If you really think there's a Santa, why don't you sit on the front steps all night in the freezing cold and see if he climbs down any chimneys tonight. Good luck. And since we're a family that isn't lucky enough to have a chimney, how would Santa get into our house? Does he bring a locksmith with him? And it probably would have to be a Jewish locksmith, because a Christian locksmith is going to want to be home with his family. And how many Jewish locksmiths are there? None.
She walked down the basement steps. She saw an imaginary framed photo seep into the wall - a quiet-smiled secret. No more than a few meters, it was a long walk to the drop sheets and the assortment of paint cans that shielded Max Vandenburg. She removed the sheets closest to the wall until there was a small corridor to look through. The first part of him she saw was his shoulder, and through the slender gap, she slowly, painfully, inched her hand in until it rested there. His clothing was cool. He did not wake. She could feel his breathing and his shoulder moving up and down ever so slightly. For a while, she watched him. Then she sat and leaned back. Sleepy air seemed to have followed her. The scrawled words of practice stood magnificently on the wall by the stairs, jagged and childlike and sweet. They looked on as both the hidden Jew and the girl slept, hand to shoulder. They breathed. German and Jewish lungs.
That is the way we decided to talk, free and easy, two young men discussing a boxing match. That was the only way to talk. You couldn't let too much truth seep into your conversation, you couldn't admit with your mouth what your eyes had seen. If you opened the door even a centimeter, you would smell the rot outside and hear the screams. You did not open the door. You kept your mind on the tasks of the day, the hunt for food and water and something to burn, and you saved the rest for the end of the war.
To Your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday come and gone, no more than a watch in the night. You sweep men away like a dream, like grass which springs up in the morning. In the morning it springs up and flowers, by evening it withers and fades. So we are destroyed in Your anger, struck with terror in Your fury. Our guilt lies open before You; our secrets in the light of Your face. All our days pass away in Your anger. Our life is over like a sigh. Our span is seventy years or eighty for those who are strong. And most of these are emptiness and pain, they pass swiftly and we are gone.
He has the memory of a convict, the balls of a fireman, and the eyesight of a housebreaker. When there is crime to fight, Landsman tears around Sitka like a man with his pant leg caught on a rocket. It's like there's a film score playing behind him, heavy on the castanets. The problem comes in the hours when he isn't working, when his thoughts start blowing out the open window of his brain like pages from the blotter. Sometimes it takes a heavy paperweight to pin them down.