Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. (Oscar Wilde) Hanne had advanced. She was the regional AFV party secretary now. The Dortmund market hall was a thing of the past. One was living in a toff first floor downtown flat. The downside was that she was frequently on the road, leaving Egon alone – to get into mischief. And Egon’s idea of a nice evening – if no Hanne was around – was to get drunk and into a scuffle. The problem was, though, that he wasn’t the only hefty steelworker in Dortmund. It was a thoroughly battered Egon Schagalla, who had come to visit Joseph Grzeskiewicz at the almshouse. Joseph was wheelchair-bound since summer – and generally marantic. His long life was drawing to a close, evidently. But his mind was still alert – most of the time… Today, however, Egon was looking worse than Joseph. But it had been a great night… Hanne had gone to Berlin, where the AFV was holding a party conference. They were no longer strongest party, neither in the Reichstag, nor in Prussia; nevertheless, they were well entrenched – and participating in political life on all levels. Egon was ambiguous; he liked the plush life he and Hanne were leading, but he was deeply distrustful of all these party dealings. It was too much for his simple soul. Well, Hanne was in love, deeply in love – with Herbert Weller. That was a fact. But she couldn’t get him; hence, she was tolerating Egon in bed. Egon, for his part, was irritated by her newly acquired social status. Should he really continue this relation? With a highbrow? Or should he move out from the posh flat – and find himself an ordinary working class chick? Joseph could see the problem, had always seen it. Hanne was intelligent and ambitious. Egon was a decent fellow – but a simpleton. Hanne’s advancement had come quite naturally; she was good at what she did. Egon couldn’t match that performance. The two had always consorted well physically, but not intellectually. And, to cap it all, Hanne had been enchanted by Herbert Weller, had fallen for him. So, yes, his counsel for Egon was to leave Hanne Zülch alone. She was going to have a bright career in politics, might even move to Berlin permanently. Egon was better off in his natural social background. It was a pity, but wasn’t it better to make a painful break than end in agony?