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Thread: Hansel and Gretel Hide Grandma's Gold

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    Hansel and Gretel Hide Grandma's Gold

    Hansel and Gretel Hide Grandma’s Gold
    Steven Hunley

    Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel's manicured fingers played nervously with the end of his rosewood and silver cigarette holder as his fuhrer tripped around the map table, winding his way happily between the field-grey coats of the general staff, whistling the song “Whistle While You Work,” a tune he’d picked up from the Disney color cartoon, Snow White, he’d just seen from America, from a studio dedicated to degenerate material, like most of sucessful Hollywood, run by Jews. Like too many Bavarian lagers, it pissed him off. Yet the Fuhrer was feeling fit as a Stradivarius. When he was on the offensive, Der Fuhrer was in a good mood. During the invasion of France he was always in a good mood.

    “Stinking corporal, that’s all he’ll ever be to me. Gets elected and now he’s suddenly the Commander in Chief. A corporal, the Commander in Chief! Humph!”

    Keitel lit his cigarette with his gold lighter and puffed on the holder. The ash fell on the toe of his polished jackboot and drew his attention.

    “That’s what my aide is for, for cleaning up my messes. Just like I take care of those of our Fuehrer.”

    He buffed his nails on the cuff of his field-grey uniform and sighed.

    “Herr Hitler is plotting the downfall of Europe while whistling American cartoons. How fitting. He may find out some day the Americans are not the Poles.”

    He tucked his Iron cross back into his coat, allowing the red, white and black ribbon to show and measured the amount with his fingernail to be sure it was right. Then he straightened his Knight's Cross along with his collar.

    “What was that saying about the Devil? I can never recall just how it goes.”

    He took a long drag from his holder and watched as a cloud of smoke escaped in a lazy circle and floated up to the ceiling of the bunker. Clouds of smoke reminded him of black powder, like cordite, the acrid smell of victory. Just then his aide handed him a message from Himmler asking for an appointment to see the Fuhrer.

    “Oh yes, I remember now, it was,

    “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

    “What a pair those two make. I remember how they were at the start. The tales I could tell, like the time they hid out the gold. Did I tell you that one? I have time and Himmler can wait. This war is going to be longer than he thinks.”

    He loosened his collar and cleared his throat and began.

    “Hitler and Himmler were being driven by a young fair-haired SS lieutenant in the shiny-black Mercedes Benz 770. He was handsome and fresh-faced and spoke only with salutes and nods to his fuhrer.

    “You’re new aren’t you?” enquired Hitler. The reply was yes. He was on temporary assignment.

    “Hans, you look to be a good soldier,” said Himmler, “if we like you we may keep you forever.”
    “Thank you Obergroupenfuhrer.”

    Berlin was a sight. So much new building going on. It was certainly the auspicious beginning of a thousand-year Reich. Soon the capital was left far behind as they proceeded onto the autobahn.

    After several winding miles they pulled over at a mountain inn that was their destination. Himmler ordered the innkeeper out. Then they opened the door to room two, then the trunk of the car, and the young lieutenant started unloading the gold bars. Hitler took the wicker basket and went into the empty office to make tea. While the young officer toiled in room two, Himmler and he ate lunch. Finally they were down to desert. Hitler liked sweets. He looked across the white linen tablecloth at Himmler, gestured outside and said,

    “ I just had an interesting telephone call. Your boy over there, the Gestapo has informed me, had a Jewish grandmother.”

    He was pointing toward room two with his chin, now spotted with sweet Bavarian cream. Himmler was so enjoying a biscuit he almost failed to notice.

    “You understand me Heinie? A Jew.”

    “I understand, Mein Fuhrer,” he answered, daintily wiping a crumb from the corner of his mouth, “I’ll take care of it at once.”

    “You don’t have to rush,” the Fuhrer said politely, “Want some more tea? There’s two cups left.”

    “Oh, thank you, no.” He declined graciously. When he declined his Fuhrer it was always with grace.
    “I’ll have it when I return.”

    Himmler removed the napkin from his lap, and walked across the courtyard to room two. The boy had his coat off and was busy at work.

    “I’ve just finished, Obergroupenfuhrer,” he said proudly, “see here!”

    He bounded up and gave a neat Nazi salute.

    The bricks were neatly piled.

    The gold bars had been thirty-five thousand gold rings etched with Jewish names or inscribed with verses from the Torah. Now melted down the rings were twenty gold bars stamped with an eagle clutching a wreath surrounding the Swastika. In this form they were so much easier to transport. Himmler was anything if not practical. They now were in neat stacks hidden in the wall.

    “Now be careful when you replace the stones,” said Himmler, “they should look as if they have not been disturbed.”

    “Yes, Obergroupenfuhrer. But we have no mortar to make them stick.”

