The good bye bomb part 3
Cleaning out a hotel room before a bombing is somewhat like doing
it after a one-night stand. The idea is the same; leave nothing behind
that might link you to what was going on the night before. The advantage
to a bombing was that at least you could leave with someone and go
have breakfast without any awkwardness at all.
Before going out to the target, we checked over our emergency plans.
Uli Grunewald, our lawyer, was an RAF sympathizer. We didn't pay him
a retainer -- there was no way we could afford to -- but he helped us
out from time to time anyway, for the cause. For the most part, he held
on to things for us -- like our dental records. Heike and I would go
to the dentist every time we thought something had changed. We didn't
want to end up unidentifiable. Liesl Honess had just disappeared, and
though they found a body that might have been hers, they couldn't be
sure. Even Ulrike Meinhof had to be identified by the metal clip in
her head, since they hadn't had her fingerprints on file.
If anything happened, we wanted others to know. Even if we were arrested
separately, we wanted to be sure the other could find out.
We talked about safe houses, and where we'd try to meet up, and under
which names, if things went badly wrong. It was automatic, like making
sure the stove wasn't on when you left for a trip. Then, it was time
to go to the bridge.
At some point in the early evening, we knew, Klaus's father and his
two security cars would drive over the bridge outside Remscheid. Our
task was simple; place the bomb and the detonators under the bridge,
and then wait , trying to stay as low-profile as possible. We didn't
want to leave the bridge. If someone noticed the bomb, and called the
police, the last thing on earth we wanted to do was to come back later
and be caught up in a dragnet.
So, late in the morning, we took our picnic lunch
and our blanket and prepared to kill some time. It was a pretty spot,
woods to either side, the stream well down below us. There were plenty
of places to be barely-seen, though almost nothing to truly hide behind;
there was little or no underbrush, just the trees. Once we'd spread
our blanket out, there was little to do, until we wanted to plant the
And to pass the time, we made love by the side of
the bridge. Several cars honked as they passed, and more than one drunken
boy leaned out of his car to cheer us on. Whether they could tell we
were two girls or not didn't really matter, so long as none of them
stopped to give us too hard a time.
Heike lay on the blanket we'd spread out, our picnic
lunch covering our equipment. We had started by feeding each other,
popping grapes into each other's mouths, taking them between our teeth
and passing them back and forth in a long kiss. Soon we forgot about
the food, and almost forgot about the cars driving by -- Klaus' father
was still at the factory, not due back for hours.
I couldn't take her clothes off, though I wanted
to; I wanted to take mine off, too, and feel the sun, what there was
of it, on my back, on my neck, on my legs. Instead, I satisfied myself
by unfastening her blouse and kissing down her neck, her collarbone,
while I reached inside to cup her breast.
"Karla, do you think..." She was unsure of herself,
and of the wisdom of what we were doing.
So was I, to be honest; but I no longer really cared.
The chance the police would stop us, search our picnic basket, and find
the bomb was so small that I dismissed it. And I wasn't going to let
the Revolution come between me and Heike, not now. We'd done enough
for the cause to take a moment like this for ourselves.
Besides, as I unzipped her pants, I thought to myself,
wouldn't Klaus have loved to see us? But now he couldn't. Never would
again. I leaned close to Heike's face, and whispered in her ear, "You're
She laughed, though there was a nervous edge to it.
"That's not very socialist of you." There wasn't any disapproval in
her movements, though, as she lifted her hips from the blanket to make
my hand's work easier. In no time at all I had her zipper down and the
seam of her jeans down to mid-thigh. I had all the space I needed to
"Don't care, now." And I really didn't. If someone
had come to me then and offered me a ticket to somewhere warm, and enough
money, I'd've taken it, and Heike, and left the bomb behind. There wasn't
any room left in me for anything but her, as I kissed her neck, slid
my fingers between her thighs. She was already wet for me, and I was
Around that time was the first honk, and the only
one I reacted to. I tried to pull my hand back, but she cried out at
that, and brought her knees together hard enough so that, even if I'd
wanted to, I couldn't have left. Our eyes met, and I had to look away
first; my worried scowl was no match for her huge smile. By then, she'd
grabbed my arm anyway, making it very, very clear what she wanted.
So I gave it to her; one finger, two fingers, my
thumb on her clit or sliding up and down between her lips. My tongue
along her neck, down between her breasts, along her shoulder. My lips
whispering to her whenever I could. After that first strong grasp, her
hands were less decisive; they raked along my back, or thumped the ground
as she became more and more excited.
I heard the second honk and ignored it, too; heard
the first catcall and did the same. After that I failed to notice any
distractions at all. My full attention was on my fingers, on Heike's
warmth, on her skin and her juices -- until I heard the car pull over
onto the shoulder.
