Chapter Five. Daifuku
Hindenburg Lane, next to the Berlin store
“You’re pale. Look at your face, it’s drawn. You’ve got dark circles around your eyes. Would you like a glass of wine?”
Oh no, lady, thank you very much. I don’t drink wine, anyway. Definitely not after what happened earlier today. My whole body is aching like hell. It’s as if they took me apart, limb by mechanical limb, then handed my body parts over to a drunken plumber to reassemble and wrangled some horses over me before throwing me into the path of an Eicher tractor. You wouldn’t want to feel what I’m feeling, girl, that’s for sure.
I blink. “Thanks. Odin’s priests are obliged to celebrate a monthly Vegetarian Day to remember the Führer. So today it’s cabbage patties and Karlsbad mineral water for me.”
She sniffs, then makes a show of helping herself to a slice of turkey. The Schwarzkopfs zealously stick to their diet which is supposed to reflect their convictions. They avoid pork (without even considering the fact that we have Muslims serving in the Idel Ural Legion and the Croatian SS Kama Division), they don’t drink beer (even though the production of Rhine vineyards isn’t limited to grape juice) and ignore sausages, even veal ones. And in view of the Führer’s vegetarian practices, some of the die-hard Schwarzkopfs even refuse vegetable foods. If they eat salad, they make sure it has meat in it: and not the sophisticated Alpine wurstsalat, but an obnoxious local dish which Russlanders call Olivier although the appellation Titanic might have been more apt: a pile of chopped veg and chicken hugging each other in terror as they drown in a sea of mayo.
The bubbles in the water tickle my tongue as I gulp it down. My tablemate has chosen a rather revealing dinner attire: a hugging purple dress with a deep décolleté exposing almost all of her braless cleavage. Her nipples are so stiff they almost pierce the fabric. She must be cold in this airconned room.
Poor girl. Hasn’t she had enough of her own games?
The Schwarzkopfs measure everything with their own yardstick. They think that every priest is dying to have sex, dreaming about it in his wet dreams, closing his hands around his... well, his blanket. Especially if the priest is a Catholic of an Orthodox monk. But I am one of the Waidelottes: the ruling caste of Viking priests (also known as the Legend Keepers). I can have a harem of twenty if I want to. Only Aryan women, unfortunately: the Moskau Priest Council has allowed the servants of Odin, Loki and Thor to take wives, provided they’re natural blondes. Which is a problem to a degree, of course.
But marriage aside, a Waidelotte can sleep with who the hell he wants to.
“Some of humanity's most abominable murderers were known for their sentimentality,” she says, sinking her teeth into the turkey as if it were the Führer himself. “Your darling leader was a vegetarian, he loved dogs and even doted on other people’s children... while hating their parents. This is ridiculous! The whole of Europe is being governed by a ghost! While the authorities pretend this is exactly how it should be.”
Aha, that’s what she’s driving at. Actually, I have to agree. At the end of the Twenty-Year War the Reichskommissariats unanimously decreed that the Führer was to remain the Reich’s supreme leader despite his tragic death. Which meant that officially he was feasting with the fallen Einherjar in Valhalla instead of drinking blood in the underground caves of Hel's, the goddess of the dead. Which in turn also meant, according to the Priests Council memo, that its members could enter a state of trance in order to contact the Führer in Asgard and transmit his orders back to us. The Führer’s decrees were printed in Gothic font with a nice-looking facsimile signature. This state of affairs suited every Reichskommissariat's Triumvirate perfectly: while presenting no threat to their own position in power, it provided them with a convenient front person whenever things went awry. And what better scapegoat than a nominal deadman ruler?
“What’s wrong with that?” I reply in a deliberately bored voice, transporting a piece of a cabbage patty to my mouth. “The Führer’s only been in Valhalla what, a few decades? Your Jesus has been absent for two thousand years and no one has seen him since, apart from a couple of nutters. This doesn’t seem to baffle you, does it? You’re quite happy to accept that he runs the Universe from atop his cloud, even though there’s no documented evidence proving that Yeshua the Nazarene did exist, apart from Flavius’ Antiquities of the Jews. And although he does mention him being sentenced to death, neither contemporary chronicles nor Pontius Pilate’s personal diaries mention his execution, let alone his supposed resurrection. Besides, how sure are you we can trust Flavius in this sensitive matter? He was a Jew, wasn’t he? Sorry for mentioning Jews at the table...”
