Ever since the good word left there is no one to talk to the German anymore so he just sits in the corner and rubs his wrists against the wall all day long. Papa wants him to leave but the German is the only one with the short sweet cigars that Papa likes so he is allowed to stay for now, even though he keeps me up at night with his rubbing. When he first arrived I thought maybe I would learn to speak German with him and we could make fun of Helena together without her knowing what we were saying, which would get her back for when she purposely takes the small shovel away to school with her because she knows using the big one hurts my wrists, but the language hurts my throat and the German won’t even take biscuits from my hand when I offer them. All he does is rub at the wood and whimper when the kettle whistles. He also shrinks in the mornings when the roosters cry. I know because I measure the marks he makes when he sleeps and when he first started rubbing the wall they were 4 and 3 and now they are only 3 and 10.
I would rather be dead than be a man who is scared of sounds. Maybe he will rub himself smaller and smaller like a pencil eraser and then the next visitor will not have anyone to share his room with after Papa sweeps the sad shavings up off the floor.