Chapter 17 Summary

In the aftermath of the attack, Leonard feels numb and exhausted, barely able to stay awake. Still, he knows that he and Maria must decide what to do with Otto. Leonard’s first instinct is to report it to the German police, but Maria again raises concerns about Otto’s ties to them. In addition to his lies about being a war hero, he may also have told them lies about his ex-wife and the Englishman she had taken up with. Leonard then proposes that they report it to the British police, whom he believes are more likely to be sympathetic to Leonard and his unusual circumstances. Maria knows that if they do that, the British will have to involve the Germans because of her. Leonard is having trouble concentrating because his testicles are throbbing. He insists that if he goes to a doctor right now and has them take photos of his wounds, it will prove that it was self-defense. Maria counters that the missing piece of Otto’s cheek does not look like self-defense. They cover Otto’s body with a sheet, and Leonard dozes briefly. He is awoken abruptly by Maria, who insists that he not leave the decisions to her.

As Leonard’s options shrink, he realizes that Maria has already come to a conclusion that she is waiting for him to realize: they must dispose of the body without reporting it to the police, despite the increased appearance of guilt if they get caught. Leonard proposes several half-baked schemes about dragging the body somewhere and leaving it, but Maria knows that there will be tons of witnesses. Eventually, they come to an understanding about how to deal with Otto. The next day, Leonard goes to work having barely slept; the bus driver has to awaken him when he falls asleep during his commute. He arrives at work and tries to behave as normally as possible. A note from Glass is waiting for him requesting a meeting. Disregarding it, Leonard heads down into the tunnel and pretends to be repairing some machines. He ensures the recorders are in working order and then finds two large suitcases belonging to the project. As inconspicuously as possible, he removes them from the tunnel and takes them home with him. Instead of returning to his own flat, he goes to Maria’s to finish dealing with Otto’s body. She is waiting for him, with knives, saws, and lots of newspaper.