Tadeusz Borowski wrote a story called, "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen," about his experiences as a prisoner at Auschwitz and Dachau. There, though he was a prisoner, he helped the German soldiers in order to receive better treatment and more food. Five years after he was released from this camp, he gassed himself in his own kitchen oven, presumably because he never forgave himself for helping to kill other prisoners like himself. This story was an assignment to write employing Borowski's ironic style and his belief that evil exists inside human beings, not just outside of them. So here it goes:

"If I Can Just Get my Head In-"

I wriggle in my clothing and the Mrs. invariably keeps her patience.
"For God's sake, what's the matter? You fidget like a child in church."
My distaste for clothing has increased lately. I'm always pulling at the collar and feeling the eight little legs of ticks and lice that happily inhabited my clothes just five years ago. The Mrs. does a good job of keeping them clean and stiff, but they never seem clean enough. I once asked her to get a hold of some of the ol' Cyclone B to clean them and she, at the time still good-humored about my remarks, laughed and kissed me on the cheek. But I wasn't kidding - a part of my misses the smell, or needs it. I can't get them damn ticks off me.
She alerts me that she is departing for the grocery store, and taking the little one with a blued tongue from a sucker with her. She speaks to me like one asking a rhetorical question or speaking to a vegetable.
"And I will miss you, dear," I sing with a smile, also as one speaking to a vegetable. She kisses me on the cheek and she and the blue- tongued little one are gone. She is a pleasant woman and I a pleasant man and we a pleasant picture. She only knows me as the skeleton that survived Auschwitz, not as the relatively well-fed cattle-herder and scavenger that acted as if he were the bellboy of an upscale hotel.
"This way to your suites, ladies and gentlemen."
Anyway, the dear Mrs. doesn't need to know. She is so dear she may leave me if she knew the truth or become absolutely ill because of the shock. And then I imagine I'd have to get another job to pay her medical bills. But I have no worries. I could find another job. I have a lot of experience at selling my soul; I could be a politician.
I'm picturing myself in a red bellman's uniform, ostentatiously bowing under the high ceilings of an extravagant hotel and saying, "This way for the gas, ladies and gentlemen." And there is a great train load of people in front of me in gray, stinking clothing with gray, stinking skin, and gray, stinking eye-sockets. I only smile more graciously and even give a tiny, bruised girl a bright red balloon. And I grin in her face.
Then I feel the bite of the tick and I shoot out of my chair. I rip my shirt off - I hear the buttons 'tink-tink-tink' across the kitchen floor - and itch my skin with such terror that soon realize I am bleeding.
What is this? There is not tick bite on me. I cannot even remember where I thought it sank its dirty familiar teeth in. Yet I have fresh blood under my fingernails. This doesn't scare me. It is a familiar sight. I remember seeing these fingers when they were grayer and thinner and curled with much more fear at what I had just done to get so much blood under their nails. I rinsed it easily off with Hitler's favorite Jew-based soap and now I rinse my chest off with my wife's favorite soap, sitting in a blue-flowered dish.
I'm not really guilty. I was forced to live like that - or die. I had to or I wouldn't be here now. I wouldn't have my dear Mrs. that speaks to me like a vegetable, or my dear memories of a life well-lived, or my dear dreary job under a whip-cracking office manager. (Yet this job feeds us. A man has to eat, doesn't he?)
I am guilty. Evil is not only external.
I smell the faces and the mud and the sweat and see the gray-yellow smoke-filled sky of Auschwitz. My skin is raw from tick bites. My clothing is no thicker than skin and I think I can see my ribs through my striped shirt.
Where is my kitchen?
There's only dirt below me and a little further ahead, a pile of white skin and gaping mouths with blue tongues, as if blue suckers had been given to all of them. There is no Mrs. and no little one. Was it all a dream?
It seems there was something I had been telling you. What was it. could you remind me, perhaps? Ah well, perhaps it will come to me.
There is a familiar building in front of me. It is as gray and non- descript as any of the buildings and the dust and the distant church steeples and as silent as the gaping mouths of the white corpses and the gaping mouths of that same church's choir, whose songs will never reach me. And what is this? A steeple of smoking rising above?
I try to move but my right foot is planted. I turn around to see what hinders me and see white skin and a blue tongue from a gaping mouth holding onto my ankle. It seems he wants my shoes and he's not letting go. Rigor mortis makes for a slightly stubborn grip.
I would normally argue, 'my dear friend, these are my own property, please release me,' but I see that these shoes belong to him. This gangrenous, rotting, and pesky hand seeks what are his.
All at once, I am stealing the shoes off his living feet as he eats a sandwich the Mrs. has made for him while the little one bounces on his lap. I am stealing the shoes of his corpse, adhered to the train car's floor by his own feces, but he begins pleading with me, sobbing, heaving, shaking, and calling, "Mercy, mercy, mercy, please have mercy!"
I pay no attention to his gaping, calling mouth. His shoes come off stubbornly but I get them on. They fit nicely and they look great. He writhes in pain, still calling for mercy. I do a dramatic twirl in them. Henri applauds. Then the Mrs. applauds and the little one giggles. All of my dear acquaintances are laughing with and applauding me. The man screams in agony, still jabbering about mercy, not quite dead yet. I turn for just a moment and the tile of the kitchen floor squeaks below me. My audience is crawling over the kitchen sink and over the oven and over the table to rip my clothes off. The Nazi guards, the Mrs., the little one, Henri, and all the nameless people I directed to their suites look with hungry eyes at my clothes.
"What - what are you doing?!?" I'm crying. I jump away from them and fall out of the train car.
They are too ravenous and greedy to listen.
"You-" I shake a Nazi who eyes my shoes, "I was only doing it because you were starving us!"
"And you - not you, too!" I yell at the Mrs. but she only smells my shirt and licks her lips.
"Stop it! All of you!" I'm yelling as they crawl through the gray dust toward me.
They rip and tear.
Stop it! Stop it!
And the ticks start in again - biting and ripping and tearing. Everything devours me, human and insect. Everything devours each other, human and insect.
"Stop it!"
Stop it!
"Mercy!"
Mercy!
"I had to!"
The pain is excruciating. I'm being torn to pieces and I am clawing my way through dirt, through eyes, through insects to get away. I am back at the non-descript church of Our Lady of Auschwitz with the steeple of smoke, which smells oddly of baking cookies. Perhaps I can find sanctuary, if I can just put my head in -