Iron Klaus

by Anne-Li

Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Lindt Lindor Chocolate balls in Stracciatella. Corrections to my language 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.3.836 words. Written in December 2007.

For Heather Sparrows, on Her Big Day!

It's a little silly, but I hope you will like it anyway. This is a teaser/trailer kind of thing. I wanted to try a different format and I had fun doing it. It might be that I write more eventually, for I know what happens, but I don't promise anything. If I do, it might not be in this format either (though I might try it).

Betaed by Heather Sparrows (Thank you! And all my best from me and your Best Boar!), Maf (Thank you, Maf!) and Kadorienne (Thank you, Kadorienne!).

"Hurry up, my fellow Eroica fans! It's about to start! Come on, now. We have chips and candy apples and cheese doodles and popcorns. Sit down! Here, a stuffed pig for you to hold, they're very good to hug if you get scared. Is everyone on board now? Is everyone belted in? Are we forgetting something? Aaaargh! It's starting! No, no, that's okay, it's just commercials. I think it's shampoo - it's always shampoo. Or jeans. Or a computer game. Something to drink? Coca cola? Coffee? Tea? Lemonade? Water? Guanabana pineapple Festis? It's a kind of juice drink, very good. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, it's starting! No! Wait! Stop!"

Anne-Li jumps up in front of the Sofa of Adventure (more commonly known as the SOA).

"First I would just like to say that ... ah ... I ... um ... I couldn't have done this without you, Heather? And I really hope you'll like it. And, um, you too, of course, I couldn't have done it without you either! Okay? Um ... So ... Um ... Thank you. And ... I really hope you'll like it. Okay, can we roll it back and start over from the beginning now? Okay. Thank you!"

Anne-Li jumps back onto the SOA, quickly belts herself in and lifts BBK, her mascot, into position.

"Okay, you can start it again now!"

The SOA flies through complete, utter darkness. Suddenly, a giant screen looms up. The SOA glides towards it, then stops at a convenient viewing distance. At first the giant screen shimmers in silver. It fills the gathered crowd's entire view. A faint tune is playing. Something vaguely Irish, almost eerie. Then a voice starts talking. It is a warm, kind, loving, yet strong voice. A man's voice, and while it sort of has the potential of being sexy, it somehow feels instantly trustworthy and protective, more like a loving, elder brother's. The man talks slowly, as if considering each word and then speaking as if sharing a secret to the eager listeners on the SOA.

"During the cold war, NATO's best man in Intelligence was Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach."

"That's Z talking!" Anne-Li whispers eagerly.

The silver disperses into foggy grey and the camera overlooks a grass-green hill with fragments of columns and blocks of cut stone. Greece, perhaps, or some part of Italy? There is also a large, block-shaped building.

"Major von dem Eberbach was the leader of the Alphabet Team."

A tall man, his back to the audience, walks away from the camera as if having walked straight through it. He wears a long, grey trenchcoat. His steps echoes, then he stops with military precision, his feet planted well apart. Straight black hair falls down to his shoulders. The latter are nice and wide, and while the coat makes it a little hard to see, he seems to have a well-shaped, muscular body.

"A! B! C!" the man's voice breaks in, shouting the letters as commands. Now this voice is plain sexy, there's no ifs or buts about it. It has a faint German accent. "Move your fat arses!"

Three blond men, carrying handguns, rush past the man from the right and disappear into the screen's left corner.

"Z!" the sexy voice then commands. "Double back and cover!"

The camera pulls back abruptly, allowing a fourth man, who had been standing to the left of the black-haired one, to slip between the latter and the camera. Then he runs full tilt. The camera follows him around a corner and into a small alley ending in a low metal gate. He leaps to his knees by the gate, aiming his pistol above it, eyes intent on whatever he sees. Only for a moment, though, then he slowly turns his head to look straight into the camera.

"The other side called him Iron Klaus," he says slowly. Z looks exactly like the viewers imagine him; blond, a bit boyish, very handsome, yet cute. "Out of respect. And fear ..."

