Must I be ashamed of what I wish for? In a wish, you create something that is not and perhaps never will be. A fantasy of a very different life. A dreamlike variant in which you get what you want. It’s hard to expect such things from life. Then why should you be ashamed of what you want? It doesn’t even have anything in common with real life.
There were days when I acted like a psycho. Every time the world spit me out. Just at that moment, it felt as if I was wrapped in a fat chunk of spit landing on the floor. I could practically dive into it and swim. Somehow, I suffocated in it too.
At least that was the simple explanation for my seizures. Deep down, maybe I was just a psychopath. But shouldn’t they feel nothing? It’s hard to explain your feelings to someone when you don’t even understand them.
I felt something, so far, I knew. That hurt, and it scratched me, made me rush for things. Make decisions, sometimes even promise me that I’ll start getting better tomorrow. But I won’t change. Thank God, my tomorrow’s self was just as lacking in drive as the self of which I swore it talked yesterday something about change. I was boiling on the inside and I took out all my steam at the first girl that wanted me. If I didn’t want one, I got drunk, went out, rambled and roamed the streets. At home, I seldom endured it and that it happened so regularly, was the reason, I was only there when I had to.
I was at my best when I was at my worst. If my brain tried to compulsively distract itself from the fact that I’ll probably never be with that woman, the one I want to talk to for the rest of my life.
It may sound like a contraction, but the other women were easier to conquer. When I saw nothing in them but a need to be satisfied. Feelings usually got in my way. What a paradoxical figure I was trapped in. I was more alert, wittier, more unassailable, colder if I wanted to run away. The women liked it. No despair, but a will to say things. No hurt feelings and I could work with everything. I weakened the casual feeling of discomfort in me with my healing elixir. With the right mixture of alcohol and weed, the world feels incredibly worth living in. Suddenly there was no tomorrow, no today, no yesterday. All the pain felt farther than it could have been. The moment held me tight. I felt like dancing or sleeping and when I decided to dance, the world was okay again.
I was dancing. I danced my feet sore and my throat hoarse. I was free. Free, damn it, free at last. The woman at the bar, I approached loosely. She was so drunk; a few upright sentences were enough. God, the world was free. I was free.
Then I became sober again and the world was suddenly a prison. You also come back from vacation at some point and I woke up in my apartment the morning after, in the same bed with the same hangover and the same starting situation. There was no one next to me. A number on the nightstand signed with a smiley. It worked one time. I didn’t know her name, but I decided to call her later, although I didn’t expect anything great. The women you sleep with are never the ones you wake up with. This is not a side blow to the makeup industry, much more to the blame of the alcohol that could make even stories about gardening, which takes place without bloodshed, interesting when the libido cries out for every opportunity. A biological protective reflex, practiced by all men unconsciously for thousands of years, so that your face does not fall asleep while listening. I decided not to call her, but I wrote a message. Something came back quickly.
“You are a great orator and an even better lover. I’d meet you for an afternoon coffee”…flattery was there. The exact words slipped my mind. Suffice it to say she was followed by some emoticons.
“No,” I wrote back. I made her wait an hour for the answer.
“No?” came back immediately
“I just fucked you, you’re not what I want, you were just what I needed…” – I deleted the message.
“No, I’m sorry” I sent off. Nothing came back. She had me blocked. In the afternoon I had displaced the missing woman from my memory. After I went upstairs at noon, I wished I had a bath first. I stretched out the stiff limbs in the hot water. In the evening I wanted to lie in the warm bath water again, enjoy a bottle of whiskey, cut my wrists open, listen to pop-punk rock and then splash and drink and wait until I got colder.
Ätz contacted me before, so I had to postpone my plans.
“What’s up?” I asked him when I answered the call.
“Nothing, nothing, with you?”
“What are you doing?”
“I wanted something to eat, then nothing”
“Okay, you wanna make some money?”
“I’ll drop by around 6:00.”
“Fits. See you later.
“See you later”
He hung up on me. I went into the kitchen. There was no more cereal. That was enough to cause an emotional breakdown in me. I was unstable, and since when I don’t know, since then, I still feel that way somehow all the time. I laughed because I was crying. After the emotional episode, I thought about calling Ätz again and canceling, but then I realized being alone would only get you so far and I forgot the thought.
