A/N I'd like to thank ColHogan for suggesting the title. And a big thank you to my Beta for giving the chapter a once-over.
Friday the 13: Hogan Style
October 13, 1944
Well, this is ironic. Wake up this morning in one cell, end the day in another. Although, Hogan thought, given the circumstances, this one is a lot more pleasant. He contemplated the tray that had been placed on the small desk that was attached to the wall, rolled off the cot, walked over and picked up a biscuit. Hmmm. A bit dry. Hogan put the biscuit down and started to pour himself a cup of tea. Oops. Milk first. Hogan repeated the process and took a sip out of the china cup. He then dunked the half-eaten biscuit. "That's better," he said out loud. After his snack; a process that killed five minutes, Hogan had no other choice but to return to the cot, wait patiently for someone to finally believe he was who he said he was, and try not to panic at the thought of what might be going on in the camp. The colonel closed his eyes; but although he was dog-tired, the recollection of how this day had started invaded his thoughts and he could not fall asleep.
October 13, 1944
Technically speaking it was today. Minutes after midnight to be exact. Hogan had just finished meeting an Underground contact in a busy nearby Hofbrau. After exchanging information over a few beers, the two men decided to leave at different times. The contact left first. After fifteen minutes had gone by, Hogan paid the bill, walked out the door and headed straight into a group of Gestapo agents. This wasn't the first time this had happened. Previously, Hogan's fake papers and flawless German would have sufficed and he would have been on his merry way. Unfortunately, this time, Hogan had the bad luck to run into a Gestapo agent with a photographic memory. Hogan recognized the agent as the one who slapped a set of handcuffs on him after he was caught entering a contact's room in a Hammelburg hotel. The agent recognized the man standing in front of him as the prisoner he had caught entering a traitor's room in a hotel in Hammelburg. Yes, despite the business suit, he was one hundred percent certain that it was the American colonel. Without missing a beat, he removed his revolver and pointed it at Hogan's chest.
"You! You're an escaped prisoner. Hands up!" he ordered in English. "I never forget a face, Colonel Hogan." He moved in closer.
Hogan had a split second to determine if he should try and talk his way out of the mess, or give up. Talking his way out would mean speaking German; which, if he wasn't believed, would further complicate matters. He remained quiet.
Another agent began frisking the American and removed the papers and some money. He handed the papers to Hogan's new nemesis; who glanced at them and said, "So, you've been planning this for a while. You know, I always suspected there was more to you than meets the eye. Now why would you be here, dressed in a business suit, instead of hiding in the woods?"
"Asking for directions?" Hogan quickly decided he was in trouble and hoped for the best: a ride back to camp and a stint in the cooler.
"I see he can talk," the other agent joked. "He was probably meeting a contact."
"No doubt. Care to confirm that, Colonel?"
"No," Hogan replied. He winced as cuffs were placed around his wrists.
"Let's go," the first agent ordered.
Hogan was taken to a staff car and placed in the back seat, where he settled himself in for an uncomfortable ride back to camp. "Sorry, I didn't get your names," he asked.
"Captain Bergmann." The second agent didn't answer. "You know, Colonel," Bergmann continued, "After that debacle in the hotel, the false air raid alarm, the fact that we lost a prisoner. It didn't sit well with our superiors. Something tells me you were somehow involved." (1)
"Don't see how, Captain. One of my men was forced to design and fit a wedding gown for the general's niece. We were under guard the entire time." Hogan tensed up; he didn't know why, as he caught sight of the guard towers.
The guards, which, as per usual, were following the stalag's notoriously bad gate security, let the car in without inspecting the occupants. The guard on duty outside Klink's quarters stumbled out of his stupor, ran towards the Gestapo vehicle and saluted. Bergmann and his partner got out. "Get your Kommandant, soldier. We have someone in the back, whom he would be most interested in seeing."
"Yes, sir, Captain." The guard quickly scurried while Bergmann reached into the back seat and roughly pulled Hogan out of the car.
"Easy," he said. "Ah, home sweet home," he grumbled. "I was so close, too." He smiled at the other Gestapo agent, who did not smile back.
Hogan looked around the compound as the searchlight passed over his barracks; his eagle eye spying what he was looking for. The car had been spotted and the periscope was up. He turned his attention back to Klink's quarters and waited. "You know, Captain, the Kommandant gets very ornery if he's disturbed. He's not called the Iron Colonel for nothing, you know. Just a warning." Hogan laughed. "We could just call everything even, let it go and neither of us gets in trouble."
