But why pick on Bavaria? It had done nothing wrong, but it had produced a brutal dictator, an interesting film director who had killed himself at 37, and a mysterious teenage boy with a letter. Still, that’s only three people. Bavaria has offered millions of individuals over the years, many of them charming and sanguine. Dutiful pillars of the community. Decent neighbors. Men who might buy a stranger a drink if the stranger tells a good story. Is it fair for us to dwell on the lonely fact? These kernels took time to bloom, and the specialist saw the metaphor contained within the snack massacre. But the specialist could not intervene. He’d seen her live out her dead memories by chomping her way through the bowl’s sentient contents, the telltale bicuspid bite mark indented into the sad blue comforter. She was too taken with murder and the blood she’d leave for the maid. She’d never know all the details pertaining to the Bavaria question until she understand that these kernels, once so bright and yellow and promising, were corpses instead of seeds. Half-popped from the pan, and half-articulate in their screams, they would not grow back. She left the kitchen and she left the specialist to clean up the mess. He unsheathed his machete, which glinted against the flickering fluorescent tube. The half-popped corn, crawling helplessly like a legless Brooklyn roach, pleaded with the specialist. But rules were rules. The machete cracked against the kernel’s head. The specialist would clean up everything else, but would leave it dead. She had to feel something.