“I’m waiting for INCEPTION.” Steve’s cousin was performing in that apocalyptic film. She was part-French. Blonde too. Most of the men in the exchange had a a weakness for schiksas. It was a religious thing.
“The only good film I saw this summer was GOOD. It was about a good Nazi.” My coffee arrived from the little shop in our building. I tipped the Mexican $1. We were the only two goys in the exchange.
“A good Nazi. There’s no such thing.” Manny my boss offered from the safe. This was his mid-morning break from shuffling bills. “Every German was a Nazi in World War II and now all their kids are Nazis.”
“What kind of car do you drive?” I pouredg a packet of sugar into my coffee. I had lived in Hamburg. Six months. I could speak German. Three years in high school. Mostly Ds and one F.
“I thought so.” My high school teacher was from Bavaria. He chain-smoked in class. My grades in German cost my scholarship. I didn’t blame him. He sent me Christmas cards even after I graduated from Xaverian.
“What’s that have to do with anything?”
“Just that you hate Germans and drive a German car.” I hadn’t met many good Germans in Hamburg, then again I was working at a nightclub owned by a pimp.
“I shouldn’t drive a good car, because there are no good Germans.” Manny was adamant about this verdict, however an older woman Nancy across the aisle rose from her chair. “Quiet.” Nancy had lived through the Nazis. She came from Vienna. Her accent was Mittel-Europa. Those dreadful childhood years had not stolen her elegance. The recent death of her husband had saddened her, however she was still good fun and never was offended by my offers to spirit her away for a long weekend in Paris. Welsh rarebit at La Flore. the at The Plaza Athenee, and a glass of wine on Ile St. Louis.She wagged her finger at Manny. “You don’t know Germans like I know Germans.”
“No one’s arguing that.” Manny was well aware that Nancy had survived the camps. She never said which one.
“If anyone can say that there are no good Germans, I can.” His wrist bore a tattooed number. “Truth is I never met any. Not in the war years, but my cousin he was gay. His boyfriend was an SS officer. He loved my cousin so much that he hid him in his house. My cousin was happy with this arrangement, because while no one knew exactly what happened in the camps, we all knew it was nothing good. A year goes by and the SS officer asks my cousin what is wrong. He tells his lover that he is worried about his parents, who are hiding in a small town. The SS Officer asks, if my cousin wants to see them. My cousin is too scared, so the German goes instead. When he comes back, he says that my cousin’s parents have been re-settled. They survived the war, because the SS officer arranged their transfer out of the death camps. My parents were not so lucky, so there were some good Germans. Just not enough of them. Was that movie any good?”
“GOOD?” Her question was posed to me. I thought about it. “No, not really, but it’s better than anything else at the cinema.”
“Would you take me to see something nice?” Nancy smiled going back to her desk. “I haven’t been to the movies in years. Not since my husband passed away.”
“It would be my pleasure.” I took a pair of diamonds from Steve. They were in my price range. He lent me the Arts section. I read the movie ads.If anyone could revitalize my movie experience it would be Nancy. Women her age don’t eat pop corn. Only chocolate.