1/16/13

Every Night the Trees Disappear by Alan Greenberg


Early the next morning, Herzog picked me up to go location scouting with him and Walter Saxer, his longtime friend and Production Manager. Wanted in three countries for passport fraud, Saxer was a tough monkey, a Swiss who ate insect heads to ward off hunger as a kid. On the outskirts of town, Herzog turned into the parking lot of a modern apartment complex. With the engine running, he went to the back of the van with Saxer, lifted the rear bench, and withdrew two rifles. He said he was going to see a producer who owed him money; then he had me sit in the driver's seat and told me, the young foreigner whom he hardly knew, to be ready to leave at once upon their return. After Herzog picked the lock of the producer's door only to find the place empty, we drove away to search all day through Lower Bavaria for places suitable for scenes to be filmed there.

Herzog stopped on the way back at a fisherman's home in Vilshofen, where he scooped a huge pike from the tank for dinner. When the fisherman's daughter crushed the pike's skull with a mallet, Saxer shrieked with delight. When she smashed it with another blow for good measure, he raced out to the yard and danced a gleeful little jig.

The following day, while I was walking home from the marketplace in the center of Munich, a pigeon flew into the side of my head. My phone was ringing when I reached the apartment.

"Tonight I shall conduct a hypnosis experiment," said Herzog. "I would like you to come."