After about 15 minutes, Magda’s screams subsided and turned into whimpers.
My ears ached, for even with my hands covering them, Magda’s shrill cries pierced my eardrums.
I removed my hands from my ears, lifted my head off of the massage table and opened my eyes to see Magda rolled up into a ball.
The photographs of her children were gone.
With each of her whimpers, my brain charged into a Q and A session.
What do I do with this nutty, naked, Nazi lady?
I haven’t a clue.
Well, a small clue — we’re both naked.
You’ve dealt with this problem before.
Yes, I’ve dealt with several certifiable members of the opposite sex.
How did you handle them?
No, those solutions won’t work. This is special case — it’s Magda “F’ing” Goebbels. Hitler’s unofficial “first lady” and Goebbels’ wife.
Well, what do you think all those other Jewish-men-for-the-day do with a naked Magda Goebbels?
Who knows? I’ll ask her.
Am I being tested? And by whom? And how do I pass the test?
By the devil?
By the keeper of the keys to the pearly gate?
Now that I’m in hell, does this mean that the devil exists?
Of course, hell is the work of the devil.
Am I really in Hell?
This room is air-conditioned.
This room is odorless.
I thought hell would be hot and smelly, like rotten eggs or sewer gas or hydrogen sulfide or methane or flatulence.
Maybe this Nazi bitch is tricking me. Maybe this ain’t hell. Maybe I’m in purgatory or Gehenna; after I expiate my sins, I’ll be going to heaven. After I cleanse and purify my soul, I’ll be on that one-way train to the pearly gates.
What does G-d want me to do to this blonde, blue-eyed bitch?
Now that’s one hell-of-a-tough question.
Is G-d watching and grading me on my performance. Does he or she have time for such trivial tasks? Or is that task delegated to some low-level angel?
What would Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob do to Magda Goebbels?
Why the hell, am I in hell?
I bet a lot of people end up asking that question.
Why me? Not enough sacrifice, not enough prayer?
Okay, okay, I failed to follow most of the 613.
I even broke some of the top ten.
And I partook in a bunch of those seven deadly sins.
But overall, I was a pretty good guy.
I’m a believer. I went to temple on the high holidays. I gave tzedakah. I did mitzvahs. I participated in tikkun olam. That should count for something.
G-d must run a really tight ship, with the highest standards for me to be stuck naked in a room with a naked Magda Goebbels.
“What did I do wrong? Why me?” I cried.
Where am I going to be sent after I leave this room?
Maybe Magda can give me a clue?
Having heard my cry, Magda stopped whimpering.
I looked into her tear-filled eyes and asked, “How are you doing?”
“I’m recovering. Those pictures of my kids drive me nuts. I should never have murdered them. You don’t know how many times those photos are flashed on these walls.
I climbed off of the massage table and asked, “Magda, for how many more hours am I stuck in this tiny room? I’m getting claustrophobic.”
“I’ll tell you, I promise, but before I do, please tell me everything you know about me.”
“I know that you were considered the unofficial “first lady ” of Third Reich.
I know Adolf Hitler was the best man at your wedding.
I know that you went to Hitler to get him to break up your husband’s affair with a Czech actress and your plan worked.
I know that your mother’s second husband, Richard Friedländer, was a wealthy Jewish merchant. Your stepfather adopted you and you took his last name. But when your stepdad, Richard, was sent to a concentration camp, you didn’t lift a finger to save his life. That’s gratitude for you.”
“Mort, you got to understand, I was the wife of the Minister of Propaganda. If I did anything to help a Jew it would have had consequences and repercussions.”
“I know that you had a Jewish boyfriend, a Zionist — Haim Arlosoroff. That during your relationship with Haim, you briefly wore a Jewish star, learned Hebrew, joined Haim in Jewish youth club meetings and you even planned to emigrate to Palestine with him.”
“Wow, you really do know a lot about me.”
I continued, “Arlosoroff is famous for having negotiated the Ha’avara Agreement with the Nazis. This agreement allowed 60,000 German Jews along with some of their property to immigrate to the British Mandate of Palestine. Those people and their assets were highly instrumental in the creation of the Jewish state.
In 1933, Haim was assassinated in Tel Aviv. There’s a theory that your husband, Joseph, was involved in Haim’s murder. The theory goes your husband had it done to protect you and his reputation.
Finally, you gave the world a pigeon-eye view of the depth of Hitler’s hatred for the Jews, when you repeated his words to your sister-in-law a month before your suicide. “You know how I told you at the time, quite frankly, what the Führer said in the Café Anast in Munich when he saw the little Jewish boy, you remember? That he would like to squash him flat like a bug on the wall… I couldn’t believe it and thought it was just provocative talk, But he really did it later. It was all so unspeakably gruesome…”
Magda stood up and while walking by me conveniently brushed her body against mine.
Had my lecture had excited her?
Had those memories turned her on?
I watched Magda climb on the massage table, lay on her back and positioned her body in a provocative manner.
I stared up at the room’s white ceiling, raising my opened hands toward the heavens and cried out.” G-d, what do I do?