There were days, I couldn’t be bothered with anything and then there were days, I would have liked to rip the grass out of the meadow, break windows and course a bullet into stranger’s heads. Naturally I wouldn’t do it. It would have been in poor taste, but still the thought has something about it. Considering I keep coming back to it.
I was twenty and I felt like an old man. My skull rang, something always hurt. My eyes were constantly bloodshot, and I had no restorative sleep in ages. I didn’t know the last time I woke up and wasn’t tired. The rut would only get worse with age. Yeah, I could hardly wait to whine about my third teeth.
When I moved a month ago, ladybirds crawled around the door buckle. I used to joke with the realtor that I preferred them to locusts. The property management said they would do something about it, but the beasts loved this door buckle and even after the repeated deaths of all their red and black dotted friends, they always found their way back. One morning, after a night of drinking, I called with residual alcohol in my blood:
“Yes, they’re blocking my way, lady, can’t you send someone over to exterminate them?”
“You’ are talking about ladybirds?”
“Do I express myself so bluntly and awkwardly? Yes, but this time don’t just kill the beasts on the buckle, kill them all in the green too. Otherwise they’ll just come back”
“Excuse me, who am I speaking to?”
“And who are you again?”
“Can we not talk about me, and concentrate on the ladybug genocide?”
She hung up.
My apartment was next to main street into the city. Advertising signs were placed on the green area next to my kitchen window. They belonged to the city government. Money-grubbing motherfuckers. One wonders how the state will then manage to go into red numbers. After all, they received advertising revenue for at least two different motifs times 8 signs. The ropes revealed the next advertising space with a squeaking sound. The first few days I didn’t notice it; when I had the grand idea of seriously cooking something when I moved in, as an initiation gesture to say so, and somehow also as a feast and a promise, I opened the kitchen window. It was hot, I left the window open and heard it for the first time. QUIETCH.
Okay, I thought that billboard was making noise. QUIETCH and I got mad. QUIETSCH and I closed the kitchen window. QUIETSCH and I stopped cooking, took my jacket and went out for dinner. I had the money to go out, but I liked cooking, but the QUIETSCH drove me crazy.
Forced out of my flat, I used to regularly eat down the street, there was an inn on a corner. It was well attended at noon and in the early evening. It was on the main road and the working force liked to go there after their duty was done. You get a lot to eat for little money. A grill cutlet as big as the added circumference of both hands of a medium sized gorilla, fried potatoes and a salad for eleven euros. I drank the house beer to accompany my meal and if had nothing to do with Ätz that evening, I stayed seated and read newspaper articles and listened to the other guests complaining about their lives. They talked about the barrenness of their professions, complained about their marriages, love affairs, sexual partners, about their age, mocked their friends who were not sitting with them at the table and compared their children like top trump cards.
“My son just got his girlfriend pregnant”.
“Oh, come on, that’s nothing. My son just knocked up his teacher and wants to marry her”
“You two may talk big game, but my daughter has been seduced into a gang bang with five men and now she doesn’t know who the father is”
After the years in which they are small and dear, parents probably have only use in their offspring by showing them off. They should be popular, they should know how to behave, be nice to others and gifted, so that you don’t have to feel ashamed for your own wasted life. But all of this doesn’t matter if they are at least happy, that’s what they say, “He’ll be…” – I’ve heard it so many times. If they never get to be, one could at least tear one’s mouth over the seed of their own loins. The truth is, your child will probably be just like you and that scares me too, so I was careful not to get one and I wasn’t in a hurry anyway.
I ordered another beer and continued to listen as the office workers of a furniture store tried to outdo each other after work. At some point they were done, they ran out of categories, and then they staggered home to their families to find new themes and at the next opportunity they packed out their misery to make the most pity points and to pick who deserves the crown of the poorest pig. A competition without a winner, but at least you got told, that you don’t have it easy.
I spent a lot of money here at the inn. The waiters greeted me as “Nat”, after all and the owner shook my hand. When I had learned his name, every second beer went on the house.
“Bring Nat another jug. He looks all thirsty” they said when he passed by me.
I let them know of my gratitude when I came up to pay with my intoxicated skull. More than once, I mistook myself and tipped in double figures.
“I can’t take that much”; the waiters said with outstretched hands.
“Then don’t”; and I put the money back in my wallet. Next time, they just took it.
15 Euro in tip I gave to the waitress that evening. I said goodbye to Daniel and his team with a bow, ran almost against the frame of the inner door; on my way out, stumbled over three stairs to the outer door. I caught the buckle with my fingers, pressed it open with my weight, landed on the concrete and breathed fresh air. I got up in two attempts, cleaned my pants by whipping the dust off with my hands, lit a cigarette and walked up the main street. What gestalts I met. It was late. Long after witching hour. The haunted got up from their graves. I ran slalom, past the bare trees which stood in the framed earth quadrilaterals sprinkled throughout the street. I arrived at the advertising sign, QUIETSCH and walked through the yard to my apartment door.
A man and a woman were sitting there on a bench.
“I can’t do it anymore” she said to him.
She lowered her hands to her thighs. She squatted slightly, but before one could truly speak of a squat, her upper body shot up again.
“…hate you” she accused him with her fingers pointing at him.
“I hate you” she repeated noticeably louder.
“GET OUT OF MY SIGHT” she yelled at him.
He grabbed her arm, embraced her. I was wondering, if this guy was gonna hit her.
“Quieter” was the first thing I heard him saying. All I could hear was her. I wasn’t sure. Why they couldn’t beat their drama behind closed doors like all the others? I blew air out of my nose and when he admonished her again to be quieter, I turned around.
“Let me go”
He had grabbed her by the hand joints. She pulled against him with all her might.
“Hey, guys,” I introduced myself after I went up to them, “Normally, I wouldn’t give a shit… why do you love her, man?”
“What are you meddling in our fight?” the colossus asked me.
I breathed in and out again, “I’m trying to help you here, man”
“Exactly, don’t blend yourself into our conversation” she hissed at me.
I briefly considered whether I was sure and when I decided that I would not agree with myself anyway, I said, “Okay, then maybe this is better…“ and tried to land a fist.
He didn’t suspect anything, so he couldn’t block it. I had one punch and I placed it on the carotid artery pulsating from his neck. The guy collapsed, and his girlfriend finally realized what was happening. You could have shoved a whole fist in her mouth.
“Oh my God” she shouted. She went up to him and put his head on her lap. She stroked through his hair,
“What is wrong with you?” she asked me, but I had turned around and went off. She kept repeating his name and asking him if he was okay. Violence leads to change. I walked through the courtyard maze up to my apartment. I sat down on my bed. I decided to move because the guy lived too close to me that I wouldn’t run into him sooner or later.
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