“We all know what happened in Germany in the early and middle nineteen’forties. We all know; it’s taught in schools, joked about in comedy clubs, referenced in works of literature both fiction and nonfiction; I think it’s safe to say that the events which occurred in Germany during the second world war are firmly ingrained into the mind of the overall human consciousness. It happened, it really fucking happened, and everybody knows it.
“What everybody does’t know, however, is what happened to a whole lot of the participants – hosts, I should say – of Germany’s big bad Nazi party. I wasn’t around back then so I don’t know this first-hand, but I have to assume that while it was happening, it was kept out of the eye of the general American public. I’m talking about Operation Paperclip, and if you haven’t heard about it, it was a massive buyout conducted by the yoU-eSs government that occurred roughly between nineteen’forty-five and nineteen’fifty-nine. I use the word buyout metaphorically, because technically, the purchasing of this specific type of cargo was widely outlawed in eighteen’thirty-three… let me just get to the point. Using the excuse of not wanting their minds to fall into the wrong hands, the United States government saved more than fifteen hundred ex-Nazi scientists, engineers, and technicians from the execution they deserved and employed them right here in the states. Some worked for independent contractors, some went on to work for NASA – actually, a fuckin’ lot of them went on to work for NASA – and some of them – a very select some, but some nonetheless – were given government funding to independently continue their work on science projects they originally started under Hitler’s watchful guidance.
“It was a legitimate enough concern at the time, I guess, what with communist Russia and the Cold War threatening to heat up into the third installment of a trilogy that no human being, no matter what they might say, really wanted to experience. Had the Russians procured the Nazis – had they procured America’s Nazis in addition to the Nazis they procured on their own, I should say – nobody knows how the course of history might have changed. On the whole, even though the deed was about as dirty as it gets, Op’ Paperclip was a good move. God works in mysterious ways, as the faithful preach and the faithless jest over brews and burnt herbs; sometimes bad things just have to happen to prevent worse things from happening, and sometimes, bad things have to happen for good things to happen, too. I know these aren’t easy concepts to grapple with and accept, but I want you to know, Doctor, that I understand them. I might only be a Sophomore in high school, but I understand them. I’m not here seeing you because I’m crazy, I’m here seeing you because I’m hoping you will understand.
“The fact of the matter is that I did not kill my brother David. Yes, I was the last one who was with him before he disappeared; yes, both of us went deep into the woods to go fishing and only I came out; yes, we took a backpack with us that the cops couldn’t find, and there was a knife in that backpack, a knife I was holding when I got back to the house. But I didn’t kill him.”
“Please, Cooper, you can call me Mister Williamson,” Mister Williamson says without looking up from his notepad. He’s a fast writer but not that fast – Cooper is talking at a mile a minute, and though Mister Williamson was the best taker of notes in all of his classes from elementary school through college, nobody speaks quite as fast as a teenager with a conspiracy theory haunting their mind. “Even Hilter would be fine, really; I am a world-renowned researcher of the mind, and I’m not insecure about it, either. I do not need to be called Doctor to feel like I am doing my job.”
Cooper stressfully runs his hand from his forehead to the back of his scalp, as if to smooth out his crew cut. “Okay, Hilter. I didn’t kill my older brother, Hilter. Do you believe me? Hilter?”
Hilter’s pen stops moving for a half-second at the words older brother – David is not the first older brother who once lived on this street to disappear, and in the back of his mind, Hilter believes there may be a pattern forming – but he continues writing before Cooper can notice he’s stopped. “I do believe you.” He finishes filling out the first page of his notepad, flips it over to reveal the second page, writes two sentences, then clicks his pen. “Believe it or not, I am very familiar with the murderer type, and I am more than sure that you are not one. And for the record, I’d like to state that I spoke with both of your parents and they don’t believe you killed your older brother, either. They’re just worried about you, Cooper. They think you saw something you couldn’t understand – something you didn’t want to understand, I should say – and so they thought it would be a good idea for you to come and speak to me. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I do understand,” Cooper growls, folding his arms tight against his chest. “I understand that it’s them, it’s my parents who don’t want to understand what happened. It’s so easy for them to tell me what goes on in my head, it’s so easy for them to talk about what happened down by the lake, but they weren’t there. Only me and David were there, and I saw what happened to him. I know how my brother died, and it’s not what they think happened.”
“All right,” Hilter states calmly, clicking his pen and bringing the point to his notepad. “Before we proceed, I’d like to offer this one more time: would you like to carry out the remainder of this appointment in a different location? I own all of the houses on this road now, and I understand tha–”
“No,” Cooper says flatly. “I’m glad we’re here. I didn’t want my family to move, especially not in the hurry that we did. If we just stayed living in this house, everything would have been fine. I wouldn’t be so depressed.” He broods for a moment and lowers his eyes to the floor. In his mind, Cooper recites the first few lines of his favorite song to bring himself into focus. Then, he says, “I don’t want to talk about this anywhere else.”
“Very well,” said with a nod. “Then please tell me, who killed your brother?”
“It’s not a who, Hilter,” Cooper says without looking up. “It’s a what.”
“Apologies, my mistake,” as Hilter’s grip on the pen tightens. “What killed David?”
Cooper looks up with a face so grave it could be carved into a tombstone, and slowly utters the words, “The Serpent.”
Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the twelfth story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~