A large number of bed bugs appeared on the US nuclear-powered submarine “Connecticut”. The crew complained that they would be bitten while lying in bed, so they could only sleep on chairs or the floor. The US “Navy Times” reported on the 10th that the bed bug problem has been going on for a year, and the crew has been overwhelmed by it, saying that they are going to be “swallowed” by bed bugs.
The report quoted an unnamed crew member as saying that bed bugs were found on the submarine as early as March 2020. But Fields, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, said that the submarine had only reported bed bug problems for the first time in December 2020, and it was not until February 19 this year that “there were indeed bed bugs” found on board. The crew who exposed the issue stated that the submarine force initially did not believe the crew’s statement because of the lack of direct evidence.
A crew member said that because his superiors failed to properly resolve the issue, he had contacted the Navy Inspector General and asked the US military media for help. He also said that even if there were no bed bugs, life in the submarine was hard enough. “If the crew cannot get an effective sleep because of the bed bugs, then he is likely to fall asleep in the control room and the submarine will also face the risk of collision.”
Wullenweber expected guests at Hohenklitzig. His only brother, who was a major a. D. lived in Berlin and was supposed to arrive, guided by his son.
This brother had become an unbearable egoist after a harsh fate brutally punished him twice. The first blow robbed the lavish and always reckless, but at the same time capable and ambitious officer, of the excellent health up to that point. A clumsy rifleman shot him so badly on a hunt that he has only been able to move on two crutches since then. The second blow hit him hard on his honor and made him a sharp despiser of all human worth because he was unable to find the helping crutches of forgiving insight.
District Councilor Wullenweber had refrained from a personal reception at the station. He stood on the stone steps in front of his inconspicuous manor house and looked for the cloud of dust that should tell him the approach of the car.
And now the three of them sat at a round table and talked about completely indifferent things. The room sparkled with freshness and cleanliness. On the cold and stiff[S. 170]The lightest birch-looking furniture did not show a speck of dust. However, there was still no trace of a lovingly adorned woman’s hand. The meal was simple, but tastefully prepared, but no one seemed to enjoy it properly.
Amtsrat Wullenweber, who was an excellent farmer as well as a bad diplomat, continued to brood over the most harmless of the personal questions with silent energy. At last he thought he had found her and turned to the nephew, who was slender, blond and strangely serious for his thirty-two years, sitting between them.
“Well, Walter, you will have to be an assessor for three years next, right?”
Doctor of Law Walter Wullenweber had the radiant blue eyes of a richly gifted person who, despite all the hardships of life, kept his little world full of inner beauty intact.
“A little longer, uncle,” he replied and his voice was less clear than before.
“Well – and -”
“Still not president,” he joked. “Still, I feel quite comfortable under the circumstances. The work satisfies me after I overcame my wish for a young man, which you too have become well aware of. Yes, I’m even looking forward to serving as a judge. Preferably in a town that is as small as possible with a lot of rural surroundings. ”
“Then report to the Köslin District Court here,” advised the District Council. “There you have everything. Everyday you do[S. 171]in criminal, civil and land registry matters. On Sundays you rush out to me and dine from the glossy ceiling. ”
The major a. D., who listened morosely and in silence, now joined the conversation.
“And meanwhile I’m moldy in our lordly courtyard apartment on the green beach of the Spree and waiting for some patient someone who will drag me down the chicken ladder so that I don’t completely go to waste.”
The young lawyer twitched unwillingly in the serious face. But he stayed calm.
“If you couldn’t make up your mind to come with you to the town in question, we would have to look around for some strong support for you first,” he said without sensitivity.
“Should I now perhaps crawl into one of those nests that I already disliked as an ensign?”
“Of course there can be no question of compulsion, father. I will never allow myself to be forced to do anything either. ”
The old gentleman looked sharply at the son.
“What do you mean, please?”
“That I will go the path that I have chosen after many an inner struggle.”
“May I at least find out where it should lead you.”
“Assuredly. For employment as a judge, the usually given when one has overcome the necessary legal preliminary stages. ”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Walter! When you are in our position, all that matters is making money. ”
Assessor Wullenweber shook his head.
