A Sensitive Problem
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Mango Mania. Corrections to my language or any other type of comments are welcome. Ask if you want me to archive it anywhere. You may link to this story if you want or to my main page. 1.668 words. Written in December 2011.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows and Kadorienne - thank you all of you!! Remaining errors are all mine.To Heather Sparrows, Christmas 2010
Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach lay prone on a cold garage roof in Samsville, Montana, with his sharp eyes trained on the muddy street below. Late evening, combined with the decorative edge of the garage protected him and the others from inquisitive eyes. The people lying on the roof, however, had an excellent view of the drop area: a small, green metal bench by a lamp post. Agent H, disguised as the man who really should have been sitting there, a Mr. Clivart, looked uncomfortable, but not suspiciously so, considering the weather.
From the right Klaus heard slow, hesitant footsteps. A few seconds later a man emerged from the dusk. On seeing Mr. Scrubber, Klaus smirked. The chief and the CIA liaison agent had been sure that the traitor would be Mr. Lawson, the Minister's secretary, but Klaus had from the start had a distinct feeling that they were barking up the wrong tree. Not that he would tell them "Ich habe es euch ja gesagt" - but he had told them so and they would remember that, so there was no need for him to say the actual words out loud.
The roof swayed a little as someone crawled towards him - an inferior, American building, obviously. Klaus's full attention was on the street, waiting for the contact to be made. As soon as the passwords had been exchanged they could arrest Mr. Scrubber. Up until then the man could claim to just be out on some late evening stroll - and both Mr. Scrubber and Mr. Clivart lived reasonably close by, so positive identification was vital. Of course, Agent H would do his best to get Mr. Scrubber to let some things slip before realising he had been set up.
Klaus considered H one of his best agents - not that this meant much, considering what he had available, but since Mr. Scrubber was supposed to make first contact, Klaus was reasonably sure that they would get at least that far. Anything beyond that would be ein Sahnehäubchen.
Mr. Scrubber had looked around for a long time - What does he expect, NATO agents hiding behind the lamp post? - but then he moved forward again, clearly heading towards the bench. Komm zu Papa ... Klaus was prepared to leap down if Mr. Scrubber suddenly decided to bolt, but there was still some distance separating the two men, and then ideally the passwords should be said. They had gathered enough intelligence so they knew the correct phrases. So far everything was going according to plan.
And that was when a long-fingered hand landed on Klaus's arse and everything went to hell. Well, things didn't literally go to hell. They just went wrong.
"Major Eberbach." That would be "Major von dem Eberbach", but the chief never neglected to use the wrong version of the name. Sometimes he would smile just after having said it. One day Klaus would break down and start yelling about it. However, today was not that day. "Sit."
Klaus clenched his jaws in annoyance. He did obey.
"I have read the report," the chief went on to say. "Apparently everything went well, up to the point when someone goosed you and you screamed like a little girl about to be violated, effectively scaring off our number one suspect."
Klaus did not point out that while the suspect had been his number one, the others hadn't agreed.
"I didn't scream like a little girl."
"That might be, Major Eberbach - but you made enough noise to scare off the suspect, warning him and his collaborators. You blew this mission completely. Need I say that people upstairs are very, very annoyed? We had everything under control - and you blew it!"
A very unfair assessment. "It was that Ero-bugger's fault! He had no right to paw me!"
"Major Eberbach, what I can't--" The chief broke off whatever he was going to say and massaged his temples. "One moment, Major Eberbach." He reached for the intercom and pressed the button. "Mildred? Please bring coffee for me and Major Eberbach." Not waiting for a reply he released the button and looked sharply at Klaus. "Now observe," he ordered and stood.
It only took a minute before the door opened and Mildred, the chief's secretary, entered carrying a tray with two steaming cups and a full sugar basin. She smiled at them both, then rounded Klaus to reach the desk. Once she had put down the tray the chief, in full sight of Klaus, reached out and pinched her bottom. She did straighten up a bit faster than looked completely natural, but then just snorted faintly and left the room.
