On their next meeting in the old railway car, Sam told Yo-wen about his session with Annaliese. She didn't express any sumpathy, and remarked,
"I'm not surprised that sex has its problems. But, since I'm determined to abstain, I don't have to worry about them."
"I thought it was time for me to go all the way."
"There's a nice sunny serenity about you, Sam. Sex might destroy it."
"My idea has always been to collect and categorize facts without acting on them to any great extent."
"I know, and I like it. Of course, you can also do dangerous and reckless things."
"Those are just physical actions. If you fall off a mountain or get drowned at sea, it doesn't affect anyone else or have any moral dimension."
"But sex does have a moral dimension?"
"Annaliese doesn't act as if it does, but I suppose it must really."
"So there's your problem. You tried to depart from your pattern and couldn't."
"I wonder if my kind of serenity involves passivity. Most people wouldn't think that passivity is a very good thing. You aren't passive yourself."
"We were engaged in a continual struggle for survival in China. Morals applied only within the family. And now, of course, it's hard to adjust to change. Particularly for my father."
"You're willing to oppose the Nazis when survival would dictate just holing up in Switzerland."
"That's more a matter of being bored and thirsting for action. The Nazis are probably somewhat evil, but we could be enlisted in almost any plot against anyone."
"Well, I accepted this commission because I had just lost a girl that I liked and needed distraction."
"Apart from that, do you think that the Nazis are bad people?"
"Well, yes, I'm sure they are. More to the point, we'll end up fighting them."
"In which case, it hardly matters whether they're bad people?"
"I suppose not. It's hard to imagine America being in a struggle for survival, but German science, combined with the German military tradition, could possibly beat us."
"My father keeps talking about taking us all to America. So, as future Americans, we'd better do something about Hokensen."
"You know, my commission was just to come here to spy on German scientists, not to do anything about them."
"And, of course, that was quite consistent with your pattern of passive observation."
"Yes. I felt good about it, even if there was some danger. I can imagine myself in the top of a tree with binoculars in the middle of an enemy camp. Which is more or less my position here."
"How long did you intend to do this?"
"That was never clarified. But, somewhere along the line, even before you mentioned it, I must have come to assume that something would have to be done about Hokensen."
"Did you assume that you'd do it?"
"I must have. I had the idea that you'd help, but I never wanted you to do it for me."
"You're too much the gentleman for that, Sam. So then. The passive observer becomes a murderer."
"Do you think I'm capable of it?"
"Yes. When men who avoid action suddenly take it up, their zeal knows no bounds. You'll be very thorough."
"But I don't feel suicidal. Still less do I want to be tortured by the Gestapo."
"Neither do I. Our plan must be a good one."
"We're attractively near Denmark on one side and Holland on the other. If the assassin could get away from the scene at all, he could probably get over a border."
"Unfortunately, Denmark and Holland are small countries who don't want to displease Hitler. They'd extradite someone who could be claimed to be a common murderer."
"France would be less likely to. England surely wouldn't in the present circumstances."
"Anyhow, Sam, we'll have the advantage of surprise. We should be able to act and escape before they react."
Afraid of being late and missing Brenda, Sam came up early from Rosbeck. In the main booking hall of the great Hamburg station he found a seat on a low marble wall near the exit to the taxi rank. The wall, which separated a baggage area from the main flow of pedestrians, was only a foot or so tall. However, sitting on it was, in social terms, much more respectable than sitting on the floor.
Used to looking down on people, Sam found the low perspective to be rather exotic. Naturally concentrating on the lower parts of people, there were two sights worth noting, the boots of army and Luftwaffe officers and the feet and ankles of fashionable women. The boots made their own harsh statement, even when, in looking up, he saw them worn by rather small effete men, perhaps the military intellectuals of the general staff. One sensed that some of these gentlemen, stripped of their uniforms, might look rather pathetic in a dignified way in just their pince-nez and underwear. But, of course, the uniforms did make the men. With them on, they might plan dangerous attacks to be executed by others.
There were, unfortunately, other boot wearers who looked lithe as tigers, ready to pounce on the Poles, the Belgians, or, for that matter, the dispirited and divided French. Sam was sure that he'd be able to throw strikes past them, but that wouldn't really do any good. These young officers would, not only execute the orders, but stomp on what might remain of the enemy. Sam was used to athletes, but these were athletes with a sense of mission, something he hadn't often encountered in the major leagues.