“About twelve years ago, about the same point of view, we almost broke up. At that time I let you force me. My modest mother’s inheritance might really not have been enough for the life I longed for, which you described as pointless, and you were right to say that a personal sacrifice of your means is out of the question. Today, however, ”and his voice became clear and sharp,“ any attempt to change my mood would be futile for you. Or only successful if there was a very sad reason for it. ”
The major had leaned back and played with the black handles on the cutlery. “What do you mean by that?” The tone was too sharp for a harmless question.
“Debt of honor that absolutely must be paid off. And I don’t have any, father. ”
The meal was over.
“We’ll sit down on the veranda for a while longer,” suggested the councilor, who did not want to irritate his violent, embittered brother immediately on the first day with harsh interference.
All three of them sat on the neatly scoured stone tiles and pushed thick clouds of tobacco out of the short pipes. Even now it did not want to have a leisurely conversation. The air seemed filled with explosive.
“Tell me yourself,” said the major suddenly to his brother, “do you think it is possible that someone can get along with his little pension?”
The assessor changed the color.
“What do you mean, father?”
“Sit still! It’s bad enough that you didn’t realize that on your own long ago. ”
“I don’t understand what you’re getting at.”
“Seems to be strangely difficult with terms on this point. In short – I no longer want to sit around and do without – hold still and wipe. ”
The councilor saw his nephew’s pale face and nodded to him in an almost fatherly way, although they had been strangely strangers to each other up to now. “Don’t take it tragically, boy. We’re not going to change him anymore, ”it should read. Then he raised the skin of his forehead, which gave him special respect among his brothers at the age of six, and pinched his lips a little as if he were swallowing bitter medicine. But he coped with it!
“You are really as devilishly cramped and dark in Berlin, brother. I had to convince myself of that a few weeks ago. But your boy can’t and shouldn’t change it this time. You can see that when you consider it calmly. I will make you a reasonable proposal. Pack your stuff and move to me. You can have two rooms all to yourself and this veranda and the whole garden, because I see enough greenery in the field. Yes – if you like, also the small lake room, although I’ve got used to it. Just let the boy off the leash! ”
“I’m not going out of Berlin,” the major growled stubbornly.
“It’s amazing in your situation, Richard.”
“In my current one – maybe! That is why it should also be changed. Walter can easily and comfortably earn three times as much if he just thinks quietly. We’ll rent a little villa afterwards. I can keep a servant. And life will be reasonably decent again. ”
“You indicated something like this to me the other day, father. I did not take it seriously for a moment. ”
“That’s why I saved the repetition until today. Uncle should listen. Isn’t that right, Wilhelm, “he turned to the councilor,” you’ve always been a good arithmetic master. ”
“But I was counting on myself and on myself as a breadwinner, my dear.”
“Is that supposed to be a hidden accusation?”
“Interpret it as you want! I did not interfere with the fact that Walter was not allowed to study music. I don’t understand that after all. I liked how he came to terms with it as a green kid, even if he behaved in a noticeably negative manner towards me. That is why I take his side today and later. ”
“You are just acting as if I wanted to induce him to do something unheard of and I just want to put him in a good, even splendid position.”
“I would like to find out more about this feat,” laughed the councilor comfortably.
“He is to join a highly respected, first-class lawyer as a partner. The man started out without a fortune and a family of seven[S. 175]brought through. In addition to his, he also receives the families of his two eldest widowed daughters. So the business must be profitable. As an initial monthly salary, he is willing to give a capable assessor who comes in permanently nine hundred marks for the time being. Afterwards it should increase or even go halfway, because he got a knax and can no longer do it alone. Later, of course, there is a sure prospect of taking over his legal practice entirely. I have a feeling that this point in time is near. The man will hardly last very long. ”
Walter Wullenweber initially followed his father’s description with an incredulous smile. Now he began to reckon that there must indeed be some truth in it.
“How do you know all this,” he asked matter-of-factly and still completely in control.
“God – I had something to do with the man once. We started a conversation. He even visited me on a very friendly basis in your absence. Please forgive me if I make my way a few streets away without your gracious help or permission. ”
Walter Wullenweber knew his father very well. That is why he knew now that he was not suffering from his tutelage, but that his conscience was in some way not the purest. This particular assumption sharpened his eyes in a sudden growing fear.
Didn’t the sixty-year-old show the clear traces of nervous insecurity, like after any folly that has been committed? And was his already rapidly changing Be[S. 176]take has not become even more volatile lately? Now Wullenweber had to force himself with all his might to keep his calm.
