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Heil Hitler!

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posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 02:15 PM
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"Heil Hitler!" Terry's arm shoots out in a Nazi salute. The troops in the yard freeze ramrod straight. Stiff arms jerk up.

"Heil Hitler!"

"Heil Hitler!"

"Hey Hupta!" shouts Ros.

Terry's eleven. He's the oldest so he's the Captain. Ros is the youngest. She's only three but she tries.

The rest of us play War at recess so we know exactly what to do. Goose step. Salute. Roar. "Heil Hitler!"

We're farm kids. School is our only break time. And we live for recess. But when the last bell rings we all go straight home. None of us gets to hang.

Everyone has chores after school, and before school. Weekends we work morning to night, no sitting or resting or reading. On warm sunny days we work twice as hard because it might rain tomorrow. The work comes first.

We have no rights, no time of our own except what we steal.

But today is special. My brother Greg just turned seven. We're having a party.

Before today, none of us ever went to a birthday party. Work always comes first on the farm. And there's always more work. Parties aren't on the program.

But this sunny day, prime for farm work, we're having a birthday party. It is truly astonishing.

"Boy. Was the old man ever pissed! The old lady made him quit plowing and drive us," says Tom.

"Here too," nods Bradley.

"How'd Jody pull it off?" Karen demands.

Jody is my Mom. She moved here to Westpoint Valley in 1949 to teach school, hooked the town's best looking bachelor, got married and stayed. But she never was a real farmer's wife. It was totally beyond her. Physically and conceptually.

"She said it's illegal to make kids under twelve work on Sundays," says Joe.

"Yeah," nods Tom, "and she threatened to call Children's Aid. She'd do it too, wouldn't she?"

"Yep. She's nuts!" grins Bradley in admiration.

That's my Mom. A bit crazy but she makes things happen. This time she moved a few mountains to make us a party. And she put a lot on the line. Had to. Couldn't have happened any other way, not with Westpoint farmers. She's our hero.

So here we are. The sun's shining. It's playtime. No work. Laughing, running, screaming. "Heil Hitler!" Goose step, march. Collapse on the fresh mown grass. Breathless freedom. Life is sweet.

Thanks Mom.

"Seig Heil!"

"Heil Hitler!"

"Up periscope!" shouts Terry, and scans the horizon. All clear. "Surface!"

On deck, waves wash over our bare feet. Salt spray tickles our noses. Yellow sun touches blue water. Seagulls call softly and a gentle breeze offers a tender caress. It's a beautiful day on the ocean.

"Heil Hitler!"

"Heil Hitler!"

"Hey Hupta!"

Suddenly Mom charges out of nowhere. Raging, screaming, "Don’t you DARE salute Hitler! Not here! That man was a MONSTER!" White flecks of spittle fly from her mouth, escorting every purple word.

"Destroyer!" shouts the watch.

Aaaoooogaaaah. Aaaoooogaaaah. "Dive! Dive! Dive!"

"Cut the engines!" orders the Captain. We sink slowly, quietly, settle on the sea floor. Hide in the rocks. Complete silence. Depth charges explode overhead, rocking our submarine with every blast.

The destroyer patrols back and forth, back and forth, dropping charges as she goes. But she can't find us. We're too quiet. Her radar is useless.

Finally, she gives up in defeat and chugs away. We all sigh with relief. But it might be a trap. She could be lurking too, with her engines off.

We maintain total silence, check for damage without a making sound. All is well. One hour, two hours pass. No sign of the destroyer.

Seven hours later, we're still playing possum. Half the crew is prostate from the killing heat, dripping sweat, gasping for air, the other half shivers and shakes from the freezing cold. We're running low on oxygen. If we stay down much longer, we won't survive.

The situation is critical.

"She’s probably gone. Trying to catch up with the convoy," whispers Bradley. "They gotta be 100 miles away by now."

"Check," murmurs Greg, "chances are good we're in the clear."

Beseeching Terry with our eyes, willing him to take the risk, we beg him to save our lives. Karen gasps, choking for breath. Ricky goes into convulsions.

Tom crawls on his belly towards Terry, writhing in agony. "It's your call, Captain," he croaks bravely. Then his head hits the deck, hard.

"Start the engines," shouts the Captain, "All ahead full!"

The crew is ecstatic. "Yeahhh! We made it!" Fifteen troops recover miraculously, stand at attention.

"Heil Hitler!"

"Heil Hitler!"

"Hey Hupta!"

"Oh #." The destroyer’s right on top of us. With a wooden spoon the size of a baseball bat.

"How DARE you?!" she screams, whacking and wailing, "How DARE you!" Bam.

"You may NOT!" Whack!

"Salute Hitler." Thump.

"On MY property!" Wham!

Bewildered, the troops stagger to the bridge. No one thinks of looking for a weapon.

"Hitler killed MILLIONS!" Smash!

"Do you HEAR me?! MILLIONS!" Wham!

"Do you KNOW what he DID to those people!?!" Thump!

"Experiments! TORTURE!" Smack!

