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Schlerge Buggard's Tribunal

Schlerge Buggard's Tribunal

A Story by Chopstix
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As a detainee, Schlerge Buggard made lists. Now, he faces the liberators tribunal

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Word Count: 5626

Sergeant Shriver led Schlerge Buggard past several former detention camp internees all of whom previously testified and, now, waited in a narrow hallway leading to a large cell serving as a tribunal room. He uncuffed his charge and sat him next to Captain Galloes who ground a metal shank he found, sharpening it on a rough stone. The segeant approached the Judge Advocate General and nodded before assuming his position at the cell's entrance.

“Proceedings of District Court 3 Department 117. The tribunal of Schlerge Buggard reconvenes. The jury is seated. The defendant has been sworn in and has taken the stand. Major Hawkins, please proceed.”

“Mr. Schlerge Buggard, that is your name … “

“… No it isn’t.”

“That’s what we have here. Are you claiming we have the wrong man?”

“I make no claims, except that name, it’s not mine.”

“What, then, is your name?”

“I don’t know. It was taken away so very long ago. I’ve racked my brain, but I can't recall. I just know that name, the one you spoke, is not mine.”

“Do you have number 100669476 tattooed on you left forearm?”

“Yes. See. Here's that number.”

“Camp records show number 100669476, and, next to it Schlerge Buggard. Is that you?”

“No.”

“Are the records in error?”

“How should I know? They're not my records. They belong to the Commandant.”

“At any point, did you meet the Commandant?”

“I met several of them. There were many, one after the other.”

“In your opinion, were any of them sloppy record keepers?”

“No, I have no reason to believe any of them were.”

“So, the man with 100669476 tattooed on your arm, this listing in the records, it is you?”

“No.”

“How can that be?”

“It is the label they called me.”

“So it is you?”

“No, it is just a name, a label. How can I make you understand? Perhaps, I make a list. I label you Dumbhead Prosecutor, tattoo that on your forehead. Is that you?”

“The court insists you show respect to all its officers. I will not tolerate any disrespect. Is that clear?”

“Is that clear? I don’t know. Must the prosecutor respect me?”

“You are not an officer of the court.”

“But I need the prosecutor to respect me. I need to prosecutor to understand me …”

“ … I understand the records. I understand testimony from over thirty camp survivors who identified you as Captain Bugsy, the butcher of Block 2. Block 2 of Camp 17. I understand their testimony corroborates camp records. I understand all this. All these atrocities point to you. Are you not Captain Buggard, the butcher of Block 2?”

“Butcher? No, perhaps yes, but no. Captain? Definitely not! Your list, the one you point to, what is written next to the number?”

“Our translators couldn’t make out the first word …”

“.. it’s ‘mother.’”

“Are you a translator now?”

“No.”

“Then how would you know that?”

“They used two alphabets. One for writing in their language, the other for pronouncing words in ours. They taught us 'mothers' to write in the second alphabet so they could pronounce names on the lists.”

“So you admit to being a collaborator?”

“Collaborator? I don’t know about such things. I just wanted to point out that I was not a captain. I was never a captain. I was a 'mother'; all Schlerges were 'mothers'. They drove our names from us. None of us knew who we were anymore. I think ‘Schlerge’ means ‘mother’ in their language. When they were done with us, we were all 'Mother' Schlerge.”

“Mother?”

“Yes.”

“But you are male.”

“Yes. All Schlerges were male.”

“That doesn't make any sense.”

“Yes. Nothing about Camp 17 made much sense. None of it, until it did.”

“So you understand their camps?”

“No! Yes? Perhaps. Do you know what type of camps they were?”

“They were concentration camps.”

“No.”

“Prisoner camps, then.”

“No.”

“Detention camps.”

“No.”

“Extermination camps.”

“No.”

“Summer camps?”

“Oh, God, no!”

“Okay, then, tell us what kind of camps were they?”

“They were training camps.”

“Because they trained you to be a ‘Mother?’”

“No.”

