𝗟𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗱

𝘣𝘺 𝘑𝘶𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵



Das Zoo reeks of wet beast as cattle citizens herd into the shoot. I avoid their sharp hooves and lemon bitter snouts as best I can. It is every citizen for themselves as we spill out of the Metro, racing for the trams and Busse that will spirit us away. Berlin never sleeps, even as the Reichstag burned and Das Party became victors supreme. We are cloaked in the ash of our democracy while the band plays on— quieter now as jazz is suspect and the city's shadows are filled with long, sharp knives.

I pull my cloche hat down, hiding my platinum hair as I allow Papa's great coat to swallow me whole. Now, hair like mine, unnaturally colored bright white, is reason alone to be listed or questioned. Das Party has armed supporters on every bus and Straßenbahn, checking identifications, asking questions as they push Jews off vehicles so a Reinblütiger Deutscher can sit without fear. Das Party are made up of swines and they take pleasure finding ‘degenerates’ that ‘soil’ their Fatherland.

I am proud to be hated by them. And terrified to be found out.


Outside the windows, the street is filled with bitter diamonds—smashed glass and broken bottles litter the cobblestones reflected back in the cold streetlight. Before this, die Straße sang—Heidelmann's Delikatessen, the Fonk-Shop, even the Café owned by the Ketelman's are now boarded and closed. Crudely written epitaphs scrawl across shuttered windows—NSDAP Uber-Alles and blood-red Jüdische Ratte barbs.


Gute-Nacht, Fraulien. Papiere, bitte.”


The Party member in front of me smiles, his fresh face bright in the passing lights. He's only started shaving it seems with a fresh cut nicking his neck. I can smell the wintergreen he has slathered on over the fresh leather tang of his new Party uniform. I pluck my identity card from my purse, making sure to open Papa's coat just enough so he can see a hint of the silk chemise I have on underneath. My stockings are silvered electric silk designed to compliment my platinum hair. As the 'First Lady of Electricity,' I am dressed for my evening ahead—and mein Professor has instructed me well on how to disorient an opponent if stopped.

“Use what you naturally have to confuse them. But be careful how much you show. Too much and they will take you away. Feel your way through every situation, Schatz.”

I hold my breath as the armed guard flits through my document and pretends not to look at my slick thigh just visible through the open seam of my coat. I glance up at him under half-lidded eyes and breathe slowly, trusting that my fake paper will pass scrutiny. Judging from the eager rat eyes of the man-child, ignoring my ID as he pays attention to the hidden realm of my sex before him, I shall have no problems here. The swelling of his prick near my face is an obvious sign.


Ein Darsteller? Cabaret? Are you a dancer?”


I shrug, reaching up for my identity card as I let the coat slide open even more. In public, these monsters beat and imprison my kind but in private, all of us know worse.


Ja,” I answer. “I dance and sing a little... Ich bin ein Entertainer.”


He pushes closer, his leg and leather boot between my legs as I feign a blush at his forwardness. His uniform gives him unfair license. Again, I use my skill to escape further interrogation. It would do no good to be arrested tonight.


“But only rue reines deutsch songs. At the Salon Kitty,” I whisper with wet lips. “I am expected there.”


I try not to show distaste in uttering mention of the accursed brothel beloved of Grofaz's senior officers as I nod at the boy, dismissing him. He straightens immediately, his leg withdrawn as he acknowledges my support of the Verrückter Wolf and his executive branch. The boy snaps a sharp turn and moves on to the next woman seated alone as I pull my coat tight against me. It was bad enough before the fall. Now, everywhere is a hunting ground for them cloaked in death and blood.


I wonder what he would have done if he knew that beneath my bright ironed hair and silk shift beats the heart of a Judische Ratte? I ignore his lingering look as I skip off at my stop and into the night.

•••


Passwort?”


The eyehole on the beaten metal door snaps open as I shiver in the basement entrance after making sure that no one had followed me as I exited the tram. I could have used a car tonight but even those luxuries are forbidden now. Only Party members drive and none of us, not even mein Professor has the power to forge documents of that caliber.


Scheiße Schickelgruber,” I whisper.


The door to the secret Garden of Eden opens, a thick black cloth barely visible in the half-light masking all inside. I can neither hear nor see anything from my vantage point. All is as it should be.


