Author's note to the reader: follow the advice given in the title of this story!
"I'm an invisible man. I was never even here. I don't even exist!" And under raucous laughter of the men in the barracks, the yammering guard fled outside.
But his paralysis didn't last long. Suddenly he bustled backwards, away from the incriminating bunk bed, towards the door that a helpful LeBeau already held open for him.
Schultz's jaw dropped, and for a moment he stood staring down the deep, dark hole.
Schultz tried again, and lo and behold... not only did the lower bunk raise up till it collided with the top bunk, it also hinged down, together with a section of the floor underneath it, into a...
"You may have to press a little harder," Beauchamp instructed him.
Schultz did, but nothing happened.
Hogan felt along the top sideboard to locate the lever. "Here. Just press that."
"So what do I do?"
"Well then, perhaps you would do us the honour of opening this new feature, Schultz."
Hammond, Saunders and Beauchamp nodded in chorus.
Hogan raised his eyebrows at the three engineers. "Is it done?"
"Colonel Hogan, what are all these wires for?"
It did not of course. It generously allowed him to inspect it, carefully, with all its hooks and...
Schultz got up and warily approached the remodeled bunk bed – almost as if he were afraid it would jump at him.
"I think they're about done, Schultz. Look, they're replacing the mattress and the blanket."
Similarly, cut two ropes of approximately five metres length and tie them to the hooks at the top end of the board. Put a few hooks along each side of the bottom of the top bunk's slatter base to guide these ropes to the hook in the bedposts at the footend. From there, guide the ropes down and tie them, too, to the respective hooks at the footend of the lower bunk's slatter base.
Once Schultz had put the last bite of soufflé in his mouth, his attention drifted back to the bunk bed. "Colonel Hogan, what exactly are they doing to that bed?"
Cut two pieces of rope of approximately three metres length. Tie their one end to the hooks at the foot of the board. Guide the rope upwards along the bedpost, through the already present hooks at the top, and back down. Tie the other end to the respective hooks at the footend of the slatted base of the lower bunk.
"Of course they do." Schultz's nose twitched. "But not half as good as here." He picked up a fork and took a bite. "Mmmmm! What did I say – half as good? Better make that one tenth as good! One hundredth as good!"
Hogan grinned, but LeBeau, returning with a generous slice of soufflé, inquired, "Don't they feed you in the guards' mess, Schultzie?"
"Sure." LeBeau went and fetched it, while Schultz leaned over to Hogan and whispered, "Colonel Hogan, you understand a man's due after eight hours of walking a guard post in the freezing cold."
"LeBeau, the manager's plate is empty. Could he perhaps have a bite of that soufflé you made for dinner?"
Take a large piece of board and make it the exact size minus half an inch on all sides to fit within the bedframe, like a double bottom. Secure a small hook at each of its corners and place the board on top of the slatted base of the lower bunk.
"Yeah, to go bankrupt within a month," LeBeau muttered.
Schultz puffed out his chest. "Manager's prerogative."
LeBeau smirked. "Yes. And we'd only have one customer: you! The other guests wouldn't get a chance to get near the food."
"That's not a very nice thing to say, Cockroach," Schultz began to chide him. But his face brightened right away. "Perhaps it could be a French Biergarten then – with German beer and French food! For I love any kind of food you prepare, no matter where it comes from!"
LeBeau bristled. "But once we've clobbered those dirty Boche, I'm never going to cook anything German again – ever!"
Schultz looked hurt. "But you're such a great cook, LeBeau! In fact, you're a better cook than my wife!"
LeBeau scowled. "You can forget that, Schultz. I'm not going to serve Sauerkraut and Schnitzel and Bratwurst for the rest of my life."
Schultz beamed. "Oh jaaa!" He took a long gulp from the glass LeBeau handed him. "Das schmeckt gut!" He wiped off his white beermoustache with a grin. "LeBeau and I are going to open a little Biergarten after the war."
"Would you like some beer, too, Schultzie?"
