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Unformatted text preview: paper for Max
Vandenburg as she always did. She reached into a garbage can just off Munich Street and tucked it under her
arm. Once she delivered it to Max and he’d commenced his first reading, he glanced across at her and pointed to
a picture on the front page. “Isn’t this whose washing and ironing you deliver?”
Liesel came over from the wall. She’d been writing the word argumentsix times, next to Max’s picture of the
ropy cloud and the dripping sun. Max handed her the paper and she confirmed it. “That’s him.”
When she went on to read the article, Heinz Hermann, the mayor, was quoted as saying that although the war
was progressing splendidly, the people of Molching, like all responsible Germans, should take adequate
measures and prepare for the possibility of harder times. “You never know,” he stated, “what our enemies are
thinking, or how they will try to debilitate us.”
A week later, the mayor’s words came to nasty fruition. Liesel, as she always did, showed up at Grande Strasse
and read from The Whistler on the floor of the mayor’s library. The mayor’s wife showed no signs of
abnormality (or, let’s be frank, no additional signs) until it was time to leave.
This time, when she offered Liesel The Whistler, she insisted on the girl taking it. “Please.” She almost begged.
The book was held out in a tight, measured fist. “Take it. Please, take it.”
Liesel, touched by the strangeness of this woman, couldn’t bear to disappoint her again. The gray-covered book
with its yellowing pages found its way into her hand and she began to walk the corridor. As she was about to
ask for the washing, the mayor’s wife gave her a final look of bathrobed sorrow. She reached into the chest of
drawers and withdrew an envelope. Her voice, lumpy from lack of use, coughed out the words. “I’m sorry. It’s
for your mama.”
Liesel stopped breathing.
She was suddenly aware of how empty her feet felt inside her shoes. Something ridiculed her throat. She
trembled. When finally she reached out and took possession of the letter, she noticed the soun...
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- Winter '13