Then he slowly turns his head back again.

A warehouse, where a group of men pack something into long, wooden boxes. The camera sweeps in to check the contents - it's automatic rifles. In the background a Russian folk song is played, one of the sad ones: all slow, lingering tones. The men speak amongst themselves in staccato Russian. A telephone rings. The camera pulls back and continues into an office, where a gnarled hand lifts the phone to a dark-haired, compact man's ear. He wears sunglasses. More staccato sounds come from the phone and all that the viewers hear is the end of the sentence. "--Eberbach!"

The camera pulls back from the close-up when the man drops the phone. He throws himself towards the office door, leaning out into the warehouse. The camera films his face in profile from over his shoulder. He shouts in agitated Russian. The words "Iron Klaus" can be clearly heard, but the thoughtful moviemaker has added a translation in the lower part of the screen just in case. "They're on to us! They're sending Iron Klaus! Gather your things and prepare to leave! We abort, I repeat - we abort!"

As he bellows forth the last sentence a small object, perhaps two centimeters in height; silver metallic, abruptly cut in the end, enters the picture from the right. Its other end continue out of the screen. The camera zooms in, but the object appears to be moving, for the viewers see more and more of it. For a few moments, the folk music is heard very clearly. The object is long ... Long, narrow, silvery ... Why - it's a pistol pipe! The entire gun can be seen now. And the hand holding it. A strong hand with long fingers.

"Too," the sexy voice from earlier says. "Fucking." The German accent is ever so slightly clearer now. "Late."

"They say that the cold war ..." Z continues. As he speaks the camera circles the Russian. "... was never as cold ..."

The camera zooms in on the pistol. Then zooms out a little and past the gun. The viewers see the lower half of a face. It is male and clean-shaven. A big, noble nose. Also a very firm jaw and a strong mouth, the latter smirking faintly.

" ... as when Iron Klaus smiled."

The mouth smiles. The music stops. The screen goes black.

"However ..." Z says and suddenly he sounds dead serious, ominous even.

A sign proclaims a big, grey, very official-looking building to be the NATO headquarters in Bonn. Low, repetitive music gradually builds in strength. The camera swishes through the wall into a corridor, where it slows down as if to properly admire the back of a tall man with long, black hair, who marches ahead of the camera for a few steps. Then the camera pulls up next to him, just in time to see him slam open a door to the right. The camera pauses to let the man enter - and as it does it zooms in on a sign by the door.

Major von dem Eberbach.
Alphabet Team.

Then the camera follows the man inside.

"... things ..."

As the man marches up towards the desk at the other end of the room, the camera quickly pans the area. The tempo of the music increases. 26 men stare at the man with different levels of astonishment and worry. They turn with him as he walks and the camera follows him. When he turns around the camera shows a full view of his upper body and face. The pattern of the music breaks and it dissolves with a few disjoint notes. A livid scar bisects the man's mouth. He has blue eyes and his nose is turned slightly upwards.

"... changed."

"My name is Major Johan Wiltsen. You are now under my command. Our first mission is to capture your former commander, Major von dem Eberbach. Preferably alive - so that he can be brought to justice for the Berlin bombings and the murder of the British prime minister - but dead if necessary. As I'm sure I don't have to tell you, he is armed and very, very dangerous."

In the audience Heather gasps. Anne-Li blindly reaches out and pats her hand twice. "There, there. Have a crisp. Don't drop the pig, though. Heeeh - my favourite part is about to come up now, pay attention!"

As if horrified, the camera pulls back. Then it abruptly turns 90 degrees to the right and looks straight at Z, who looks back with solemn eyes.

"He became the most hunted man in Europe," Z says gravely. "All the western agencies were after him, needing to catch him, before the other side got to him."

A dumpster area. Rain falls heavily and the light is faint. The sound of running footsteps is heard, coming from a group of men. Thunder roars. Suddenly one of the shadows solidifies. It is a tall man with long, black hair. He has piercing green eyes - Mosel-green eyes, some might say - a strong jaw, and he holds a big pistol in his right hand, leaning the weapon over his heart and left shoulder. He is very handsome, even though he is sneering with his lips pulled back to show a hint of teeth. The footsteps approach. In slow motion the man aims the weapon past the camera. A shot is fired. The screen goes black.

