Flash Fiction from the prompt "You Won't Regret This".
|“You won’t regret this,” Elsa said, producing a large yellow envelope. A moment earlier she had taken Johan Strauss aside, pushing him gently from the busy teachers’ lounge filled with cigarette smoke and milling faculty into one of the empty offices, closing the door behind them.
(You won’t regret this)
Briefly, absurdly, that statement seemed to reassure Johan that he almost certainly would regret this. But Elsa’s constant, lulling smile, and the way she took his elbow as she pushed the envelope gently against his lapel, caused him to shake off any doubt that might still have lingered at the edge of his conscience. She had been assuring him for weeks that this was the right thing to do. “You’ll be dean for this,” she said now. “Messner will be gone. And they’ve said I can be your secretary. Won’t that be wonderful?” Her eyes danced with childish anticipation as he opened the envelope and examined the contents. “Are these all the names?” he asked. “I don’t want anyone left to hate me. I can’t stand the way they look at me already.” “Everyone,” she said, pressing against him. She slipped an arm under his jacket and around his waist. At this Johan stiffened, slid the list back inside and closed the envelope.
The chatter in the lounge quieted as there came a sound of thundering boot steps from the corridor. The couple stepped back into the lounge. Men in long coats appeared, demanding, “Heir Strauss!” Johan walked forward, extending the envelope. “Die Liste der jüdischen Sympathisanten!” he said.
A few moments later Johan, Elsa, and a few remaining faculty watched from the windows as their colleagues were loaded onto trucks and taken away. They took coffee and cakes and smoked. You won’t regret this, they thought.