I don't own anything of Hogan's Heroes.
Oberst Friedrich Linzer held his head in his hands for a brief moment. His secretary smiled at him in sympathy as he gestured for her to hand him the receiver from the telephone. It's buzz had interrupted them while he was dictating dispatches. With a bemused expression, she had informed him that Major Hochstetter was on the line. From what she didn't say, he knew that he was probably frothing at the mouth.
With a sigh, he took the receiver from her. He'd drawn the short straw that week. All of the Major's calls were being routed to him while the other officers focused on more important issues. One more day and it would be Meinke's turn. His secretary rose to leave, but he waved her back to her chair. Damned if he was going to let Hochstetter blather on that long. Firm and dismissive. That was the only way to handle the Major. And, most importantly, never, ever listen more closely than one absolutely had to.
Covering the transmitter, he whispered to his secretary, "Three minutes then interrupt me with an urgent call from General Radler."
"But Herr Oberst, General Radler has ordered that his name is not to be mentioned to Major Hochstetter."
"Then make it the Führer!"
His secretary hid a smile and openly listened in to the one side of the conversation she could hear.
"Yes, Major Hochstetter, what may I do for you today? Oh, word of Underground activity in Hammelburg? Not the bridge again The old church? I thought you destroyed that last month. Oh sorry. Papa Bear destroyed the church. Of course he did. Goebbels said so too. Those grenades your men threw inside had nothing to do with it."
The Oberst rolled his eyes. It was going to be one of those conversations.
"Stalag 13? Again? That's the third time this year, Major and it's only February. General Rad--er, the General was most displeased with the outcome of your last visit. Fifteen prisoners nearly escaped because you pulled the guards away from their usual posts. Yes, I know. Information from a reliable source and Oberst Meinke's approval. But you embroidered that a little, didn't you?"
Linzer was silent for a moment while Hochstetter was presumably defending himself. From the expression on her employer's face, the secretary knew the Major was not helping his cause.
"No. It's impossible that your prisoner of war was responsible for the ball bearing plant that night. The camp Sergeant of the Guard caught him trying to escape. No, I'm sorry. By definition escape means breaking out of the camp, not into the camp. I do not believe that he went for a twenty kilometer stroll through a heavy forest, passing directly through a village with at least five elderly women who do not sleep nights, waltzing through four checkpoints and eluding eight patrols! Four? No, it's five old women. I should know, because one of them is my Aunt Brunhilde and she's told me all about the others. I believe nothing reported in that area unless at least two of them confirm it and a third is willing to believe it. "
The oberst winced and held the receiver away from his ear. His secretary's eyes widened. Although she could not quite make out the words, the message was coming through loud and clear. Gradually the rant subsided into quiet snarls and Linzer cautiously lifted the receiver back to his ear.
"Oh, another reliable source? What would that be? The Abwehr? Your definition of 'reliable' needs some refinement. Die Fledermaus? Well, he's never been wrong before. Of course, he's never quite correct either. I think those cricket players are on to him. Hmm. What exactly did he say? That Papa Bear sent a new shopping list asking for a special package? That is not much to go on, Major, and I fail to see the precise connection to Stalag 13---yes, I know that Papa Bear operates in the area. So does my aunt, remember?"
He openly sighed as he glanced at the clock. He had to finish the dispatches and his monthly report. Perhaps it was time to leak the merest hint of a concern to his superiors in Berlin about the stability of Major Hochstetter. It had always baffled him how the major had so far manged to avoid stronger disciplinary action. The man must have had some very good dirt on someone very powerful.
"Yes, yes, go harass the Stalag commandant. Let his efficiency rating suffer instead of mine. What's that? The Senior POW? Single-handedly responsible for most of the sabotage around Hammelburg? Well, that would be something. Don't you think the activities of Papa Bear are a little too efficient for an American pilot who spends his day trying get an extra fifteen minutes in the recreation hall to listen to Tommy Dorsey records? Oh, very well. Go harass him too, but please, don't go so far that Klink goes crying to General Burkhalter. No, of course he does not scare us, but let's save our headaches for important matters---"
The secretary flinched as she heard the string of invective leaking out of the receiver. Linzer cut it short and began using his most soothing tone. Someone was really going to get it, she thought.
"Of course you do important work, Major. Calm down. We don't want another incident, do we? Perhaps it's time for one of your pills. Lay down for a little while and then report back here in person. Perhaps we can set a trap for your master spy next week. Oh you want some men for that operation? Twenty? Well, I daresay we can let you have two. Perhaps that commandant will let you have one of his men. Major, calm down! Remember what Dr. Schimmel said about taking deep breaths and picturing a happy place?"
Linzer's jaw dropped and he blinked. It seemed, his secretary thought, as though he were struggling to come up with a response. After a couple of false starts, he finally replied.
"Well, covered with the blood of your enemies is an admirable goal, but I think he meant something more along the lines of an Alpine meadow on a summer's day with a pretty girl at your side. Oh. No. That doesn't sound pleasant at all. I think you'd better go home. Dr. Schimmel will be summoned immediately and see you there. No, it's no trouble at all. No, don't worry. If Dr. Schimmel hasn't taken you off active duty yet, I can't think why he would now."
Linzer fumbled with the receiver but finally found its cradle. His rubbed his temples for a few moments looking up only when he realized that his secretary had brought him a glass of water.
"Did you bring my pills, Fräulein? I think I need to lay down for a little while."
A/N With full and abject apologies to Bob Newhart.