Remember the German crybaby? Well I’d be crying as hard as him if I were in Deutschland right now. My brother just linked me the craziest video of public executions going on somewhere in Germany.
It’s like 35 seconds long and it keeps getting pulled off the net, but I found this copy….
I officially can’t find the video anymore, and the, shall we say, back channels of the internet, can’t seem to find it for me either. I wish I wasn’t in such a hurry before, I would’ve downloaded the thing if I had a steady mind.
It wasn’t pretty. First there’s a shaky camera struggling to focus while in the background the camera man is speaking fast in hushed German. The picture clears just as you hear a young girl’s pleading screams and armed men in military BDU’s come in to the frame from the other side of a tree, one holding back the hysterical girl by her wrists while three others fight to drag what seemed to be her mother, who was dressed in only a nightgown and had burlap sack tied tight around her neck by a sleek black chord.
The nightgown was a pearly white and clung closely to her breasts where the blood that spilled down her was darkest. For such a slender framed woman, she was monsterously strong, flailing against her three oppressors, managing to push one off every other moment. They punched her in the stomach with sickening thuds as the camera zoomed in closer, but the woman continued her fight, swinging wildly. They butt her in the back of the neck with a rifle, and her rage slackens, but not enough that she comes quietly.
Then there’s darkness alternating with light as the camera man moves behind the trees to get a better shot of the soldiers, and there’s hesitation from the filmer as loud pops that sound like gunfire ring through the tense air. Then he stops behind a tree and there’s a moment where he sees what you’re about to and swears under his breath. The next thing you know there’re are floodlights flanking a long wall with dead bodies all covered in blood and burlap. Christ, the bodies were piling, and some were even missing hands and arms. The mother is carried, kicking and screaming ferally, to the forefront of the death wall, and, before she even touches down, a fifth soldier moves forward with a thick knife and slits her throat beneath the sack. One of the three restraining her runs out of the frame and you hear retching noises, while the two others relax their grip.
Here’s what I’m freaking about, she kept fighting. Darker blood running in rivers down her chest from her open neck, and the woman struggles ferociously as ever. The soldiers all seem stunned as I was, and the little girl even manages to get away from the one holding her, and then there she is, running, crying and gasping to her bleeding mother. She manages to pull a tight hug around her mother’s waist just as the woman sent the two stunned soldiers flying sideways. Her arms free, she feels for her daughter, tightens her grasp below the girls shoulders, and pulls her up. In the final half second of footage, I can’t tell what the hell is going on. The little girl is going up, the mother’s head is coming down, but you see the girl start to scream in pain as the video cuts.
That’s it. What in the actual fuck. What in the goddamn world is happening over there? There were at least 20 bodies laying shot and bloody. Military floodlights around an execution wall? BDU’s and live firearms in civilian areas? It’s fucking sickening. I hope that little girl’s okay.
I gotta get to work, and get this off of my mind. That stupid sale might help.
My father killed himself; it was a very drawn-out affair, and it ended in a gasping, wheezing struggle. I was born about half-way through his suicide. I imagine I first came in contact with his chosen poison when his yellow stained, calloused fingers touched my newborn skin in the starch white delivery room. I probably even coughed a little through incessant cries as he breathed the stink of it on me to say, “That’s my boy!”
I grew up watching his self-destruction. I can still see him on my fifth birthday carrying the cake, a slight trail of smoke behind him. The candles were ablaze as I watched him start off the Birthday Song with lopsided lips as he kept the poison tipped between them. He coughed a little then, too, right between, “Happy Birthday dear,” and, “Noah.” It happened as he was putting the cake down and made a candle go out. With a grin to match my grimace, he leaned forward and re-lit the bubbly wax tip with the cherry of his cigarette.
Since then, I always thought of him as a human candle, which was pedantic at first, but then all too fitting. Cigarette after cigarette kept a steady stream of smoke issuing from his mouth, melting away the wax years of his life. At his deathbed, I peered at the stub that was my father, his eyes absent the spark of life. Shaking with grief, I leaned on his bedside table. My trembling fingers knocked something to the ground.
