The Last Trump



This is the seventeenth and last part of The Next Thrilling Chapter. Maybe not the exciting finish you hoped for, and no really big surprises—but, you know, even in the original serials, sometimes the big finish was just a fizzle, a chase or an explosion that could’ve happened anytime, or the mysterious bad guy turned out to be somebody you barely remembered from the first chapter and you thought, so what?

     So what? 



Can I say, honestly, what motivated me to make the serial?


Well, there are a complex of reasons, and some are not very important. But why would I spend nearly a year of my life doing this, rather than something else?


Not that I think I was wasting my time. I had fun. I learned stuff.


But I didn’t really think it could make a difference, did I?


No, but I committed myself to making the serial as if it could. But if I knew it couldn’t, why did I do that?


Well, it comes down to several accidents of personal history. Don’t expect me to untangle them all.


When I was a child, I played in gaps between buildings where (I was told) German bombs had destroyed the buildings that used to stand there. Every so often, somebody would tell me how the town I lived in had been bombed.


It seemed almost impossible. Why did people do that kind of thing? It was something mysterious that happened in the remote past, before I was born.


But, almost unbelievably, my parents had lived through that time. My mother told me how she used to sit with her parents in a shelter in the garden when the air raid sirens went off. And my father had lived in occupied Holland. I didn’t ask too many questions, but I heard him moaning in his sleep, night after night.


I had reasons to be curious about what had happened to the world, and why it had happened. Also, I wanted to know why that nice boy in The Sound of Music decided he wanted to be one of the bad guys.


What I found out made me doubtful about people, and about myself.


But, of course, we used to talk, as children, about what we would have done, if we’d lived in those times. I don’t remember anyone saying they wished they could have been a Nazi, and I probably wouldn’t have understood them if they had. Mostly, we knew the Nazis were the bad guys, and mostly we wondered whether we’d have been strong enough or smart enough or lucky enough to be the good guys who’d win when it came to a fight.


And that’s probably why I made the serial—because I thought I wouldn’t sit by and watch it happen. I’d warn somebody at least.


Well, here’s the warning.


If anyone can hear me out there, pass it on. Let others know.


There's a little boy out here who says not to let it happen. I think he may be lost.