The uninvited weasel, occupying appropriated lodgings had had better days. Certainly, none worse. So much for the mouth-watering anticipation of red light potential and the sheer delight snapshots of ‘spring again’ tulips would bring to loved ones back home.
Deathly quiet within four walls, yet in the street below the sissing of cyclists, the chitter-chatter of panicking stale bread hunters was broken only by the blunt decrees of the hard-nosed uniformed playmaker directing gun totting subordinates toward likely attics and basements where the fearful hid or were hidden, the clatter of jackboots upon cobblestone and the odd terrorized scream of female distress. 1942 in Amsterdam, a place where those not quislings, were either taken on a free train ride, left weeping or resisting the best they knew how.
She could not help but to absorb the grandeur of his purloined surroundings. Albeit that he was a high-ranking officer, he was, in the global plan of things of arguable consequence, he had certainly done alright for himself. Highest ceilings flaunting crystal chandeliers she would, in different circumstances readily swing from, delicious sweeping views of the city from the balcony, a Dutch Master or two adorning aesthetically pleasing walls.
Ever the compassionate assassin, that he was on his knees, hands tied fast behind his back, feet tethered similar, her revolver as good as glued to his temple, she had afforded him the decency of retaining his socks. That that small modesty made him look ridiculous pleased her. Apt revenge for the evil he had orchestrated? She believed that to be the case, besides if God was reticent in coming out to play, then she would play God.
A little earlier, more out of boredom than anything else, she had, with painstaking care, removed from the bridge of his debatable Aryan nose his wire framed spectacles, placed them upon the sumptuous carpet, then, with the heel of his own forsaken boot, smashed them to smithereens before his screwed-up, searching eyes.
She already had all his secrets, and some more. The chapter was near complete. Tilting her head mockingly, her giveaway violet eyes drawn to his near unsighted equivalents, “You really are not as I imagined. All sinewy, half blind, a skinny little fully paid-up member of the self-proclaimed master race.”
Now looking sheepishly at the floor, he mumbled as would a small child caught scrumping apples, “They’ll catch you and kill you…you know that?”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
Without the benefit of lenses, his now reluctant eyes struggled to interpret exactly what she was up to as she slipped on a rubberised glove, upon the palm of which she placed a thin-walled glass oval capsule, the size of a pea. “Stick out your tongue like a good soldier if you wouldn’t mind.” Although now aware of what was coming, his overwhelming desire to cling to dear life just a little longer ensured he almost voluntarily complied. With theatrical aplomb, her rubber protected thumb crushed the cyanide pill against his tongue. Insofar as she allowed, he squirmed a moment as she slammed shut his mouth, holding on tight, locking his jaw. Within just minutes’ consciousness had taken its leave for someplace else. Shortly thereafter the heartbeat followed on behind.
Bagging up his clothing she paused to take a last look at her dead adversary. The thought struck that for his gestapo uniform to be complete, to be authentic, she needed the socks. A pity really, her artistry spoiled. Needs must when the devil drives, the socks she had to have.
It was evening when she returned to the scabby garret we shared on the other side of town.
“Success?” I asked.
“Of course, here, a genuine gestapo officers uniform, boots and all, for your chums in the Resistance for covert activities.”
“Did you get it out of him as to just how much he knows of our whereabouts and operational plans?”
“You wish to debrief me so soon?”
“What do you think?”
A long and not unpleasant post-witching hour sharing both privileged information and each other came to pass. In times of war, I found, as did she, one takes what one can get tout de suite.