This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: me pages from the basement THE ACCORDIONIST
(The Secret Life of Hans Hubermann)
There was a young man standing in the kitchen. The key in his hand felt like it was rusting into his palm. He
didn’t speak anything like hello, or please help, or any other such expected sentence. He asked two questions.
“Do you still play the accordion?”
As he looked uncomfortably at the human shape before him, the young man’s voice was scraped out and
handed across the dark like it was all that remained of him.
Papa, alert and appalled, stepped closer.
To the kitchen, he whispered, “Of course I do.”
It all dated back many years, to World War I.
They’re strange, those wars.
Full of blood and violence—but also full of stories that are equally difficult to fathom. “It’s true,” people will
mutter. “I don’t care if you don’t believe me. It was that fox who saved my life,” or, “They died on either side
of me and I was left standing there, the only one without a bullet between my eyes. Why me? Why me and not
Hans Hubermann’s story was a little like that. When I found it within the book thief’s words, I realized that we
passed each other once in a while during that period, though neither of us scheduled a meeting. Personally, I had
a lot of work to do. As for Hans, I think he was doing his best to avoid me.
The first time we were in the vicinity of each other, Hans was twenty-two years old, fighting in France. The
majority of young men in his platoon were eager to fight. Hans wasn’t so sure. I had taken a few of them along
the way, but you could say I never even came close to touching Hans Hubermann. He was either too lucky, or
he deserved to live, or there was a good reason for him to live.
In the army, he didn’t stick out at either end. He ran in the middle, climbed in the middle, and he could shoot
straight enough so as not to affront his superiors. Nor did he excel enough to be one of the first...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13