Agent Bertram takes a swim, at night…

Agent Bertram put his arm around Grietja, as though they were lovers on their way out for a meal and a few drinks.  Stopping near to the boat, Bertram gave Grietja a hug and pretended to kiss her whilst he took a careful look at the barge, taking in every detail and memorising it for later.

The kiss was returned and quite passionately at that!  When Bertram stopped, it took Grietja a second or two to realise that it had finished, so carried away was she at his advance.  She came to her senses and stroked her skirt down, whispering, “Hey, you really are being quite the kisser, Agent Bertram.  I was having no idea.”

“Right back at you, young thing, as I believe is the common parlance nowadays.  For a minute there, I thought that you were for real.”

“For a minute there so was I… thienking that iet was for real.”  She was now patting her hair back into place.  “Ief you are wanting to be trying again later, I might be leaving… What ies iet that I should be leaving outside?”

“Er… your scruples, my dear?”

“Yes.  I might be leaving my scruples outside.”

“That is a lovely thought, young Grietja, but you know that neither of us would ever be able to look Gertrude in the eye again, afterwards.”

She sighed.  “Yes, I am knowing that but a girl has to be having her fantasies, yes?”

“Enjoy,” smiled Bertram.  “I am glad to be there with you in spirit, at least.”

They walked down to the yellow bridge.  It was much busier here as the pub had tables outside and people were enjoying the warm Amsterdam evening, dining alfresco with their beers and food.  They crossed the canal and walked down the opposite bank towards the zoo, stopping for a pretend smooch when they drew level once again with the barge.  This time they made sure that there was no proper kissing involved as who knows what they might be inspired to do!

When they stopped, Bertram stretched and yawned.  At the same time, a lion in the zoo behind them, took it upon himself to roar into the night.  “Ah, some of us have got it and some of us haven’t,” said Bertram with a smile.

There seemed to be raised voices on the barge, so they quietly retraced their steps and once again pretended to smooch when they drew level.  The voices were still raised but all they could tell was that it sounded like some men were arguing and that, perhaps, they might be Oriental or even Martian.  Who could tell?  As evidence goes, it was pretty poor.  But it was enough for Bertram to make further investigations.

They walked back to the Rattenvanger, where Bertram whispered his plan to Grietja.

“No Agent B… Bertie, iet ies too dangerous!  The waters are very cold!”

“I’m not a fatty for nothing, Grietja.  My blubber will keep me warm!”

With that, Bertram stripped his clothes off, down to his ridiculously voluminous Y-fronts, carefully unfolded the dive ladder on the back of the boat and clambered down into the water.  ‘Grietja is right,’ he thought.  ‘The water is blooming cold.’

He silently pushed off, swimming the breast stroke which he thought would be less likely to make a splash and slowly disappeared into the gloaming.  At least, he would have disappeared but his huge underpants had filled with air and he was followed by a bubble of wet, white cotton everywhere he went, his own personal Portuguese Man o’ War.  This was a relief to Grietja as the bubble of white cotton enabled her to track him until her eyes became accustomed to working in the gloom.

He arrived at the stern of the suspect barge and held on to the rudder, listening intently.  He could hear angry voices within and the occasional shout from someone who sounded as though he had some authority over the others.  Bertram thought that he could detect three different voices, all male.  Next, the authoritative voice sounded again, much nearer this time.  There was an answering female voice that sounded much nearer water level than the others.  Perhaps she had been lying on a bed.

He waited until the male voice had moved away again and remembering his and Gertrude’s secret knock, he dared to try it.  He knocked gently on the hull four times and waited a couple of seconds, then knocked again twice.  There was nothing.  He waited a couple of minutes and tried again, a little louder this time.  Then, there it was, the answering knock!  Three knocks, a short wait, and then one more.  She was there!

There came a loud shout from the alpha-male-sounding voice.  There was an equally loud shout – female this time – in answer.

“If I want to move my chair, I bloody well will, you sexually self-sufficient little oik…  and for your information, in my country an election doesn’t have to involve Kleenex!  You don’t frighten me, with your machine guns and all that ammunition. No sir, you don’t frighten this British gel one little bit!”

The cabin door opened at the far end of the barge and a flashlight broke through the gloom, aimed at the water.  By the time the owner of the flashlight had made it to the stern of the boat, holding on to the roof rails with one hand and aiming his beam with the other, Bertram had long gone.  There were only a few ripples in the water that could have come from anything.


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Agent Bertram. Bertram spends most of his time at The Ministry fulfilling his role as an intelligence analyst, looking after the interests of Her Majesty The Queen and finding ever more ingenious ways to ensure that The Duke of Edinburgh stays out of trouble... When the need arises Agent Bertram is seconded to The Netherlands Secret Service to help his chums fight dastardly crime in Amsterdam. This is where he has most of his thrilling adventures.

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