Winner of a 2009 Papa Bear Award

May I Drive You Home?

It was a small celebration, a party to enjoy the season and to recharge before the New Year. The entertainment was much in demand, a singer from Berlin. She was something remarkable according to the younger officers who had booked her and arranged her travel and lodgings.

Wolfgang Hochstetter was not looking forward to the evening. He found these gatherings difficult. The Major would make an appearance and leave.

Major Hochstetter saw a new face in the mix, a charming young woman. Seeing Captain Bauer getting the lady a drink, Hochstetter stopped him.

"Who is she?" Hochstetter asked.

Bauer smiled, "That is Katinka Kordeva."

"Fraulein Kordeva is very attractive," said the Major. "It is Fraulein isn't it?"

Captain Bauer hesitated a moment. "She is not married," he replied.

Just then music started and Katinka was on the stage. It seemed she was an accomplished dancer as well as a singer. Finishing her act, Katinka sat down.

Major Hochstetter approached her table. "May I get you something to drink?" he asked.

Katinka kept her surprise at seeing Hochstetter to herself. 'Katinka' is the stage persona of Oskar Danzig, the most famous and best female impersonator in Germany. Oskar had 'retired' from show business in the earlier part of the war. He now ran one of the finest underground units in Germany. Getting into Gestapo Headquarters in Hammelburg was the only reason he took this job, but slipping away to rifle through the files had been impossible.

"Danke, Herr Major," Katinka replied.

Returning, Hochstetter placed two glassed of schnapps on the table. "You are a very good dancer, Fraulein Kordeva," said Hochstetter.

"Thank you, Major. You have me at a disadvantage. I am sure by now you know my name, but what is yours?" Katinka asked.

"My apologies, I am Wolfgang Hochstetter." Captain Bauer and Major Ruhl walked pass the table laughing as the Major and the singer raised their glasses to the Fuhrer.

"Are you spending Christmas with your family?" asked Katinka.

"No, my mother is visiting relatives out of town. I am alone this year," replied Hochstetter.

"No wife or girlfriend?" Katinka questioned.

"Nein. My work keeps me very busy," said Hochstetter with a tinge of regret in his voice. "Will you be seeing your family, Fraulein Kordeva?" asked the Major.

"Like you, I am on my own this year. Please call me Katinka," she said, a flirtatious smile on her lips.

"I shall if you will call me Wolfgang," replied Hochstetter.

"You came rather late to the party. Did work keep you?" asked Katinka.

"Nothing important, just tying up some loose ends," Hochstetter answered. He lit a cigarette and offered her one.

She refused saying, "I find the smoke damaging to my vocal cords."

"Of course, my apologies," Hochstetter offered as he put his own out. There was something exotic and drawing about her. He fought the urge to touch her lovely cheek.

"I am afraid I must be leaving soon. That was the last of my performance," said Katinka.

"Then, may I drive you home?" Wolfgang asked.

"Yes, thank you. I would like that," answered Katinka. "I need to make arrangements to have my costumes and props sent on. I'll take but a few minutes," her tone was questioning.

"Of course, my dear," he replied. He kissed her hand as she rose and left the table.

Alone at the table, Hochstetter noticed that everyone seemed to be smiling, if not laughing. He received a few nods of admiration from the junior officers who realized that he had scored with the entertainer. Ah, it must be the Christmas spirit.

A few moments later Katinka returned to the table. The couple departed the party to many catcalls, whistles and Wolfgang even got few back slaps. He apologized profusely to the girl.

She smiled, kissed his cheek lightly and gave him directions to the house she was staying at. The house was the last on an isolated lane.

Getting out of the car, Katinka fell when her heel caught. She landed on the ground with an "Ouch!"

Wolfgang came around the car to help her. He helped her back up onto the top stair of the house. "Let me see what harm was done," he softly offered. Brushing the dirt from Katinka's leg, the Major noted, "You have bruised yourself here. He placed a light kiss just below her knee.

Katinka made no protest about his hand on her leg. She couldn't, Oskar was too busy controlling the nausea he felt as this monster pawed him.

Wolfgang looked at her face, calm and angelic in the pale moonlight. Encouraged, his hand continued up her leg and under her skirt. He felt the top edge of her nylon stocking, the warmth of her flesh, the spongy … What was this! Jingle bells on a string!

"Katinka?" a strangled cry came from Hochstetter.

With a distinct change in timbre came the reply, "Actually, my name is Oskar."

Hochstetter's heart was beating too fast. There was an unbearable pain in his chest, tight squeezing pain. He could not breathe.

Wolfgang Hochstetter collapsed on the ground dead.