Papa Bear Awards 2012
The Mission Briefing
"Hey guys, give us a hand, will you?"
Reluctantly, Bob and Jean-Robert turned away from their aviary to help Robert offload the multitude of boxes.
"I like the blonde one," Jean-Robert said dreamily as Robert dumped one of the boxes in his arms. "Have you seen those beautiful eyes?"
"I haven't had the pleasure yet," Robert said wryly. "Now move along, will you?"
Bob grinned. "He's too narrow-minded, you know. I like them all!"
"The girls or the birds?" Robbie asked as he returned for his next load. And chuckled in a high-pitched tone. "Or both?"
And there was Rob. With a huge grin on his face. "Don't expect any more help from Jean-Robert, Robert. Bella and Bobbette and Maggie are already inside, perusing through the stories."
Bob jumped into action. "Well, give me a box then! What am I standing around here for?"
The quintannual Hogan's Heroes camp-out was born a few years after the war, on the initiative of – who else – Andrew Carter.
The idea was immediately embraced by the others. Busy as they all were with their new families and careers, they were all aware of the fact that something was slipping away from them. Something they didn't want to let slip away.
Of course they had had every intention to stay in touch when at last they were allowed to go home. It had been strange at first not to have your buddies around you 24/7 – those buddies with whom you'd been through so much over the past years. And especially those first months, contact had been very frequent.
But as it goes, life goes on, with a new job, friends and family claiming their share of attention, falling in love, getting married, having a few children... And over time, the distance becomes more and more an obstacle. Newkirk and LeBeau kept in touch, yet saw each other but rarely. Kinch was on General Hogan's staff, so those two saw each other on a daily basis. And from his periferal home in the Midwest, Carter did his best to try and stay in touch with everybody, regaling them with stories about his wife, his children and his company, but the fact remained that their old comraderie was slipping away from them. And they all knew it. And they all didn't like it.
So when Carter proposed a Hogan's Heroes camp-out, 'for old times' sake', suddenly the spark was back and within a few weeks they had hired a campsite with a few wooden cabins on a lovely lakeshore, and good old times returned. With wives and kids in tow, even LeBeau and Newkirk agreed to come over once every five years (and once had the Americans come over to Europe instead), and a new tradition was born.
But this time was special. CBS had begun to broadcast their capers in a TV-show. It was all a bit over the top of course, and danger was downplayed with humour, but in all of them it had awakened the wish to see everyone again this time.
And what better occasion than their quintannual camp-out?
So Kinch had taken it upon himself to locate as many of their old friends as possible. Good thing that the Internet had been invented by now, or it would have taken him years!
Another good thing was, that many of their European friends had migrated to the U.S. after the war.
Howard Cohen (also known as Wolfgang Hochstetter) had brought Hilda back to his home in the U.S. as his bride.
Helga had already gone to live with her father in Detroit during the war.
Langenscheidt had come to the U.S. with wife and kids a few years after the war because his line of work simply didn't exist in a country recuperating from such horrid war-wounds.
And as soon as the former Kommandant had been free to go, he had taken the plunge to make his dream come true: he had moved to Palm Springs and opened up an antique shop that soon acquired a good name with the connaisseurs.
Which left only Schultz and Tiger to make the long trip across the Atlantic with the Newkirks and the LeBeaus.
Exclamations of joy and surprise filled the air as more and more old friends arrived.
"Olsen! You old pirate – I'd never recognize you with that beard!"
"It's good to see you again, Schultz. It's really been too long."
"It sure has. How are you? I heard you moved to Amerika!"
"Maryse? Is that really you? What are you doing here?"
"I brought my medical bag, Colonel. Just in case."
"Kommandant! How is the cuckoo clock business?"
"I still think you should have gotten Marya here, too."
"I tried, Louis. But I don't speak Russian, and without even a last name..."
*Kiss.* *Kiss.* "Enchanté. You must be Suzanne Lechay. I've heard so much about you!"
"Well, it's Suzanne Hogan now. And you must be Marie Louise Monet then. Or do you still go by the name of Tiger?"
"Hey, Baker, my friend! Where have you been hiding all those years?"
"Hello there, Helga baby. You're as pretty as I remember!"
