"Alt Heidelberg, du Feine
Dorian lifted a sudsy foot up and let the scented foam glide down his shapely leg. He'd arrived in Munich that afternoon and checked into a small inn, cheekily named "Der Lustic Waldgeist," or, as Dorian translated, "the Merry Fairy." It wasn't posh, but it was cute, and out of the way, so few would notice his comings and goings.
There was a knock at the door. "Zimmerbedienung!" a female voice called.
"Ist offen!" Dorian sang back, lowering his foot into the warm bath water. He sat up and reached for the towel to dry his hands.
The bathroom door opened slowly and a young woman peeked in. Upon seeing Dorian lounging there in sybaritic luxe, her eyes lit up and she wheeled in the small cart carrying the Earl's ice cream and brandy. She stared at him a moment, grinning deviously, then dropped her gaze, mumbling, "I love my job." She set both brandy snifter and ice cream bowl on the edge of the tub, then turned to go.
"Fraulein," Dorian said, lifting the snifter and swirling its contents.
She turned and smiled pleasantly. "Ja?"
In German touched by an English accent, he said, 'Tell me about the night life here. Any nightclubs?"
"Hm, well, there is the Allotria. It's a nice jazz club."
"No, no. I was thinking perhaps, a diskothek."
"Ah, well just take a walk down Theatinerstrausse. In between all the museums and such are a few diskotheks."
"Too touristy. Where do the natives go?"
She shrugged. "Lots of places. Right now Der Zentram Klub is the most popular place. That's where most of the social set goes. The jet set." Those last two words were said in English.
That's what Herr Dieslinger was a member of: the party boys. It hadn't been hard to find information on him. He was in every issue of "Lebensstil," the German equivalent of "Tattler," a different blonde on his arm in every photo.
"Where is this Zentram Klub? Is it far?"
The girl wrinkled her nose. "It's on Ginhardt Strauss, in the red light district. The playboys like to go slumming sometimes, I guess."
"Playboys? Like whom?"
"Anton Kreist, Fritz Von Leibenschleisig, Stefan Dieslinger...."
Dorian masked his excitement. "There's a gratuity on the vanity. Thank you so much, Fraulein."
"Leischen, please, sir."
Leischen pushed the cart out the door. "If there's anything I can do for you, just call."
"Yes. Thank you."
Alone, he started in on his ice cream. Better not eat too much, he thought to himself. Too hard to squeeze into that tight velvet dress. Herr Dieslinger liked blondes? He wouldn't be able to resist Eroica, master of disguise. And he'd never stand a chance against the Prince of Thieves. The perfume was as good as his. And shortly thereafter, so was Klaus Von Eberbach.
Klaus' informants had learned the one of that major dealers in Munich was a man named Mattias Pfarr, and his location of business was the Prinz Carl tavern. Klaus had arranged a meeting through go-betweens and was posing as a buyer. Tonight at twenty-two hundred hours, he would meet with Herr Pfarr and some of his 'associates' and look over some pieces.
He arrived at the Prinz Carl tavern a couple of hours early, to look the place over. The area was not like the dean and polished streets of the upper district. Every city has its seamy side and Munich was no different. The informed or lost tourist might find his way down to the red light district but most of the riff-raff here were natives. Even the non-natives had been here long enough to blend in. There weren't many people of color in Germany as a whole except for servicemen and tourists but there was one black woman, a prostitute, who seemed to belong the these streets as much as the cracks in the pavement. She had the barest accent. West African, it sounded, and she wore her long black hair in beaded braids tied back with a silk batik scarf. She noticed Klaus' attention and cocked an eyebrow. "Schokolade, liebling?" she purred, sauntering over to where Klaus sat, from her post at the front window. A momentary wave of panic paralyzed him but he stifled it with a swig of strong German brew.
"Nein, I am only here for a drink."
She laughed. "There are hundreds of bars in Munich, and Maibock still going strong in the Hoffbrahaus and beer gardens. You don't come to Prinz Carl for the beer." She leaned forward on the table, her full breasts thrust provocatively between her shapely arms.
Klaus started to loose his razor tongue but thought better of it. The woman hovered over him a moment longer, then shrugged and returned to her post.
