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  • "Security is mostly a superstition.

    It doesn't exist in nature,

    Nor do the children of men

    As a whole experience it.

    Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run

    Than outwright exposure.

    Life is either a daring adventure,

    Or nothing."

    Helen Keller

    January 2012

    I continued reading Sam's email;

    Young, you haven't changed much over the years and looking as delightful as always. I wish I can provide you with further information on Andy; unfortunately I have no idea where he is. The last time we corresponded was in 1973 when he was studying engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. I heard from Barry Finnigan, a mutual friend of ours that Andy was in a relationship with a guy named Toby whom he met at university. This was back in 1975 and that is the extend I have of his news. I will be happy to contact Barry to enquire if he has further information on Andy Finckenstein. When we were introduced I wasn't surprise to find that Andy shared an almost identical last name as mine. Since Finckenstein and Finckensteen are popular Jewish German surnames and we did derive from similar ancestry.

    Do you remember Barnaby Filip Zachausson whom we met at the Ken and Barbie competition? The guy you referred to as Mr. Bowtie Ken? We were together for 8 months after the adventurous evening at Nuremberg Frauenkirche1 (Nuremberg Cathedral). Where you kept vigilance while Filip & I went exploring the crypts . . .

    To Kriskindlesmarkt

    Of course I remembered the adventurous evening at Nuremberg Frauenkirche. After our Toy Museum visit Andy suggested we attend a late afternoon Brahms organ recital at Nuremberg Cathedral before strolling along the massive Kristkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market) located outside the church. We hopped onto 2 horse drawn carriages taking us to the Cathedral of Light (Nuremberg Cathedral). It was fun riding in an enclosed carriage beside Andy. I felt like ‘Cinderfella’ accompanied by my prince charming on our way to a Christmas ball. Sitting opposite us were our handsome courtiers, Sam and Barnaby who prefers to be called Filip (Mr. Bowtie Ken) whom our friend had picked up after the Ken and Barbie competition. Carol, Sybil and Abigail followed behind in a different carriage.

    As the horses trotted down the cobblestone streets, an air of exuberant excitement rushed to greet me brushing its chill against my flushed cheeks. Nuremberg was a fairytale city come alive during the festive seasons and I was absorbing the pretty sights and the melodic sounds of juggling bells trotting towards our destination. It is of little wonder that many fairytale stories are set in German towns, Nuremberg is definitely one such place where fantasy meets reality.

    Nuremberg Frauenkirche

    The Nuremberg Cathedral was a huge gothic structure. Inserted high above the main entrance was a huge clock chiming on the hour. During Hitler's Nuremberg Rally2 this was the venue where the dictator filmed his propaganda movie; glorifying Nazi troops saluting to the mad man. It was inside this historical building where we attended the Brahms music recital. Part of this massive Cathedral was under renovation in the winter of 1966 and certain sections of the building were off limits to visitors. Before we situated ourselves in one of the pews for the concert to begin, I was eager to view the religious relics, icons and stain glass windows lining the aisles of this imposing structure. Our entourage decided to take a brief tour before the recital started. As Sam, Filip, Andy and I wondered around the church's periphery, I decided to fall in step with Sam while Andy was talking with Filip.

    "How's your new beau? Do you like him?" I asked inquisitively.

    Sam smiled at my boyish curiosity said, "He is a nice guy, and I’ll like to get to know him better. I wish we can spend more time together."

    I replied, "You can invite him to join us to Rottenburg am Neckar, then you'll have more time to know him."

    My friend charmed by my comment continued, "I had already invited him but he has to return to work tomorrow. Since we only have this evening together, I want to make the most of it. Yet I don't want to seem too eager like you advised me at the museum."

    Already scheming in my head to bring them closer together I said laughingly, "I can help."

    "What’s up your devilish sleeves, you little schemer; tell me your crafty plans?" Sam asked amusingly.

    "During the concert you 2 can secretly disappear into the renovation section of the cathedral and find a secluded spot to conduct your naughty business. I'll excuse myself from our group to discreetly follow the both of you, be your watchdog if anyone get suspicious of your whereabouts. I'll keep my eyes and ears open so nobody will approach your space while you are at ‘it’. I'm happy to assist if you decide to accept my offer."

    Finding my suggestion funny Sam gave a loud yelping laugh, causing Andy and Filip to turn around wondering what was so amusing? I shrugged my shoulders, smiled and pretended not to have any knowledge to Sam’s sudden outburst. As soon as they returned to their conversation, I continued, "Don't worry I am a good watchdog and a superb keeper of secrets. Whatever you do with Filip will be well guarded and you have my promise." Crossing my heart and finger zipping my mouth shut.

    Sam found my pledge amusing replied, “You are quite the little Puck playing the role of the devil's advocate. I'm sure you get away with murder with that naughty smirk on your face, don't you?"

    Grinning cheekily I responded, "Well you’ll find out soon enough if you decide to solicit my assistance. I'm at your humble service." Giving my friend a 'Puss in Boots' trickster bow which made him laugh louder than before.

