The Showers Don't Work

“Sie schaffen das,” his Kommandant says.

His cap feels too tight, like a crown of thorns, his brow beaded with sweat like blood. The room is cold, but the forges of Hell bakes his flesh. Children! There were children! His knees threaten to seesaw within his khakis. With an iron will he bands the muscles of his body into a rigid sheet.

The Kommandant is becoming impatient and is now gesturing, the cigarette clamped between thumb and forefinger making smoldering traceries in the gloom. Time goes to pieces and the simple mechanical motion of raising an arm ninety degrees is a study of eternity. But raise it, he does, and as his grip rests upon the rubber of the switch, he is bathed in horror.

The Kommandant now notices this and leans in close, a sour breath wreathed in smoke, and says gently, “Aller Anfang ist schwer.” And twirls a hand, go on.

“Deutschland uber alles,” he whispers and pulls the switch.

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