I spent the evening in a car instead of in the bathtub. We were on our way to meet Ätz’s new suppliers. He lived out of town. One hour by car. We drove with Ätz´s new used car. His first car. A Peugeot, wine-red, 60 thousand kilometers at the speedometer departed. Ätz liked French cars.
“They somehow won two world wars, I think they’re going to get a car right”
The car was in good condition. Winter tires came for free. It was cheap but reliable. As we’ve been told because the radio only plays when the heat’s off. “What do you mean?” “I don’t know, I don’t know.” It was early summer when Ätz did not yet foresee it as a fast-approaching problem. The light on the driver’s side was also broken, but he had replaced it in the meantime. After he arrived at my apartment at 6pm, we were still laughing and chatting in the shelter of our home for an hour. We didn’t leave until about 7:00.
Sometimes the trips with Ätz reminded me of those with my father. When he kept me silent the whole ride long because he didn’t know what to say anymore and I could feel what was going on inside me, exposed to the silence. Because it put me back so much, I didn’t say a word to Ätz about it. When the feeling came, I turned up the car radio. Something I could never do with my father.
“Queen – Under Pressure” was echoing from the speakers. Ätz listened to the best-of CD up and down. Good music always came from suffering. If the homo hadn’t had to hide, who knows if the Bohemian Rhapsody existed today? At “Mama-mia” we joined in and yelled down the text incomprehensibly until we broke off laughing.
We drove across the country road. I saw the real forest on the side of the road again. I’d missed garden fences too. The villages we drove through triggered uncontrolled flashbacks in me. I leaned back and tried to relax.
The hour passed. Ätz stopped in front of a house with a high and impermeable fence. I couldn’t help but call the neighborhood the last bastion against the dead out here, against the degenerates with their soul-eating jobs and nerve-racking families. What are they hiding from or do they hide from us? Before man defeated nature, survival made you a successful and wise man. But survival is now foolish easy and has more to do with doctor visits than with any wisdom. Where’s their hunter’s zeal? Does it come out when they chose the color of the new garden fence? Pretty clothes, pretty hairstyles, pretty bodies, pretty screens, while the mind tries to deny that the 40-hour weeks don’t rob them of days of their lives. But no, they don’t define themselves by their job, they say. Then the definition lies in their mannequin lives and being there, I say. Then where was it hidden? In the lovers, they’ve collected over the years? In the friends and in the words, they spoke to them over the years? In the families, they begat, destroyed, robbed, entered or rebelled against? Don’t tell me they define themselves by the voice in their heads. No one hears her, no one will ever hear her, and would anyone really want anyone to hear her? Life runs through their fingers and they buy beautiful houses in the green on credit in order to need more time to work and come home later to a way bigger mess. I bet they’re sitting in their green fortresses in front of the TV after they stripped off their work clothes.
We could be dead tomorrow. But nobody believes in his luck, so it’s better to stay home. In the death trap of electronics, gas, and fire. I understand why comfort is all you want, but then they talk about their dreams as if they were knocking on their doors at home. There is always someone who wants it more.
People like me, you see, are doomed and lost. Because I don’t believe in all this junk anymore. Not the assurances, compliments, good vibe talks or that it will all be alright at all anymore. I saw myself rather among the Christians in the Middle Ages who prophesied from heaven, but at least still had the decency not to claim that you could still become happy in this life. No, I didn’t believe in this well-meant life anymore. What I believed in was the magic of the moment, because for me it was the only thing that could really tear you out of life. The tongue of a pretty woman licking her lips as she takes you off with flirting eyes. The shock in your bones when they catch you slashing the tires of your ex-girlfriend and then you, with your back covered in sweat, manage to lie you out in court.
I lived for those moments. The moments you’re trapped in, not the life it was associated with. The moments in which you forget yourself for a moment. Where you forget the future. But the thing is, you never forget yourself. In those moments I wasn’t nice either. Life owes you nothing for politeness and niceness. You should only be polite and nice if you want to be. You shouldn’t expect the world to pay you back. You shouldn’t even expect anything from people at all. Only bad deeds have clear consequences and even they don’t always catch up to you.
I dropped my pants and peed against the wall of the house next door. My bladder was full, my urine warmed the air. Ätz rang the bell. I zipped my trousers up. Dog barking filled the air.