Through wet eyes, I looked down upon my father’s killer. Still sobbing, I stooped to grab the pack from the pristine white floor. I whipped the tears from my eyes, opened the carton and found it was full. I pulled a single cigarette from the fold and brought it to my lips. I had never smoked before, and after my first and only drag, I coughed up a cloud of smoke like a drowning victim spits up water after CPR. I walked to the window and placed it butt-down on the sill. I watched it burn out of life, just as my father.
Now, once a year, I buy a pack of his favorite smokes, take just one, and crush the rest. I turn off all the lights, spark the tip, place it butt-down, and watch it burn. A candlelight vigil for the man who gave me life.
I read this twice! The relationship between your father and his cigarettes is brilliant. That must have been a very sad thing to go through. It has made you stronger, though. It has made you brilliant. Well done.
“It’s been twenty two long years, old girl. You would’ve loved her.”
The dog wags its tail as the man’s strokes reach from crest to neck. They are alone. Groaning a little, the man leans and plays the dials on the small radio cassette player. Hissing, whirs, whistles. A break in static, a start in coherent sound.
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through.
He sits back sighing, the dog’s head in one hand, his eyes on the dull gold band on the other.
“You should’ve seen us, old girl, you should have seen us. No one could Jitterbug like we could; swingin’, and swayin’, and smilin’ the whole time. She was the most beautiful gal there, lass. Had a glow about her, like street lamps on Christmas Eve, and she chose me. You should’ve seen us.”
His eyes stare past the grass in the huddled candle light.
In that small cafe; the park across the way, the children’s carousel; the chestnut tree; the wishing well.
“When we landed at Normandy, I told God, ‘God, if I make it through this one, past this hell of a beach, if we push these German bastards outta France, have a girl there waiting there for me.’ I’ve never seen a beach the same way since, old girl. No matter where, I’ll stare at the shoreline and see helmets bobbin’ lost, pockmarks in the black sand, my buddies bloody, and gone. I fought through hell, old girl, but in the streets of Paris, I found my angel.”
His eyes focus. He stares from dog to tombstone, the lilies sitting cold like dying flesh.
I’ll be seeing you through every lovely summer’s day, in everything that’s light and gay,
I’ll always think of you that way.
“And when we took the city, girls poured out of buildings on to the streets like flowers poppin’ in the spring, runnin’ up and kissin’ cheeks and lips everywhere. Sarge said if any G.I. didn’t get laid that night, he was a sissy. Two girls on each arm for each man who made it, or still had two arms, but mine found me. She pulled me from a crowd of French easies and said, ‘Sorry Chief, but the blood rushing through you now won’t help that gash on your head.’ Boy, oh boy. I tell you, old girl, there were things happened to me in that war knocked me breathless, stunned me for what felt like lifetimes, things that I will never forget, but nothin’, and I mean nothin’ compares to when I first laid eyes on Sarah.”
His eyes become wet, and his breathing punctuated. The dog brushes its snout against his leg.
“Twenty two years and I still haven’t forgotten the feeling she gave me, like my heart stopped beating and started tap dancin’ on wet ice instead. Just thinkin’ about her it feels like that now…”
He palms his chest, sweat beads on his forehead. The dog whimpers.
“She named you, old girl. I don’t think I ever told you that. Said if we ever had a daughter, Lily was what we would call her. She loved lilies, she would’ve been nuts about you.”
I’ll find you in the morning sun, and when the night is new…
“Every day since she died I watch the sunrise like we did the night we won Paris, and every night I think of her when the moon glows like she used to. I’m so sure she would’ve loved you, old girl, and you her. So sure. You’re the only two that ever bring me back from the war, you were the only two that made life life again. Come here, Lily, old lass.”
He pulls the dog towards him and kisses her forehead.
“Don’t ever think that because people are dead they don’t love you; and don’t ever stop loving people when they’re dead, d’you hear me? Nothing good ever dies.”
He closes his eyes, hands clutching the dog and his chest.
“I love you so much, old girl. Sit and watch the moon with me.”
He leans higher on the tombstone, he had been slipping before. He pulls the dog closer and holds an arm around her. Minutes pass, and he slips down again. Whimpering more, the dog nudges him softly with its snout, licking his face. His eyes were wide staring upward, lost in the sky.
I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.
“When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies,” but because of the life we saw prior to the words. I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”—
“Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where you end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel, always. Be you, and be okay with it.”—