Put the four alternate legs in place and secure them to the floorboard. Then return the slatted base to its original position on the lower bunk - make sure it is positioned correctly on the axis at the head of the bed! Secure the slatted base onto the axis with strong rope or leather straps. Then proceed to secure the slatted base to the top of the four alternate legs. Take each of the spool-ropes dangling down by the bedposts and attach them firmly to the respective hooks in the footend of the slatted base of the lower bunk.
The delightful waft of cinnamon and warm apple made Schultz immediately reconsider. "You are right, Colonel Hogan. You cannot engage in any monkey business as long as I'm sitting here, watching your every move." He licked his lips and dug in.
"And eating Apfelstrudel," LeBeau added, and circled a large, steaming plate under Schultz's nose.
"Monkey business, you mean? Schultz, I'm shocked!" Hogan contorted his face into an appropriate expression. "How can we conduct monkey business with you sitting right here guarding us?"
Schultz began to get up. "I think I better take a closer look at that bed. It looks like there's more going on than just fixing it for the Kommandant to fall through."
Position the first spool exactly opposite the lever on the inside of the sideboard and attach it firmly. Do the same with the other spool on the other inside sideboard – exactly opposite the first one. Put a small hook on the inside of each of the bedposts at the foot of the top bunk. Lead the rope from the spools through their corresponding hooks and let them dangle down there for now.
"Jolly joker." Schultz put down his coffee mug and watched with a frown what was going on with the bunk bed.
Hogan smirked. "I'm glad you noticed. Can I go home now then?"
"And so you fix them a hole – in the top bunk of all places – to lure them to come and live with you?" Schultz slowly shook his head. "Colonel Hogan, I believe this place is finally getting to you."
"Yes, that's the problem. We really want to have a pet here. You know, to help us feel at home in these hostile surroundings. But the Kommandant won't let us keep one of the guard dogs in the barracks. So what choice do we have but to invite the mice to keep us company?"
"The mice?" Schultz looked around. "There are no mice here."
"To save the mice some work," Hogan quipped.
Hammond glanced up. "Making a little hole in the sideboard, Schultz."
Turn the bunk upright. Fix the lever on the outside of the sideboard of the top bunk as shown in the picture.
Schultz's eyes flicked back to the upside down bunk bed. And widened. "Saunders, Beauchamp... Hammond, what are you doing?"
"Why not, Schultz?" LeBeau chimed in. "If only to try out our special bed."
"Hrmpf. I do not think the Kommandant would like to come to a slumber party anyway."
Take off the end lath of the slatted base. Cut it in half and fit the two pieces tightly around the axis. While held in that position, attach them firmly to the top lath of the slatted base. Then secure a small hook at each of the corners of the foot of the slatted base.
Another chuckle. "Oh, get off it, Schultz. It's just a harmless prank."
"You're fixing the bunk bed for the Kommandant to fall through the bed? Colonel Hogan, that is not nice!"
"Of course not. We just want to invite the Kommandant over for a slumber party tomorrow. You know, hands across the sea and all that. And then he gets to sleep in that bed and..." Hogan had a mischievous chuckle, making Schultz's eyes go wide as he realized...
"What do you mean?" Schultz sipped from his coffee. "Not monkey business again, is it? Please, Colonel Hogan..."
Take out both the slatted base and its supports. Then put the iron axis in place at the head of the bed.
"Broken?" Hogan echoed. "No, not yet. But the way we're fixing it, it's going to be broken."
"Oh! Was it broken then?" He cast LeBeau a grateful glance as the Frenchman put a steaming cup of coffee in his cold hands and invited him to sit down at the table.
"What – that?" Hogan was the picture of innocence. "We're fixing the bed."
"Ooh, it's freezing outside." Schultz blew in his hands, and then quickly pulled the door shut behind him. "LeBeau, could I please have a cup of..." His eyes widened as he noticed the upside down bunk bed with three men crowding around it. "What what what...! Colonel Hogan, what is going on here?"
"One, two, three and... Oh, hi Schultz."
Turn the bunk bed upside down.
Author's note: Yes, you got it! You have to start reading from the bottom up!