“To train the others to be their slaves.”

“No. We were their slaves anyways.”

“To be better slaves?”

“No.”

“You keep saying ‘no’ to everything.”

“You keep proffering ignorance. You are trying me with ignorance. You should understand. You must understand, you …”

“… I’m listening. What should I know?”

“All their soldiers served as guards before joining combat units.”

“I knew that.”

“Do you know why?”

“Light duty before combat, I assume. It makes sense.”

“No.”

“Then why?”

“To teach them what we are worth.”

“And what are we worth?”

“To them. Almost nothing.”

“They had to learn this? I thought they already knew. They killed us like we were animals …”

“… less than animals.”

“You keep interrupting.”

“You still don’t understand.”

“What am I missing?”

“Animals have value. You can kill an animal and eat its meat. You can keep an animal as a pet. You can develop affection for an animal, respect an animal. Soldiers learned they could not allow any affection for us, harbor no respect.”

“That explains their behavior on the battlefield and during occupation, but I wonder. I wonder what where we worth to you.”

“To me?”

“Yes. To you.”

“Everything, perhaps more, at first, then after being a 'mother' for twelve years, nothing, perhaps less.”

“So you fit in well with our enemy.”

“No. I learned their soldiers' lesson.”

“You seem to have learned it better than they.”

“Better? No.”

“They only thought we were almost worthless.”

“Because, even after their training, they could maintain hope.”

“And you could not?”

“Yes.”

“Even after your training?”

“Especially after my training.”

“I do not understand.”

“That’s the problem.”

“Then explain.”

“Explain what?”

“Explain how you became Bugsy, the butcher of Block 2.”

“I never heard such a name, not until today.”

“Then explain how you became Captain.”

“Not Captain. 'Mother.'”

“Okay, How did you become Block 2’s 'mother?'”

“I was put on a list.”

“It was that simple?”

“Everything at Camp 17 was simple. That is, until it wasn't.”

“Tell us what happened to change you from Prisoner 100669476 to …”

“'Mother' 100669476?”

“Yes.”

“My predecessor, 'Mother' Schlerge Ulmo, made a list of three men to train for 'mother.' Head Guard Schmeller read the list before he read the daily list, but he did not say why. He simply read our numbers and our names and we entered the center courtyard. I thought I was going to die. Schmeller ordered us to follow the guard. As we filed out of Block 2, we heard him read the daily list, each of expressed surprise differently. Two giggled; I sighed.”

“You were happy you were not on the daily list?”

“Of course. We thought we were spared.”

“Was that the first lesson? The first step to becoming a 'mother?'”

“No. The first step was obedience, but following orders were required of everyone. Foolish prisoners thought we must appease them. They took every effort to avoid complaining, criticism. Pointless. They never cared what we said, what we thought.”

“They allowed you to criticize them?”

“Why not? As long we followed their orders, what do our words mean? The same for their soldiers. Once I heard a Private mock and berate the Commandant for several minutes while the Commandant gave orders to 'mothers,' one by one. Without indication, the Commandant stood up and ordered this unruly Private to drop his drawers. Without hesitation, the private unbuckled, unbuttoned, unzipped and hooked his thumbs in his waistband and shoved it to his ankles.”

“Then what happened?”

“The Commandant resumed ordering lists from 'mothers.' The private stood there for awhile before lifting his trousers and skulking off.”

“The Commandant didn't order him to put his pants back on?”

“He didn’t have to. Obedience is not a game of Mother May I. It is Do what I Say, and do it without question, without hesitation. The Commandant demanded an act of obedience; the private provided one. Only the private didn’t realize it right away. He should have been sent back to basic training.”

“Would you send him back?”

“I would have put him on a list.”

“What's this obsession with lists?”

“Ah! Thank you! A good question. Lists, you see, are what 'mothers' were trained to provide.”

“Just lists? Why would your fellow detainees fear your lists? It seems simple enough.”

“It was simple. The hardest part came early. We had to learn their phonetic script. At first they sat us in a classroom and brought in an instructor, a 'mother' from Block 19. At the end of each hour, he quizzed us, then he made a list of those whose performance lacked proficiency. The instructor pointed to everyone on the list and ordered them to write their own names in phonetic script. It was their final exam.”

“Final?”

“Yes. After a minute, guards lined them up. Two Captain Guards entered. One by one, they handed the first Captain the slip of paper. The first Captain read his name and placed the slip in a fire. If the Second Captain approved the reading, the author resumed his seat. No reading was approved. The Second Captain shook his head, and a guard escorted the author outside to a waiting pit and shot him. Several in line desperately tried to correct their writing. It was not allowed. No-one goofed off after that.”

“So what happened after you learned to write in their script?”

“We learned to make lists.”

“What sort of lists?”

“Easy lists at first. List ten eight digit numbers. List ten items you see in the room. List ten dishes you’d like to eat. List ten animals in a farmyard. List ten class mates.”

“So all of you made lists? For how long?”

“About a week. That’s how long it took to whittle us down.”

“I thought nobody goofed-off. What happened?”

“Not everyone was proficient in their script. If you never learned the proper way to enunciate words, recording their phonetics would be difficult, lead to mistakes. Mistakes lead to the pit.”

“How many of you graduated from training?”

“Seven.”

“Seven out of 20 blocks? What about the rest?”

“They lived.”

“They lived?”

“Or they died. It depends on how you look at it.”

“How do you ‘look at it?’”

“They lived. That is to say, 'mothers' clever enough to list stupid candidates survived; a lesson I took to heart.” 

“I think you lost me there.”

“You never asked how I became a 'mother,' a Schlerge.”

“You described your training.”

“Before that.”

“I don’t know.” 

“I know.”

“Pray tell.”

“My predecessor, Schlerge Ulmo, put me on a list. I remember it well. A guard Captain read it before the daily list. I thought I was going to die, but he stopped at three names. We straggled into Block 2’s courtyard, and a guard lead us to training.”

“That’s it?”

“Of course that’s it. You must understand. All a 'mother' does is make lists. Make a list for garden duty, make a list of snow clearers, make a list of 'mother' trainees and …”

“… make a daily list.”

“Yes, always a daily list.”

“Describe, for the court, the daily list and how you went about making yours.”

“I’d rather not.”

“Because you’d incriminate yourself?”

“You think the daily lists were the worst things I done, but you don’t understand.”

“Then explain it to me, to this tribunal.”

“I wouldn't know where to start.”

“Start with your first list.”

“'Mother' Schlerge Ulmo helped me with my first daily list. He advised me to be a good 'mother,' get to know each of the detainees in Block 2. The day after training, he ushered me around. We walked through each barrack house. 'Mother' Ulmo introduced me to people he found there. He chatted with many of them. He told me not to take notes, to memorize everyone’s name, their condition, everything, as much as I could.”

“Why was that? To save paper?”

“You know why. Everyone knew why. When your name appears on daily lists, you die the next day. When they see you writing, they will think you wrote their name. How would you feel if you knew you would die tomorrow? What would you do? Panic? Kill yourself? Kill someone else? Wouldn't you rather have hope?”

“Did any of them have any hope?”

“How should I know?”

“Did any them have any real chance?”

“No.”

“Who did you put on the list?”

“I can’t remember all the names.”

“I don’t want to know the name. I want to know how you condemned so many to their deaths.”

“And I want you to understand, but you refuse to understand.”

“I understand you made lists. I understand you handed them over to the occupiers, and I understand those people were executed the next day. What don’t I understand?”

“You don’t understand that it didn’t matter.”

“I’m sure it mattered to those who died.”

“No you don’t. You don’t understand. What would you do?”

“I wouldn't make the lists.”

“Even if you were ordered to?”

“I would refuse.”

“Then you would be dead, and somebody else would make the list. After a fleeting moment, your protest evaporates.”

“Gentlemen.”

“Yes your honor.”

“You two are simply exchanging opinions and conjecture. This tribunal needs facts to make its determination.”

“My apologies your honor.”

“Resume questioning the defendant.”

“Was there a method to making your lists?”

“Yes, no, several.”

“Explain.”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

“Begin at the beginning.”

“The first list, the one Schlerge Ulmo guided me through, well, let me say, not everyone died by execution. Conditions in the camp were horrible. They fed us moldy bread, rotting vegetables, rancid meat and fouled water, and so little of even that. We died of disease, we died of hunger, of thirst and the cold, the bitter cold. Every day we cleared the dead from the barracks and stacked their bodies, their naked bodies because we stripped them of their clothes to add layers to our own, by the gates, so the guards could count them before throwing them on the pyre, a stinking pyre which reminded all us of constant death.”

“So you culled the herd, so to speak?”

“It made sense at first. Why let someone close to death stay while someone else, some with a better chance gets executed? The next day, Schlerge Ulmo and I delivered our list to The Commandant. He scratched off one name. Schlerge Ulmo and I looked at each other, then he averted his eyes. Two guards entered and escorted him out.”

“So even Schlerges are vulnerable?”

“Yes, yes. I think you understand better.”

“What happened next?”

“In the morning, guards read ten names. Schlerge Ulmo was one of them. That day, guards executed them with detached bayonets. My eyes fixed on Schlerge Ulmo. Later my niece told me, all other eyes were fixed on me.”

“How did it make you feel?”

“Confused. Strangely more alone. The burden rested with me.”

“So you take responsibility?”

“At first I did. For a year or so, I did, but then I didn’t. I learned the guards lesson.”

“What happened next?”

“Life went on. Death went on. Every day, I toured Block 2. Every day, I made lists. I, as you said, attempted to cull the herd. I listed those too sick, too weak too helpless to live much longer, and hoped they lived through the night.”

“What happened if they didn’t?”

“For each one that didn’t, ten more names on the next list. I learned to gauge who would live and who would die in order to keep as many alive as I could. Like you, I was I naive.”

“How am I naive?”

“Tell me, do you think all detainees were saints?”

“I wouldn't know.”

“They weren't. Many stole food and water and clothes from those weaker than themselves. They organized small gangs. Yes they cleared the dead every morning, but not as any service. They did it to lay claims the dead’s last possessions. I asked myself, ‘Why am I punishing the weak to keep these mobsters alive?’ So my lists changed. I started listing these thieves, these monsters, along with those near death.”

“So you played at being a vigilante?”

“I thought I was doing good. I thought I could help as many as possible. I tried to keep the number of deaths down to ten a day. Just ten a day. Perhaps there was still hope.”

“Was there?”

“No. You still refuse to understand. There was never any hope. Ten a day, and the whole block you be dead in three months.”

“But you were a ‘mother,’ a Schlerge, for over ten years. How is this possible?”

“When Block 2 was half empty, transports came. New detainees arrived, and all barrack bunks filled.”

“Didn't this mean you could save your favorites?”

“My favorites? No. My niece lived on Block 2. My beautiful niece, my favorite niece. She was fifteen when they detained us and brought us to camp. She was talented. She played piano, and violin, and flute and she sang like nobody's business. In better times, she might be a star, or she might marry a man of her dreams. In camp, I could only keep her off the daily lists. Her, her friend from school, some others, but I could not obtain extra nutrition for them.”

“Surely you extorted food for keeping names off your list.”

“What’s the point? It’s like trading one form of death for another. Sometimes, family members, sometimes friends of suffering detainees offered food to put their loved ones on the list. If I had room, I put them on, but told petitioners to keep the food for themselves. You must understand. People died of starvation; they died of cold.”

“And they died from your lists, but not all were threatened by starvation, were they?”

“No. You must be thinking of Schlerges, right, but you don’t understand. Every night, we presented our lists to the Commandant. We entered the guard’s barracks through the gates. There was a waiting room where we waited, of course. A table loaded with fine breads, sweet deserts, sometimes sandwiches. And there was coffee. I can still smell the coffee, and cream. Guards came by and told us we could eat as much as we like, but not take any outside. So we ate, and waited to be called to the Commandant. That is how Schlereges obtained extra calories to survive. We ate, and drank, and listened to entertainers in the other room, hoping the Commandant. takes his time before calling us.”

“Entertainers?”

“Yes, poor souls, entertainers, though like Schlerges, they ate plenty.”

“Explain. Who were these entertainers? Were they collaborators like you?”

“You still do not understand. So, you know why all Schlerges, all 'mothers,' were male?”

“You’re the witness, you tell us.”

“There were other lists. Twenty to shovel snow, forty to launder uniforms, twelve to gather berries and so on. Not long after I replaced Schlerge Ulmo, new guards replaced all the guards we knew. The commandant asked for twenty entertainers. I thought of my niece, so young and talented, and even beautiful if she were cleaned and fed...”

“You thought you could protect her?”

“I made my list just as the guards thought I would. I chose eighteen young women I wished to save from hunger and death and two crude men whom, it was rumored, raped young girls. That'll keep them from raping again.”

“How did you know that?”

“I was not that naive. Every night, I waited to deliver my lists to the Commandant. Every night, I saw the sort of entertainment our guards wanted. I knew my niece might lose her virginity to the guards, but I maintained hope. I hoped she’d see it as romance or seduction. I hoped they’d appreciate her music and treat her well.”

“And they two men? Why did you send them?”

“The list was not specific. Maybe the guards would appreciate their raunchy humor. One thing I knew for sure, the guards would not share women with them. If they did not watch themselves, the guards would take care of them with their bayonets. Women in my block appreciated their absence.”

“Do you know your niece’s fate?”

“Yes. No, not exactly, but I know enough.”

“Tell us.”

“At night, in the waiting room, I heard her violin. I could tell it was her. Her violin played such sweet tones. For months, her music soothed me. One day, a new troop of guards replaced the old ones, and I didn’t hear any violin. A few days later, I asked the Commandant. He said, ‘She went on retreat.’ I heard of spiritual retreats, constitutional retreats, team building retreats, urban retreats and, perhaps, meditational retreats. I imagined pineland outings and cozy cottages. Of course, guards would bring along their consorts. So I asked when she’d return. The Commandant answered with a curt wave of his index finger. Two guards dragged me outside and beat me.”

“Do you know what became of your niece and other entertainers?”

“One of the guards returned a few years later. He approached me in the waiting room. ‘Do you recognize me?” He asked. He attained a few battle scars on his face and limped, favoring his right leg. I told him I saw nothing. ‘I’m one of the guards who beat you when you asked the Commandant about your niece.’ He told me about their retreats. It’s the final part of their training. They are told to cross one hundred kilos as if they were stranded as enemy territory. They take one or two female entertainers as wet-nurses. Woman provide milk and move at roughly the same pace as they. They don’t have to waste ammunition to hunt or time to forage. They can avoid population centers and travel cross country. In a pinch, they use their nutrition source as hostages. Should a woman dry up, they slice her neck and move on. At the rendezvous point, they execute any surviving women.”

“Was your niece shot?”

“What does it matter? Don’t you see? Every woman I sent as entertainers, every woman for whom I thought I traded her virtue for her survival, met a horrible end, sucked dry and murdered. Do you see yet, are you getting the picture?”

“That must be the umpteenth time you said that. Why is it important to you that I understand?”

“Because you must convince the jury I’m innocent.”

“You have a defense attorney.”

“He thinks my actions are indefensible. He won’t say anything to help. He just grinds that shank of metal he found.”

“It’s annoying, but what has it got to do with me?”

“Nothing, it just keeps him occupied. You, however, should understand my actions. You can convince the jury on my behalf.”

“Why’s that?”

“Why are you prosecuting me?”

“It’s my job.”

“You could prosecute someone else. Why are you not prosecuting Schlerge Brunk of Block 16.”

“You are on my list.”