"He ripped BABIES from their mother’s WOMBS!" Bam!

"Mom. It’s just a game, Mom," Davey explains tearfully. "Please, Mom, stop," he pleads, tugging at her blouse.

Whomp! Davey’s on the ground, moaning. A neutralized five-year-old.

"And you are SALUTING that monster!" Whack!

"How DARE you!!!!" Smack! Thump. Wham! Bam!

Every kid at the party takes at least one direct hit. Most are crying. It's the apocalypse, all my mother's making. She's a lethal force of nature. A raging eruption. Venting deadly fury, spewing hot lava, hurling burning rocks, heaving boulders on our backs.

Our guests stand stunned, reeling from the shock.

A crow divebombs the party from the roof of our old Victorian farmhouse. Pulls up. Caws one, two, three times.

Jody stops still. She looks around befuddled like she doesn't know what happened. Muffled sobs break the sudden silence. The crow caws again. Tractor engines rumble in the distance. A cloud passes overhead, drops shadow bombs.

Her eyes open wide. She knows. Time to retreat and regroup.

"In the house!" she snarls, pointing at me. "NOW!"

Captain Terry's tough, but under his grim stone face he's petrified. Speechless. Immobilized. His eyes, glistening, say what his mouth cannot, "I can't help you. I’m sorry."

It's a long walk to the kitchen door. I'm in front of her, blind, wishing I could see what she's doing, waiting for the next blow to fall.


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posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 02:17 PM
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Nothing happens. She deflates in the kitchen. Rage, then collapse. That's how it works. She always sleeps, after.

But today she keeps herself upright, pulls the ice cream out of the freezer, puts it on the table by the cake.

I brace for aftershocks.

"We'll dish out the ice cream," she says gamely, pulling herself together.

"Then we'll light the candles, take the cake outside and sing Happy Birthday. We can play Pin the Tail on the Donkey," she ventures with a small smile. She spent hours making that stupid donkey, painting it just right.

I don't speak a word. Won't say treats and party games can make it better. Cuz they won't.

"You should be ashamed of yourself," she says, starting up again, her eyes sharp and shiny.

"Are you?" she challenges, practically foaming at the mouth.

"No," I answer truthfully, "I'm ashamed of you."

It's not what she expects.

I exhale, tensing for the blow.

She doesn't hit me, just looks suddenly sad, deep down inside, and bone tired. Kind of hopeless.

But she rallies. She doesn't give up easy, this one.

"Hitler was evil," she states with absolute conviction. Her anger is justified, she insists, talking on about dead Jews and Gypsies. Gassed Ukrainians and Poles. Disabled children, murdered.

"The Nazis didn't just kill Jews," she confides, intense. "People don't understand what really happened."

"The Nazis decided who was useful and killed the rest!" she keens, her eyes darting to the door.

"The Nazis took people who were hurt, sick, disabled. People with deformities. Poor people. And those who thought differently," whispering, "Everyone who disagreed with them."

"They called them troublemakers. They took them all and put them in forced labor camps. Made them prisoners!" She searches my eyes for proof of comprehension, picks up speed.

"Prisoners who couldn't work were used for experiments, or murdered! Gassed!"

"The Nazis turned people against one another," she races on. "Children against parents! Friends against friends!"

Her points rattle off like machine gun bullets.

"They took small differences and made them big. They manipulated every tiny disagreement into conflict. And every conflict into war!" She's jabbing and stabbing the ice cream for punctuation, blanketing the tabletop with cake crumb flak.

"The Nazis made LIFE a war!"

"Every charge was a conviction. Every verdict was 'Guilty!' Every sentence was death!" Her voice comes loud and fierce, fighting, then soft, in a whisper, hiding. Her face gleams white, damp. Her hands shake.

"How would YOU like to be told you aren't good enough to be human? That you aren't smart enough or strong enough to stay alive?" she asks passionately.

A sparrow bumps the window. Her eyes flash naked fear.

Suddenly, I understand clearly.

She hears Nazi jackboots on the steps. She knows she can't measure up. Her debilities show like a yellow star on her chest. And she's waiting to be taken away. To be judged inferior. Declared unfit as human.

I would turn her in myself.

"Tick, tick, tock," mutters the clock on the wall. The window's wide open but no sounds reach the kitchen. Fifteen kids outside, dead quiet. Flies buzz.

Her fear passes. The intensity is gone, replaced by awareness, resignation.

"I can't help it, you know," she sighs, wiping her forehead with the back of her trembling hand.

I'm caught between sympathy and condemnation.

"It's okay, Mom," I say, bleeding quietly.

But inside, I'm screaming, "It's NOT okay you treacherous BITCH! You can SO help it! You don't TRY! You RUINED it! We finally got a chance to have some fun but you WRECKED it! I HATE you!"

I don't believe her when she says she can't help it. I'm young and I'm strong and I know behaviour is a choice. We're all responsible for our own actions. But I don't say it out loud.

She doesn't push it. Just gives up and scoops ice cream.