I bite my tongue. Shit. I overdid it, didn’t I?
The girl hurls her fork at the daifuku plate. The clinking of steel against bone china sounds like a funeral bell to my ears. Great gods, Odin and Thor, save me! Now all hell will break loose.
“Have you ever asked yourself what happened to the Jews and Roma? Where are they all gone?”
Aha, so that’s what she’s driving at. Predictably so. “Gone to Africa on a Crystal Train,” I reply impassively. “As if you don’t know. Open any primary school textbook, and that’s what it says. A perfectly legal deportation, voted unanimously by the Reichstag and supported by leading cultural figures. When Africa received the status of a self-governing colony, the whole of the “black continent”, with the exception of Ethiopia, Morocco, Egypt and the South African Union, was fenced off by a concrete wall surrounded by mine fields and wound with barbed wire. All the government workers were evacuated and all troops withdrawn. From then on, the Africans had to fend for themselves. I don’t think that the Crystal Train passengers had it easy. Africa has neither the Shogunet nor television. The streets of its ravaged cities are the theater of clan wars. Starvation, epidemics, all sorts of new viruses. Still, deportation is more humane than extermination, isn’t it?”
Her face breaks out in crimson spots. “They were killed,” she enunciates. “The Jews. The Roma. The Yaoi. The drug addicts. Even the mentally ill. Why are there no mental hospitals anywhere? Why is psychiatry an illegal business, like tobacco dealing? When someone becomes schizophrenic, their families hide them from the authorities as they've been doing since the 1940s. Society has no place for the useless — or yes, this is one lesson we did learn from the Germans! The Yaoi, the Yuri[i], the schizophrenics — you’re right, they’re not executed openly anymore. You deport them to Africa through your control posts in the concrete wall. How’s that different from execution? There’re still some surviving eyewitnesses confirming the existence of wartime camps where millions of people were gassed and incinerated like rats. Ever heard about Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Dachau? The monstrous factories that ground their way through tons of human bones every day? Here in Russland the Nazis used to burn people alive by the villageload; they had special gas wagons to dispose of hostages. Half of us were doomed to extermination, the other half were meant to become agricultural slaves for the Krauts’ colonists.”
“There’s no evidence of this,” I hurry to point out. “It’s nothing but rumors.”
The dinner is ruined. She has a tendency to do that.
“Yeah, sure,” she says with a bitter chuckle. “It’s bad form mentioning it these days. We may be a dictatorship but all dictators would like to seem hard on the outside and soft on the inside. A bit like a banana. The Triumvirate will never admit that the Führer was going to turn half the planet’s population into garden fertilizer. Did you know that they performed a total archive purge already in the 1970s? Concentration camps paperwork as well as the SS and Gestapo archives were shredded in papierwolfs, camp ovens were converted into bakeries and gas chambers into shower rooms. When you stick to the same lie year after year, people start to believe you. That’s what Dr. Goebbels used to say. Latvian researchers from the Reichskommissariat Ostland keep publishing those articles in the Völkischer Beobachter saying that all labor camp prisoners were paid for their work; that they had brothels and movie theaters, even football clubs, and that apparently Italian labor camp officials even organized free pizza deliveries for their prisoners! And how are you going to disprove it? All the ex-prisoners have been ordered to have their camp number tattoos removed. This is their formula of success, courtesy of the Triumvirate: you need to plunge people into the frenzy of consumption. Then you don’t have to conquer them. Their mental abilities will atrophy naturally. Had the Führer been a bit smarter, instead of invading Russland he could have built a chain of Drakken Kaufhof malls complete with 3D theaters. When the human brain is only used for entertaining, it just goes to mush.”