I looked up, but even that sound couldn't make my
hand stop. When I realized it was a green car, and the two people stepping
out of it were police officers, that made my hand stop. And with it,
One of them was smiling, the other stone-faced. I
did my best to look embarrassed, rather than terrified, and needed no
help in blushing. Heike first looked to me, and started to speak. Then
her eyes followed my look, and she nearly broke my wrist wriggling away
"So, the reports weren't mistaken," one of them said;
he was tall, and loomed over us both as they wer. They were now close
enough to see everything, and the tall one, at least, did not mind looking.
It took all the discipline I'd learned not to look at the picnic basket,
with the bomb inside. Instead, I looked up at them, trying to seem inoffensive.
"Couldn't wait until you got home?" The other one was speaking to Heike,
who had to stop in the middle of trying to fasten her pants to answer.
His tone did not invite delay. They both held out their hands, a silent
gesture clearly demanding our papers.
I fumbled with mine, first with my damp hand, then, blushing, with
the other. Heike had to try as best she could to not let her clothes
slip as she reached for hers. Our papers were good -- we'd paid a lot
for them. Since I was the one who had the easier time of it, I answered
for us both. "We've been traveling, and we weren't sure we'd have the
energy when we got to the hotel."
They looked at each other, and then started to look through our papers.
I hadn't been this close to a police officer while not in the middle
of a riot in years, and I looked at them with professional interest,
seeing where they kept their guns, their handcuffs. It didn't hurt that
it also kept my eyes away from the bomb, and away from Heike, who by
now was just as red as I was.
They took enough time to read every page of our documents at least
twice, then handed them back. "Take it inside," they finally offered,
and headed back towards the car.
We didn't move until they'd started to roll away, and then it was back
into each other's arms. Now, though, I wasn't down between her legs;
we lay there on the blanket like some romantic photograph. Most of those
pictures don't show people shaking, though, or crying in each other's
"We've got to go," she finally said, once the tears had dried. "They'll
know it was us. We've got to call it off." I held her. "We can't. You
know it, and I know it." It was the same argument we'd had before, and
I knew it would come out the same. "We can't let them win." And my hand
came down from her shoulder to her hip, resting against her still-disarrayed
She twitched as I touched her there, and I wasn't sure if that was
because she wanted more, or was still afraid. "Yes, this time we can.
We're too close." But she didn't sound as if she believed it any more.
"Mallorca." And she made a sound between a sniffle and a laugh as
I said it. "We'll take a holiday. But we're not going to let them stop
us doing anything." And with that, I moved my hand back down inside
her pants, touching her skin and her hair again, trying to open her.
I'd expected her to fight me, but she didn't. Instead, she pushed
herself towards me, hard enough that my sore wrist protested. Now she
moved against my hand as much as my hand moved upon her. There weren't
any honks this time, nor any catcalls. We looked like any other couple
in love, like a romantic postcard, even as she moaned in my ear and
rubbed against my fingers. No, we weren't being bold, as we'd been before.
But it still felt good, she was still excited and wet and slippery,
I was rubbing my thighs together because it's all I could do, and when
she came, it was still good.
After I made her come, I reached over to the bag and took out the latex
gloves. I slipped them on, and took out the goodbye bomb. "Pull yourself
together," I told her, with a grin, and then grabbed my toolkit. "I'll
be back soon."
Setting bombs is not just engineering. It's an art form. Indeed, if
Wagner hadn't taken the idea for his fascist operas, I'd call bombing
the Gesamstkunstwerk. It takes acting to scope the place out without
getting caught. Painting and sculpture to hide the bombs. Writing, for
And when it goes off, it's musical.
No matter what kind of art form one participates in, however, there's
always a hell of a lot of work that goes into making something seem
effortless. In this case, it was making sure the bomb didn't just blast
downward, wasting most of its force on the air beneath the bridge. That
would scare our target, might even cause his car to swing out of control,
but it wouldn't kill him. It would just be a tease.
I was grateful for the latex, beyond the anonymity it provided -- no
fingerprints. The powder inside them kept my fingers from slipping from
Heike's wetness as I started the drilling. More than any other time,
even when I was mixing, even when I was making the buy from the Basque,
this was the dangerous moment. There was no way I could explain being
here, should anyone notice me with my drill and my long bolts. Heike
reading by the roadside was my only camouflage. It took forty minutes
of hard work, with much cursing in the names of Gods I didn't believe
in, before the rig was in place -- the bomb cradled inside a screen
of soft matting, and a plate beneath it, all bolted to the underside
of the bridge. With a final click, I turned the detonator on. All it
needed now was a radio signal.
