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David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Seventy-Two

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. David and Wallis volunteer to help France. Leon receives orders to go to France. The Windsors escape oncoming Nazis.
David and Wallis slept late the next morning in their suite at the most luxurious hotel in Barcelona. They felt as if they had earned it. He dressed and left Wallis munching on toast and sipping coffee as he went downstairs to send a cable to the British Foreign Office to inform officials they had arrived safely. They would move on to Madrid where they planned to pretend to be interested in Spanish pleas that they stay there. He was confident the message would be passed on to MI6.
When he returned to the suite, David found Wallis snuggled under the covers. Her half-eaten toast was back on a small plate by her coffee cup on the nightstand. She stirred a bit when he shut the door and opened her eyes only long enough to growl a command.
“Don’t you dare wake me up. I plan to sleep until I have completely forgotten that dreadful drive in the rain.”
With that she rolled over, exposing her boney derriere in her silk night gown. David smiled and poured himself another cup of coffee before settling into a comfortable padded chair. Briefly he watched Wallis to consider what kind of God’s creature was she. No one would ever call her beautiful, but everyone flocked to her when she arrived at a party. She knew all the rules of etiquette and knew when she could break them. She seemed frail and vulnerable, but was capable of abominable violence. Wallis was the opposite of every woman he had ever seduced, and yet he found himself falling in love with her, which was against all the rules of civilized espionage.
After he finished his coffee, David changed back into his pajamas to slip into the bed next to Wallis. He began to feel the toll of the last twenty-four hours. David didn’t know for sure if he could sleep, but he did feel comfortable in the bed next to her. He felt her body warmth. He heard her soft breathing. He smelled her heady expensive perfume. It was though they were married in spirit as well as in law, and they were truly in love. What a comforting sensation, he thought. Soon he was deep asleep.
Two days later they settled into their suite at the Ritz in Madrid. That night they celebrated David’s forty-sixth birthday with petite broiled steaks, fresh blanched peas drizzled with olive oil and baked potatoes. They were on their second bottle of champagne. Wallis lifted her glass.
“Here’s to your entering middle-age.” She had a wicked smile.
“Thank you for reminding me.” His tone was less than enthusiastic.
“Don’t worry about it.” The wickedness disappeared from her lips. “You’re Peter Pan. You’ll never grow up.”
“And how about you?” David looked down to cut his steak. “You’re only a few years younger than I.”
“That’s why I’m having such a good time now. I’ll be an old wreck, but I’ll be happy I went on the ride.”
The Windsors had just started their rum raisin ice cream when a courier presented a cable to the duke.
“Oh damn,” Wallis muttered. “I was enjoying myself until that thing arrived.” She paused as David read it. “Well, don’t leave me hanging. What is it?”
“We’ll be staying in Madrid a little longer,” he replied. “My brother Harry is due to arrive in Lisbon to commemorate Portugal’s 800th independence anniversary.”
“That means we have longer to experience this Spanish cuisine. I’ve heard of this marvelous dish called paella. It’s supposed to be peasant food, but it’s chocked full of pork, chicken, shrimp and sometimes squid.” She paused to consider the sullen darkness which had fallen over him. “What’s with the long face?”
David shrugged. “Oh, it just means more interminable meetings with Spanish officials trying to talk me into staying here for the duration of the war.”
“Is that all? You’re not really upset about not seeing your stolid brother Harry, are you? He’s so boring he puts me to sleep.” Wallis laughed until she noticed David was still glum. She leaned forward. “I’m your chum. You can tell me. I know you really adore George, but I didn’t think you care a hill of beans for the rest of them. Or do you?”
“If you’re my chum, you wouldn’t have to ask that question.”
When the Windsors arrived back in their suite, they found an envelope on their bed. David opened it to find two tickets to the afternoon bull fights at the Plaza Toros Las Ventas.
“We’ve been invited to watch little men in fancy costumes kill animals, my dear,” he announced.
“By whom?”
“Who knows?”
“Obviously by someone with no sense of true entertainment,” she replied. “Back home in Maryland if we wanted to kill a cow we’d just walk out to the field and blow its head off with a shotgun.”
The next afternoon they chose their clothing carefully. Their usual Paris high fashion would stand out even in a stadium filled with 25,000 peasants. Eventually they walked out on the street and hailed a local couple about their age, height and weight to offer them stunning clothing in exchange for their common street wear. The Spaniards were apprehensive at first, of course, but David with his down-to-earth personality and inadequate use of the Spanish language charmed them into venturing in the most expensive suite at the Ritz.
Once the exchange was made, the Windsors had to rush to be at the Plaza Toros Las Ventas in time for the opening ceremonies. As they walked to their seats the municipal band Espana Cani played pasadoble tunes.
“Thank God our seats are in the shade.”
“They‘re more expensive.”
“I don’t care.” Settling in, Wallis looked at David and smiled. “You make a handsome peasant.”
He glanced her way. “So do you.” After a pause he added, “Don’t look at me that way. I’m becoming aroused.”
“Don’t do that, old boy,” a voice interjected from behind them. “Don’t look around. It’s just your kindly old general.”
They both sighed in relief. They didn’t really want to stay to see the killing of a bull.
“You will be exchanging cablegrams over the next few weeks with Churchill over what your assignment will be during the war,” Trotter began. “First you’ll be insulted that you were not brought home for a more active role. Wallis, you must demand that someone sneak into the Riviera to retrieve your green bathing suit from La Croe.”
“That ugly old thing?” She seemed shocked. “I hope nobody does it.”
“Probably not,” Trotter replied, “but it will make a good headline.” He put his hand on David’s shoulder. “You’re going to be the governor of the Bahamas.”
“Hmm, I’ll need a whole new wardrobe,” Wallis murmured. “Nothing in green.”
“And what will our mission be?” David asked.
“An Australian chap by the name of Harry Oates practically runs Nassau. He has ties to the Germans, the American Mafia and who knows who else. You become close to him, see what he knows and if he knows too much—kill him.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Seventy

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. David and Wallis volunteer to help France.
Leon and Sidney raced on the beach of Eleuthera not aware of the increasing war clouds gathering over Europe. Euphoria filled Leon’s lungs which gave him strength to focus on the palm tree down the shore a distance. He could tell he was getting older and more easily winded, but he wanted to stay ahead of Sidney as long as he could. His son was thirteen years old now and stronger and swifter than he was at that age. He didn’t dare to look over his shoulder or else he would see how close Sidney was. As soon as Leon passed the tree he threw his arms.
“I win!” Bending over, he gasped. He couldn’t have gone another step.
Sidney whizzed passed him and kept going several yards down the beach.
”I win! I win!”
Fortunately, Leon regained his breath. “No! The race was to the palm tree!”
“That was your race! My race was to run further than you!”
Leon smiled. “That’s not fair.”
“I don’t care. I still won.”
Walking toward his son, Leon wagged a finger. “I’m going to have to teach you a lesson.”
Sidney grabbed his father’s arm and twisted it up behind his back, causing Leon to fall down. Sidney put his sandy foot on his chest and looked down and smiled. “You’ve already taught me.”
“And very well,” Leon agreed.
Sidney extended his hand to help his father up. They began to walk back to their hacienda.
“When will I meet my contact?” he asked.
“Not for a long time,” Sidney replied. “You are very strong. You know how to fight. But your mind has not grown enough to make the right decisions on a mission.”
“I know the rules,” his son insisted. “You must always remember you do this to fill your family’s bellies.”
“Yes, but that means more than hunger.”
“I know. Protect their lives.”
“And your family is more than just the people who share your blood. Right now you think your only family is your mother and me. But you have more people who are family.”
“Who are they?”
“You will learn soon.”
Sidney was silent for a moment. “Is Jinglepockets family?”
“Of course he is.”
“What about Pooka?”
“No!”
“All right. She’s not family, but I would not kill her because she is a woman, right?”
Leon chuckled. “I don’t know. I might make an exception in her case.” He looked up, and they were almost home. The dead plant in the pot was askew. “Run ahead and tell your mother we are back from our walk.”
When he was alone, Leon looked up and down the road carefully to see if anyone was watching him. He lifted the plant and took out the note.
“Rialto. 8 p.m.”
That evening in Nassau Leon, dressed in his white linen suit, walked into the casino. The room was full. He looked for the blonde card dealer. He smiled. She wore a bright red jacket with no blouse under it. He walked over to her.
“Deal me in. I feel lucky tonight.”
“Not that lucky.” She pushed cards his way. “You look hungry.”
Leon looked down and saw a note attached to one of the cards.
“Ask for table fifteen and order the grilled salmon.”
As Leon waited for his dinner to be served, he felt the chair behind him bump his back.
“Your new assignment is to protect the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as they motor from Antibes, France, through Spain to Portugal.” It was the man with the southern accent. “We believe the Germans either want to kill them or kidnap them, so Hitler can put them on the English throne. Our client does not want this to happen. Be at the Miami airport tomorrow morning. A ticket will be waiting there for you to New York LaGuardia. There you will be given a ticket to a location in France where you will be told where to start shadowing the Windsors.”
The server brought the salmon plate to Leon.
“Go now,” the man with the southern accent ordered. “The salmon is for me. I haven’t eaten all day.”
Leon walked past the poker table.
“Bonne nuite, monsieur,” the blonde dealer called out.
When he arrived at his Eleuthera hacienda at midnight, Leon found Jessamine in tears. Feeling perturbed he had to stop to comfort his wife instead of preparing for his late night cruise to Miami, Leon breathed out and put his arms around her.
“What’s the matter?”
“Pooka came by tonight and told me she had a vision you were going away and would never come back,” she whispered between the sobs.
“That old witch. I told you not to listen to her.”
“But you are leaving tonight, aren’t you?”
“Of course.”
“So—“
“So it is nothing. I go on my trips all the time.” He kissed her. “Now help me pack.” He looked at the top of the stairs where Sidney was standing. “Come down. I want to talk to you.”
His son passed Jessamine on the stairs.
“So what do you think about all this?” Leon asked.
“I think it is my job not to think about it,” the boy replied.
“Good answer.” He looked back up the stairs before staring into his son’s face. “But you will have to have an opinion about everything eventually. Always be sure to make it your own decision. Don’t be influenced by your mother, by Pooka, by any beautiful woman who tries to sway you, not even by me. You must make your own decisions. That is the only way you can be sure to keep your family’s bellies full.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Sixty-Eight

