Hans, Germany-Italy, Autumn 1942
When the day for departure arrived Uncle Felix dropped two small bomb-shells in the taxi on the way to the Bahnhof. The first was that we wouldn’t be sharing a sleeper compartment because Count Ciano’s military aide was travelling to Rome and sleeper compartments were scarce.
The second surprise was much more difficult to judge… The thirteen-year-old son of Capt. Landbrecht of the German Navy was travelling to join his father who was serving as naval attache in Naples, so I would share a sleeper with him.
“There’s a war on” he said, as if I might not have noticed. Actually, it might be a bit lonely but it wasn’t entirely a bad thing because Uncle Felix snored… he swore he didn’t but how would he know?
Whether young Landbrecht would be good looking, friendly, childish or utterly straitlaced remained to be seen. I was hoping that at least he would be congenial company for the three day trip… two nights on a train… I hoped that masturbation wouldn’t have to be confined to the restroom at the end of the railway carriage… for all sorts of reasons!
I need not have worried on the first score. Young Landbrecht was indeed very easy on the eye. Just an inch or so shorter than myself he was slim and well-built for his age. His straight blond hair and narrow face reminded me of Heydrich… a thought I quickly discarded if we were to become friends.
The two men wandered off to the station buffet for a glass of schnapps, leaving Landbrecht and myself to introduce ourselves. He glanced admiringly at my beautifully pressed Jugend uniform, complete with knife. He was dressed in a just as well pressed but a lot less impressive Jungvolk uniform.
Let’s face it in the Fuhrer’s Germany it was difficult to pretend to be grown up if you weren’t yet fourteen, the uniform was a dead giveaway. Me? I was standing just that little bit straighter. Being that bit older does that for you. It does other things too, but being taller and straighter is the one that works on a Bahnhof forecourt.
I must have been day-dreaming because he took me by surprise when he clicked his heels, stuck his arm out in salute and cried “Heil Hitler!” I was quick to respond… it wasn’t the place to appear reluctant… not that I was, but you know what I mean.
You can’t be too careful!
He stuck out his hand…
“Waldemar Landbrecht… please call me Waldi… if you like.”
“Hans Kersten… Hansi. My uncle said you are going all the way to Naples.”
“Yes, that’s where my dad is playing battleships.”
He smiled to show that really he was proud of his dad, but not stuck-up proud.
“Mine is cutting and stitching in Hamburg.” I said in turn.
I laughed at his consternation. He blushed and said…
“Ah well, now that we have sorted our fathers out… have you travelled on this sort of train before? It’s new for me.”
“Yes, a few times… Uncle Felix likes company, and says that meeting interesting people is more important for my career in the Reich than learning Latin verbs… I suspect he is right.”
“From what I’ve seen, he’s almost certainly right.”
“So Waldi, what shall we do for entertainment apart from eat and drink?”
“Well I have some books and Chess set…”
“And I have a pack of cards… They should keep us busy till it’s time to undress for bed.”
Waldi grinned and said…
“If we get bored with Chess we can take our clothes off a bit sooner!”
I thought… ‘I may be about to like young Waldi’
Dinner came and went. Trains and their dining cars weren’t quite what they were before the war, but the steward was attentive and they had done their best. Perhaps wisely, considering the people who travel on the train from Berlin to Rome.
After dinner Waldi and I returned to our sleeping compartment. It took an hour to become bored of Chess and another half-hour to lose interest in cards.
Waldi sat back and said…
“What are you planning to do in Rome?”
“Oh, see the sights, visit the ruins… I like old book shops. You can find surprising things in a bookshop… things you won’t find at home or at school.” I grinned.
“What sort of things… art-books?”
“Yes… err… art-books.” I extended the gap between art and books, so that he would know I didn’t mean Rembrandt.
“Actually…” he said, “my plans aren’t all that different. My favourite photographer lived and worked in the south of Italy so I am hoping to be able to get as far as Sicily. If I can get all the way to Taormina then I might be able to meet the grandsons of some of his models… that would be… interesting, maybe even… exciting.”
“Certainly exciting,” I said “it would be more than remarkable if you were to meet the grandson of Il Moro. I suspect he didn’t father many sons… he was too busy with other people’s!”
I grinned to show that I didn’t mean it as a criticism, and I had clearly demonstrated that we at least knew the work of the same artist.
Waldi looked quite shocked. Perhaps he hadn’t appreciated how much he was giving away when he started to boast of his knowledge of art-photography.
“Don’t look so worried Waldi. Von Gloeden may not be totally respectable these days but his work was once enjoyed by kings and field-marshals, so who are we to doubt his merit.”
“Besides I’m sure that his work appeals to the majority of Jugendfuhrer, certainly all the ones I have met!… and I am sure that Herr Rohme would enjoy them too!”
“Rohm, but he’s dead… They say they were in bed with… well, when they were shot!”
“No, not Rohm… Rohme… our grocer. He is a wicked old bugger, but in the times when supplies of food were bad I managed to get a lot more out of him than he ever got out of me!”
I laughed… I could see the funny side of what I had said even if Waldi couldn’t.
“There wasn’t much for him to get at that stage… but he got what I had, for a couple of months.”
“You mean you… for food?”
“Yes… We always paid for the food, but I could get better portions and nicer things if I made him happy.”
“But… wasn’t he old and wasn’t it horrible?”
