Friday, February 6, 2009

DBTL 12C: Białystok - Reel Three

We'll Always Have Pasadena

Białystok, Belarus Devo, Polish Commonwealth
23 April 1944

"I hope you don't mind," Raoul Wallenberg said to Hermann Göring. "I took the stairs from the street to your apartment."

"Not at all," Göring said in a tired voice. "I wish the bar did this much business when it was open."

Meanwhile, Ingrid Bergman stood up from the table she was sharing with Göring. "My darling," she said to Wallenberg, "you made it!"

"I take it you two are already acquainted," Göring observed. "Good. That saves me the trouble of introducing you."

"Raoul is my husband," Ingrid said.

Surprised, Göring accidentally knocked his drink off the table. "Lavi is right. I haven't been keeping up properly with current events."

"We've kept it a secret," said Ingrid. "The studio insisted."

Göring laughed. "You should have stayed married to me. Everyone knew you were married to me."

"And that didn't stop--" Ingrid cut herself short. "But that's all past. Hermann, Raoul and I need you to get us out of Białystok."

"I still don't see any compelling reason why I should involve myself," said Göring.

Wallenberg produced a pistol. "Is this compelling enough for you?"

"I'll make it easy for you," said Göring. He rose from his chair and moved to the bottom of the stairs. "Go ahead and shoot. You'll be doing me a favor."

"Raoul, put that away," Ingrid ordered. She walked over to stand beside Göring. "Hermann, what would it take to make you help Raoul leave Białystok? What do you want?"

Shlomo spoke up. "Lady, why don't you leave the boss alone? He was doing fine until you turned up."

Göring smiled wanly. "Thanks, Shlomo. But there's too much unfinished business between me and Ingrid." He turned to Ingrid. "All right, you want to know what I want? When you get back to Hollywood, I want you to announce that you've decided to remarry me. We made up here in Białystok, and all is forgiven. The marriage will be at the end of July. That will give you and Wallenberg time to get a divorce."

Ingrid stood still for a minute. She finally said, "Hermann, is there somewhere Raoul and I can talk together alone?"

"My apartment," said Göring. "I'm pretty sure he knows the way."

When the two of them had gone up the stairs, Shlomo said, "Are you out of your mind, boss?"

"Possibly," said Göring. "Would you mind getting my car ready for me, Shlomo? We're going to be making a trip to the base very shortly."

Shlomo shook his head, but he went.

Ingrid and Wallenberg emerged from Göring's apartment. "We have agreed to your conditions," Wallenberg said. Ingrid was silent, her eyes lowered.

"Then come along," said Göring, "we've got a short trip ahead of us."

It was a silent ride to the airbase where Project Octopus was located. Göring sat up front with Shlomo, while Ingrid and Wallenberg sat in the back, holding hands.

Dawn was lighting up the eastern sky by the time the airbase came into view. The guard at the gate waved them through when he saw Göring. A few brief directions brought the car to one of the hangers. Göring led the way, unlocked the side door, and switched on the lights.

There was a moment's silence, then Ingrid said, "Hermann, what in God's name is that thing?"

Göring grinned. "The War Ministry in Warsaw ordered a bunch of them from from the Sikorsky company in America. It's called a helicopter."

Wallenberg said, "I hope you don't expect me to fly this thing."

"The pilot will be along shortly," said Göring. "That gives us time to discuss the question of who will and will not be on it. Because, you see, you are not getting on that helicopter with Raoul Wallenberg."

Ingrid was confused. "I don't understand, Hermann. What has happened to you? Last night we said --"

"Last night we said a great many things," said Göring. "We agreed that you would divorce Wallenberg and remarry me. I've decided that it would be better for all concerned if you were to remain with me here in Białystok where you belong."

"Hermann, no, I, I..."

"You've got to listen to me," Göring insisted. "Do you have any idea what I'd have to look forward to if you left me again? Inside of us we both know you belong with me. You're part of my work, the thing that keeps me going. If that helicopter leaves and ground and you're on it, I'll regret it."

"No," Ingrid said softly.

"Maybe not today," said Göring, "maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life."

"You don't have to do this," Ingrid pleaded. "We'll always have Pasadena. Isn't that enough?"

"No," said Göring heavily. "It wasn't enough four years ago, and it isn't enough now. Ingrid, it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of bratwurst in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now..."

"Now Miss Bergman must be going," came a voice from behind them.

Göring was astonished. "Lavi, what are you doing here?"

Captain Lavrenti Romanov strode forward into the hanger. "I knew you'd come here after I left the bar. I've got bad news for you, Hermann. New orders from Brest-Litovsk. Wallenberg is to be allowed to return to Sweden." He turned to face Ingrid and Wallenberg. "Miss Bergman, your plane has been released. You can leave anytime."

Ingrid said, "Goodbye, Hermann. I won't be coming back." She and Wallenberg hurried out of the hanger.

Göring glared at Romanov. He was about to speak when the policeman said, "Forget it, Hermann. It's Białystok."


No comments: