The Proposal: Twist of Fate (Part 5)
Mr. Destiny led his guests into the barber shop. “Kelly, I think it’s time you practiced on a real person.” Mr. Destiny said.
Mr. Fate nodded in agreement and took a step toward the chair. Mr. Destiny put his hand on his arm and in a caring, reassuring tone, with his face close to his friend he said, “Not you my friend, not just yet.”
Again, Mr. Fate nodded.
Mr. Destiny said, “Kelly, I’ll start with a shampoo and a haircut first, something you are familiar with, then I’d like a nice shave.”
As he sat down in front of the shampoo basin and lowered the back of his head he commented, “I have to say, I have been looking forward to this since my last haircut… Remember to take your time. Whenever you need to take a break and just listen, please do so. I will be your only customer today.”
The comment seemed intentionally cryptic, Kelly thought as she started a ritual she had gone through thousands of times with methodical precision. Only this time, she realized that speed was not a factor. She decided she would slow down and enjoy the experience. She turned on the water and made sure the temperature was just right. As she gently let the water course through Mr. Destiny’s hair, he spoke.
He gestured toward their mutual friend seated nearby and said, “My friend, would you like to tell how we met while she works?”
“I was about to suggest that very thing,” Mr. Fate Replied. As she gently started to massage shampoo into the hair of her repeat customer, Mr. Fate began to speak, “My name is not Mr. Fate,” he started. My given name is Tobias Fatzler. Our family changed our name to Fate when we were moved to America. My father chose the name Fate, after the War.” He continued, “I mean, World War II.” After a pause he said, “My father was an SS Officer in the German Army.” Kelly was stunned. Her jaw literally dropped.
After a long pause, it was Mr. Destiny who broke the silence, “The trick is to listen without showing any sign of judgement, my dear Kelly.” With that, she closed her mouth and continued, resolved to take Mr. Destiny’s advice with the gravity he intended.
Mr. Fate continued, “After Germany took Poland, my father was transferred to command a very small concentration camp there and moved our family from Austria to Poland.” With emotion he continued, “It was a very different kind of camp. He stopped looking for the right words, “It was a medical camp.”
Kelly’s impulse was to stop and listen, but years of experience told her to keep working. It wasn’t just hair in her hands, Mr. Destiny’s health was her responsibility too, and she couldn’t let her charge catch cold.
Mr. Fate Continued. “In the early years, my father got caught up in the same evil web that blinded millions of Europeans. He believed what he was doing was right. It was for the greater good. He was an administrator, not a doctor. He justified his job… told himself that ‘he was just taking orders,’ and ‘the people above him must know what they were doing.’”
“Then something remarkable and life changing happened.” Mr. Fate continued, “A family was brought to the camp, and just as they arrived, my father was walking through the yard. As he passed the family, their little girl went over and hugged his leg. With a smile she looked up, and my father was touched. He knelt and looked into the distinctive face of a sweet, innocent girl with a disorder that in 1862, Dr. John Langdon Down called, “Down’s Syndrome.” My father pushed her away and in quickstep, retreated to his office and closed the door just before the tears started pouring from his eyes.”