A SMILE IN THE SKY...
was waiting for YOU!
Want to smile, my Friend...? If so, hang on!
YOU are Invited to
fly with me back in time... It's going to be a bumpy ride... so hold on to me and be prepared for the unexpected... Oh, yessss! Any secret code word to enter? Yessss...
**** ( It is magical, dear.)
Done... or not... only today, all of a sudden we are not only lighter than a breath of air... We're even invisible as we silently enter through
an open window, a key hole... a crack in a wall... emerge from under an old door... Watch out! Ohhh, dear... Aaa... Achouuuu! Oooops! Sorry! ... too dusty I'm afraid... Ooops! Almost there now... Hope no one noticed us! Naaaah... Come on!
You must meet the protagonist my Willoughby, who is quite a paradox and like opening a sealed, exciting jar... full of... you decide... In need of editing of course, I have called
"Forever and Beyond."
Part One, is called: To believe is Not to Know.
Do forgive the vulgar language at times... You see this is not only a mystery, it is a very, very human novel.
About what we Humans do, don't and do when we don't know what to do.
for a bit of enjoyment for now... and a smile, I present to YOU:
Monk or Minstrel...?
Neuscwanstein Castle Bavaria, Friday April 19. 1940
A suppressed bang instantly followed the Nazi salute. Mauser quality and German efficiency had anew silenced a p08 Luger shot. The more audible second sound was heard by the
same three men after the tallest of them fell, collided with the old basement floor and blood splashed. Even so, the shot prisoner kept smiling like a sardonic, avenging angel… having a short dark beard wet with blood… and ungodly thoughts;
Holy mackerel and corset strings, Gruebel!
Hardly gone forever, astonishing did not even begin to describe the clandestine prisoner. Not only dangerous, he possessed several talents…
Until just a moment ago, he had repeated the same song in an intolerable, London East End Cockney dialect… for days. A grown man, he was as
stubborn as a heap of mules, as persistent as toenail fungus and vocal like a tireless, tormenting youngster, but now there was finally silence, at least for a few seconds. Blessed silence, on a chilly afternoon…
Far from smiling, Udo Gruebel’s Commanding Officer, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt P. Engel, broke the short silence, purple with rage;
“My ear! He bit my ear off!”
Suddenly pale with shock, even so Engel was not touching the torn and throbbing left side of his head. He stood as unyielding as a bronze sculpture not only staring at the blood spattered cutthroat razer on the
floor next to his elegant boots, Gruebel had polished… with champagne. The chained prisoner had even managed to disgrace the shiny leather with blood. Unforgiving, tall, blond, grey eyed and immensely proud to be a true German Aryan, Engel was
convinced he was of a superior race. A Master Race, shining like flawless diamond in a priceless crown… Soon embracing the whole earth.
Not showing any weakness, the SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer proud of his nickname ‘bloodhound,’
stood with the bearing of royalty, refusing to give out a single groan of pain albeit he strangely knew he was hurting worse than someone tortured by the medieval Spanish Inquisition, he enjoyed reading about. Convinced he was as tough as German steel from
Solingen, the ‘City of Blades,’ he bit his teeth together with force and did not even wince slightly. Anew, silence invaded the austere small room as he stared at Udo Gruebel, clearly born a peasant twonk, with grandparents from ‘wherever,’
and perhaps even Poland full of Jews. In March last year, the arrogant, stiff upper lipped British… Napoleon had called a nation of shopkeepers, dared to assure Polish independence, even insisting Britain would come to the aid of the Poles, should Germany
invade. A few months later, the Germans invaded Poland, and Britain declared War on the first day of September 1939.
his chilling light grey eyes away from the shorter German SS officer of lesser rank, Engel was convinced dowdy Udo Gruebel was of minor quality. Not only were his eyes and hair as brown as shit, Gruebel had shit for brains as well. Engel had no doubt about
“Disobeying orders will cost you, Ignoramus… Cretin!”
“But… just a moment ago you gave me an order, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel; Do
your duty, Gruebel… Stop this hellish torture at once, you said. I did, sir.”
“I never said that!” Engel gave Gruebel a look that could freeze hell.
Anew there was silence.