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. Woolworth heiress tells her son she wants to buy a king.

David and Wallis kept busy the first half of 1939 going back and forth from La Croe and their chateau in Paris. They hosted or attended small dinner parties whose guest lists included German sympathizers, usually British industrialists and bankers who realized their fortunes rested in cozy relations with the Third Reich. They avoided large lavish affairs where intimate conversation was logistically impossible. One such automobile magnate and his German wife revealed during a dinner at the Windsor’s Parisian chateau that they had recently returned from Berlin.
“We were at a reception for Herr Hitler and Fraulein Braun,” the husband said.
“Eva was quite forlorn,” his wife interrupted. “It seems her personal maid ran away in the middle of the night right before Christmas and has not returned. Eva said the woman had been so kind and loyal. A long time employee. Her departure confused Eva because she was under the impression the woman would have done anything for her.”
The Windsors smiled.
On September first of 1939 Germany invaded Poland on the pretext Poland made a peremptory attack on a German fortification in a peremptory attack. The German proclamation claimed a legal right to protect its own citizens against unprovoked aggression. Gossip at the Windsors’ dinners was that the invaders were, in fact, Germans dressed in Polish military uniforms. David and Wallis feigned disinterest. During the spring all of David’s official pronouncements urged conciliation with Hitler’s government. He even sent a telegram to Hitler to reconsider his actions to which the Fuhrer replied any war would not be his fault.
Three days later during a pool party at La Croe David received a telephone call that Britain had declared war on Germany. In the coming weeks the Duke of Windsor took several calls from London encouraging him to play an important role war effort by acting as morale officer to the troops. He had always been good at that sort of thing during the First World War.
By September 12 David and Wallis board the British destroyer HMS Kelly at Cherbourg to cross the channel for talks about his role in the war with the Foreign Office. Lord Louis Mountbatten and Winston Churchill’s Randolph were already on board. Winston insisted Randolph be included in the trip to give him experience in statecraft. Mountbatten, in serious tones, explained to David rumors of his being appointed as a morale officer were just rumors. Randolph just sat there, smiling and nodding, as though such a behavior could make such a disappointing announcement more pleasant. Instead, Mountbatten said, David would be assigned as the British consulting officer to French General Maurice Gamelin at the Maginot fortress along the border with Germany. Wallis, Mountbatten continued, could do anything she wanted as long as she kept her mouth shut and her face out of the newspapers.
“And for God’s sake, no more damn lavish dinner parties,” Mountbatten insisted. He then told them the rest of their visit to England was to be one long photo opportunity with them smiling patriotically with the high and low alike.
Randolph continued to smile and nod.
When they returned to their cabin they found General Trotter lounging in an uncomfortable chair.
“Now I suppose you want to know what you really are going to do in France,” he announced in his informal, MI6, way.
David and Wallis sat and listened. David would, indeed, be attached to the French Maginot line but he would ask to use one of their smaller aircraft for leisure flying over the countryside. MI6 intelligence had received information that Germany planned to bypass the massive French fortification and invade Holland and Belgium to enter France undeterred. Instead of flying over France, David would fly reconnaissance over Belgium. When he detected German troop movement, he should send coded messages through an American intelligence officer disguised as French peasant. Wallis will turn La Croe into a convalescent home for officers. Any information she might gather from the soldiers she would pass as a French peasant.
“How will I know it is him?” Wallis asked.
“She has a gimpy leg.”
“Fascinating. She travels fast with a gimpy leg,” she murmured.
When the Windsors arrived in London, they had to rely on old friend Lady Alexandra Metcalf to pick them up and take them to her house where they stayed for the duration of the visit. Wallis kept busy playing with the Metcalf children. David had an uncomfortable meeting with his brother the King and sat politely during several conferences in the War Office where he acted appropriately surprised when told about his assignment to Vincennes. David and Wallis were back on the destroyer Express to Cherbourg. Once at the British command, Maj. Gen. Sir Richard Howard-Vyse ordered David, the only British officer allowed at Maginot, keep his eyes and ears open so he could send back information on the condition of the French installation.
“You mean be a spy?” David’s mouth dropped open.
“Yes, that is the general purpose, Your Royal Highness.” The general was droll.
“Oh my. I don’t think I’ve ever done that sort of thing before.” David’s voice went soft.
“Yes, we know. Well, do the best you can.”
David kissed Wallis good-bye and sent her on her way to La Croe where she began preparations to turn the estate into a convalescent center. The War Office gave David strict orders to keep Wallis from the front lines.
Once David arrived at Maginot, he met Gen. Gamelin who with great pride gave him a tour of the facility, from its sun-ray rooms and movie theater to the cannon fortifications.
“It is the last word in defense,” Gamelin boasted. “We’ll dig in, just like the first war.”
The aging general reminded David of his own father. It was not a compliment. Seven months passed with David efficiently fulfilling his duty as outlined by Gen. Howard-Vyse. He listed the number of soldiers, rifles, and cannon but had trouble coming up with an exact count of aircraft. Some of the older models used in the first war, such as the Morane fighters, were unmarked. David was concerned with Gamelin’s explanation when questioned about the aircraft capability.
“You don’t want all the planes marked,” Gamelin huffed. “Then the enemy will know exactly how many craft we have. We used the exact same policy in the first war. Don’t they teach military history in British schools?”
By the end of the general’s tirade, David had come up with an ingenious plan of his own. “You’re quite right, General Gamelin. I am most trained in statecraft, not aircraft; however, I do know how to fly a fighter in the classification of the Morane. Would it be all right if I took it up for a bit of sightseeing tomorrow?”
“Sightseeing?” Gamelin sneered. “I suppose that’s all you’re good for. At least it will keep you out of my hair for a few hours.”
Early the next morning, David prepared for his flight. A young peasant woman limped up to him holding up an apple from her basket.
“Monsieur, une pomme, s’il vous plait?”
David smiled and pulled coins from his pocket. “You speak French with an American accent.”
“I have been told that before, monsieur.”
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll buy another apple from you.”
She curtsied and limped away. David took a bite out of the apple as he climbed into the old fighter. His ascension went smoothly. He assumed the mechanics did their job well. As soon as he had cleared the airspace around Maginot, David veered left toward the lowlands of Belgium. They looked so calm. Not at all aware of the hell of warfare that was about to descend upon it. All the intelligence David had studied showed the Germans were going to avoid the Maginot line completely. On this particular clear day, he saw no evidence of troop movement.
David allowed his mind to drift a moment as he enjoyed the freedom of solo flying. It was as though he was being lifted up and over all the cares of his life. He knew it was necessary for his family to hate him for the abdication in order to maintain his cover with MI6. But all the snubs did hurt, he had to admit to himself.
Before he knew it, David looked down and recognized the landscape of Holland. He had flown too far. As he began his maneuver to return to France David noticed the sky was turning black with approach of large German aircraft, out of which came paratroopers. The invasion of Holland had begun.

