Old women, old men, small children and post-pubescent young bucks, bodies filled with feathers and iron; a man, around thirty years old, wearing a blue shirt and a ponytail. He had a three-day-old beard and read a Japanese manga book. Beautiful girls were rare in the trams, too few in the buses and underground cars. Encountered always only early or late. Did the most beautiful women lock themselves up after work, I wonder? There was something Rapunzelesque about it, the princess hid away on the top of a tower, and while I did not believe that many shared their beds on a regular basis because hair climbers are really not common these days, those referred to the swiftly, improvised escalators would be able to enter the tower. That is how it worked. Not feeling capable of finding this tower in the first place, let alone a way up on the top of the ebony building and because the pretty women didn’t ride the subway sober during my personal waking hours, I was prone to be left behind. In the subways, I wouldn’t feel the need to address anyone anyway. I was happily admiring the genetic cocktail of two people, a masterpiece mixed with different influences from the make-up and fashion industry. A view that didn’t harm even the oldest fart.
Astounglishy my wishes were heard one day. By who I was not sure. The ass, the long blond curls, the green eyes and the snub nose, the peach formed breasts. She didn’t belong with her beauty. It was not her place to be. Her face belonged on the cover of a magazine, not between the construction workers, the leisure alcoholics and young bastards in fucked up clothes waiting for something to happen around the tables of this god-forsaken place. She was a unicorn in the middle of a garbage dump. Purity in madness, a sight haunting these damned souls for many days. The beauty at the kebab shop and she didn’t belong here. Not a second she fit the scene, so there was no shame in me driving the flies off her.
“Don’t stare at her like that, you perverted dickheads,” I said in my most forceful voice. Audible to all, in a tone of order, but with no yelling involved. The crowd just looked up once and grunted in conformity. The damsel in distress was saved from lower living forms of distraction. Sure, I have never resigned myself to being the biggest Casanova, the brightest bulb or the most beautiful face. I’m an ugly fool who sometimes says a few things that seem on point but otherwise acts like an ass, aware that he’s mostly perceived as arrogant. In 9 out of 10 cases my flirts end there, me claiming that the experiences would be worthwhile, but in one, in a single case out of fucking nine, I seem to lose control over myself and develop something resembling charm. Yeah, once in ten, I just know how to do it. As if I had never done anything else and as if I had never been interested in anything but playing the hearts of women. I could never reconstruct the circumstances, those using the charm was out of the question.
After a short playful exchange, I made her laugh three times in two minutes, I invited her, penny-pinching as I am, to a can of beer. She told me about herself. I knocked a few clever sayings out of the park and with a smile she offered to pay for the next three cans. At some point, she became more open to the thought of spending more intimate time with me. She used a dozen excuses to establish physical contact, and I reciprocated. We were talking about topics with deep. She confessed to me in what she believed in. Shamans and healing crystals, good and bad energy chakras, higher importance of inner balance, achieved through means of homeopathy and palmistry. I stretched out my hand to her and she explained to me that the short lines stand for the love, one finds in life. I had two strokes in my hand and she said to me “You will fall in love twice in your life” and I laughed at the thought.
“I hope that’s what it says”
“I believe in it”
“There’s so much to this world we can’t see”
“Science is the discipline called that examines, surely hand reading isn’t one”
“Do you believe in fate?”
“I believe that when everyone is faced with a decision, they will always choose the same thing. If you want to call it fate, we’ll call it fate”
I couldn’t talk her out of it, but she didn’t feel offended either. After the silence set in, I said to her: “I have experienced that the beautiful ones are mostly completely empty – mentally or emotionally”
I should have lost there, but she was spurred on.
“I’m sure of it”
“Why don’t you find out?”
“Love to, but only to expose you to yourself”
She was a walking penis pump. Even the grandfathers felt life again in their sagging limbs. And the one, this one went trapped in my arm next to me, my hand on her ass, the eyes of all the men on the outlines of her skirt and the amazement at her choice of partner in their faces. The woman I had, that choose me, was the one everyone else wanted, and I didn’t care if I lost her. I felt immortal like a man with a gift by a selective god, walking among less worthy, unchosen pawns. Her name was Florentina and my Achilles-heel-like weak spot was, that my heart was filled with a void when she was close to me.
In her apartment, we laughed and danced under the music from the Dre® speakers, and we danced and laughed all night long. And we drank. Expensive lint, cheap lint, the champagne she got from her grandma for her graduation from school and in the end I ended up in her bed and she sat on top of me. I was so dizzy from the booze, I couldn’t get it up. Even when she worked my limp limb with her mouth, nothing moved. “Wimp” she called it a day, I satisfied her with my mouth and then fell asleep between her thighs sometime after.
So far it was usually the case that when I met a woman, she would have preferred to have me out of her apartment in the morning in my underpants. They always rushed me. When you were lucky you might get a coffee, a cigarette or a headache tablet, but Florentina woke me at noon with a kiss and I have to say I got scared to shit.
Thoughts like: It was too good to be true, and she had to be crazy. Was she a human mantis and bit my head off if I didn’t look? Had I robbed her virginity (not that it made any sense) and now had to marry her so her father wouldn’t hunt me down with a rifle and hang me up in the living room? Would I wake up right away and lie on Ätz’s couch with fully sprayed underwear from a wet dream? When she was laying next to me, everything was in the realm of possibility.
Florentina gave me another kiss while she put her head on my chest. Then I didn’t think about it. I enjoyed it, stroking her through the blonde curls.
“When will you show me your apartment?”.
“Right now? Not at all”.
“That’s not it, I’m living with a friend while they debug my apartment”.
That this shit hole, this drive-through doss house, this dump producing bugs, she would have understood, if she had seen it. I was happy with it. All my home had to be was cheap. I had the rent loosely together with Ätz in three days. The wallpapers were torn, the stove only worked if you set the temperature exactly to 250° and the only chair I owned had also taken over the function of a wardrobe.
“I should leave sometime then”
Florentina stopped the circling of the finger.
How the hell did I get here? It was nice. I could have stayed here.
“I don’t know”
Florentina supported her chin on my chest. She looked me in the eyes kissed me again.
“Why don’t you just stay?”
“You’re busy, aren’t you? I’m not”
“No criminal business to attend to?”
“How do you know?”
“I read it from your aura”- Ahhhh yes, hoping for another layer of existence being able to manipulate our plane. Mental illness, searching for an easy and impossible to debunk way out of the nothing with fingers stuck in her ears, shielding her off of what she didn’t want to hear. Common sense and reasoning. Still, I stayed, Florentina stayed, and the aura hump did not stay alone. Her bad habit of using her fingers to drum on anything that presented a surface. Then there was the coaster debate, about the glass table she wiped every day, which we held without interruption. In two weeks I talked more about the pointlessness of wooden resting areas for drinking glass vessels on a table made of glass, which was cleaned every morning as part of the general routine regardless of its degree of soiling, than in the rest of my life. I fought the fight with the zeal that was withheld from me from my father back when I was still a child. Because how would she punish me? Get angry? Throw me out? I was only here because I was wanted here. If I was somewhere else, I’d be somewhere else. I didn’t understand why I was still here. Why she still wanted me here. Because no matter what she did to exert control, I ignored her rules completely. I had thought of the consequences and found them too mild to fear them in the first place. On the contrary, I even fanned her fire. She was better when she was angry and I got more when the glass touched the glass.
When the music of the internet radio, she didn’t own a TV, went down again in her sprung violin-like moaning, I tried to filter her out. I wasn’t in the mood to quarrel, but it didn’t seem to stop Florentina in her tracks. Maybe we both needed it after all.
“Again! I’m telling you, put the glass on the fucking coaster!”
“It’s not important to me, so I just forget. The table’s way too clean anyway. One would think nobody lives here”
“Oh, come on, you’re doing this on purpose”
“No, WHY should I?”
I bowed my head and acted my best performance of a man who had no beginning of an idea of what she was talking about. I followed with the words: ”I don’t think a few ring prints on a glass table conjure the end of the world”
“It always starts with the rings on the table, then you don’t clean up your garbage, you don’t do laundry anymore and at some point, you end up like. . .” She swallowed her words.
“Like who?” I hacked after.
She didn’t give me an answer.
“Like who, I asked you…like me?”.
She didn’t answer.
“Throw me out if you want. But I’m telling you for good, you have no idea how I live”
“Come on, you can’t say that for a guy like you. . .”.
“For someone like me?”.
I laughed. If that’s the way she wanted it.
“For someone who preaches tolerance, you have a pretty clear picture of me in your head. You and your whole pack, you’re rich white kids masquerading their pity in good words because if you are honest sharing means everyone has less and so you enjoy for own sake that we live like pigs” I said and lit a cigarette in her flat. I got the hang of it, the victim role is what Florentina wanted me to fill. So I slipped into the role and then into her. I took the glass and put it on the table. She was insane and cold-blooded, I took advantage of her. It felt like a welcome change for once not to be the one leeched upon.
But not only did she open the back of her mind and thighs for me, but she also showed me her world when we went out into the same city, I have seen every evening. Her world was expensive, but with her, I never took the bill. Ultimately Florentina did neither. Her parents were once rich. So much so they were considered cultured by her. In simple terms not as rich as God, but rich enough that God kept inviting the couple to her dinner parties.
Yeah, God was a woman in my time with her. Florentina called it blood money, her father earned in court as a spine spinning doctor. One of the reasons that had Florentina make it her business to teach monkeys how to make fire, in what she considered was a good cause for the red-stained money. She used the best daughter in the world credit card to buy theatre tickets, drag me to restaurants where there were several kinds of cutlery resting on the table; I saw three musicals, two opera pieces and had to go to every art show, I still feel like I enjoyed some scribblings of the dead; every artistic project, someone actually put tables of cucumbers in a room and called it art; every live/cultural performance, from poetry readings to a guy just making interfering sounds into a microphone. If a homeless person had died on the street, someone had drawn the outline of his body on the boardwalk and someone said it had a hidden message and put a price tag on it, I could have bet I would have visited it too. After five days of culture, I spent every night with her, there was a break.
Friday they usually went out, Florentina and her friends. Did their parents know that their children would share their bread and butter with a rat this evening? Florentina invited me. She wanted me to go with her. In the afternoon she asked me. She insisted, even when I said that I would rather stay inside with her and get to know her better. She didn’t stop even when I told her the truth that I didn’t want her high noses of friends to snoop around in my personal space. I let myself be persuaded. Those goddamn long legs, shit I was weak.
So after I had followed the business affairs with Ätz (we had a good day, we made a lot of money) I met her at 7 o’clock pm in her apartment. I thought it was a little early for going out. I thought her friends might have been different from her, that they had already chosen a profession inclusive vocation, or were those who had found their bearable hamster cage. Summed up those who already drove home at 10 pm. When I knocked on the door and Florentina was still wet and only with a towel protecting her privacy, I knew what was going on. We actually went there together.
“Hey, come in” she greeted me.
I did as she ordered, kissed her under the door frame. The door was not half-closed yet, I tried to pull down her towel. At first, she resisted it, went up, where I went down, but when the door snapped loudly in the lock, she simply dropped the towel without resistance. I could have sung a serenade for life immediately, but I preferred to sing with her in the shower. We saved water and she threw me out of the bathroom.
Florentina got ready, I asked why to flatter her, but also because I saw the truth in it. She looked more beautiful with soaking hair and water pearls caught in her eyelashes than most women do in their best-looking getup. Sure one could argue that the moment made her perfect. In the end, the only ones who care if a woman wears makeup or not are other women. Of course, it increases your chance of getting laid if your skin impurities didn’t remind of asteroid craters, but the extra layer skin can’t cure a giant schnozzle. And if I like you with your schnozzle, I honestly can take a few pus blisters. Humans are disgusting in nature. Me and everyone else basically are walking compost heaps. Models get a weak bladder in the cold and piss like a waterfall. Everyone bleeds. No exceptions. You can hide it if you want to, but at any time you basically just sit on the opposite side of a hat-wearing pig walking upright. Let yourself in for a pig and you’ll see, there is a lot more fun to be had with a mess.
Since the television, she had freed for me unasked from its indefinite demise in the cellar, didn’t show anything interesting, I was bored and twenty-five minutes into waiting. It looked as if she was handcrafting herself a completely new face in there. I came to the conclusion that it would be good that if I already had to get to know new noses, I at least wouldn’t have to do it with a dry throat.
I got up and searched for the usual hiding place. It was empty. She probably didn’t get a chance to get supplies today. Beaten, but not defeated, I walked through the cupboards that hung under the counter, under the counter, and because my thirst was aroused, I even hoped for a moment that a cool beer could be hiding in the fridge. She hated beer, but I was hoping she’d gotten it for me. Because I couldn’t think of any more hiding places and I didn’t want to make it my business to start a scavenger hunt after booze and turn her apartment upside down, I sat down on the sofa again. Another five minutes passed, an advertising block passed by and I couldn’t stand it any longer.
“Do you have anything to drink?” I called her into the bathroom.
She didn’t hear me. I went to the door, music booming out from under. Some R&B house number, I knocked until Florentina answered, the music became quiet and I asked her again.
“We’ll drink later anyway,” she said.
“Yeah, but I’d like some now”
“Does it have to be now?”
I didn’t answer.
“Mmm, I only have one bottle of red wine left, but my father bought for my wedding from Spain shortly before I was born”
“I could get something else quick, it’s not late”
“Do that” she told me, and I was out of the door.
I made the necessary purchases rather quickly. At the register line, I was staring at a redhead’s ass. She was wearing waist jeans that lifted her butt up and pressed her spine into the desired S-shape. I suspected padding on the bottom of the pants. It was a trick and I liked it. I stared at her, she noticed it, gave me a smile while she stowed what she had bought in her basket and then disappeared from the shop. I had left my wine and whiskey standing and was almost getting behind her to accompany her on her way, to find out her name and whether there was a chance that I could marry her in the future or spend a night with her.
Let this go through your head. Every woman could be snatched from you by a guy who meets her for the first time, the circumstances just have to be the right ones. Face it, all she’s holding back is herself. The same goes for every man. I’m a man so that was less my problem. I stuck the bottles under my armpits.
Ten minutes, then I stood outside Florentina’s door again. I knocked. She opened the door. She was dressed. A black strap dress over which her blond curly hair poured out. The preselected and matching high-heeled pair stood at the table.
Everything fit the outfit, which she had turned on me in the morning in the clothing shop. I knew there was something behind it. I changed without her saying a word about it. She poured me the whiskey and herself an eighth of wine and handed me the glass. I turned it off again, tripled the double, dropped a spell that I needed it as good as she looked and slimmed down the expensive swill from the supermarket in one go.
We sat on the couch together. We two, dressed chic, surrounded by designer furniture, drank high-priced booze. I was wondering how I fit in here.
Florentina put her head on my upper arm. I embraced her with both arms, leaned back and let her rest on my chest as I stroked her through the blond curls. “Please be yourself”. She whispered to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. The mistake was I took her at her word.
Already when I went there I was in the beginning stage of intoxication. The drunken rush began to cloud my head. In the taxi, I looked out of the window but didn’t understand where we were going or how long. I didn’t pay attention to time or Florentina. I saw the shops pass me by. The streetlights caught me.
We stopped. My companion paid for it. When I got out, I felt the urge to joke about it.
“Actually, since your father’s paying, he’s probably the only one who’s really entitled to my body”.
“If you’re gay now, I love it. ”
“That was a joke. . . whereby if you keep exposing me to men in pantyhose, I will probably turn gay”
She looked at me confused and went in without a word said. I sighed and trotted into the restaurant after her.
We were about to enter the store when a “Hey Florentina” from a male voice stopped us and a woman and a man came up to us. They introduced themselves. I forgot their names. The woman had dreadlocks. The man was a Leek. A greedy one at that.
The lower jaw fell down at the sight of my companion. I could see down his throat. Good suppository, strong uvula. The juice ran off his lips, he licked over it and staring at her breasts became too much for him after all. I liked the dress too, but I liked her even more without the dress.
“Are you two. . . ?” I asked them.
“No”. The Leek came out of the gun.
The dreadlock lady distorted her face and says “No” after a reasonable waiting time. She threw a blow at his upper arm, he complained and said that she should not see it so closely after all. Dreadlock lady was visibly snapped, she started to talk, then a girl came with a beret on her head.
“Bonjour”. She greeted the round.
“Bonjour”. The others said back.
I was confused, said hello and introduced myself.
“Are you from France?”. I asked her. She was one hot French Girl. As a German, I do not know whether I belong here to the minority with my opinion. I for a change like the French language, but you can’t deny its snootiness in tone. It was really bad for Frenchmen, but it didn’t matter to me. The Frankish people had already won me over with the French wine and the French Women. What a melody, it is and what the francophone words, out of a beautiful woman’s mouth, could cause in me.
“No, but I was there six months last year. ”
“Oh”, my mental hard-on pulled himself back in, “cool”. I would have loved to knock the beret off her head.
The first contact was behind us, I had nothing to say to them, they had nothing to say to me. Florentina suggested we go in and everyone thought it was a good idea.
The table was reserved. A waitress brought us the menu. She had orange hair, freckles and a face tipped with his number on it. She was pretty, fits into the affluent, black and white ambiance. You could hear people laughing, never grunting, they talked slowly and sat still.
I looked through the menu for 15 minutes, but all the cryptic descriptions didn’t whet my appetite, I’d just take what the waitress recommended. At the same time, and even deliberately, I decided on what I always decided for at the right opportunity in my head: to loosen up the mood.
“What do you want to eat, honey?”.
“A steak with fried potatoes”.
“They don’t have that here”.
“Then why are we here?”.
No one laughed at my joke. I had not assumed that an Indian Italian fusion cuisine high-class restaurant served beef. I knew it would be a tough evening, but until that moment, I wanted to give it a real chance.
“Indians don’t eat beef”.
“Is that the motto of the shop here?”. I asked playfully in tone and cemented the silence in the room. I’ve never been around such humorless people before. I held myself back, let the girls talk, while the guy slurped on his cocktail with an umbrella and she rubbed my thigh.
When the cackling geese stopped recapitulating the most recent events in their lives, I gave it my full attention but nothing was exciting enough to get caught, the women attacked me. Leeks didn’t seem interested. A cross-examination broke out, and the questions flew over my head like machine gunfire. None hit a sore spot or surprised. I answered as many as I could in the short time they gave me for each one. Snatch air, moisten the throat and be polite without seeming bored or saying anything stupid. That was a balancing act on a tightrope.
Out of breath and with a desert in my throat, I finally ran out of kindness and began to cheat stupid answers in order to get them to stop.
“What are you doing, Nat?”
“I’ve got an orange stand down the street”
“Where are you from, Nat?”
“Papua New Guinea – left the tribe of cocksucking youths with the consent of the pedophile elders to let myself be abused by civilization”
“What are you going to do with Florentina?”
“Fuck her and don’t call her no more”.
“Do you want to wait for us to talk badly about you until you’re gone or can we start right now?”.
“Sure, start, your companion there almost flushed down his umbrella drink and I don’t want him to have a voice attack in the meantime”.
Florentina giggled about everyone, the dreadlock lady seemed annoyed and above all a little too interested in my emotional life at every moment. Barett also seemed to entertain himself well. She laughed at my jokes but remained the silent party in the interrogation.
The Leek probably wished at the moment when I started using him for my jokes as a straw man that his look could kill. He had set his ambitions too high. To invent an apparatus that would have prevented her from rubbing my leg and causing the tent in my trousers to collapse would have been enough. It doesn’t always have to be a death ray.
The end of cross-examination was initiated with the arrival of food. The portion was too small for an adult man, I felt, but it tasted pretty good. The first bite was for my pizza lover palate almost too much of a different taste to handle. I looked up to find out if I was the only one who was struggling with his food like that and if it was just a matter of getting used to so many taste impressions shooting at you.
No one had touched it before. Barett photographed her food, the dreadlock lady photographed the Leek posing, even Florentina shot the camera flash once over her chicken strip salad. I already took the second bite, was deterred by this strange practice.
When Barett was not satisfied with the third photo of the garnish salad, I asked the group: “OKAY, will you take a picture of it even if it comes out the back again?
“No, that’s for Instagram”.
“Oh, okay, who cares?”
“Well, my followers”.
“Okay, how many is that?”.
“116 people are interested in what you eat? Damn it, you gotta be important or your followers gotta be stupid”
She put her smartphone away.
“Don’t be an ass to her”. Said the dreadlock lady.
My companion laughed, and Leek’s jealousy leaked in puffs of the steam out of his ears. I wasn’t supposed to say she was nobody. The Instagram hobby model didn’t seem to like my open nature.
“I was just asking”. I explained.
After the smartphones were back in their handbags and the others started to eat, numerous bites were handed back and forth across the table so that everyone could try someone else’s salad. I shared my dish only with my companion. From Leek’s plate chicken curry Parmesan Spaghetti combination all ladies stole a bit.
They assured each other how good it was and talked about what they wouldn’t eat here if they could afford the weight.
I ate in silence my Italian merger court. When I was done, I wiped my mouth with a napkin. With my advantage, I was the fastest. I waved in the waitress and ordered a whiskey as a reward. I wanted one in a medium price range, but Florentina insisted that it should be an expensive one. He has, what he has.
I ate, I drank, I listened and I enjoyed myself under the gibberish. I scratched Florentina’s back. When the waitress tried to clear the plates, they waved them away. You put your Florentina’s phone in your hand. The age of simple and always present photography had come.
I hated it.
I understood why they did it. It was nice to capture something that was inspiring and nice to capture something that was especially for you. But in a photo, I think you lock up your memories. Stored them on a cloud server, a website or a hard drive. That’s why I ducked when there was something to photograph. Because I wanted to be, if I wasn’t worth more anyway, only a fleeting memory that comes back every now and then to hunt you down or entertain you.
I wanted people to imagine who I was when they heard about me and didn’t see that I was nothing. I didn’t want to be trapped in a picture forever. But and there I speak again in my weakness, for I did not like to resist the wish of a beautiful woman. I ended up boiling all soft. Who cares what I think?
I smiled in the photo, wrapped my arm around Florentina. The others pressed against us and we fitted into the picture. We made three prints, the girls went through them and posted their best on”instasnaptwitterbook”. They sat down, gabbled about the differences and giggled about the unsuitability of all three images for presentation to the audience, who were truly lingering on their toes. All 137 of them. On one photograph, I had one of my eyes closed. That picture ended up on the Internet.
Some visits of the waitress later, I looked after her after every order dearer and longer, the mood relaxed. I held myself back more, which turned out to be true because the group of friends filled the silence with meaningless gossip and stories that I neither wanted to be with nor be with.
I listened, got involved with sayings when it seemed appropriate, and reaped cheerful giggles from the ladies, a slap on the upper arm and a kiss on the cheek from my companion, and fervent jealousy of the breath towards me.
The topics of conversation changed quickly back and forth. None of them was worth discussing for a particularly long time. It was indulged by holidays, riding lessons as children, planned shopping malls and winter holiday plans.
Around 23 o’clock I apologized for the first time that evening to the toilet. I would have left earlier, but from experience, I knew that if I had left earlier, my beer processing bladder would have forced me to leave more often. It was more important to me not to let any talk about my alleged girl bladder come up than the short breaks I would have won so from the babble.
After the oil change, I washed my hands. The door of a toilet opened, I made the guy in the jacket some room at the sink. He thanked me as I was examining my eyes in the mirror for burst veins and after he left the men’s room, I splashed water on my face and dried myself with a towel. In general, it was only now that I noticed that I had taken the towel from a stack of rolled-up towels, that the sanitary facilities are made of marble, and that the urine smell in my nose was running low. I also only noticed on closer inspection that the towel was embroidered with the logo of the restaurant. I threw it in the basket with the others.
On my way out, I was looking for a cleaning lady who I must have ignored on my way in, but to my astonishment, no one here seemed to be apparently responsible for the flawless condition of the bathroom. Perhaps that was the secret of money as they could recognize each other in their unbroken focus even when urinating.
I had a thought. I went back, back to the sink. I turned the faucet on. I held my hands in the shape of a bowl underneath. It filled with water. I pulled the improvised bowl towards my body under the subsistence of a few syringes. At the same time, I bent to avoid getting myself wet. Above the edge of the marble washbasin, I opened a gap between my hands. The water hit the ground. The dislocated position, I stretched my ass and feet as far away as I could, prevented no splashes on my shoes and pants. But since it was only water and no pee-pee, I just wiped it. On leaving, I looked at the clock, calculated an hour for my return and memorized the exact position of the puddle.
I staggered back to the table. My long absence brought me with my companion a questioning look with the words “SOS?” on my forehead signaled. I shook my head and showed her my best “All Okay” smile as I tried to connect with the conversation of others who didn’t care painlessly about my return.
The minute I sat down, the three girls got up. Leek would have liked to have gone with them, you could tell, but he stayed with me when they went to the toilet together.
I didn’t talk to him. What about? I kept sipping my whiskey and ordered a new one when the waitress came by.
At the end of the short chat with the waitress and the proof that I had not become mute, the Leek used the time to say something. No question; no small talk; he was immediately honest. I credited him big.
“You know I slept with Florentina, too”.
“No…. thank you?”.
“I’m sorry to have to say this to you”.
“Out of curiosity: How many times have you slept together since we met?”
“Not at all”.
“What’s so funny about that?”.
“I’m saying it’s funny she hasn’t called since I met her. Doesn’t it make you think?”.
“You’re a wanker”.
“Keep sleeping with her, I don’t care. For all I care, we’ll take her double team right away”. I mocked him.
“I know guys like you”.
“Then you know what happens if you don’t shut your feeding hole about things you know nothing about”.
I smiled at him as nice and friendly as I could. He looked me in the eye for a while and then on the floor. I dedicated myself to the drink the waitress brought me and chatted with her again. I always got in touch with service personnel. She smiled at me before she left. I drank my whiskey, the Leek did not use the renewed opportunity to speak. When the three ladies came back from the toilet with makeup on, they broke the silence.
“You look beautiful”. I complimented them, met my companion and kissed her, “but you are the most astonishing one!. She smiled at me, in the corner of my eye I saw Leek skin me alive.
Then I got really into gear with them for the first time. Like they just wanted to know I could say something nice before they opened up. They preferred the first-hand stories I told them, even though they were all built the same way: There was an illegal activity, a hero you could laugh at, intentionally told like that, because I tended to exaggerate, to adorn. My favorite story of all was the one I told to make people understand what environment I was moving in.
Before going into more detail, I told them about a story that Jay, our protagonist, he himself recently tried to sell me. In his version, Jay is said to have robbed 14 men with a knife in daylight, and because that wasn’t absurd enough, they all waited there calmly.
While he got a knife from home.
He’s supposed to have said “Wait here, I’ll be right there” to them and his victims, a rival dealer, and his entourage. Jay was 20 minutes away, one against fourteen, supposed to have waited there and then let himself be robbed by Jay.
I looked through the round and noticed the tense faces. The teaser aroused their interest and they grinned as if I was telling the first interesting story in months. Everyone loves it when dirty laundry is washed, there the eyes of the audience become quite bright.
I used the opportunity after I had built a stage for our hero to start with my story.
I told them how I met him. That was a year earlier. I was still working in the bookstore at the time, came into the apartment late afternoon/early evening and dragged myself from the kitchen to the couch with a plate of the dish of the day. Ätz wasn’t a master chef, maybe he could have, but the stress didn’t allow him and that evening I eat noodles with spaghetti sauce warmed up in the microwave. I couldn’t complain.
I sat in front of the TV, saw the worst garbage on the afternoon program, slurped down my spaghetti and stretched my legs. Ätz sat on the kitchen table, answered his cell phone, unpacked grass and smoked out the window.
“He did that all day?” Barrett interrupted me and I Nodded.
“Only on days when he wants to make money. ”
They usually came at 7:00 pm. A parade of different faces from different social circles. Some pleasant, others were unpleasant. Students, dealers, casual potheads, petty criminals, criminal businessman; they all had their expertise.
Jay was a petty criminal. A bad finger. Demonstrated in its own way. No respect for nothing. He trampled on the hospitality as he walked in.
“How does it look here?”. He remarked disparagingly as he entered the apartment with his Turkish friend in tow. The Turk, I forgot his name, greeted us friendly.
I kept eating my noodles. Pretended they weren’t there. I Was too exhausted by the people at work and I did not look for new friends.
Jay sat opposite Ätz. The Turk sat next to him. He pulled out his wallet. He pulled out 1000€, 10 times 100, and threw it on the table.
“So now your part”.
“I didn’t, did I tell you?”.
“What don’t you think he’s got?”. Jay got louder.
“Hey guys, come down, it’s not bad”, assured Ätz, “you just get it when you got it, no stress”
But Jay didn’t listen. He embraced the shoulder of the Turk with his arm. He whispered to him, “Where’s the money? Yesterday you had it, didn’t you?”.
Under the table, I saw that he had pulled a knife with his other hand. I gave Ätz a worried look.
“I got it in the bank. I can’t take off till tomorrow”.
“You see, Jay. He’s got it on the bench, he can’t take it off until tomorrow, come down”. I tried.
He let him out of his shoulder pliers and took a deep breath.
