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Unformatted text preview: Just go home.”
“Thanks, Frau Holtzapfel.”
“Didn’t I just tell you what you can do with your thanks?”
(It’s amazing what you can piece together from a basement conversation and a reading session in a nasty old
woman’s kitchen.) “Just get lost, will you!”
When at long last he came home, Papa made his way not to bed, but to Liesel’s room. He stood drunkenly in the
doorway and watched her sleep. She awoke and thought immediately that it was Max.
“Is it you?” she asked.
“No,” he said. He knew exactly what she was thinking. “It’s Papa.”
He backed out of the room and she heard his footsteps making their way down to the basement.
In the living room, Rosa was snoring with enthusiasm.
Close to nine o’clock the next morning, in the kitchen, Liesel was given an order by Rosa. “Hand me that
She filled it with cold water and walked with it down to the basement. Liesel followed, in a vain attempt to stop
her. “Mama, you can’t!”
“Can’t I?” She faced her briefly on the steps. “Did I miss something, Saumensch? Do you give the orders
around here now?”
Both of them were completely still.
No answer from the girl.
“I thought not.”
They continued on and found him on his back, among a bed of drop sheets. He felt he didn’t deserve Max’s
“Now, let’s see”—Rosa lifted the bucket—“if he’s alive.”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!”
The watermark was oval-shaped, from halfway up his chest to his head. His hair was plastered to one side and
even his eyelashes dripped. “What was that for?”
“You old drunk!”
“Jesus . . .”
Steam was rising weirdly from his clothes. His hangover was visible. It heaved itself to his shoulders and sat
there like a bag of wet cement.
Rosa swapped the bucket from left hand to right. “It’s lucky you’re going to the war,” she said. She held her
finger in the air and wasn’t afraid to wave it. “Otherwise I’d kill you myself, you know that, don’t you?”
Papa wiped a stream of water from his...
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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