In the blackness Z says: "He only had one man left on his side."

Anne-Li can be heard going something that sounds suspiciously like, "Iiii! Iiii! Iiii!"

The camera starts at ground level, worm's eye-view, and inches its way up. Sacral music plays softly. First we see a pair of dull, grey shoes and then the hem of a pale grey dress. Then more of the dress come into view. It is a rather dull dress; no patterns or decorations, just clean, plain grey. It is rather clinging, though, displaying the wearer's long, long legs and those delicious buttocks ... Oh my ... As the camera reaches the upper back, it becomes obvious why said dress is so plain. It is not a dress. It is topped by a wimple - it is a nun's habit.

Just as the audience realises that those long, long legs and those delicious buttocks belong to a nun (repent, sinners!), the sexy voice the viewers now know belong to Major von dem Eberbach, growls - sounding very angry, "For fuck's sake, Eroica! Get out of that fucking nun's habit!"

Z sighs. "Unfortunately," he says, "the only man on his side ..."

"Of course, darling," a British, male voice interrupts, in a teasing, very sexy tone.

There's a rustle and the wimple falls back. A astonishing mass of blond curls bounce free. The habit itself keeps falling, accompanied by select parts of Beethoven's third. The camera follows the descent and the tantalising peeks of pink, pale skin.

The British voice ends with a throaty, "I thought you'd never ask."

Oops - the person previously wearing the habit is now no longer wearing any habit or, in fact, any outfit whatsoever ... The camera pans up again, again showing all that pink, pale skin ... Oh dear ... Those legs ... Those delicious buttocks ... That back ... Oh my ... Then the camera jumps past the denuded man to show Major von dem Eberbach. He is staring past the camera at the British not-nun, with one hand raised to his face, the knuckles to his mouth. The impression he's wearing ... It might be a cliché, but, yes ... Deer caught in headlights ...

Z finishes with another sigh and, "... was also out to get him ..."

A magnificent ballroom, filled with people dressed to the nines in the very latest fashion of the early eighties. There is some dancing going on, but lots of people just stand around, talking. Servants in uniforms go around with drinks and there is live music: a band playing a waltz. Really high class. On the creamy yellow walls hang beautiful paintings.

"Lady Asteria?" a male voice says to a lady in a very red dress. The camera sees her from behind; the back décolletage goes almost down to her waist. Her blond hair is set up in some elaborate hairdo with lots of ringlets. She turns, smiling. She is a very pretty woman, if a bit past her absolute prime.

The man addressing her comes into view. He's a good-looking, pale man in a well-fitting, black suit. "Lady Asteria, please allow me to introduce you to Dorian Red, the Earl of Gloria."

Her smile suddenly becomes considerably warmer, as she apparently looks at someone behind the first man. The camera turns and halts at the sight of a man dressed in a spectacular suit in red and gold. He has a bouncy mane of blond curls, is incredibly handsome and smiles charmingly.

"Dorian Red," Z echoes slowly, his words giving the viewers plenty of time to drink in the appearance before them. "The Earl of Gloria."

"Lady Asteria," the Earl says. His voice is, of course, that of the "nun". "Charmed, I'm sure. And I have to say you have a very nice collection here. I'm especially intrigued by ... that painting."

He nods up to a painting of two shepherds standing side by side, overlooking a flock of sheep. The audience can't tell for sure, but something about the way the men stands makes it just possible that they might be holding hands.

The light dims, but the waltz still plays. Gloved hands reach for the painting, carefully lifting it down. The ballroom is empty now, save for a single man, dressed in a skin-tight cat suit. He holds the painting in front of him, obviously admiring it. The shot is monochrome, save for his blue eyes.

The color returns and the light increases again as the Earl of Gloria says to Lady Asteria. "I want to buy it. How much would you want for it?"