Gruebel just stood staring at the wall behind the prisoner. Like a contemporary painting expressing pain, the grey of the old stone wall had come alive with vivid red splattered all the way down to the floor where blood spread out and embraced the edges of
a cold, dark stone, sticking out. On it was the prisoner’s drinking cup, hardly ever containing water. Again, seeing that the grey foam he had made to shave the prisoner had a reddish tint, Gruebel instantly recalled Engel proudly declaring with a delighted
smirk, just a few minutes ago;
“Nifty soap made in a ‘Work Camp’
in Poland… about 40 Jews result in 25 kilos of soap! Working hard they are scrawny, so RIF Soap hardly contains any fat at all… Observe, Gruebel!”
Still an anonymous mystery, the prisoner was unusually tall and well-built. Obviously in his late twenties or very early thirties, he had not only produced a singing marathon for three days and nights without having
a morsel of food, a sip of water or using the bucket… whilst being so loud, the whole castle might hear him. Engel had been incapable of rest or a little sleep, certain the singing was more than infuriating. It was downright humiliating to be powerless
and hindered to order Gruebel to gag or just punch the singing bastard out. After the first day and night of singing torture, the SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer was even certain his head had become a kicked football about to explode. Now however, not a sound came out
of the shot man who had stubbornly insisted on the Cockney song ‘The Lambeth Walk’ from the 1937 English musical, ‘Me and my Girl.’ By now not only popular in Germany, all of Europe seemed to be dancing and singing ‘The Lambeth
Walk’ with the English. An honoured SS and Nazi Party Member had heatedly insisted the wicked dance that even the British King and Queen enjoyed was just Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping. The British had even dared to humiliate and insult
the proud German Army as well as the Fuerer Adolf Hitler, who still was livid with rage seeing a ridiculous short film the English had made, mocking both him and more with ‘The Lambeth Walk.’ Firmly believing the prisoner possessed too much gumption
daring to sing ‘The Lambeth Walk,’ and humiliated as well, Engel again raised his commanding voice, eyeing Gruebel;
“Nothing but a turd…. “His voice tured into a pitiless sneer; “If I tell Reichsfuerer Himmler what you did, you can count your days!”
Anew hearing insulting blame, Gruebel began to stare at the steel grid safely covering a narrow window high up on the wall. The skies were as grey as the
steel and the soap foam. It was raining. Avoiding the cup with soap, his eyes found the red wall and the floor again. Albeit convinced newly arrived SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel was an ambitious narcissist as well as a sadist, all of a sudden podgy Udo Gruebel
seemed to have unusual compassion;
“If I may… Should have let me shave
the singin' bastard, Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel... sir! Want the ear and the doctor?”
Quickly picking the pale blood stained
ear up from the floor, Gruebel held it delicately between his left thumb and index finger and waved it a little as he thought;
The doctor must see to Captain Engel’s ear… and the…
A human bite was bad, but no was no. It was as simple as that and not really
the SS Junior Squad Leader’s problem. Besides, it could have been worse, much worse. Even Adolf Hitler knew that, realizing at a young age a few "things" that usually came in pairs not always did… or a ‘twin’ was lost… The Gestapo
however, now seemed to be an excellent substitute for Hitler’s missing twin. A teeny piece of newspaper covering a cut on Udo Gruebel’s clean-shaven chin had lost importance as well. Still aiming his adored semi-automatic Luger at the
prisoner with his right hand, Gruebel kept gawking mesmerized at the blood-spattered ear he liked to keep, just for the hell of it. Finally, ‘affable Udo’ gave the still bearded prisoner a brown stare and snarled;
“… You! Professor...!”
The silent prisoner did not move. A swift kick in his shot thigh changed that. Still not uttering a single sound he moved a bit, but only enough to hold up an insulting, blood stained middle
finger. Refraining from uttering a single word to the nincompoop Gruebel, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel scrutinized the obscene finger, thinking delighted;
Got you… Got you! The Americans give the middle finger! The British ‘Up Yours’… is made with the index and the middle finger… You are an American… Mister
Monk! Jawohl! Yes! Finally, a mistake…
Perhaps having solved the puzzle of the prisoner’s nationality, Engle
accepted his cold ear, now wanting the doctor as well, but he still did not mention any medical help. Finally finding out and proving who the prisoner really was might be a piece of ‘Apple Strudel’… together with an old, priceless Family
Bible on his bed. Slightly satisfied, Engel held a cautious hand over the jagged skin where his left ear had been. The pain was again excruciating.
“Be brave and as strong as German steel, Reinhardt! Think of something lovely…!”His austere mother of noble origin had insisted for years, and he had.
