Dream of: 02 June 1996 "I Wouldn't Go Out Like That"
I was on Fifth Street in Portsmouth, in the neighborhood of the Fifth Street House (a two story white frame house where I lived for six months in the summer and fall of 1964 when I started the seventh grade of school). I was scanning the houses on the street, trying to pick out my old home. But it was not actually my old home which I was interested in finding – I only needed to locate my old home to help me find what I was really looking for: the house next door.
I recalled that when I had lived in the Fifth Street House a family with the last name of "Glockner" had lived next door. The father of the family had worked for the well-known Glockner Chevrolet car dealership, the only Chevrolet dealership in Portsmouth. The family was Catholic and there were many children. I remembered the oldest son, a young black-haired boy of my age – who went to the Catholic School in town – as being named "David Glockner." I hadn't seen him in all these many years since I had lived on Fifth Street. But now I desperately needed to find him.
It was not dark outside, but it was not light either, and I had a difficult time distinguishing the houses, all of which appeared well-maintained and in good shape. But finally I thought I found the right house and I walked up onto the porch. I looked to my right to the white house next door, which I concluded was my old home, and I felt sure I had found the right house. I stepped up to the door and pressed the doorbell. I stepped back from the door (knowing that I would be a stranger to the people inside, and having learned long ago it was not appropriate to stand close to the door when seeking entrance to an unknown person's home) and waited for someone to come. I was unsure that anyone would even answer the door to a stranger such as me, and if they did, whether they would grant me entry.
But I didn't wait long before a thin brown-haired man (about 30 years old) opened the door and stepped outside. I knew he wasn't a Glockner and I hadn't expected him to be one. I already knew the Glockners had long ago moved away from this house, and that this was only the beginning of my search for David Glockner. I merely hoped that this man would be able to give me some information as to where the Glockners might have moved to.
I quickly informed the man why I was there and why I had come. But it was immediately clear that he had no intention of helping me. In fact he seemed downright antagonistic toward me. He snapped that I hadn't been around for "17 years" and that this was no time for me to be searching for the Glockners. In fact it vaguely seemed to me that I had come here once before – perhaps indeed it had been 17 years ago, I couldn't remember – and that at that time I had also been searching for the Glockners. I hadn't found them then, I hadn't pursued the effort and I hadn't bothered with it since. So to some extent I could understand the man's attitude. But I knew that now I had a far more important reason for finding David Glockner than I had ever had before, and no matter what, I must assuage this man's feelings toward me and convince him to help me.
As we stood there a large brown dog came out of the house, stood up on its hind legs in front of me and put its front legs on me. The dog was almost as tall as me. I thought this might be a chance for me to show the man my good will, and instead of rebuking the dog and telling it to get down, I began kindly petting it and saying, "Nice boy. Nice boy."
And to some extent my strategy seemed to work, and the man mollified a bit. However it was clear that he still didn't intend to help me. He chastised me further, saying it was improper for me, as a stranger, to be knocking on his door. He complained about how there had been robberies and murders right there in front of his house, he said something about a knife, and he raged on about how it was not even safe to come outside.
It becoming clearer and clearer that the man was not inclined to help me, I finally realized that my only hope was to divulge to him why I must find David Glockner. In a low voice I said, "I work for the German government."
I at once had the full attention of the man. Both of us were fully aware that the United States was at war with Hitler and Germany. The man looked at me knowingly, as if he had correctly appraised me from the beginning and that this was exactly what could have been expected from someone like me.
At about the same time two other men – apparently friends of the first man – walked up on the porch and joined us. I realized that the presence of the other two men complicated my present mission, but since they showed no signs of leaving, I saw no alternative but to continue my conversation in their presence. Although I was about to reveal delicate information which I would have preferred not to have told anyone, I now saw no choice but to tell all three men my story. I continued, "I know where Hitler is."
The men were all ears. I continued to talk, trying to explain why I was there. It was true that I was a high official in the German government. In fact I worked right next to Hitler and was a trusted companion. What, however, was not known, was who I really was.
Unbeknownst to Hitler, I had left Germany the day before and I was now hatching a plan to assassinate Hitler. I knew Hitler was presently in the capital of Utah, which in my mind's eye I pictured as the state directly north of Texas (in the area of Oklahoma). In my mind's eye also I pictured myself as being not in Ohio, but in north central Texas (around the area of Dallas). It was my plan to arrange for Hitler to be assassinated the following day, while he was in the capital of Utah.
The method of the assassination was rather elaborate. Another man, who was my co-conspirator, had a military tank which was already in place on one side of the building where Hitler was staying. However we considered it necessary that we have two tanks – one on each side of the building. At the same time both tanks would open fire on the building, destroy the building, and kill Hitler in the process.
