Tenth song: Sting – Russians

Godammit, how am I supposed to write to this….

An old classy gramophone stands on a rickety table against a wall. Al Bowlly sings a popular 30'ies song, If falling in love is a crime, then I'm guilty –

"You're not human." Cold eyes are aimed at a beaten figure in a chair. "You're filth, not meant to live."

The beaten figure cannot even grimace. Its head and arms hang down heavily, bereft of all hope. Bowlly keeps singing: Maybe I'm wrong dreaming of you, dreaming the lonely night through. This is all that punctuates the silence for a while.

"Jews are God's enemy; you should fear Christ and Hitler his disciple," the fanaticism shines through and colours an otherwise pretty face dark and morbid.

The figure lifts its hand to the right side of its face where a star is carved in with a knife, destroying the forehead and, presumably, also the right eye. The intense colour of the blood seems to weaken the red colour from its hair.

The colonel looks down at the figure, his eyes so condescending they cannot even hold hatred. Just pure disgust. He wants to waste no more time preaching to this infidel, he is not one known for patience.

What can I do, what can I say? After I've taken the blaaame -

A subordinate officer raises his rifle, looking at the dark-haired colonel inquiringly. He nods. "Kill it dead, it never deserved to live," he orders, and takes his leave.

The figure raises its head.

Maybe, I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, loving you dear like I do.

"How can you say that?" the figure speaks. The split lip opens again, and starts bleeding.

The colonel, heading for the door, turns around with a face that could be mistaken as surprised.

"Don't we all breathe? Don't we all die? Jews love their children too," the words are slurred, but with no accent, like the colonel had expected. And the cold soldier takes a step towards him, at first wanting to punch the abomination, but then to satisfy his sudden curiosity.

If it's a crime, then, I'm guilty.
For the first time, the beaten man catches his eyes. If the colonel hadn't been a fighter of outstanding willpower himself, the sheer spirit in the near-dead man's gaze would have shaken him to his very foundations.

"I will prove you wrong," sound the words from his bleeding mouth. For once in his life, the colonel is taken aback. And he is amused by this; never has he wanted another to mean what he says this much. Then prove me wrong, Jewish man.

Then I'm guilty of lov-

The absurdly misplaced song comes to an abrupt halt as loud gunshots fire holes in the far wall, knocking over the table and sending the gramophone to the floor in a cloud of dust and debris. "The rebellion! The rebellion is attacking!" someone yells from outside. All officers run out to counterattack. The Jew's star-shaped wound is still bleeding. He will be marked for life, and he will never get his grandfather back.

He glares at the colonel still standing in the room, eyes now burning. All the gunshots and yelling from the other side of the walls do not drown out his words. "I will prove you wrong," he repeats.

11th of December 2010

EDIT feb/2011: this chapter has been revised

Russians by Sting
by Al Bowlly (1931)