David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Seventy-Four

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as the Prince of Wales. Socialite Wallis Spencer, also a spy, has an affair with German Joachim Von Ribbentrop and marries Ernest. David becomes king. Wallis divorces, David abdicates and they marry. They fail to kill Hitler. The Windsors escape oncoming Nazis. Leon shadows their every move.
Leon slept well that night. He had pretended to be a busboy at a restaurant where the Windsors told the American ambassador in rather blunt terms that England will not survive the attack of the Huns. Leon didn’t believe a word of it.
He waiting for the cablegram manager to arrive to unlock the door. In the last two weeks Leon went from just sweeping and dusting to arranging boxes for delivery in the store room. His boss actually told him he wanted to train Leon to take over the office one day.
I make too much money killing people to run this little business.
Leon, remembering lessons his mother taught him, smiled and thanked the man for his kind remarks.
During the lunch hour he flipped through the incoming messages which were stabbed securely together on a long, lethal nail. Leon found one that shocked even him. It was a reply to Ambassador Stohrer, not from Ribbentrop but from Adolf Hitler himself.
“I am granting you ultimate power to ensure the Duke and Duchess spend the rest of the war living in the Wolf’s Lair at Berchtesgaden. I have decided that Spain is not a safe enough haven for them. If any guards get in your way, kill them. If the Windsors do not come along willingly, hurt them, badly. By the time the world sees them again at the end of the war, the scars will have had time to fade, and they will have learned the meaning of the word fear.”
Leon, with immense discretion, placed the cablegram back on the nail. When the manager returned from lunch, Leon hugged him.
“Good news—good news my friend. My mate from the ship just left. He said they had forgotten an important—very important crate and he searched town to town until he found me. I must leave now. Thank you, thank you very much.”
And he hugged the man again, grateful the cablegram store manager was so dense he failed to realize that Madrid is a great distance from any port and a search from town to town to find an insignificant swabby would have been futile. He was almost out the door when he turned to add, “Oh, your nephew—he is a good boy, a very good boy. I’m sure if you ask nicely he will return to work for you.”
“But he is el bobo.”
“But a good boy, si?
On his way back to his fleabag hotel, Leon stopped to buy the latest edition of a major Madrid newspaper. In his room, he flipped through the newspaper until he found a picture of the duke and duchess dancing at an expensive restaurant last night. The headline concerned something much more important than their samba.
“Windsors to Leave Madrid for Lisbon.”
Leon read the newspaper account with concern. The couple would begin motoring their way to the Portuguese capital Wednesday morning. Once there they would await further directions from the British government about what their duties will be during the remainder of the war. Sources indicated the Windsors would stay at a private villa instead of in one of Lisbon’s prestigious hotels. The source declined to give the exact location.
A private villa. From his own experience Leon realized a private villa was not as secure as one might think. He would have to examine the grounds as soon as he determined the location and identify the inherent risks of each corner and dark recess.
Leon pulled out his travel bag and took out his sheathed knife. He took the blade out and held it up to the glare of the afternoon sun. It glistened. He carefully ran his thumb along its edge, reassuring himself it would efficiently sink deep into any man’s neck. He returned it to its sheath, and then he reached for his black, shiny revolver, checking how many bullets he had in reserve. Not enough, he decided. Leon then realized he had forgotten his silencer. Perhaps his farewell to his son had been too emotional which cause the lapse in his normal adept preparations. He had time to buy another.
Looking in the dirty mirror hanging on the back of his door, Leon decided his attire was wrong. It was fine to pass himself off as a Spanish peasant, but he was going into another country. Portuguese peasant attire was different from what a Spaniard wore. The slight difference could endanger his mission. He needed dark camouflage wear for his surveillance of the villa. He also had to check the petrol level in his motorcycle and make sure the other fluids were sufficient, his tires were at the proper air pressure and to check the battery and spark plugs. Nothing could be left to chance. Leon looked out the window. The sun was high enough in the sky for him to make all his purchases before dark.
That evening he spent time at a low-class dive with plenty of cheap food, tequila and chicas whose dresses pulled tight across their ample bosoms and hips. And music. He had to be revived by a lively mariachi band. Toward the end of his carousing, Leon was sure he noticed a tall blonde in a far cubicle of the restaurant who had her long arms and legs entwined around a local peon. He tried to focus on her, but he had drunk too much tequila. But, he could have sworn she looked like the casino hostess in Nassau. Another swig of tequila made him forget her all together.
