Dr. Doofenshmirtz was in the middle of battling Perry the Platypus when the phone rang. That was unusual enough to stop them both in their tracks. They exchanged a look as it rang again, and Doof said "Would you- would you wait just a bit, Perry the Platypus?"
The caller ID read GIMELSCHTUMP.
"Oh dear. I have to take this, Perry the Platypus, it's long distance from Drueselstein. It's probably important." He picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
After listening a moment he switched to German with a smile. "Ja, ist Heinz."
In a moment Doof's expression changed suddenly. "Ja. Ich bin dort, sobald ich kann." He hung up and hit the automatic dial. "Hello, Charlene, it's Heinz. Listen, I just got a call from Gimelschtump. I have to fly out there early tomorrow."
Heinz listened for a moment and replied "I know it's my weekend, but I can't not go. If Vanessa wants to, she can come with me."
Another moment of listening. Heinz looked at Perry without really seeing him as he answered. "I have to go to Gimelschtump, Charlene!" His indigo eyes were sadder than Perry had seen in a long time. "I just got the news…" His voice cracked. "My grandmother is dying."
Perry was helping Heinz pack. Doofenshmirtz being Doofenshmirtz, he started telling Perry about his grandmother.
"My father never liked my grandparents, not that I can remember. The feeling was always mutual. Father and Grandfather Schmitt especially hated each other, so I didn't see much of them. They lived on the other side of town, so it was hard for me to go see them on the sly, especially when I was a garden gnome. Later, I was too humiliated by having to wear girls' clothes to go visit them. It wasn't until I was fourteen, and we were preparing to move here to Danville that I got to spend any time with them. "
Folding turtlenecks, lab coats and pants, a faraway look in his eyes, he went on.
"That was the happiest summer I can remember. I was free to go fishing, hunting, or just lie under a tree and do nothing. Grandfather taught me how to fix old clocks, make cheese, and set all sorts of traps."
That explained a lot…
"Grandmother made the best apple strudel in Drueselstein – heavy on the cinnamon. She gave me the recipe..."
His eyes were glistening. Perry felt badly for his nemesis.
"I wrote them often, but I didn't see them again for several years, until after I got married to Charlene. She was expecting Vanessa by then, and Grandfather had asked to meet her. He knew he wouldn't live to see the baby and wanted to give her his blessing although she was still in the womb."
The packing was done and he zipped the suitcase shut.
"He died a month before Vanessa was born. I haven't been back there since. Now Grandmother is ailing…"
Heinz wiped his eyes with his lab coat's sleeve. He felt Perry pat his shoulder in sympathy.
"Thank you, Perry the Platypus. I don't know exactly when I'll be back. Do you mind if we finish our little encounter after I get home?"
The platypus nodded. He could wait. After all, Doofenshmirtz being out of town meant only one thing: vacation time!