A year in the making

Last day of work this week.

3:30 waking again.

Too tired.


The whole routine works like in a dream.

Wash-up, get dressed, making bed.

“SG 1240: you’ll stay!”



The team leaves the cell.

Questions in everybody’s eyes.


What is happening here?

Can this be a…?

No… I don’t…


Alone in the locked cell.

No noises outside.



Normally the cells remain open all day.

Not when they pin someone for processing.

Either to put them away to dark arrest or to… transfer?


Waited for an hour or longer.

“SG 1240: step outside.”

Two guards waiting.


Downstairs, small building between cell blocks.

I never knew what was in here.

Looks like regular offices.


Empty room, my boss is here.

MY BOSS from the store is here.

“Werner, what are you doing here?”


“I need to ask you some questions.

But first: how are you?

We miss you.”


I always liked him very much.

Encouraging, challenging in a fair and honest way.

It was my second business education in his electronics store.


Deputizing for him the week before I handed myself in to the Stasi.

It was a quiet week and the colleagues were happy with me too.

But why does he turn up now, a year after I am gone?


Put’s the ledger book in front of me.

Looks at me intensely.

“Doesn’t balance!”




“Werner! NOW?!?!”

“The numbers don’t check.”



“Are you under pressure?”

No answer, he just opens the double page from April last year.


This is ridiculous.

And very STRANGE!

Recognizing my handwriting.


Friday before I left: 1’500 Marks gap.

All numbers cleanly written down.

The total is 1’500 too high.


My handwriting.

“I have NO IDEA!”

“Did you take it?!"






We had always trusted each other.

He helped me grow and never stopped my curiosity.

After 6 months in education he asked me to pick up store manager skills from him.


I am flabbergasted, stunned.

“My numbers always checked out and you know it!”

“Did you take it? Because if you did I will have to question more than our relationship.”


That hurts!

“Why would I steal money from your store a day before I leave?!”

“Maybe you had some debts with friends and paid them off before you left?”


“Oh, that’s just GREAT now, isn’t it?!

What’s in it for you Werner?

Come on, tell me!”


He looks neutral, seems just as unsure.

Or is it guilt in his eyes?

Is he under threat?


“I don’t know how the numbers don’t check.

I just want your honest answer.”

“Why now?!”


There is nothing of substance here.

He leaves with hanging shoulders.

I leave with a very odd feeling.


Do they want to break me this way?

Criminal charges with a book they cooked?

Is this a preparation for me leaving through the front door in August?


Now I’m super worried.

What if they push this through?

What if they construct a criminal case to release me?


It would make sense from their perspective!

They never admit that there are political prisoners here.

If this flies, they will simply show a criminal case and shut me up.


This is dangerous.

This is critical.