Now, I know. She had that invisible plague no one talks about. The one that gives you cold sores inside your body. It screws you up in a hundred different ways even before it mutates. It ate up my mother's body from the inside, cell by cell. Took out her organs one at a time, slowly, so slowly, she had to savor every hurt and pain and loss.

And it got to her brain. She really couldn't help going crazy every so often. I know that now. But then, I didn't know.

It was just another betrayal.


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[edit on 25-11-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 06:50 PM
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Overall, I like it. I especially like the kids 'sinking to the sea floor' and the mother chugging away -- that was clever! (altho, I had to wonder - did they 'sink' into tall grass? how did the kids actually manage to disappear from the mother's sight?)

My only questions (I hate giving criticism, so I ask questions instead
) are -- how can you remind the readers of the scene? Especially when the mother is firing off the facts about Hitler - what is she doing? what does she look like as she's speaking?

Likewise, when the kids are in the submarine - how are they standing? one next to another, one in front of another? Where are they in relation to the rest of the party? (Do any of the other guests notice their game and make comment/gestures?)


Overall - I like it.
The dialogue is snappy, and I felt the mother's rage at her past... I guess I just wanted a little more to the scene itself, her appearance as she's telling these facts.. and which ones were *her* experiences, as opposed to 'common knowledge', so to speak?




posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 07:42 PM
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deseria

Overall, I like it. ...I had to wonder - did they 'sink' into tall grass? how did the kids actually manage to disappear from the mother's sight?) ...My only questions (I hate giving criticism, so I ask questions instead ) are -- how can you remind the readers of the scene? Especially when the mother is firing off the facts about Hitler - what is she doing? what does she look like as she's speaking?

Likewise, when the kids are in the submarine - how are they standing? one next to another, one in front of another? Where are they in relation to the rest of the party? (Do any of the other guests notice their game and make comment/gestures?)




Thanks for compliments and the gentle crit deseria.


The original piece was about 3 times as long - I slash and burn for that Hemingway effect.


But I do slip. I agree the mother's rant needs more descriptive - not sure about the submarine fantasy tho, the ambiguous weaving back and forth between fantasy and reality is part of the story - and disassociation comes with the turf. Plus, I want to keep that 'Calvin and Hobbes' feel. Not sure tho.

You've given me lots to think about.

Thanks again,

sofi


PS. I was worried that the 50's place-and-date made the story less accessible, although I do see it as part of a series of similar ones, with other 'stories' more current. ...Comment or opinion?

PPS. Edited, added description to the mother's rant. The submarine fantasy bit is too tricky for me to edit right now tho.



.



[edit on 25-11-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 07:12 AM
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As far as the submarine description -- there doesn't necessarily have to be a break between reality and fantasy... One could very easily show the kids playing in, say, a field of tall grass (as seen from the other guests), and describe the grass as one would water... Thus, accomplishing both the fantasy and the reality, but giving ample sight of both.


"They took small differences and made them big. They manipulated every tiny disagreement into conflict. And every conflict into war!" She's jabbing and stabbing the ice cream for punctuation, blanketing the tabletop with cake crumb flak.

"The Nazis made LIFE a war!"

"Every charge was a conviction. Every verdict was 'Guilty!' Every sentence was death!" Her voice comes loud and fierce, fighting, then soft, in a whisper, hiding. Her face gleams white, damp. Her hands shake.

"How would YOU like to be told you aren't good enough to be human? That you aren't smart enough or strong enough to stay alive?" she asks passionately.


This section *really* popped out.. I *saw* the mother standing at the counter.. (assuming it was a counter? maybe a table? ... profile? or directly facing her son?)

About it being the 50's -- to be honest, I write 'sans timeframe'... so I didn't even consider what year/decade it could have been. However, to heighten this particular aspect (if it's indeed important to the story), you might take a moment to describe little details of the kitchen. *thinks* say, the boy looking at the [enter 50's desc. of style] floor, or the way that the mother dresses (maybe how her chest puffed as she spoke, or the sound of the textile as she moved).

Truly, the beauty of writing is that the time/place can be accessible to anyone -- so long as you create a realistic view... of the place, of the characters, and how they embody the time in which they live.

You don't necessarily have to break out of the story to place a description of anything -- it's the tiny details added in the appropriate places that heighten the sense of setting, without actually disrupting the action. (Methinks this is the art of writing... knowing how and where to place these details.)


A few more questions while I'm thinking of them.


The moment when the mother hears the boots... Thus far, the story is from the boy's point of view -- be careful if you break from that. How might it work if someone was actually walking up the porch wearing boots (so that the boy/reader could hear it too), and how could you show her reaction to this sound? (beyond her internal feeling of fear: How can you show it so we & the boy can see it? ...the look in her eye, her stance, her composure, the way she grips the ice cream scoop...?)

Likewise, what are the boy's (how old is he by the way?) immediate reactions to her statements? Obviously he's angry because he was torn from his game; but, her actual words regarding Hitler, while she's giving this rapid-fire speech? And if there isn't any, if he's just caught in shock because of this speech, that's fine too. I was just curious.


