The arendt files, p.27
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       The Arendt Files, p.27

           Ivan Rosemblatt
 
John was at the wheel again. The local roads had proven too slow with their countless potholes, reduction to one lane and detours caused by unpassable bridges so they had been forced to take a state highway for a while. They were making good time, almost alone in the predawn hours.

  The Goy spoke first, “Nazi's up ahead. 500 meters.”

  “I see them.” John started to reduce his speed. “Check point guys. Wake up.”Jimmy and Zach stirred in the back.

  Two jeeps straddled the road along with an armored truck mounted a with large caliber on it's back facing their direction.

  The Goy spoke again, “Three men on the ground, one officer, three, no, two in the armored car.” There were jeeps parked on each side of the highway headlights on to illuminate that section of road.

  As they approached one of the soldiers directed them over to the left side, he wore a ankle length jacket to protect against the night chill and a black rounded helmet on his head. The officer approached the driver side window hands behind his back. As soon as they stopped all three surrounded the car and pointed their flashlights inside. Zach and Jimmy pretended they were being woken up by the beam directed at their faces, and sat up. Zach rubbed his eyes.“Where are we?”

  John answered, “State border.”

  The officer approached the driver side window and tapped on the glass. He wore two silver pips and two silver stripes on the collar patch; senior enlisted rank for a non commissioned SS officer. John rolled down the glass.

  The officer spoke, “Heil Hitler. Heil Schummer”. None of them had on the red and blue stripes, german born.

  “Heil Hitler, Heil Schummer. Guten morgen offizier. Ein wenig kühl an diesem Morgen würden Sie nicht sagen?” John spoke German with a strong midwest accent but his pronunciation was crisp and correct.

  “English will be fine.” Answered the officer, “Yes, quite cold. What has you out at such an early hour?”

  “Just trying to make good time. We are miners. I'm an engineer, Mike here is a mechanic, works on the big machinery. We are just on our way to a new assignment”

  “Papers please.”

  “Of course.” John reached into his jacket pocket. Their papers were all impeccable forgeries, typed on German typewriters on SS letterhead with authentic stamps. Still his heart was pounding and he was inhaling and exhaling in an even rhythm through his nose trying to keep himself from shaking praying his voice wouldn't splinter and crack the way it did when he was a teenager and he asked his first woman out.

  The officer stepped aside for a moment to examine the papers. On the other side of the car one of the soldiers tapped on the rear passenger window and gestured Zach to roll down the glass. He leaned in through the open window stinking of booze. A bear of a man, in his fifties, unshaven, his face was puffy and wide, his eyes cold and indifferent.

  He started to poke, prod, and grab; pulled Zach's cigarettes out from his inside jacket pocket and took them for himself, pulled him forward by the back of his head to get at his back, pulled his shirt out from his pant, shoved his fingers under his waistband deep towards his ass then shoved him back again. Hands into his front pocket groping around his inner thigh, jabbing his fingers into his balls, he took the cash, reached in again to get the coins. “Shouldn't you at least by me a drink or something?” The soldier punched him under the ribs as he pulled his torso out from the car. Zack felt like he had been kicked by a Mule as he doubled forward. The impact of the blow forced the air from his lungs and an involuntary moan escaped his mouth. The officer craned his head at the noise and in time to see the soldier shove Zack back with a palm to the face in a final gesture.

  “He stared back down at the documents examining them more closely now. Which mine is this?”

  “Breckenridge Mine out in Pennsylvania. Their moving us all out there from Colorado.”

  “What mineral are you mining for.”

  “In Colorado?”

  “No, Pennsylvania.”

  “Nickel.”

  “What type of processing do you do?”

  John got very scared, “What kind of processing?” he thought, “Who the hell is this guy?”

  “We use mond.”

  “A little old fashioned, yes?”

  “You are an mining engineer as well? Not many people know about processing?”

  “No, I am not an engineer. I will need to see work papers.”

  “Is there anything wrong officer?”

  “Work papers.” He held out his palm and looked away into the dark roadside.

  “They're in glove box. Can you grab them Jimmy”

  Jimmy reached for the latch and the officer snapped. “Halt! Halt!”

  John froze and his heart rose up into his throat. The shrieks pierced his ears, it's high pitched anxiety forced his shoulders up in protective spasm. It was the sound of a man unhinged, an electrical wire suddenly exposed shooting off sparks. Now a metallic taste filled his mouth and the weakness of fear flushed over him. “Fuck, so much work. Years, gone. They all want to be like him.” An image of Hitler's shouting at endless crowds came to him. “They want to be like him. Now what? I will have let her down.”

  John rolled his tongue over his teeth feeling for the cap with the cyanide filling. He would have to be quick, as long as they didn't get him the others would have no information to give.John had no idea what he had done wrong. The officer face had immediately gone bright red from the force of his screams and his luger was out..

  “Out of the car now, all of you, slowly!” the soldiers outside were confused but they stepped back and raised their machine guns.

  “We're miners. I told you.” John's hands were raised above his head and he was flinching as the officer pointed his pistol right at his head.