Not only enjoying fine art, now a grown man with culture, thirty two year old Reinhardt began to think of the painter Vincent van Gogh and his missing ear… the Dutch
artist had offered a woman…. employed in whorehouse. Anew his cold eyes found the fear provoking Death Scull badge on his uniform hat still on the floor, certain it was a fact the badge had been worn by the proud Prussian Brunswick ‘Life Guard
Battalion’ at Waterloo in 1815, as well as the Swedish Hussars in 1761, brave SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt P. Engel, picked his hat up himself and put it on, even trying to grin a bit, but failed. The left side of his head was throbbing so badly, it
felt as if a merciless, sledge kept pounding on it… Thump… thump… thump…!
Engel closed his tired eyes for a split second. The irony
was tremendous, for this clandestine prisoner was not to be tortured. At least not the in any of the usual ways… Engel however, was proud to be a specialist of many effective and interesting ways of torture. Fear… and worse, horrid terror
was clearly the worst with so many still fearing death and the hot, eternally burning inferno of hell.
To hell with van Gogh!
Barking into a ‘hush-hush’ telephone in Berlin, it was Heinrich Luitpold Himmler
himself who had phoned Engel, and a great honour. Leading SS since 1929, Reichsfuerer Himmler was not only Chief of the Protection Squadron and a leading member of the Nazi Party. Answerable only to Adolf Hitler, he was one of the most powerful men in Germany
and certainly the Leader of the ‘Death Sculls.’ His Godfather had been Prinz Heinrich of Bavaria. Heinrich Himmler had not only told Engel to do his duty, an order from him was law as he insisted;
“SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt Percival Engel… From today, you are appointed Chief of the Confidential Operation…
‘Thumb.’ Do your duty! Discover what the prisoner knows… and prove who he is, promptly! Relying on your expertise, our beloved Fuerer Adolf Hitler wishes to see you and him in May. Not expecting to see a tortured carcass… so never…
I repeat never torture this prisoner… tangibly! Heil Hitler!”
This was different and a real challenge…
Habitual torture using water was easy. SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel preferred a little ‘twist,’ simply putting a chained prisoner under a drip that fell on his clean shaven head… plock… plock… plock… After only a
week or so of that, anyone would profess, or become as mad as a hatter and of no use. Having an animal eating its way out of a tortured body for a few days… done after strapping a not too large rat in a steel cage without a floor to an abdomen had always
worked well, but stinking humane intestines made it messy. A small snake that grew and slowly ate its way out of a stomach and body, was less untidy and even more effective… The thing was, male prisoners usually died shortly after Engel heard what he
wanted. Women were tortured differently, always gagged and more…
Instructions coded by the German unbreakable and modified
Enigma I services arrived four days later with more detailed orders … As well as several fine French wine and champagne bottles and luxurious, pale silver grey Persian caviar. Feeling even more appreciated, Engel had already sent the Reichsfuerer
three lovely paintings arriving at Neuschwanstein Castle. Heinrich Himmler would definitely like the two Monets and the Picasso… a couple of rich Jews would no longer miss.
Always competent and convenient to please Himmler, Reinhardt P. Engel had already received The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross… with Oak Leaves. Done well, this new ‘Operation Thumb,’
could definitely end in another generous promotion, or more. Even though ardent with admiration, Engel had simply answered Himmler in his ‘discreet’ SS office in the ‘secured basement’ at Neuschwanstein Castle of all places, exclaiming;
“Yes, Herr Reichsfuerer!” Several times, finally ending with an enthusiastically;
Hardly ever showing much emotion, he had even banged his champagne polished boots doggedly together to confirm he adored Adolf Hitler, Chancellor and Head of the German State as well as the
Armed Schutzstaffel, shortened to SS.
Now holding gently on to his severed ear, he finally gave Gruebel an accusing stare
“Not… to be tortured, cretin Gruebel! The shot
by you is… Torture, dumbass peasant! You are to blame! You will be severely punished, which means… Shot! Find the doctor!”
“Yes, Sir!” If I may…”
“You may not!” It was a brassy howl a pack of wolves would have been proud of. Even so Gruebel quickly put away the Luger insisting;
“I was only defending you, sir… I might be wrong… but he could have bitten off your Roman nose as well, the fine nose of a leader, sir! Imagine! Not only having teeth
sharper than scissors, spitting out the ear, you were lucky not to lose an eye as well, sir!”
