The Compendium of Degenerates – part 13

compendiumHow Florian and Pim had come to be acquainted:
In 1918, having reached an age, Florian had gone to the Exemption Board. With a pacifist theme worked out, demeaning but safest. Somehow, during one of the interviews, a physician had got something else into his head — a nuance, or even a code, transmitted mistakenly, unintentionally — that Florian was trying to indicate, in his roundabout and stammering manner, that he was a moral degenerate.
Curtly, he was ordered to report for Therapie.
Two weeks lying in a hospital bed.
At any moment. Taken to a corridor and shot in the back of the head. And as if that were not bad enough, Pim and his mates.
Then to a place out in the fields, called a Klinik, a requisitioned schloss.
A monkish regime: rise at 5, bathe in cold streams while clad head to foot in flannel, some nearly drowned. Then prayers and Old Testament readings. Then more physical exercise, Indian club swinging and rope-climbing. Gnarled beef and pumpernickel bread to chew on at luncheon.
In the afternoon, sat in the lecture theatre for hours on end, they were shown pictures of women. Naked. As in naked women.
By his projections, Florian had predicted the end of the war would come around November, December time. As it turned out, the doctors informed him that he was cured of his moral degeneracy on September 9th 1918. Six weeks training, muster at Gelsenkirchen, and he even avoided getting sent to a front proper, let alone being under fire.
Pim and his friends had had a wild old time at the Klinik.

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