“AT THE BANK? DO YOU WANT TO FUCK WITH ME?” Jay yelled at him and rammed it into the Turk’s leg, “DO NOT BETRAY ME, KANACKE.
All the eyes in the room opened, the eyes of the Turk the furthest. He screamed in pain and Ätz yelled, “Why are you pulling a knife out, you idiot?”.
“He pulled a knife?”. Barett asked me, shocked.
“He loved knives”. I made her laugh.
“What happened then?” Florentina asked me.
I got up, ran into the kitchen. I grabbed the paper roll, it was the first thing that came to mind. Jay left without a word. He took his weed and was gone.
Ätz covered the wound and I hurried with the paper towels. It sucked all over. Faster, more. The fibers couldn’t hold the blood. We panicked and called an ambulance. Etch and I carried him out the door. When they asked us how this had happened, we sold them the lie we had agreed in panic at the arrival of the blue light.
A flying knife eating noodles. The Sanitary noted it with doubt, but he gave us an undeserved advance of trust. Noone drove, we didn’t see the Turk again. But Jay came back.
“Why did you see this guy again? He’s clearly crazy! Are you stupid?”. The Leek let out.
“He was guaranteed to turn over 1,000 euros in notes. Major customers can afford more freedom everywhere. It’s about money, not some romanticized freedom”.
“But July wouldn’t agree”.
They told me another one wanted to come, but she’s got the third date with the third guy a week. A white bitch who’s gonna tell me about my environment, I couldn’t wait.
“Sounds like a whore”. I had said it and then realized I was too comfortable.
“Uhm, ah”. Indignation in the round.
“What would you call her?”. I asked the angry ladies.
“Strong independent woman far from social convention”. Explained the dreadlock lady.
A heavy metal concert broke out in front of my eyes, so much the people present burdened their cervical vertebrae with the nodding movements. The dreadlock lady even looked like she was having a seizure. The Leek seemed to have pulled something in his throat, his nod was almost imperceptible.
“Is it the same set of 3 guys for a longer period of time or did it change depending on the calendar week?”. I asked mockingly to spare them the neck ruffle.
“What’s it to you?”. Barrett asked.
“You’re just intimidated”. Noted the dreadlock lady.
“This is not a judgment. It’s her vagina. Let her do what she wants with it. Who knows, maybe when I get to know her I see not only the reason why the poor little men let her use them so shamefully in such large numbers but also why she needs three at a time and she doesn’t just take the best one and consume it until it gets boring for her, like all the others. She seems like a player with the whole pregnancy thing, I can respect that alone. ”
Needless to say, I never met her. Outraged, the mouths were open. Florentina looked at me, split in two, her gaze and her mouth saying: “Shut up”, but her hand was of a different opinion.
After the silence of outrage I started talking again, but because of the dancing hand in my lap completely lost the thread, the topic of conversation fizzled out. The hand withdrew. Dreadlock lady talked about her first job. I didn’t quite understand how I fit in here before anyway.
“Will you be in the demonstration march on Sunday?”.
“I don’t know yet”.
She gave me a look. After my faux pas, I hadn’t said anything for a while. I didn’t want to comment on her first job as a spokesperson for Amnesty International. “Begging with better language”, I would have called it when the alcohol started to encourage me again. I asked for more about the march on Sunday than I was actually interested in. I was in danger of having to go with too much interest. I didn’t want to go there, but alone in an apartment was too much for me.
“What demo?”. I asked.
“I and some of my friends are organizing different tones for different themes. ”
“That’s nice, but I wanted to know what demo was taking place this Sunday. ”
“What right are you marching for?”.
“That’s no right”.
“How can you say that equality is no right?”. Dreadlockdame asked me in a dramatic undertone.
Outrage made the rounds. Tense looks were directed at me, just waiting for me to make a mistake now.
“Equality is not a right, right makes equal”
“It doesn’t. ”
“Sure it does. If I didn’t know better, according to you I should think there is a line or asterisk in the law somewhere that states: doesn’t apply to women. ”
Her head turned red.
“I meant for equal pay for men and women in the labor market. ”
Again I had a counter. It was too easy. I didn’t enjoy an intellectual duel with a sheep.
“You know there’s a minimum wage in this state that’s laid down in collective agreements. Everyone got a baseline. So what matters is part negotiating basis, part negotiating skill and part luck and chance. Nothing the state should intervene in”
The others were so strangely quiet. Actually, I expected at least Leek to take pity on her and to give her a helping hand to save her from her plight. He didn’t act decent. Leek just sat there and looked away on purpose.
Even if I didn’t see her because she was sitting next to me and I saw no reason to look at her in conversation, I could at least feel Florentina’s opinion. She pressed my thighs together and became firmer in the course of my words.
I don’t understand why everyone makes it their business to want to save humanity. They talk about it so much, but you can’t see it. I met the dreadlock lady so I wouldn’t lose my leg.
“One can argue that it is not enough to live. I made the experience first hand -(because I can’t handle money) – maybe it’s more difficult for women to know who”.
“Right”. She grabbed my outstretched hand.
I saved my leg. Barett girl changed the subject. I stayed silent. Read me the babble at the table, sprinkle it on, put on the drink again.
During a shoe shop recommendation, I staggered to the toilet. It was one o’clock in the morning. I had long forgotten the mystery of chlorine purification.
It wasn’t until I was washing my hands that I remembered. My eyes were on the ground. The ground was dry. I was amazed. I was drunk. I silently begged the loo spirits to come and fetch me and drown me in a porcelain bowl.
I splashed water in my face. In the mirror, I noticed a pimple on my forehead. With my index fingernail, I pressed on him, but then decided to let the abscess rest. I held my hands over the water again and grabbed the towel from the pyramid, which was again in full splendor. I crumpled the one I used and threw it on the floor in front of me. My alcoholic-poisoned brain wanted to expose the supernatural. The cleaning man caught in the act and then screamed “Caught” when the time came.
When I went out, I almost ran the waiter over the pile. He apologized to me. I was just yelling, “Okay” and I was going my way. At the table, everyone was buried in their smartphones. Leek and Florentina in hers, the others in their own. When I saw this halfway, I turned to the bar.