He decided he'd seen enough. This was just a meeting place for whores and their clientele, your basic street thugs and, apparently, at least one dealer in stolen artifacts. He left enough marks to cover his beer and got up to go. Dorian was beginning to question his own judgement. First of all, he shouldn't be walking on this side of town unarmed. Second, he should have worn flats. Not only did he tower over most everyone in his five inch pumps but his feet were killing him. It had been cool outside, but his walk had made him hot inside his black velvet dress and poly/cotton padding. His hair was falling out of its combs and his eyeliner was smeared. At least he blended in with the rest of the whores. No, they were still fresh and immaculate. Dorian felt even worse. Where the hell was that club? I should have let that taxi driver let me off at the club, he told himself but he'd opted to walk the last few blocks himself, wanting to check out the dub and its area in his own time and in his own way. Only, that was eight blocks ago and there was no sign of Ginhardt Strauss much less Der Zentram Klub.
"Schon arsch!" someone called. Dorian smirked to himself. Nice ass indeed, and its not even mine. He kept walking.
Dorian scowled and spun on one spiked heel and came face to chest with the caller.
Lord of the Lumberjacks, was the first thing to pop into Dorian's head. This man was huge, not in corpulence, but in sheer muscle. Craning his neck back to look up. Dorian saw that the man had a short, brown beard and narrow green eyes. Lecherous green eyes. A forest of curly black hair sprouted from beneath the open collar of his red-and-black checquered shirt. The man smiled. He had a gap between his front two teeth.
"Why don't you come with me?" Lumberjack said.
"No, thank you," Dorian replied, stepping back. "I really don't have the time."
Lumberjack grabbed the Earl's arm. "What a lovely accent. Is it French?"
"No, now if you please..." He tried to pull free.
"You speak German beautifully, but if I find the person who taught you the word 'no', I'll break their neck." He laughed as though he'd said something remarkably clever. Dorian struggled to get free of the vice-like grip.
"I have a previous engagement," Dorian said through gritted teeth, never losing the delicate femininity in his voice. "What, you have a better offer? How much? I'll top it."
Dorian's jaw dropped. "How dare you! Let me go!"
Lumberjack laughed at his struggles. "Stop being feisty, little girl," he chortled, pulling the Earl closer. "Come with me."
"No! Let go!"
"I believe the lady wants you to let her go," came a voice from behind.
Oh, Schiesse! Dorian shook his loose hair down over his face and did not turn around. What the hell was Klaus doing here? And on this side of town? He almost turned around to give him a ticking off.
The giant pushed Dorian aside and stood chest to nose with the Major. "Did you say something, runt?"
Dorian wanted to intercede, to keep Klaus from getting pummeled, but he didn't want his cover blown. Klaus had seen him in basic drag enough to recognize him unless he put effort into his disguise. So Dorian stood against the wall and watched from beneath a curtain of mussed golden curls.
Klaus was smaller than the big bully, but he was no "runt" and neither was the .45 in his chest holster. If he was carrying it.
Klaus really didn't need this. He wanted to keep a low profile, especially in this neighborhood. If there had been a way to just walk away from this confrontation, he would have. He should have just walked away from the whole situation, but something had compelled him to help the girl. Chivalry? Something his nanny had taught him? Something about the girl?
"Come on," the other man baited. "You have a problem?"
"Plenty, but this one I can take care of here and now," Klaus replied coolly.
The girl had sidled along the wall a little ways behind Klaus, but he could still feel her there, watching. She'd seemed so small next to Goliath, but in retrospect, she was a tall woman. And well built. And she smelled of roses.
The giant took a swing at him. It was a wide swing; apparently he'd taken Klaus for an easy target. Klaus dodged it with ridiculous ease. He gripped the mammoth arm and pulled, overbalancing the man, who staggered into the wall next to the woman. The woman who'd spoken German with a distinctly English accent.
The woman's face was hidden under her wild disheveled hair. She paid him no mind and clasped her hands together and struck the giant a blow above and between the shoulder blades. It barely fazed him. He swung out an arm and caught her alongside her waist. She was knocked to the ground. Her hair flew back from her face. From his face!
"Eroica!!!" Klaus made a fist.
"Don't hit me, hit him!" the thief shrieked, pointing over Klaus' shoulder.
A shadow covered them both. Klaus passed his hand over the .45. Then an evil smile passed his lips. He leapt aside. "Fine. You want her? She's yours."
Eroica gasped. He scrambled to his stilettoed feet. "Darling, you'd better be kidding," he said, auf Englisch.
The giant took a step towards Eroica. Klaus could have easily walked away, (it would serve Eroica right), but he didn't dare let Eroica out of his sight now.
"Leave her be," Klaus growled, barely able to say "her".
Klaus was ready for the attack and it came at once. He was fighting over Eroica. The very idea almost made him shudder. Maybe he'd let this behemoth land a few blows. It would save Klaus having to kick himself later on. But the giant never landed a punch. Klaus make short work of him. With a kick to the stomach and fist to the windpipe, the man was lucky to still be alive. Klaus turned to the thief.