  The Goy spoke up in a loud very friendly voice as he raised his hands and gently waved them to just show they were there, in the open. “Yes sir. We are getting out of the car see.” The Goy slowly opened his door and kept speaking in a gentle friendly voice, “Yep we are sorry to bother you this early in the morning. I'm going to step out now very slowly.” As he stepped out he kept his hands in the air and shoved the door closed with his hip. Everyone was watching him and no one else moved. The officer still held the gun at John's head.

  “My friends a little annoying. I'm not sure why, he's just always been that way. I'm gonna grab my papers now, real easy.” John reached into the pocket of his trouser for his ID, as he pulled it out it fell to the ground. “Well darn it.” As he bent over, one hand still held up facing out in a gesture of surrender, the other reaching down for the I.D.

  The officer's eyes eyes darted back and forth between John and the Goy crouched down, with a sense of natural timing that made it almost impossible to follow he took a quick skip step forward in the millisecond gap when the Nazi's eyes looked away, grabbed the officer behind the ankles pulling his feet out from under him, dropping him down and out of sight like a fishing float disappearing under the surface.

  John saw The Goy fall silently with his knee crushing the officers windpipe and grab the Luger out of his hand. He also had enough presence of mind not to turn and watch as he circled to the rear of the car The soldiers craned their heads over the hood confused, not sure what was happening. In those few moment of hesitation the Goy shot them both from ground level, the barrel of his gun barely protruding from behind the rear passenger side tire.

  The moment the shots rang out Mike and Zach burst out of the car running, guns in hand fanning out to opposite sides of the armored truck. The soldier perched atop the truck pulled back on the cocking mechanism as the second lifted his submachine gun. The MG08 opened up on the car, muzzle flashing. Inside John froze: fabric, metal, shard of glass, sprung up around him. He knew that he should move but his body would not respond. Mike and Zach shot as they ran attempting to divert fire from the car and create a moments pause as the gunner was forced to choose his target, their bullets ricocheted harmlessly off the thick armor shell.

  John had no idea if
he had been hit, perhaps he was already dead. Urine poured down his leg as his bowels went loose. He saw the head of the soldier firing the Sturmgewehr 44 splash liquid red as Zach approached from the left. The Goy sprinted out from behind the car running full speed towards the truck. The machine gun started to swivel towards him but he had covered the necessary ground in an instant. In one leap he jumped onto the carriage out of its line of fire. With his next jump he was over the top hatch straight back and out of sight. The machine gun went silent for a moment and a second later the grenade flew up and out of the top as it exploded. They didn't know if it had managed to kill the man inside. After another pause, Jimmy scrambled up on the right side to the top and without looking, reached into the opening and emptied his clip down through the porthole. Finally, everything went silent.

  The Goy reappeared from behind the armored truck moving at an easy jog right towards the car. He opened up the driver side door and looked at him. “You're alive?”

  “You sound surprised.”

  “Heck yeah I'm surprised. The car you're in was opened up on by a 50 caliber machine gun. Are you hit?”

  “I don't think so. I shit myself.”

  “That's alright. Everybody shits themselves in their first real fire fight.” The Goy was lifting up John's clothes, leaning him forward as he spoke, checking for wounds in such a matter of fact way that is set John's mind at ease despite his embarrassment.“Well, 'I'll be darned You really aren't hit. You are one lucky son of a gun.” the Goy leaned back and took a second to think, “We need to get out of here fast.” John saw Zach and Jimmy make their way over to the car. They no longer looked like the joking boys of a few hours earlier, they were men, warriors, it was as if light was emanating from them, all their flaws erased.

  Jimmy nodded at the Goy, “He alive.”

  “Yep, he made it. Zach, John here shit himself. Help him get cleaned up real quick. We need to clear this area double time. Jimmy you and I need to get these bodies into the truck there. I'll push it from behind with the jeep over there while you steer. We put them behind that rise up about 500 yards to the right” He looked back at Zach and John. “You guys move fast we may have no time. I'm getting into the officers clothes. If anyone shows up put you hands on your heads and act like prisoners. It's our job to get this man wherever he's headed and it just got a heck of a lot harder.”

  Once they had hidden the bodies and the vehicles The Goy had taken them load into the jeep. He found the maps for the area and they covered as much ground as possible for two hours, then in a move that surprised him, they turned off the main highway heading over dirt roads deep into the country and eventually out into open terrain. They went as far as the terrain allowed, unpacked their gear and sent the jeep into a deep ravine. From there, he lead them off into the wilderness.

  He drove them hard as they hiked into trail-less territory. He showed them the town they were headed for, a hundred and fifty miles northeast. He kept them warm with fires, fed them with trapped animals, built their shelters, kept them alive and healthy in an area where they would have perished in on their own. John and the Goy decided they needed to lay low for a couple of weeks. Time was of the essence but survival came first. There would be heightened security in the whole area but the Goy hoped that his plan would throw the German's off their trail.

  After a week of pleasant camping by a stream, eating trout and sleeping by a campfire under the open sky he moved them to within eight hours of the town. There he set them up in a new camp and disappeared into the night. He returned the next evening, appearing as if by magic, sitting next to them by the campfire. “How you fella's doing?” They had nearly died of fright. It was as if he had appeared out of nowhere “We'll move out tomorrow at sundown. That way we will hit town after midnight. I've found a car no one should miss for a couple of days. That should get us back on the road.”

  Chapter 28

 
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