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Sixty-Six

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. They plan a gay Christmas on the Riviera but someone is trying to kill Wallis.
Early Christmas morning David, Wallis and their guests took a caravan of limousines to a country church of the Anglican denomination. The servants lined the driveway to wave them on to their Christian duty. Monsieur Valat stood at the gate and once the last car entered the road he closed it. Turning to the retinue of staff, he waved his hands, and off they all flew to the kitchen to prepare the Christmas feast for the returning supplicants.
The woman in dark clothes blended in with the authentic employees, pretending she had actual duties to perform. Her actual purpose was to find a more reliable weapon with which to kill Wallis. The poisoned wine had proven ineffective. Her first thought was a revolver. At close range it would prove impeccably efficient. It could then be thrown off the cliffs into the Mediterranean or, returned to the gun storage unit. But the woman did not know where the guns were stored.
Mon Dieu!” the sommelier blurted out in the middle of the kitchen. “I forgot to chill the champagne! Someone! Go to the basement and bring up a case!”
The woman in dark clothes tugged at his jacket sleeve. “I will go, monsieur,” she murmured so no one would detect her German accent.
Non, non, non. It is heavy. Find a man.”
“I am strong, monsieur.” Again she murmured.
She had no trouble finding the stairs to the basement. A stream of servants went up and down them fetching eggs, vegetables, fruit and bread. In the basement she found a hall with two doors on each side. A quick look informed her the open doors lead to the liquors, wine and other potables, another to fruits and vegetables and the third to bread and cheeses. The closed door was marked “Armory”. She had found the guns. However, when she tried to open it, she found it locked tight. She sighed with frustration. Monsieur Valat would be the only person with a key. One of many on a large key ring in his front trouser pocket. Her pickpocketing skills were minimal. Then she remembered her original purpose for being in the basement. Entering the wine vault she lifted a case of champagne with no effort at all.
After delivering the champagne the angel of death looked around the kitchen for another weapon. On a long table was a canvas bag unrolled, revealing a special pocket for each knife needed in food preparation. This would be perfect, she decided. The knives would not be counted until the end of the day. By that time she would have time to steal it, ram it up inside Wallis’s ribcage, wash it off and return it. Again her hopes were dashed when one particular cook go over to count the knives. A few minutes later the same cook came back to return a knife, and she took the time to count them all again before retrieving a larger one.
The assassin’s mind raced. How would she dispatch the duchess? The only weapon that came to her mind at the moment was the garrote. All she would need was a length of rope with a knot tied in the middle. She was strong. It would take no time nor effort to strangle the skinny little woman. She slipped back down the stairs and inspected the crates to see if any of them had been bound by rope. There were none.
As she rushed into the hall to make her way back to the kitchen she bumped into a gangly boy winding a clock.
Excuse moi, mademoiselle.”
The woman in dark clothes noticed the dull stare in his eyes. Such children should be exposed to the elements at birth, she told herself.
When she returned to the kitchen, she heard the buzzing of voices. The limousines were coming through the gate. The ladies would want to freshen up before partaking in Christmas dinner. Monsieur Valat noted in a loud voice time was running out.
Yes, time is running out. She disguised her face with a simple smile.
Monsieur Valat assigned her to stand behind and to the left of Aunt Bessie. She noticed the backward boy was behind the Duchess of Windsor who was seated next to her aunt. The boy’s attention wandered the room and every so often his shoulders twitched.
How would he know what the duchess wanted? He was useless.
“The table is beautifully set, Wallis.” Bessie patted her niece’s hand. “As always you did a wonderful job.”
“Thank you, Bessie, but I didn’t set the table. The servants did it while we were at church.”
“At church?” Bessie looked at Wallis. “Oh yes. Church. I was meaning to ask you why we went to a Catholic church.”
“It was Anglican.”
“Anglican? I go to the Episcopal church back in Baltimore.”
“Well, it’s basically the same church,” Wallis explained. “In England they call it—“
“Oh! I just caught a mistake you made! We must change the seating immediately!”
“What is that, my dear?”
“The seating should alternate lady, gentleman, and we’re seated side by side, and we’re both ladies.”
“I seated us next to each other on purpose so I could help if you needed it.”
The dark angel sniffed. They all deserve to die. The old woman has lived beyond her usefulness. The boy just makes me nervous, looking around, unaware of anything. And the Duchess of Windsor, well, she deserves to die for special reasons.
After dinner, all the guests dispersed to the sunny terrace overlooking the Mediterranean for coffee and cigars. The grim female reaper was quite efficient clearing the table. In fact Monsieur Valat pulled her aside to compliment her work. She giggled and curtsied, but inside she was furious with herself for standing out, in any way.
The idea flitted through her mind to hug Valat for his nice words and search for the key ring hanging somewhere in his trouser pocket, but in the end she decided that would be too risky. She still needed a weapon with which to kill Wallis. She was not too worried. She took pride in selecting just the right instrument of death. She had done it many times before.
After the last pot had been put away, the servants began to whisper in excitement. Word had spread that the duchess had purchased and personally wrapped Christmas presents for each of the servants.
Monsieur Valat clapped his hands to gain their attention. “To the grand hall. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor have a special surprise for each and every one of you.”
As they gathered at the bottom of the large Christmas tree, they saw Wallis sorting through different piles of presents wrapped in silver and white. The duke straightened his tie. Evidently he wanted to look his best as he handed out the presents. The servants created a line to the left so they could receive their gifts, unwrap them and exit to the right, which led back to the kitchen.
The process took a long time because the duke, upon handing out the present, shook hands heartily and took a moment to chat with each one. Wallis hugged and kissed each servant and had something appropriately festive to say.
What a bore. The woman in the dark clothes tapped her foot.
The gifts themselves ran from elegantly utilitarian, like silver cheese graters, to extravagantly personal, like alligator-skin wallets and handbags. Finally the woman reached the front of the line. By this time, she had decided on a giggle. A giggle could disarm the most suspicious person. When Wallis went in for the hug, the woman retreated slightly, which Wallis apparently took as shyness and quickly passed on to the next servant.
Death’s messenger was unenthusiastic in her tearing away of the paper which revealed a white box. Her eyes widened when she opened it because, lying on a puffy cloud of cotton, rested a silver knife.
Out of nowhere Jean bumped into the woman who dropped the box. The boy went to his knees to pick it up. His eyes were down as he returned it to her.
“Pardonnez-mois, mademoiselle.”
***
The sun was setting, and all the guests at La Croe were settling into comfy corners where they shared stories about this, that and the other things that reminded them of happy Christmases long ago. And most agreed this was one to be remembered for the rest of their lives. The Brownlow children played with their toys, and the adults nursed their cocktails while nibbling on little sandwiches made from Christmas dinner leftovers.
Wallis found herself feeling detached and somewhat depressed. Who was it who said every Christmas everyone got so excited about the presents and the food and in a few moments, the paper was on the floor and the food was eaten and it was all over. Ah yes. It was Uncle Sollie. No wonder I wanted to kill him.
She knew she could not fool herself about that little canard. No, it was Aunt Bessie. She had grown old in such a short time. Perhaps Wallis should have put more effort into visiting Baltimore to see how her dear aunt was doing. The last few years had been breathtakingly exciting, dangerous and entertaining. Wallis shook her head again. She was trying to lie to herself once more but her strong inner core would have none of it.
Wallis saw herself in Bessie. The image of dementia eating away at her mind and soul frightened her to death. If she were on better speaking terms with the vicar of Antibes she would seek out his counsel. She wished for one true friend whose shoulder she could cry on and be certain the story wouldn’t be the gossip of Europe the next day, she would do it.
Puffing on a cigarette, she looked around the grand lounge to see David down on his haunches talking to Caroline and Henry about their new playthings. She could trust him. They had saved each other’s lives. Surely they could share their inner most secrets. Wallis didn’t think much of him when first introduced as her MI6 partner. She laughed at the idea of their marriage and pretending to the world to be in love. But now she felt he was the only person she could confide in, to help her keep sanity.
She walked over to him. David looked up at her and smiled.
“Thank you, Caroline and Henry, for sharing your presents with me for a moment.” He stood. “But I think my wife has something she wants me to do for her.”
They walked to the expansive French doors leading out to the lawn overlooking the Mediterranean cliffs.
“Do you have a moment to walk outside with me?” she asked.
“You’re not worried about the assassin, are you?” His brow wrinkled. “I think he’s given up and slipped away in the night.”
“No, it’s about something else.” She opened one of the glass doors and flicked her cigarette out onto the lawn.
“I think I know.” His voice was soft and tender. “It’s Aunt Bessie, isn’t it?”
My God, I do think I’m falling in love with him.
Before she could speak, Jean ran up and tugged on David’s dinner jacket sleeve.
Monsieur, s’il vous plait.” He looked at Wallis. “Pardonnez-mois, madame. C’est tres importante. Tres importante.
David frowned, then smiled at her. “This won’t take long. I’ll join you down by the cliff in a few minutes. We’ll have more privacy there.”
“Of course.” Her lips split like a viper’s mouth, which she often did when she was trying to hide her aggravation. Wallis patted Jean’s slender shoulder. “What a sweet boy.”
She turned and walked down the lawn to the edge of the cliff. In the last rays of sunset she could make out the waves on the Mediterranean. Looking down at her arm, Wallis realized she had not brought her purse and therefore did not have any cigarettes. What a bother.
“Wallis! Wallis! Look out!”
What on earth could David be yelling about? She turned just in time to see the woman in the dark clothes rushing at her, with the silver knife uplifted, ready to thrust down into her chest. Her training in China surged from the back of her mind and adrenaline activated her body. Wallis punched the woman in the throat and did a round kick to the back of her knee. The woman collapsed at Wallis’s feet, dropping the knife on the lawn. Mounting the woman’s body, Wallis picked up the knife and held the tip of it at her throat.
“Who the hell are you?” she growled.
David ran up. “The boy tipped me off. He’d had his eyes on her from the day she arrived.” He put his hand on her back. “Are you all right?”
Wallis concentrated on the woman. “Who sent you here?”
“No one.”
“Tell me the truth or I’ll slit your throat right now!”
“I sent myself,” she blurted out.
“Sent yourself? What the hell does that mean?”
“I watched you at my master’s house,” she sputtered. “I saw how he looked at you. I hear how he talks about you still.”
“You master?” Each bit of information only made Wallis angrier. “Who the hell is your master?”
“The Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.”
“You mean Hitler’s behind all this?” David interjected.
“What does he know?” Wallis’s voice lowered ominously.
“Nothing. I swear. My mistress Eva Braun knows nothing. But I know. I know you are evil. You want to replace Eva in the Fuhrer’s heart and become the most powerful woman in the world!”
“You think I’m trying to seduce Adolf Hitler?”
Ja. I heard about how you were going to make love to him in the choo choo room but Herr Ribbentrop broke in.”
“I wasn’t trying to seduce him! I was trying to kill him!” Wallis’s mouth flew open. She knew she had said too much.
“Then my lady Eva Braun is safe?” The woman in dark clothes sounded relieved.
“Sure. Eva Braun is safe. But you’re not.” Wallis slit her throat, stood and handed the knife to David.
The Duke of Windsor rolled the body off the cliff and threw the silver knife far into the black waves of the Mediterranean.

