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  • Kirk Barbera

The Worm in the Brain by Kirk Barbera

This story is about three men. Three men who were from different worlds, but men nevertheless. These three men worked like men must, they loved as men are wont. The first was a Jewish man with dark, silky hair named Chaviv. He was in love with a girl whose equally dark hair far surpassed his in beauty and grandeur, Abira.


Chaviv worked as a filing clerk in Poland – 1939. 


The next man was Giomar. He loved his country, loved his job, and loved being German. He was tall and strikingly handsome without a single mark of war on his pristine body. Giomar, unfortunately, had recently discovered that the woman he loved had chosen another higher ranking officer to marry. This tall, blonde headed officer of the German war machine sought absolution at the bottom of a bottle.


The last man, Jurgen, was a superintendent for a quite profitable wool plant outside of Hamburg, Germany. He loved his cute German wife in their quaint old German house and their three beautiful daughters. Jurgen was not a particularly political man, but he believed that it was Germany’s fate (and the fate of all Germans, thereof) to be the dominant force in Europe. He didn’t really care for this Hitler character, so long as he had a job, a roof over his head, and a place to pray with his four beauties.


Saturday at 8:00pm marked the day Chaviv would ask his love to marry him. If only the clock would move faster! He thought. He became so distracted he accidently misfiled most of his work for the day, and his German superior in charge of his manufacturing plant told him, rather wryly, that now he must stay late and fix his blunder.


“And none of the lazy Jew work I’ve seen you do lately. I want everything in order!” The old, fat German gesticulated.


What fate, Chaviv thought to himself. “May I take a short break, sir? Before I tend to my work for the night?” he asked, head down, hands politely interlocked in front of him.


“I don’t care, just get it done by morning,” spit the old German.


Chaviv scuttled away and slipped outside to the cold Polish night air. “Ah, my love, I’m sorry. But as God as my witness, I will come to ask for your hand in marriage tonight.”


As he said this he pulled out a letter, he had intended to give to his love after he formally spoke to her parents.


It read:


                        My Dearest Jewel,
            Words are stymied in my throat as I consider the world we now live in. Every second wasted is a drop of water filling the boat of doom. If on Tuesday morning I am to be killed, life, joy, and all the happiness of my twenty years would be fulfilled if we were married Monday night.
            My love, your voice fills my mind with a sweet nectar that produces unforgiving tremors. Your skin fills me with the courage to take on any adversary. Your hair, oh! Those soft willows waving through the winds of my swollen heart bring to me a joy I have only experienced in youth. And, my beauty, your eyes – those jewels of my crown – their light shines an effervescent spotlight on my entire being.
            My dearest one, you are my guiding spirit, my meaning, my purpose, and my animating source of life!
            What I am endeavoring to espouse, my dearest Abira, is: I love you.
                                    Chaviv.


Chaviv took the letter reverently and put it to his lips, then slipped it in his vest pocket, after the manner of man. With grave determination he entered the office, politely nodded to his boss as he left the building for the night, and diligently went to work. His every movement was precise and singularly determined to finish quickly, in order to get to his Abira.


Two blocks away Giomar, the German Army Officer, was indefatigably imbibing a river of alcoholic beverages. Luckily for Giomar, two other officers decided to join him and help their friend overcome his sorrow. They all gregariously reveled in each other’s company. The two friends didn’t really have much to complain about, but for some inexplicable reason, however, all their accomplishments – the beginning of their great adventure to conquer Europe which had started splendidly, their veritable dominance over all Polish people around them, their very numerous female conquests – never seemed to satisfy them as much as getting stone cold drunk did.


These three friends back slapped and shared old stories, eventually convincing Giomar that they had the perfect means to relieve his suffering. Giomar grinned stupidly in satisfaction, when he heard the proposed idea.


Outside Hamburg, Jurgen was arriving home after a strenuous day at work. His wife greeted him with a kiss and a cheerful “Welcome home, my love.”


The fire crackled in his quaint old fireplace and his three blonde daughters ran in joy to their returning hero – father. He sat them all around him and told them an ancient story of the ancestors to the modern German, and how they took over Greece, to become the lost Spartan society which has recently become the envy of the modern, man-made societies of Europe.

