This is the third story in which the Hogan's Heroes characters meet Rod Serling. As you all know, many strange events occur to those who enter the Twilight Zone, and our boys at Stalag 13 are not immune to them.
In this episode, Colonel Robert Hogan is in for an unexpected surprise as he gets to see Stalag 13 from a different viewpoint. How will that affect the way the operations are conducted? I guess you'll just have to join us and find out … in the Twilight Zone.
The standard disclaimer applies – I make no claims to the characters or events of either Hogan's Heroes or The Twilight Zone. This story is simply intended for reader enjoyment.
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Colonel Wilhelm Klink sat at his desk poring over the endless stack of papers. "A form for this, a form for that," he mumbled. "I'm surprised I don't have to fill out a form to use the toilet … in triplicate!" His mumbles were interrupted by a knock at his office door. "Go away," he said in aggravation.
The door opened and Colonel Robert Hogan strolled into the office. "Good morning, Kommandant," he said brightly. "Got a minute?"
"No," Klink replied without looking up. "I'm busy, Colonel Hogan. Dismissed."
"Kommandant, it will only take a minute," Hogan persisted.
Klink dropped his pencil and looked up at the American officer. "Hogan, you always say that it will only take a minute, and it always ends up being more than that," Klink said. "Now I am busy trying to keep up with all the paperwork that Berlin needs to keep the war moving along. When I am finished, I can give you a minute."
"And when will that be?" Hogan asked.
"Nineteen Seventy Two," Klink mumbled dejectedly. He picked up his pencil and began scribbling on the papers again.
"I don't expect to be here that long, Colonel," Hogan said. "So I'll just take my minute now."
Klink slammed his pencil down in exasperation. "What do you want?" he asked.
Hogan shrugged. "If you're busy, I don't want to bother you," he said nonchalantly.
"Hogannnnn!" Klink said.
"Well sir, I was wondering if the men could have an extra sheet of writing paper each week," Hogan said.
"Denied," Klink replied.
"And we were wondering if we could have an extra hour of light this week," Hogan said.
"Why just this week?" Klink asked.
"We heard it was Hitler's birthday and we wanted to make him a present," Hogan said with a smile. "We were thinking of a model of a Sherman tank."
"Denied," Klink replied.
"Well how about an extra slice of white bread per week?" Hogan asked.
"Request denied!" Klink said. "You've had your minute Hogan, now diiiiiiiiiis-missssssed!"
"That's not fair, Kommandant!" Hogan exclaimed. "Why can't we have just one of the things I requested?"
"Those things cost money, Hogan," Klink replied. "And money doesn't grow on trees."
"You're running this war on a budget?" Hogan asked incredulously. "I can't believe this!"
Klink stood abruptly. "Hogan, you have no concept of what it takes to run this prison camp!" Klink shouted.
"Oh I don't know, I've been doing a good job so far," Hogan quipped.
"OUT!" Klink screamed, pointing at the door.
Hogan was about to leave when the phone rang. "Oh, I'll get that Kommandant," he said, reaching for the phone.
"I'll get it," Klink said, slapping at Hogan's hand. He picked up the phone. "Hallo," he said. "Major Hochstetter, what a pleasant surprise! No sir, I agree, it's not a pleasant surprise. I mean, it's a pleasure to talk business with you … No sir, I wouldn't want to talk to me either." He paused and listened. "Major Hochstetter, that's out of the question! I cannot possibly spare ten guards to guard the Adolf Hitler Bridge. I need those guards to guard my prisoners." He paused and listened again. "They will be guarding one more prisoner? Who is that? Oh, me. Ha ha, I get it. Did I say I couldn't spare ten guards? I did? Yes sir, I did. What I meant to say was that I couldn't possibly spare ten guards until this afternoon." He paused again. "Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Heil …" He listened. "Hallo? Hallo?" He put the handset down on the phone base. "Schwein!" he muttered.
"Tough luck, Kommandant," Hogan said. "So how about the writing paper?"
"Hogan, get out before I have you thrown in the cooler!" Klink replied.
Hogan tried his best to look offended. "Well!" he said and turned towards the door. "I could do a better job of running this camp," he muttered as he slammed the door behind him.
