The Harmless Thoughts of a London Gynecologist

(Until the Fuhrer moves, no one will move, at least that much is clear.

Silent. Still. The room is lit by the crepuscular light of the projector alone, and Delk’s wondering why he’s here. Why him? Why now?

(Hitler sits facing him. The Fuhrer’s hands are wrapped tight around the knobby arms of the high-backed chair, his knees are together and his legs have gone limp, and while his feet are on the floor they are not altogether flat, and there is something arch to the lift of his chin and something curvilinear about his posture, which gives Delk the impression not of unbridled strength nor Wagnerian passion but rather of a common little man confined to a wheelchair.

(Mimi is sitting on the floor, to Hitler’s side and slightly behind. She is not at all what Delk expected. Her eyes, so much has been made of her eyes, are cornflower blue; they are common, Delk thinks. And her face? It is a common face, oval and plain, adolescent. In the pale light of the cinematic wash she might even be younger, a child, “She is puerile,” Delk thinks—

(But perhaps he is thinking now of the dinner, of how Hitler from his fingers fed her crumbling cakes, how he lingered on her neck, lingered on the welt and rash of hemp: “Almonds, Waldfee, here,” said Hitler, “for me and our guest. Now rusks, there, that’s it.”

(Then pausing, wanting Delk to see why he was touching her neck: “You would do that for me, Tschapperl”—Tschapperl, Hascherl, Patscherl, when the Fuhrer touches her neck he addresses her in diminutives, tender Austrian diminutives, in a soft scolding tone—“Why would you try to hang yourself? You are such a naughty girl.” Then, patting her hand, “My Patscherl, eat this morsel that is good for you. And a chocolate, for desert.”

(There are boxes of chocolate strewn everywhere, fluted cups of brown paper about the floor where Mimi is sitting.)

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