Eroica was gone.
The prostitutes in the window stands even turned to look. Dorian hurried past the barely-clad merchandise and ducked into a doorway. Klaus' bellow echoed down the backstreets and alleyways. So much for a spy's discretion. Dorian slipped into the brothel. Klaus was coming down the street full tilt and after what he'd done to Lumberjack, Dorian didn't feel like waiting around to see what the Major had in store for him.
The Earl-cum-strumpet started down the stark brothel hall. The front door opened so he darted into the first room he came to.
The girl at the window turned in surprise.
"Shh," Dorian whispered, leaning back against the door. "Close the curtain."
The woman stepped down from the dais. She was wearing only a g-string and a thin gold chain around her waist. "Is something wrong?" she asked in genuine concern.
Dorian locked the door and darted up to the curtain. "Did you see who followed me in?"
"Just a man. Why?"
The Earl peered out the window. Surely Klaus wouldn't follow him into a place like this.
And he hadn't, as evidenced by the fact Klaus was standing in front of the window, staring straight at him.
"Get out of there this instant!" the raven-haired Major ranted, his eyes two raging green fires.
Dorian struck a sexy pose. "You want it, it's going to cost you." He put one foot on the window ledge and slid his hands up his long, shapely leg. "Oh, damn. A snag."
"Eroica, you get the hell out of there this instant and get the hell out of my country." He jabbed his finger against the glass.
"Don't tell me where to go, darling," the Earl droned. "And don't smudge the glass."
Klaus hit the window with his strong, square fist. "I know why you're here, thief, and you won't get away with it."
"I'll get away with it all right, Mein Herr, and you as well." He winked.
Klaus reached into his jacket. "Eroica..." he snarled.
"All right, all right. If you're going to get nasty...." He turned to the girl and whispered, "Is there a back way out of here?"
"Yes. Several," she replied.
Klaus was no fool. As soon as Eroica disappeared, he darted inside. He'd see the blond when he came out of the "showroom." Now, which door would it be?
There was a click at one of the doors and it slowly swung open. Klaus stood ready to grab him, should he try anything sneaky. A nude woman stepped out, smiling coyly. "Can I help you?" she asked in a cutesified voice.
"Where is he?" Klaus was not in the mood for games. Especially here.
She looked puzzled. "Who?"
Of course. The thief was in disguise. "Where is she? The blonde trollop who came in here. Was she in your window?"
"No one but me, handsome." She advanced on him. "But blondes are overrated. Try me on for size."
"N-no!" Klaus said sharply. "I didn't come for women-"
"Well, the boys are for sale a few blocks away."
"No! That's not it, I-" Klaus turned to find the manager standing there, eyeing him warily. "Is there a problem?" she asked.
"No. Look," Klaus began, trying to remain calm, "there is a thief and con artist hiding in one of your rooms, and I've come to take him out of here. Only, he's dressed like a woman and is very hard to spot."
"Look, lover," said the manager, lighting up a cigarette. "We don't discriminate. Your friend is perfectly welcome to dress up however he pleases here."
"No! Listen! He's a criminal. He's hiding here."
Doors opened all over and girls in various stages of undress began filling the hall. "What's going on?"
"What's he yelling about?" Klaus began to sweat. He loosened his tie. He was pressed in by breasts and thighs.
"Ladies please," he cried, "Let me search the place."
The girls began to get all excited. "Is he police? Is someone in trouble?"
"No, no, no,!" Klaus tried to move forward and ran into a pair of warm, round breasts. "Pardon me," he muttered, and backed into more soft flesh. He jumped aside. "Please let me through." He tried to sound officious. His hand brushed soft pubic down. He quickly put his hands in his pockets.
"Sir, if you're not here to do business with one of my girls, I'll have to ask you to leave." The manager blocked his way. She was a short but tough-looking woman and Klaus didn't particularly want to tangle with her.
"Madam, if you would just let me find him...."
Dorian slipped by the cluster, grateful for the distraction. But as he scooted along the wall, he heard a girl exclaim, "He's handsome! And so big!"
He froze. They were groping his Klaus! He hesitated between his chance to escape and his possessiveness.
"Let me through!" Klaus demanded. There was no worry. Klaus wasn't enjoying himself. Dorian snuck out.
Then he froze again. His Klaus was big?!
Dorian danced all the way out of the alley. He'd known it all along. After all, he had a theory about why Klaus liked big guns....