Hitler and the Clone Reich

Call him Fausto. His mother did, or very nearly did. She called him Francis. Neither name made papa’s shortlist, but he was AWOL at the time and whatever his preference might have been got no consideration. 

Kugler’s the German word for a man who makes cowls or hooded coats, a fitting coincidence if you believe in that sort of thing. Ernst Kugler, Fausto’s adopted father, owned a company that made sweatshirts, including black hoodies, the Judenstern police, private security, and civic-minded vigilantes use to identify African-American criminals at a glance. Ernst was also a distant cousin of Victor Kugler, the man who hid Anne Frank.

Talk about irony.

JFK’s assassination did not involve the Cubans, the Kremlin, the Mafia, or the CIA. There was no sinister conspiracy carried out by a secret cabal determined to expand America’s role in Vietnam. In fact, his death had nothing to do with politics. Kennedy got caught up in a good, old-fashioned love triangle, cuckolding a sociopath with a silly mustache.

The shadowy figure on the grassy knoll, spotting for the second shooter, was Adolph Hitler. Langley matched his fingerprints to partials on a Moon Pie wrapper discarded at the scene. Marilyn Monroe was his girl, and the Führer had strong feelings about her dalliances with the President.

Jealousy’s the oldest motive in the book. You can look it up. Cain murdered Abel and ran off with his brother’s wife. Whose kid do you think Aclima was carrying anyway?

In book threeMorrison, Elvis, and Jimi match wits with Adolf and Marilyn’s bouncing, baby boy. He’s all grown up and ready to fulfill his father’s dreams of world domination. He’s smuggled hundreds of vials of frozen Fuhrer sperm out of a super-secret CIA vault — the first step in his master plan to breed an army of Hitler clones and create the Fourth Reich.

“Outside of a dog, this book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho MarxFreedonia

“Of all the 14 karat saps. He started out on a caper with a woman and a dog.”

Humphrey BogartCasablanca

“The plan would’ve worked too if it weren’t for those meddling do-gooders and their mangy dog.”

Adolph HitlerCleveland

“A hilarious reminder that every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

H.L. MenkenBaltimore

“The most arousing thing I’ve read without a centerfold.”

Hugh HefnerPlayboy Mansion

“Maybe not as funny as Groucho, but funnier than the rest of the brothers put together.”

Karl MarxLondon

“This book by any other name still left me doubled-up over my doublet laughing.”

William ShakespeareStratford-upon-Avon

“Proof positive there are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.”

Oscar WildeLondon

“The perfect read after a bullfight and a frosty pitcher of mojitos.”

Ernest HemingwayHavana

“A mile-a-minute romp that puts the whack in wacky humor.”

Al “Scarface” CaponeChicago

“Hey, Second Amendment people: He has to be stopped before he poisons the minds of presidents and generals with humanity.”

Donald J. TrumpMar-a-Lago

Book Excerpts

Prologue - Page 1

The Central Intelligence Agency’s big on secrets, and Edison Dithers, curator of the arcane collection in the deepest sub-basement, is the custodian of many of them. He’s been chief archivist since finishing his degree in Library Science at Princeton, long enough ago to have supervised the move to Langley in the dead of night, 1962. His long career was obscure to the point of being invisible.

The slightly stoop-shouldered man in coke-bottle glasses and a rumpled suit is generally ignored as he shuffles to and from the elevator. The only time anybody gives him a second glance is because of his passing resemblance to Burgess Meredith. The exception is Carver Hawkings, who occasionally wonders how the Agency’s going to replace the reclusive and encyclopedic Edison when he retires.

Every morning he makes a bologna-and-cheese sandwich to brown-bag for lunch, incomprehensible since he detests bologna and is lactose and gluten intolerant. Edison almost always eats in the Third Reich wing beside the mummified remains of Adolph Hitler. He sits at a desk with a glass jar holding the pickled head of a Castro double assassinated by mistake. A decade ago, he rearranged the collection so they were neighbors and the two old fauxs could hang out together.

