By Phillip Ghee (US)
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The director had leased out a parcel of land just east of the 29 Palms Marine Air Station. The area was prime California Desert, desolate yet wonderfully cinematic. Rudolph had already moved a large storage trailer out to the site as some of the more easily obtainable materials had already begun to arrive. He did indeed have a shipment of materials that needed hauling out to the compound but it could have easily waited until the weekend or transferred off to his foreman. But Rudolph did not want to miss an opportunity, so he seized the moment.
Laila would be getting off in a few hours. She threw caution to the wind and accepted the invite. Rudolph drove the truck to the shop and picked up the newly arrived parcels. He proceeded to run the truck through the automatic carwash just to spruce things up a bit. Rudolph picked Laila up from work. Since this was still not technically a date. Laila did not feel the need to pretty up so they embarked straightaway for the desert. The evening traffic out of the city would be heavy so it was best they get an early start.
When Otto first received the news, the call from Berlin, he knew that from this point on things would be picking up. The darkest years were drawing to a close. The everyday German could feel it on the streets. The humiliation and shame of the nation defeated in the Great War was lifting. The call came from Heinz Zimmer. Zimmer held the rank of SS-Sturmhauptführer in the new political party in charge of running Germany.
The National Socialist German Workers', the newly elected political party, was responsible for blanketing the nation with much needed optimism. Granted some of their posturing seemed a bit overboard, yet they spoke to the soul of the German people and ultimately restoring pride to the nation would be their unifying goal. In time, most were certain that, the more extreme and fringe elements of the group would be absorbed into the mainstream of the party. Wasn’t this the normal course of event, the nature of all political parties? As it was for now, The Nazi’s had ignited the vital spark, reinvigorating the German people, albeit the combustible fuel was yet still to come.
Otto himself was not a particularly politically minded person. He was however socially cognizant. His craft exposed him to many different social as well as ethnic groups. On many occasions he utilized the services of the migrant work force. The Romanians and the Gypsies were routinely used to perform unskilled and menial labor work. He was comfortable negotiating with the Jewish Merchant class who, beside the German aristocrats, were the only one affluent enough to request and afford building projects. The everyday Germans led pretty lean lives. So when there was rumored talk of the distribution some of the Jewish wealth, Otto was all in favor of it. although at the time he did not know the means by which such distribution would take place. Then later when there was, once again, rumored talk; this time of the resettlement of Gypsy communities into resettlement camp, he was once again in favor of it. He felt that many of the migrants were illegal homesteaders bringing down the value of property wherever they sit up camp. They also tended to live in property and slums of their own creation. Many lived outdated agrarian lives. They had not proper skills and trades to pass down to their numerous offspring, thus contributing to Germany’s
better future as it took its place among the world’s industrialized nations. If the rumored talk was to be believed, they would be taught functional skills and trades.
Only one of these so called resettlement camps were known to exist. It was supposedly some type of prototype. Not much was known about it since it was allegedly located within the disputed territories bordering Poland. And news, even rumored news, traveled very slowly. More recently there was talk that a major facility of such a nature would be built in Dachau, German, just outside of Munich. Zimmer’s call confirmed this rumor was true.
Zimmer offered Otto an unspecified position dealing with construction. The call came at a crucial time when Otto had not been receiving many work orders. Most of his staff he had either let go or placed on standby notice. Zimmer was a bureaucrat. Why he held a military title was not known. He was the Munich chief of this new branch of government called the Schutzstaffel. This group would later be known by its simple and shorter designation ,the . Otto had relatives living in Munich where he could stay. He did not have to dwell long before giving his answer.
In God’s Country
Dream beneath the desert sky
The rivers run but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight
Dreamed I saw a desert rose
Dress torn in ribbons and in bows
Like a siren she calls to me
Sleep comes like a drug
In God's Country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God's Country
Set me alight
We'll punch a hole right through the night
Everyday the dreamers die
See what's on the other side
She is liberty
And she comes to rescue me
Hope, faith, her vanity
The greatest gift is gold
During the drive the two got to know each other better. Just as their first meeting, the conversation flowed. Upon arrival at the site the free spirited and slight flighty Laila felt no urge or obligation to help unload the cargo. As soon as the car doors opened she jubilantly fled into the richly dark desert night and disappeared. Rudolph could only smile and bear the burden of unloading the truck and rearranging the cargo into the storage trailer by his lonesome. Upon completion of his task he found the resourceful Laila had staked a claim on the desert floor. She had managed to somehow collect enough kindling to build a comfortable fire and had lain blankets around the earthen hearth. She sat in a lotus position, her arms hung relaxingly to her side, with upturned palms resting upon her outer knee. The soft desert breeze easily blew her fine strands of hair that had come undone across her forehead. Rudolph liked the imagery and stood quietly for a moment and took it all in. He slowly advanced towards her. He put touch to the test. He let his hand release from a tap and transform to a soft embrace of her shoulder. He then allowed has hand to sensually travel the pleasing distance from her shoulder and run the length of her spinal cord and down towards the soft of her back. There was no objection. With the other hand he handed her a beer. She pointed out her favorite constellation which hung preciously close and brilliantly visible in the high desert inky black sky. She softened her lotus position and allowed Rudolf to bear the welcomed weight of her torso against his chest.
By the time Otto had arrived on the site the foundation for many of the building had already been laid. He was introduced to the on-site architects and much to his surprise and delight offered housing right there on site. The men were ambitious and excited by the prospects about what they were about to accomplish. Often Otto took dinner with the Architects and engineers. Most of these men were university educated and Otto felt honored to have been included in their company. They held lively discussions about the nature of their work and even of the project itself. Even among these men the final function and functionality for this Dachau camp was still a mystery and seemed to change week by week. It was, at various times, rumored to become a medical education center, then an industrial education center; some said it would service as a factory and milling facility. There was also a garrison and quarters built for Nazi members. The group of men who really ran the show, the Nazi party members, which included Zimmer, remained for the most part elusive and conducted any necessary business with Cal Zuber, the head architect. If they had sound and unchanging plans for the compound, it remained unknown.
The first five months were a welcome challenged for Otto. He had never been involved with a project that was slated for such rapid completion. The workers, the migrants and such were worked around the clock. Then something disturbing happened that Otto could not ignore. When he first arrived, the migrants doing the menial tasks were the usual types - Gypsies, Romanians a Pole here and there. They worked long hours for what he assumed was extremely substandard pay. The next wave of worker was a motley crew of newly recruited German solders. They were an undisciplined bunch and not too bright. They were mostly made up of former brown shirts: the SA thugs and, also of pure blood German men who had neither the skills nor ambition to do anything else. Otto joked his grandmother had more military bearing than this group. They hauled in all the lumber, concrete and building materials. Fortunately they were always whisked away almost as rapidly as they had arrived. Word on the street was that things were heating up over the multiple disputes that Germany was having with her sister nation.
The next wave of workers caused Otto to raise an eyebrow. More Gypsies, Balkans, Romanians had begun to arrive but, unlike their predecessors, this group seemed most unwilling to work and they gave new meaning to the word unskilled labor. Also there were the guards, this time real German soldiers, formidably trained and brandishing automatic weapons. They maintained watch over them at all times, even segregating them from their countrymen workers who had arrived earlier. They were housed in the newly raised barracks. They were said to have been receiving wages but for the life of Otto he could not see evidence of it. Otto ignored his senses. When a truckload of Jewish patrons arrived, Otto could no longer ignore the obvious. He made plans to leave. Word of his discontent reached Zuber, the head architect. Zuber did not want to lose such a multitalented crew chief.
He called Otto into his office. He expressed that he knew there were many rumors flying about. He confessed that at times even he was susceptible to rumors since official news was often bogged downed in red tape and bureaucracy. He confided that this new Schutzstaffel division, of which he was obviously a proud member, was the most insanely bureaucratic branch of government ever. He spoke of the newly arrived foreign migrants as petty criminals and the likes who were working off their debt or judicial sentencing. He cautioned Otto not to be fooled by appearances and that the Jewish arrivals were not as innocent or destitute as some of them looked. They were either supporters of that Marxist Jewish front emanating from Russia or, they in the least, harbored such political agitators. They would be re-educated and taught what it meant to be Germany and loyal. Only Otto could say for sure if the talk was totally convincing or not but, along with a nifty bonus, Otto rescinded and chose to stay.
"Tantric what?" Rudolph said with great frustration. Now, he thought, with one hand wrapped firmly around an ample bosom and the other exploring luscious regions down south, was not the time for conversation.
“Wait,… don't,… I want to tell you something".
Rudolph was now perturbed and the moment was ruined. But maybe, just maybe, he thought, this Tantric or whatever was perhaps some sort of kinky sex thing that after Laila’s sensual explanation, would reignite passion’s fuel. As for now the pilot light had been blown out. Rudolph un-reluctantly released both hands from the prime real estate and returned the tray to the upright position.
“You know Rudy?" She had suddenly taken to calling him Rudy without his permission or approval. Americans he thought are so short minded that have taken to reducing everything - even McDonalds is too much a labor for them to pronounce, so they resort to calling it Mickey Dees. He would probably address this later but, for now he allowed her to continue.
“I have been having sex, off and on since I was sixteen. And although I won't
deny there is a certain animalistic urge and pleasurably satisfaction about it.
I want more.
“Oh shit." He thought. "Incoming, must be the love/ marriage commitment or
the biological, ticking clock, lecture.
“For once in my life, I want to really experience someone. Someone that I
really want to experience.
"Say what?" pondered a confused Rudolph. "Come again.
“Tantric Sexuality is a way of fully allowing us to experience more depth and breadth in our sexuality. The goal is not necessarily orgasm, but rather enriching the whole sexual experience. It’s a spiritual experience.
“No organism huh?" Rudolph queried, now relaxing or in the least adjusting more into a conversational mode "And have these spirits ever heard the term blue balls? I guess not since they are spirits or ghost or some ethereal shit.
“See silly, that's all we here in the West think about. The western concept of sex is like a worn out play that everyone has seen way too much, first a little foreplay, that is until you get married or go steady, then God help you if you're a woman. Then it’s straight to the all-mighty conquering penis penetrating and subduing the submissive and vanquished vagina." She Paused. “And then, what's next? For the man, it’s that all important Self Satisfying Male orgasm. Many men would do just as well masturbating into a warm meatloaf for all they care."
The mood was definitely gone now and Rudolph had no plans for its return. Maybe next time he thought, that's if there was ever going to be a next time. Never one to turn away knowledge Rudolph implored her to continue with a definition and a how-to on Tantric Sexuality to which, she kindly obliged.
Otto’s Tale Mutter (My Ma-ma )
Otto never knew he was Jewish. He had come to believe, due to an elaborate deception perpetrated by his mother, that he was at best a devalued quarter percent Jewish. His mother, the beautiful Elsa Fridman was from the pristine rolling hills of that once existing enchanted land called Prussia. She had grown up in a devotedly religious and in her opinion a unbearably restrictive household. Against her parent’s better wishes, she aborted that safe habitat of agrarian calm and, in the middle of the night, found herself on the first train out of the station and bound for the ruckus and electric atmosphere of urban Germany.
Due to her upbringing, her accent, her petite yet pleasingly feminine robust frame, her richly curled and bountiful gold and bronze locks; there were attributes of the Jewish strain she could not hide, subdue or erase. Once established in her new adopted home she tried as best as she could to maintain what she believed, and was ultimately correct, a more welcoming identity to present to the Vaterland. She changed her name to Friedhoff and claimed that she hailed somewhere way up north in the remote German lands. That was the identity of the person that Otto’s dad fell in love with and gleefully rushed in to marry. There had been a couple of occasions where she did admit to having a speck of Jewish blood somewhere in her past. She reported it to be on her father’s side which was a very important point in maintaining the deception.
Judaism is, by tradition, a matriarchal religion as well as ethnicity indicator. The seed of Abraham is apparently passed down through the mother and not the father, hence a Jewish mother may give birth, for all intents and purposes, to a Jewish child even if the father is non-Jewish. Whereas if a Jewish male were to have fathered a child by a non-Jewish female, the off-spring is not Jewish. The child would only be noted and welcomed as Jewish by official application and appropriate ceremony.
Since Elsa was supposedly so removed from that culture and ethnicity the issued never really surfaced and her Aryan masquerade had been safe right until the day she was buried with the full blessing and pageantry by the local Lutheran Church of which she had been a member for all so many decades.
Elsa’s only lapse in the masquerade was during those times she would find herself either homesick for ethnic treats or nostalgic conversation. She usually compensated for such by clandestine visits to the various Jewish quarters within the city. There she would delight in unleashing that bounded Yiddish tongue as she easily flirted about the bazaars and open air markets. Often, while Otto was still a toddler, she would have him in tow. She thought him far too young to have any real awareness of his surrounding and her secret would be kept safe. Yet she underestimated the absorbent sharp minded youth. Not only was he aware of his surroundings, he relished in the sights, the smells, the sounds as well as the language. He even managed to capture the meaning of many words. He realized that Mama never spoke this way around the house so the taboo nature of the language only served to increase the boy’s interest in the words. He never gave Mama away.
It was this familiarity with the Yiddish tongue that had caused Otto to doubt the facts that had been just given to him by the politely efficient SS officer. The sharp young man dressed in his impeccably black uniform quickly whisked Otto away from a section of the huge compound that he had mistakenly wandered into. He was told the busload of immigrants that had been freshly unloaded had an assortment of contagious and nasty diseases. The glorious Reich would be extending to them, without cost, the full measure of German medical science. They were being marched into one of medical buildings by armed guards. Their belongings, battered suitcases, worn steamer trunks and at times simple homemade cloth bags, were gathered in an abandoned huge pile off to the side of bus. And despite what the young officer had told him, the Yiddish mumblings of those, confused, teary eyed and terrified, supposed patients; spoke otherwise.