All the well-known episodes of youthful heroism that propelled him toward powerwere revealed after the investiture to be false.
Rage had clouded his reason before. He has denied his weaknesses—repressed his doubts.
They spoke about the fear of suffocation. There was nothing to do but comply.
He listens through cardboard thin walls, aware of his capacity for cowardice.
But to penetrate their defenses would be easy.
“In the fog we walk directly into enemy lines. Immediately we are seized and separated. The last thing I see before the blindfold goes on is father being forced into a car and driven away down a narrow road. Then a pair of hands turns me toward the sound of someone loading a carbine and I stiffen. The hands leave me. The gun roars. The bullet twirls me around and I fall.
“Later I awake in a car being driven at a fierce speed by an enemy soldier. The road passes a frozen pond. The ice is littered with my compatriots’’ bodies. Suddenly, enraged, I lunge at my adversary, but it is not an equal match. He thrusts against me so forcefully that I crash through the passenger door and plunge down into an explosion of mud and snow.
“I lie there a long time. Then I rise and stagger a ways down the road where I find two cars tangled together crushed in the first is the corpse of my adversary, slumped over the wheel, in the second is my father, stunned by the crash but alive. He tells me how he shot the driver of his car with his own gun, and was speeding to my rescue when he turned a corner and slammed into the oncoming car. All the time he was confident, he says, ‘that we would both get out all right.’”