By the time I got back out from underneath, Heike had finished her
book, and was simply getting a tan. "It's done." And I bent over to
give her a kiss. "Let's get ready."
We always hold hands when it goes, even if only one of us has the trigger
in their hands, even if it's on a time-delay. We're doing it together
that way. This time, it was far too sensitive a job to use a timer.
Besides, Klaus' father was the sort who liked to work late on occasion,
probably just (according to Klaus) to make sure everyone stayed on their
toes. That way, they couldn't count on quitting time as a moment to
take it easy.
So, we waited with our radio control for the Mercedes to go by. We'd
gotten rid of everything we weren't going to need. The moment it the
bomb went off, we could get back to our car and run.
It wasn't easy, though, sitting there and waiting. We sat on the bank,
near enough to the road that we saw our faces reflected in the cars
going by. Any one of a dozen could have looked over, might even have
seen us, but at the pace they were going, they'd be hard-pressed to
tell the police anything more than that there were two of us -- and
the police already knew that.
I wanted to do so much more than just hold her hand. I'd been wanting
to this whole time -- even when I was inside her I wanted to be deeper;
even when I was next to her I wanted to be closer. I don't know if she
felt the same way. Every time a car passed us she shivered, and I made
sure her hand didn't leave the remote.
When Herr Heinrich's car passed, I had one last moment of fear --
that I had made some terrible error in preparing the bomb, or that we
would be spotted, and recognized. And so I made a mistake; I looked
up. And for just a moment my eyes met his, despite the tinting of his
windows, I looked right into the eyes of Klaus's father as he zoomed
on towards the bridge, towards the bomb.
Then the moment passed, and the last reflection I saw from the immaculate
car surface was my own face -- that of a hawk that, for just a moment,
thought it was a rabbit.
From our vantage point we had one chance, ten seconds from where they
passed us to the bridge. We both counted together, knees rubbing against
each other like excited schoolgirls at a concert. The detonator was
clasped in our hands, and when we saw him hit the bridge, we both pushed
the button; I'd looked for a big button when I built the detonator,
just for this purpose.
For the very smallest fraction of a second, between the time you press
the trigger and when the sound hits, there's nothing but light and fire;
that's what we saw as we pressed down -- the cars flying up into the
air, the bridge twisting underneath them like a ribbon. We watched long
enough to make sure that we'd gotten the right car, and to see if anyone
would crawl out. I felt faint, unable to move, the way I did after I
came. I hadn't; I was far too tense, too excited to do so. This was
my heart racing for its own sake.
Once it was clear that we had hit the right car, and that from the
way the roof was splayed open and the smoke rose from the interior that
no one would be leaving, we relaxed. I wanted to go back to what we'd
been doing before, to give Klaus a long, leisurely farewell show, but
now we had to make our escape, scrambling back up through the hills,
taking only long enough to smash the radio control, tossing the pieces
down into a gully. Even if they found them, it would not matter, not
The radio was filled with news of the attack -- well, rumors of it,
in point of fact. It was a protest against the American President Carter's
activities. It was a Mafia slaying. The Chancellor had been in the car,
and now was dead. Chaos all over the place. Each time some new and inflated
story came over the airwaves, we laughed; let them think it possible.
Or even likely. It would hamper them in trying to find us.
Once we were twenty kilometers from the explosion, we could relax a
little; the police would not be able to block every road, and unless
they were somehow looking just for us, we'd be able to dodge their blocks.
It's not that hard to do, just slow. Don't go out into the countryside
-- that's where it's easiest for them to stop you. Zigzag through the
city, always being sure to look before you turn. Maybe some asshole
would honk, but more likely they'd just shake their head at the lost
idiots who had no idea where they were.
We could talk, now, talk and catch our breaths. Before, when we had
been three, it was always the same routine. After the third cigarette,
the second replay of the whole thing, and the tenth exclamation of how
good we were, or how bad, it had always been the same story. We would
find a hotel, the three of us, and fall into bed, sometimes to sleep,
sometimes to celebrate.
This time, Heike and I didn't stop. We took turns driving south, crossing
the border at Aachen into Belgium, and then in less time than it took
to fall asleep and dream we were into France, headed for the sun, just
the two of us.
The world is structured to keep us out, the same way that a fence around
a house keeps the undesiteable away.
The world is a machine into which we don't fit, made up of so many
perfectly ordered and analyzed parts, like a Mercedes sedan.
The world is divided into families -- a man, a woman, and their relatives.
We don't fit, especially now that Klaus is gone.
The only way to make space for ourselves is to take the machine to
pieces; blow holes in the fences, and leave the family a smoking ruin.