Knowing by the end that she, herself, experienced this horror, how can you show this while she's giving her speech? Ie., if she had a tattoo (as many did), does she have one? does she show it to him? Maybe some details, if she herself witnessed people/family being dragged off -- belying the fact that she actually saw the events?

Because these facts are so readily available for anyone who's doing a research project, the details of her actual experience are what can make the scenes of yester-year really pop out for the reader and her son. --- Maybe, try writing out the scenes that she witnessed, then come back to this, re-write it from scratch, and see what comes out? or, write that scene from the mother's point of view?
... I feel like there's more going on in her head than she's letting on.. even more than what we're given privvy to by the end of the story, when the boy's obviously older. (Is that ending section even necessary -- if these details can be shown in the actual scene itself?)

Okay! I'm done!


I don't mean to over-burden you with my questions. Often times, these types of questions are the ones I ask myself when writing a story - trying to tease out all possible details that might lend sight to the scene itself. (I write dialogue first, then fill in the scenes later. So because I have the dialogue, I have to search the characters individually to find out what else their gestures/faces/composures tell beyond the actual words spoken.)

Keep it up! You've got me hooked!



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 07:45 AM
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This story had a very personal impact on me which goes back to the early years of the '50s. Being born in 1946, in Holland, which at the time was a country destroyed by a combination of Nazi Occupation, Allied bombing and the resultant drowning when the dykes were blown by retreating German forces, I was privy to exactly the anger the mother in your fiction felt.

Let me set a stage here... my earliest recollection of childhood memories are fields of brick rubble, large holes on old walls, rusting war machines and tripod beam structures on beaches. By that time, the war would have been over for 5 years, but emotions still ran high, especially in the city of Deventer where I lived until I was 5.

My grandfather was active in the underground during the Occupation and ran the risk of the firing squad every day. Because of this resistance, his family also faced the same threat. My mother was an actress before and during the war, so she was very much in the public eye and ran even greater risks if she was suspected of collaboration. It must have been a horribly tense time for her, if not the entire family.

In '54, we packed up and left Europe for good. My step-father, in a German prisoner of war camp for the entire conflict since he was a Dutch Intelligence Officer, was shipped off to Indonesia for the war there shortly after Germany's defeat. He was wounded by machine-gun fire while there and wished no more of Europe's wars and decided Canada was the safest place on the planet.

The rest is more or less mundane, but the reaction of Jody to the children playing Hitler could well be a page from my own history. My parents were horribly affected by the atrocities which they had seen and told me about. No, they weren't Jewish or wore yellow patches, but my mother had to endure unending tension due to the presence of the occupiers and my step-father's experience in the POW camps is unbelievably harsh.

Their hearts were hardened to such a degree that the story you wrote actually brought tears to my eyes as I remembered how they would react to anyone of German descent...even the local baker. It was unrelenting hatred and I think it was that emotional time bomb which eventually took both their lives while they were still in their 40's



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 01:43 PM
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Diseria and Masqua, thank you. I was going to respond to you both in one post, but it seems I ran on, and likely, out of bandwidth...


Diseria - I greatly appreciate your criticisms, thank you.

Still, I need to think about your suggestions and be cautious, to ensure that I write my own story, and hone my own style, not yours.


My fictional writing is minimalist - and purposefully so. In large part, I leave gaps so readers can excercise their own imagination, draw on their own experience - and thus, leap any barriers that might be created by gender, time, place, ideology or philosophy. My goals go beyond the manipulative - I want to engage, not to entertain, but rather to open new doors in the mind.

For example, you assume that the protagonist is a male, while in the backstory she's female - but for this story, gender needs to be ambiguous so that both male and female readers can identify personally, and deeply. Apparently I succeeded. ...In film, the child would be androgenous.


Diseria
As far as the submarine description ... One could very easily show the kids playing in, say, a field of tall grass (as seen from the other guests), and describe the grass as one would water... Thus, accomplishing both the fantasy and the reality, but giving ample sight of both.


True. But for example, you suggest that I "describe the grass as one would water" - when my point is that the fantasy is TOTALLY dissociated from the reality. This in part reflects a Calvinesque approach, but also presages the "abuse dynamic-response." ...In film, the visuals would change dramatically and completely between the fantasy and reality.

...You are looking for visuals - and your mind is changing the details provided because the story purposefully allows you to do so - ie, you see "a field of tall grass" where the text says "fresh mown grass." Which is okay - for you and the story - the engagement is subconscious.

...if I already have accomplished the purpose - establishing that there are both reality and fantasy worlds in play - then the descriptive becomes extraneous to the story, and may distract inappropriately.

If I were writing a script, I could describe the scene to the last detail - but my fear is that in prose, visuals here would distract from the backstory focus - and from the raw emotion.

The question is, of course, "Have I done enough here?" Not sure.

