At the end of March spring was about to revive the dreary old looking Hamburg streetscape. Around noon you could walk outside without a jacket. Sonia had emailed an additional four chapters from Toronto. She was still chasing the impossible relationship with the Russian while complaining bitterly about being too weak to leave him, and at the same time writing explicitly and extensively about it.
Friedemann Doppelberger was spending this Saturday noon dozing off in the backyard. The phone from Consul Patel shook him awake:
"Yes, yes, I will be over right away."
Mr. Doppelberger walked across his lawn and across the street. The doors leading in to the Indian Consulate were of massive brass-coated cast iron, inhumanly heavy to open and when you first set the door in motion, you had to apply an almost similar force to prevent it from banging into the stopper.
The Consul and an attaché were watching over pictures on a monitor:
"Do you see this? This is where your car was parked the night it was vandalized. And if you look here..." Consul Patel switched to another window in the monitor.
"The same spot, but my car is not there. "
"Exactly, but do you see that on that night you parked exactly over the manhole?"
"Indeed." Mr. Doppelberger removed his glasses and leaned towards the screen.
"And here are our two cars at the nights they were vandalized. And as you will see from these..." Consul Patel opened yet more windows on the monitor.
"They were also parked over the manholes? Why do you park there?"
"We don't. We park where there are vacant spots. But only when we happen to park over a manhole does this happen. And so also with your car, I believe."
"Yes, yes. I understand." Mr. Doppelberger nodded.
"There is more" Consul Patel picked out printouts from inside a file.
"You see here. Here is this car over the manhole. And on this date again, another car over the manhole."
"Yes. Yes. I can see that."
"But nothing happened to those cars."
"So it is only whenever a dark green 2013 model Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate Wagon parks over a manhole outside Graumannsweg Number 57 that..."
"So whoever did this must have mistaken my car for one of yours."
"This is certainly interesting, but where does this lead us?" Mr. Doppelberger scratched his head.
"Fred, have you ever been down a manhole?" Consul Patel laughed. Friedemann Doppelberger waived an intense 'no thank you' with both hands:
"Let us leave this to the police."