“Yes he was old and yes he was fat too. So it wasn’t as nice as with Jungvolk friends at camp, but… no it wasn’t horrible… certainly it wasn’t as bad as watching Mama trying to make ends meet with the rations we would have had if I hadn’t… made Herr Rohme happy.”
I could see that Waldi’s uniform trousers were tenting out nicely. They were a size or two small on him and they showed off nicely the profile my words had provoked.
“I hope you aren’t uncomfortable… You need a larger size in pants!” I smiled.
“No indeed, do go on… wasn’t your mama cross with the grocer?”
“Gott no! She had no idea what went on… I could never have told her! She would have been so upset… and we would have been back on short rations again, after the police had finished with him!”
“But, weren’t there questions when you came back with a bigger load than you should?”
“She just thought the grocer was a nice man. She made him biscuits to thank him for what he had done.”
“But… weren’t you ashamed… of what you had done… and of telling lies to your mama?”
“No! Never! I never lied to Mama. I just never told her all the truth. Ashamed of what we had done? No! Absolutely not! I fed my family in the hard times… that was something I was very proud of. Dropping my trousers was a small price to pay for my Mama’s smile when she saw my bag of groceries. It seemed such a small thing to have had to do to make my mama so happy.”
Maybe it sounds a very considered answer, but… I had had more than enough occasions to think carefully about whether what I was getting in exchange was worth the price I was paying… for groceries. By the way did you know that the word “grocer” comes from the same root as “gross”?
Waldi…He looked sceptical. Perhaps living in the protection of a naval base had served his family well, made them complacent even. But… even so, I suspected that my efforts had ensured that my family had fed just that little bit better than his.
“Did you learn much from Herr Rohme, that you hadn’t learnt camping with the Jungvolk?” He asked slyly. He was obviously keen to not let an exciting topic drop.
“Well… let’s just say that if I were to show you what got us a Brussels Pate your eyes would pop out… and we are most unlikely to have time to get as far as the Parma ham. Perhaps we ought to meet up in Parma later to celebrate that one properly… in the correct context!”
“Korrekt” sounds so much naughtier in German!
I burst into a fit of giggles that proved infectious.
“Was he big? I mean as big as the men in von Gloeden’s photos?”
Clearly Waldi had no intention that the evening was going to end any time soon if he had his way… had his wicked way!
“Oh, much bigger… at times it was a bit difficult to cope with, but mostly I was able to just use my hand… or maybe hands!” Another fit of giggles, in which we playfully jostled each other… pushing and shoving…
Then he groped me!
I didn’t stop him… If he wanted to start things then it would be more difficult for him to try to pretend it was all my fault when he was feeling guilty afterwards… A good soldier always plans ahead, and a good boy always feels guilty afterwards!
We were now in a tight clinch, while he gently felt me up.
I wasn’t sure how far along he was or how much he had done this sort of thing. But, he knew not to squeeze, and that a gentle stroke was more effective than a rough one.
His Jungvolkfuhrer had taught him well, or perhaps he was just a fast learner.
Either way I needed to intervene before things got prematurely out of hand.
I took the hand that was fondling me, brought it to my lips and kissed it gently.
“You have soft hands… your youth-leader taught you well.”
He smiled, and looked pleased.
“You don’t mind? That I felt you up?”
“Mind? Not if you are happy that I kissed your hand.”
“Mm, that was nice, he never did anything like that… Was it because you were getting there too fast? Was I rushing it?”
“No, well yes. But it didn’t matter really… You were so gentle and it felt so good that it made me want to kiss you. Your hand just seemed a good place to start… as well as helping you to stop, before we blew it!”
That made us giggle again, and the cycle of jostling, groping and kissing went round again… Except that this time I kissed him on the side of his neck, right down in the hollow by his collar-bone. He didn’t flinch away, but sighed in a contented way.
I had clearly found a treasure. I was already wondering if Uncle Felix would let me travel to Naples… or maybe even Parma or Taormina!
“I like kissing like that.” Waldi said.
“It’s like fondling… exciting down there… but it’s not going to finish things as quickly as… wanking.”
“We only have two nights alone on the train… that’s a consideration too. We need to make the most of it. We must pack in as much as we possibly can.”
Waldi grinned cheekily… “Do you have much to pack?”
“Enough… as much as you will need!”
“Ach, boasting… are you going to be my Herr Rohme? Frighten me with your big one?”
I grabbed him by the arms, lifted him quickly from the seat and sat him on my knees.
“Now, my little Waldi… are we going to be friends? Would you like some of my special items, ham perhaps or a nice Camembert?”
I felt him stiffen and then relax as he made his decision.
“Yes Mein Herr.” He said in a little quiet voice.
“Mama said I should be very polite to you. Hansi says that you have such a nice sausage.”
Then he spoilt it by giggling. I smacked him firmly on the thigh, not enough to be nasty but enough to sting!
“If you want to share my sausage then you will need to be very nice to me.”
“Yes Mein Herr, please be kind to me.”
I was gently stroking the inside of his lower thigh, just as I remembered Herr Rohme’s discreet, deniable initial seductions had been done.
I continued to stroke his thigh, and he rested his face against mine. Then my circling fingers slipped under the hem of his short pants … It was very tight, but I persevered and my fingers broke through, held nicely against his smooth skin. My fingertips touched a swelling in his cotton drawers and he took a quick breath.
“Waldi would you like to get into bed with me?”
“Oh yes, please Hansi… I mean… Yes!”
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