Chapter 16 Summary
Trying to remain calm, Leonard and Maria get out of bed and begin to get dressed in the dark. Leonard hums a rock-and-roll song in an attempt to disguise their awareness of the intruder. He suddenly turns on the light, but no one emerges from the wardrobe. Leonard quickly flings the door open to find Otto asleep in the bottom of the wardrobe. Concerned but less alarmed, he and Maria retreat to the living room to decide what to do next. Leonard wants to call the police, but Maria is not sure. The police have bought Otto’s story about being a war hero and sometimes pay for his drinks; Maria doubts they will take action against him. As they try to hash out what to do, they begin to fight with each other. Maria is angry with Leonard for not being more decisive and acting on his own instincts, instead of always waiting for Maria to decide. Leonard is upset with Maria for her attachment to Otto, and bringing him into their relationship. Leonard suggests that he might leave so that she and Otto could be alone, and Maria is rightly insulted. In the middle of their fight, a cigarette causes Maria’s skirt to catch fire. Initially, Leonard tries to douse her with wine to put out the fire, but that doesn’t work. Finally, he gets her skirt off of her and begins to stamp it out; he is relieved that her skirt has a lining, which prevented her from getting burned.
Their relief is short-lived, however, because they realize that their row has awoken Otto, who now stands in the doorway to the bedroom. Otto retreats to the bathroom to relieve himself and smashes the shelf above the toilet that Leonard installed for himself. Maria runs to the bedroom to dress herself while Leonard finishes putting out the fire. When Otto returns, Leonard continues to place himself between Otto and Maria. He orders Otto to leave, but must rely on Maria’s translations because Otto does not speak English. Soon, a shouting match between Otto and Maria erupts, and Leonard’s burgeoning German allows him to understand some of their insults. He also informs Maria that he is laying claim to her apartment because of a document in his possession that, while out of date, makes it look like his claim is valid. Suddenly, Otto bursts past Leonard and begins to choke Maria. Leonard attacks him and Otto turns his attentions on him. Leonard is surprised that a man as small as Otto possess such strength. Otto punches Leonard's collarbone and squeezes his testicles with excruciating results. Leonard bites Otto’s face and removes some of his cheek, leaving a hole. As they continue to grapple on the floor, Leonard reaches out and gets a hold of a cobbler’s last near a pile of Maria’s shoes. He strikes Otto on the skull with the last and the man collapses, dying instantly.