One or two other people, colorless,
unremarkable. A community of discards, unwanted at the front, rejected by the
Volkssturm, the civil defence. A few of our group are missing: the baker, who's
gone out to his garden plot to bury his silver (he's the only one in the
building with a red Class III ticket), and Fräulein Behn, a brash spinster who
works in the post office, who just raced off to fetch today's news sheet during
a lull in the bombing. Another woman left for Potsdam to bury seven of her
family who died in the heavy bombardment there. The engineer from the fourth
floor is also absent, along with his wife and son. Last week he boarded a barge
that was to take him and his household goods along the Mittelland Canal to
Braunschweig, where his armaments factory has been moved. The entire workforce
is heading for the center of the country. It must be dangerously
over-populated - unless the Yanks have already arrived. We no longer know a thing.
Midnight. No power. An oil lamp is smoking away
on the beam above me. A sudden spike in the constant drone outside sets off our
mania, and we all wrap our cloths around our mouths and noses. A ghostly Turkish
harem, a gallery of half-veiled death masks. Only our eyes are alive.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...