Engel wanted to give him
a look that would have reduced Michelangelo’s Pieta to ashes, but Gruebel had escaped to find the doctor. The SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer sat heavily down on the only rickety excuse of a chair in the small room and began to stare holes in the air. Not having
much if any compassion for anyone, but the thought of such an atrocity done to himself, was more than torture. Abruptly wishing he was home in Solingen... But impatient, his irritated eyes scrutinized the floor and the blood, all of sudden shining like full
bodied red Merlot wine as lightening sent dazzling, crooked claws all over the dark skies and thunder boomed… Once.
dark clouds were gone so sudden, the grey rainy light came as a shock. Engel just stared at the lower part of a hated mask on the floor that had not even covered all of the prisoner’s neck. After removing it to shave him, even so the back of his head
and robust neck were still covered by black leather. Clearly dark haired, he was no longer sticking out a hairy, mulish chin under an unruly moustache that still covered a bit of a determined full underlip. Again, Engel’s eyes asked for the umpteenth
Why the mask… and why is he here? Why…?
There had been very little information about the mask, but Reinhardt ‘bloodhound’ Engel certainly sniffed around and had
received an interesting yet not certified explanation made a year ago in Berlin, he still had to read. By now he was certain this mysterious prisoner… almost treated like royalty… was surely a man who liked to play games.
For now, he still had to sleep like many common soldiers on the floor, yet he never complained, neither of the cold, the lack of water, the filthy bucket
Gruebel emptied once a week, but never washed, his drinking cup… Engel enjoyed pissing in, or his meagre bowl of food covered by the SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer’s gobs of spit. Instead the aggravating Professor found ‘remedies’ and even smiled.
Mostly not hearing him say much… Engel knew Monk was like a deadly scorpion. It had to be him. The sting was suddenly there, but strangely a terrifying gentleman… there seemed to be a warning first and more…
Hmmm… a fine way to instil fear..
Engel was convinced of that. Monk was ruthless. Whoever he was, what was known was that he 'took care' of 'things,' and not only that... He was an expert, the best of the best, even disappearing
without a trace, just like a ghost in a heap of old Victorian rags.
he's a prisoner and here...? Who caught him... Gestapo? They never found his Ruger LCP... Who took Monk's pistols?
Ruger LCP certainly a fine trophy, but a prisoner just arriving 'down and out,' his 'useful' Glock 27 pistol had not appeared either. There were many questions needing answers. Engel knew the British were not only training 'Special Operations Excecutives,'
shortened to SOE. Trained better and better, they jumped out of planes wherever they were ordered to accomplish a mission, and did, if not taken prisoners or simply shot by the Germans. This prisoner however, seemed to be more than highly trained, if he was
Monk, he even had a talent for simplifying in brilliant ways normal people could not even begin to understand. Engel was not amused.
Were you sent to... 'take care' of Adolf Hitler?
The German he
spoke like a native turned out to be perfect, but so was his upper-class British English, Cockney dialect, French, his American English… at times spoken with a southern accent Scarlett O’Hara, the protagonist in the novel ‘Gone with the
Wind’ would have enjoyed. His Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese, Polish, Italian and more… were just as perfect and utterly confusing. He knew Hindi and other languages of India well and could even speak like an Arab. More than
tormenting, this prisoner was clearly a language genius with unusually high intellect, not only understanding well Greek and Latin, even insisting;
“Non sciere est credere… To believe is not to know.”
Latin… What the hell… can’t the bastard see my proud academical Heidelberg Mensur scar… I received fencing at the best university there is?
Engel had instantly thought enraged, immensely proud of the long scar on his right chin, proving he was brave man. A few times the Professor had even mentioned things in detail
Engel had no idea what were, aggravating the Hauptsturmfuehrer almost to madness even adding;
“The more I learn… the more I discover how very little I know.”
Smiling a bit, showing perfect 'Hollywood movie star' teeth yet obviously humble, Engel could not hate him more. Even so Engel celebrated, eager to unravel this cryptic case, not only opening the Bible on his bed, after the certainly able Professor agreed to
Arriving Neuschwanstein Castle two weeks earlier than Engel, it was Gruebel who had received him. Evidently
quickly hand cuffed, tied and put in a large sack after being drugged and sleeping like a baby, the Professor was ‘delivered’ well dressed... but without shoes, a hat, any jewelry or even a wrist watch. Wearing a distinguished grey three-piece
suit clearly made in Savile Row in London, he was even donning a luxurious French shirt and tie as well, but seeing his head and face were covered by a black leather mask, Gruebel had been truly excited. Admiring Don Diego Vega, secretly Zorro ever since he
was a boy, Udo Gruebel could not be more delighted, and certainly told Engel about Zorro when he arrived. Engel had just stared at podgy Gruebel with incredulous eyes, certain he was a simpleton, but even so one following orders like a well-trained dog and
nothing extraordinary at all. What was extraordinary was the prisoner’s wallet, Engel scrutinized. Apart from French and German money and a bit more of no importance, it contained a photograph of a very beautiful blond, young woman, curved in all the
right places. Over the lovely front of the picture she had written;
For YOU, my Darling,
with all my Love.