“Couldn’t I advise and help you as well as Counselor Weissgerber was able to, father? You see, I didn’t walk next to you so completely blind and deaf. I saw you come out of a wine bar some time ago. That actually took me a miracle with the busy man – I wanted to ask you too – but afterwards I forgot about something more important. Didn’t you think you would also accommodate me with him? But let’s leave that now. Something else seems more important to me. Why did you need a foreign lawyer? Why did you carry the money out of the house? ”
The feeble attempt to joke about the matter failed.
“I haven’t come down that far, my son, to let you dictate every little thing to me. I still decide. And if either of us has to obey, it is you. Remember that. ”The council tried to appease.
“Children, just don’t fight!”
“Forgive me, uncle, that this has to fill out the first lesson. But you heard yourself that father expressly saved the argument for this day. ”
“I can’t stand bickering,” protested the major. “I finally wanted to have my peace and quiet, to be free. You shouldn’t turn a trivial matter into an earthquake again, Walter. ”
A long stern look glanced at him.
“You know that I have to leave the day after tomorrow, father. So then your wish is fulfilled. But I don’t want to go back to work with this strange restlessness. We want to express ourselves. I explain to you again that everything you should or have already determined about me without my knowledge is no longer valid. I will never give up a path that my innermost ones map out for me just for the sake of money. ”
“I should have known that you are incapable of filial love.”
“Don’t go on talking, father. Think backwards. ”
“I don’t need to! What I have done, including what you might want to touch now, I would do it again right away. ”
“Richard,” the councilor admonished quietly. “Let the shadows rest.”
“You think I’m afraid of them? Far from it, what cannot be bent on my own trunk has to be broken away. ”
“Do not sin, brother.”
“Say her name at last. Reproach me. Put all the blame on me. I can take it. I will answer your questions. ”
He was convinced that his voice rang out in anger, and yet it was only a trembling, fearful whisper. The shadow he apparently faced bravely must have chased him breathlessly. The conversation fell silent. The old officer’s breath couldn’t get[S. 178] Force more. His face appeared gray and dilapidated in the uncertain lighting of the sulfur-yellow evening red. A young, passionate creature, whose mother had to die too early, suddenly sat on the fourth chair. And yet in truth there was nothing on it but the restless glow of wild vine leaves. The Major’s only daughter and Walter’s sister!
The council wiped its eyes. The brother had avoided his home since that happened to her. Only now had he come back without special invitation.
“The journey was a bit exhausting for me,” said the major suddenly. “I want to go to bed.” – –
For a while the councilor remained in thoughtful silence. Then he tapped the nephew on the shoulder.
“You have to tell me everything about that time, Walter. I did not make sense of the letters my father wrote me. Did you learn anything about her? ”
“No, uncle. It was all in vain. – You know, father was always a passionate chess player. He also wanted to calculate our life because it was no longer possible for his own. Some moves may have been correct! Only the basic idea remained wrong. After him we, his two children, were mindless characters. You loved Lieselotte too. Her madnesses refreshed her, her charm delighted everyone. The father was very proud of her as long as she submitted to him unconditionally. They always kept secrets from me. I was allowed to her[S. 179]therefore do not show my brotherly love as fully as I felt it. Had to be strict with her because I didn’t want her to be lost. So she willingly submitted to her father until love came over her. I saw the beginning. At the evening party he sang to a rich woman who thought she had discovered his voice. – He didn’t live permanently in Berlin itself, and that made me feel calm. He called himself an actor and moved around wherever he was paid. I intercepted one of the first letters – read it and picked it up. She promised to forget him. But she did not keep the promise. Little Lieselotte had suddenly become a comedian. ”
“And your father didn’t notice anything.”
“You know he has the ability to overlook uncomfortable things for as long as possible. But one day he had finished thinking about his biggest move. – A millionaire had met Lieselotte at a winter ball and wanted her. She even enjoyed worshiping the older rich man to some extent. When she saw that he had serious intentions, she first became anxious, then shy, and finally energetic. She didn’t want him. – But everything had already been settled between the father and that one. He had also paid him a lot of debts that we children didn’t know about. So in his view it was an impossibility to reverse the matter. – Lieselotte did not believe in the seriousness of his threat that this time she would inevitably have to submit.[S. 180]She was hungry for food. You don’t know her from this side. Here she was just the playful child. Gradually her thirst for freedom grew into an almost morbid greed. Perhaps she would have agreed after all, had the other, whose honest intentions I never believed, had not intervened again and again. – A rascal, uncle, in the mask of a beautiful rascal. – She stayed deaf and blind. In those times I tried every day to influence her, finally on that night after the last, wild arguments with my father, I firmly believed that she would have come to understand. – After a few months, I hoped the father’s anger and her own blind passion would have ebbed away. I miscalculated thoroughly. The next morning she was gone.
