By: Motsie of Atlantis
Every year, except the one when he was hospitalized, Owen Granger makes a quick trip to Germany. He flies into Berlin from wherever he is stationed at the moment on June 17th and returns three days later. While in the German capitol, he buys a small floral arrangement of black-eyed susans, because those are the flowers Anja loved the most. He goes to the Evangelischer Friedhof Böhmischer Gottesacker (Bohemian Evangelical Converts Cemetery) just off the Karl-Marx-Platz and finds his way to the tiny grave site, lovingly placing the flowers there. Resting his hand on her tombstone, he closes his eyes and says a silent prayer for her and all the others who suffered the same fate as she did. Walking across the street to the Cafe Vux, he orders two servings of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake) with its decadent Bavarian chocolate, the very last thing that the two of them ate together, and slowly eats one as he lets his mind wonder about what might have been. Leaving the other serving untouched, he rises, pays for the food, and strides out of the cafe, the look of determination settling over his face again for another year.
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Owen Granger was one of the brightest and the best, at least that is what he was told, time and time again. When he was 22 he had graduated from Southern Illinois University with a double Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and modern European History, also auditing several courses in at Washington University in St. Louis. Duke University granted him a scholarship to do graduate work, and he received his Masters only a year later. The CIA placed him on their radar and he passed his FLETC training at Glynco, Ga. in June of 1979.
His first operation for the CIA was a two week protection duty stint. He was teamed with seven other agents in three person teams that were on for eight hours every twenty-four. They were guarding a material witness that had been called to testify in the case of a major defense department contractor who was providing shoddy electrical components to Navy contractors. Nothing became of it, and he was then sent to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, to serve as part of the security squad for the various US officials that had gathered for the annual meeting. There were a few security alerts, but they all proved groundless.
He was surprised when he was ordered to stay in Brussels, and await the arrival of a different agent, one with whom he would be teamed for a new operation. Two days later he was introduced to a tiny woman, Hetty Lange, who would be his handler.
“How do you want to be addressed, Ma’am, Miss or Mrs.”, he asked, after seeing no wedding ring on her left hand.
“For you I am Fraulein Regina Krumm, secretary for Klaus Schmidt, shipping department foreman of Eckhart Manufacturing in West Germany.
“Jawohl, Fraulein Krumm.” he said.
“And you are Ralph Hess. a West Berlin truck driver, picking up materials in East Berlin every other day and driving it West. You will be staying the night in a Gasthaus (hotel) while your truck is loaded. At some point you will receive a list of East German spies that you will transport back across the border at the Dreilinden crossing (Checkpoint Bravo) with your regular load of materials.”
“Do you have any idea on how long this operation will take”. Granger asked.
“It will end when you have completed the mission, or you have been killed.” she said, looking at him deliberately.
Somehow, Owen Granger realized that he had graduated to working in the big leagues.
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