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At the door, Rosa was still asking the meaning of this interruption when the kindly party man noticed Liesel.
“The maniacal soccer player!” He grinned. “How’s the knee?” You don’t usually imagine the Nazis being too
chirpy, but this man certainly was. He came in and made as if to crouch and view the injury.
Does he know? Liesel thought. Can he smell we’re hiding a Jew?
Papa came from the sink with a wet cloth and soaked it onto Liesel’s knee. “Does it sting?” His silver eyes were
caring and calm. The scare in them could easily be mistaken as concern for the injury.
Rosa called across the kitchen, “It can’t sting enough. Maybe it will teach her a lesson.”
The party man stood and laughed. “I don’t think this girl is learning any lessons out there, Frau . . . ?”
“Hubermann.” The cardboard contorted.
“. . . Frau Hubermann—I think she teaches lessons.” He handed Liesel a smile. “To all those boys. Am I right,
Papa shoved the cloth into the graze and Liesel winced rather than answered. It was Hans who spoke. A quiet
“sorry,” to the girl.
There was the discomfort of silence then, and the party man remembered his purpose. “If you don’t mind,” he
explained, “I need to inspect your basement, just for a minute or two, to see if it’s suitable for a shelter.”
Papa gave Liesel’s knee a final dab. “You’ll have a nice bruise there, too, Liesel.” Casually, he acknowledged
the man above them. “Certainly. First door on the right. Please excuse the mess.”
“I wouldn’t worry—it can’t be worse than some of the others I’ve seen today. . . . This one?”
THE LONGEST THREE MINUTES
IN HUBERMANN HISTORY
Papa sat at the table. Rosa prayed in the corner,
mouthing the words. Liesel was cooked: her knee,
her chest, the muscles in her arms. I doubt any
of them had the audacity to consider what they’d do if the basement was appointed as a shelter.
They had to survive the inspection first.
They listened to Nazi footsteps in the basement. There was the sound of measuring tape. Liesel could not ward
off the thought of Max sitting beneath t...
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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