Marion Aubert

Artwork by Robert Zhao Renhui

Wherein we learn that SIMON, the Cordier son, is resisting in his bedroom.

The Cordier living room.

AURÉLIE (distressed):  Paul! I think Simon is resisting! I don't know what he's up to in his bedroom.

Come on, calm down, Aurélie! In wartime, you have to know how to calm down.

AURÉLIE:  Cut it out! You can be so vulgar! And in front of Camille, too! You're an animal! (Glued to the door of SIMON's room.) Simon. I know a mother should never, never rummage around in her child's private diary, but I had a horrible dream and I swear, Simon, I was not myself when I went to spy on you that night through the keyhole to your room, and I saw, my son, what secret business you were up to with the radio! Do something, Paul! Do something—don't just hide behind that bust again!

PAUL:  Open up, Simon, or I'll knock down the door with the bust of Marshal Pétain!

AURÉLIE:  You want to be a hero, is that it, Simon?! You want to be brave? Not everybody has the stuff of a hero! Rémy has the stuff of a hero. But you! You're a poet, Simon. You'll get caught in the bushes! My God! I can already see it! Besides! You have asthma! You know perfectly well that you have asthma, Simon! You'll catch a cold in the fields, waiting for them to parachute weapons in! Oh! Simon! I'm so afraid an American will fall on your head and kill you! Just look at the way you are! You're destined to die like a clown, my poor child! A clown! I gave birth to a clown! And you want to run off! Notify General de Gaulle! You want to feel the pistol pressing against your hide! Ah! Why didn't I give birth to Rémy! Understand me, my child! I have nothing at all against the idea, the notion, of Resistance. Personally, I resist a little every day against your father's repeated assaults. And it's because of that I know you aren't cut out to resist. You don't get to choose, my son. Leave the laurels of victory to the Rémys of this world. Did I name you "Achilles," Simon? I knew, at the hospital, that you weren't destined for great deeds of war, my son. A lima bean when you were born, Simon. Tiny! Ah! How we laughed, me and your father! Isn't that right, Paul?!

PAUL:  Right! We laughed, Aurélie!

AURÉLIE:  Ah! We had some good times when our children were born! You weren't much of anything either, Camille! You slipped out between my legs like a little pebble! A mollusk! That's it! Ooooh! I'm afraid of finding something awful, terrible, hidden behind the door! Maybe Simon is hiding Jews? A whole family in our very own house! Hidden among the curtains! Oh! Simon! I'm so afraid that your father will do something clumsy behind the curtain and kill all the Jews hidden in your wardrobe! Oh! Simon! You're putting me in a real spot with your father! As if we didn't fight enough already!

Wherein we discover two Jewish women hidden in SIMON's wardrobe.

SIMON in his room.
In the wardrobe, MARIE-ANGE and CLARA.

SIMON:  Clara! You're beautiful, Clara! I'm happy I hid such a beautiful Jewess. Who knows? Maybe we'll have an amorous episode in this wardrobe? Needless to say, I don't want to force you, beautiful Jewess. I brought little pieces of cheese to nibble! I'll get in and nibble these cheese cubes with you, but I must keep an eye on young Martin Youngblood. He's a traitor. He seems nice, but he has no idea what side he's on. The poor guy. He's collaborating and doesn't even know it. Eight o'clock! I have to go! How short the night was in your presence, Clara! What a shame we're hiding your great-aunt, Marie-Ange, too! And yet, what would love be without hardship? Come on! Enjoy these sausage-ends, Clara! Here! I'll give you a lock of my hair! If I ever get killed, I implore you, Clara, no matter what, don't sew this lock into your delicate, pink breast. Don't hurt yourself! No! Instead, gently stroke your knee with my lock, like that, delicately, go from your knee to your neck with my lock, yes, go everywhere, Clara! Wherever you like! Take a stroll! That will be our little honeymoon together! Ah! Clara! What a stupid war! What has become of you now? Beneath the hail of iron? Of fire, steel, and blood?

CLARA:  But here I am, Simon!

SIMON:  Right! But we must spread false information! Everything between us must be encrypted, Clara.

CLARA:  But then? Did you love me, Simon? This business of a lock of hair, rolling everywhere on my body, was that love or disinformation?!

SIMON:  It's your job to tease out truth and falsehood, my beautiful Juliette! The times are mad! The times are mad!

