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Unformatted text preview: ith his ears,” Rudy finished. “He can’t—”
“Right, that’s it.” Deutscher rubbed his hands together. “Both of you—six laps of the grounds.” They obeyed,
but not fast enough. “Schnell!” His voice chased them.
When the six laps were completed, they were given some drills of the run–drop down–get up–get down again
variety, and after fifteen very long minutes, they were ordered to the ground for what should have been the last
Rudy looked down.
A warped circle of mud grinned up at him.
What might you be looking at? it seemed to ask.
“Down!” Franz ordered.
Rudy naturally jumped over it and dropped to his stomach.
“Up!” Franz smiled. “One step back.” They did it. “Down!” The message was clear and now, Rudy accepted it. He dived at the mud and held his breath, and at that moment,
lying ear to sodden earth, the drill ended.
“Vielen Dank, meine Herren,” Franz Deutscher politely said. “Many thanks, my gentlemen.”
Rudy climbed to his knees, did some gardening in his ear, and looked across at Tommy.
Tommy closed his eyes, and he twitched.
When they returned to Himmel Street that day, Liesel was playing hopscotch with some of the younger kids,
still in her BDM uniform. From the corner of her eye, she saw the two melancholic figures walking toward her.
One of them called out.
They met on the front step of the Steiners’ concrete shoe box of a house, and Rudy told her all about the day’s
After ten minutes, Liesel sat down.
After eleven minutes, Tommy, who was sitting next to her, said, “It’s all my fault,” but Rudy waved him away,
somewhere between sentence and smile, chopping a mud streak in half with his finger. “It’s my—” Tommy
tried again, but Rudy broke the sentence completely and pointed at him.
“Tommy, please.” There was a peculiar look of contentment on Rudy’s face. Liesel had never seen someone so
miserable yet so wholeheartedly alive. “Just sit there and—twitch—or something,” and he continued with the
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- Winter '13