I dressed to please him, hoping in vain to detect a glint of approval in the ice-blue eyes that so matched his name.
Herr Winter, our Special Weapons instructor, showed no sign of favour as he took us through our drills yet again: The killer scent spray, a single press Chanel No.5, a rapid coded pressure produced hydrocyanic gas guaranteed to kill at three paces. The curling comb, whose plastic handle stripped off to reveal a stiletto blade. The piano wire in the hand bag strap. Surely no unit of the Patriotic and Democratic Women’s Peace movement had ever been so well equipped!
He was a cold man, this instructor of ours, yet all the girls competed for his attentions. His icy disdain spurred us all on. We wagered among ourselves who would be first to thaw this frigid man, to bring a smile, perhaps, a sign of human warmth, to his bleakly handsome face.
Our training included techniques for the seduction and entrapment of foreign agents and this entailed a great deal of role-play. Herr Winter showed great aptitude in this. He could switch from playing an American CIA agent to an upper class member of Britain’s MIS. but always his icy core remained. Despite our best efforts we were unable to arouse a genuine response to our most seductive wiles.
We would compare notes in the powder room. Berthe claimed to have slept with him, but we didn’t believe her. We were not sure about Eva; she would smile knowingly and say nothing. Her trick worked for a while but eventually we came to the conclusion that the icy Winter was proof against our best efforts.
Then Gisela fell pregnant. She was our youngest recruit, barely seventeen, but a good little fighter. Had anyone else made the claim we would not have believed her. But when she said that Winter was the father we had no doubt that she spoke the truth.
We made great plans for her wedding. We were sure that Winter, as a good party member, would do the right thing. After all, Gisela had been a member of his unit, under his protection. But the cold hearted Winter smiled his icy smile and refused
Morale in the unit fell. Western Feminist heresy began to influence our thinking. The party line and the class war seemed of little importance compared with the real struggle against MEN. We plotted revenge.
Even then we wouldn’t have taken the action we did if it had not been for the item of gossip which sealed his fate. Winter was sleeping with a Russian – and a MAN at that!
Who it was who substituted the operational scent spray for the practice one I do not know. And I do not want to know. It is enough that I was the one to press the button, quick quick slow, releasing the deadly gas into the face of Winter, freezing for all time his cold smile. We none of us knew who had the lucky canister but I am glad it was me.
The wall is down. Reunification has put an end to the STASI enquiry. Spring has come again to Germany. Summer lies ahead. But we will never again have a winter so cold.