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Sixty-Five

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. They plan a gay Christmas on the Riviera.
The woman in dark clothes stood in the woods just beyond the tracks and watched the Blue Train disappear in the night. She hoped Wallis would soon be drinking the poisoned champagne and thereafter die. But she had to be sure. First, she had to be at the Antibes station in the morning as they made the sad announcement the Duchess of Windsor was dead. First she had to walk by the tracks to the next station, hoping to catch the last train to the coast. The cold night air didn’t bother her. She was used to winter weather and walking long distances in the frigid air if necessary. Unpleasantness could disappear if she only made her mind blank, one of the few talents the Maker had endowed her with.
As the woman saw a train pull away. She could tell it was not the legendary Blue Train. She prayed it was not the last train of the night. Hurrying to the ticket window, she asked for a ticket to the next train to Antibes.
“Antibes? Mais non, mademoiselle,” the ticket agent replied with graciousness. He told her the next train to Antibes would not leave until noon the next day.
Scheitze,” she muttered in her native tongue.
The clerk looked surprised and then smiled. He raised an open palm up to his shoulder. “Heil, Hitler.”
“Heil, Hitler.” She returned the Nazi salute.
He allowed her inside his office, offered her a seat and listened patiently to her story. She had to be in Antibes station in time to greet the Blue Train, though she failed to explain why. He nodded knowingly and offered to drive her there with no questions. By nine o’clock Christmas Eve morning she was milling with the crowd at the depot awaiting the arrival of the Blue Train.
Most of the conversation among the excited women centered on seeing the Duchess of Windsor and wondering what expensive traveling suit she would be wearing. The men mostly talked about how fortunate the community was to have such a wealthy couple own the La Croe estate. For their Christmas celebration, the Windsors had to hire several local servants to accommodate the long list of British celebrities arriving for the holiday, and all of them equally wealthy. What a boon to the local economy.
The woman in dark clothes smiled to herself, sure she easily blended in with the mass of fellow, faceless domestics scurrying about to serve their masters. She looked up when she heard the train whistle. When the Blue Train came to a stop at the boarding platform, she strained her neck to see who would exit first.
Already on the platform was a contingent from the local government, the mayor, councilmen and other dignitaries, who fairly hopped around with anticipation. The first to exit was Edward, Duke of Wales. He did not look happy, a good sign for the woman in dark clothes. The poison must have worked. The Duchess must be dead. Her hopes were quickly dashed as the Duchess stepped out on the platform wearing a fashionable gray suit with fur collar. She carried two docile, obedient cairn terriers.
Sighing, the woman turned and began her walk to La Croe on the Mediterranean coast.
***
After gracefully dismissing the official greeting contingency, David, Wallis and the two terriers disappeared in their limousine and began the ride to their seaside estate. Wallis leaned back.
“On the first day of Christmas, an assassin gave to me a poisoned bottle of very good champagne.” Her singing was nasal and tinny which detracted from the grim cleverness of her lyric.
David lit a cigarette. “You know he will try again.”
“The bastard. Trying to kill me on my very favorite holiday.”
Monsieur Valat telegrammed me in Versailles he had to take on several additional servants. Due to time restraints he was unable to check out all their resumes and character references. He truly groveled in print, which one would expect from an excellent concierge.”
“Well, I’m not going to let the bastard ruin my good time. I spent too much time buying presents for all the servants and wrapping them to not enjoy playing Mere Noel. I even bought extras for last-minute hirelings. I picked out the tree and ornaments which were shipped to La Croe yesterday.”
The line of servants waiting to greet the duke and duchess stretched halfway down the driveway at La Croe, every one of them, dressed in black, waved and wore hearty smiles. Once they disembarked their limousine, Wallis began to shake hands with as many servants as possible. David sought out the concierge Monsieur Valat to inform him of the situation concerning the duchess’s safety. Valat confirmed several servants had been added even as late as this morning
David looked away in thought, when he noticed the concierge’s son milling around in the crowd. He had a soft spot for the boy who reminded David of his youngest brother John who had epilepsy and died at age fourteen. David carried a deep guilt within himself. When he was a young man, he had no patience with John, at times calling him an animal. As David matured and saw more of the world he began to see his deceased brother as a hero and a person of great character and courage. Additionally, David felt John had this other-worldliness about him as he wandered around in his own world yet keenly aware of details about the people around him. Valat’s son was actually eighteen or so but deemed unemployable. When the concierge informed David his son’s name was Jean the duke’s heart was stolen. He created a job of official clock winder at a more than generous salary.
Waving Jean over, David asked the young man to watch the newly hired servants for any unusual behaviors that might indicate ulterior motives to harm anyone, particularly harm the duchess. Jean’s large brown eyes widened.
Oui, monsieur.”
“But don’t tell anyone about it, except your father and me. It will be our special secret, won’t it, Jean?”
Oui, monsieur.”
By late afternoon, their guests began to arrive. Most of them were British who remained friends with the Windsors during the abdication crisis, although David didn’t understand why anyone would truly like him unless there was something in it for themselves, a bad trait which lingered on from childhood. There were Lord and Lady Brownlow and their children, Caroline and Edward, Sir Charles and Lady Mendl and John McMullin. And, of course not to forget, the guest Wallis most anticipated, her Aunt Bessie. She had not seen her substitute mother and traveling companion for two years. Bessie’s limousine arrived last.
Aunt Bessie had trouble getting out of the car. Normally Wallis would wait until the attendants had helped the guest, but without thought she went to the old woman’s side putting her arm around Bessie’s waist. She finally got her aunt to her feet and guided her to the front door.
“It’s rather warm for Easter, isn’t it?” Bessie asked.
“It’s Christmas, dear,” Wallis whispered.
“Christmas? You must be kidding me! There’s no snow on the ground.”
“We’re in the south of France, darling. They do things differently here.”
Christmas Eve had always been Wallis’ favorite part of the holiday, which puzzled David. When he was growing up, the servants put up the Christmas tree and decorated it. Then the family, decked out in regal finery, posed in front of the tree, unsmiling, as the royal photographer took a dozen pictures all looking the same. He could not think of anything more boring.
Wallis, on the other hand, spent days in Paris picking the absolutely perfect tree for the parlor at La Croe. She coordinated the creation of the ornaments, all of them white and silver, with interior designer John McMullin, who made sure each decoration was placed in the exact right place. And at great expense both the tree and the decorations were shipped by train to their Mediterranean villa to allow the guests the pleasure of decorating it themselves Christmas Eve night.
David noticed Wallis spent most of her time supervising Aunt Bessie.
“I thought you said this was Christmas?” her aunt asked.
“It is, darling,” Wallis purred.
“But Christmas trees are supposed to red and green balls,” Bessie protested.
“I thought it would be fun to have something different.”
“Why does everything have to be different?” her aunt replied.
Wallis wrapped her arms around Bessie. “Why, Aunt Bessie, you’re the one who taught me how much fun it was to be different.”
David sat back in one of the more comfortable parlor chairs and puffed on a cigarette.
Wallis must be breaking up on the inside. Though she would never let anyone know. I envy her. I’ve watched many family members grow old and senile and never felt any sorrow for them.
He felt uncomfortable. Putting out his cigarette, David stood, went to the Brownlow children Caroline and Edward and offered to lift them so they could place a silver bauble at the top of the tree. They giggled.
More than grief for Bessie, I know Wallis sees in her aunt what will happen to her one day, and the thought terrified her.
After he returned Caroline and Edward to their parents, David walked to Wallis and patted her shoulder.
But why in hell should I care about the feelings of a fellow MI6 agent? How many times had I lectured the old agent about becoming too personal? And now I was doing the same with Wallis.