“Follow the rope,” a voice whispers in my ear as a thick, rough hemp is thrust into my hands. The door is slammed shut and I am alone in the dark. But I am not afraid. I have made this journey into the abyss before and within moments, I can hear the sound of music over the clatter of the Kino projector. As I part the final curtain, the room is spread before me under the silver light of the cinema light. I drop Papa's coat to the floor and bathe in the flickering luminescence as if before Gott himself.


On the screen, black and white abstract shapes flicker and bounce, a cacophony of images, metal factory fittings, children's toys and marching Party members in cruel competition. It is an exercise in montage—film editing—quick cuts moving fast, ever-quick imprinting themselves on the mind's eye and then moving to the next. I watch spellbound as image after image undulates before the crowded room. There are no seats here in Eden, just a long silver bar complete with padded stools and a dance floor. The stage and screen area is where all the action is and now the trio of musicians saw and pound away in discordant company to the Kakophonie of images onscreen. I slide past admirers and friends, hands reaching up and touching me gently as if to affirm my presence amongst them. Lithe fingers and strong arms pinch and embrace me as I glide through the sea of love. Here I welcome their ever-present touch as we assure ourselves of our selves and sex. Here, in Eden, we are free to love and live and be ourselves. I make my way backstage with my molten center already wet in anticipation.


I am slick and ready to be enjoyed.


•••


“You have become everything the Party despises,” der Professor whispers to me as he fits me into the contraption that shines before us. I nod in agreement, trusting myself fully to his gentle hands. “You are a beacon of hope.” I lean back in supplication with my legs spread firmly to the upright metal dais. “You are everything they desire yet cannot admit.” My breath comes faster now as the first of the locks connect me to my instrument. “You are a goddess.” I lean back against the leather board that holds me fast making sure both feet are properly grounded on the wooden platform beneath. As mein Professor cinches me tight against the restraining board, I gasp as the constricting cable lifts my full breasts up so they overflow from my so-soft coverlet.


“Are you comfortable, meine Liebe?” he croons, standing back to examine his own handiwork. I roll my shoulders in anticipation as he slides my instrument before me and connects the last of the electrical clips to the back of my neck support. He slips next to me, his long, capable fingers caressing my tender breasts. His tongue slips into my mouth as he fingers my sex in complete adoration.


Ja, mein Lehrer... I am—open for transmission,” I gasp.


•••


As mein Professor moves to the stage curtain, he peers out at the audience still enraptured by the avant-garde Kino finishing. Tonight, I am the attraction that all have come to witness. The First Lady of Electricityder elektrische Singvogel. It is a perfect opportunity for us to meet, to love, to mingle—and pass on what limited information we have about the NSDAP and themselves under the guise of my performance. All of us have contact, in our public lives, with many webs of the spider that chokes us. Together, our knowledge, our love, our plans will make a difference before it is too late and we are all carted away outside of the city. It was only thanks to mein Professor, mein Liebhaber that I was missed in the zusammenfassen that stole my parents and brother away. Intellectual Jews were the first on the list for Das Party and there was not a person in the room that had not lost someone to the butchers of Berlin. Artists and decadents have targets on their backs daily. No one knew who would be next.


Tonight I perform for us all.


•••


The theremin is a wondrous device—a musical instrument an artist may play without touching it. Two long, diametrically opposed metal contacts, one vertical and one horizontal are connected to an electronic amplifier as the performer conducts the music of the spheres by moving their hands across the magnetic poles. As mein Professor rolls me out, crucified on my electric platform, I strike up the opening refrain of 'The World is Ending' by master Rezsó´ Seress. A fitting debut for him here in Berlin, I feel, as democracy fails.


The baby-spotlight at the back of the club is my only illumination as I arch my back, thrusting my breasts out towards my audience—all of whom snap their fingers in appreciation as my chemise strains against me. I lift my left hand, sending the electric note into a high modular pitch which is my cue to my lover cum teacher to turn up the voltage to the platform.


I gasp aloud as the electrical pulse passes harmlessly through me lifting my white hair from my neck. With my feet grounded on the wooden floor of my restraint, I am unharmed by the deadly current that illuminates me on my altar as my hair begins to sparkle and undulate in unison to the current.


