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.
Great story Jono! Exciting time in your life. What a wonderful memory.ReplyDelete
Well they must have got the bad guys if everything went so smoothly. In the film version of this story you save Heidi's life and she falls in love with you. Which actors would you cast in the lead roles?ReplyDelete
What a terrific story, very James Bondish. Too bad about the sad lack of exploding pens and custom built Aston Martins though. I wonder where Heidi is now..... perhaps she's reading your blog post?????ReplyDelete
Well, you can legitimately claim to be an International Man of Mystery now!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful story and memory. How on earth did you keep from 'falling in love"? You are a better actor than I would have been.ReplyDelete
A good read - an interesting life. Thanks for sharingReplyDelete
This is so far out of the realm of my life experience I hardly know what to say. I kept expecting you to tell us you were pulling our collective legs!! But then there's the jacket ...ReplyDelete
What a fine story.
A perfect gentleman!ReplyDelete
And you got a jacket!
Nice bit of blarney, Jono!ReplyDelete
You peppered in so many of your real life experiences that I could almost believe it was true.
Now tell the good people in blogland how you really came to have your coat. And get started on the expanded version of your fictional spy story. I have no doubt it will be a good read!
Thanks everyone, but now comes confession time. While some of this story is very factual some of it is purely fiction. You have all been great commenters and I will be expanding this work of fiction thanks to all of you. The fact that you all write well and many of you have written actual books that are fun to read gives me enough confidence to pursue this "factual fiction" story.ReplyDelete
A friend has a coat just like this and I asked him if he could get me one. It is genuine German Police surplus and set me back $40. I wore it to work one day and as it was hanging there in my office this story line came to me. The research was fun as I have never been to Germany, but would love to go some day. Maybe doing much more detailed research for an actual book would "force" me to go. There is so much I would like to see.
Very good Jono! It sounded true enough! Looking forward to reading more.ReplyDelete
Dang it, Jon! "Some are born of true detail and some are purely fiction" seems to fit here :) I'm pretty sure you get the reference.ReplyDelete
Seriously, good going and best wishes as you wade further into this project. And I hope you get to go to Germany.
jenny_o, I actually thought of using those lyrics to out myself. I am glad you did for me. "Raisin' the jar an raisin' hell, there's plenty of stories that they will tell!"ReplyDelete
I was actually living exactly like that back then, but I was never unemployed. I couldn't afford to be.
Again I say, "Well played!" :-) And well written - exactly enough detail and self-deprecation to be completely believable. When you're a bestselling author, we'll all be able to claim we knew you before you were famous.ReplyDelete
It doesn't seem so bad having been a prop ;)ReplyDelete
Just wonderful. I am still shaking my head. The art of taking people in is to always always tell the truth and then. . . It is the long slow curve ball and the fast break over the inside corner.ReplyDelete
At least this way, you can eventually bed Heidi.
Diane of many books, From you that is high praise. Your setup was quite unique and sucked me in for the entire series. Giving the first one away was brilliant marketing. If I make a much longer version I will take all of you out for dinner if I sell enough copies to cover the check.ReplyDelete
Riot Kitty, I am never above being used.
Blog Fodder, In the longer version I might get lucky. I'll need to be convincing if the room is bugged.
I was wondering if it was true of not, as I know Heidi and she never mentioned you! ;)ReplyDelete
Onevikinggirl, That's because she promised to deny everything if asked. I have seen her tattoo, just so you know.;)ReplyDelete
hehehe that was a really good one, pulled the wool over my eyes, probably because I really wanted it to be true.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't mention her tattoo, you never know whoReplyDelete
Very cool story! And as I am catching up with a lot of blog posts all at once, at least I didn't have to wait for the "to be continued" part.ReplyDelete
I totally believed the story until your comment told otherwise.
I think Heidi should be played by Angelina Jolie, and your character by George Clooney.
Pixel Peeper, If Angelina plays Heidi I want to play myself!ReplyDelete
You've got a very natural and believable voice. Fantastic!ReplyDelete
You can call the book "I Dated a German Spy and All I Got Was This Lousy Jacket."ReplyDelete
Jenny Baranick wins the internet for her titleReplyDelete
Jenny, Maybe things will be different in the longer version and I'll get more than a jacket. It's fiction so I can get lucky.ReplyDelete
Blog Fodder, Absolutely!
Great story. Great jacket! You had me going!ReplyDelete
Love this. We have a new son-in-law who is from Berlin. :)ReplyDelete
Donna, Maybe he could show me around some day.ReplyDelete
LL Cool Joe, Thanks! It is a very practical jacket, if nothing else.
I figured there was a bit of fiction in this, but it's still a damn good story. And I like that throughout it you're a complete gentleman. A professional. It speaks to your true character.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this story very much. I meant to tell you so sooner!ReplyDelete
you can write book on this !ReplyDelete
it is fabulous story and the way you described her personality and admired her beauty and displayed your feeling about her is AMAZING.
in Movies in the end both finally realize that they ACTUALLY love each other and live happily eve rafter .
thank you for Good piece of writing.
What an exciting experience you had---and that explains your calm and quiet life now....at least that is what you claim you have now....ReplyDelete
Well, Day-um. I wrote my comment and THEN read the others...you fooled me!ReplyDelete
Jennifer, I'm just happy someone liked it.
baili, Thanks, I hope to do a more detailed and longer version.
Knittergran, Everything about it is true except the German part. I'm glad it sounded believable.