By Dris Horton
It was a small book, only 127 pages, and the print was kind of large. Not too well written, but it had taken her only two hours to read the whole thing, front to back. Now her hands wouldn’t stop trembling, betrayed by the vivid depictions affecting her faculties. She put the book in the glove box and got out her car. As she walked across the parking lot of the county jail, she couldn’t recall the title of the little book. But she did remember that it was blue. She began to cry quietly to herself as she approached the entrance of Central Booking, where she’d been ordered to report by the judge the day before. What she had read still screamed at her thoughts. Piles of little babies? she wondered, silently querying herself. A testament to an unimaginable horror swirled past her mind’s eye, suddenly making her problems seem quite small.
“Where you are going is paradise,” said the old man when he first handed her the novella, earlier that morning.
She had known the old man all her life, the kind Greek Jew who owned the little grocery store on the corner, down the street from where she grew up. Her mother and grandmother had shopped there, its aisles so narrow they had to walk sideways or they’d knock something off the shelf. As a little girl she was taught to always be polite to the old man. And never steal, not even a grape. He had gone through something terrible as a young man, and moved to America after the war.