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Sixty-Four

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. Ribbentrop still loves Wallis
A short dark-haired woman was the last to board the Blue Train at Calais. A quibble about her passport had delayed her crossing the border with Belgium. Such times troubled with omens of war often inconvenienced Europeans, but this particular incident troubled the woman for some reason. However, it was doubtful anyone would even have noticed her. Her clothing was dark, non-descript. Put a white apron on her, and one would assume she were a maid. She was neither too heavy nor too thin. Nothing particular about her face would draw a passerby’s attention. She had no luggage except for a small valise she hugged tight to her bosom.
***
In his last communique General Trotter instructed David and Wallis to have a carefree Christmas holiday close to home because MI6 reported the political climate most certainly forecasted war in the coming year. On the early evening of the Dec. 23, 1938, David and Wallis boarded the Blue Train at Versailles for Antibes with their two cairn terriers. For the sake of privacy they booked six compartments even though they planned only to use only the one in middle. That way they could discuss coming strategies without anyone overhearing a thing. Once they had settled into their compartment and the porter had put away their luggage, David and Wallis burst into giggles which was unusual for them.
“Why are we laughing?” Wallis daubed happiness tear drops from her heavily-mascaraed eyelashes.
“I suppose because we can.” David made an extra effort to contain himself because ever since his childhood he had been instructed such behavior was unbecoming.
“It’s Christmas, and for the first time in a long time, we are allowed to be children.” Even though such profound words were coming out of her mouth, she couldn’t help but smile. Wallis soon came back to serious social considerations. Looking at her watch, she said, “dinner is about to be served in the main dining car. I think we should go now, have a tray of cakes and biscuits with a bottle of champagne before retiring. I’m really dreadfully tired.”
David smiled and leaned in. “We could always be served in our compartment.”
“Now you know all the other passengers will be quite miffed if we don’t dine with them and shake all their little hands. We have a reputation to maintain.”
“But first the little ones must be attended to,” David added. He put on his overcoat and hat then lifted the terriers.
Wallis leaned back and pulled out a cigarette to light. David bussed her cheek. He knew she loved their pets as much as he did, although he suspected she resented the impression they seemed to come on a higher pecking order than she. In the corridor, David motioned to an attendant that he wanted to stretch his legs—a polite way of saying the dogs were ready to do their business.
“The train should stop every half hour or so to avoid accidents, shall we say?” he added.
Within minutes, he was walking his dogs on leashes on a grassy area beside the train. His intuition was correct: both dogs relieved themselves quickly and started back to the train. Once the duke was on board the train continued its journey southeast through the country. When David came back to the compartment he saw Wallis had changed into a sleeker dress than her traveling clothes; after all, she had her audience to consider. They left the terriers in the compartment and entered the dining car to polite applause. As was his nature, David shook hands with his left hand even though he was right handed. He took one side of the car and Wallis the other. Soon they were seated and eating their meal.
Wallis bit into a leaf of lettuce as though she were trying to kill it. “Did you see the cheek of that bitch?”
“Hmm?”
“I stuck my hand in the face of this—this woman, at least I thought it was a woman, and she ignored it. In fact she more than ignored it. She turned her head away to look out the window, like there was anything to see. Pitch black.”
“Poor little Wallis. Everyone else looked up with adoring smiles and extended their hands like they were going to touch the hem of the Pope. But one person didn’t seem interested—“
“It was more than merely non-interest.” She cut into a medium rare filet mignon with hostility. “She had a hidden agenda. Probably thinks Bertie and Elizabeth are wonderful and I’m the devil.”
David gave Wallis his rakish smile. “I shall have her arrested immediately. What color was her hair?”
“She wore a dreadful dark woolen cap.”
“What did her clothes look like?”
“Rumpled.”
“Her face? Fair? Wrinkled?”
“You’re not paying attention. She turned her head away. She could have been Attila the Hun for all I know.”
“Don’t you suppose she’s just a mousey little woman returning home to her husband children after visiting her mummy, and she’s terribly shy?”
Wallis paused. “And how could such a wretchedly poor person afford to ride the Blue Train?”
“Perhaps mummy has all the money in the family and that’s why she has to visit so often, to pick up another allowance check.”
“You are such a louse.”
***
After the Windsors left the dining car, the other guests began to gather their things to return to their compartments. No one noticed the short woman put on her overcoat and clutch her valise as she exited to the kitchen car. She immediately put her cap, coat and valise in the servants’ closet. Before closing the door she took an apron from her coat pocket and put it on. She was now ready to disappear among the mass of servants. Amazingly, she was capable of looking busy while doing nothing. She overheard the head chef instruct one waiter to prepare a dessert cart for the royal couple to be delivered exactly at eleven o’clock.
“And it must have a chilled bottle of our finest champagne.”
Upon hearing the request, she unconsciously rubbed her hands together.
At 10:45 p.m. from a frosty window the woman watched David take his two terriers on leash for a short walk. She went to the servants’ closet to retrieve her valise and from it pulled out a filled syringe. She looked through the kitchen until she found the cart with cakes, biscuits and the bottle of champagne. She checked the note on the tray saying it was for the Windsors, looked around to make sure no one was paying attention and stuck the syringe into the cork. She threw the syringe into a kitchen garbage can, retrieved her cap, coat and valise and went back to the frosty window where she saw the duck climb back on the train with his dogs. She scurried down the stairs and disappeared in the cold night.
***
Feeling quite relaxed, David returned from his late night walk with the terriers just as the attendant rolled the cart into the compartment. By this time Wallis had changed into a silken night gown and robe and had arranged comfy pillows on the seat. David placed the terriers on Wallis’s lap and put away his coat and hat. The attendant pulled the cork from the champagne bottle and poured a sample into one flute and offered it to David for his approval. The duke swirled the champagne in its glass, held it to the light, sniffed it and was about to sip when he frowned and sniffed again. He extended the flute to Wallis.
“Smell this.”
She took one whiff and poured the contents into the ice bucket. The attendant’s eyes widened.
“Madame, monsieur, what is wrong?”
David reached over to retrieve the cork from the cart to examine the top of it. He motioned for the attendant to lean over.
“Do you see that?” The duke pointed to a small puncture next to the hole the corkscrew had made. “Do you know what that might be?”
“No, monsieur. I saw nothing. The cart was prepared when I brought it to your compartment.”
“Do have any idea what that might be?”
The befuddled servant shrugged. “Some kind of bug?”
“Mon dieu, I do believe he’s that stupid.” Wallis sighed in exasperation.
David continued his interrogation. “Do you know what cyanide is?”
“It’s something to kill bugs with, is it not?”
“Have you used it before?”
“Many times, monsieur.”
David lifted the champagne bottle. “Smell this.”
The attendant sniffed and dropped the bottle into the bucket. “Mon dieu, and that was our best bottle of champagne!”
Wallis lifted her bare leg and pushed the cart into the server. “I’ve lost my appetite.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Sixty

