Then you should be able to fake it better. How did they spot you, by the way?
Lice, Rotheram said, making a face. I didnt have any. They saw I wasnt
The other shook his head.
And hows the rib?
Sore, but I can work.
All right. You want some excitement, then?
Hawkins began writing out a chit on his blotter, and Rotheram felt a surge of
Im giving you a staff car, sending you on a little trip. Youre off to Wales,
Wales? It sounded like a joke. With respect, sir, I want to go east, not
Think of it as a little holiday, the CO said drolly. Youre going to see
Rotheram paused, watching Hawkinss pen twitch across the page.
No, Rudolph ruddy Reindeer. Who do you think?
Rotheram had seen Hess once before, in Germany, in 35. The only one of the
party leaders he d ever glimpsed in person. It was at a football match. Hertha
Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen. Hess had arrived with his entourage a little after
kickoff. Thered been a popping of flashbulbs, a stirring in the crowd, and then
the referee had blown the whistle and stopped the game for the players to give
the Heil Hitler. Hess had returned the salute smartly and gone back to signing
autographs. Hed been deputy führer then, a post he d held until 1941 when hed
flown to Britain. It had been a sensation at the time was he a traitor? was he
on a secret mission? but now Hess was almost an afterthought.
Even if he has any secrets left theyd be old hat, Rotheram observed.
He still has at least one, apparently, the CO said, placing the travel orders
on top of a thick file. We dont know if he s sane or not. He s tried to kill
himself a couple of times, and he s been claiming selective amnesia for years.
Says he has no recollection of anything important. Not of his mission, not of
the war. Its all a fog, supposedly.
If so, he s doing a splendid job. Hes been maintaining the same story pretty
much since landing in Scotland.
Rotheram looked at the file on the desk between them, the dog-eared pages bound
together with ribbon.
What makes you think Ill be able to crack him?
Not sure you will, my boy. Plenty of others have had a go.
Medics, intel bods. The Americans.
But you dont trust them.
The CO sighed. Hess is the biggest name we have so far, and if there s a trial
when this is all over, he s likely to be a star in it. Only not if he s gaga.
Not if he s unbalanced, you follow? Itll make a mockery. Problem is, if we
dont put him up, itll smell fishy to the Soviets. Theyre convinced he came
here to conclude a peace between us and the Nazis to leave them free to
concentrate in the East. Hawkins shook his head. The one thing for sure is if
he does end up in the dock, well be the buggers building the case. I just want
someone I know to have a look-see.
This isnt exactly what I had in mind when I asked for a transfer.
In which we serve, dear boy, the CO told him with a shrug. Youre going up
the wall, so Im giving you something. He smiled, then craned forward again.
You want a role in the trials? You want to play a part in that? Well, this is
the beginning. Do this right and you might do yourself some good.
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