(He jumps out the window of his room.)

Wherein ITTO, the Communist, joins the Resistance.

SIMON is running through the brush.

SIMON:  But what do I see?! Rémy is kissing Officer Martynas!

MARTIN:  Got it! (Takes a picture.)

SIMON:  But Martin! You're wearing a bathing suit!

MARTIN:  Shh! Top secret!

(He disappears.)

SIMON:  But look, here's Itto on the path! Surely Itto can tell me about relations between Rémy and Martynas. And yet, we've never talked. How should I approach her? Itto! Hello, Itto! How are you?

ITTO:  Well! I'm going to my grandmother's! Look, Simon! I have a little pot of butter in my basket.

  Is that a coded message? Itto! How's the war going for you? Let us proceed with the conversation.

  The war is truly horrible, Simon. You know, I've lost my brother. He was shot by a firing squad. You laugh. You play the clown. You fart in the bushes, but you know, Simon, the war is very sad for us, the real population. I buried my brother this morning. We didn't have a very good relationship, but a brother's a brother, Simon. And when a brother dies, that makes a hole in the house. Two holes. One hole in the heart, and one hole in the house.

SIMON:  Oh, I like this Itto, what images she uses! Can I betray Clara? After all, she's used to betrayals! But I'd rather make her a good friend. I'll confess to her that my love was a coded message to save her from the clutches of Martynas. Let me woo Itto as she mourns. Are you crying, Itto?

ITTO:  Yes, I'm crying, Simon.

SIMON:  Let's sit next to the river and watch the water flow by, Itto. We'll think of your dead brother and our revenge. Don't you want to avenge your dead brother, Itto?

ITTO:  Yes. But I'm so afraid of getting my head shaved after the war, Simon.

SIMON:  I swear to you. You won't be shaved, Itto. I'll make them shave me instead of you.

ITTO:  You're nice, Simon.

SIMON:  How calm the water is.

ITTO:  Yes. It's funny. Everything's already gone. This morning it was red with my brother's blood and now it's clear. How fast that happens, Simon.

SIMON:  Yes. Everything happens very fast, Itto.

ITTO:  You're a man now, Simon.

SIMON:  Yes, Itto.

ITTO:  Mourning makes me scatterbrained, Simon.

SIMON:  It's cold, Itto.

ITTO:  Yes, Simon. It's freezing at the edge of this river. I'd like to go back home, but my family is so sad. I'd like to do something. (Under her breath.) Am I fooling myself, or are you a communist, too, young and strange Simon?

SIMON:  Follow me, Itto. I'll hide you in my wardrobe. All four of us will resist in my room, you, me, Marie-Ange, and Clara.

ITTO:  Oh! What beautiful names! (Under her breath.) Are they communists?

SIMON:  But look, here's Officer Martynas on the path!

MARTYNAS:  Vhat are you doing?

We're looking at the water.

MARTYNAS:  Me too, vater flows alzo in my country. May I take a zeat and relax with you? You don't talk to me. Yes. I understand. You vere vatching ze vater together and along I come and dizrupt your calm. I understand. I, too, had a little fiancée on the bank of ze Wupper. Just like you. I have a grandmother, you know. She vas locked up eight years in the gulag. She doesn't like to talk about it now. Ze gulag. Torture. Do you know torture, Simon? Oh! A fish. This fish iz really ugly. Horrible. A big fish. And you, Itto, have you ever heard about ze atrocities of var? Oh! How stupid I am! You vere there yesterday, on ze hill, at ze death of your brother. He died upright. Not everybody dies upright in your country. But him, he vas upright. A proud man. You must be proud of your brother's uprightness, Itto. Itto. Zat's not a name from around here. Tell me. How did you come here? It interests me, Itto. Do I scare you? I'm gentle, you know. I'm very gentle vhere love's concerned. No doubt a little less eccentric than your young fiancé, but gentle. My fiancée always told me, du bist süß, Martynas. And here, alvays the enemy, ze bloodthirsty beast. Alvays.


Wherein we learn that Rémy Meunier, CAMILLE's fiancé, is also a member of the Resistance.

The changing rooms at the city pool.

RÉMY:  Look! Here's a bouquet of flowers, sweet Camille.

CAMILLE:  Did you kiss Martynas?