“Didn’t I tell you to call?” we heard a voice over the intercom. The buzzer invited us in. We walked through the front gate towards the house. The lawn was perfectly maintained. I tried not to remember my childhood house.
A man, out of his prime, stood in the doorway. Long hair, except on the head plate. Like a dense structure of lianas growing out of a cliff where you could climb up to the bare summit. He wore glasses and looked gentle as if he was running an animal shelter for kittens in the house behind him.
“Hey, Ätz” he shook his hand and then mine, “and you must be Nathaniel”
“Wolfi” greeted Ätz him.
Wolfgang let us in. The hallway was too open for my taste. There was a mirror on the wall. I didn’t look inside. Ätz checked his hairstyle. We followed Wolfgang into the living room. The dog came towards us. A Siberian husky. He was sniffing Ätz butt, he wasn’t very interested in that, then he came to me, sniffed mine and I bent down and stroked his fur. He laid down on his stomach.
“Didn’t expect Rina to like you,” Wolfi said.
“Neither do I. Dogs normally hate me.”
She was a beautiful animal. One of her eyes was blue, the other grey. I kept scratching her stomach even when we situated to sit down, she followed me. Demanding me to keep stroking that belly.
“Can I get you anything? Water, beer, something harder?”
“I’ll take a beer, have to drive a car”
“A whiskey if you got it.”
He went into the kitchen and I continued stroking through Rina’s fur. Then the Husky had enough and followed his master. I saw Wolfgang throw her something to eat.
“You’re a good girl” I heard him say.
He came back with a bottle of beer and a glass of whiskey. He had poured water for himself.
“Don’t you drink?” I asked him.
“Broken liver. I’ve been drinking hard for 30 years, that’s enough. I still like the smell, but shit blood when I drink a sip.”
I drank whiskey. Ätz his beer. Rina came to Wolfgang, laid down her head on his legs.
“Let’s get down to business.”
He opened a box next to himself. There were pre-machined joints in it. One cubit long. He took one out, set it on fire, and then passed the joint on.
“Good stuff isn’t it?”
“Sure,” Ätz said.
“So, Ätz, how much do you need?”
“For the time being, at regular intervals around 15 Deka.”
“And the price?”
“Fiver a gram.”
“Not enough for me”
“I know you’ve got enough there. In the bar, you bragged about swimming in it.”
“I swim in grass but not in the money”
“You’ll be swimming in money too if I pay you five a gram.”
Wolfgang waved off.
“That’s not how this works. I’m too old to let young bastards like you gut me”
“That’s the normal price.”
“For the garbage, they grow in some apartment on the outskirts, maybe. My stuff’s better and you know it.”
Ätz shook his head.
“Six a gram, but you fuck my profit margin with it.”
“Yes, I want seven.”
“If you want seven, I hope you have something to offer”
Wolfgang got up. He told us to follow him. We went down to the basement, Wolfgang made sure that Rina didn’t follow us. After passing a metal door, he turned on the lights, led us around the corner through another door. There they stood, spread over the whole cellar room, the plants under the LED light.
“Wow” I couldn’t resist. Wolfgang grinned.
“Okay, that’s fine, but you still don’t justify wanting seven.”
“I’ll sell you this and…”
He went to a side table. Below the stand a box, one meter by one. He opened it and showed it to Ätz and me. Small black cubes lay piled up to the edge. They filled the entire volume of the cube, there was no room left for even a finger of mine.
“Hash,” said Ätz.
“How about that, Ätz: Seven for the gram and a new product, reliably delivered.”
They agreed. Ätz pulled the money out of his pocket. He took down the rubber band, gave him 1200 euros. 1050 for the 15 Deka and 150 in Hash. Wolfgang gave him the weed welded in a plastic bag, which he put into two other grocery store bags, we had brought with us. We said goodbye. Ätz and I went out into the street and climbed into the Peugeot. I put the bag between my legs. On the way back, none of us said a word.
We saw the police. I froze for a moment. He obviously did too, because we laughed as they drove past us. “Wee-woo-wee-woo” he started, and I tuned into the siren sounds. We laughed louder and Ätz turned up the radio’s volume wheel. It was “Queen – Don’t stop me now”. I let my right-hand dangle out of the window and dance in the stream of driving wind.
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