“Exactly.”

“Exactly what?”

“Who made your list?”

“Judge Advocate General Smithe.”

“Is he a good man?”

“He is my superior.”

“And you trust his lists?”

“I prosecute cases on my list.”

“Are you going to prosecute JAG Smithe?”

“That’s absurd.”

“He makes lists; I make lists. You respect him; you should respect me.”

“He’s a patriot; you’re a collaborator.”

“He makes lists; I made lists. If he didn’t make lists, someone else would; if I didn’t make lists, someone else would. Think about it, and while you’re thinking consider this: If you didn’t prosecute people on your list, someone else would. There are events you can never stop; you can only make bad situations a little better.”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you just heard the confession of a collaborator.”

“Do you think you could do better in my situation?”

“I wouldn’t collaborate with the enemy.”

“I was a civilian, I didn't know any enemies; I knew occupiers, detainers, jailors, murderous guards, their murderous captains and their murderous commandant. They controlled everything in my detention camp.” 

“You made daily death lists for Block 2.”

“If it wasn’t me, it would be someone else.”

“It wouldn’t be me.”

“But it doesn’t matter if it were you or not. Someone would do it. You tried to accuse me of making lists for my own benefit, but I never did. I tried to make the lists to keep as many of my people alive as I could. I tried not to waste a single death. I never took bribes to keep people alive. When I could, I put people on other lists, work lists, to provide my blockmates the best benefit. Yes, I made lists, those awful lists, but do you, any of you, think you could do it better.”

“I wouldn’t do it all.” 

“You know, when soldiers came to my block, near the end, they must of have been captured, they talked like you. They called me ‘collaborator.’ They call blockmates ‘sheep.’ One, he ordered everyone around like an officer, stole food from a sick lady. I put him on the list, the daily list.”

“Yes, witnesses told us you targeted soldiers.”

“He stole food. I warned him, I warned all new Block 2 detainees, but he challenged me, so he’s on the list. The next morning, he was called. Do you know what these tattooed numbers can do?”

“Yours is disarmed.”

“His wasn’t. He knew it. He refused to step forward. The guard captain pressed some buttons and, whoosh, his tattoo ignited a fireball. Everyone in a meter’s radius died or suffered burns. Did your witnesses testify about that?”

“They left that part out.”

“The soldiers were upset. Two of them started pushing everyone around, one pummeled Georg Plum so badly, so bad his family asked me to put him on the list. The other raped the wife of a man executed that very morning. He said that's what farmers did to sheep where he came from. He … “

“Would like a minute?”

“There were so many burn victims, I didn’t know what to do.”

“Witnesses testified you prioritized listing soldiers over ‘culling’ your ‘herd’.”

“Did they testify fully?’

“They swore they did.”

“Did they tell you they, THEY demanded I put more soldiers on the list?”

“Absurd.”

“They bunched them together so only soldiers burned. They kept up their demands even after soldiers learned the futility of their protests. What was I to do? Ignore the wishes of my block and protect soldiers, or risk detainee on soldier violence.”

“You blame detainees?”

“No, I blame soldiers. You're just like them, saying what you're trained to say, soundin' honorable and patriotic. But given a chance, what did you do? You raped, stole food from weak blockmates, bullied, badgered and beat anyone who didn't yield to your desires. There was a reason, a good reason, I never put any of you on a list I thought would be a replacement list. You say you'd never collaborate, but given a chance, given a chance, you'd put my name on your second list like the Commandant would tell you.”

“I would rather die.”

“We all died. You still fain incomprehension. We were fodder for soldier training, to be killed without any emotion, no sadness, no regret; not even sadistic enjoyment. That's all the camp was about. We were dead before we arrived in that place. ”

“You are alive.”

“Is that my crime? That I lived?”

“You lived by putting others to their deaths. You just admitted to list manipulation. You said you never put soldiers on potential 'replacement lists'. Who else did you condemn to keep yourself alive. You testified you kept intellectuals off those same lists. Writers? Artists? Businessmen? School teachers? Any educated bank clerks? How many detainees did you usher to premature demises because they represented survival threats?”