The REALITY: Everyone has chores after school, and before school. Weekends we work morning to night, no sitting or resting or reading. On warm sunny days we work twice as hard because it might rain tomorrow. The work comes first. ...We have no rights, no time of our own except what we steal. ...But today is special. ...We're having a party. ...Before today, none of us ever went to a birthday party. Work always comes first on the farm. And there's always more work. Parties aren't on the program. ...So here we are. The sun's shining. It's playtime. No work. Laughing, running, screaming. "Heil Hitler!" Goose step, march. Collapse on the fresh mown grass. Breathless freedom. Life is sweet.

The FANTASY: "Up periscope!" shouts Terry, and scans the horizon. All clear. "Surface!" ...On deck, waves wash over our bare feet. Salt spray tickles our noses. Yellow sun touches blue water. Seagulls call softly and a gentle breeze offers a tender caress. It's a beautiful day on the ocean.

As it stands, the focus is on the backstory - a desolate world of work and NO fun - replaced by a completely fantastical coping strategy. ...But instead of saying that, I simply do it - and let the reader fill in the blanks as they will.

...In film, this story might be a flashback. Does it need more visuals or other sensory referents, as prose? Very few, I suspect, if any.



desiria

soficrow
She's jabbing and stabbing the ice cream for punctuation, blanketing the tabletop with cake crumb flak.


This section *really* popped out.. I *saw* the mother standing at the counter.. (assuming it was a counter? maybe a table? ... profile? or directly facing her son?)



Thanks for your suggestions here - I had deleted descriptions when I posted, because it disrupted the flow, then put some back after you suggested I do so. I think it works now. So thanks again.

BTW - The text says it's a "tabletop" - so it's a table.


And FYI - the two are on either side of the table, facing each other. The child is placing pieces of cake in bowls, the mother is adding the ice cream. Important visuals for film - but extraneous to this story I think, and would, I suspect, distract from the stripped-bare emotion of the rant.




About it being the 50's -- to be honest, I write 'sans timeframe'... so I didn't even consider what year/decade it could have been. ... However, to heighten this particular aspect (if it's indeed important to the story),



Anyone doing the math, or considering history would see it. But the time frame per se not important, and the story is better if the timeframe disappears into the emotion, imo. My concern was that the timeframe might have distracted, which it appears not to have done - but my expectation is that the situation is fairly universal, in general if not specific.




The moment when the mother hears the boots... How might it work if someone was actually walking up the porch wearing boots (so that the boy/reader could hear it too), and how could you show her reaction to this sound? (beyond her internal feeling of fear: How can you show it so we & the boy can see it? ...the look in her eye, her stance, her composure, the way she grips the ice cream scoop...?)



Done: "A sparrow bumps the window. Her eyes flash naked fear."

Minimal, but effective I think - the sparrow hitting the window sounds like a jackboot on the step - it likely works on a subliminal level. Which is okay, imo, and fits with the reality-fantasy confusion. ...In film, a quick 'flashback' type of visual would work best, I think.





Knowing by the end that she, herself, experienced this horror, how can you show this while she's giving her speech?



Another mistaken assumption, but illustrates the importance of allowing the reader freedom to imagine. ...In her backstory - the mother came to adulthood surrounded by soldiers and immigrants who experienced the War firsthand - she heard the stories, saw the effects, but did not experience it herself. Many people of that age had a personified awareness of such removed events, in a way that is now lost to our culture.




... I feel like there's more going on in her head than she's letting on.. even more than what we're given privvy to by the end of the story, when the boy's obviously older.



There is more going on in most peoples' heads than is apparent - and it is good to be motivated to consider not just the likelihood, but also what it might be. ...It's also good to recognize that even tomes of detail can barely touch (never mind encompass) the reality of any individuals' emotion-memory-awareness composite. IMO - it's destructive to support the illusion that one can understand completely - the essential balance is achieved with hints ans tastes.





(Is that ending section even necessary -- if these details can be shown in the actual scene itself?)




That ending section is not only necessary - it's pivotal to the larger story - it's the foreshadow, and the hinge. See my response to Masqua, next.


.

[edit on 26-11-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 02:04 PM
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Masqua

This story had a very personal impact on me ... the reaction of Jody to the children playing Hitler could well be a page from my own history. My parents were horribly affected by the atrocities which they had seen and told me about. ...Their hearts were hardened to such a degree that the story you wrote actually brought tears to my eyes ...I think it was that emotional time bomb which eventually took both their lives while they were still in their 40's




Masqua, thank you very much for sharing your story - and also, for confirming that I "caught" the reality of those experiences.

I want this story to stand on its own - but it is only part of a larger project. And your comment "I think it was that emotional time bomb which eventually took both their lives while they were still in their 40's" leads directly to the big project, and the main backstory.

The end section is pivotal - and foreshadows the big story.





She had that invisible plague no one talks about. The one that gives you cold sores inside your body. It screws you up in a hundred different ways even before it mutates. It ate up my mother's body from the inside, cell by cell. Took out her organs one at a time, slowly, so slowly, she got to savor every hurt and pain and loss.

And it got to her brain. She really couldn't help going crazy every so often.




I mean this bit quite literally - Supposedly, the 'problems' of war survivors are purely emotional/psychiatric, as in "post-traumatic stress disorder." But...