At the back, another female had clearly written; Greta Beckstroem 1938. Sniffing everywhere, Engel had finally
discovered that a Swedish Greta Beckstroem, who might have been a spy… had been killed or murdered by a lorry near les Halles aux vins market, on Quai Saint-Bernard in Paris. The lorry driver was never found and not extraordinary either, what was…
it happened after the prisoner arrived at Neuschwanstein Castle. Not a single relative in Sweden claimed her body that was cremated without further ado, but… The Professor had no idea she was dead. Had she not been dead, Engel could easily have remedied
that… after very little ‘persuasion’ was needed to hear her hardly able to whisper, ‘a few words.’ Excited, Engel instantly thought;
Aaaah… pink, sweet marzipan… plump strawberries…. And a warm, magical tunnel…
Quickly drying up a bit of slobber from his lips with his handkerchief and soon spotless and correct, Engel’s chilling eyes again scrutinized the blond beauty in the picture thinking;
Are you a spy or an agent as well… speaking so many languages… Mister Monk?
When the prisoner finally woke up, he found himself in a well-worn and too small grey prison pyjama, and a couple
of weeks later, seeing fuming SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt P. Engel standing over him;
“I am SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt P. Engel… “He even made a pause for extra effect; “… I can assure the day you can't say my name… You are as good as dead… Mister Monk!”
Not expecting any answer, the prisoner just seemed to stare at the red blanket with the Swastika, Grubel had covered him with, but then he said in perfect
“Awfully sorry to disappoint, but I am clearly Santa Claus… Ho,
Engel could have killed the cocky bastard, right then and there.
Yes… War is an Art, but so is duelling… now I am the one slapping a damn fine gauntlet in your face, Monk!
Soon the large wheels on Engel’s new German reel to reel Magnetophone tape recorder turned around and around
for hours and days whilst the brown magnetic tape kept picking up what the prisoner read, said and even translated with an easily recognizable deep voice. Engel had quickly sent the ‘confidential tapes’ he had named ‘Caviar’ to several
SS language specialists. Every time the outcome had been the same and Reinhard’s patience had almost come to an end. Now learned professors kept insisting he was a native German from Berlin, or an upper class Englishman from Kent, or a native Frenchman
as well as an Italian from Sicily and more… even Welsh, Scottish or Irish, but there was never a single specialist who had heard of someone who could speak so many languages. One professor even mentioned he sounded… ‘Medieval’ once,
in both English and French. The prisoner never mentioned Greta Beckstroem. Not even once.
On top of all that, orders were
that only the lower half of the mask he wore could be removed before shaving him. The hair on his head was not to be cut. The persistent bastard over 6 feet 2” was certainly someone sticking out in a crowd. The colour of his eyes could not be seen, nor
his ears, but he could see and hear through holes in the leather mask. Thoroughly closed by a strange lock fastened over his heart with several wires as well as to the upper mask, was a puzzle as well. Clearly having seen a Gestapo photograph of the lock,
Heinrich Himmler had simply stated;
from the SS Explosive Device Disposal Service have never seen the likes of this device… Just do your duty SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel! Specialists insist if the lock is broken, opened or toyed with in any way, the lock might highly likely explode and
kill this prisoner and perhaps even those around him, and then there’s nothing but blood sausage and Bavarian liver pudding meat… so to speak… Heil Hitler!”
“I thank you for the much appreciated information, Herr Reichsfuerer! Heil Hitler!” Was all Engel could say, even trying hard to be humble.
What now…? Adolf Hitler himself wanted to see him in May and willing to die for the Fuerer and the Fatherland, even so Engel would rather shoot himself
now than being ‘served a dishonourable Luger’… or ending up as humiliating blood sausage meat. The ear was enough.
Yes, fear is torture…
Engel could not agree more, content
nothing had happened when the prisoner fell. The thing was that he was the one expected to torture the prisoner, not the other way around. Unable to photograph much of his face, Engel had decided to take pictures of the rest of him. Ready with his German Zeiss
Ikon camera and a new roll of film, and whilst Gruebel aimed his adored Luger at the Professor’s head, he was ordered to undress. He did, but to his dismay, Engel discovered the bastard had more to offer the ladies than he had and more…
Who the devil does he think he is… Tarzan?
