover yourself up."
Willie scampered swiftly across to the wall and retrieved the coarse grey smock that had been pull off him and thrown on the floor on his arrival. Naujocks swung the chair round from behind the table and told him to sit on it. The man himself perched a single buttock on the edge of the table and stared down at him.
"Willie, that's your name, isn't it? We worked together a couple of years ago - a little escapade in a radio station. Do you remember?"
"Yes, I remember."
Naujocks eased into a more comfortable position. "It's a shame we have to meet again in such depressing circumstances. The Gestapo are not the most pleasant company, and the accommodation they provide is always appalling. And I think that in your heart you are a loyal German, aren't you, Willie?"
"Yes, yes. I would never do anything to hurt Germany. I would never wish to do anything to hurt anyone."
"Quite so, and I am here to make you a proposition on the basis of what you feel. It's an offer that can get you out of the trouble you find yourself in."
Gradually some of the panic drained from Willie's face, but the adrenaline was still pumping and making him shake, and he remained sceptical, not daring to believe a reprieve could so easily be given. "I can go free?"
"Certainly. If you prove agreeable to what I say, Herr Strasser and I will immediately escort you to safety. But of course there are some conditions attached to the deal."
Conditions. That sounded cryptic, almost ominous. Willie Froehlich was sickened by the prospect of returning to the bordello-like existence that would have permeated Ravenskopf since its refurbishment, or to life as a personal whore to some high-rank official.
Naujocks shuffled his broad thigh against the tabletop and his next comment referred to neither of those things. "You've no doubt heard of Rudolph Hess."
Willie nodded, rubbing his unshaven cheeks as if trying to wash them. "Herr Hess was the Deputy Fuehrer of the Nazi Party. He recently flew himself to England to negotiate peace with the British. It was his own idea. Hitler insists he was demented."
Naujock nodded. "You understand the gist of it. And although his idea was fantastic, it was not without some merit, and I have the permission of the High Command to attempt something similar. I need your assistance to do it, Willie. You are known to be a person who hates war, and I wish you to take your passion to England."