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The Eclectic Pen - You Spook?

By: Bob H. (vltava)  
Date Submitted: 10/2/2012
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Words: 534

  I had a long and interesting career as a Special Agent of the US Army Intelligence Corps. The following is an excerpt from a forth coming book, You Spook? The book is about some of the people and incidents that came my way. I refer to them as "happenings". I was stationed at Berlin Station , Germany, during the building of the infamous "Wall" and was serving as liaison to the West German Customs Police.

The Hole Punch Man
One of the more interesting individuals that I met while serving as the liaison officer to the Zoll Amt (Customs Office) was a quiet mild-mannered customs officer that I will always remember as the hole punch man. I had seen him about the customs office on several occasions but had never spoken with him. He didn’t seem to be close to anyone and I thought him to be a very private person, shy and retiring. He was a person who would never stand out in a crowd or even be noticed for that matter.
I was working the late shift one evening when I stepped out of the office for a moment and when I returned I found him at my desk. I guess I startled him. He had in his hand a large envelope.
I asked, “May I help you”. He stammered and said, “I was looking for holes”. Well you just have to ask. What kind of holes are you looking for? He laughed and told his story. He was looking for the tiny holes that are made by office hole punchers. He did this whenever he was on night duty. And then he wait for a rainy day and then go to work. In those days every German office had an umbrella stand or coat rack and these were nearly always out in the hallways accessible to everyone. He would then quietly walk along the hallway until he found an unattended umbrella; one, that happened to be open. He would take a handful of holes from the envelope that he had in his pocket and casually drop them into the open umbrella. He would then pass merrily on his way. Whenever that unlucky person would step outside and opened the “loaded” umbrella, all he would see was a blizzard of tiny holes. Have you ever tried to brush tiny damp pieces of paper off of damp clothing. It is all but impossible.
That was the only time I ever talked to gentleman and I didn’t even get his name. I saw him a couple of times after that but didn’t have the chance to learn anymore. I do recall he was very proud of the memo that was circulated to all offices that roundly condemned the practice. He was probably the very last person that anyone would ever suspect. He was leading a double life that is for sure. As I said, I didn’t get his name, but to me, he will always be the Hole Punch Man. After all, he was my kind of guy. BH

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Bob H. (vltava) - 10/2/2012 4:42 PM ET
In my 20 year service as an intelligence agent with Army, I was involved in many of what I refer to as "happenings'. It is about people and incidents that happened. Some of the people were sane; others not so sane. Some of the incidents were humorous; others tragic
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