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Unformatted text preview: ers started cooling. THE SWAPPING OF NIGHTMARES
Max Vandenburg promised that he would never sleep in Liesel’s room again. What was he thinking that first
night? The very idea of it mortified him.
He rationalized that he was so bewildered upon his arrival that he allowed such a thing. The basement was the
only place for him as far as he was concerned. Forget the cold and the loneliness. He was a Jew, and if there
was one place he was destined to exist, it was a basement or any other such hidden venue of survival.
“I’m sorry,” he confessed to Hans and Rosa on the basement steps. “From now on I will stay down here. You
will not hear from me. I will not make a sound.”
Hans and Rosa, both steeped in the despair of the predicament, made no argument, not even in regard to the
cold. They heaved blankets down and topped up the kerosene lamp. Rosa admitted that there could not be much
food, to which Max fervently asked her to bring only scraps, and only when they were not wanted by anyone
“Na, na,” Rosa assured him. “You will be fed, as best I can.”
They also took the mattress down, from the spare bed in Liesel’s room, replacing it with drop sheets—an
Downstairs, Hans and Max placed the mattress beneath the steps and built a wall of drop sheets at the side. The
sheets were high enough to cover the whole triangular entrance, and if nothing else, they were easily moved if
Max was in dire need of extra air.
Papa apologized. “It’s quite pathetic. I realize that.”
“Better than nothing,” Max assured him. “Better than I deserve— thank you.”
With some well-positioned paint cans, Hans actually conceded that it did simply look like a collection of junk
gathered sloppily in the corner, out of the way. The one problem was that a person needed only to shift a few
cans and remove a drop sheet or two to smell out the Jew.
“Let’s just hope it’s good enough,” he said.
“It has to be.” Max crawled in. Again, he said it. “Thank you.”
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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