    “Don’t worry. We’ll find something.”

    As the boy knelt down on his knees he turned away from Himmler to replace the stones in the execution wall. Himmler looked about the room. It was beautiful. The lintel was carved with images of Edelweiss. The room was spare and clean, as a good German room should be. In the flower box just below the window, blood-red geraniums peeked their heads over the windowsill as if to witness the killing. Himmler unsnapped his Walther’s leather holster.

    “After you finish we’ll have a slice of pie and milk,” he said to the fair-haired boy, “You like pie and milk don’t you?”

    “Oh yes, Obergroupenfuhrer, I do.”

    Himmler removed the Walther silently from its holster.

    “You’ll like the pie, it’s probably like your grandmother used to make.”

    “Oh, then I know it will be good, Obergroupenfuhrer.”

    Himmler gently snapped off the safety so not to make a sound. He drew the barrel up close to the back of the blond head. All the stones were replaced now but the last one near the floor.

    “By the way, how is your grandmother? Is she well?”

    “Oh no, Obergroupenfuhrer, she passed away just before I joined up.”
    He patted the bricks into place neatly.
    “I know that you miss your grandmamma, but don’t be sad,” he said squeezing the trigger with a baby’s gentle touch, “You’ll probably see her soon.”

    When the shot reverberated across the courtyard it caused Hitler to spill a drop of tea, but only one at that.

    Himmler watched as the boy’s cerebral-spinal fluid leaked from the back of the blond head, ran over the floor under the last stone. It was clear, like egg white, but stained a bit with blood, like a fertile egg. He quickly calculated,
    “Egg white is like glue, is used in tempera, and makes good cement.”

    Himmler certainly knew his art. Who would have imagined that this ex-chicken farmer would turn Reichsfuhrer and collect art? Maybe he’d grown tired of looking at eggs. Perhaps he preferred a Faberge egg for himself.

    He pushed the last stone in place carefully using the toe of his boot, not wanting a scuff.
    “Stupid egg-headed Jew,” he said to the lifeless body.

    When Hitler walked in Himmler announced politely,

    “I’ll take that cup of tea now, I’m done.”

    He replaced the smoking Walther in its holster.

    “And Mein Fuhrer,” he asked,” is there any chance you packed some apple pie? This work has left me famished.”

    They walked together into the courtyard where the bright sunlight glinted off Himmler’s gold wire-framed glasses which naturally made him notice specks of blood and grey matter on the lenses.
    He took them off to clean. But when he patted his pocket for his handkerchief, it wasn’t there.

    Hitler noticed and thoughtfully said, “Again Heinie? See how I have to watch over you? You always forget your hankie. Here, use mine.”

    He took his silk handkerchief and gave it to him. The Fuhrer was always so generous with his friends, so sinister with a smile.

    “You know how it is Mein Fuhrer. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."

    Hitler tossed it on the ground.

    “Heinie, you of all people know how blood stains. Don’t worry. I have more, many more.”

    Himmler knew that before it was over, before their work was done, that stained silk would litter the Fatherland. Red would be the color and silk the fabric of mourning.

    “But not for me.”

    He smiled at this conclusion and laughed saying,
    “Then you must buy a full dozen, a thousand, a whole factory full of handkerchiefs Mien Fuhrer. We have much yet to accomplish. There’s that treaty with Chamberlain of England you have to sign, the one where you promise them peace.”

    “Don’t worry your silly head about that, Heinie. You know my policy. I promise them peace but give them Hell.”

    ”Of course, Mein Fuhrer, naturally. I was just being foolish. But we should return to Berlin as soon as we finish.”

    “Heinie,” the Fuhrer said thoughtfully as he ground the handkerchief under his shiny jack boot, “before you and I are finished we’ll need all the silk in China. But enough of our wishful thinking. We must save our wishes for birthdays and candles on cakes. That’s the proper thing. And speaking of cake, our tea is getting cold.”

    Then the two refined gentlemen, being equally practiced in the art of destruction as well as decorum walked back inside to properly finish their tea.

    It wasn’t even cold.

    Field Marshall Keitel pulled the stub of his cigarette and threw it into the trash, even though it was ten feet away, it went right in. He saw that his fuehrer needed something, and our time of reminiscing was over.

    You could see the age in his eyes and his moustache. He grew reflective.

    “I am a soldier and I worked for the Kaiser, under Ebert, Hindenburg, and Hitler, all the same way, for the past 44 years. I shouldn’t complain. This war is going good so far. It isn't right to be obedient only when things go well; it is much harder to be a good, obedient soldier when things go badly and times are hard. Obedience and faith at such time is a virtue.”

    ©Steven Hunley 2011
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 11-20-2011 at 12:36 AM.

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