Excerpt from new novel HOLLOW POINT_ LeLong
Martin Bormann, the squat head of the Parteiknzlei wrote one word on the blotting paper: STALINGRAD. He underlined the word and smiled; surrender and humiliation for Hitler. Goering, Goebbels, Speer and even the mighty Himmler had all been blamed by the Führer. Unlike the letters on the blotting paper these men had shrunk.
He took the paper from the crocodile skin desk blotter and threw it in the bin. He wrote a new word on another piece of blotting paper: Reichsbank. Below it, the word Reichsmark then repeated the letters RM across the width of the page – RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM.
Again the ink was absorbed by the blotting paper and as the letters grew, so would his fortune.
Bormann laughed. He stood up and faced the full length mirror opposite his desk.
The white shirt caught his Adams apple and he adjusted his pencil tie. Because of his bulk, Bormann hated wearing military uniform. He buttoned his brown tweed jacket and checked that the shoulder holster didn’t bulge.
In the corner of the room sat SS-Obergruppenführer, Kurt Dietrich Hoeberichts, overall commander of Urus Martan. He was clad in black and leather, pristine and funereal. His hat, sitting beside the coffee set and ashtray, was black Russian sable with the death’s head insignia of his regiment. His eyes were heterochromatic, his complexion like Nosferatu.
“I will miss the fashion show in Paris, Reichsleiter Borman,” said Hoeberichts.
“The Führer wants civilisation throughout his empire,” said Bormann. “You are adjusting to Berlin?”
“I have been here two days.”
“And you are already bored?”
Neither man laughed.
Bormann turned away from the full length mirror.
“The Führer wants to meet you in Rastenburg. You will see him alone,” said Bormann.
“Not Berlin?” said Hoeberichts. He thought of the lengthy journey by armoured train to get here.
“No, not Berlin.”
“I am honoured.”
Bormann returned to his desk. He looked down at the used blotting paper in the bin at the side of his desk. Bormann smiled at Hoeberichts. He imagined the commander of Uras Martan searching his bin and reading the blotting paper. It did not matter. The words alone meant nothing.
“The U-235 will be prepared by the Uranprojeckt team at a secure location outside Marseilles, Obergruppenführer. Your contact will be Guy Michelet. He has a passion for falconry.’
“I know nothing of falconry,” said Hoeberichts.
“He will not expect you to talk about falconry,” said Bormann.
“The targeting system will be explained?”
“In a few days, your command will have the details then.”
“I could ask Michelet to explain.”
“You could but I wouldn’t. Michelet is not a gifted communicator.”
“Perhaps I should have stayed in Paris.”
Bormann remembered the blotting paper in his waste paper bin and the letters RM stretched across the page. The cost had been staggering; it would have been cheaper to build the Eagle’s nest on the moon, thought Bormann. For their part, the Abwehr were building a painfully slow intelligence brief to the whereabouts of the location for the next allied conference. With Stalin finally enjoying the taste of victory, Churchill and Roosevelt would be dancing to his tune. The location of the conference would be on his terms.
“Well, two of them would be dancing,” he muttered.
“I believe ‘Thor’s Hammer’ will be capable of firing a uranium projectile into another country,” said the Obergruppenführer proudly. “We wiped a Red division out from the other side of Russia with an improved Krupps railway gun. ‘Thor’s Hammer’ is four times the size; anything is possible, these days.”
He stood a full head and shoulders above Bormann, who noted the bejewelled shashka knife secured in an ornate sheath.
“You’ve been too long out in the Caucuses, Obergruppenführer.”
“Too Long. LeLong.”
“Lucien LeLong. I met him once before the war in Paris.”
“Who is he?” Bormann asked idly.
“He is haute couture, Reichsleiter. He is Paris.”
The Obergruppenführer’s sheep-dog eyes stared out into the middle distance.
“Such pretty girls.”
“I have a plane waiting. Your staff car will be here in a few minutes.”
“I have to prepare for my meeting.”
“We will both be well prepared.”
Once the Führer had given the go-ahead, Bormann planned to take a very pretty girl, an actress named Marianne who Goebbels had cast in his up-coming cinema feature ‘Münchhausen’, for a romantic weekend in Paris.
That was Goebbels’ solution to every set-back; make a bloody movie.
Obergruppenführer Kurt Dietrich Hoeberichts took the blotting paper from the Reichsleiter’s waste bin and eased himself back into the large leather chair. He produced from his tunic a silver hip flask. Unscrewing the cap, he poured a shot of vodka into it. He snorted the shot loudly, then dabbed his upper lip delicately.
“Too long in the Caucuses,” he said holding the blotting paper up.