MAIN BACKSTORY - This story says that a real physical disease was disseminated in WWII - which affected brain function, not just 'physical health.'

...The chemicals and drugs used in WWII all were designed by the same companies, based primarily in Germany - and supplied to both the Allies and Germans.

Either by accident or design, an infectious disease was disseminated (or created) by these chemicals and drugs - which continues to spread, and which to everyone's surprise, also can be transmitted both congenitally and genetically - the final effects of which are now being seen in the form of a chronic disease pandemic (all with the same molecular pathology, ie, stroke, cancer, heart disease).

THE BIG STORY is about the legacy of this disease - its effects on peoples' lives through the ensuing generations, as illustrated in the 'Heil Hitler' story above - its discovery - the cover-up conspiracy - and the end result.


Thanks again,

sofi


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posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 02:47 PM
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Sofi -

Indeed, I do not intend to hijack the story from you! I had to deal with that in my 'advanced' fiction writing class -- 'if it were my story, I'd do this....', or 'it might better if you said this...' Frustrating! That's why I ask questions, because that way I highlight what was confusing/unclear to me, without impeding on your writing process.


Details are a fine art.. a constant worry with me. (And I offer apologies, as it seems my personal worries are leaking all over your story!) Methinks it leeches from my classes in Chicago, where sight was very important -- showing the story rather than telling it. However, this may not necessarily be the case with the story you wish to tell..

In fact, I'm in a heavy internal debate about the fact that I didn't know that the child was at the table with the mother -- did I necessarily need to know that? I thought the child was sitting on the floor, looking up at the mother. But, is that detail necessary? ...I cannot honestly answer.

I do not think that details necessarily detract from the rant, if, as you said, used sparingly. However, (and this is totally my own opinion) the rant may be heightened by a direct and constant sight of the mother.

Ie, my issue with the sight of them at the table -- details of her hands, the creaks of the table because of her physical pressure on the ice cream, her facial expressions... If the child was on the floor, these details may not have been experienced.
The question then becomes: are they truly necessary for the meaning of the story to come across?

To be fair, I had no idea that the mother, herself, did not experience it. The tension I felt with her character told me that it was her own experiences. Arguably, one *might* say that these details are necessary to show how the fear and hatred was passed down along with the physical disease... But, again, I cannot to say a concrete 'yay' or 'nay'.

However, I can say that your explanation helped me understand pieces of the story, pieces that I, otherwise, would not have understood straight from the story. And Masqua's post (omg! *hugs*!) brought it slam-dunk into reality... It's one thing to read a story because there's always that sense of detatchment - no matter how real the story seems, you know that it's fiction. But, Masqua, your words outright smacked me! (in a good way!) Between the two posts, I understand the intent of the story better. (Might any of those details be included so that such explanations aren't necessary?)

Stories are not simply entertainment; they *can* be, but many stories are used to teach.. be it historical facts, morals, whatever. In fact, I'd argue that thee best stories are far more than simple entertainment --- this is why I gave up on popular fiction!!!

The fact that the people afterwards trusted absolutely no german at all is intriguing to me... *that* is a story in and of itself!



Above all else, my comments are strictly from reader to writer -- I may be a writer, but I definitely do not want to impede upon your own writing style.

Positively Forbidden Territory!!


(The teachers always told me that it was the 'fiction writer's license' to steal ideas... But, for the most part, I outright refuse to do so -- in any form or fashion!) ...however, it does remind me of a story that I put aside years ago - a re-telling of the medical experiments in the concentration camps. I might just hafta pull that sucker out!



I am, above all and anything else, truly and very sincerely sorry if any of my questions struck you as me trying to usurp your story.


The craft of writing, and the individual's craft, is sacred to me.



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 02:58 PM
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Diseria - PLEASE, I am really grateful for your comments and questions.

...I just wrote the internal dialogue it generated - and THAT is subject to revision and evolution.


I really am not sure how to best tell that story - but I do see it as part of a larger work (as described in my post to Masqua above) - so many of the questions you have are answered elsewhere.

...Partly, it's a mystery-thriller - and the backstory is revealed slowly - even though I already sketched it out.



.



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 03:00 PM
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Oooo.. more parts!!

Do we get to read those too?



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 05:14 PM
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To add a distinct element of Nazi food to this thread, I should tell you what my step father had to endure.

As I related previously, he was a soldier in the Dutch Army when Holland was invaded. Lucky enough to have survived that blitzkrieg, he was captured and sent off immediately to a POW camp, which, of course, provided slave labour to German Factories within Germany itself. He was in that predicament for the entire war and, no doubt, was fortunate indeed to survive the endless bombing of those facilities.

To the food bit...

The Germans were interested in non-perishable food preparations which could be used on the battlefield and tested their viability on those prisoners who had to do labour, much like a foot soldier would endure during a campaign.

The idea was not to starve these POW's, but keep them fit for heavy work...so the experiments were mostly benign. However, some nazi genius thought nutrients locked into plastic cubes might be efficient. The chewing would eventually release whatever nourishment was imbued within and the remnants could then be spit out.

