In the city, every voice wants to say something. I was born in a small town; you walked out of the house, on the other side of the streets and you looked over a field of corn a farmer; shining golden in sun. I sometimes miss how few we were. How easily I was heard. Around the people that fled.
Only the worst cases of Hillbilly really fear this parallel world of nonexistent silence, because they don’t get how a million crammed up moving parts can produce enough misery, that a whole country gets to talk about it the next morning. Other outsiders are trying to salvage the city, want to be considered the counterweight to the moral decay and a role model, to inspire people to pick up shovels and pickaxes for a better-shared future. The rural youth loves the concrete jungle anyway. It gives them a chance to get out. Few really hate the city and most just don’t give a shit about what it is producing, even though they will lose some bad words here and there about a recurring act of queuing. But those who don’t give a shit about her, those who live outside, don’t talk about the city if the joke has no point. At the only tavern in the village, they exchange stories. The best of the best. In the role of the protagonist mostly some poor migrants. Those who didn’t laugh at it took it far too seriously. They started scolding each other about tolerance.
“Yes, they are not all the same”, they always said, these cowards, but when they were particularly corrupt, they held some as pets, considered them as village mascots, and showed them off to other cities as an example of successful integration. They had never learned to laugh at themselves. Each of them could have taken the place of the brown-skinned one, each of the frightened race skeptics, each of the blaséed iced men. They just had to be born more unhappy, unlucky. They didn’t see that. They couldn’t see that. Yet they got it told all the time, but that has not much in common with understanding. Let yourself be beaten on the ground and give up your identity, your pride and outlook; just learn how to open your eyes and be surprised as you constantly see how everyone is willing to fuck up shamelessly before your eyes in their own sense of measure and remember: The city gave us a lot of experience in this respect. Witches who eat babies and drunk good-for-nothings who inject themselves H under bronze war hero monuments. It got normal, but only if you lived here. A jungle of vicious cunning late simian predators, who got their teeth pulled by their fellow hairless monkey friends.
I didn’t want to go back to the rural idyll. Not to preach and not to spend my time there. Although, if asked where I would rather live, I would have said out on the country for the days I don’t want anything to happen. At all the others I preferred the graffiti at the apartments over the rose gardens of the houses. The plants have to be cared for, but the lettering will find you everywhere.
People were always awake here, too. In the rural village, the street lights went out at 10 pm. It was dark on the paths, but less likely there was no reason to be scared. Hardly anyone needed the light there. They run around the clock in the big city. It was so funny when I thought about that on average someone was raped here every night. Under the lights of the lanterns. Lights everywhere, but still not enough to stop the darkness. Of course, I knew that hardly anyone was raped on the open streets. Still, I took all of the absurdity with a sense of humor, maybe because I knew nobody who got raped; neither did I rap women myself. I lacked the perfidious fetish or the insane resentment necessary, that one had to cherish in order not to want the female body to move in the lust of the act. Does it sound weird, that I still get why people have done it? That I can have empathy with a rapist; immersive myself in his mindset?
Whatever, maybe I am just a bad person, after all, my first crime though was no rape. On top of my list was a simple afternoon of drug dealing. Nothing great or exciting. We picked the product up from point A, bought it there cheaply, brought it to point B and sold it there expensive. “Super easy”, said Ätz and he was right because our customers willingly joined us at point B. Not a lot of markets had that inherent luxury, where the product was a brain picked, dopamine inducing necessity. Like with Sneaker Collectors or Supreme Followers, or Apple Addicts. Small Steps in Quality. After the first market entry barriers, the applied marketing worked. Minimum effort with maximum profit. I waited down in the yard as Ätz picked the weed up. He went up to an apartment in stairwell 3 to get it. Before he left, he had given me instructions.
“If I’m not there in 20 minutes, call Miro”
“Okay,” I said and I smiled with fake confidence. I was nervous. It wasn’t quite as safe as he had assured me. On top of that, I had to pee. I sat down on a picnic table surrounded by a few trees when we arrived and moved my legs to keep me warm, but now that I had to piss, I crossed them to tie off the urge to urinate. I waited for ten minutes. My bladder was squeezing. Fuck that, I figured. I got up, went to the tree that threw the picnic table in shade and dropped my pants. My dick was smaller than usual. I blamed the cold for that. The rainy weather had once again driven spring away. It was warmer than yesterday but still uncomfortably cool for a day in March. The urine stream in my urethra was warming. The cold was then more bearable. I sighed with relief. There’s nothing better than peeing when you’re in dire need.
After the first relief, I realized again where I was. I dropped my head backward. Looking left. Looking to the right. If anyone was going to come, then at least I wanted to be able to put my thing away. If anyone had seen him, I would have embarrassed myself at that very moment. Cold or not cold; I wasn’t ready to answer any questions regarding the reasons for my presence here. Nothing happened. I put the snake back into the denim cage.
Ätz came down a few minutes later, we had the goods and we were on our way to point B, his apartment. With the filled bag we went to the subway and got into the back of the car.
I was sitting opposite Ätz in a window seat. I looked around. The car was full of people. Per usual, only one or two pieces among the places designed for four. Some were standing at the exits. With caution, I inhaled air through my nose. I wanted to know if there was a gas leak. My mind made it so you could smell the weed and because I knew that Ätz and I were probably the last one able to smell it, my imagination went wild.
“Why do we have to take the subway?”
“Because I don’t have the money for a cab, Rockefeller”
“That’s not a good idea, Ätz”
“Don’t piss yourself. Take it easy. Nobody’s gonna catch us”
“Let’s just get out and walk the rest. How far can it be? This is a rolling cage”, I whispered.
“Sit back and just stay calm”
I felt like all the passengers were staring at us. They didn’t. Most of them looked down on their smartphones. An old lady was sitting in the seats next to ours. Grandma stared out the window at the wall of the subway tunnel. The slithering pipes and cables, weaving into each other
I breathed deeply. He was right. I was just imagining things. Everything was fine. Nobody looked around. Not one actively drew in odors with their nose. Even if they smelled it, these zombies didn’t care much.
I started to calm down. Arriving at the next station, I could even joke again. The subway stopped, Ätz and I laughed and in my field of vision, I saw two men in dark blue uniforms boarding. My blood went into my feet, pressing me down in the seat.
One of the cops looked me right in the eye for a second. I looked away and thought that maybe this was the wrong reaction to take if you didn’t want to arouse suspicion, so I looked at him again. The policeman talked to his colleague.
The two uniforms got off at the next station. Nobody. Really, no one had even a hint of a clue. Relaxed I laid back. I crossed my arms behind my head and looked at the ceiling.
They are blind to less obvious ones and then I grinned because I shared the secret on which humanity had long built its cities. It was just wrong for them if they caught you doing it. Schrödinger’s gas station robbery. As long as you are the only one who knows, your action is both right and wrong at the same time.
We arrived safely at Felixstraße. For the rest of the day, we welcomed guests whose faces I had already seen before and whose names I had not coincidentally forgotten.
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