“And the millionaire, Walter?”
“Immediately sued his claims.”
“I think as a decent businessman he had to do that.”
“How did you make it possible, boy?”
“It was okay!”
“You haven’t shown much trust in me.”
“Yes, uncle! For example, I knew very well that you would help if I had asked you to. ”
“I assure you that I have never received a request or inquiry from you.”
“I know that! Because I put absolute trust in your willingness, the letter from the father who asked for your help was not allowed to go. ”
“I don’t understand, boy.”
“You would never have got your money back from him, even if he had promised you it a hundred times.”
“ Is that why you didn’t allow it? I haven’t really known you before. ”
“I’ve been sorry for that often enough, uncle. I would have very much liked to discuss a lot with you that I now had to fight alone with myself. But how should I change it? Until I had paid my father’s old bill, I would not strive for it! ”
“Would you have really succeeded?”
“Yes, I’ve been rid of this burden for a month.”
“On your own?”
“I think an outright affirmation would give the wrong picture. My studies became cheaper than I had calculated. A few thousand marks were superfluous. And the rest? You know, someone can scold Berlin as much as they like. It undoubtedly brings a good thing. Employment opportunities that you would not even think of in a larger medium-sized town. Some of the ones I used may not have been in keeping with their class. There is no need to guarantee that they were entirely decent. Most of the time I earned through revision courses. Everything was still fresh in my mind. I crammed in half a dozen trainee lawyers for their exams. They did it and that brought me more. So actually it wasn’t even a miracle. ”
“And you mean that your father has now finally learned to get along with his own?”
“So far I haven’t been able to think about new debts. After all, he saw how I had to toil. Earlier, however, I was puzzled. Didn’t you also have the feeling that he was dragging a load that he was anxiously trying to hide? ”
“I put that on the memory of Lieselotte.”
“It works very differently! Then there are hours in which he locks himself up and drinks afterwards. ”
“And this is your youth now!”
“My real youth is the unshakable belief in a good future.”
“You love one dearly, don’t you, my boy?”
“No, uncle, not yet! I didn’t have enough time for that, I think.
But I feel that one day it will come. And that’s why I like to live in spite of everything. There is a goal and a firm will to fulfill all duties. ”
“To this day I haven’t spoken to anyone about it, uncle.”
“I believe you on your word! You see, we have known each other for decades now and I knew nothing more about you than that you had overcome a desire for youth, the seriousness of which I had convinced myself. I thought that made a lot of sense, and I liked the way you did it, as I mentioned earlier. – This one hour has done more thorough work than all the years. I really know you now. God knows, there has never been much joy in my life[S. 183]being. It didn’t even include the goal you set yourself. Just the gray everyday life. I had to swallow a lot of dust because I never took my time on Sundays and public holidays. Now I am happy and ask some things from my life. Look out. The moon is shining brightly. The fields with stubble have their harvest behind them. The wasteland must rest so that it will do its duty again in the next year. Even the spruce puddles are slowly but surely growing into the money. – I just always toiled sowing in my existence. Without meaning or understanding. Because for whom? Disgusting business if you don’t know the answer. It will be different now. You have to come to me more often, boy! ”
For a moment their hands rested tightly together! It was like an oath, although not a word was spoken.
“And now we want to shut up,” said the councilor again in his old, almost commanding tone to which a gentleman can easily get used to who strictly looks after his own piece of land. – –
Walter Wullenweber couldn’t sleep. His father rested behind the whitewashed wall and was so close to him, only separated by a thin panel, that he could hear the restless tossing of the clumsy body. The frogs croaked in the carp pond and in the adjacent swamp ditches. Sometimes a clanking chain sang from the cattle sheds.
A groan could be heard behind the white wall. He hardened himself against it. Didn’t he have to, in silence,[S. 184]suffer often enough? His head burrowed deep into the lavish wealth of the soft feather pillows. And yet the senses listened – against their will – and heard that the man, who by no means wanted to be old and weak, was writhing in pain. So he jumped up and went to him.
