Oh For Langenscheidt's Sake!
This little fic is dedicated to Sgt Moffit who asked for Karl's take on the happenings in the second season's episode, "Art For Hogan's Sake". In this episode Karl gets to ride along on, and take part in, one of Hogan's little capers in Paris, France. From the run in with the Gestapo to forging a masterpiece to getting drunk with Schultz, our favorite corporal was kept pretty busy. Oh what must he have thought about the goings on around him during that time. So sit back and enjoy this little tale. If I do my job, you'll get a chuckle or two out of the deal.
A very sad and dejected Gefreiter Karl Langenscheidt stood alone sentry at, what the Americans colloquially call, the cooler. Until yesterday, he had been a happy Obergefreiter. Today, not so much. How was he to know that while on leave, he had picked up the wife of Hauptmann Kortig? The Hauptmann was a petty revengeful man who was known far and wide for his vile temper. The beautiful Ursula never said a word about being married when he met her at Hilda's Holfbrau. There he sat, quietly listening to the lovely Lizzi Waldmüller sing, minding his own business, when she casually sashayed up to his table. She had large smoky grey eyes and a figure that would stop a charging rhino. Karl was flabbergasted and pleased that she had chosen him out of all the other men in the room. Thinking back this should have been his first warning something was wrong. While not a bad looking man, he knew he didn't have the looks or rank to draw the attention of such a striking woman. Flattered by her attention, and controlled by his little brain, he agreed to walk her home. As they walked she whispered things into his ear that, when he thought of them today, still made him blush. Fueled by a long dry spell and a few beers, he was easily steered in the direction she wanted to go. What started out as an innocent walk home, ended up at the Hammelburg Hotel. There they were abruptly stopped in the lobby by the aforementioned Kortig. One call to the Kommandant and he was standing guard duty outside an empty building, reduced in rank and the butt of every joke told in camp. Ah, he was one miserable Gefreiter.
As Langenscheidt pondered on his misfortune, General Burkhalter's staff car came roaring into the compound. Klink, who had been alerted by the sentries at the gate, met the car in front of the Kommandantur with his usual fawning and clumsy greetings. He watched while the accompanying guards removed a large flat box from the back seat. It did not escape his notice that the new arrivals were being watched by the prisoners and as soon as the General and the Kommandant were inside, LeBeau, Kinch and Newkirk broke off from the rest of the POWs and disappeared into Barracks Two. No doubt to inform Oberst Hogan, Karl thought. I wonder what mischief they are up to now.
Karl shrugged away the thought and waited for the end of his seemingly eternal shift. His mind returned to his present predicament. After Ursula, he had sworn off of women completely. He was going to be as celibate as a monk. Maybe after the war he would even go as far as joining the Order. He pondered whether or not the Church would take a Lutheran into the priesthood. Well it couldn't hurt to ask. Langenscheidt knew he had sworn off of women forever before but this time he really meant it.
Movement near Barracks Two caught his eye again as he watched LeBeau hurry to the Kommandantur with a bucket and a rag. So the games afoot, Oberst Hogan. What sneakiness are you up to now? Karl watched as the tiny Frenchman pretended to wash the office windows. Karl took a few steps away from the cooler in order to see what the little man was up to. To his surprise, LeBeau opened the office window and went inside just as the General came out with Klink still pandering behind him. Karl was shocked by the outright brazenness of the prisoner but could not stop watching or sound the alarm. He kept telling himself to wait another minute before calling out the guards. He just had to see what LeBeau was going to do. When Klink started to make his way back to his office, LeBeau jumped out of the window and raced back to the Barracks. I should report this, he thought.
As he pulled out his whistle to give the alarm, Obersoldat Gersdorff came up to relieve him. Karl now had a dilemma. He could sound the alarm and face lengthy questioning and paperwork or he could ignore the whole thing and finally sit down and get something to eat. In the end, the decision was a no brainer. Whatever the Oberst was up to could wait for tomorrow. Besides, he wasn't the only guard who has eyes in his head. Let them report it.
With that thought, Langenscheidt headed towards the Mess Hall and hopefully something besides cabbage soup and a portion of bread. Though the way his belly ached, he wouldn't complain too much if it was.
I made a creative decision to have Karl think in terms of German military rank instead of the English versions. Partly this was due to the problems concerning his rank. In previous episodes he is called a corporal as he has two chevrons on his sleeve as he would if he was in the American Army. In fact he isn't that high ranking. He is an obergefreiter, which places his rank somewhere between a private first class and a corporal. The closest we Americans have to this rank is the Marine Lance Corporal or a Specialist. In Art for Hogan's Sake, he is shown as being one step lower in rank, a gefreiter or private first class. I felt I needed to explain why there was a difference and it becomes too complicated to bounce between the American and German ranks. Since, in my opinion, Karl isn't as fluent in English as some of the other German characters; he tends to translate their rank into the closest German rank. Anyway, that is my story and I'm sticking to it.
Obersoldat: Private, specifically E-2
Lizzie Waldmuller was an Austria actress and singer born May 25, 1904 and died in an air raid in Vienna on April 8, 1945.