The following is a slight fictionalized version of true events. The night got hazy.
I arrived in West Berlin (i.e. a small cul-de sac in Kilburn) to meet my handler and couchsurfing host, Nate. The narrow alley way echoed with my passing footsteps and the facades of the houses all shared the grayish neutral tones of evening. As soon as I passed the threshold, I was warmly welcomed by my host, but that did not belay the seriousness with which we would party that night. To prepare we would need fajitas, and beer. Lots of beer.
Our fellow conspirators arrived: the roommate Charlie, already in the full swing of things, fellow couchsurfer Grace, an Australian youth with trousers fit for vaudeville, and an assortment of friends and passerbys. It was the night of the big op. Resources via an invitation slid under the door earlier that week indicated that there was to be a housewarming just over the wall in East Berlin. Fear of the Stasi didn’t stop us nor the numerous other invitees who made their way through the small, arched, unguarded gap that connected the two worlds.
At about a 15 past midnight, after a marathon of youtube video fueled dancing and conversation, Charlie grabbed a bottle of some cherry liqueur (no one wanted to touch the bottle of raki I had brought – I think they were afraid mishandling could cause an explosion) and the operation commenced.
It was easy to find the drop zone. Just listen for the loud thumping of Mr. DJ and look for the loiterers with bottles in hand. A small split level venue, most of the furniture had been cleared to make room for a dance floor sparsely peopled with gyrating hips, arms, legs, and other body parts. To answer “The Killers,” no. We are not dancers. Save one.
She was a singular dame, like something out of a 40’s picture book (the kind you buy under-the-counter) or a film with a Cole Porter soundtrack. In the poor light, her fair-skinned features shimmered against a back drop of perfectly coiffed dark hair. She shimmied and grooved in her black stockings – heels long since discarded – and the dance floor parted to give her way. I parted with the bottle of Charlie’s cherry liqueur. I had no time for women in my life. Not after Cat.
The night wore on, and we started to wear down ourselves. Cherry liqueur in hand, we sauntered back home, unaware and indifferent to whether or not the mission had been successful (was there a mission?) only to bring a tail of East Berlin refugees back with us and among them was the young lady from before, Ms. Scarlett Belle, a burlesque dancer with a sweet Scottish brogue. We cued up the youtube and poured more drinks.
Later that morning when the veils of evening had been lifted and revealed the chaos of the night before, roommates and house guests stumbled back into the main room and kitchen. Adjusting her dress and trying to smooth her hair, I could tell Ms. Belle was a lady in trouble. She needed pancakes on the quick. We all did.