This week: Berlin!

“Guten tag, Käpiten.” In the shadow of the rail depot's entrance, I sensed a hesitancy in Weingarten's posture. It was unusual for him to be so early, and I had to force back an urge to tense my fist around the briefcase handle. These were uncertain times in the Vaterland, with the Russians advancing, and it would be foolish to give the man reason to be suspicious before an exchange so crucial. In this case, unfortunately, I would have little time to worry.

Getting Around Town “ I might as well tell you,” he said, “Der Furher has elected to … alter his itinerary.” For the moment, we were alone on the steps under the graying sky. “I'm afraid,” he continued, “that I still must acquire your valise.” He uncoiled, but advanced only inches before I struck him in the windpipe with the steel case. He crumpled to his knees, gagging desperately, as his stiletto clattered to the ground. I snatched it and, holding his eyelid open, buried it into his cortex. “See you around,” I told him as he convulsed, pointing to my own eye and making a little stabbing motion in case he didn't get it.

Collecting my bearings, I picked up the briefcase and hurried to the alley and the waiting motorcycle. When I turned the corner, the bike leapt forward amid a sickening rumble of tortured wheels and motorized screaming. I barely dived back in time to avoid the collision, but the driver clipped my ankle with a swing of his telescoping diamond truncheon. So. Hauptberg had betrayed me as well. I rose with difficulty, pain exploding in my right leg. Only one option remained. I grimly limped to the street and made for the Hotel Nazi.

Total, unfettered world war being what it is, the quality of today's Berlin restaurant leaves, shall we say, something to be desired. Such as being not blown up. Still, some inventive culinary thinking can still leave you less starving or, at the very least, not vomiting violently onto your frostbitten fingers. Seek out any warehouse which is still receiving electricity and break through the door (if one is present). Crouch in a warm corner for several hours until a rat scurries past. Lunge at it and impale it on your rusted skewer, most likely scrap culled from the wreckage of an exploded diesel truck. I don't suggest trying to light a fire, so gnaw feverishly at the creature while it remains warm. Mmm mmm! 3 1⁄2 stars

Nightlife and Recreation "Let me help you with that, Herr Schwein" There was no arguing with Klausbinder's slingshot. One of his clowns wrestled away the briefcase and disappeared into the back of the tiny car. The other bozo yanked me to my feet and pushed me in after him. Klausbinder seated himself in the rear facing seat, still training the suction cup dart on me. "Driver," he barked, "the Brandenburg gate, and step on it." My mind raced as my swollen foot pounded and seltzer dried, tingling, on my face. They were taking me out of the city? Klausbinder nodded to the clown with the frowny-face makeup. "Heermeier, put him out." Moments before the lights went out, he said, "All will be explained…in Copenhagen."


Last Week