I appear to enthusiastically munch on tasteless cabbage. Oh Hel, the Lady of the Underworld! These Schwarzkopfs are such goody-two-shoes. So empathic and sensitive they make you sick. Yeah right, shopping malls and movie theaters, how awful, how brain-numbing. But had we still been living under martial-law National Socialism with its ration cards, margarine for butter and saccharine for sugar, they’d have been the first to scream their indignation about the terrible Triumvirate starving people to death.
“Listen, what’s the point in dragging a bunch of seventy-year-old skeletons out of the closet?” I wash the cabbage down with some mineral water. “The Tatars in their time steam-rolled over medieval Russia too, pillaging cities, turning churches into stables and raping village women. You see any Russlanders losing any sleep itching to avenge that genocide? How about the French? Napoleon’s army burned down the cities of Vilno, Smolensk and Moskau — and? The Russlanders absolutely love the French culture. Never mind that Paris has been under the SS Fashion Department since 1940 in the tender care of Oberführer Lagerfeld and his assistant Hugo Boss — still any lady worth her smelling salts will gladly spend a month in a Gestapo cooler for a bottle of French perfume. Even if you presumed, for the sake of argument, that by some fantastical miracle Russland defeated Germany in the war, we’d still have already been buddying up. We love our enemy and can’t stand our neighbor. Take the Reichskommissariat Turkestan, for instance. Every time I see their legionnaires in the street, I can’t help thinking, Are these muttonheads Aryan too?”
The girl is silent. She’s too busy arm-wrestling her stomach into submission. On one hand, she’s dying for a daifuku. On the other, this is a political discussion — as is our every dinner.
“Russland is under foreign occupation,” she says, casting a sideways glance at the dessert. “You’re not going to argue that, are you? We have a foreign state emblem, foreign laws... and foreign rulers.”
There, she’s already switched to the defensive. If I only could, I’d have smoked a cigarette the way some men do after good sex. Unfortunately, Odin’s priests are obliged to lead a healthy lifestyle.
“That’s an easy one,” I finish off my cabbage patty. “As far as the emblem is concerned, Russland used the Greek double-headed eagle for the last five hundred years. It also had German laws for the last two hundred. The Royal court positions were also German: Kammerherr, Frauleina, Hofmeister... The names of Russian chancellors: Ostermann, Bühren, Nesselrode, Stürmer... Might that mean that this so-called occupation has never stopped? All right, so concentration camps did exist. But who might have guarded them? In the Sobibor death camp they were Ukrainians. The burgermeisters, the auxiliary police, the journalists producing newspapers, SS volunteers, Gestapo interrogators — all of them were Russlanders wearing German uniforms. And you know what Russlanders are like: the moment a foreigner hires them, they’re quite prepared to hang themselves with zeal. The ten biggest Russlandish cities now house Wehrmacht garrisons. Five hundred each! These aren’t occupiers, these are toy soldiers. Ceremonial guards. True, we have plenty of German bureaucrats and brass hats everywhere: in the army as well as the police and civil ministries. But it was the same in the Keiser’s times! On the other hand, Russlandish businessmen have bought up wholesale some of Berlin’s most prestigious real estate. In 1984, Russisch became one of the Reich’s official languages. Who occupied whom, may I ask?”
Without saying a word, she springs to her feet. The daifuku remains untouched even though I can see it's still calling her name. I already know what’s going to happen next. First she’ll head for the bathroom to brush her teeth. Then she’ll go back to bed. Her life is boring but rather safe, if I may say so.
The bathroom door slams. Finally I can relax.
When I had come round, lying sprawled on the floor back in the Temple of Odin, I’d immediately thought: what would have happened to her had I not come back? Every morning I replace her handcuffs for a couple of sturdy thin chains allowing her to get to the bathroom. Her bedroom has a small fridge containing everything she might need. But the bedroom door is locked. She can’t escape. If I disappeared, she’d starve to death within a month. I hadn’t thought about that. My mistake. I'll have to consider installing a Zeitschaltuhr — a timer — on the lock and set it for like twenty-four hours. There are also other things I have to consider. I’ve been zoned out for two hours flat. I need to look into a couple of things.
