The dinner party at professor Hubnoth's residence on Elisabeth street turned out to be quite a merry affair. I was a bit confused when the white robed monk embraced the professor, kissing him passionately on the mouth and when he turned to me, I flinched, but to my immense relief he only offered me his hand. And then he stunned me.
'Moshe Cohen,' he introduced himself with a twinkle in his eye. His mouth was watery and wet.
'That's a very … Jewish name,' I stammered, slightly taken aback. 'For a Dominican monk...' The two men roared with laughter, the professor slapped me on the back.
'You didn't see that one coming, did you now?'
I felt out of sorts during dinner, but gradually I discovered that Moshe and Marcel were in a on-and-off relationship since like forever, as they put it. They like disguises, dressing up and playing the part.
'It's just innocent role play,' Marcel, the professor, explained. 'We're in the wrong town, Moshe, we should be in Hollywood.' All evening they had tremendous fun while I couldn't stop worrying about the Mossad.
After dinner the professor stood up and invited us for cognac and cigars in the smoking room. We followed him down the corridor, through the kitchen until we came to the scullery, Three uncomfortable folding chairs and a low table stood in the middle, a washing machine on the side, a laundry line with the professors undergarments. A few shelves. As Marcel was warming the glasses in the sink with hot water he explained that he was trying to stop smoking and that's why he turned this cold, uncomfortable scullery into his smoking room.
'We have a plan,' he announced. I looked at him expectantly and he clarified: 'The Mossad thing.' He poured liberal amounts of cognac in the glasses and let a cigar box go round.
'Moshe here has excellent connections in Amsterdam. Did you know there is a branch office of the Mossad there? All very hush-hush, of course. It's just a back room in one of the poorer quarters of the city.' He paused to let his words sink in.
'What's the plan?', I asked, trying to get to the point.
'We're going to infiltrate, ever so quietly. Hardly seen, hardly noticed,' Moshe said, lowering his voice to a conspirational level.
'They are hiring at the moment and Marcel and I are going to apply for the job.'
'We will be well prepared,' added Moshe the monk, 'and we'll dress the part.'
'If I do not get hired, which is unlikely, then Moshe here certainly will. Trust me.'
'But what are they looking for?', I asked frantically. 'What kind of job?'
'Secretaries! They're looking for secretaries!'
I looked at them in disbelief and then realized the joke was on me. What followed was roaring laughter all down Elisabeth street.