Hogan closed his mouth and sighed. It was too late. Klink, who had quickly dressed, came marching out of his quarters.
"What is the meaning of this?" The Kommandant looked at the Gestapo agent, then at Hogan, and then back at the Gestapo agent. He then ignored the agents and stood face to face with Hogan. "You better have a good explanation."
"I escaped. Would have made it; except for these two." Hogan grinned.
"Escaped. No one escapes from Stalag 13."
"So I've heard," Bergmann sneered.
"How did you get out?" Klink whispered to Hogan.
"Can we go into your office, Kommandant?" Bergmann asked.
"Yes," Hogan eagerly agreed. "Can we? It's embarrassing, standing out here. And can you take these things off?"
Bergmann nodded and the other agent, Hogan had dubbed him Fritz, unlocked the cuffs. Klink, who Hogan could tell, was already becoming apoplectic, led the way into the office. He told the guard to wake Schultz and then the four men entered the building.
Hogan, now more comfortable knowing that his men would be listening in, sat down without an invitation and decided not to speak unless spoken to.
"Hogan, you didn't answer my question. How did you get out?"
"Kommandant, would you believe a helicopter?"
"Sorry. Cut the wire. You know there's a blind spot I recently discovered by..." Hogan was counting on one of his men running outside to cut the wire. "Oh, I know I can't beat you at your game, sir. Tower 6. There. I said it."
Klink opened the door. "Guard. Have everyone fall out for a surprise roll call. And then check the wire by Tower 6."
"Kommandant. May I see the Colonel's file?"
"Oh, of course, Captain. One moment." Klink left the office and a moment later returned with a thick folder.
"We believe he was actually meeting a contact," Bergmann said as he started to read the contents of the folder. He was picked up at the Hofbrau off of Hammelburg Road.
"That's preposterous," Klink said. He turned to Hogan. "How did you expect to get out of Germany going in that direction only knowing a few German phrases?"
"My good looks?" Hogan grinned, but got no reaction. No one appreciates a sense of humor anymore. "Can I go back to the barracks and get out of this suit, Kommandant? It itches." He looked at the Gestapo guards. "I don't recommend making civilian suits out of blankets. Not too comfortable."
Klink sighed and opened the door. "Schultz? Go to Hogan's barracks and bring back a uniform."
Bergmann approached Hogan. "Who was your contact, Colonel and why were you meeting at the Hofbrau? And we will get a description, after we question the customers and proprietors."
And you won't find him. He'll be long gone. Hogan knew as soon as the roll call was completed, radio contact would be made and the contact would be told to leave the area. Hogan decided to put a spin on his tale.
"I was there to get a map and directions."
"There was no map in your possession," Bergmann countered.
"He told me to head west and someone in a bakery truck would pick me up. They would flash their lights three times. They were my next contact."
Hogan could tell Klink was entranced by his tale and believing every word, while it appeared that the two agents weren't buying a word of it.
"This wasn't my first time out, you know," Hogan told Klink. "The first time out I ran into a civilian who promised to get me in touch with someone who could help me out and... You know," Hogan snapped his fingers, "I bet this was a set-up." He turned to Klink. "Kommandant, you did it again. Can't put anything past you, sir. No sirree."
"Well, I..." Klink beamed.
There was a knock at the door. "Come in," Klink said.
"Thanks, Schultz!" Hogan stood and took his uniform. "And you also brought my jacket and cap! Good man."
"Go in the outer office and change. Schultz, make sure he doesn't try anything."
Hogan left the office and returned in two minutes.
"Gentlemen," Klink said. "It's now almost 1 a.m. Thank you for bringing back my prisoner. He'll be appropriately punished. Can we call it a night?"
"Kommandant," Bergmann closed the file. "I'm not sure Colonel Hogan was just an ordinary escaped prisoner. You see, he and I have tangled once before."
"At Burkhalter's niece's wedding. Somehow I believe he may have had something to do with the unfortunate circumstances surrounding that whole affair. But we have no proof. And now this."
"You have no proof," Hogan stated.
"No proof," Klink repeated.
And this, Hogan recalled as he enjoyed a second cup of tea, is when things went from not so bad, to really bad. No, not really bad. Horrible.
(1) "Gowns by Yvette"