Leon spent the next day as he usually did before a mission shifted into serious mode. He slept most of the day, only leaving his room to drink several cups of coffee and eat dry toast. Leon ran the streets until he had broken out into a healthy sweat. Upon return to his room, he took a bath in the communal toilet at the end of the hall, went back to bed and fell sleep.
Awaking in the middle of the night, he gathered his belongings, put on his Portuguese peasant attire, went downstairs to pay his bill and mounted his motorcycle for a night ride southwest to the border. He kept his mind blank, except to follow the winding road. Long ago he learned when he entered the critical phase of a mission, he could not think of his son Sidney nor his wife Jessamine. No distractions to keep him from successful completion of his assignment. He did feel himself becoming drowsy as he drove through Merida. By the time he reached Badajoz, just a few miles from the Portuguese frontier, Leon knew he could not continue through the night. He checked into a shabby hotel in downtown Badajoz for a few hours of restless sleep. Leon decided he was becoming too old to continue much longer as a mercenary. Not so many years ago he could go for days on a minimum of sleep, but no longer. His only sense of relief was the Windsors must have stopped much sooner to check into a hotel than he did.
The sun had barely risen when he was back on the road and passed through the border inspection. By noon he rested on the veranda of a Lisbon café on the banks of Rio Tejo, sipping a cup of black coffee. Before long he spotted the couple’s limousine crossing the bridge. Paying his bill, Leon mounted his bike and followed them as they made a sharp left turn along the river which led away from the capital’s center. Leon became alarmed as they continued through the town of Cascais. Perhaps their plans had changed and they were going to meet a flying boat which would take them to England. This went against all the intelligence and news reports he had received.
However, he saw on the horizon a glistening pink stucco villa on the white sands of the Atlantic beach. It was surrounded by a limestone wall, which was not tall enough to keep anyone out, Leon noted. He gunned his motorcycle as he passed the limousine when it turned into the gated entrance. Again he noted the gate was wrought iron and not solid wood, leaving the Windsors open to gunfire by assassins in passing automobiles.
An hour later found Leon ensconced in a seedy seaside hotel with strong drinks being served on the patio overlooking the ocean. He asked an elderly man about to pass out from too much red wine about the owner of the villa down the way.
“Dr. Ricardo de Espirito Santo e Silva. A wealthy man. Only a wealthy man can afford such a long name.”
“But a good man, si? A wealthy doctor who takes care of his needy neighbors, no?” Leon asked.
The old man looked at him askance. “No. He is a Nazi.” He took a long drink of wine. “We are surrounded by Nazis and fascists and there is nothing we can do about it. My only hope is to die of too much wine before they take over the world.”
“I noticed many trees and bushes behind the wall.” Leon leaned in to pour the old man another drink. “He must need many workers to make the garden beautiful.”
After making a derisive spitting sound, the old man sneered. “Not a chance in hell. All of the guards and gardeners have been replaced by Germans. By the order of the good doctor. It’s like he wants someone to break in and kill the lousy Limeys.”
Leon stood. “Thank you for your help.” He bowed and was about to walk away when the old man grabbed his arm.”
“You got a funny accent. Where you from?”
“Bahamas!” The old man’s eyes widened. “What the hell are you doing in a hell hole like this?”
“I must fill my family’s bellies.”
That night Leon, wearing his black camouflage, slithered along the front wall, looking from side to side to make sure no cars were coming his way with their headlights on high beam. The road was dark and silent. Leon didn’t know whether to feel fortunate or be alarmed. He jiggled the handle to the wrought iron gate to find it unlocked. He checked his watch. It was eleven. Now he felt alarmed. Something was planned that night. Slipping in, he made a quick inspection of the grounds. He counted the number of doors and found too many to secure it. Huge windows were only a few feet from each other, creating an illusion the villa was a house of glass. Beautiful but deadly. The indoor lights lit the garden with ghastly shadows.
