The Americans, with Billy among them, formed a fools' parade on the road outside.
There was a photographer present, a German war correspondent with a Leica. He took pictures of Billy's and Roland Weary's feet. The picture was widely published two days later as heartening evidence of how miserably equipped the American Army often was, despite its reputation for being rich.
The photographer wanted something more lively, though, a picture of an actual capture. So the guards staged one for him. They threw Billy into shrubbery. When Billy came out of the shrubbery, his face wreathed in goofy good will, they menaced him with their machine pistols, as though they were capturing him then.
German alternative facts. The Nazis are out to discredit their enemies, so they "capture" Billy for the cameras. And Billy, not really knowing what's going on, good-naturedly plays along, like some outcast on a school playground filled with bullies.
I have Poet Laureate stuff to do tonight. I am attending a meeting of a local poets' group. We are going to workshop poems and then have an open mic reading. Not really sure what I'm in for. I have a poem to work on and a packet of poems to share.
The good thing about a gathering of poets is that, unlike Billy's captors and fellow P.O.W.s, there will be no bullying, no name-calling, no guns. Poets are very accepting people. Tonight's festivities will be about helping fellow writers, celebrating work.
It has been a while since I've been in a workshop situation, so that makes me a little anxious. I'm not used to being in writing workshops where I'm not in charge. I've been teaching a looooooong time. That will be a little bit of an adjustment for me.
But Saint Marty is thankful for being invited tonight, and for the poets with whom he'll be working.