- - - - -
Klink was still doing his paperwork when the phone rang again. He picked it up. "Yes, yes, what do you want?" he asked in an annoyed tone. He immediately straightened in his seat. "General Burkhalter!" he gasped. "No, I'm never too busy to talk to you. A meeting in Düsseldorf? Tomorrow morning? You want me to be there tonight? But General!" he held the receiver away from his ear. "Yes, General Burkhalter. I'll be there." He hung up the phone and looked at the piles of papers on his desk. "I'll never get this done," he said. He stood. "Schultz!" he yelled.
The office door opened and the portly Sergeant Hans Schultz entered. "Yawohl, Herr Kommandant," he said, saluting his superior officer.
"I have a meeting in Düsseldorf tomorrow and need to be there tonight," Klink said. "You're driving me."
"Me, sir?" Schultz asked. "But you hate my driving!"
"Not just your driving," Klink muttered. "But I have no choice. Be ready tonight."
Schultz saluted again. "Yawohl," he said.
- - - - -
"Hurry up with those charges, Carter," Hogan whispered. "We've got to finish before those guards return from the other side of the bridge."
"I'm going as fast as I can, Colonel," Carter replied.
Newkirk and LeBeau emerged from the woods. "We're all set, sir," Newkirk said breathlessly.
"As soon as Carter gets done, we can get going," Hogan said impatiently.
Carter ran up to the group. "I'm all set, Colonel," he said. "In two minutes this bridge will be a pile of rubble." He began to make explosive noises and wave his hands.
"Carter, keep it down!" LeBeau exclaimed.
"Let's get going," Hogan said. He heard a car on the road. "Wait, get down!"
Hogan looked through the binoculars and tried to identify the car. "I don't believe it!" he said.
"What?" his three men said all together.
"That's Klink's staff car!" he replied. "And it's heading right for the bridge."
"Colonel, those charges are going to go off any minute," Carter said.
"And there's no way to stop them," LeBeau added.
"Wait here," Hogan ordered. "I've got to stop him." He began to run through the woods towards the road.
"Colonel Hogan, wait!" Newkirk said and started off after him.
Hogan reached the road in front of the bridge as the staff car was rounding the curve. He stood in the road and waved his hands wildly as the car began skidding to a halt. At that moment, the charges erupted into several huge fireballs. Klink's staff car veered off the road and slammed into a tree. Hogan went flying through the air as the shockwave from the blast expanded outward. The last thing he remembered was the feeling of the air rushing from his lungs as he slammed to the ground.
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"Colonel Klink, wake up!" Schultz said, shaking the man on the ground. "Colonel Klink!"
Hogan groaned and tried to push the annoying person away. "Leave me alone," he complained.
"Colonel Klink, you are all right," Schultz said, with some relief.
Hogan opened his eyes to see Sergeant Schultz kneeling beside him. "Schultz, quit kidding around."
"Who's kidding around?" Schultz replied. "You were unconscious, Herr Kommandant."
"What are you talking about, Schultz?" Hogan asked in confusion. "It's me, Colonel Hogan!"
"Ach du Liebe!" Schultz gasped. "Kommandant Klink thinks he is Colonel Hogan!"
Several vehicles skidded to a halt nearby. Schultz stood and began waving. "Over here!" he yelled. "Colonel Klink is injured!" He turned back to Hogan. "Herr Kommandant, the ambulance is here. They will take you to the hospital."
Hogan's head ached terribly. "Why does everyone think I am Colonel Klink?" he mumbled.
- - - - -
A well-dressed man in a suit stepped from the shadows and began walking down the road.
An American Colonel, stuck in a POW camp in Germany during the Second World War, out for an ordinary evening of sabotage. He had completed similar actions many times before, always without a hitch.
A German Colonel, stuck commanding the same POW camp in Germany, headed for an ordinary meeting in another town. He had traveled this road many times before, always without a hitch.
Tonight their paths cross at the most inopportune time, and the American Colonel is about to experience what it is like to walk in the other man's shoes. Tonight, they have traveled into …
The Twilight Zone.