The Eighth Dwarf
that’s not right, but I don’t think it makes him crazy. I think he’s just sort of—well, dedicated.”
    â€œYes, sir.”
    â€œAnd you’re thinking that maybe we ought to let this—uh—dedication run its course.”
    Meyer shook his head. “No, sir, I don’t guess I really think that.”
    â€œBut you wouldn’t be too upset if he were to—as you say—ace out a few more? I mean some really rotten ones.”
    â€œWell, hell, Major—”
    Baker-Bates interrupted with another question. “You are, I believe, Lieutenant, of the Jewish faith.”
    â€œI’m a Jew,” said Meyer, the atheist.
    â€œAre you a Zionist?”
    â€œI’m not sure.”
    â€œBut you know what’s going on in Palestine.”
    â€œYes, sir. You’re determined to keep the hundred thousand Jews that’re still left in the DP camps from reaching Palestine, where you promised them they could go.”
    â€œI thought you said you weren’t a Zionist. That’s the Zionist line if I ever heard it.”
    â€œYes, sir, but it’s also fact.”
    â€œWell, we don’t want Oppenheimer in Palestine, Lieutenant, and that’s why we’re going to find him. We don’t want him there.”
    â€œNo, sir,” Lieutenant Meyer said. “I bet you don’t.”
    Every day on his way home from work, Otto Bodden, the printer, would check the letter drop near the ruined Petrikirche in Lübeck. There had been nothing in it until now, the day after Damm’s death. When he reached home and the privacy of his small room, Bodden opened the envelope, which looked as if it had already been used several times. Inside was a flimsy sheet of paper with a block of numbers written on it in pencil. Bodden sighed and began the tedious chore of decoding them. When he was done, the message read: Proceed Frankfurt. Karl-Heinz Damm killed. Shot twice. U.S. Army uniform, possibly junior officer.
    Bodden memorized Damm’s name, then filled his pipe with the suspect tobacco that he’d bought on the black market and used the same match to light his pipe and burn the flimsy paper. The Russian was quick, Bodden thought; that much had to be said for him. The man, what was his name—Damm—was killed in Frankfurt only yesterday. The information had to be gathered and then transmitted to Berlin, and from there it had to be redirected to Lübeck. Very quick, very efficient.
    He puffed on his pipe and thought about what he must do. There was his job at the Lübecker Post. Well, that was no problem. He simply would not show up. They would check, of course, with his landlady, Frau Schoettle. Tonight he would see her and tell her that he was leaving, that an emergency had come up and that he was returning to Berlin. He would present her with a small gift, perhaps a hundred grams or so of fat. He still had plenty of razor blades left. That had been intelligent of them, to supply him with razor blades. As a form of currency, they were almost as good as cigarettes. He wondered which of his black-market contacts he should see about the fat. Probably the tall, skinny Estonian. He seemed to be the most resourceful. The Estonian might even be able to come up with a little butter instead of lard. She would like that. He would take her to bed first, tell her he had to go back to Berlin, and then give her the butter. He would also give her his ration books. They would be no good to him in the American Zone.
    Bodden enjoyed dickering with the tall skinny Estonian. After ten minutes of it, during which time the Estonian had stretched his rubber face into expressions that ranged from grief to elation, they had struck the bargain. In exchange for five brand-new American-made Gillette razor blades, Bodden received a fourth of a kilogram of real butter plus one packet of Senior Service cigarettes. The Estonian had moaned and sworn

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