“Don’t you just know I waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary, hopin’ that train is on time, sittin’ downtown in a railway station, one toke over the line ……” One Toke Over the Line. Brewer & Shipley. 1970.
We flew to Lucerne very early in the morning at the beginning of December for a three day work trip sometime at the end of the eighties. It was bitterly cold and there was snow on the ground, but with clear blue skies and sunshine; we picked up a car at the airport and went to the very nice hotel to check in and dump our cases.
We had to meet a car and its driver around 11.00 in the Lucerne train station underground car park. We left our car a few hundred meters away from the station and walked there, arriving punctually. We went down into the car park and took a look around for a car with Dutch plates, but found no one. Hoping it was just late we went back up into the train station and sat in a café for a while. After giving it about an hour we repeated our steps in the search for the car. Again, nothing. We began to think that the guy had not made it. We repeated the above one more time, to no avail, and started to get a bit paranoid.
We went to a phone box to make a call to Holland. Things ran differently in the days of no mobiles, and took a lot longer to reach people. Disadvantage was trying to get through to someone who may or may not have been at home by a land-line. Advantage was that tracing calls from phone boxes was extremely unlikely, if not impossible. No answer.
After about three hours, paranoia level quite high, we got through to The Man in Holland. He told us that the guy we were there to meet had called and asked where we were, and told him that he was on the very lowest level of the car park, and lurking in very furthest corner. Not suspicious at all.
He had been there since morning. You need balls of steel for this kind of work. We had gone down to the third level of the parking garage, where there were nearly no cars, and took a look on the fourth level, where there were no cars at all, and not gone on down to the sixth level.
We got our car and drove into the carpark, parking up on the second level. I climbed into the back seat and covered myself with a blanket. Chris said he would be back in a few minutes and headed down to find the guy. I laid there frozen with fear, wondering what I would do if he did not return.
I heard the screech of wheels approaching, and a car turned sharply into the space next to us. Was it them? I was barely breathing. The boot opened and a 10kg bag was thrown in, and the boot was then slammed shut. We left the cars and all went up into the Bahnhof to eat, after which the guy we met, having finished his part of the job, left.
Smooth sailing from then on. Chris grabbed the bag and carried it up to a storage locker in the station, I stood from afar watching. He deposited the bag, locked it up and pocketed the key. We drove about forty kilometers, where we delivered the key, along with the locker number, to one of the Swiss Angels.
Job done, we went back to the hotel. It had been a long day.
I recently came across a postcard from Switzerland that I had sent my mother and stepfather in England. Excitedly telling them that we had gone away for a break and to do some Christmas shopping. Perhaps this is the truth and as with other Strange Tales the above story is but a figment of my overly-active imagination.