The down side was the amount of plastic which was inadvertantly swallowed. To his dying day, my step father blamed his stomach cancer on those plastic cubes. It took him 7 years to succumb.



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 09:21 PM
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masqua

The Germans were interested in non-perishable food preparations which could be used on the battlefield and tested their viability on those prisoners who had to do labour, ... some nazi genius thought nutrients locked into plastic cubes might be efficient. The chewing would eventually release whatever nourishment was imbued within and the remnants could then be spit out.

The down side was the amount of plastic which was inadvertantly swallowed. To his dying day, my step father blamed his stomach cancer on those plastic cubes. It took him 7 years to succumb.




I'm sorry Masqua.

At the same time, that is good info I didn't have - and I'd like very much to use it.

May I have your permission please?

.



posted on Nov, 26 2006 @ 09:39 PM
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Of course you may use it...it's family history and the cause of much bitterness. The plastic cube story was told to me many times, so I don't doubt the validity at all.



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 04:50 PM
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Thanks masqua. Here's another instalment...


***


Their eyes meet, disengage, meet and disengage again as they approach each other. Both men wear gray jogging suits. With glasses and Nikes. Two nerds out for a run, taking a break from their microbiology conference, appreciating nature and culture in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden at the Winnipeg City Park.

They pass each other sprinting, by the 'boy-with-boot' sculpture, nodding acknowledgment. Two minutes later they meet again, in the deserted gazebo above the duck pond behind the visitor center.

Collapsing breathless on a wooden slat bench at the back of the structure, they slouch side by side and look around. As expected, the surrounding area is almost empty.

Only an unkempt gray-haired old woman sits on the stone steps leading down from the gazebo to the pond. She's wearing large, cheap hearing aids and a rastafarian-esque multi-colored crocheted beret. Her beige wool coat, dirty and off-season, is open over a stained buttonless blue cardigan and a worn ankle-length flower print dress, also stained, with a ripped hem hanging down. A white cane and two brown paper shopping bags lean against her left leg. She's adjusting her hearing aid with her right hand, while throwing bits of bread into the water with her left, feeding the ducks.

Assured of their privacy, the two men ignore her and lean in closer to one another.

"They got Martin last night," Bill whispers. "A mugging in the Cock and Crowe parking lot. Fatal."

"Did Martin's article pass the peer review?" Charles asks quietly.

"No. Looks like the Lancet sent it straight to Novartis for comment first," Bill says, his voice unsteady, low, his face pale. "It never went any further."

"You think Novartis is behind this?" Charles chokes, incredulous.

"Not directly, I'm sure. They're too smart for that," Bill shakes his head. "Besides, this is bigger. There's more than just one company involved."

"I don't buy it. No company is going to kill off their key researchers!" Charles exclaims. Agitated, his voice starts rising, "But I still don't get it! What's the connection?" He is becoming palpably distraught.

"Microbiologists are dropping like flies all over the world. Ten we knew personally, already dead. Why one and not another? And who's doing it?!" he asks, frantic.

"Quiet!" Bill cautions nervously, peering down the path that leads to the gazebo. A rabbit gazes quizzically back at him, mildly curious, unafraid. In the surrounding bushes, squirrels race limb to limb, oblivious to the ephemeral problems of errant microbiologists. Birds chirp. Insects buzz. In the pond, a duck pokes its bill at a chunk of bread, says thank you, "Quack-quack," gulps it down and circles round for more. Frogs ribbet unconcerned. Still nobody around but the bag lady. Reassured, he looks back at Charles.

"It's the prion thing," he states, sotto voce.

"Oh pah!" Charles responds in withering tones. "Then why is Prusiner still walking around? Why is Aguzzi still publishing?"

"They're gagged," says Bill, simply, unequivocably. "And they're not fighting it."

"Oh, really?" scoffs Charles, unbelieving. "Look at what's come out in the last four years. Everyone knows prions can be created inside the body, and pharmaceuticals are implicated. Everyone knows that prions use the immune system to spread in the body. Everyone knows that once they're created, prions hitchhike opportunistically on viruses, bacteria, molds, other microbes. They cross species, genus and kingdom barriers. Everyone knows." He pauses, out of breath from intensity, then starts up again.

"Everyone knows prions create new strains in response to any change - shifts in temperature, oxidation, exposure to new cells, radiation, chemicals. Prion diseases can be acquired, sporadic, or familial. Everyone knows! Prions are spread in hospitals, on medical devices, in blood and other biological products, vaccines - by insects too. They can be passed on congenitally and cause mutations and genetic change. Everyone knows! It's all common knowledge. None of it is proprietary. There are no prion secrets!" Charles concludes, throwing his hands up in pure frustration. Finding nothing but air to hold on to, he drops them back into his lap.

"Prusiner and Aguzzi go along with the closed definition," Bill counters impatiently. "That's the key. So people think the only important prion disease is Mad Cow. They think prion diseases only infect the central nervous system, and only involve the so-called prion gene. Scientists know about the links between prions and the chronic disease epidemic, but ordinary people don't."