RÉMY:  I was with your mother in the cellar, sweet Camille. I was praying when I saw the bombs tearing apart the field of poppies. I asked myself: "Why should flowers suffer because of the war? Aren't they innocent?" I knew, at that moment, that I had to stop praying and act, sweet Camille. I ran out of the cellar. And look! I even found some mushrooms! I hope they're not poisonous. Oh dear! It's difficult to identify them! Do you know, sweet Camille, how to tell a button mushroom from a death cap?

CAMILLE:  Did you kiss Martynas?

RÉMY:  Look, here are the poppies, sweet Camille. They're all wilted. They won't stand.

CAMILLE:  Did you kiss Martynas?!!

RÉMY:  What?! What, did I kiss Martynas?! Who's Martynas?!

CAMILLE:  Somebody saw you!

RÉMY:  Who?! Who saw me?!

CAMILLE:  Martin Youngblood! The whole town saw you!

RÉMY:  But no, I was in the cellar with your mother!

CAMILLE:  The milkmaid! The pharmacist! Everybody saw you playing bridge with Martynas! The haberdasher saw you laughing with Martynas! Then, you went to the Boeuf français on November 6!

MARTIN:  At noon!

CAMILLE:  With Martynas! And then that kiss. I sent Martin to spy on you. Yes, that's what I did, Rémy. In the name of our love, I had you followed. Martin saw you offer—oh! My God! Dare I say it?! Your crown jewels to Martynas. Everyone saw your crown jewels, Rémy. I have pictures.

RÉMY:  But those aren't my crown jewels at all, sweet Camille. This picture's a fake! Don't you recognize them?!

(CAMILLE cries.)

RÉMY:  Can't you see that I sleep with Martynas so he won't suspect anything?

CAMILLE:  Really?

RÉMY (solemnly):  It's time, sweet Camille, to tell you about my secret activities. Can you promise to keep what I just told you to yourself?!

CAMILLE:  But Rémy! Have you forgotten that I'm carrying your child?

RÉMY:  Ah! No! Yes!

CAMILLE:  We haven't even talked about a name for our child! It's like none of this interests you!

RÉMY:  But no, yes! I'm interested!

CAMILLE:  And so? You know about Simon?

RÉMY:  What?

CAMILLE:  Really? Don't you know that Simon is hiding two Jews in his wardrobe?

RÉMY:  You're not just saying that so I'll take more interest in our future child?

CAMILLE (excited):  How do your secret meetings work, Rémy? I want to know everything! We heard Marshal Pétain's broadcast on the radio yesterday. And I really agree with you. Defeat is truly shameful for France. What an insult to our veterans! I understand why you kissed Martynas and slept with him—to better betray him and avenge the honor of France. I've always believed in you, Rémy! Rémy! My Rémy! I'm so happy I chose you to be the child's father! But it will be hard for me to keep quiet. Oh! I know! I'll dig little holes in the garden and bury all my secrets with the weapons I'm supposed to hide! I'm excited at the thought of taking part in secret meetings!

RÉMY:  But the air's full of smoke at our meetings, sweet Camille. Isn't that bad for Jules?

CAMILLE:  Jules? Who's Jules? Oh! You chose a name! I'm touched! You care! You care about my pregnancy! As long as there's more! We need many children to make the country rise again! And don't worry about Julie's health!

RÉMY:  Jules!

CAMILLE:  Right. Jules, Julie, Simone if you want!

RÉMY:  Jules!

CAMILLE:  It's 1944, Rémy. Smoky rooms aren't bad for fetuses yet. I could even sleep with Martynas if you want! But I don't know if that's very good for the baby. Won't it cause a spontaneous miscarriage? I'm so afraid of spontaneously miscarrying, Rémy! I'm already so stressed out by the bombings, the refugees on the roads, and the Jews in my brother's wardrobe! I beg you, Rémy! Please don't make me sleep with Martynas—for the baby's sake!

RÉMY:  I've made an appointment for you with Madame Lisa, sweet Camille.


RÉMY:  You're shaking, sweet Camille? You're afraid of drinking abortion potions, and you think you can save France?!

CAMILLE: But I love you, Remy. You've got the most handsome shoulders.

RÉMY:  What's wrong, sweet Camille?! Martin! Camille's giving birth!

MARTIN:  But I'm in my bathing suit!

RÉMY:  Go, Martin! Run and find Mother Lisa up on the mountain! Run, Martin! Run!

translated from the French by Kimberly Jannarone and Erik Butler