End of the Line Car 7

The last of the laughing people leave. Anne Frank knows where they have gone; they have been selected. She knows who passenger 252 is. He is the officer who makes the lists. She goes up to him asks. "Would you like to dance?"

The officer looks up and says pleasantly. "No thank you."

"Why not?" she asks him. "We have so little time together."

He smiles. He loved the dance, but the more quickly he finishes this report now, the more time he will have to be himself.

Anne pleads. " This is a matter of life and death."

The train roars through the Elephant. All at once, the car collapses from one end, squeezed flat like a toothpaste tube someone has stepped on. Everything stops.

Sandwiched between metal, Anne seeps. Her arm pops back into its socket, her fingers flow back together. From between the torn sheets of metal, she pulls herself out of the car.

A bloodied hand offers her the list. She takes it. It is the list of useful people who will survive:

the unemployed
the sick
the retired and elderly
the mentally subnormal
prisoners
pre school infants
children driven to school
people with cars
housewives
nuns....

Anne knows such lists. She knows all the names, the millions of names. She catches up with Tom McHugh and takes hold of his hand. Together they walk up the tunnel.

Anne is murmuring the kaddish now, for the dead. She wanders and bears witness. She cannot forget them, nor can she die.

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