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. On their honeymoon they derail a train. Now they’re on their way to kill Hitler.
Wallis stuck her cigarette in her mouth to keep from laughing at the two men who obviously had been crawling around under a giant miniature train display so they could pop their heads up through a hole in the middle of it. Nothing seemed as ludicrous as crawling on the floor for a former king of England and the absolute leader of the Third Reich right before a magnificent tea party in the German Alps.
David extended a hand to Hitler to help him stand. The Fuhrer ignored it. Wallis grabbed her husband’s elbow and directed him out of the room.
“Am I mistaken or was there murder in your eyes?” she whispered.
“If you had been one second later, I would have stomped his head in.”
“Now, now, you know that would have been much too messy.” She jerked him toward the reception hall where all of the finest people gathered to participate in an authentically replicated high English tea. Wallis pushed him toward a bosomy blonde looking merrily quaint in her dirndl. She was in that marvelous time of life when no one could tell if she were twenty-five or thirty-five nor really cared.
“I must introduce you to our hostess, fraulein Eva Braun.” Wallis leaned into his ear. “She’s Hitler’s version of Freda Ward.”
“Does she speak English?”
“God, how would I know? Just try not to stare at her bosom too much.”
As David walked over to Eva, Wallis puffed on her cigarette and tried not to stare at Eva too much herself. Some time had passed since she felt an urge from her other physiology. She enjoyed the dresses and makeup too much. And nothing matched the exhilaration of bringing a man to ecstasy through the infliction of delicious pain. Every now and again, a woman—usually a blonde—would remind her of the condition she was born with. Most of the time she ignored it. Such a revelation would shock Aunt Bessie, and she was such a naïve dear. And of course, once the word got out she would not be invited to those divine parties. And sometimes she felt like she wanted to punish the sweet little blondes for reminding Wallis of what she was—not what she chose to be nor what society allowed her to be. The last time she felt such an attraction was for KiKi Preston, the girl with the silver syringe. Wallis found KiKi alluring yet such a bane to the existence of the Royal Family, which she had pledged to defend and protect. Eva, on the other hand, looked like a lost child wandering down a posy-strewn path to hell. Wallis was relieved she only had to kill Hitler and not his mistress.
Ach, duchess, you left before I had a chance to show you, as you so quaintly called them, my choo choos.”
Wallis made a quarter turn, then looked over her shoulder through the black fur of her fox wrap to flutter her eyes at the Fuhrer.
Hitler stopped, his mouth dropped and the words that managed to escape his lips made no sense at all.
Half-covering her face with her fur piece was a cheap trick but it worked every time. Wallis walked slowly to the Fuhrer and extended her hand to be kissed—the same hand, by the way, which wore the opal ring which contained the poison.
“I’m sorry, Herr Hitler, you must repeat your last question. My German, unfortunately, is very weak.”
“I was going to say you are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. The newsreels do you no justice. It is a shame we are both married. You to the former king of England—
“But I thought you were single.”
“—and I am married to my beloved Germany.” He bent to kiss her hand again.
“No no.” She withdrew her hand. “No time for seconds. You must introduce me to all these fascinating people.”
Hitler stuck by her side as they made their way around the room for introductions. She remembered none of their names. Wallis was grateful none of them wished for piss on earth. German women, in particular, had trouble pronouncing the English word peace which turned into “piss”. Hitler, however, kept running his fingers up and down her back. It repulsed her, but she knew she must continue to lead him into her trap. Occasionally, she looked around at him, fluttering her eyes through the black fox fur.
“After the reception is over,” he whispered, “when these people have left and before your limousine arrives to take you back to the train station, you must see my choo choo set, up close and personal.”
“Shall I bring the drinks or shall you?”
Hitler gulped. “I will. What do you want?”
“A Cuba libre.”
“Of course, I will free Cuba too, but it will take time.”
“You don’t know what a Cuba libre is, do you?”
“No.” His dark penetrating eyes searched her face. “This is the first time I’ve told the truth to anybody. What is this strange hold you have over me?”
“Meet me in the choo choo room, and I will show you.” She winked.
For the next hour Adolf Hitler could not remember anyone’s name or title. He kept his hands to himself, now that he had been promised more than he could have hoped for. Finally, a short woman wearing too many pearls promised Wallis piss on earth. Hitler was still in his delirium and was unable to correct her pronunciation. Eventually the crowd began to drift away leaving only a core of diehard sycophants—field Marshall Hermann Goering who was in deep conversation with David, obviously about the train display; Joachim Von Ribbentrop who could not keep his eyes off Wallis; and Eva Braun who still wandered around like a lost waif.
“You must excuse me, Herr Hitler. I must freshen up a bit, if you don’t mind.” Wallis peeked through her fox stole again.
“Of course.” Hitler cleared his throat. I’ll be waiting for you in the—well, you know where.”
“And I’ll bring the drinks.” Wallis went directly to the cloak room where she had left her overcoat. She recovered from an inside pocket the drab gray uniform she had absconded from dress factory days earlier. She slipped it on over her fitted suit with the fox collar. After taking a moment to cover the fur with the uniform collar, she left and went to the bar. Along the way she commandeered a white servant’s cap. Poor girl was so intimidated by working in Hitler’s private residence, she said nothing when a strange woman snatched the cap from her head. Wallis properly adjusted the headwear before going to the bar where she ordered one Cuba libre.
The bartender presented it to her on a small silver tray. She then assumed the subservient posture of a servant as she passed through the reception hall. Wallis didn’t think even David noticed her. Right before she went into the train display room, she quickly opened her opal ring, emptied its contents into the drink and then turned it around on her finger so it appeared to be a plain band. Hitler was already positioned in the center opening.
“How dare you!” he barked. “How many times have you people been told to knock before entering?”
Wallis said nothing but tossed off her cap, unbuttoned the gray uniform and shimmied until it began to fall from her thin shoulders. She deftly switched the tray from one hand to another to allow the dress to land on the floor.
“I thought you were bringing two drinks,” Hitler commented in a dull school-boy voice.
“I drank mine at the bar. A double.”
“You don’t mind joining me in control central, do you? You have to crawl.”
“I won’t spill a drop of your drink. I’m quite agile, you know.”
Hitler let out a slight moan.
Wallis paused only briefly as she crawled under the table. She noticed the Fuhrer had already removed his pressed black slacks. Remembering her pledge to MI6, she trudged onward. Once she entered the central opening, Wallis rose like a navy-blue hyacinth. She heard Hitler breathe in deeply.
“You are one of the most fascinating women in the world, or am I repeating myself?”
“No. Earlier you said I was the most beautiful woman in the world. To be beautiful and fascinating blend together well, I think.” Smiling, Wallis added, “David and I must be back in town for the 6 p.m. train, so let’s get this choo choo out of the station.”
“You don’t have to worry about me.” He stepped closer. “I am developing a strategy I will call the blitzkrieg. The world will be astounded.”
“Well, before you astound me, please drink your Cuba libre. It may astound you.” Wallis lifted the tray.
The door swung open with a bang, and a wide-eyed Ribbentrop stood there like a frightened boy. “The duke is looking for the duchess, and is quite upset. They must leave now to make their 6 o’clock train.”
Wallis dropped the tray and glass to the floor before Hitler could drink it. The bastard couldn’t die now. The Germans would know for certain that she did it.
Wallis dropped to her knees. “I’m on my way.” She looked Hitler’s way. “The Fuhrer has a few things to put in order before he can join us.”
The Windsors were almost in the limousine when Hitler ran down the steps, smoothing out his trousers, reached for Wallis to pull her close for a kiss.
“You would have made a remarkable queen.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary, Chapter Fifty-Nine