Quickly lowering his tortured eyes, Engel again stared at the Death Scull on his hat put on a shaky table, whilst remembering having seen that the proud 3rd. Panzer
Division had the badge on their uniforms as well. There was little film left as he began ogling a pair of hairy, long legs any Footman would have been proud of… more than a century ago. How he knew that, he had no idea. As his German camera clicked,
Engel certainly noticed that the prisoner had perfect skin, not seeing any birthmarks of freckles. He did however, have a few scars… but nothing more than a male who liked to play football, the English Rugby game might have... or Polo, again remembering
the legs and thighs.
“Enough!” Was all Engel finally barked out, shortly
after the humiliating Professor anew declared;
“Remember, Engel… War
is an Art. Simplifying… To win, one must find an element of surprise and even appear weak when not… and then… cataplum!”
A fine piece of Art you are, you goddamn bastard! Think I’m a twonk like Gruebel? What the devil is this…?
Engel had instantly thought. Quickly looking up the word cataplum, he had discovered was Spanish and meant bang or crash. He stared at the prisoner. He had not moved.
Hmmm… He certainly is an ‘element of surprise’…
No longer having a single doubt about that, Engel was not only feeling blood running down the side of his face and seeping into his usually
impeccable uniform. Not looking at the cold ear he tenderly held in his hand, now there was only pain… devilish pain. He stood up and picked up the last reports he had received from Berlin, the nitwit Gruebel must have dropped. Quickly putting
the papers on the small repulsive table by the chair, he could not make out if both had been painted green or blue. The old paint was peeling off but were just right for a prisoner without a bed or a bit of straw. Clearly feeling cold, the Professor had even
dared to tear a hole and make what he called a ‘poncho’ out of his only red woollen blanket adorned by a fine Hakenkreuz, whilst insisting;
“The word ‘Swastika’…. your stolen Hakenkreuz and formal symbol of the Nazi Party is actually from Sanskrit, but calm down. It means ‘good luck’ and more… a sacred
symbol not only in Hinduism and Buddhism as well. There you are, Engel. Certain Germans sooner or later will be forgiven being guilty of … thievery… I’m now covered by good luck… yesss, and patience… well, even godliness…
Just an option…”
Lecturing me? To hell with you, Professor!
The blanket was swiftly removed and instead he was given a small tattered Union Jack, the British flag adopted in 1801, but the one he
was given looked like shit and he did not turn into a ‘poncho.’ This was War. He was right. It was an Art. Unlike any other, an ‘infuriating challenge’ did not even begin to describe this prisoner.
He might know where he is and perhaps all about the ‘evacuated’ art pieces here… Why is he here at Neuschwanstein Castle?
Why…? What can he possibly want locked up and chained to the wall…
Asking himself those questions hundreds
of times, nothing made sense, but even so Engel was certain he would soon find answers and more. Expected of him, he had to. Even trying hard to be affable… for a couple of days, not only wanting to discover the Professor’s likes and dislikes,
but how his brain worked, Engel had spoken of the Bavarian King Ludwig II, possibly murdered in 1886, only forty one years old.
“Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm… in English, Louis Otto Frederic… William… A common English name, even aristocrats like…”
Not showing any reaction at all to the SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer’s remark, the prisoner simply listened… or was cold as a fish. People always reacted in some way, hearing their own
name. Having a long list of male names Engel kept thatching off, it seemed William was the next name to eliminate. He even mentioned a couple of ‘things’ hardly spoken of, telling the King had spent enormous amounts of money. All his royal revenues
were soon gone and deep in debt, he was declared insane. There was even an ‘Element of Surprise,’ and Engel certainly mentioned that tall and handsome King Ludwig II of Bavaria who became King at 18, was not much interested in women, preferring
males… Again, Engel paused. Anew nothing.
“The young King never married
or produced an heir, but there was an aura of mystique around the introverted ‘Swan or Fairy-tale’ King who built Romanesque Neuschwanstein Castle, with sky-high towers."
Again, scrutinizing the prisoner, there still was no reaction, but Engel did not stop;
“Having a poor sense of reality, hating public events and preferring seclusion, even so he was a great patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Honouring him with an extraordinary German castle, the King
only spent eleven nights and days enjoying… and less than you.”