“I never … I wouldn't … I did the best I could. I did better than anyone else could ...”

“You honor, it seems 'Mother' Schlerge Buggard needs a break to organize his thoughts. I think he finally realizes the extent of his crimes. The prosecution rests.”

“I kept Block 2 running smoothly, fairly, justly ...”

“Thank you Major Hawkins. Mr. Buggard, you may step down from the chair.”

“Even the Commandant remarked how well Block 2 managed …” 

“I'm sure he did, Mr. Buggard. Please step down from the chair. Captain Galloes, are you prepared to present your defense?”

“There is no defense.”

“Why doesn't he understand? In the face of impossible circumstances, I made the best decisions, kept the most people alive, administered justice to protect bullies from preying on weak people. He would have done just the same. Why doesn't he understand? Why don't you understand?”

“Mr. Buggard, I think we do understand. Please vacate the witness chair and join your counsel at his table. Thank you.”

“Gentlemen of the jury, you have heard all the testimony in this matter. Please deliberate before declaring your findings.”

Jury members huddled for a minute, before reforming into two ranks each standing at attention before their chairs.

“A jury room is available should you wish to continue your deliberations.”

“We have concluded, your honor.”

“Alright, so say you one, so say you all, what do say in the matter of Schlerge Buggard?”

“We find,” they chorused, “that the prosecution is lying.”

“Objection! I am not on trial here.”

“Noted. Now, gentlemen, so say you one, so say you all, what do say about Schlerge Buggard, himself and no other?”

“We all agree,” the jury chorused, “we have nothing to say in the matter.”

“Are you deadlocked?”

“No,” they responded in unison, “we are in agreement.”

“Explain!”

“We an not sure,” they chanted, “that any one of us, nor anyone at all, would act in any significant way, differently. We would not consider acting in a manner to escape facing a tribunal after our camp was liberated should we had found ourselves in such a place.”

“Juror 4, you hesitated. Do you dissent?”

“No your honor. I can not, however, imagine living with myself after having sent so many to their deaths nor maintaining a system for doing so well after determining the utter futility in doing so.”

“Noted.”

“'Mother' Schlerge Buggard of Block 2 Detention Camp 17, the court is in a quandary.”

“May I offer a suggestion?”

“Yes, Captain Galloes?”

“Since our jury cannot find on his past, they should be asked to consider his future.”

“How can they do that?”

“One simple question, 'Is he a threat to himself or others?'”

“Gentlemen of the jury, the court asks you to find on one last question: Does Schlerge Buggard present a significant threat to harm himself or others?”

“Yes,” they chorused, “without a doubt.”

“Schlerge Buggard, please stand. Thank you. Although this tribunal cannot find on your twelve years as the 'mother' of Detention Camp 17 Block 2, we find you are, presently, a threat to yourself or others. Execution of your sentence will commence immediately. Captain Galloes!”

Captain Galloes stepped behind Schlerge Buggard; his left hand grabbed Schlerge's back of his left hand hard enough Schlerge Buggard felt as if his hand, his arm merged with Galloes' and locked, unable to move. Galloes' right hand plunged his sharpened shank into Schlerge Buggard's cephalic vein. Schlerge felt Juror 1's left hand grab his left hand while Juror 1's hand grabbed the shank and lengthened the cut. Weakened, Schlerge Buggard succumbed. Jurors 2 through 8 each took their turn followed by Major Hawkins and the Judge. 

Sergeant Shriver took up his clipboard and entered the time of death.

© 2017 Chopstix



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Added on February 4, 2017
Last Updated on February 4, 2017
Tags: Concentration Camp, Collaborator, Death, Lists

Author

Chopstix
Chopstix

Los Angeles, CA



About
In high school, I wrote lyrics. I started college writing poems and switched to short stories. After college, I discovered I could write computer programs, but I could not finish a novel (kept editi.. more..

Writing