“Dear,” chirped his pretty wife, “next month can you be a little more careful about how much money you send to The Great Cause? I had trouble getting your favorite duckling to cook you. 


“I simply can’t, dear,” he responded laconically. He quickly added, “My colleagues might suspect I’m involved in some clandestine seditious acts, if I don’t keep up my extra voluntary funding! You know I don’t care for politics, but I have to keep up appearances after all.”

His wife gave him a sly smile and kissed him on the nose. “Well,” he began to concede, knowing how pleasant agreement would be. “I suppose I could attempt to send a little less to the German Officers Fund this month. They are hitting us quite hard with these blasted taxes! How’s a man to operate a sound business? I know The Great Cause must come with sacrifice, but if I can’t pay for supplies, how can I help provide the needed uniforms for the growing number of new recruits?”


“That’s right dear; you do have such a burden. Why don’t you put the children to bed, and maybe I can help relieve your stress.”


Jurgen forgot all about his dinner.


In the cold Polish night Chaviv finally finished his filing work. He grinned, patted his vest pocket, and began on his way. It was much later than he’d hoped, but he was fully committed to asking his love to marry him tonight, even if it meant waking her parents – oh! That did make his blood go chill. Her father’s ruddy countenance sometimes scared him more than a drunken German!


“Where will we find one?” Giomar slurred, as he and his two friends clonked their heavy boots down the cobbled Polish streets. “Where is everyone? HA! This place stinks like rats. Rats and Jews, that’s all this rotting land is full of. Why I had to be sent here? It’s punishment, it must be,” he said while spitting on an ancient looking cobblestone house – the light inside was immediately snuffed out and everyone, a small Jewish family, sat huddled in terror within.


“Come out, come out little Jewey rat,” said one of Giomar’s friends, and then he kicked the side of the door, which caused him to fall down and land in a puddle of mud. Giomar and his still upright comrade began laughing hysterically. Instinctually, the fallen comrade’s hand went for his pistol, then his friends tried to help him up, and he couldn’t resist laughing along with them.


Inside, a seven year old girl began to sob. 


“All right, let’s just call it a night boys,” said Giomar growing weary of their quest.


They all nodded, still chuckling at their clumsy friend.


As they walked toward the officers housing unit, a smallish black haired man ran a corner and accidently barreled right into Giomar, almost knocking him on his back. Chaviv looked at Giomar as a bunny trapped in a net by a fierce hunter. His hand instinctually touched the letter by his heart, and he issued a silent prayer.


There were no words uttered. Chaviv was thrown against the wall and the back of his head slammed against the ancient cobbled house, with the petrified little girl still sobbing within. The three men he saw in front of him grinned as though God had come down and presented them with a royal concubine suited for their pleasure.


The time span was mere seconds, but Chaviv saw the slow motion movement of Giomar’s hand progressing to the Luger on his side holster; a pistol, provided by taxes paid by all his German brothers back home. Chaviv could smell the rancid liquor paid for by a special German Officers fund. Chaviv attempted one motion – to reach for the letter next to his heart. He did not desire to plead for his life, his only wish was that they get the letter to his beloved; if only she could know, was his only thought. His hand had the letter gripped tightly as he was going to voice his last plea – but the crushing sound of a devastating blast emanating from a drunken German officer’s state issued side arm exploded through the night air, ejecting a small cylindrical bullet manufactured in a little German town several hours from their present location – a bullet made by a German who loved his boss, and thought the Fuhrers mustache looked ridiculous – a bullet packed by an almost completely senile old German – a bullet transported by numerous German men and women of all types; the widely traveled and dubiously created bullet left the chamber of the gun at an incredible speed. And exploded through Chaviv’s forehead, blasting the back of his head out with brain, blood, skull, and one dream to love a Jewish woman named Abira, during these terrible times.


Giomar knelt down, picked up the letter, and after he read the first three words he hastily tore it up, and threw it to the wind


His friends patted his back and laughed at the last pleading look on the pitiful rats face.