"So? Most people don't understand basic science, never mind microbiology. So what? What do common people have to do with microbiology? Or dead microbiologists?" Charles shakes his head, exasperated. "Nothing!" he insists, "Absolutely nothing."

"Jesus. What will it take for you to wake up?" hisses Bill. "A gun to your head?"

"You really think someone's out to kill every microbiologist who's researching prions? Gimme a break," drained by the drama and uncertainty, Charles closes his eyes and leans back, resting his head wearily against a post behind the bench.

"Don't you get it?!" Bill bursts out, grabbing Charles' arm. "They're happy to let us do their work for them, as long as we respect our confidentiality agreements. They'll even let us publish once in a while. But we're not allowed to talk publicly, even about data already in the public sphere." He shakes Charles' arm, forcing him to open his eyes. Then he fixes him with a glare and takes a deep breath.

"Open discussion is a death sentence, even in closed meetings," he says through clenched teeth. "We can't talk about the evolution of prion-related diseases, or industry's role in creating and spreading prions, or even the fact that chronic disease is prion-related. We can't say anything."

"If that's true, then I signed my own death warrant this morning," laughs Charles. "I hardly think... " His voice trails off as the bag lady appears at the top of the stairs holding her shopping bags and white cane in one hand, and a revolver in the other.

"That's apparent," she snorts. "You hardly think. It also explains why a man put a bomb under your car in the parking lot. And just for your information, it's not talking about prions per se that pose the problem. What'll get you killed is linking prions to autoimmunity, myofibroblasts, tissue remodeling, and pandemic connective tissue disease."

Bill and Charles sit up straight, simultaneously, confusion and fear etched on their faces.

"Who are you? What do you want?" gulps Charles, his eye on the gun.

"I'm not here to kill you," the bag lady says. "But I saw two men in a blue car pull into the lot after you parked. One put a bomb under your car. I was right there. I saw him do it. The other guy followed you. After you met your friend Bill here, he went back to the lot. I can see the parking lot through a clearing from where I sit on the steps. The men talked, and now, they're both coming this way."

"So I'm thinkin' you might want to escape," she continues pointedly, after a short pause.

"Wait a second," Bill interjects sceptically. "You're telling us this guy put a bomb under Charles' car while you watched? But he didn't do anything to you?"

The bag lady chortles sardonically.

"Look at me," she s'n-word's, just a touch inappropriately. "I'm old and female. Which makes me invisible. Besides that, I'm poor, carry a white cane and I'm obviously a little nuts. Which characteristics, all together, make me a glorious Ninja in this God-forsaken bloody world," she cackles. "I can go anywhere and do anything. If I don't get too close to nice clean healthy people, nobody cares. Most people don't even see women like me. Those who do, write us off as absolutely inconsequential."

"That man has a gun!" shouts a frightened child in a high-pitched voice from somewhere in the near distance, out of sight beyond the path's curve.

Charles blanches. Bill's face rearranges itself rapidly, several times in succession, settles on bewildered fear.

"But Mom, I saw it!" the child cries out, more quietly.

"I can help you," says the bag lady, "But it's like this. Even though I'm lucid at the moment, it might not last. So move. Now!" and she vanishes silently into a hidden service path camouflaged behind the gazebo.



.

[edit on 27-11-2006 by soficrow]

[edit on 27-11-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 08:51 PM
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Those are very good soficrow. The second one calls to mind the firing and slander job the government did on Dr. Haydon and Dr. Chopra, two scientists who spoke out against the inadequate regulations regarding mad cow and the stockpiling of antibiotics after the antrax scare.

The first one captures the cycle of abuse very well.



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 08:45 AM
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Thanks clearwater. Your praise means a lot. ...Yes, reminiscent of Haydon and Chopra - the 'dead microbiologists' story is real - but this is pure fiction, and any similarities to actual people or events are totally coincidental.

...Both sections need editing and maybe rewrites, which I'll get to later - but I couldn't stand the opening of the second part so I just took a shot at a quick edit.


***

It's an old story. Two nerds out for a run, taking a break from their microbiology conference, appreciating nature and culture in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden at the Winnipeg City Park.

Their eyes meet, disengage, meet and disengage again as they approach each other. Both men wear gray. Jogging suits with glasses and Nikes. They pass each other sprinting, by the 'boy-with-boot' sculpture, nodding discreet acknowledgment.

Two minutes later they meet again, in the deserted gazebo above the duck pond behind the visitor center. Collapsing breathless on a wooden slat bench at the back of the structure, they slouch down side by side and look around. As expected, the surrounding area is almost empty.

Only an unkempt gray-haired old woman sits on the stone steps leading down from the gazebo to the pond. ....

.



posted on Feb, 16 2007 @ 07:24 PM
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The only thing I could add is that you might want to be a little more descriptive, its a problem I have. Mine is generally that I will jump too fast and think I have written something, when in truth I have left out key words here and there.

This was very good, it could be excellent. If you can make the reader, taste, feel and smell the environment that was the farm.

I hope you found this constructive and not condescending


[edit on 16-2-2007 by Royal76]



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