    Sam gave me a sly look said, "OK! I'll take up your offer to go exploring with Filip while the concert is in progress. You, boy, better keep your promise and be an excellent watchdog so no one will suspect what we are up to!"

    In The Crypt

    Halfway through the concert Sam and Filip sneaked out to the back of the church disappearing into a side door within the cathedral. Making an excuse to visit the washroom I quietly followed the men. Down the corridor I went as they progressed down a flight of steep spiral staircase shadowing behind unnoticed. Below stairs were large transparent plastic sheets with words Gefahrenzone Kein Zugang (Danger Zone No Entry) printed on these floor to ceiling coverings. Next to the words of warning were black skull images crossed over in red paint marking the area a danger zone.

    Although this section of the Cathedral was dimly lit, it was unguarded. If not for the distant haunting organ music eliminating from the auditorium this space would be extremely quiet. As I continued following Sam and Filip who were nowhere to be seen; I noticed a gapping entrance between two plastic sheets. Venturing through the gap was a series of ancient tombs encased within the walls of a large catacomb. At the far end was a series of crypts with German inscriptions etched on top of each burial chamber. Unafraid of this creepy subterranean hideaway I tried to seek out Filip and Sam. Deep in the recess of a better lit room was an adjoining doorway; were shadows of 2 figures in passionate embrace behind the transparent drapes. Suspecting them to be my friends I did not interrupt their intimacies. Instead I went exploring the smaller antechamber to the side.

    Large wooden crates stacked above each other filled the entire room. The space smelled like an old basement storage facility. Walking closer to the sealed boxes I noticed black Nazi swastikas etched onto the sides of these crates. One of the open crates had its lid pushed ajar. Taking a closer look, I heard footsteps approaching the corridor. I stood frozen yet my curiosity urged me to peek inside the box. Pushing the cover apart, I was stunted to discover varieties of precious jewels and artifacts neatly packed inside the container. The footsteps were now approaching the direction of the chambers. Without hesitation, I quietly tiptoed to warn the lovers. They had also heard the sound and stopped in mid action. Pointing my finger towards the direction of an exit, we maneuvered noiselessly towards the opening. Just a few steps short of reaching our escape route, the overhead lights came on. Scrambling like hunted rabbits we ran as fast as we could through the open doorway. Voices yelled at us from behind, "Halten Sie an, oder wir werden schießen (Stop or we'll shoot)!" Not wanting to be captured we scattered like wild rabbits scampering in all directions.

    As soon as we made it out of the catacomb we rushed up the spiral staircase towards the corridors. No gun shots were heard nor fired, but racing footsteps were approaching in different directions. On top of the staircase, we split, scattering down 2 different corridors. Sam and Filip headed down one while I took another leading to the doorway into the concert auditorium. Turning round to see who was chasing behind I saw a man in rector’s garb limping and waving his cane shouting at me to stop. Once through the arched doorway, I slapped the door shut locking it before discarding the key into a nearby donation box.

    Flustered from my great escape, I did my best to remain composed before returning next to Andy, praying I would not be recognized by the church authorities. Thank God the auditorium was nearly filled to capacity. When the recital finally drew to an end I noticed Sam and Filip entering the church from the rear; before relocating to the back pews catching their breaths. We had narrowly escaped the clutches of the church officials. As the audience began filing out of the cathedral I was glad to be out in the open. My adventurous escape had flushed my face a shade of red leaving Andy tell-tale signs that I had been up to no good.

    His eyes filled with intensity asked, "Why are you flushed? What have you been up to and what secrets are you hiding from me?"

    "Nothing! The church is hot and stuffy I'm glad to be out in the cold," I lied.

    "You are lying. You were gone for a while. Where did you disappear?"

    Trying my best to appear nonchalant I answered, "It took me a while to find the rest facility, that's why I was gone for some time."

    "Why do I not believe you? You are a terrible liar you naughty fella. What secrets are you keeping from me? Own up otherwise I will find out soon enough if you don’t confess." My lover threatened.

    Not saying another word I smiled and ran to join Sam, Filip and the ladies; leaving Andy puzzled to my evening's adventure.

    January 2012

    I continued reading Sam’s email;

    . . . That was quite an adventure, wasn't it? When Andy found out, he was furious until I intervened on your behalf. Did you tell Andy about the Nazi’s stolen treasures you witnessed that night?

    In 1976 I moved to Australia with David after completing my medical studies in Brussels. I have been living in Sydney since opening my private practice in 1980. You are most welcome to stay with me and Jonathan my partner of 8 years when you visit Australia. Jonathan is 2 years younger than me and a chartered accountant. I'm sure he will like to meet you. Are you currently single or in a relationship? Let's stay in touch. It’s been too long and I’ll like to catch up on your news.

    Be well my friend and stay safe!

    Sam.

    Note:

    Book 2 of A Harem Boy documents this 14 year old adolescent's life during his service in his 2nd Arab Harem Household in the United Arab Emirate. Follow his adventures with new chapters posted twice weekly.

    http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/harem_boy/
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