Firstly, I need to find out where the goat is gone. And secondly, whatever has happened to the statue of Rübezahl.
Textbook No 1.
A World Geography
The Reich Union, or the Third Reich of Greater Germany.
Founded in 2004 after the end of the Twenty-Year War. Technically represents a confederation of several Reichskommissariats: Ostland (comprising Belorussia and the Baltics), Moskau (the European part of Russland), Deutschland (Austria, Germany and the Governorate of Poland), the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Kuban and the zonderkommissariats of Chechnya and Dagestan), Turkestan (Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Kirghizia), the Ukraine (including the Russlandish cities of Kursk, Voronezh and Tsaritsyn (the former Stalingrad)); Norway and the Netherlands, and Britain (excluding the Republic of Scotland). Other “special territories” belonging to the Reich Union include: Lake Baikal, the Crimea (inhabited by German colonists) and the enclave of St. Petersburg.
The countries allied with the Third Reich:
Slovakia, the Italian Empire, the Independent State of Croatia, Finland (including Karelia and Murmansk), Transylhungary, the Kingdom of Romania (including Odessa and Bessarabia), the Southern French Protectorate (with the capital in Vichy), The Federation of Spain and Portugal, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria (including Greece). In 1951, Ataturk's Turkish Republic was ceremoniously returned its old French colonies of Lebanon and Syria. It was also gifted Armenia. Restored in 1964, the Baghdad Caliphate was comprised of Iraq and the Maghreb sultanates, including Egypt and Morocco. The Free State of India (also known as Azad Hind) is under the joint protection from the Reich Union and the Nippon koku. Korea, the island of Formosa, Hawaii, Karafuto island, the Kamchatka peninsula, the Siberian cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok — now known under their Japanese names of Habarosito and Uradziosutoku — as well as Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore all make an integral part of Nippon koku. Technically, the Russlandish territories from Kamchatka to the Urals are also within the Japanese area of interest but in reality it is controlled by guerilla units of “forest brothers”. The Republic of Far East (with its capital in the city of Chita) isn’t independent, being a Japanese protectorate.
Japan’s satellite states are: Manchukuo, China, Thailand, the Indonesian Emirate, the Vietnam Empire, Burma and the Philippines. The Nippon koku also boasts a special territory of Australia which bears the special status of “holiday colony” where rich Japanese come to unwind on its seaside beaches. Australians have all been deported to Alaska.
The government of the United States of America signed their capitulation on April 18 1956 in Los Angeles after the 2nd SS Division Russland battled their way into the city. In 1958, the USA was divided into the California Republic (a joint protectorate of the Reich and the Nippon koku), the colonies of Neuer York, Boston, Washington and Florida (with a Japanese governor), the Reichskommissariat of Texas and the “unclaimed territories of the Wild West”: the anarchic uncontrolled ex-states of Alabama, Utah and Kansas. Alaska makes up part of the Republic of the Far East as an autonomy ruled by a Japanese daimyo. Canada has been dissolved: Quebec has been given to Southern France, the north of the country is the property of Japan while the rest of it is used to deport the Chinese.
Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile form the German Community of South America. Even before Wehrmacht troops entered these countries in 1983, their capitals had been taken by armed Landwehr colonists.
Africa received the status of an autonomy. All the racially inferior nations were deported there within the Chrystal Train campaign. African borders were turned into three-mile “security zones”, its waters separated by a twelve-mile “anti-pirate zone”. Having been conquered by Italy in 1936, Abyssinia now has the status of an “overseas territory”, as does Libya. The 1984 coup in the South African Union led to the Afrikaners deposing corrupt pro-British politicians and recognizing the protection of Greater Germany. Six months later, joint Japanese and German troops landed in the Siberian city of Tyumen which is the official ending date for a world war that had lasted forty-five years.
A World Geography. Approved by the Moskau Ministry of Propaganda and Public Education