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The Prose of Alfred Lichtenstein by Alfred Lichtenstein
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The Prose of Alfred Lichtenstein
Alfred Lichtenstein

The Winner

Max Mechenmal was an independent manager of a newspaper kiosk. He
ate and drank well; he had relations with many women, but he was
careful. Because his salary was insufficient, he occasionally
permitted himself to take money from Ilka Leipke. Ilka Leipke was an
unusually small, but well-developed, elegant whore, who attracted
many men and women with her bizarre nature and apparently silly ideas,
as well as with her actually tasteful clothing. Miss Leipke loved
little Max Mechenmal. She called him her sweet dwarf. Max Mechenmal
was angry all his life that he was small.

Max Mechenmal came from an unfortunately impoverished family. He had
enjoyed an excellent education in an institution for retarded
children until he was forcibly dismissed at a very early age. The
reasons for his dismissal were not available; it seemed to have more
to do with the poverty of Mechenmal's relatives than with the fact
that he was clearly unbearable. For a while he wandered about
homeless, since his family no longer took any interest in him. He
supported himself mostly by petty larceny. Once the police picked
him up and he was brought to a home for neglected children. In the
home he was trained as a locksmith. He knew how to ingratiate
himself with his superiors by showing unusual dexterity and
willingness. He secretly tormented his younger, weaker comrades, or