Gazing out to the crowd, I await their response.


It is the men, of course, who are first to react. Hands slide inside trousers as they grasp themselves. Generous partners, men and women both open themselves to their lovers’ touch as I propel us all into the night. Warm electrical waves of pleasure begin to build in my shoulders and breasts as I continue to cajole my instrument to life.


I watch them as they watch me lifting us aloft.


You do not touch the Theremin, you merely gesture above in an array of syncopated right hand movements while the left controls timbre and volume. I stroke my machine in honor of us all—seeing the wet slick tongues and glassy eyes locked on me as I begin to sing.


Dreaming, I was only dreaming...” I breathe, the microphone on my pedestal catching my every word. “I wake and I find you asleep...”


I glance at mein Professor, my love, who clasps his heart, mouthing along with me as he continues to turn up the electrical current on the controlling platform.


Blue electrical charges now arc across the two posts mounted at my shoulders as sea-blue light emanates from my control panel. I tremble in anticipation of what comes next.


In the depths of my heart, dear Darling, I hope,” I sing as my tongue slicks my open lips.


That my dream never haunted you...”


Beyond the stage, I can hear them now. The moans and promises of love and adoration. Shadows moving as one in a pantomime of flesh. My nipples throb in anticipation of touch denied as I push my aching quim towards the vibrating metal.


My heart is tellin' you... How much I wanted you…”


Words fail after that. My love spikes the voltage as I nestle against my trilling musical instrument. Suspended as I am, my sex the sole contact to the machine, I cry out in sizzling rapture.


My audience explodes in wet, desperate approval. Fireworks of images like the Kino before. Women's mouths to one other. Men impaled on eager thrusting sex. The sharp, bright scent of semen.


I am not alone in my triumph.


It is then they attack—when we are most vulnerable—chained to desire, not caring who knows or sees us in abandon. I buck and writhe against my electric lover as the door breaks down to the club. Harsh, angry calls from the Wölfe in heat. Shots crack as screams punctuate our reverie. Lost in my cavalcade, I cannot stop myself as I ride against the throbbing machine. Wave after wave of crashing passion would drive me to my knees if not held tight by my bonds. My motions are none my own as I buck in full view of the Schakale who use truncheon, gun, and fist to subdue my audience. Cries of pain and horror mix with my own shrieks of pleasure as I try to contain my passion.


And cannot.


I look desperately to mein Professor—my mouth gaping, eyes pleading for him to cut the current.


He lies slumped against the main power switch, an ugly hole smoking in his forehead.


I cry out as the machine continues in cruel application as light flashes onto me in wanton discovery. My fingers fly over the arms of the theremin, shrieking in fury at the marauders that have broken down the door force their way into my sanctum.

I see only flashes next.

The young guard from the tram pointing at me next to an older officer enjoying my torment. I had not been as careful as I thought in finding our place tonight and I have doomed us all.

I see the Hundes chase out the crowd—others raiding the bar and drinking freely as they jeer at me on display. The young guard from the tram, proud of himself.


I see their pig faces laughing through the flashing light.


My feet pull at my shoes knowing well my fate if they slip from the grounding platform.


Pushing back from the vibrations, I howl as I break contact with the wood.


In the instant before the power fires through me, I pray all die tonight.


I burn so they are denied my Ekstase as mein Professor's generator explodes in protest.

Lang lebe die Freiheit!





Julian Grant is a filmmaker, educator, and author of strange short stories, outlaw poetry, full-length novels/non-fiction texts and outsider comix. A tenured Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago, his work has been published by Dark Fire UK, Quail Bell, Avalon Literary Review, Crepe & Penn, Alternative History Magazine, Granfalloon, Altered Reality, The Chamber Magazine, Dark Lane Books, Clever Magazine, Peeking Cat Literary Journal, Danse Macabre, Fiction on the Web, Night Picnic, CafeLit, Horla, Bond Street Review, Piker Press, Retreats from Oblivion, Free Bundle, Filth Literary Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Mythic Circle, Murderous Ink Press, Superlative Literary Journal & The Adelaide Literary Magazine. Find out more about him at www.juliangrant.com.

Speculative fiction & POETRY ZINE