I ordered a beer from the bartender. I gave up whiskey for today. With the bottle in my hand, I walked out. I drank it outside, smoked a cigarette and hoped that the Hopfen Bräu in combination with the whiskey wasn’t too much for me.
I puked a little high at the end but swallowed it stubbornly down again. I sat down on the edge of a stone flower box, destroyed the beer, smoked another cigarette, dangled my head and after I managed to stand on my feet for a few seconds, I went back inside.
On the way to the table, I came off, used the additional bow skilfully to place my glass at the bar, and finally managed to take my place again in one piece.
I didn’t get the applause I expected.
All eyes were on the device in Florentina’s hands. You sat in a semicircle around it. Myplace was taken by the dreadlock lady. Barett had pushed her armchair closer. Florentina seemed to speak and show. She saw me first, and she put the phone away. The meeting dissolved.
The last few drinks flushed down.
The bill briefly caused a cardiac arrest in me. Florentina tore it out of my hand and put her credit card in it.
“Next time you’ll pay” jested the dreadlock lady. The table laughed beside me. I wondered how many days I’d have to starve to see their stupid faces. Too many. We broke up. I went to Florentina.
The next morning I found out she was going out on Saturdays. I stayed inside. I didn’t feel that their friends liked me very much and when it came to Casanova, I didn’t think he had grown balls overnight. I didn’t want to stay alone in the apartment.
“Will you come here tomorrow night and eat?”.
“I don’t know if I’ll be back here anytime soon”.
“What are you sorry for?”, I asked her, “I just want to hang out with my friend. I just don’t know if I have the energy tomorrow. ”
“Do you need some money?”.
“Yes, but no”.
“You could go to the movies with him tonight, hang out, then come over. ”
I accepted the fifty and stayed in the apartment with Ätz. I drove to him. We smoked weed together. Chang came along and Miro. Together we watched an action movie and joked that we had harder fighting movements than the protagonist.
On Sunday I saw Florentina again. I really wanted her.
“Did you have a good time?”
I sat down on her couch and stretched out my arms to her. She didn’t understand what I wanted from her, just keep it short, instead, she stood there outraged, in the middle of her living room, with her arms crossed at her hip.
“Don’t you want to know if I had a good time?”
“Sure, how was it?”
“Fine. My friends don’t like you and. . . ”
“I noticed”. I said stealthily.
“. . . they mean that you’re acting like an asshole, that it’s not good for me to be with someone like you. ”
“Okay, does that mean I should go now?”.
“No, they just have no idea who you are under your shell, when they get to know you better, they’ll see it. They just don’t think you are who you are. ”
“Okay, I don’t care?”.
Why some people want to explain their bad reputation away with stereotypical thinking is a mystery to me. Let an asshole tell you, a cunt is a cunt, no matter in which color/gender/form she appears. If someone doesn’t like you, then, of course, it can’t be that the person just doesn’t like you. No, there must always be a deep reason buried in it. Doesn’t this scum listen to himself?
I’m prejudiced against everyone I see. The others should be fine with me, too. I didn’t like people because they dressed the way they dressed. I didn’t like people because they were too negative. I didn’t like people because they were too positive. I didn’t like her because she avoided eye contact. I didn’t like them when they looked for him. There was someone who didn’t like him because his shoelaces were slightly different shades of grey. Even if I stood next to you and talked to you, it didn’t mean I liked you.
Why couldn’t you just fucking care less about the other person’s affection? The world would have a president if there was someone anyone could like.
Shit, there are even people who don’t like you because others do. I didn’t like her friends, but for better reasons, for they weren’t dependent on their Day’s Constitution.
“I don’t care what they say about you, they’ll have to live with you. I like you for who you are. My father will see it the same way. ”
“Okay”. I meant indifferent.
She smiled at me and I realized what I was really doing here. I had the look and the life of a failure, all I had to do was show the mentality I had in mind. She wanted to make a loser, a man-hater, more than he is. I should be her project, what an inhuman view.
I pressed her closer to me. She used me. I just didn’t care. I used it, too. Peeling reputation for sex. A roof over her head for the kind of provocation that could cost her hers. If I had pulled something similar at my father’s front lawn, I would have been forced to pick up my stuff from it.
She was nothing more than a miserable distraction and I in exchange a story for her that in a couple of years would no longer even represent a notch in her bedpost. A funny anecdote that comes back to mind when you talk about past lovers, that was me.
It was the fairest relationship I’ve ever had. We gave each other what we wanted. I placed the glass next to the coasters, lay silently in bed after sex, she talked about her A to Z to fill the silence, we reluctantly held each other in our arms and we both thought of the people we would rather be with. I to the woman with the steppe eyes and Florentina perhaps to an I that did not exist.
“Do we really have to do this?”. I asked her, but Florentina had already fallen asleep on my chest. Her blonde curls tickled my nose. It occurred to me to push her down, but I left her lying there. Instead, I stretched out further.
Now it was time to get to know the parents and hope that the coin falls correctly. Because if they liked me, it meant for that rebellious spirit that she would do what was expected of her. The forbidden fruit in the lover is exciting for the girls who are good and otherwise can’t love anything else. Some need something broken to prove that their love stood up to any resistance. Florentina was one of them.
We sat in a living room with a wooden table surrounded by porcelain dog figures and glass crystal swans. Her parents took the greatest pains and handed me bread and salt during the meal. But there was no milk with the coffee. I’ll drink it black.
“You don’t understand, I love him”
Did I have something to say? Her parents just turned up their noses at me. I sat there with a long face, wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the artificially created drama, treated myself with a dessert, pretended not to be there, except when it came to complimenting the baker of the cake.
“She comes from a bakery downtown, we know the owner, I could give you a card. ”
“Why is it always so hard with you?” it came from the other side of the table.
“Sure, why not”. I said to Florentina’s mother.
“I can do what I want Papa, I’m an adult. ”
“I’ll find her for you”. Her mother said to me.
