What the Old Man needs now is an opponent, a doubter. The Chief gladly obliges. Admittedly, all he says is ‘Hm, hm’, but that’s enough to indicate certain reservations. Although all of us - except the Commander - are now staring expectantly at the Chief, he simply cocks his head on one side like a blackbird searching for nightcrawlers in the short grass. He wouldn’t think of voicing his doubts - he’s just allowing them to flicker through. That’s enough to begin with. He’s an old hand - he takes his time, he dallies - something he learned from the Old Man.
Our company devotes a good five minutes to this silent game. Finally the Old Man seems to have had enough. ‘Well, Chief?’ he says encouragingly. But the Chief’s holding up remarkably well. He shakes his head very gently and delivers his dry curtain line.
‘Absolutely first rate, Herr Kaleun! Inspired idea.’
-Das Boot, Lothar-Günther Buccheim