BY NORM ROSOLEN
This is the conclusion of a two part story. Copyright is held by the author.
WE HEAD to Zelda’s in a big black Mercedes. It’s loud. Muffler’s going. I sit in the middle of the back seat, between Bruno and Edna. Each one has a hand on one of my knees. I prefer Edna’s hand. Vilmer’s in front and leans over the back of his seat, sneers, and waves his Nazi pistol at me. If it wasn’t for Bruno, I’d snatch it out of his hand and ram it up his ass. While he’s driving, Walter checks a street map he has pushed against the steering wheel. The car swerves back and forth.
The street lights and headlights zip by the car windows, flick, flick, flick, as we follow the winding, ups and downs, along Main Street. The fog’s as thick as cigar smoke in a lesbo bar, and the wipers swing back and forth, swish, swish, swish. It’s now past my bed-time.
Soon, we’re over the Silverstate Bridge on the road to Georgetown. I think about how to get out of this, and then about who’s coming to my funeral. Not many. Zelda, maybe, if she’s not dead herself.
I stalked her a few times, actually quite a few times, so I know where she lives. We pull up to her place at 11 pm. Her second floor bedroom window is dark, and no naked shadow dances on the curtain. I hope she’s out for the night, maybe banging some rich jerk. Then, I notice the curtain flutters a bit.
Walter and his henchmen force Edna and me ahead of them, and we cut our way through the fog as thick as cotton candy at a Fourth of July carnival. Enough of the creepy streetlight scatters through the drizzle for us to make our way up to her veranda.
“Ring zee bell, Herr Schmade. Bruno.”
There’s no sign of movement, and Walter makes me ring over and over and Bruno keeps smacking me. Walter gets impatient.
“Break zee vindow, Herr Schmade.”
I pull my hand into the sleeve of my jacket to cushion the impact with the glass. It’s not the first time. Then, I see a light snap on at the top of the stairs.
Zelda hurries down and opens the door. She wears a silk kimono that doesn’t hide any of her curves, and her silky blonde hair sweeps around her sapphire eyes and half-way down her back. She doesn’t have any makeup on, but she’s perfection. Walking, talking perfection.
“This is a grand surprise, Stan,” she says, and eyes each of us in our odd little group. She focuses on Vilmer’s gun, then cranes her head up to Bruno’s face, which is flat and blank. Then quickly past Walter to Edna. “It’s nice seeing you again, Edna.” I know they hate each other.
“And to what cause may I ascribe your visit, on this inclement evening,” she says to Walter. Where did the dumb blond pick up that lingo? And she’s not afraid at all.
“Guten tag, Fraulein Zelda. Vee shall go inside,” Walter says, and Vilmer waves his pistol.
Zelda slinks into her parlor, and the happy gang follows. I sit between Edna and Bruno on the sofa, and they each put a hand on one of my knees. I prefer Edna’s hand.
“Zelda, ma cherie,” Walter says. “Pleeze explain vhy vee are here.” Walter’s inexplicably chummy.
“Vel, Valter,” she says in a high pitched German voice, not sexy and sultry like normal. “It sheems zat zee gooses have been, how do vue say, shtolen.”
“She’s a Nazi spy, Stan,” says Edna. “I always knew something was wrong with the bitch.”
Zelda slaps Edna.
“Shutup, Edna,” says Zelda. “Vue are sooo shtupid.”
“Herr Schmade says he gave vue a code paper,” says Walter. “Vhere zee gooses are.”
“Ha,” says Zelda. “Hee’s a bad liar.” She walks over to me and squeezes my chin, hard. I wince. “Aren’t vue, Herr Schmade?” She winks at me. No one else can see it.
“Vut zee hell is going on?” I say, in my best fake German accent.
Zelda steps away from me. “Zee gooses are wery waluable. Und vue, Herr Schmade, know vhere zey are.”
“Ya,” I say, thinking fast. “Zee are in, um, a truck, on a, a farm. Ya, ya, on a farm. Nile’s farm.”
Edna looks at me like I’m nuts. “Watchya talkin’ about, Stan honey? We don’t have no farm.”
Please Edna, play along.
“It’s a borrowed farm,” I say. “A friend’s farm.”
Edna’s about to say something, and Walter says, “Bruno.”
Bruno lays another smack on the side of my head. I’m going to have a terrible headache, if I live to see the morning.
So, I say “Owww!” again, more out of habit, now. Christ, just shoot us and get it over with.
“Okay, okay, I’ll tell the truth. But first, you gotta tell us what this is all about.”
“Nein, Herr Schmade. Vee don’t.”
Zelda waves her hand at Walter like she’s in charge.
“Is okay, Valter. No harm to tell zem zee plan.”
“Sehr gut. Zee gooses are necessary fur zee Nazi occupation of America,” Walter says. He sprouts a wide smile and juts his chin up, like a proud parent.
“But, we’re not at war with you guys,” I say.
“Zat day ees coming.”
“I don’t think so,” I say. “Anyway, the U.S.A. is unconquerable.”
“Tell zat to zee Indians,” says Zelda.
“Vee have a nefarious veapon,” he says, “vhich shall turn all Americans into Nazis.”
“Nefarious. Means is bad thing.”
“Oh God. You want to turn Americans into Nazis. You mean you have ugly and stupid pills?”
“Bruno. Give zim two.”
“Owww!” I say. “You’re an idiot.”
“I don’t zink so,” Walter smirks. “Vee haf extracted zee essential essence from zee Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler.”
Walter, then Vilmer, Bruno and Zelda do the Nazi salute.
“Und vee haf chemically synthesized ten zousand litres. Each goose vil be filled mit one litre of zee Hitler Elixir and zey vil be placed in every river, waterway and reservoir in America. Zee gooses haf zee precision clock and vil release zer potion. Zen, vue Americans vil become Nazis.”
“What a cockamamie plan that is,” I say.
Bruno’s about to smack me, and Zelda waves him off.
“Allow him a leetle dignity before he dies.” Then she winks at me again. “Do vue know Herr Ronald Dumbf of zee Republican Party?”
“Yeah. Stupid asshole says he’s going to be the Republican nominee for President. Not a chance.”
Walter continues. “Once zee American people consume zee Hitler Elixir, zey vil make Herr Dumbf zee President. Zen, zee Fuhrer vil valk with President Dumbf auf zee Triumphmarsch auf Pennsylvania Avenue. Zo, zat is zee future for America. Heil Hitler.”
Walter, Vilmer, Bruno and Zelda give the Nazi salute again.
“It’ll never happen,” I say. Edna nods like she’s trying to shake her head off. “We Americans will never vote for an idiot like Dumbf.”
“Now, Herr Schmade, vue vil cooperate mit us, zo zat vue und vure beautiful Edna may stay alife to be servants to zee master race.”
Edna and I are as good as dead. I have nothing, not a clue where the gooses are. So, I lunge towards Vilmer. It’s a one in a million chance, but if I can get his gun…
My try for Vilmer’s gun doesn’t work out too good. Bruno grabs me by my collar and lifts me off the floor like I’m a disagreeable chicken whose neck he’s about to wring. Then, we stumble forward and hit the ground. I see that Edna has her arms wrapped around Bruno’s ankles and is biting him. Vilmer’s trying to get a clear shot at me, and Walter’s drawing a Luger from the breast pocket of his jacket. Bruno’s working on shaking Edna off, and he’s punching her. And I’m punching his grinning, impervious face.
“Vue and vure beautiful Edna shall go to sleep, now, Herr Schmade.” Walter yanks his head back and cackles like a cartoon villain. “Vilmer, shot Edna, I vil shot Schmade.” Walter takes a bead on me with his Luger, Vilmer swings his Luger around towards Edna.
Everybody stops and looks at Zelda who holds a big, fat, good old American, Browning, 40 cal, semi-automatic handgun, which she points at Walter. It must have been hidden under her kimono, but I don’t know how. She looks more confident and sexier than I could ever imagine and, when it comes to dames, I have a very good imagination.
Zelda looks at her wrist watch and says, “Vilmer, Walter,” in an American accent. “Put your guns down on the floor slowly. The game’s over.”
The two surprised Germans don’t drop their guns. Walter sputters,“Vut is dis?”
“I’m FBI special agent Gena Smith, and you and your compatriots are under arrest.”
“Vue zar un traitor to zee faderland.” says Walter and swings his Luger towards Zelda or Gena. I release my grip around Bruno’s neck and reach out. Walter’s close enough that I can pull his feet back. As he topples, Walter looks down, grins, and fires his Luger. I feel a sharp pain in my arm.