"It's Cohen now, Carter. Hochstetter was only an alias."
"He'll probably keep calling you major Hochstetter till the end of his days. He never got the hang of calling me General either."
"Well, it's just so confusing, you know. People suddenly changing their names, and..."
"Well, you've never known me as Hilda Hochstetter, so Hilda Cohen should be easier."
"Kommandant, how is life in Palm Springs?"
"So how are your parents – still living the happily ever after?"
"They sure are. They moved to Florida after my Dad retired, and are as happy as ever."
"Life certainly seems to have been generous to you, General."
"Thank you, Kommandant. And I must say you certainly don't look so bad yourself either."
"So this is your grandson, huh? My, he's the spitting image of you!"
On the beach, away from the excited greetings of the grown-ups, the younger generation was quickly getting acquainted with each other over a game of dares who dared to go into the lake the furthest.
"Look how far I go!" young Jimmy Carter boasted.
His brother Pete snorted. "Baby. Look how far I go!"
Elise LeBeau wrinkled her nose. "You boys are crazy. That water is freezing!"
But Robbie Cohen and George Lynn were already taking off their socks and shoes to follow the others into the icewater.
Celia and Camille Kinchloe looked at each other. "Shall we?"
"Come on, Robbie!" his little sister Helga cheered. "I'm sure you can go the furthest of all!"
But suddenly the General's voice boomed out over the camp, and Jimmy lost his footing in surprise.
George and Pete were at his side in an instant. "You little fool."
Mothers came running to the shore, calling for blankets and towels, with the General's voice booming over their heads telling the kids to get out of the water for now. "You got a whole week to go swimming. First we have to get things in order here."
And turning back to the others, "This camp will be just like our good old Stalag 13. So the Germans among us – the Kommandant, Schultz, Langenscheidt and Cohen – will sleep in barracks 1, which will be known as the Kommandant's quarters.
"Barracks 2 will house its traditional residents, plus Wilson.
The underground ladies Hilda, Helga, Tiger, Ridinghood and Dr. Lechay will be in barracks 3. The other ladies and the younger kids in barracks 4 and 5. The older boys have barracks 6 and the older girls have barracks 7.
"So get settled in everyone. When you're ready, either come and help set things up for the barbecue, or start gathering wood for the campfire tonight."
"Dismissed!" Klink smiled.
And Hogan grinned. "Exactly."
While Joey Wilson and Jack Newkirk were putting up a home-made sign saying, 'Welcome to STALAG 13. All visitors report to the Commandant', Rob Hogan was approached by a few of the young ladies of the troop.
"Hey Rob!" Maggie called.
"Yeah?" His cheeks reddened a little as he saw who was coming towards him.
"Do we have to gather wood, too? I thought we were here to read!"
"We are. I mean..." Young Rob Hogan blushed a fiery red under the sudden attention of four rather attractive young ladies. Oh, why couldn't he have inherited his father's ease with the ladies along with his looks?
"I didn't come here to go camping – I just came along to read," Bobbette told him rather petulantly. "In fact, I hate the outdoors. So can't we get started on the reading instead?"
"Sure we can." Uncomfortably, Rob looked around at the eager faces. "Let's go find the others, and meet in the rec hall, okay?" And with that he hurried off, dropped off his contribution of firewood at the campfire site and began to gather his friends.
Ten minutes later they were all seated on the comfortable benches of the rec hall – the largest cabin, hence it automatically had been promoted to that function.
"Hello everybody," Rob started when he more or less could make himself heard. "Welcome to the Papa Bear Awards everyone – the election of the best Hogan's Heroes fanfiction story of the past year."
"You know what my favourite was? The Safecracker Suite!" Bob interrupted him.
"No – The Pizza Parlor!" Robbie cried.
"Guys...!" Somehow, Robert's voice held enough authority to shut up the others, and Rob could continue.
"We're not talking about episodes on television – we're talking about written stories," he said. "The list of categories is up on the wall there, and you can nominate one story in each category. But first of all..."
"READ!" it roared from eleven young throats.
And Rob grinned. "Exactly. There are the boxes with the stories so help yourself. Enjoy!"
To be continued: um... some day