In so many words I quickly told the three men of the plot. I felt some sense of relief that I was able to tell them of the plan and finally show that I wasn't actually one of Hitler's minions, but that I actually planned to kill Hitler. I also felt somewhat self-important, knowing that I was in such a high position that I would have the opportunity to carry out this plot – an opportunity that so few could ever hope to have. At the same time I realized the chance I was taking by telling these men. I added that it was important that they tell no one else what I was revealing to them. I realized that my warning would probably have no effect and that word of the plot would quickly spread. But I thought it wouldn't be important because the plot must be carried out tomorrow and there was not time for them to tell many people. The plot would either succeed or fail before these men had a chance to ruin it.
And now I finally got to the point of why I had come for David Glockner: Glockner was a tank driver and he had a tank. I needed Glockner to drive the second tank up to Utah, park on one side of the large building, and at the given moment, blast the building to smithereens. Due to my high position in the government, I had been able to arrange for safe passage of the tank to the capital city of Utah. As I continued to explain this to the men, I thought I might be able to show them better if I had a map, and asked if they had one.
By now the first man and the other two men were putty in my hands. The first man docily opened the front door and invited me into his home. All three of us walked into the living room.
In the living room I discovered the family of the first man. In one corner of the room was a couch with a right angle in it so that it was set against the corner and ran along two walls. Two children were seated on one side and two on the other, with the mother right in the middle at the corner. I didn't waste time and asked the mother if she had a map of Germany and of Utah. She quickly told me they didn't have a map of Germany in the house, and I privately thought to myself what an uneducated household it must be not to even have a map of Europe in it, but she said she thought she might be able to find a map of Utah, and she scurried about looking for one.
As she did so, I noticed that all four children were watching a television program and that they seemed absorbed by what they were seeing. As I looked at the television I quickly saw why, and I just as quickly wondered if the children should actually be allowed to view what was there on the screen.
The program was a newscast of events presently taking place in Germany. The camera shot was an aerial view, looking down on the scene below it. In the center of the screen was some kind of motor vehicle which was burning wildly. It was immediately clear that there was a man inside the vehicle who was burning to death. But what was more grotesque was that another man ran up and threw himself on top of the burning vehicle, as a Hindu widow might throw herself on her husband's pyre.
I immediately recognized what was happening. These men were burning themselves to death as a protest to Hitler's regime. This was there way of combating Hitler.
I understood how the men felt and I related to them. I knew that only recently I had undergone a transformation in myself concerning my attitude towards death. Until recently I hadn't thought that I would be willing to sacrifice my life for something else, for something I believed in. I had often seen men dying in battle and wars and had always thought that I would never be willing to make that kind of sacrifice. But I knew that that had changed. I could now see myself willing to die for something in which I believed. In fact, I saw myself as more than willing – I even relished the idea of such a death. It was not that I wanted to die. For instance in the present plot to assassinate Hitler, I knew I ran a strong risk of dying. I would, however, try to avoid dying, and thought there was still some chance I would survive. However, if necessary, I would gladly give my life. But looking at the scene of carnage on the television before us, speaking mainly to the children, I said, "I wouldn't go out that way."
I wanted to convey the thought that I wouldn't simply kill myself the way the two men on the screen were doing. If I were going to die, I would go down fighting, and I would take as many Germans with me as I could. It seemed like a waste to me to see these good men taking their own lives, when they might be able – if they fought – to take some Germans with them.
And what happened next seemed like even more of a waste. As the camera focused in more on the fire, I began to discern other figures of human beings in the fire. Staring closer I could vividly see dozens of other people in an ever larger fire. And more were constantly throwing themselves in. With rich detail I could see the human forms writhing and twisting in pain. They were spread all over the burning ground like pieces of bacon in a skillet. Some were digging down into the earth, which seemed wet and muddy, and their bodies were smeared with mud. Some people climbed onto others – I noticed one man in particular climb onto the back of another man lying face down on the ground.
As the children and I watched, I sensed that we all had one thing in common: none of us felt anything for the burning people. All of us seemed completely devoid of emotion, detached, unmoved by the terrible agony and pain laid out before us.
What I did feel was a sense of futility, as if all these people were dying in vain, as if they had made a mistake by throwing themselves into the fire instead of fighting the Germans. From the camera angle I could now see that German soldiers were standing over to the side of the fire and I thought that if the victims had fought, even with their bare hands, they surely could have killed some of the Germans.
And it seemed that the burning victims hadn't completely achieved their aim anyway – to die – for all of them were still alive, burning and writhing.
Germans to the side had pulled up in several large bulldozers. The bulldozers began moving, drove toward the charred bodies and began pushing the bodies and dirt with the blades. It was clear the Germans were just going to bury the bodies whether the people were still alive or not.
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