It’s been ten days. No desperate craving, no headaches, no obvious depression. Carole asked me earlier why I’d quit smoking.
General health considerations, or is there something wrong?
I knew I’d have to stop some day. Why not now?
That was very nice, what you did for that couple just now. Breaking the rules to change their flight. Without nicotine you’ve become more charitable?
I wanted to see their faces light up. Did you notice when I said, about the fee, we’re going to waive that? It was as if the room became brighter.
You see yourself as Edison? Or Dr. Phil?
I remembered a friend’s story. How his parents were able to escape Nazi Germany because a Gestapo officer gave them forged papers. Really broke the rules. In my imagination, the official calls himself Schimmler, a compound of schlemiel and Himmler.
In your imagination, how would he know any Yiddish? From remarks of people he had saved? Referring to him as a schlemiel?
That’s the point. He has a Jewish grandmother. She’s Italian so they don’t recognize the name. If it comes out, he’s in the concentration camp.
The Gestapo doesn’t recognize Italian Jewish names?
They’ve asked the Fascist secret police for a list, but all they got back was Ebraico. Not even Levi. They thought non-Aryan incompetence.
So perhaps Schimmler has a resistance-minded cousin in the Fascist secret police?
Could be a good plot device.
Then what happens?
Schimmler has an assistant from Hitler Youth. Lise. She’s a complete Nazi brainwash and he’s afraid she’ll uncover the secret rescue of refugees and turn him in. Then they’ll find his grandmother.
So he plots to have her eliminated?
He doesn’t know what to do so he seduces her.
To have something on her?
Or to know more about her life, find out something. As a last resort, maybe murder her.
Of course she feels it’s an honor to sleep with a Gestapo officer.
No, she’s in love with him. She knows everything he’s doing and thinks it’s wonderful. The Hitler Youth façade is…
Just protective coloring, like Schimmler’s Gestapo job.
In due course, Lise becomes pregnant. She will not raise a child in Nazi Germany so they come up with an escape scheme.
They forge papers for themselves!
Do you think it might sell?
Changing of nonrefundable discount tickets and waiving standard fees is in total disregard of airline rules. I’m going to report you.
You seduce me. Now.
Carole locked the office door.
About the Author
Richard Grossman is a retired scientist and has written a number of textbook chapters and edited fascinating volumes such as the Handbook of Vinyl Formulating (John Wiley) and The Mixing of Rubber (Chapman & Hall).