I first saw him

at the library. He was old and feeble

but there was an iron strength

inside him.

What people don’t realize

is that society

undermines reality.

If enough people say

the same lie

it becomes true.

They can only pay attention to

simple things.

I looked at him, reading a book on tank warfare

by Rommel.

Not many men interest me

He was the exception.

His white hair was slicked back to his skull

with grease.

His mustache was bushy, but I could tell it was thinning with age.

I wanted to meet him, but not just a casual meeting

like, “Hello, sir. Interesting book you’re reading.”

No. I wanted to know him, and learn his ways.

“Excuse me, sir. Can I buy you a coffee?”

“Naw. I don’t drink the stuff, but schnapps—I like that. Why do you ask?”

“I don’t know. Interesting book choice.”

“Yah. It’s an interlibrary loan. My commander in the second world war wrote it. See!”

He pulled a golden chain from his wrinkly neck and showed me the Iron Cross.

“You aren’t a Nazi?” I asked.

“Oh, no! Nothing like that. Although, in the vwar, I was, in name only. I had to be, as a ranking officer—otherwise, I would’ve been shot.”

“What a horrible situation,” I said.

“Not as bad as what you deal with.”

“What?”

The corruption of your media is similar to Hitler’s propaganda. The new Nazis are walking the goose-step in the name of tolerance, and the new vwar will be here soon enough. You will have to fight the communists and the fascists. Do you believe in America?”

“I’m not so sure what that means.”

“Ah, propaganda is rotting your country. In Germany, we believed in the Fatherland.”

“That’s just not how it is in America, anymore. It’s everybody for themselves.”

“Corruption. You don’t have any strong leaders—just bureaucrats. How many men will die for someone who wants to save their job? The answer is NINE. My dear boy, every battle is lost or won before it is ever fought. Would you like to go for a ride in my Oldsmobile?”

“Sure,” I said.

He was a stranger, but I was no longer a child. Strangely though, when I was in his presence, I felt like a child.

“We’ll get some schnapps.”

His car was from the 60s. When he turned the ignition, the beast rolled-over in its grave. His arthritic hands shifted into reverse. He reached into the back, and put on his captain’s hat.

“Do you like Wagner?” He asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Good.”

The dark music played, as he increased speed. We passed the golf course.

“Do you play?” I asked.

“No. I play at changing the world. Games are not for me.”

We had our schnapps, and I enjoyed his company. It was strange to be close to somebody, so close to death, and yet, he didn’t know it. That must’ve been what got him through the Ardennes.

“Will you be in Maple Valley, much longer?” I asked.

“No. I travel to DC, to see about the vwar crimes happening to this country. It became my home after the vwar. If you can’t make people listen to your vwords, you have to use other means.”

“Like what?” I asked.

He pulled out a Luger. “If they don’t respect the uniform, they always respect the gun.”

I wished him well, and went home, and from that day forward, I scoured the news for a mad German, still fighting a vwar.

The End

2 thoughts on “Iron Cross

    1. Yes, it was inspired from watching a movie the night before. It had to do with Nazi war crimes, but what the movie did really well, is humanized the characters. An evil man that you can relate to, is more frightening. That said, my character in the story isn’t evil. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, meltingneurons!

      Like

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