The ladies, some of whom accompanied the officers, didn't look particularly likely to either plan or execute attacks. But some of those feet, the ones Sam looked at longest, possessed a certain power. In fashionable shoes and silk stockings, they betrayed activity and forcefulness, sometimes impulsiveness. The women above the feet, whether young and blonde or dark and fortyish, looked both unattainable and adventurous. What, wondered Sam, might a boot wearer be willing to do to obtain the favor of such a woman?
Just as he was beginning to wonder what might lie under the clothes of a woman capable of inspiring dangerous exploits, it occurred to Sam that a man who had so recently failed to put the peg in the hole shouldn't be having prurient thoughts. Perhaps he should instead visit museums and read Victorian novels. At that moment, Sam looked across the marble expanse and saw Brenda, who was half an hour early. Racing toward her in a manner which would have drawn the attention of the average alert Gestapo officer, he found that she did indeed look great, better than any of the women he had been watching. There surely wouldn't be any difficulty about pegs and holes with her. After all, Brenda was a nurse and would know how to make it all work.
By the time Sam reached Brenda, he remembered that he was a spy. She, laughing, made a little gesture to indicate that he shouldn't embrace her then and there. Before leaving for Germany, Sam had explained it all, and had suggested that his mail might possibly be opened and read. They had since corresponded with that in mind, and her manner now indicated that she remembered everything he had told her. Indeed, it looked as if she wanted to do a little spying herself. Her first question was,
"Are we supposed to know each other?"
"Yes. There's no reason why I shouldn't be visited by a girl friend. In fact, it's good for me to seem more interested in ladies than in secret technology."
"Okay. As it happens, I have an immediate plan. For right here in Hamburg."
Sam couldn't imagine what it would be, and Brenda continued,
"A young German lady and I shared a compartment on the train. I said that we didn't really have a place to go, and she offered me the use of her apartment here in the city. She's gone direct to her mother and won't be there today. I have the key and the address."
Sam hadn't expected anything so immediate and blurted out an outline of his goings on with Annaliese. Brenda seemed to find it funny, and replied,
"Nothing beats the comfort of a bed, at least at first. Anyhow, I have more experience. You'll see."
There was something in Brenda's tone that made Sam think of his college roommate, Baldwin Allison. Baldwin once said,
"If I'm lucky, I'll find a woman like my mother. My father lets her make all the decisions and manage everything. She then arranges things so that he's happier than he would be if he made the decisions himself."
Some people were shocked by that attitude, and Sam had had some doubts himself. But it now seemed to him that Brenda was just such a woman.
Even though her German consisted of only a few words, Brenda summoned a taxi and showed the driver the address written on a scrap of paper. Sam sat back as they tore through city streets, laughing as they were thrown together in the sharp turns. He then paid and tipped the driver as Brenda bounced up the front steps of a small apartment building. She had the apartment door open when he got there and said,
"My friend said it'd be a mess, but I told her we wouldn't care. The bedroom seems to be in here."
There was some clothing strewn around, but the bed was made with a large maroon quilt. Brenda said,
"I love quilts. Nothing feels so good to lie on when you're bare."
Sam said that he liked them pretty well, too.
It started out more or less as it had with Annaliese. He found himself efficiently undressed with his suit laid carefully over a chair. Brenda then unfastened her dress slowly, at the same time moving around and not letting him touch her. She said,
"You just lie on the bed and relax. I'll do everything."
As Brenda removed layers of clothing, Sam found himself amazed at her erect posture and the regal quality of her movements. When she was naked, her pale pink nipples particularly noticeable, she came to him.
Sam wasn't sure exactly what happened in what order, but he ended up in various different positions. The peg was squarely in the hole most of the time, and, in addition to satisfying himself more than once, he found out something about the female orgasm. It was a little alarming at first, but he was urged to keep pumping. At the end, Brenda just lay on the bed. Sam was a little concerned, but she assured him that she was all right, just exhausted.
Later, after they had both taken baths, Brenda asked,
"That wasn't hard was it?"
"Very easy, thanks to you."
"You are big, but it's just a matter of technique and hand cream."
"Could you possibly be pregnant?"
"No. I'm an expert in that area."
"Is that also a matter of technique and hand cream?"
"Technique, yes. The cream's a little different for that. Now, we should go out and get a gift we can leave with a note of thanks."
There was a district of small shops near the apartment, and it was interesting to see Brenda, in the role of an elegant housewife, going from shop to shop. She preferred using sign language to having Sam interpret, and he could see that she was as good at choosing a gift as she was at sex. Indeed, in the euphoria of the moment, it seemed that she could solve any problem that might arise. Sam was tempted to ask her how to dispatch Hokensen neatly and in such a way that his body wouldn't be found until they had made good their escape. But he didn't want to distract her while she was choosing a charming gift for their absent hostess.