As Edison well knew, the mummy’s actually a John Doe from Roanoke, a homeless guy who froze to death when the weather took a nasty turn one early winter. Carver Hawkings needed a body and appropriated that particular one for his uses.

The real Adolph Hitler is alive and well and living in Cleveland.


Chapter 1 - Page 19

Through the peephole, Sparkle could see two, grizzled old men standing on the porch. When one of them shifted his weight from side to side, she was sure she saw clouds of dust billowing up like from Pig Pen in a Peanuts cartoon. “Can I help you?” she asked as she opened the door.

They looked anxiously at each other before one of them spoke. “Might you be the lady of the house?”

Sparkle nodded. Their worn faces were rutted from decades in the sun. They were the two most unlikely-looking door-to-door salesmen she’d ever met.

“My name’s Mordecai O’Reilly, and this here’s my brother, Shadrach.

Shadrach took off his baseball cap and held it in his gnarled hands. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“So, Mordecai and Shadrach – what brings you to my doorstep?”

Mordecai glanced at his brother then back to Sparkle. “Well, that’s kind of a long story, and to tell you the truth, ma’am, we’re not sure where to begin.”

Shadrach fretted with his cap, twisting it first one way then the other. “But if we could come in, we’d like to try. We’re sorry to trouble you, but we’re pretty sure it’s important.”

Sparkle glanced over her shoulder at Morrison. “I guess that’s okay.” She motioned for the brothers to follow and lead them to the living room. Morrison, still sprawled on the couch, stood up to greet them.

“Jim, this is Mordecai and Shadrach O’Reilly.”

“Howdy, gentlemen.” The brothers shook hands and settled into the love seat at the far end of the coffee table.

“There’s a pitcher of cold lemonade in the fridge. Would you boys like a glass?”

“If you wouldn’t mind too much, that would be fine.”

As Sparkle walked past, she and Morrison exchanged bewildered glances. Neither brother said anything while she was in the kitchen. They sat quietly, staring at their hands. Sparkle poured everybody a glass and sat down beside Morrison. The brothers finished theirs without looking up.

“You turn out a mighty fine lemonade, ma’am.” Mordecai wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “I guess you’re ready for that story now. Seems you’re supposed to take us to a fella named Elvis.”

Shadrach nodded in agreement. “You got any idea who that might be?”

Sparkle sat up a little straighter. “Elvis, huh?”

Mordecai glanced at his brother then back to Sparkle. “That’s what he said.”

“What who said?”

“That’s the part that’s hard to explain. It wasn’t a who so much as a what.”

Morrison had been a quiet observer was growing impatient. “Okay then, what said we were supposed to take you to Elvis.”

“It’s gonna sound pretty crazy.”

Sparkle set her glass on the table and folded her arms across her chest. “Try us.”

Mordecai slumped in his seat, staring at his hands. His voice was soft, not much more than a mumble. “A burning bush like in the Bible.”

Shadrach, who’d twisted his hat into a knot, leaned forward. “I know it sounds crazy, but it happened just the way he said.”

Sparkle glanced at Morrison then back to the brothers. Actually, she was thinking, it didn’t sound all that crazy at all. They were meeting Elvis for lunch, and now, all of a sudden, it seemed awfully important to someone with an Old Testament way of introducing themselves that Mordecai and Shadrach come too.

Chapter 3 - Page 48

Pax Vulva’s slippers made soft scraping sounds as he shuffled his painful, old man shuffle across the Amber Room and sat at his usual place by the window. On sunny days like this, it was his favorite spot to take breakfast. The house, an impressive stone edifice with imposing towers and a steeply pitched roof, was an homage to his old refuge in the Bavarian Alps. Built in the early fifties, it was one of the largest estates in Shaker Heights.

In general, he found the room’s décor too baroque for his tastes, but the light was good, and he enjoyed sitting by the window while he perused the paper. His valet, Dieter, had left the Plain Dealer in easy reach beside the breakfast tray. It was part of their morning ritual. Dieter had been his nearly constant companion in the twenty years since his wife died. Their relationship was overly formal, but Pax loved him like a son.