"I'm so sorry, but it's not for sale."

"You don't understand. I must have everything that I want. It's my personal policy."

"It's not for sale."

The light dims once more to monochrome. The cat suit-clad man, carrying the painting, walks out of the ball room. Just as he reaches the door he stops and turns back with a flourish, throwing a little note to the floor. The camera follows the descent. As it zooms in on the elegant calligraphy of the note, Z says:

"Also known as Eroica, the prince of thieves."

On the note is written, simply,

Many thanks. From Eroica with love

An alley. A large man crouches on a fire stairs outside a window, listening in. The waltz finally comes to a stop.

"That's Mischa!" Anne-Li hisses. "Oh, and I would just like to clarify: 'The owls are not what they seem to be,' okay?"

Voices are heard through the partly opened window. The first is very British and male - Eroica's. He sounds delighted. "Oh, it feels like one of my very fondest wishes is about to come true!"

"Pervert," is the curt reply. It is Major von dem Eberbach's voice and in contrast, he sounds livid.

"Tsk, tsk, don't be like that, darling. Now spread them some more. Have I told you that you look astonishingly edible like that, by the way?"

Mischa's eyes widen.


"Oh, yes. A little more now. Yes - I can see the opening now. Oh, but it's so small. I don't know if it can even fit in there ... Oh well ... Ready or not, darling, here I come!"

Mischa is blushing now. He raises both hands to his head. He looks indecisive if he should cover his ears or not.

"Ow! Pervert! That hurt! Ow!"

Mischa covers his ears.

Very romantic, sappy music plays. There's a big, pink ... pig? Yes, it is a pig. A very big, pink one. With very, very pretty ears. And a very long, movable, moist snout. It stands on the left side of the screen, filling half of it. Then, from the right side steps a big, strong boar. It's very dark and handsome. With huge tusks. They look at each other. Their snouts touch. And then they turn away from the camera to run together down a flowery meadow, almost in slow motion.

Anne-Li leans in to whisper, "That scene might not make it to the final cut. BBK insisted on it, though ... It's very ... cough ... symbolic, kind of."

Soft piano-music plays. Mischa sits in a seedy bar, furthest into a booth, drinking vodka. He looks slightly ... disturbed. After a moment the noise level in the bar dies down. Mischa looks up. The camera pulls back to show that Major von dem Eberbach has entered the room. He surveys it, sneering, then marches up to Mischa and sits down opposite to him. They stare at one another for a few seconds. The noise level goes up again.

"Comrade Eberbach," Mischa says. He has a very deep voice and a Russian accent.

"Don't call me that!"

Mischa grunts. "I heard that even your paramour left you, once he got what he wanted."

"None of your fucking business!"

"Testy, are you? Funny, we had a bet back in Moscow, whether you'd get more mellow if you let him--"

A pistol is levelled at Mischa's forehead. The piano-music comes to an abrupt, crashing halt.

Mischa spreads his arms, "Sorry if I offended you, Major. We're all friends here, aren't we?"

"Nein! You are no friend of mine."

"The enemy of our enemy is our friend, Major. Remember what I told you before. You have no allies left in the west. But you would be welcome in Mother Russia."

The camera turns fully to look at Major von dem Eberbach. He stares back at Mischa. After a few seconds he returns his pistol to its holster and lits a cigarette. He looks ... thoughtful. A corner of his mouth twitches upwards.

A dimly lit area with no walls in sight. Disjointed, fragile music. The camera is centred and focused on the profile of a standing Major von dem Eberbach. He aims his pistol at something to the camera's right. Beyond him are blurred shapes of men spread at an even distance, most of them blond.

"In the end ..." Z says softly. As he speaks the camera slowly sweeps a full circle around Major von dem Eberbach. "... he stood alone." While the camera clearly moves, showing the man from different angles, the background remains more or less the same - blurred shapes of men, most of them blond. "His own dragon. His own knight. Prepared for everything."

"I borrowed that from the poem of Dürer's Rhinoceros," Anne-Li whispers. "Sounds neat, doesn't it?"

