THE WATER RATS
Act 2 Scene 1 - Antonius has a garage elsewhere and is visited by a Nazi to organise deliveries of produce in his van, the Nazi has had this idea after seeing the van around the place. 1941
(Anthonius is in his garage, and there is a knock on the door, which when he does not immediately respond becomes a banging, he wipes his hands of grease and goes to the door.)
Anthonius: Hello, who is there? (a flashlight is shone in his face making him stumble back)
Nazi: Leave us, stay here man. I’ll call you if I need you. (the Nazi steps into the garage and closes the door behind him).
Anthonius: (gulping) How can I help you Sir?
Nazi: Well I am not sure exactly. Let me see! You have a tidy operation here. I wonder if you might be able to work for me. We could offer to enlarge your premises in order to facilitate the work better. Maybe a pit for easier repairs of vehicles, I can arrange for that to be made by some of the Jewish scum that we have available.
Anthonius: What sort of repairs are you looking for Sir.
Nazi: Quiet let me finish. You run a delivery service I think.
Anthonius: Yes Sir I do. We cover quite a large radius.
Nazi: And you know the border country well I know. I make it my business to know my colleagues well. You will find this if you ever try to cross me.
Anthonius: I will do what I can Sir.
Nazi: Let me say this. We need many things sorting out, including thwarting the blossoming Resistance movement and its tactics to slow us down. The other night they laid sharp metal objects in the road in a bid to ruin the tyres of our vehicles. We will need you sometimes to clear such obstructions away. Can you do that?
Anthonius: Yes Sir we can do that for you. When can I expect the pit to be made Sir? Who will make it?
Nazi: We will arrange a work party and the work itself can begin at the end of this week.
I will be in touch tomorrow with details, I will send a subordinate. I do not expect to have to come down into this district again. Do you understand me.
Anthonius: I understand Sir. Leave it to me.
Nazi: Alright. (leaving) Remember I am relying on your full cooperation.
Anthonius: Yes Sir. (Nazi leaves and Anthonius busies himself after locking the door). Gerrit: You can come out now.
Gerrit: This man is playing right into our hands.
Anthonius: How do you mean?
Gerrit: He is commissioning a pit to be paid for by the Nazi machine.
Anthonius: But that just helps them doesn’t it?
Gerrit: No man it helps us too?
Anthonius: I don’t see it.
Gerrit: You have a large garage. You will get a pit made by slave labour.
Gerrit: Well whilst the pit is being constructed we can build a second one alongside it.
Anthonius: What for?
Gerrit: You oaf! (pause) To hide Jews of course. Right under the Nazi’s noses. It is a master stroke. You need to get the plans from the Nazi and we will get a group together to work on the second pit at night. They will never know.
Anthonius: Genius. I can do their bidding in some small way whilst saving those they seek to oppress and kill. It appeals to my sense of the paradoxical. There are all sorts of things I can do to make them think I am on their side and yet be sabotaging their every effort at the same time.
Gerrit: I thought you might like it.
Anthonius: Please do not tell Christina. She wouldn’t agree to it.
Gerrit: Oh I don’t know I think she may well love the idea but I shall respect your wishes.
Anthonius: She never comes here so it is safe enough.
Gerrit: I will return in a week or so to see how things are progressing. In the meantime keep your head and do as they ask. Goodbye for now. (exits)
Anthonius: No not that way. Go out the back. You never know who may be watching.
©Simon O'Corra. 2019