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. On their honeymoon they derail a train. Now they’re on their way to kill Hitler.
On the morning of their last day in Germany, David tried to relax in Adolf Hitler’s private train car on their way to the Fuhrer’s Wolf’s Lair in Berchtesgaden. He and Wallis would be guests of honor at an afternoon tea attended by every Nazi political leader in the German Alps. Perhaps the same dignitaries would be there who attended the military policy conference in January 1935 where David had secreted himself into the affair dressed as a waiter. He wearied of all the tours of the training schools for the elite death squads of the SS, the Berlin War Museum, the Pergamon Museum and finally a boring dinner at the home of field Marshal Hermann Goering who incessantly complained that the Fuhrer had stolen his model train set. Goering informed David that while he was attending the official tea, Hitler had restricted him from the train room. Goering wanted David–if he were invited to see the trains–to please report back to him on their condition.
All that was left to complete their mission was the most important task: to kill Adolf Hitler.
MI6 handed the assignment to Wallis, which nettled David. He could not understand how they could have passed over his plans for the murder for any method that the American woman devised. Sighing, David leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes to convince himself schwermut once again held him in its grip.
He wanted to complete this mission and go home, except he had no home to go to. If it were within his power he would return to his beloved Fort Belvedere and putter in its gardens, but the abdication made that wish impossible to come true. He didn’t even have family any more. George was always good for a laugh. Bertie could be sympathetic and supportive. Frankly, he didn’t give a damn about Harry. David was, for all intents and purposes, a non-entity. Most of all he missed his friend and confidante Louis Mountbatten. But his mother the queen ordered him and Wallis to be persona non grata.
Not that Wallis was not entirely unpleasant as companions went. She could always make him laugh, and didn’t all the experts on marriage say a good sense of humor was vital? And he liked the way she would slap his hand if he picked up a leaf of lettuce from a salad bowl on which to nibble. His own mother would have said not a thing, raised her eyebrow and made a note to his governess to lecture him on table manners the next morning. The occasional slap at the dinner table was all the exchange they had which could be interpreted as love.
Of course, David had to admit this love conundrum was his fault. His romantic habits began with the insistence that his paramours be another men’s wives. That way he would never be bothered by those pesky notions of love. The closest he had come to a deeper emotional connection was Thelma and Freda, but they were so far in the past they were hardly worth thinking about any more.
Wallis nudged him. “Wake up. It’s time to go kill us a Nazi madman.”
A rough elbow to the ribs. A terribly insensitive joke. Close enough to pass off as love for right now.
A chauffeur in a black Mercedes convertible greeted them at the station. All sorts of SS guards on motorcycles and cockroach automobiles with Nazi flags unfurled surrounded them.
“God, I hope this guy drives better than Dr. Ley,” Wallis whispered as they slid into the back seat. “On these mountain roads he could drive off a cliff.
“That wouldn’t be good,” David replied.
“Damn right. It would wrinkle my dress.”
David laughed the rest of the way up the mountain to Berchtesgaden and the Wolf’s Lair which was ten times more elegant than it was when he valeted there a couple of years ago. Hitler himself waited on the grand front steps for their limousine to pull up to a gentle stop and let the semi-royal couple alight. The Fuhrer looked dapper in brown Nazi Party jacket, black trousers and black shoes, which did not quite match Wallis’s tailored navy blue suit draped with a fox stole dyed black, David thought, but everything could not be perfect.
After a round of hearty handshakes and fake kisses to cheeks, Hitler led them into an entry hall and through doors to the large room where the previous conference was held. “Before our other guests arrive for the tea, I would like a private word with his majesty,” he requested in a voice quite different from his usual oratorical glory.
Wallis smiled and nodded in acquiescence. Hitler led David through a couple sets of doors until he arrived at his model train room. David took a moment to stop and consider the magnificence of a collection previously thought to belong in the world of little boys’ dreams.
“Follow me.” Hitler gracefully went down on all fours to crawl under the immense miniature world.
David, without a second thought, did the same—drop to his knees, crawl and stare at the Fuhrer’s butt for the next twenty seconds. Because he was well bred in the house of Windsor, David made no reference to the inconvenience but did pronounce the layout of tiny buildings, mountains and choo choos to be the most glorious he had ever seen in his life.
“Yes, I enjoy it very much,” Hitler replied trying to sound humble. “Ach, you should have seen it in the basement of Herr Goering’s house. He had built it for his children’s amusement.” He looked at David and shook his head. “Can you imagine such perfection being ruined with awkward children’s fingers all over it?”
“A sacrilege.” David considered himself a superb liar, but his years with Wallis had polished his skills so they shone with the brilliance of the diamonds in the crowns on display at the Tower of London.
“As you well surmised, I brought you here for more than just displaying the ‘New Europe’.” He paused as he often did when delivering an important message to world. “I want to assure you that Germany has only one enemy in the world at this point in time, the Soviet Union….”
David tuned out the rest of the diatribe. He had heard it many times over the radio, but one phrase used by the Fuhrer did catch his attention. He described his model train layout of the “New Europe.” David casually looked around the huge diorama and noticed red tape marked the boundary of Germany. That red boundary included sizable amounts of Austria. He felt rage rising from his abdomen.
“No, no, no.” His declaration was not issued loudly but with a determination that even Hitler could not overlook.
“I beg your pardon, Your Royal Highness?”
“Umm.” His mind scrambled for an explanation. “Wallis and I just honeymooned in the Austrian Alps and the Austrian pine tree is not that exact shade of green. Not that bright. Not that garish. They are a darker hue, which is indicative of deep, strong roots.”
Hitler smiled. “You are well known for your attention to details. I didn’t know it went that far.” He guided David to another section. “Now over here you will not be able to pick out inconsistencies because it only exists in my imagination.”
A moment passed before David realized he beheld a new Berlin of marble and gold. Giant buildings and broad avenues. Stadia which could seat half a million people. Almost Roman or Greek except without the curved columns and recognizable symmetry. No. These giants sprang from architectural genius that created a new esthetic which bespoke massive strength and eternal domination.
“Isn’t it glorious?” Hitler whispered, entirely too close to David’s ear. “Our buildings will make more magnificent ruins than the Greeks.”
David stepped away. “Yes, think of the jobs they will bring to the lower classes. All German men will stand proud. Their families will never go hungry again.”
Like a well-trained border collie, Hitler herded David to one last niche of his “New Europe.” It was a replica of London. He had not changed it much. More open park space. David could not quite figure out which buildings were gone, but Buckingham Palace was still there. His eyes widened as he focused on the balcony where two figures in full royal regalia stood.
Himself and Wallis.
David was on the verge of twitching and he couldn’t figure out which emotion was overcoming him at the moment. “How wonderful. Thank you for showing it to me. I’m getting a bit claustrophobic in here. Perhaps we should rejoin Wallis for tea. She has such a ravenous appetite. For all things.” With that, David went to his knees and began crawling through the underground of “New Europe.”
“No, please,” Hitler stammered. “I must always lead.” He at once fell to his knees and scrambled to catch up.
By the time David made it through and stood, he could see Hitler’s head emerging. He fancied kicking the Fuhrer’s temple and as he rolled over moaning, David would stomp the leader’s throat with the heel of his shoe. David knew he would be instantly executed for assassination, but his schwermut told him “What the hell, life wasn’t worth living anyway.”
Wallis burst through the door right then. “There you are. We’ve been looking for you. Herr Goering thought you might be playing with your toy trains. David, you look so happy. I should buy you a choo choo for Christmas.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Fifty-Eight

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. On their honeymoon they derail a train. Now they’re on their way to kill Hitler.
A glorious October morning crowned the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as they descended the steps of the Nord Express at Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse Station. They were not the first notable Britons to visit Germany in the last year. Former Prime Minister Lloyd George and prominent politician Lord Halifax had paid their respects to Herr Hitler as well. The station was festooned with Union Jacks and swastikas. A brass band played “God Save the King”. And, as a thrilling conclusion to the auspicious welcoming ceremony, head of the National Labor Front Dr. Robert Ley presented Wallis with a box of chocolates.
“Chocolates,” she murmured. “How quaint.”
David graciously translated it into German.
“I told them you said, “Chocolates, my favorite.”
“I expected as much.” She extended her hand to allow the labor leader to slobber on it. She subtly wiped her hand on David’s trousers. “How much worse can this get?”
Wallis received the answer to her question sooner than she thought when Herr Ley escorted them to his black Mercedes limousine which he drove himself—like a demon straight out of hell.
She leaned into David. “I swore my life to defend God, my Country and my King, but not to surrender it to some Nazi race car maniac.”
Fortunately they soon arrived at the Kaishorfhof Hotel and went to its most luxurious suite. After they unpacked but before they settled into a bottle of champagne, both David and Wallis checked the walls for minuscule pin pricks through which Nazis could pry on private conversations. Then they closed the curtains to the balcony and settled on a sofa to sip their champagne. David opened the box of chocolates to see what assortment it offered.
“Are you sure this powder of yours will work?” David asked as he bit into a square of dark chocolate.
“Well, it worked on Uncle Sol, didn’t it?”
“Well.” David smiled. “It fooled the Americans. Whether it will fool the Germans is quite a different matter.”
“You’re talking nationalities. I’m talking about men in charge of criminal investigations. For the most part men are stupid.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He took a napkin to wipe away a bit of smudged chocolate from his mouth. “They all seem to be fascinated with you.”
Wallis couldn’t decide if she liked that comment, so she changed the conversation a bit. “And what was your favorite form of assassination? Spitting some vile concoction into a man’s face which killed him several hours later over dinner? How was that better than my plan?”
David raised an eyebrow. “Well, I did have a backup plan.”
“And what was that?” She was reeking of self-righteous indignation.
“Well, there was a lovely belly dancer in the market place who was supposed to lose control of her sword, sending it twirling across the market where it would decapitate the man.”
“You think you’re so clever.” Wallis moved closer to him. “And I’m finding it altogether too charming a quality.”
That evening Dr. Ley drove them in his black Mercedes to several posh night clubs at a speed that made Wallis’ stomach queasy. David, on the other hand, found the ensuing theater of burlesque quite amusing.
The next morning the German officials took the two Windsors in different directions. Wallis visited the Nazi Welfare Society workhouse where drab women made even drabber dresses. Wallis smiled in approval but knew she would never be caught dead wearing any of them. She did ask for a sample to take back to London to show to English designers. The German matron in charge giggled in delight.
David toured the Stock Machine Works where cameras flashed about him with unending devotion. German newspapers prominently displayed stories through the years about the Duke’s defense of the common working man. At one point David felt obligated to lift his right hand in a somewhat vague variation of the Nazi salute.
That night as they prepared for a lavish dinner he bragged about his feat of legerdemain.
Wallis focused on her hair in the mirror. “Considering we’re here in Germany to gain the people’s confidence, I’d say you did a commendable job indeed.”
As David and Wallis stood in the receiving line at the beginning of the banquet, they endured one German after another trying to speak English properly enough to impress the former king.
“We applaud your efforts to improve horsing conditions for the cumin man.” A stout man with long white mutton chop whiskers sounded pleased with himself with not too much Teutonic inflection at all.
A pinched-faced wife of an industrialist bowed impressively low before Wallis. “All the world wants world piss which can best be achieved with an open-minded monarch on the English throne with a queen who is a gin-you-wine lady.”
Wallis could not contain herself. She let forth with what most of her fellow Americans from the Appalachian region would have called a horse laugh. Her hand went to her face as David patted her on the back.
“You must excuse the Duchess,” David began. “I’m afraid she is not familiar with the brilliantly brisk German air and may be coming down with a touch of a cough to be remedied later this evening by an over qualified German physician.”
As the Duke had predicted, her doctor prescribed a potent cough syrup which kept Wallis happy all the next day during their tour of a miners’ hospital where all the men were emaciated with a debilitating condition the doctors had not quite been to diagnose.
Wallis leaned into David. “I’ve seen this in coal towns in Appalachia. Tuberculosis. They’ll all be dead in two years.”
“Ssh.” David tried to quiet her. “They have the best coal mines in the world.”
“And how did you come to that conclusion?” Wallis’s voice filled with skepticism.
“They told me so themselves.”
“But of course,” she replied. “I should have known.” After leaving the hospital they sat in the back seat of Dr. Ley’s black Mercedes. “They’re not going to make us go through one of those black holes of hell, are they?”
At that moment Dr. Ley got behind the driving wheel. “I hate to disappoint you, Duchess, but I have cancelled our tour of the largest coal mine in the world. The Duke felt it unwise considering your frail health. The doctor turned the ignition and was about to speed down the dusty road when David pointed to a ramshackle building.
“And what is that?” David asked.
Dr. Ley looked over quickly then smiled. “Oh, that’s cold meat storage, nothing more.”
David whispered to Wallis. “I have it from the highest authority of MI6 that the building was actually an inmate facility.”
Wallis blew cigarette smoke out of the side of her well-rouged mouth. “Well, so much for talk about world piss.”