“Thanks, that’s nice. ”
We ate and Florentina wanted to leave, I would have eaten another slice of cake, but she seemed to want to get away in a hurry. A good performance is nothing without a stormy exit.
“I’ll go to the bathroom, then we’ll go”. She whispered to me when her parents were in the kitchen.
I nodded to her and cleaned up the crumbs with the fork from the plate. She left.
“What do you want with my daughter?”. Her father asked me as he returned to the dining table. I looked up from the crumbs and he seemed honestly worried, not angry. I pitied the man because of the daughter who tried to provoke him at all costs, but I wasn’t here to make friends, I hadn’t done anything yet, so I was invited to answer.
“I could talk around the bush for a long time now, but I guess it doesn’t do anything to hide my intentions from you, you’re a smart man, I can tell right away, well, um, I want to open a fashion collection with your daughter. ”
“Open up a fashion collection? With all due respect, do you know something about fashion, because my daughter doesn’t”
“Excuse me? Look at me”
“Yes, that’s why I’m asking”,
He was right. I looked mainly rundown. I was forbidden to shave my three-day beard. The shirt was the same one I was wearing in the restaurant a few days ago, unwashed and unironed. The trouser hem tore on both trouser legs.
“What does an old man like you know about modern fashion?”.
“More than you obviously do. Are you the reason my daughter dresses like a whore=”
Florentina came back at just the right moment.
“The guy’s only after your money”. He said to strike a knock over.
“No, he loves me”. She replied, and we got the door slammed shut behind us.
All in all, I didn’t get the number from the bakery, which I booked as a real loss. Her tongue still tasted like cake, as we kissed once when the door got locked, which reminded me painfully of my missed opportunity.
We made it as far as her car. She put the key in the detonator and then jumped on me in the passenger seat. She pushed a button on the dashboard and the chair tilted back. It was wet, made all the movement and it went fast. She pulled up her panties, turned the ignition key.
Back at the apartment, she jumped in the shower. I got a beer from the fridge. In the morning she had only bought me supplies and put them in the fridge door. Six cans and still could hold three times as many. The fridge was almost a freezing room and half of the things in it must have expired by now. I didn’t go through it.
I sat down on the couch, opened the can, drank and waited for her. We spent the night with a drunken and mocking tirade, she scolded her father and I just agreed and asked for more, then she dropped and fell on me. We fell asleep in a soft slumber.
I made breakfast with what I found, there were two eggs and a piece of poppy seed strudel with jam. I had a glass of orange juice and sat down on the glass table. I turned on the TV. The 12 o’clock news just started.
I was about to eat my omelet when Florentina came out of the bedroom. Her hair disheveled, her skin without makeup filter, in a long shirt and without shorts. The long blonde ruffled curls hung over her face. When the door opened, I looked up and forgot the piece of egg on my fork. Sometimes a sight catches you naked. She used my frozen state and snacked the food of my fork. She smiled as she chewed, wanting another bite she looked at my plate,
“Are you serious?”. She asked me.
“What?”. I asked confused.
“You didn’t use a coaster again”. And it started over.
A macabre comparison for relationships I once overheard from a lonely man in a bar. He yelled at the bartender, who was annoyed that the staff didn’t want to pour him any more drinks. Prompted by the lack of liquor, he began to rage in his own way, scolding the women and comparing romantic attachment to a cake with a razor blade baked into it. Somewhere in the cake is a razor blade, you knew there was a razor blade somewhere in the cake, the question was where, and how much you ate before you find it. At first, I joked about the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more the man-made sense.
I just wanted a piece, and she offered me the whole cake. I just nibbled on a crumb and then left the rest. I didn’t want to eat anymore. Nobody would spurn her for my dental marks, and a hungry man wouldn’t miss out on her anyway. Long enough for withdrawal and you start fucking holes in the woods or get involved with women with children.
I put my drink on the wooden coaster, she smiled until I started to talk about what my head wanted to tell me the last few days. “So understand: My time here is limited like yours and I am not willing to waste it on anybody, whose joy lies in me talking to them without a shared basis while I act out what they fantasize about. Apart from that, you are just boring. . . for me and that is more criticism of me than of you, because I know your hobbies, your parties, your work, and the future should interest me, but I can’t imagine anything that excites less in me”.
“But you said. . . ”
“Yes, what I said, I said, because I thought it was only my madness that was talking you down because it was afraid of getting involved in something more serious. ”
“I’m afraid too, so don’t be afraid. ”
She smiled encouragingly at me and put her hand on my knee.
“I’m not afraid of you. ”
I took her hand off my knee.
“I just wanted to shove my dick in ya to feel appreciated for a change and because it made me feel bad that you cared, I made you breakfast in the morning. That’s all there ever was. ”
“You’re a fucking asshole. ”
She slapped me, but I didn’t make any sense to react. My cheeks burned, but my will burned stronger.
“I don’t need anyone to see my insanity and put a bow on it while she bites her fingers to keep herself from saying a bad word. “
“I can change”
“Yeah you just did, but no, you can’t. It wouldn’t help either, because what bothers me about you is what I like most about you. ”
“I don’t understand you”
“It was nice to be loved for being different, but I don’t want to be loved just because I’m different. That means I’m leaving before I get bored talking to an empty vessel”
I drove home and slept in my own bed again. The bugs were dead and my legs had a lot more room. That made me happy. The right side was cold and when I stretched out my limbs there, I enjoyed it.
I put my legs on to sleep. I crossed my fingers in front of my stomach and stared at the ceiling.
The truth is, I liked to sleep alone, but I didn’t like to sleep alone. I almost missed the sharp toenails and the eternal babbling under the bedside lamp. A joint and a round of masturbation in bed later, I only thought of pizza. In the morning, I got three pieces on a paper plate. Yes, I could also have an exotic breakfast alone.
Many months later, I didn’t think about her anymore, I saw Florentina again, drunk, with some male specimen. She licked his ear while his teeth pierced her throat. The idiot really thought he was the vampire.
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