His head jerked to the right when he heard footsteps. He looked up when a rock shattered an upstairs window. He quickly gathered his own supply of river stones which lined a flower bed. Rushing to the scene of the rock throwing Leon spied four men, dressed similar to himself, gathering more stones. He took careful aim and landed a rock on the head of each intruder. By the time he began his second round of throws, the trespassers ran for the unlocked gate.
In the morning, he sipped his coffee and read the front- page story about the attack. The owner of the newsstand which adjoined the cafe bitterly complained his newspapers were late being delivered, and many regular customers protested they could not wait and had to go to work without the news. He stopped his grumbling when a long line appeared, and the newsstand vendor soon sold out. He fussed the newspaper should have given him extra copies since, it knew the people would want to read about such important news.
Leon ignored him to concentrate on the story of the attack on the former king of England. The Spanish ambassador pleaded with the couple to return to Madrid where their safety could be guaranteed. The Duke of Windsor was unwavering in his vow to wait until his orders arrived from Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
After leaving the café, Leon sauntered down the street to a flower dealer close to the pier where all the ocean liners embarked to ports around the world. He selected a dozen red roses, gave the address of the doctor’s villa, and wrote a note:
“Do not be afraid. I am here to protect you. A friend who has your interests at heart.”
“Ah, she must be your lover,” the old woman cooed. “I will deliver these myself.”
As Leon handed her the money, he noticed she seemed familiar—younger than she was trying to act, a bad job of smearing dark stage makeup on her face and she stood straighter than most old women. He dismissed the observation as unimportant. He returned to his hotel room to sleep the rest of the day so he would be alert for his surveillance that night.
At eleven he appeared at the gate, which again had been left unlocked. His first duty was to locate the duchess’s bedroom window. She would not be in the bedroom where the window had been broken. It was boarded up. They would have moved her to a new location, he decided. Leon scampered among the flowering bushes and trees to the other side of the house where he found a lit window on the second floor. In it was the figure of a woman. He recognized her to be Wallis.
Looking around that portion of the garden he saw a dark figure of a man. This time the intruder had a rifle, pointed at the duchess’s bedroom window. Leon ran towards him, pulling out the revolver with the new silencer attached. Taking careful aim, shot the marksman, striking him in his chest. The man’s rifle went off as he fell. When Leon reached the body he couldn’t detect a heartbeat but he didn’t want to take any chances. He removed his knife from its sheath and stabbed the shooter’s throat several times. Leon wiped the blade on the grass, returned it to the sheath and ran for the wall, jumping over it. He didn’t want to be caught at the entrance gate.
The next morning, Leon bought his newspaper from the vendor who was beaming.
“It was late again, but they left me extra copies. Business is picking up.”
Leon ordered his coffee and toast, then read the newspaper account from the villa. Police authorities could not identify the victim. His shot had gone astray and entered the stucco wall. The Duke of Windsor announced he had received orders from the British government. He had been bestowed the prestigious position of governor to the colony of the Bahamas. He and his wife would be leaving on an American Export Lines ship the Excalibur on Friday.
Two days away. Surely the Germans would not be so foolish as to attempt another terrorist attack against the couple. But to make sure I will be in the garden each night.
Friday dawned with a feeling of relief for Leon. He had accomplished his mission. Soon he would be back in the arms of his loving wife. He could play again with his son who—he ominously realized—was the same age he was when his father died, but he was an inch taller than Leon had been.
Well, no reason to worry about that. The mission is complete. All that is left is to be paid.
Leon decided to wear his Portuguese peasant clothing to the pier so he would blend in with the other poor people who showed up to see what an authentic ex-king looked like. The Windsors did not disappoint. The duke looked dashing in a gray pin-striped suit with a suitably stylish straw hat. The duchess wore a light blue linen dress and sunglasses.
“Don’t turn around,” a familiar female voice ordered.
Leon felt a revolver pushed between his shoulder blades.
It’s her. From the casino. I thought it was her following me. She’s here to pay me off.
“The organization is not happy with your attitude. You always get the job done, but you’ve revealed you have a soft heart for the Windsors. The red roses were a mistake. Also, you’ve been sloppy and let it slip to certain undesirables about us. Pookah is a big problem. Don’t worry. Your family will receive your money from the mission. The organization is not completely cold-hearted.”
She shot him in the back. Leon fell. As his mind began to fade away, he had one last thought.
Family bellies must be filled.

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