Respecting Pigs

By the time Liora arrived at the pre-auction party, the air was thick with chatter, chuckles, and occasional Sieg Heils. She strode past tables of gowned ladies and tuxedoed gentlemen, climbed on the stage, and nodded at two armed guards who flanked the item to be auctioned. It was concealed in a cube covered by red silk.

Stage left, Ruth stood by a control console. Ruth shot Liora a thumbs up.

“Honored guests.” Liora’s amplified voice silenced the crowd. “Though our Fuhrer be dead these many, many years, his legacy and goals survive, as evidenced by your presence here tonight. You have gathered here tonight to support Reawaken America’s mission against the same vermin our Fuhrer fought to eradicate nearly eighty years ago. I know many of you have journeyed far to this place deep in the wilds of middle Ohio. I apologize for the odor you encountered from a nearby pig factory, but that factory helps keep outsiders away. That, and the firepower protecting this beautiful facility.”

Lights dimmed. A spotlight illuminated the covered cube.

Liora removed the red cloth.

Guests gasped. Some sobbed. A young man fainted.

Inside the plexiglass cube, suspended by a wire, hung a button the size of a silver dollar. Embedded in the button’s center—and projected on an overhead monitor so that all could see it in magnificent detail—was a tooth. A misshapen premolar, brown and flecked with white tartar.

“Our Fuhrer,” Liora said, “had only a few remaining natural teeth when he died. Those teeth have remained in Russian possession until now. At great risk, our operative managed to swap a fake for what you gaze upon now. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the genuine right first premolar from the mouth of Adolph Hitler. Soon it will belong to one of you. The winning bid will include the services of a skilled seamstress who will attach the button to a garment of your choice. And now, let the bidding begin.”

Lights blazed on. Wait staff and bartenders left the room. Few guests noticed a hissing sound, like air escaping from a balloon. Most noticed four gas masks drop on stage. Guests began to gasp for air. Some foamed at the mouth. Some bled from the ears. Many stumbled screaming to the exits which would not open. Guests collapsed, their skin discolored pink with red and green spots.

The four on stage did not remove their gas masks until the hydrogen cyanide gas had been pumped out. Once the air was clean, wait staff, bartenders, and kitchen staff were allowed back in to forage through the corpses and remove whatever they wanted.

“After scavenging over,” a guard asked, “we feed to pigs?”

Liora shook her head. “Pigs are intelligent animals. We mustn’t disrespect the pigs with such vermin. We’ll use the incinerator at the pig factory.”

“And Hitler’s tooth?” the guard asked. “Throw that into incinerator, too?”

Again Liora shook her head. “No. I’ll use it to attract vermin to the next cleansing event.”

Marie Anderson is a Chicago area married mother of three millennials. She is the author of two collections of stories—“What Good Moms Do and Other Stories” and “Sharp Curves Ahead”— and the editor of “The Wrong Coat,” a themed, multi-author anthology of stories and poems. Her stories have appeared in about 70 publications, including Bethlehem Wood’s Roundtable, The Saturday Evening Post, Mystery Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and After Dinner Conversation. Since 2009 she has led and learned so much good stuff from a writing critique group at a public library in La Grange, IL.