David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Fifty-Seven

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on a mission because of David, better known as Edward 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. On their honeymoon they derail a train. Leon is now a spy par excellent.
Wallis finished her packing their grand tour of Germany. Then she counted the trunks. Too many, she knew, but everyone would be expecting to see a spectacular gown for each of their eleven days, and Wallis did not want to disappoint. Finally, she double checked her jewelry box ensconced in one of the larger pieces of luggage. She sighed in relief when she saw the large opal ring with the secret compartment for her Blue Ridge Mountains poison, which, much to her displeasure, had not arrived yet. Wallis did not like for things to go harem-scarem. A place for everything and everything in its place. This time, “it” had not even arrived yet. She hear someone at the door of their Paris suite. Perhaps the delivery from America arrived. Unfortunately, it was only David returning from a meeting with Lord Beaverbrook at the British embassy.
“You look gloomy.” It was only an observation, not an expression of concern.
David walked to a small cabinet stocked with his favorite liquors and splashed some whiskey into a short glass. “Lord Beaverbrook told me once again how displeased my brother the king was that you and I were launching on this –oh, what did he call it?—yes, this lark to Germany. Most inconvenient, he added.”
“Well, isn’t that what we want them to think?” Wallis pulled out a cigarette and lit it. These moods of David were absolutely taking the fun out of murder and espionage.
“I suppose.” His muttering was on the verge of indiscernibility.
“You know I hate it when you look like a lost dog.”
“The doctors call it schwermut,” David replied.
‘Well, when I visit my friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains they say you can call it manure or fertilizer but it still smells like shit.”
He slumped into an ornate stuffed arm chair and didn’t say a word. He must really be in the dumps. Usually when I use American vulgarities around him they bring the giggles out of him. David also plopped one leg across one of the arms, putting his crotch on full display, a bad habit he had picked up from Ernest; however, Wallis had to admit, Ernest had more to display than the duke.
David gazed out of the window of their Paris suite as he sipped his whiskey. “I don’t think you understand the dynamics of the Windsor family. It is true I hated my father. Never shed a tear when he died. Hard-hearted stupid man and proud of it. Mother’s just about as bad but not quite. I would be quite sad if I didn’t see her at least one more time before she died. My brothers and sister are a different matter. We all got along well. I think our youngest brother John who was epileptic and died in his early teens brought us together as human beings. But even that’s all over now, isn’t it? They can’t be part of our lives and we can’t be part of theirs. No more big family Christmas celebrations. No reunions at weddings and birthdays. And I have to pretend I don’t care. But, dammit all, I do care. At first I didn’t think I would, but I do care, and there’s not a whit I can do about it.”
Wallis could not decipher what all that meant. Her closest relative was Aunt Bessie who was pleasant company but could hardly be called a solace to the heart. Whatever a heart really meant. She snuffed out her cigarette as though she were crushing all of David’s maudlin mish mash of moods. Surely he was in one of his melancholia—life was just a pile of shit so what the hell difference did anything make? That posit of existence bored Wallis to tears. Life was just too damn exciting, prickling nerve ending to the point of orgasm.
Her missing package from America numbed her sensory pleasures of espionage. She couldn’t compete her mission without her package, and completing a mission was one of the main ecstasies of her life. The mission she had been given would the greatest challenge of her career at MI6.
The assassination of Adolf Hitler.
Wallis had several options at her disposal. One favorite involved a proper, sturdy long hat pin. It was most effective, quick, left few marks and blood stains and, if administered at coitus, evoked orgasm at the exact moment of death. It didn’t do anything for her personally, but Wallis enjoyed witnessing a man die with a smile on his face. The one drawback to this method was that it linked Wallis to the scene of death, bereft of any alibis. As much of being a master of charming banter Wallis could not talk her way out of murder.
Another favorite reminded her of the good old days of torturing Uncle Sol—the needle up the manhood. Joachim Von Ribbentrop did not consider it torture at all however. His eyes rolled up to the back of his head. He moaned like an enraptured bull. One extra thrust of the hat pin or quick jerks of the pin back and forth would tear into veins and arteries, causing intense bleeding and inevitable death. Ah, but there was the rub. Too much blood left the possibility of too many clues and they would all lead directly back to Wallis.
Therefore, she decided to fall back on an old reliable source which she used for Uncle Sol’s final dispatch—the strange, tiny herb she found during one of her long walks through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia when she was about twelve years old. She often visited family in Warrenton to escape the evil of Uncle Sol. She didn’t even know the name for it nor what other plants it might be related to. All those scientific names sounded too much like botany and school, and she wanted no more formal education.
The pretty little blossom hid among the longer more impressive vines draping the tall oaks and spruces. Its delicacy lured young Wallis to pinch a bloom off and sniff it. Suddenly she experienced a strange dryness to her throat. While not particularly painful she realized within minutes she could not speak at all. Twenty-four hours later she developed a horrid headache which kept her in bed for the next three days. By that time she had returned to Baltimore and no one had a clue what had happened.
Every doctor who examined her questioned her mother about her activities of the last twenty-four hours. They never knew she had been in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Eventually Wallis recovered, and she had no doubts about the cause of her illness—the strange little flower hiding behind the big heavy vines deep in mysterious corners of the ancient Appalachians.
On her next holiday to Warrenton, Wallis wandered into the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her new little friend. When she found the blossoms, Wallis snapped several of them off their stems and put them into a small brown paper bag and folded it tightly. She did not smell them. When she returned to her host’s home she put the bag into another sack, repeating the process. Then she washed her hands with hot soapy water.
In Baltimore she left the bag in a dark corner of her closet. After about a month or two, she checked the bag to find the flowers withered to a point of disintegrating. Next she pounded the bag so the contents became a fine powder which she poured into an empty pill bottles.
Wallis had one week before leaving for boarding school. She was quite excited her last night home. She did not go to bed before midnight. What the others in the house did not know was Wallis went outside, extended her arm through the slats of the white picket fence where the neighbor’s dog—known for its incessant barking—licked a white powder from her palm.
The next morning, rested from a long quiet sleep, Wallis kissed everyone good-bye—even Uncle Sol—and mounted a carriage which took her to the train station. In her first letter to her daughter, Wallis’ mother wrote the neighbor’s dog was silent and moping around. Three weeks later Wallis received news the dog died. Wallis knew she had a winning recipe.
When they received the official invitation to Germany, she contacted General Trotter, using one of their usual circuitous routes to ask for her poison from the American mountainsides. She wrote meticulous descriptions of what the plant looked like and where it could be found. Wallis knew MI6 had connections with the American government which could find the flower, diminish it into a powder and send it on its way. She anxiously awaited its arrival. Without it she could not complete her mission.
Moments after David freshened his drink, there was a knock at the door. Wallis answered it and took a small box from a courier arrived. Stamped on the box were the words “United States Department of Agriculture”. Wallis opened it to find a vial of white powder. With great care she transferred the powder to the secret compartment of her opal ring.
Now she was ready to meet Herr Hitler.