The chief sat down again. He took one of the coffee cups and a handful of sugar cubes, which he disposed, one by one, into his coffee.
"So, Major Eberbach ..." he said in a contemplative tone. "Shall I send Mildred out with the Alphabet in the future? She could have done the job you failed to, obviously. I could transfer you to the secretary pool."
"It's not the same thing!"
The chief reached for another sugar cube and dropped it into his cup with a small splash. "It is when it is affecting your work! You are supposed to be a professional! You're supposed to be a trained agent! You're supposed to be prepared to handle any obstacle that comes your way! Not to scream like a little girl and sabotage missions!"
Klaus wasn't used to the chief raising his voice to him. However, they both knew that this particular mission most likely would have been successful if only Klaus hadn't alerted the possible terrorist. "Yes, sir," he admitted quietly.
"Good. I'm giving you a week to deal with your problem at any cost. If you haven't learned to deal with this sort of thing by then I will have no choice but to give you desensitizing training. Personally!"
As he walked away from the chief's office, nauseated by the very thought of the chief personally giving him desensitizing training, Klaus wondered idly if his superior had been aware of his choice of words. "At any cost". Easy to say and easy to forget the coded meaning of. They were the words used to delicately hint that the people upstairs would understand a few bodies left behind. As one of NATO's top agents in intelligence Klaus didn't quite have a licence to kill - but any investigation as a rule ended in a quick reprimand or - on exactly two occasions - visits to the NATO shrink who, after the second visit, visited his own shrink and, on her recommendation, refused to ever see Klaus again.
Had the chief really suggested that Klaus kill his nemesis, the Earl of Gloria? It seemed unlikely. The man was just a civilian, no matter how often he managed to get tangled up in NATO business. Hand him over to INTERPOL might be a possible solution, but killing did seem a bit over the top. Oh, there had been times when Klaus had contemplated doing just that, but in the end he had always forced himself to admit that he was merely daydreaming.
No. The Earl of Gloria didn't deserve to die. Or be handed over to INTERPOL. He just needed to learn to keep his hands off where they didn't fucking well belong! He needed to realise that Klaus's butt - as, indeed, every part of Klaus's body unless Klaus expressly told him otherwise - was not there for the Earl to put his hands on, pinch, caress or do anything else with. Of course, Klaus had tried in the past to explain this rather simple concept to the Earl, but so far he had failed miserably. Besides, as the chief had demonstrated so graphically, if Klaus was to call himself a professional, he would have to be able to tolerate such liberties.
So ... Learn to tolerate them he would, as ordered. Fine. The fop would have to help him. Perhaps the problem wasn't solely the Earl's fault, but he had bloody well helped cause it, so it was only right he helped Klaus get over his little hangups. And rather him than Fatso.
"Besides," Klaus grumbled to himself, "it's not as if I need desensitizing! I'm not some sensitive poofter!"
After having watched the major storm away the chief turned around and asked, "I won't have to check personally when he gets back, will I?" though in truth he wouldn't mind terribly having to pinch one of those cannon ball firm buttocks he had so often admired. "Check if he has, ah, improved? Well, perhaps it would be best, after all ..."
His wife stepped out from behind the cupboards. At the same time Mildred stepped back in through the door.
"No, no, don't worry Gustav," his wife said and smiled tenderly at him. "Yes, we must have a demonstration, but I'll call Dorian later and talk to him about him coming over. I'm sure he'd be all too happy to oblige us. I'll invite him home for tea afterwards, he does like my Bienenstich and he can tell us all about what happens between now and then. Millie - excellent act! How about we go out and have ourselves a cup of coffee? Gustav will give you the rest of the day off. You did well too, Gustav. I'll make liver with apple and onion rings for you tonight."
Liver with apple and onion rings! The chief instantly felt better. Pinching Major von dem Eberbach's bum might be all good and well, but not without its inherent dangers - and liver with apple and onion rings was not to be snorted at. And besides, he had gotten to pinch Mildred, with his wife watching and everything!
He decreed Operation A Sensitive Problem a success.
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