Nothing. Engel scrutinized the black mask. Nothing,
but thinking of all the opulence in the embellished rooms the King had enjoyed, the Hauptsturmfuehrer had even managed a sarcastic little smile, before mentioning his favourite opera ‘Percival,’ he had been named after. An SS-Officer of importance,
Engel even informed the Professor that Sir Percival had been a Knight of King Arthur’s ‘Round Table,’ bravely searching for the Holy Grail, representing eternal youth and life.
Just calmly listening, but when Engel finished speaking, the Professor had spoken about Mozart and his comical opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro.’ After humming a bit, he suddenly
began to sing for a couple of minutes from Don Basilio’s Aria… in Italian, surprisingly having an amazing tenor voice full of humour and feeling.
Think I’m a kraut brained cretin? I am an expert of challenging puzzles, goddamn bastard… Wait till I’ll put all the pieces together and then we shall see… Engel
had at first thought.
Now unable to forget the torture of ‘The Lambeth Walk,’ mystery man had presented for days
sounding like an intolerable common Cockney youngster, Engel realized that the Professor might even be able to imitate various male voices.
Hmmm… Himmler might like to know that, but before informing him, I need to prove who the disguised bastard is, dammit! For an SS Officer there are no difficulties. Never! Well… if he
keeps making mistakes…
Engel finally forced himself to look at the report from Berlin, but the letters were blurry.
Even so he managed to read that the Professor might even be a German fighter pilot.
The SS Hauptsturmfuehrer was immediately certain the Professor was too tall to be a German fighter
pilot and a traitor. Any German taller than 6 feet 2” was not accepted by the German Luftwaffe, and a fact mostly due to the tight size of the fighter plane cockpits of the German backbone, the Messerschmidt Bf 109. Now sorely needing fighter pilots,
the British Royal Air Force had not set any height limits, and the Americans had not found any reason to declare war. Anew Engel scrutinized the silent prisoner and forgot the pain for a few seconds;
You can’t be sleeping, asshole! Engel aimed his Luger at his left thigh, stomped his feet and barked out;
The Professor did not move… but all of sudden he showed his perfect teeth growling;
He must have seen that Engel suddenly tried
to jump a little backwards. The rickety chair almost turned over and the still chained prisoner grinned and said;
“Another ‘Element of Surprise.’ This is ridiculous…”
Engel was humiliated. He put his loaded Luger away. The Professor’s voice was husky. Engel had no idea whether it was from all the singing or due to pain. Hoping it was the latter or both, he sent a gob of spit at the mask, wishing he could crush the
bastard like he would a disgusting fly… or if the he needed a dentist… He would certainly like to ‘play dentist’ with him. Without saying a single word, Engel scrutinized him with steel knives in his eyes.
For now, I shall only piss on you…
He did, like a racehorse. The urine splashing over the Professor’s legs, quickly mixed
with the blood on the floor.
“Ah, April showers!” The Professor commented, sounding
gruffy but amused. Anew Engel wanted to kill him.
Are you the Monk who does
not pray… or the British Spitfire bastard with the ‘bloody Thumb’… nicknamed ‘The Bobby’…? Or both? I shall soon find out who you are… Mister Monk… Yes! Where the hell is Gruebel and Doctor
Erwin von Birkenheim?
Engel again thought, desperate with pain and longing for the doctor to arrive. Feeling nauseous
seeing his own blood, he refused to look at the blood spotted handkerchief he now gently wrapped his ear in. Anew his eyes slid over the Professor who was no longer smiling. Wondering what his ears looked like, ears were a good source used to identify, for
nobody had exactly the same ears just like a solid male ‘magic wand’… much lower, mostly only women saw… but hardly photographed. Not necessarily a Jew, even though Engel had certainly discovered there was an indication that he perhaps
The creative, tall bastard certainly finds ways to torture
Usually done with ingenious sophistication, the Professor was enormously good at this ‘game.’
He knows... he's not to be tortured... but how? Who…
Reichsfuerer Himmler himself had assured Engel that Gruebel
was completely trustworthy and would never betray Engel, but only Gruebel and the Doctor knew the prisoner was not to be tortured. Tall, blond and blue eyed Doctor Erwin von Birkenheim was not only a perfect Aryan. Undeniably from a fine family, he was clearly
a man with culture and even an SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer who had studied in Heidelberg as well.
The Doctor… Never, and Grubel is a dumb-scull. Where the devil are they…?
thought again, and a man of importance not having a single thought concerning the other patients the doctor might have. All of a sudden there was loud music. It was a favourite march he truly appreciated.
Hitler Youth… Yes… those were the days…
Sitting up straight as a candle, Reinhardt tried hard to forget his ghastly headache and the horrendous pain. Anew he closed his weary eyes for a split second.
