Three

THREE

Meeeeeeshaaaaaahh…

Well, well, well, if it isn’t Fuck You! And what a nice dress you’re barely wearing… Are you back for more?!?

Weeeeeelllll, yeeeeaaaaahh… Hey, I’d never done it before, I didn’t know I would like it so much. Why don’t you take your pants off and come over here, big boy.

Absolutely- happy to oblige. And to think, how before you had been crying and begging me not to- WHOA!

Well, I’d say that sounds like a confession to his crime- what do you think?

Works for me.

Me too.

And me.

Likewise.

Misha, my brother Saul,

Hello.

my uncle Simon,

How do you do.

my cousin Yossi,

My pleasure.

aaaaaaand my cousin Isaac.

Charmed.

Wow, that was easy. How convenient, that your weapon should happen to be on your pants, which you were so eager to discard. Man are you dumb.

Yeah, go ahead, rub it in. OK, you tricked me- congratulations. And now your little posse here is going to give it to me? Alright, bring it on. Let’s just get this over with.

Oh you wish it was them who were going to give it to you. No, they’re just here to hold you still. Don’t like being hit by a girl, eh?

What could we say? She insisted.

Is this good, Rachel?

Yes- perfect, thank you.

I guess your name really isn’t Fuck You.

It sure is as far as you’re concerned… Hmm, you know, I’ve never actually held one of these things before…

Hey- HEY, CAREFUL! Put that down! That is NOT a toy!! AAAAAHH- JESUS, DON’T POINT IT AT ME!!!!

Oh, are guns dangerous? They can maybe KILL people? Ha-ha-ha. What, no sense of humor now, Misha? Oh don’t worry, I won’t kill you. You didn’t kill me, right? See- I’m putting the nasty ol’ gun down. Heck, I won’t even maim you… That I won’t put you in so much pain, that it’ll be a week before you can see straight again, well, don’t hold me to that one.

Personally I would have been perfectly fine with killing you. Just sayin’.

Actually, let me clarify that: I won’t kill you ONLY IF you don’t speak again during this. Sorry, but I’ve grown a tad weary of the sound of your voice. Is this a thing, with Russian men, that they talk so much? Anyway- one of the few things I still had after the war, was my virtue. And you took that from me. That’s kind of a big deal, even if to you it was just “ten minutes”… Speaking of which- Yossi here has a watch. He’s going to note the time now, and then let me know when ten minutes have passed. And so my assault on you will last as long as yours was on me. Approximately. Yossi, ready?

Yup. Begin- now.

OK motherfucker, you like my right cross? Well here it is again. ********

My left one’s not so bad either. ********

And now, “the house specialty”. ********

Oh, come now- you can’t be too surprised that I would kick you there. That was for what you did to me. This- ********

is for what you did to all the other women. And this ********

is so you don’t ever do it again to anyone else. I can’t wish that even on my worst enemy.

Well, while you’re catching your breath, I’ll tell you a bit about these four men holding onto your limbs… They’re all the men that’s left in my family. Before the war, I had five times as many male relatives. And yet, we are now envied. It was only through the most unbelievable, phenomenal luck that we had even this many survive. Most families have much fewer survivors. Many had no survivors whatsoever. Let me repeat that, so that it might possibly penetrate a skull as thick as yours- MANY, MANY families, had NO SURVIVORS, AT ALL.

Um, Rachel, just a heads up- you’re now down to under 9 minutes.

Yes, maybe less talking, more beating.

Oh, right. And in any case, I got the definite impression from him that he doesn’t want to hear about it. I think it was from when he said, “I don’t want to hear about it.” Yeah, pretty much his exact words. Oh, I know I’m wasting time talking, but there’s just so much about this asshole that’s infuriating, I barely know where to begin! There was something else he said that was a real gem… what was it again? Oh yes, now I remember- that he couldn’t care less if we had all been killed.

Wow. Just, wow.

And then, sometimes I think, oh, maybe I should cut this son of a bitch some slack… after all, he’s been through a lot. You put that many men in a kill-or-be-killed situation, day after day, year after year, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that some of them are going to snap- I get it, I really do. And also, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, I’m no stranger to trauma myself. None of us here are. I honestly often marvel how any of us still has so much as a shred of sanity left at this point, after what we’ve been through.

But remember- just because you choose to ignore something, doesn’t make it not true.

I’ve looked death in the face, in a very real sense. They wore hats sort of like yours, but where yours has that star, theirs had a skull. They would kill randomly, just for the hell of it… if you happened to cross paths with them, and they felt like it, then BAM- you’re dead.

This happened to me one day, in the ghetto. He had his gun in his hand, and loathing in his eyes, and I just knew right away- this is it, my life’s over now. So I said the Shma, the last prayer we say before we die, and he said, “It’s funny how you all say that.” And I said, “It’s funny how you motherfucking pieces of shit are all as godawful ugly as you are stupid.” Oh yes, I said that, really! Well, why not? He’s going to kill me no matter what, I might as well die with some dignity. And sure enough, without hesitation, he points the gun at my head, pulls the trigger, and- click! His gun is out of ammo. He curses, and I say, “That’s funny too. But I guess it must be hard to count to six when you have the brain of a cockroach.” And then I treated him to this- ********

And I told him to go fuck himself, and he collapsed to the ground, screaming at me, and I ran away, laughing.

Yes, I’ve been through enough that I quite possibly could have understood what you’ve been through, but you never even gave me the chance. And maybe you could have helped me too, with a goddamn ounce of sympathy. But let’s not get into philosophizing, right? Let’s get back to you. So, I’m thinking, maybe, when you say these incredibly horrid things, that’s not really you talking. Maybe, instead, it’s the trauma talking. Maybe. Maybe…

********

Or maybe not.

There’s something else I should say, even if it costs me a bit more time… I’m still grateful to you, for helping to win and end the war. This doesn’t change that. And that doesn’t imply that what you did to me was any less heinous. It doesn’t mean that because they’re two entirely separate things- one has nothing to do with the other. If you do a good thing, and then later do a bad thing totally unrelated to the good thing, that’s not like going back in time and never doing the good thing- but there I go philosophizing again. Oh, and there’s so much more I could say… like I could explain how even though I remain thankful to you for your service in the war, and even though you may be psychologically damaged to an extent far beyond the comprehension of most people, that doesn’t let you off the hook in terms of me pummeling you into a world of hurt. Tying all that together might have taken another minute or two, but you’d like to just keep things physical- fine.

I guess it’s unfortunate that we can’t resolve this in a more civilized manner… Call me cynical, but I somehow doubt that reporting you to your commanding officer would do any good.

And there won’t be any chances for further cycles of retaliation between us, as we’re on our way out now, leaving Europe forever, which has been nothing but a consummate hellhole for us. You’ll never see us again after this. And I’ll be keeping only one memento from this entire godforsaken land- you can have your gun back, but I’m taking the bullets from it with me.

The very last thing I’ll say, is that after I’m through with you, go live a life worthy of my forgiveness… and perhaps one day you’ll forgive me for this as well. Yoss- time?

About 4 minutes.

Perfect.

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Copyright © 2016 by Sandra Goldstein.