Three days later, the telephone in her room rang at a quarter to five in the morning. At first, muzzy with sleep, she thought it was the air-raid siren going off. When she realized it was the phone, she got good and pissed off. What asshole would call at this ungodly hour? It was getting light, but even so—! “Bitte?” she snarled.

“Sind Sie Frau Druce?” A man’s voice.

“Yes, I’m Peggy Druce. Who the devil are you?”

“Adolf Hitler here,” the voice answered. And it was. As soon as he said it, she knew it was. She’d heard him on the radio too often to have any doubt. “You are having trouble leaving my country?”

When Hitler said it was his country, he damn well meant it. “Uh, yes, sir,” she managed.

“The trouble will end. Whatever neutral nation you wish to visit, you may. Never let it be said we keep anyone who does not wish to stay,” the Führer told her.

“Uh—” Peggy kept saying that. She’d never expected a call from one of the two or three most powerful men in the world. She’d never expected anything to come of her letter, truth to tell. “Thank you very much, sir!”

“You are welcome. Have you any questions?” He spoke slowly and clearly, to make sure she could follow. Even over the telephone, the weight of his personality made her sag.

“Uh—” There it was again! “Why are you up so early?”she blurted.

He actually chuckled. How many people could say they’d made Hitler laugh? “I am not up early. I am up late. The enemies of the Reich do not sleep, and neither do I. Good-bye, Mrs. Druce. Finding a problem so easy to solve is a pleasure, believe me.”

“Thank you.” Peggy finally managed not to say Uh, but she was talking to a dead line.