Interview with the Gassed | Jen Harris



I sat outside the showers, lined notebook in one hand, mini tape recorder in the other, asking those exhaling Zyklon B, what exactly they'll miss in the world of the living.


A five-year-old-girl humming an unintelligible tune, said:


My daddy


And she danced off to her mother's side.


A ten-year-old girl, disoriented from the gas and the gleaming light ahead of her, said:


I'll miss my dolls.




And my cat, Shayna.


A fifteen-year-old girl attempting to pass me, turned and checked her reflection in my sunglasses, so I asked her, "What will you miss most dear?"


My hair


She said and turned away in tears.


A twenty-year-old girl, oblivious to her fate, pranced out of the shower, whistling as if she couldn't be happier. Without trying to rain on her parade so-to-speak, I said carefully, "Honey, do you know where you are?"




She said. "You're dead," I pointed out to her. "You've been gassed." With naive condescension, she tapped my hand and said:


Yeah Right.


And she pivoted as if to prance again. Recognizing her suspension of disbelief, I instead said, "Suppose you were no longer amongst the living...what would you miss most?"




She replied. "Whose love?" I said, inquiring further.


No, what I mean is, I have never made love before.


Music starts playing in the distance and she, like the five-year-old, dances off.


A twenty five-year-old girl with a blank stare follows blindly the footprints of those before her. I tap her on the shoulder as if waking her from a trance, and I say, "What will you miss most in the world of the living?" She turns at me, her gaze grey, gorged of innocence.




She said.


"Nothing," I wrote down, stopped the tape for a second and looked up --


They all turned to dust.