Jinnie’s Story, Chapter Nine

The Peeping Tom

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Did they really have a Peeping Tom?
Hartwig HKD
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Jinnie woke to the sound of Simone singing in French in the shower. First, she lay quiet and tried to recognise the song but it was nothing she could place. Then she realised it was Thursday and the first day of classes so she had to get up and get moving as the lectures started early. Finally, she remembered why she was half-dressed, did they really have a Peeping Tom? She had made sure the blinds were down before going to bed but had been too worried to fully change into her sleeping attire.

As soon as she heard Simone come out of the bathroom she shot in and changed into fresh clothes. She felt happier changing in the bathroom, there were no windows. After breakfast, it was Simone’s turn to get the croissants, they set off on the short walk to the university. Suddenly they noticed lots of other students streaming out of halls and heading for the university buildings. About halfway there, they were overtaken by a bright orange Lambretta with Paolo and Jan shouting and waving at them. By the time they reached the university buildings, the boys had disappeared but there was no missing the orange scooter in the bike park.

The lectures took all Jinnie’s concentration to follow as they were all in German and the lecturers made no concessions to the non-native German speakers. Fortunately, they only had two morning and one afternoon lecture. Both she and Simone took copious notes and agreed to share them in the hope that if one missed something the other wouldn’t. They had been supplied with a book list for each course before leaving home. However, the German Literature professor named at least 3 more classic German books he would like them to have read. This was OK for the German natives on the course as the majority had already read them at school.

At lunchtime they headed for the cafeteria for their main meal of the day, they agreed that a snack meal would have to suffice that evening as they were not seeing the boys again until Friday night and with the supplies and extra books they needed to buy, their funds for the week were beginning to run low. They had finished eating when Jan came up to them and told them that Professor Scholz wondered if they could spare him 15 minutes in his study straight after their afternoon lecture. Jan stayed to chat for a few minutes, so as not to look suspicious, and it emerged he had a bar job to supplement his Polish Government grant and would be working a shift that evening but had swapped to an early shift the next day so that he could take Simone out that evening.

The afternoon lecture dragged for Jinnie as she was itching to know what Dirk had discovered in the apartment. Still, she forced herself to concentrate and hoped she had understood what was being taught. It was still only early afternoon when the lecture finished and some of their classmates invited Jinnie and Simone to join them in the park. It was a beautifully warm autumn afternoon and someone muttered that there wouldn’t be many more that year. That reminded Jinnie that Berlin had cold winters and a lot more snow than London. She wondered how her flatmate from the South of France would cope. Jinnie and Simone made their excuses and explained they had been summoned by Professor Scholz, but they would try to catch them up.

Dirk invited them to sit down and explained what had been happening. He explained that they could talk freely as his study was regularly scanned for bugs and was secure. He continued, saying that his people had been into the apartment that morning. Fritz the porter was a friend, knew his men well and had left them alone. They had made a hiding place behind one of the large bathroom wall tiles. Left hand wall, six rows up and five in. He challenged them to identify the hiding place without counting the tiles. But, he went on, while the second man was electronically scanning the living room, the man creating the hiding place had identified a camera in a bathroom light fitting. Now knowing what they were looking for they had identified a total of four miniature cameras in light fittings, one in the shower, one looking at the toilet and one in each bedroom looking at the beds. A shiver ran up Jinnie’s spine. Since she had found the ash she had showered twice, used the loo several times and even changed in the bathroom thinking it safer than the bedroom. The thought of someone watching her made her feel sick in the pit of her stomach.

Jinnie looked across at Simone and she could see she was getting angry. Before either of the girls could say anything, Dirk carried on, saying that his men recognised the type of camera as one that broadcasts the video to a nearby recorder or needs a nearby booster to relay the video any distance. So they scanned public spaces local to the flat starting with the corridor outside the apartment. They picked up a signal almost immediately coming from a locked pipe race. Getting the keys from Fritz they found a multichannel recorder sitting on a shelf and wired into a lighting circuit. Knowing that the Peeping Tom would have to come to collect and change the tapes regularly his men installed their own motion activated camera and recorder out of sight high in the pipe race but covering the multichannel device. The new device alerted a mobile phone every time it was activated.

Dirk said that up until now no one has been to recover the tapes, but it was only a matter of time as their capacity would run out later that afternoon. He hadn’t wanted the girls to go back to the apartment directly, as the spy cameras were still in place. He feared removing them may have triggered something warning the voyeur. Once he was identified all the equipment could be removed in minutes. He suggested that they come back to his study around six that evening by which time the running time of the tapes would have expired. He fully expected to have the Peeping Tom on tape then.

Jinnie and Simone decided to join their fellow students in the park for a few hours and to explain to them that Dirk had wanted to set them a task to work a list of words into their conversations before their one to one sessions with him the next week. Dirk quickly produced a list of obscure portmanteau words and the girls set off to find their classmates.

Walking through the park they discussed what they would like to do with the Peeping Tom, who they decided wasn’t really a Peeping Tom but a voyeur. Simone favoured attaching his testicles to the mains, while Jinnie favoured “kneecapping” something she had read about in her history class. They eventually found a dozen or so from their cohort sitting by a lake consuming bottles of cheap wine. Jinnie and Simone decided that if there ever was a good time for a drink it was now and joined them.

Six o’clock came very slowly but eventually the girls found themselves once again sitting in Dirk’s study. Dirk had a laptop open in front of him and spun it round so that they could see the video from the pipe riser. Dirk said that he didn’t know who it was and he had been very quick, disappearing before his people could challenge him. The video played and Jinnie and Simone looked at each other and said at the same time “Alexandre”. Dirk asked for details and they explained who he was, how they knew him and how they had snubbed him for Paolo and Jan. Of course they didn’t know where he lived but where sure that Paolo or Jan would.

Jinnie was anxious to know what happened next. Dirk explained that whatever it was it would not involve them. They were in an awkward position, reporting the incident to the police would lead to difficult to answer questions. If they were to question him themselves he would be in a position to denounce them to the Gestapo. However Dirk promised that the tapes with the girls on, would be recovered and destroyed. Jinnie asked if she could see them being destroyed and Dirk said he would try to make it possible. He added that by the time they got back to the apartment all the electronics would have been removed and he had arranged for Fritz to scan their rooms and the surrounding area on a regular basis. If they had any suspicions they should speak to Fritz and he would know what to do. Just as they were leaving, Dirk asked them if they were going to be going out that evening. When they said no, he warned them to look out for a special delivery and winked.

The first thing the girls did when they had locked themselves into the apartment was to have a very good look around. They could find absolutely nothing, it was as if no one had been in the place, nothing was disturbed, they even had trouble locating the hiding place for the gun. Both settled down to do some of the course reading. By eight o’clock they were getting hungry and had decided to have more Victoria sponge and milk, but before they could prepare the snack, the door buzzer sounded. Simone pressed the intercom and a voice she recognised said, “Pizza delivery”. She pressed the door lock release and turning to Jinnie said that it was Paolo with a Pizza. Paolo had a big insulated bag advertising the Hallo Pizza chain and handed over a large pepperoni pizza, salad, dough balls, a large bottle of Fritz-Kola and a brand new Glock 19 complete with a spare magazine, 100 x 9mm rounds and a cleaning kit. Paolo said, “A present from Dirk, I’ve got to go before my other deliveries get cold,” kissed Jinnie on the cheek and was gone.

Jinnie and Simone sat staring at the delivery for a few moments before deciding they had better eat first, before the pizza got cold and then hide the gun. The pizza was pretty good and the German Kola was OK but best of all it was free. With the gun hidden, the girls went to bed happy in the knowledge that they were not being observed.

Friday started like a normal day, cereal and a boiled egg for Jinnie, coffee and croissants for Simone. Things changed on their walk to the University when an Ambulance shot past them with it’s siren screaming. Unusually, groups of students stood around talking animatedly outside the lecture theatre. Jinnie edged over to one of the groups and learnt that a student, walking to his lecture, had been run over by a hit and run driver, and it wasn’t looking good for him.

In the cafeteria at lunch Jinnie learnt that the “accident” victim had been Alexandre and that he was not expected to live. It was then that she realised just how ruthless the Resistance were. She was certain that it was no accident, the Resistance were responsible. Up until then it had been a bit of a game and all she had heard had been stories. Now it was real, someone she knew was badly injured, likely going to die and she had been involved. How did she feel? She surprised herself with the answer, she didn’t care, he had got what he deserved. She still had a job to do. She had been sent to find out about nuclear research and Alexandre had threatened to interfere with her task and come to think of it, with Simone’s task, whatever it was.

Friday evening was a double date, Jinnie and Simone were going out with Paolo and Jan. Tonight they had arranged to go for a drink at a music bar and so he could have a drink. Paolo had left his scooter at home and they were going to use the tram. Waiting at the tram stop, Paolo gave them a quick update on what he knew. Dirk had sent people to watch Alexandre’s flat and as soon as he had left for university they had searched it and had recovered the tapes with Jinnie and Simone on from quite a large collection of tapes. Alexandre had obviously not been the ladies man he came over as but a sad fantasist.

Jinnie asked if Dirk had arranged the ‘accident’, Paolo said he really didn’t know, but it was convenient. The police had turned up at the flat shortly after the Resistance had left and the word was they had found his tape collection. So if Alexandre did recover he would have some difficult questions to answer. However, that wasn’t expected as his condition was very poor. From an agent in the police, they had heard that they were investigating the ‘accident’ as a deliberate hit and run, probably by someone on a tape or connected to someone on a tape. It was good that Jinnie and Simone’s tapes had been recovered as they would not be suspected.

In Chapter 10 – Jinnie is called into action.

© Worthing Gooner 2021

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file