At the same time, I hear the unmistakable crack of a 40 cal Browning and Vilmer collapses, a bullet hole neatly in the middle of his forehead. Gena kicks Walter in the chops, and he stops moving. Bruno is out cold after Edna crowns him with a lamp.
“The FBI’s here in two minutes,” says Gena. “You okay?”
“Not bad. It stings, but it’s just a flesh wound. Two stitches, tops.”
“Thanks for askin’,” says snarky Edna.
“And thanks for doin’ that,” Gena says to me, ignoring Edna. “I owe you one.”
“You’re an FBI spy?” I ask.
“Just about,” she says.
“You saved our country.”
A lady cop. That’s a new one. Who woulda’ thunk?
“I couldn’t have done it without you, Stan.”
She reaches up, pulls my head down, and gives me a lingering kiss on my cheek. For a second, I think I’m having a heart attack.
Edna gets right in there too. “You’re my hero, Stan,” she says and throws herself around me, pulls my head down, and sinks her mouth over mine like she’s a lamprey. I see out of the corner of my eye that Gena’s guffawing. Crap.
Car lights bounce through the parlour window, then cars screech to a stop in the driveway. I reach into Walter’s breast pocket and transfer the envelope with the $200 to my jacket and kick him in the ribs twice, hard. Edna goes to the window, looks out, and checks her makeup in the reflection. She scowls at a blackening eye, walks over to the unconscious Bruno and kicks him as hard as she can.
Soon, there’s six big nasty looking FBI with us and a bunch of city cops including McNally. He can’t keep away from me. Must be my good looks.
They cuff the bad guys, the ones that are alive anyway, and somebody wraps a bandage around my arm. He promises me a lollipop if I drop by the FBI office in the morning. I can’t refuse.
Then they leave with a dead Vilmer on a stretcher. Bruno’s pushed along, his eyes protrude, and he directs snarls in Walter’s direction. Walter doesn’t seem to notice and mutters, “Heil Hitler,” over and over. I fantasize that some thoughtful FBI agent puts Walter in a cell with Bruno. Maybe I’ll suggest that to Gena.
McNally ignores Zelda and stares at Edna. She gives him one those ‘you’re my knight in shinning armour’ looks, and she sidles over to him. You could read a paper in the dark from the light radiating from McNally’s blush. She looks happy, and her black eye, from the scuffle with Bruno, looks cute on her. She and McNally leave together.
Now, Zelda, or Gena, and I are alone. She owes me a story.
“I was a graduate exchange student in Germany in ’36, working in biology. I saw what the Nazis were doing with elixirs and took it to our embassy. They asked me to be a spy, and that’s how I ended up here.”
“Smart gal,” I say, “And very brave. Where’s the duckies and potion?”
“We picked them up as soon they were unloaded. But, we didn’t have anything on the happy gang.”
“Walter, Vilmer and Bruno?”
“And a couple more. We needed a confession. Everything happened so quickly after poor Niles was murdered. I feel so bad about that.”
“Yeah. You did the best you could. And how’d the cops get here so fast?”
“You can’t mistake the sound of a Mercedes. So, when I heard it, I peaked through my curtain and called the FBI office.”
The Mercedes needs a new muffler. And that’s why it took her so long to answer the doorbell. I put my arms around her shoulders and fake comfort her.
“Those rats are going to get the chair, Gena. Do you know what he was talking about when Walter said the Nazis are goin’ to war with us?”
“No. I didn’t hear about that before. I’ll tell the President, when I see him next week.”
“You know FDR?”
“I see him every coupla months with J Edgar. He likes to keep on top of anything important. We’re not letting a blowhard, petty dictator take us over and march down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“So, what about Dumbf? That’s treason, right?”
“No. He’s just a fool who’s being used by the Nazis. But you were right, there’s no chance the American people’d ever elect or even nominate someone so incompetent and immoral.”
“You’re brilliant,” I say. For a dame, and so gorgeous. “I’m impressed with your fake German.”
“Maybe I can teach vue.”
“You know the language of love? Maybe I can teach you,” I say.
“Vue got it, Herr Schmade,” she says, and leads me to the stairs.
My head aches, my arm hurts, and I’m dogged tired, but this day is going to work out okay after all.