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Sonata for a Good Man

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Dreyman watched Hauptmann Wiesler walk down the street, an ordinary man, indistinguishable from the other passers-by, and turned away. He didn't know what he wanted to say, didn't know whether he wanted to say anything. It wasn't until he returned home that he understood what the problem was. He wasn't a speaker, he was a writer. And he had Wiesler's address. A letter was the obvious answer.

Nine burned drafts, three cigarettes and a measure of vodka later, a letter was seeming as impossible as speech. He couldn't write any of the things he most wanted to say, and everything else seemed pointless. How dare you listen to us in bed? and Do you regret it? and Please don't ever become a playwright, but mostly Why?

Contemplating that 'why', his imagination supplied possible answers. Had Wiesler always had doubts? Had he saved others before, but finally been caught this time? Or had he changed as Dreyman had changed, as he saw what Dreyman saw: a system that should have brought happiness and peace instead breaking good men between its teeth. Question after question, all so intimate, questions a man might hesitate before asking his closest friend. And Wiesler was a stranger to him, seen only through his dull, prosaic, repetitive reports. But Wiesler knew him more closely than anyone, through his one-way mirrors, and the imbalance was discomfiting. He wanted to know Wiesler as he knew his characters, as Wiesler knew him.

He looked at the embers of the last draft smouldering in the fire, and shook his head. He could no more write a letter than he could speak to Wiesler. What he had to say was more complicated than that.

Dreyman stared into the flames for a long time. Then he sat back and began to write again.