Heidi filled me in on what we were doing and how I should act. Apparently, I was her American boyfriend and travel companion for the near future and she was my German girlfriend. I was okay with that. Actually, I was very okay with having this obviously intelligent, attractive woman with just a slight accent as my companion for a few days. I knew that acting like her boyfriend would be easy as long as I didn’t let my imagination run away with me and start to believe she really was my girlfriend. After all, we had just met and getting to know her would be something we could do on the twelve hour flight. Did I mention that we were flying coach? I suppose that was because we wouldn’t attract any attention that way. Remember, though, back then coach wasn’t nearly as cramped as it is now and the food was better. The stewardi (is that the plural of stewardess?) were all lovely and were, of course, multi lingual. Heidi spoke to them in German and they all spoke to me in English. I was able to start picking out a few words, eventually, since English has a lot of Germanic influence.
Heidi and I spoke of our life experiences, childhoods, music, and other mutual interests in between naps and meals. She sure was cute when she nodded off and I could feel myself getting a little protective of this lovely person. I had to try and remember that this was just a job. Sometimes that was difficult when she was awake and I looked into those eyes. They were a deep shade of blue with little green flecks.
As we started our descent to Berlin it seemed as though the plane was slowing down more than usual. Heidi noticed the look of concern and told me about the corridors and restrictions of altitude and speed when flying over East German territory and into Berlin. She mentioned the fact that since I was a pilot it would be less stressful if I knew what was going on. It was one of the reasons I was chosen for this job as people not familiar with these ideas of controlled airspace would be more nervous. They wanted someone calm and mellow while in the air leading to the same behavior on the ground. I reminded myself that these employers of mine were pretty smart people to have thought this little charade through so well.
We landed at Berlin Tegel and took about a fifteen minute cab ride to the Savoy Hotel. It was a classic hotel built around 1930 and used to have famous people stay there like Greta Garbo, Henry Miller, Maria Callas, Thomas Mann, and now me and Heidi. We were shown to our room which turned out to be a suite. After I got situated in the room my ”girlfriend” Heidi pulled a key out of her pocket and unlocked the door to the adjoining suite and locked it behind her after she entered. Cool spy stuff, I thought. I took out the maps and places to visit books in the room to see where I was in relation to everything else. We were only about a five minute walk to the Berlin Zoo which would keep me busy for a day or two. It would give me something to do while Heidi was next door doing whatever it was she had to do. While I was out on my own I had the feeling of being watched, but never worried much about it as there was a strong police presence in the parts of Berlin that I saw. I knew that they would be on my side if anything happened.
We had dinners together, but once in a while afterward she would have to go out and take care of business. I worried about her, of course, but she always came back safely. Sometimes we would wander around Berlin and she would show me things that only locals know about. She would translate for me and sometimes be a tour guide when she wasn’t working, but we only stayed for three or four days at a time. Sometimes in public she would take my hand for a while and I had to remember that we were doing this for appearances, not because she really liked me that much. She was a professional after all.
There were three more trips after that and I really enjoyed Heidi’s company. I was just along as a prop, however, and it was a terminal relationship and just a “seasonal” job. I did get to visit with the local police in Berlin on the last visit and they had been keeping an eye on me and Heidi, apparently to make sure we were always okay and not in any danger. I guess they and Interpol took care of their money laundering criminals. I was admiring their jackets as a very comfortable and practical (it covers my butt in the cold winter wind) piece of clothing and they offered me one! I thought it was a great souvenir and it does make a very good barn coat. It also brings back some nice memories.
About a week after my last trip to Berlin I got another piece of mail to be signed for. It was my paycheck for the “work” I did. It was drawn on Deutsche Bank for an amount that shocked me. It was about a year’s salary for any of my normal jobs and I was able to pay off my credit cards and stashed the rest for later. They sent a note with the check thanking me for my service and said I should be discreet with the money. I got a regular nine to five job about a month later and stayed with that until I left the Big City for good. Every once in a while something will trigger a memory and I will think back to that time when I was almost a clandestine operator. Whatever I did had been good enough at the time, but I never heard from any of those people again. It does make me want to take a good long vacation in Germany again someday. And I still have my jacket.