He tore off a piece of gluten-free muffin and dipped it in the bowl of soy milk until it was soft enough to chew. It was sprouted seven-grain that Dieter had toasted and sprinkled with bee pollen. Pax sat for nearly an hour, casually skimming each section in turn, his feet resting on an eighteenth-century chaise that had been in Maria Antoinette’s salon. When he finished his juice and the last bite of muffin, he picked up the monogrammed napkin and wiped his hands.

“No sense putting it off any longer,” Pax sighed as he glanced at the manila envelope his attorneys had messengered over the previous afternoon. It almost certainly contained bad news. Correspondence from his attorneys nearly always contained bad news.

He sliced open the envelope with a short sword, a gift from Emperor Hirohito, and tossed aside the cover letter without reading it. Inside was a letter from Winston DeBoer, a Las Vegas attorney, informing him that his client, Klaus Schmidt, a man Pax had known as Klaus Dührer, had bequeathed a modest sum to Vulva’s foundation for the protection of banana slug habitat.

Dührer wasn’t on his staff in Berlin, but they met several times late in the war, and he remembered him fondly. How could he not? Dührer rhymed with Führer.

Pax turned his attention to the last item in the package. Per his client’s instruction, DeBoer had included a handwritten note from Dührer encoded with the longitude and latitude of a hidden cache of Nazi gold.


Chapter 7 - Page 84

It was late enough they missed most of the noon-checkout-time traffic so Fausto and Be-Bop pretty much had the road to themselves. Fausto was behind the wheel and made a point of driving the speed limit, and the few cars headed west zipped past like they were plodding through molasses.

The radio was broken, so he filled the space with a rambling monolog about how Hitler had been unfairly vilified by America’s Jewish-controlled media. Nazis were nationalists, he argued, who did a first-rate job getting Germany back on its feet after World War I. They restored economic stability, ended mass unemployment, and undertook extensive public works projects.

Fausto’s unabashed praise of the Führer set off another round of muted screams. Because Honey was tied up in the trunk, it was hard to hear her clearly through the duct tape. She seemed as riled by his political rant as she was about being forced into the Bonneville at gunpoint.

Preoccupied with getting something to eat, Be-Bop was indifferent to her caterwauling. Because his fine dining tastes peaked at Slim Jims and pork rinds, every place looked good.

“How about there?” he hooted as he bounced up and down on the seat and pointed at a billboard for an all-day breakfast joint. He gravitated toward restaurants that had laminated menus with big pictures. That came in handy since his mostly non-verbal style of ordering involved pointing and strings of monosyllabic grunts.

Fausto was hungry too and grabbing something was sounding more and more like a good idea. “I ate there the last time I drove to Vegas. It was pretty good,” he said, considering Be-Bop’s suggestion out loud, “but there’s a woman duct-taped in the trunk, and we’re kinda pressed for time.”

Be-Bop glanced over his shoulder toward the back seat. The thumping had temporarily subsided, and he’d forgotten they had a travel buddy. “How about we get something to go?” he asked hopefully.

A drive-thru was out of the question so walking in and picking up something seemed like a good idea. Fausto glanced in the rearview mirror, flipped on the blinker, and cruised the Bonneville up the off-ramp. He drove half a block down the frontage road and found a spot on the far side of the diner to park. The lot was mostly empty except for a half dozen cars and three RVs parked in front. Fausto wanted some distance in case there was another round of screams from the trunk.

Be-Bop glanced up from a hangnail he’d been trimming with his teeth. His face lit up when he saw the diner. “Breakfast’s the most important meal of the day,” he beamed, patting his scrawny belly to make the point. “I can eat it any time. I’m no slave to conformity.”

Fausto undid his seat belt and rolled up the window. “That’s you, Be-Bop,” he muttered drolly, “a rebel without a pancake.”