As a rule, void of humour, tired and eager to see the lower part of the prisoner’s face well; this afternoon SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Reinhardt P. Engel had even smiled after receiving
orders to finally shave him. German meticulous precision were more than just words. They were religion… and Reinhardt was definitely a believer. Everything had to be neat, in order and the prisoner was no exception. Tomorrow was the German Chancellor
and Leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler’s 51st. birthday. Anew Germans all over the Third Reich would rejoice hearing the Fuehrer’s great eloquence broadcasted and Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria was certainly included. Much
anticipated, Engel was convinced additional loud speakers had been set up not only in the towers of the castle and as expected, by now all of them were clearly working to perfection. Soon hearing the German military march “Old Comrades” booming
out of the speakers, the march made everyone certain of that. Proud to honour their beloved Fuehrer, and as always when eager to celebrate, several long red banners decorated with black Swastikas would surely be hung up on the castle walls as well, making
every officer and soldier even more proud to be German and an Aryan of a Master Race.
Unable to sleep and sneaking outside to sniff a bit at
three in the morning, the banners were a joy to see. The castle was already looking festive a day early and albeit absent, the Commandant and Hitler’s Chief SS Ideologist Alfred Rosenberg had clearly made certain no details were forgotten… or
else, which meant shot for disobeying orders.
The castle was strangely silent at three in the morning. No one was yelling out orders and not
a single lorry arrived. It was not silence as thick as Dutch syrup, but even so silence often felt before a storm. Standing in a corner, Engel could still hear the prisoner sing. Not wearing his proud hat with the Death Scull badge covering his thinning hair,
instead he wore a long black cloak with a hood. Staring up at an eerie moon mirrored in his icy eyes and holding up an old Death Scull badge as he hid in a corner, he oddly seemed to be a pale ghost from long since…
April 20. and undeniably Adolf Hitler’s birthday was an extremely special day no German of the Third Reich ought to forget for as long as he lived.
The Fuehrer had not only made the Germans proud of their Fatherland once again. True Aryan culture would again impress the world, not only soon cutting the snotty Brits and the unruly, emotional French down to size.
Still not ogling his wrapped up ear or the prisoner, there was only one problem… Engel now thought;
Hmmm… If Alfred Rosenberg could so easily prove to the Fuerer Adolf Hitler, that his racial theories are correct, it ought to be a piece of sweet Luebeck marzipan for me to ascertain
the Professor is Monk. Still not exactly the case, even so every Nazi Party Member is now convinced Adolf Hitler and Rosenberg are right. Aryans are definitely of a superior Master Race. Czechs and Poles are subhuman whilst the Jews and the blacks at the very
bottom are much less than subhuman.
Engel finally looked at the large linen handkerchief his mother had embroidered his initials on,
but now contained his severed ear, whilst he firmly believed he only needed something he did not have much of; Time.
Gruebel had first tried to find the doctor using a field telephone in the usual brown bakelite box with a swivel, but no one answered. Hurrying along a short basement corridor showing four doors leading
to fairly small locked rooms, one of them was now an office, earlier used as a storage room for the finest priceless treasures that had been quietly removed. Such art treasures kept arriving on covered military lorries. First all sorts of art pieces were numbered,
then photographed, neatly registered in thick books and finally safely put in crates in several places inside the exclusive ‘Castle Art Depot.’ Adolf Hitler wanted all of it in his ‘Fuerermuseum,’ planned to show German culture in the
Austrian city of Linz, not too far from he was born. Now not only an industrial powerhouse, Linz was going to be the most beautiful city on the Danube river and the museum would be the greatest in all of Europe. After walking up several stairs and opening
and closing a door at the end of a narrow corridor lit by two military bunker lamps, Udo Gruebel took a deep, tired breath and stared at the sign on the solid oak door, now fortified by hidden steel;
FORBIDDEN! Do NOT Enter!
Soon seeing the Death Scull on
his uniform cap and just saluted with ‘Heil Hitler,’ Gruebel was hardly ever spoken to or asked any questions by any common soldiers or other officers outside. Out of American Camels, he lit a German Eckstein cigarette and closed his eyes, enjoying
a moment of peace. Even though sick to his back teeth of SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Engel, there was even admiration in Gruebel's nasty grin. Today forbidden had gotten a whole new meaning. Suddenly smiling a little, he certainly looked forward to finding the doctor…
Copyright©2013 Kari M. Knutsen
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