“What do you have, father? Shall I give you some of your drops? ”
The major waved it off. “Let it be. They don’t help against that! I can’t take it any longer. ”
“Air and silence here will do you good. Only patience.”
“I don’t have time for that anymore.”
“What do you have, father?”
“You have to help me, Walter!”
“As soon as it is day we will send for a doctor,” said Walter Wullenweber, but did not believe that he could do anything about it.
“What am I supposed to do with him? I just need you!”
“I’m with you!”
“You do not want to understand me. The wipe is in the pocket. ”
And Walter Wullenweber read:
“If you do not honor the word of honor you have given me within two weeks and pay back what you have borrowed with 7 percent interest, I will make the matter pending. Don’t think I’m completely stupid. I know ways and means that can keep you small. It was only in the past year that an old officer received a due reminder from the honorary council for a similar reason[S. 185]granted. Because if someone breaks his word of honor, he is nothing more than a scoundrel. – – – ”
“Is that what it says here true?”
The question sounded harsh and almost pitiless.
“Yes, it is true! But -”
Walter Wullenweber sank heavily on the stool that was standing somewhere. At that moment he felt nothing but contempt for the man who smashed everything he had struggled to achieve.
“It’s none of my business,” he said very slowly.
“You don’t want to – save me?”
“So I should -?”
“Exactly; you should finally bear what you owe yourself. I am no longer willing to sacrifice myself! ”
“It’s your name too.”
“Unfortunately! I will report to my superior authority immediately of your decision, as soon as I become aware of it, and report what comes of it for me! ”
“And if I swear to you that this will be the last time.”
“I would no longer be able to believe in you. At that time, yes, I imagined that a person would not be able to do something like this another time. No stranger to a stranger. And back then I still considered you my father. ”
“Does that mean that today you – no longer?”
“Yes! That’s what I wanted to say!”
“Walter be merciful.”
“Has it ever been you? Have you not smashed everything for us, desire, youth, future? ”
“But the honor, I held it up!”
“You’re just imagining it.”
“You are not an officer!”
“At the moment it depends more on my opinion.”
“If I give you my word of honor that I will never again.”
“Save it! I don’t value it! ”
A scream gurgled from the wide open mouth. The face turned bluish. The trains tensed. The chin stuck out. And then suddenly there was a visible decline.
“Whether that is death,” Walter Wullenweber asked himself and, as with the legal structure of a successful report, drew the only possible consequence of the affirmation: “Then I am to blame!”
But it was only a slight stroke, as the doctor, who had moved from the nearest town, discovered late in the morning of the new day. There was no danger to life. All noticeable consequences would presumably disappear after a while.
Walter Wullenweber avoided his uncle’s questioning look. The next day he prepared to leave without having asked for additional leave. He felt that his presence did not benefit the sick person.
“You do little credit to the food bowl of my old clothes,” said the councilor to the nephew in the last hour. “What is it? Don’t you have anything to say to me, boy? ”
“Thank you very much. Otherwise I wouldn’t know anything. ”
“So, I thought! Fine Have you already been to your father’s? ”
“I’m just about to.”
“Wait a moment. I’ll go with you.”
Walter Wullenweber actually wanted to be alone with the sick person for the last few minutes. But he was silent. “Maybe it is better that way,” he thought bluntly and stepped apparently calmly to the major’s bed.
“I have to go now.” The patient wanted to support himself on his elbows in order to pull himself up a little. But it didn’t work.
“I give you my word that everything should be different. Don’t you want to shake hands with me, Walter. ”
A moment’s hesitation. Then the assessor handed them to him. “Get well, father!”
Major was crying. D. von Wullenweber the first tears since that had happened to him from the clumsy shooter.
A week later he received word from his son.
Dear father! Today only briefly the announcement that I have asked my authority to leave the civil service so that, as soon as it is granted to me, I can go to Counselor Weissgerber, with whom I have already agreed.
Tell Uncle too. In a hurry
When the local council also knew the contents, he hit the table with his fist.
“And will I only find out today? What did you do again? Could you at least not open your mouth in time to prevent this? ”
Then the major related the main things. The other thought already added what was missing.
“How much the heck was it?”
“Four thousand marks!” Confessed the major contrite.
“And what for? For rascals, of course! “