At the word "everything" the camera stops right in front of Klaus, zooming in on his face. He sneers. "So, it was a trap after all," he says. "Traitors. But I hear ..." The camera pulls back and does a 90 degree turn to the right, focusing this time on the circle of men. They're dressed as we have previously seen the Alphabets and some of them look familiar. They are all aiming their guns at Klaus. Some of them look angry; some frightened; some confused. "... that some of you might still remember the meaning of the word ‘loyalty'. " The music slowly rises. As Klaus speaks, the camera takes another circle, letting the viewer see all 26 of the men. "Those I don't want to kill, so if you are still loyal, just do what I tell you to do."

An office with two men. One of them is fat, almost bald and sits behind the desk. The other is Major Wiltsen - his scar can be clearly seen. Soft, smooth music.

The camera zooms in on the fat man. "Do you really think it is a good idea to have the Alphabet track Major Eberbach?" he says.

The camera switches to Major Wiltsen. "They know him better than anyone," he replies. "Besides, sir - they fear him. They hate him. Have you ever seen what a pack of wolves does to the former pack leader once he has been defeated?"

Back to the dimly lit area. A bird's view, shot with Klaus in the centre of a perfect circle of Alphabets. The camera lowers right by Klaus's shoulder, then zooms in front of him. Two agents stand there, shoulder to shoulder - Z to the left and a shorter, also blond agent to the right. Behind them, seen between and over their shoulders, stands another man. He has a scar bisecting his mouth. Major Wiltsen. The music becomes gradually more intense.

Voice-over by Major Wiltsen: "Once the old pack leader has been defeated, the wolf pack tears him apart."

The music stops. The Alphabets are overlaid by a pack of wolves, throwing themselves forward at Major von dem Eberbach. The clip lasts only for about two seconds.

The Alphabets are back to where they stood, all of them aiming at their former leader. The music continues.

The camera focus on Major von dem Eberbach's face as he orders, simply, "Duck!"

The camera focuses past him, at the Alphabet. A shudder goes through them, but they are not ducking. The camera flips direction, looking in front of Klaus towards Major Wiltsen. The Alphabets in that direction are noticeably not ducking either ... The camera zooms in on Major Wiltsen and then his thin mouth, with the bright scar. He smiles. The music becomes more and more intense.

With a blink the camera focuses on another lower face and mouth, filling the screen just as Major Wiltsen's did previously. Only this mouth is slightly fuller, has no scar and is sneering. The music stops. Little by little, the corners of the mouth goes up and Major von dem Eberbach smiles too.

The screen goes black.

"IRON KLAUS - the movie! Coming soon to a theatre near you - if he bloody well feels like it."

"There you go, everyone. I hope you liked it! Sadly we haven't been able to gather enough money to make the entire movie yet ... But Mr. James is in charge of gathering donations, so I'm sure it's just a matter of time. He's sitting just outside, if you'd be interested in chipping in. He accepts all currencies and most credit cards."

The End

The poem of Durer's Rhinoceros (rough translation)
Durer's rhinoceros, strange animal which so nobly
Fills the image's room with your serious body.

Skin in heavy shields as on some knight or serious man
on his way to adventure. Which virgin will you

Find, you only unicorn there ever was?

You can tell you come from far away
And do not belong in the dark valleys of the Frank.

What would not be needed to penetrate
This body and reach the heart within?

Possibly a silver bullet? To catch you
In some sturdily made net was probably not easy,

Much less keep you alive as far as to here,
And all this just to catch you a second time,

In the horrible net of the image,
And this time for ever.

What were you thinking? How still did you stand?
What horror May you have felt in a much too fortified heart?

The master made you a knight,
Larger, more melancholy, more fortified

Than any of the others on his images.
Possibly also more innocent.

You are The Animal That Stands Still
In the middle of the cold stream and catches

In very small but faithfully alert eyes
Each image which the light reflects into the water.

Its own dragon. It's own knight.

Prepared for everything.

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