Reiss nodded. Or the old general might be involved in commercial speculations, a good deal of
which went on in San Francisco. Connections he had made while in service would be of use to him
now that he was retired. Or was he retired? The message called him General, not Retired General.
'As soon as you have the picture.' Reiss said, 'pass copies right on to our people at the airport and
down at the harbor. He may have already come in. You know how long it takes them to get this sort
of thing to us.' And of course if the general had already reached San Francisco, Berlin would be
angry at the PSA consulate. The consulate should have been able to intercept him — before the
order from Berlin had even been sent.
Pferdehuf said, 'I'll stamp-date the coded radiogram from Berlin, so if any question comes up
later on, we can show exactly when we received it. Right to the hour.'
'Thank you,' Reiss said. The people in Berlin were past masters at transferring responsibility, and
he was weary of being stuck. It had happened too many times. 'Just to be on the safe side,' he said,
'I think I'd better have you answer that message. Say, 'Your instructions abysmally tardy. Person
already reported in area. Possibility of successful intercept remote at this stage.' Put something
along those lines into shape and send it. Keep it good and vague. You understand.'
Pferdehuf nodded. 'I'll send it right off. And keep a record of the exact date and moment it was
sent.' He shut the door after him.
You have to watch out, Reiss reflected, or all at once you find yourself consul to a bunch of
niggers on an island off the coast of South Africa. And the next you know, you have a black
mammy for a mistress, and ten or eleven little pickaninnies calling you daddy.
Reseating himself at his breakfast table he lit an Egyptian Simon Arzt Cigarette Number 70,
carefully reclosing the metal tin.
It did not appear that he would be interrupted for a little while now, so from his briefcase he took
the book he had been reading, opened to his placemark, made himself comfortable, and resumed
where he had last been forced to stop.
. . . Had he actually walked streets of quiet cars, Sunday morning peace of the Tiergarten, so far away?
Another life. Ice cream, a taste that could never have existed. Now they boiled nettles and were glad to get
them. God, he cried out. Won't they stop? The huge British tanks came on. Another building, it might have
been an apartment house or a store, a school or office; he could not tell — the ruins toppled, slid into
fragments. Below in the rubble another handful of survivors buried, without even the sound of death. Death
had spread out everywhere equally, over the living, the hurt, the corpses layer after layer that already had
begun to smell. The stinking, quivering corpse of Berlin, the eyeless turrets still upraised, disappearing
without protest like this one, this nameless edifice that man had once put up with pride.
His arms, the boy noticed, were covered with the film of gray, the ash, partly inorganic, partly the burned
sifting final produce of life. All mixed now, the boy knew, and wiped it from him. He did not think much
further; he had another thought that captured his mind if there was thinking to be done over the screams and
the hump hump of the shells. Hunger. For six days he had eaten nothing but the nettles, and now they were
gone. The pasture of weeds had disappeared into a single vast crater of earth. Other dim, gaunt figures had
appeared at the rim, like the boy, had stood silent and then drifted away. An old mother with a babushka tied
about her gray head, basket — empty — under her arm. A one-armed man, his eyes empty as the basket. A
girl. Faded now back into the litter of slashed trees in which the boy Eric hid.
And still the snake came on.
Would it ever end? the boy asked, addressing no one. And if it did, what then? Would they fill their bellies,
'Freiherr,' Pferdehuf's voice came. 'Sorry to interrupt you. Just one word.'
Reiss jumped, shut his book. 'Certainly.'
How that man can write, he thought. Completely carried me away. Real. Fall of Berlin to the
British, as vivid as if it had actually taken place. Brrr. He shivered.
Amazing, the power of fiction, even cheap popular fiction, to evoke. No wonder it's banned
within Reich territory; I'd ban it myself. Sorry 1 started it. But too late; must finish, now.
His secretary said, 'Some seamen from a German ship. They're required to report to you.'
'Yes,' Reiss said. He hopped to the door and out to the front office. There the three seamen
wearing heavy gray sweaters, all with thick blond hair, strong faces, a trifle nervous. Reiss raised
his right hand. 'Heil Hitler.' He gave them a brief friendly smile.
'Heil Hitler,' they mumbled. They began showing him their papers.
As soon as he had certified their visit to the consulate, he hurried back into his private office.
Once more, alone, he reopened The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.
His eyes fell on a scene involving — Hitler. Now he found himself unable to stop; he began to
read the scene out of sequence, the back of his neck burning.
The trial, he realized, of Hitler. After the close of the war. Hitler in the hands of the Allies, good
God. Also Goebbels, Göring, all the rest of them. At Munich. Evidently Hitler was answering the
. . . black, flaming, the spirit of old seemed for an instant once again to blaze up. The quivering, shambling
body jerked taut; the head lifted. Out of the lips that ceaselessly drooled, a croaking half-bark, half-whisper.
'Deutsche, hier steh' Ich.' Shudders among those who watched and listened, the earphones pressed tightly,
strained faces of Russian, American, British and German alike. Yes, Karl thought. Here he stands once
more . . . they have beaten us — and more. They have stripped this superman, shown him for what he is.
Only — a
Reiss realized that his secretary had entered the office. 'I'm busy,' he said angrily. He slammed
the book shut. 'I'm trying to read this book, for God's sake!'
It was hopeless. He knew it.
'Another coded radiogram is coming in from Berlin.' Pferdehuf said. 'I caught a glimpse of it as
they started decoding it. It deals with the political situation.'
'What did it say?' Reiss murmured, rubbing his forehead with his thumb and fingers.
'Doctor Goebbels has gone on the radio unexpectedly. A major speech.' The secretary was quite
excited. 'We're supposed to take the text — they're transmitting it out of code — and make sure it's
printed by the press, here.'
'Yes, yes,' Reiss said.
The moment his secretary had left once more. Reiss reopened the book. One more peek, despite
my resolution . he thumbed the previous portion.
. . . in silence Karl contemplated the flag-draped casket. Here he lay, and now he was gone, really gone. Not
even the demon-inspired powers could bring him back. The man — or was it after all Uebermensch? —
whom Karl had blindly followed, worshiped . . . even to the brink of the grave. Adolf Hitler had passed
beyond, but Karl clung to life. I will not follow him, Karl's mind whispered. I will go on, alive. And rebuild. And
we will all rebuild. We must.
How far, how terribly far, the Leader's magic had carried him. And what was it, now that the last dot had
been put on that incredible record, that journey from the isolated rustic town in Austria, up from rotting
poverty in Vienna, from the nightmare ordeal of the trenches, through political intrigue, the founding of the
Party, to the Chancellorship, to what for an instant had seemed near world domination?
Karl knew. Bluff. Adolf Hitler had lied to them. He had led them with empty words.
It is not too late. We see your bluff, Adolf Hitler. And we know you for what you are, at last. And the Nazi
Party, the dreadful era of murder and megalomaniacal fantasy, for what it is. What it was.
Turning, Karl walked away from the silent casket . . .
Reiss shut the book and sat for a time. In spite of himself he was upset. More pressure should
have been put on the Japs, he said to himself, to suppress this damn book. In fact, it's obviously
deliberate on their part. They could have arrested this — whatever his name is. Abendsen. They
have plenty of power in the Middle West.
What upset him was this. The death of Adolf Hitler, the defeat and destruction of Hitler, the
Partei, and Germany itself, as depicted in Abendsen's book . . . it all was somehow grander, more in
the old spirit than the actual world. The world of German hegemony.
How could that be? Reiss asked himself. Is it just this man's writing ability?
They know a million tricks, those novelists. Take Doctor Goebbels; that's how he started out,
writing fiction. Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the
surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed
by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed — all he's got to do is thump on the
drum, and there's his response. And he laughing, of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.
Look how he played on my sentiments, Herr Reiss reflected, not on my intellect; and naturally
he's going to get paid for it — the money's there. Obviously somebody put the Hundsfott up to it,
instructed him what to write. They'll write anything if they know they'll get paid. Tell any bunch of
lies, and then the public actually takes the smelly brew seriously when its dished out. Where was
this published? Herr Reiss inspected the copy of the book. Omaha, Nebraska. Last outpost of the
former plutocratic U.S. publishing industry, once located in downtown New York and supported by
Jewish and Communist gold .
Maybe this Abendsen is a Jew.
They're still at it, trying to poison us. This jüdisches Buch — He slammed the covers of the
Grasshopper violently together. Actual name probably Abendstein. No doubt the SD has looked
into it by now.
Beyond doubt, we ought to send somebody across into the RMS to pay Herr Abendstein a visit. I
wonder if Kreuz vom Meere has gotten instructions to that effect. Probably hasn't, with all the
confusion in Berlin. Everybody too busy with domestic matters.
But this book, Reiss thought, is dangerous.
If Abendstein should be found dangling from the ceiling some fine morning, it would be a
sobering notice to anyone who might be influenced by this book. We would have had the last word.
Written the postscript.
It would take a white man, of course. I wonder what Skorzeny is doing these days.
Reiss pondered, reread the dust jacket of the book. The kike keeps himself barricaded. Up in this
High Castle. Nobody's fool. Whoever gets in and gets him won't get back out.
Maybe it's foolish. The book after all is in print. Too late now. And that's Japanese-dominated
territory . . . the little yellow men would raise a terrific fuss.
Nevertheless, if it was done adroitly . . . if it could be properly handled.
Freiherr Hugo Reiss made a notation on his pad. Broach subject with SS General Otto Skorzeny,
or better yet Otto Ohlendorf at Amt III of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. Didn't Ohlendorf head
And then, all at once, without warning of any kind, he felt sick with rage. I thought this was over,
he said to himself. Does it have to go on forever? The war ended years ago. And we thought it was
finished then. But that Africa Fiasco, that crazy Seyss-Inquart carrying out Rosenberg's schemes.
That Herr Hope is right, he thought. With his joke about our contact on Mars. Mars populated by
Jews. We would see them there, too. Even with their two heads apiece, standing one foot high.
I have my routine duties, he decided. I don't have time for any of these harebrained adventures,
this sending of Einsatzkommandos after Abendsen. My hands are full greeting German sailors and
answering coded radiograms; let someone higher up initiate a project of that sort — it's their
Anyhow, he decided, if I instigated it and it backfired, one can imagine where I'd be: in
Protective Custody in Eastern General Gouvernement, if not in a chamber being squirted with
Zyklon B hydrogen cyanide gas.
Reaching out, he carefully scratched the notation on his pad out of existence, then burned the
paper itself in the ceramic ashtray.
There was a knock, and his office door opened. His secretary entered with a large handful of
papers. 'Doctor Goebbels' speech. In its entirety.' Pferdehuf put the sheets down on the desk. 'You
must read it. Quite good; one of his best.'
Lighting another Simon Arzt Number 70 cigarette, Reiss began to read Doctor Goebbels' speech.
After two weeks of nearly constant work, Edfrank Custom Jewelry had produced its first finished
batch. There the pieces lay, on two boards covered with black velvet, all of which went into a
square wicker basket of Japanese origin. And Ed McCarthy and Frank Frink had made business
cards. They had used an artgun eraser carved out to form their name; they printed in red from this,
and then completed the cards with a children's toy rotary printing set. The effect — they had used a
high-quality Christmas-card colored heavy paper — was striking.
In every aspect of their work they had been professional. Surveying their jewelry, cards, and
display, they could see no indication of the amateur. Why should there be? Frank Frink thought.
We're both pros; not in jewelry making, but in shopwork in general.
The display boards held a good variety. Cuff bracelets made of brass, copper, bronze, and even
hot-forged black iron. Pendants, mostly of brass, with a little silver ornamentation. Earrings of
silver. Pins of silver or brass. The silver had cost them a good deal; even silver solder had set them
back. They had bought a few semiprecious stones, too, for mounting in the pins: baroque pearls,
spinneis, jade, slivers of fire opal. And, if things went well, they would try gold and possibly five-
or six-point diamonds.
It was gold that would make them a real profit. They had already begun searching into sources of
scrap gold, melted-down antique pieces of no artistic value — much cheaper to buy than new gold.
But even so, an enormous expense was involved. And yet, one gold pin sold would bring more than
forty brass pins. They could get almost any price on the retail market for a really well-designed and
executed gold pin . . . assuming, as Frink had pointed out, that their stuff went over at all.
At this point they had not yet tried to sell. They had solved what seemed to be their basic
technical problems; they had their bench with motors, flex-cable machine, arbor of grinding and
polishing wheels. They had in fact a complete range of finishing tools, ranging from the coarse wire
brushes through brass brushes and Cratex wheels, to finer polishing buffs of cotton, linen, leather,
chamois, which could be coated with compounds ranging from emery and pumice to the most
delicate rouges. And of course they had their oxyacetylene welding outfit, their tanks, guages,
hoses, tips, masks.
And superb jewelers' tools. Pliers from Germany and France, micrometers, diamond drills, saws,
tongs, tweezers, third-hand structures for soldering, vises, polishing cloths, shears, hand-forged tiny
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested