Bill Todd -- Jones: A Novel of the Early Cold War
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 Chapter 42

A Dangle

Jones was standing outside his house in the early heat, waiting for Heike to pick him up. She was a little late, and he crossed the street to get in the shadow of the house opposite. When her little blue car eventually came around the corner, he stepped out to be more visible. That was a mistake, and he had to retreat quickly as she screeched up. This was even worse than her usual driving, and he knew that something was wrong.

When he did manage to get in, she said,

"I can't go to work today. There was a special delivery letter from Ha-yo early this morning."

Jones felt a momentary horror. Was she still in love with Ha- jo? But, then, she was far from happy. She explained,

"He says that, since our "wonderful evening", he's been in Germany on government business. He's taken that opportunity, through some relatives living in the east, to track down my parents. My father, he says, is well, and is a police official in East Germany. He's given me his address."

At once relieved and surprised, Jones could hardly answer. Heike continued,

"Of course, I've been thinking of nothing else for the last couple of hours. Since we know who Ha-jo is, he could really have traced and found my father. Or they may have someone who will write letters pretending to be my father."

"They'd have to have some sample of his writing to do that. Given the state of records in bombed-out Germany, that wouldn't be easy to get."

"I didn't get very far with my amateurish inquiries, but I did get the impression that my parents were dead."

"I imagine the odds went that way, but lots of people survived in all kinds of improbable ways."

"I've got the letter here, but I know it should be handled as little as possible on account of fingerprints. I suppose I should call Reggie."

"I bet he'll have you take the letter to Captain Armitage."

Heike called Reggie from a pay phone while Jones watched from the car. She didn't talk very long, and, when she came back, she said,

"He didn't seem very surprised, and said that they probably just want to continue the game. He then did arrange for me to give the letter to Captain Armitage. We're to meet him in Lafayette Park, across from the White House."

Heike, for the first time, allowed Jones to drive her car. As they proceeded down Wisconsin Avenue, she said,

"A new symmetry has popped up."

"What do you mean?"

"You have a mission I don't want you to perform. But, now, they may want me to continue my affair with Ha-jo. I'm sure you don't want that."

"God, no."

"How about a trade?"

Jones went through a red light, narrowly avoiding a collision, and pulled over. Heike said,

"We can't dally, or we won't make our appointment with Captain Armitage."

"Okay, but I can't deal with this while I'm driving."

"We'll wait til we've seen the gentleman who styles himself as Captain Armitage."

The captain was already in the park, walking the gravel paths and pointing the tip of his umbrella menacingly at pigeons. He greeted them warmly, enjoined them to address him as 'Jimmy', and led them to a little grouping of three chairs well away from the tourist industry in the neighborhood of the White House. He held open a large envelope and asked Heike to drop the letter into it. He said,

"I'd rather not handle it until our people have had a go at it. If you don't mind, Heike, I'll take your fingerprints so that we can separate them from those of the opposition."

He then pulled out a small ink pad and a pad of paper. Heike pressed and printed, and Jones said he hadn't touched the letter. That accomplished, Jimmy leaned back and said,

"You have to look at this from the other chap's point of view. They really have nothing to lose. Suppose they suspect, as they must, that you're in contact with someone like myself. This letter would tend to confirm to me that Ha-jo is the Soviet agent I think he is. But we wouldn't be involved in this at all if we didn't already assume it. So I've learned almost nothing, and they've given away almost nothing. But spies like to play games with each other, and they would probably expect me to have you respond in some way."

There was agreement all around, and he continued,

"Suppose, now, as we hope, that they've kept their suspicions in check and think that Heike is an innocent. They want to continue the game because, if there's something wrong from their point of view, a man of Ha-jo's ability will eventually be able to pick up something false in Heike's reactions to something he might propose. And that covers a large range. He might declare himself a Russian agent and propose that she elope with him to Moscow. If she doesn't react with just the right kind of horror, he'll spot that."

Heike had actually caught her breath at the mention of that possibility. Armitage laughed, and said to her,

"You did a great job of acting, but no one could keep that up indefinitely. We need to find the best way of breaking it off."

"I could just not respond."

"I'm afraid that won't do. The woman you were pretending to be couldn't resist this. It's going to take a masterful reply, but we can all think about it."

Jones suggested,

"What if she says that she can't see him any more because she's gotten engaged to someone, namely me?"

"Yes. That would be in character. For the rest, how about this: After thanking him warmly for his efforts and explaining about her engagement to you, she says that she realizes that her father, a Nazi to begin with, must now have become something even worse. An East German communist and state policeman. She has no desire to establish contact and asks Ha-jo not to give her father her address. Then, in a final note, she adds that she regrets not in the slightest their wonderful night together."

Jones asked,

"Will he still try to see her, or will you deport him?"

"The last thing we'd do is arrest or deport him! That would destroy our operation. But Ha-yo's a gentleman. He won't try to crawl in Heike's bedroom window. The most he could do is to try to make out her father as a friendly constable in some small town, not as a secret policeman."

"Why did he give that State Police address in the first place."

"For Ha-jo, it's respectable to be a high policeman of a communist sort. He's not far from that himself. Our sorts of people, myself and Reggie included, sometimes forget the different perceptions of these things that people have."

When they were back in the car together, Heike said,

"I guess the symmetry has disappeared."

"Thank God for Armitage! Reggie might have wanted you to continue."

"Probably not. He'd reason the same way. Little to be gained, and a lot to be lost. I do wonder, though, whether he'd volunteer Tensy if she happened to be just right for one of these missions?"

"I bet he would. I feel, not for the first time, that we shouldn't get too close to Reggie."

"The trouble is that I do feel very close to Tensy."

"Yes. We'll just have to make it clear to Reggie that we're not doing any more spying."

"Anyway, Jones, symmetry or no symmetry, I can still arrange for Drew Pearson to get an anonymous little note."

"You're no longer talking about breaking my leg with a baseball bat?"

"No, Jones, I don't want to hurt you. The leak wouldn't hurt either of us."

"It might compromise all of JOAD and possibly put it out of business."

"That would only be because JOAD, in conjunction with the sub force, is doing something that it isn't authorized to do."

"They will have to get permission before it's actually done."

"I bet they do that at the last minute."

"Isn't that okay?"

Heike shook her head hard enough to make her black hair stand out from her head and said,

"It's sleazy. You get something all set to go that wouldn't normally be approved, and, at the last minute, you say that all this time and money will be wasted if you can't go ahead. And you need approval in two hours' time. That sort of thing may sometimes work, but it's not nice."

"You wouldn't worry about it's not being nice if I weren't involved."

"I suppose not, but there it is."

Jones reached over to draw Heike to him, but she resisted and said,

"Get out of this first. I'll help you figure out a way."

"Maybe LeMay will mount his attack before we can get going."

It was meant as a joke, but Heike didn't laugh.

Bill Todd -- Jones: A Novel of the Early Cold War
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