After going to the effort of translating my stories for Kindle and having very few sales I though of posting them on ARRSE as a serial. Here's the first chapter of book one 'The Meeting': The Meeting by Chuck Rogers Copyright © 2011 ChuSan Services With thanks to: Sandy for her encouragement, suggestions and corrections. www.arrse.co.uk (ARmy Rumour ServicE) for ntroducing me to: Andy Kay for his help and encouragement and Neil Adamson for proof reading and correcting my German. www.lrdg.de - Long Range Desert Group for information about the vehicles and armaments used in the Western Desert Campaign. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, events and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Locations are as geographically correct as possible but all individual buildings and establishments are fictitious or coincidental. Norfolk, England. December 20[SUP]th[/SUP] 1985 - 1720 hours. The taxi pulled up at my front door. I paid the driver, unlocked the door and dumped my suitcase at the bottom of the stairs. Before closing the door I watched the taxi drive over the virgin snow as it completed the half-circle of my drive back onto the street. I put my briefcase on the hall table and half-consciously counted the flashing you have messages light on the answer-phone; seven. Not too bad as Id been away ten days, over twice as long as expected. I removed my coat, hung it on the coat rack and picked up the small pile of mail that Mrs Pilkington, my little lady what does as she was affectionately know by my family, had placed there. Walking into the kitchen I put the letters on the table, turned up the central heating thermostat, filled my Russell Hobbs percolator with water then ground a portion of Blue Mountain Jamaica coffee beans, poured the result into the percolator and switched it on. In the fridge was a fresh pint of milk; Good old Mrs Pilkington! I thought as I splashed a little into a mug and set it down by the percolator, then sat down at the table and started sorting the mail. Advert, Christmas card, advert, credit card statement and then; a black-bordered envelope with my address written in that distinctive, spiky script used by many Germans. The postmark was crystal clear. It read Marienhafe, Ostfriesland and was dated two days previously. I pushed the rest of the post to one side and opened it slowly. Inside was a printed card, also with a black border, which informed me, in German, that Harald-Heinz Schick aged 62, had died peacefully in his sleep and would be interred at Sankt Marienkirche, Marienhafe in three days time. On the back of the card was written, Please to come. It was signed simply Eva. Coffee forgotten I stared at the card. This death made me, I realised, the last of a small group of men who were thrown together by unusual circumstances in a foreign land a long time ago. We had kept in touch, sporadically at times I had to admit, ever since. My reverie was broken by the bubbling and wheezing of the coffee percolator that signalled my second cup of the day was ready. I turned the machine off, poured the fresh coffee into my mug and went into the office, taking the mug with me. Sitting at my desk I opened my address book at the entry entitled Schick, Harald and looked through the list of the people in Haralds life. Jutta, his wife, died 4 May 1983, Heiney, his son, also deceased, tragically young, in a boating accident, and Eva his 25 year old, married daughter who lived in the family home in Leezdorf, a suburb of Marienhafe. I reached for the phone and dialled her number. The phone was answered by a young girl Schumacher, she said. This was, I knew, the name of the family into which Eva had married and the young girl must be Victorias seven year old daughter Tina. Hallo, Tina, I said, in my best German, Kann ich mit Deiner Mutti sprechen? Onkel Paul! she cried, is it you? Yes, it is, I replied, Your English is getting good!, and asked again; May I speak to your mother? Moment, she said, and I heard her call, Mutti, Onkel Paul ist am Telefon! and then, to me, Will you come to the, ach, wie sagt man Begräbnis auf Englisch? she asked. Funeral, I replied, And yes, I will try. There was a muted discussion at the other end of the line and then Eva said, Hello Paul, Tina says you will come? Yes, Eva, I answered, Does Katje still run her Gasthaus? Not so much now, but for you there will always be a bed! I laughed; it had been a standing joke for many years that Katje, the widow of Uwe, another late member of our select little group, would have been happy to share her life, as well as her bed, with me. If I can, I will be on the overnight ferry to the Hook and be with you late tomorrow, I said, Well talk then. We said our goodbyes and I rang Sealink. Ten minutes later I had booked an open ended return on the night ferry. I drank my coffee and threw away most of the mail, there was nothing there which required urgent attention, then listened to my messages on the answer-phone. Three of them were from Eva, the rest I deleted. I glanced out of the window at the snow covered garden and the dark, yellow-tinged clouds. Picking up my car keys from the hall table drawer I went into the garage via the interior door. My nearly new Volvo 740 estate car stood there. The steel, winter wheels, with no hub caps, which I habitually fitted on the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] November every year (a habit picked up after years of working in Europe) looked out of place, and the brand new winter tyres still glistened in the fluorescent light. The feeling of control those heavily treaded tyres give in snow has to be experienced to be believed! I opened the door, inserted the key and turned on the ignition. Good, almost a full tank, I wouldnt need to fill up until I was in Holland or possibly Germany. I switched off the ignition, closed the door and walked round to the back of the car to open the tailgate. After trips to the garden shed, the kitchen and the wardrobe in the small bedroom where I kept my outdoor clothes, unfortunately rarely used this last year or so the car boot contained snow chains, a shovel, a camping gas stove and an emergency pack of food and drink. An Arctic jacket, mountain trousers and my trusty hiking boots lay on the back seat. Id been caught out once in heavy snow: never again! Back in the house I lugged my suitcase upstairs and tipped its contents onto the bed. From the pile that ensued I rescued my shaving kit and wash bag, several unused items of underwear and then repacked the case with clothes and shoes more suited to a winter in northern Germany. After a few moments thought I included the small, cardboard box which was kept on the top shelf of my wardrobe. I dragged the case back downstairs and stowed it in the back of the Volvo, then from the small safe in the office, I removed 1,000 German Marks and 500 Dutch Guilders. An hour and a half after arriving home I was heading down the A12 towards Harwich. Would anyone be interested in me continuing?