Time had stood still in this room. It didn’t seem to pass at all. Or did it go by too fast? I couldn’t tell you. Two by three meters. Even animals wouldn’t be locked up like that without someone facing consequences. Man is not an animal. We are given responsibility for our actions. The animal is driven by instinct. He doesn’t decide, and he’s not given maturity to do it. It does not have to justify its behavior or explain why it has given in to impulses. Doesn’t it make the animal freer than man?
In this room, surrounded by stone walls. A mattress with only one blanket on it. Bright light, similar to what you could find in a parking garage. Every day, every hour, without interruption, it burned over the iron lattice. Artificial. It suppressed the memory of daylight.
If you want to seek madness, to find out what it feels like to break up by hitting yourself again and again, then I had found the place for you. A delimited place where every whisper echoes and yet every cry remains unheard. The walls are covered with names of those who were here before my time. They must have scratched the words into the wall with their fingernails, as everything had been taken from me. Searched like a felon, stripped to the underwear, even the socks I had to take off. The messages would become a memorial to me. In the first few minutes, I had read them all. I didn’t understand why they were there. Do not understand who would endure the pain of sharpening their nails on the massive walls just to leave a few words here.
The iron grid on the ceiling was knitted tightly so that one could not hang oneself here. Slightly moved, a little window above it. It was never opened. The air in the room was old, smelled of sweat and unwashed hair. After inspecting the room, I sat down on the elevation that stretched halfway up the room and was about one leg high.
I sat there, looked at the wall and the floor, wondering how I got here in the first place.
Soon I also gave up sitting, laid back on the stone, between the mattresses. I didn’t want to lie on top of them, I didn’t know who was here before me. I was disgusted at the thought of laying on them. I preferred the hard stone.
The first time I looked up at the ceiling of the room. Unlike on the walls, there was only one thing written on it: “FUCK THE COPS”. Reading it, I smiled.
The whole time I changed from sitting to lying, to standing, to walking. When I moved, I walked in a circle around a small drain lid. Round after round I hoped that I would get tired, but even after 67 orbits I did not notice any exhaustion. Even my legs didn’t hurt. So, I gave it up, even though I knew that maybe I could feel a bit of fatigue by the 121st or in the 272nd lap. I sat down again, back to cursing the world and myself.
I fell asleep after a while. I didn’t remember when. Was it while I was rolling back and forth or was I already still? Was I thinking of a way to hang myself in here or what I would do if I hadn’t found one? I was woken at eight o’clock. When I heard that, I lived with time again.
I had to stand against the wall when the guard came in, then he handcuffed me, and I was ordered to follow him. When we climbed the three floors to the office, he asked me how I had slept. I’m not answering. The guard thought it was funny. He said I didn’t have to talk to him.
On the third floor was a door with a code lock. I had to turn around in the meantime. Like I really cared. He kept the door open for me, we walked down a corridor. It was much nicer. More light wood than the grey catacombs I spent the night in. In front of the office, whose sign told me that I was standing in front of the narcotic department, I had to wait outside. The guard announced my arrival. He came out and sent me in.
“Sit down, Mr. Schradinski”
I entered the office of two policemen. A room divider separated the two desks. Above it I saw two eyes that looked at me disapprovingly from the other side. I had to sit by the door right by the chair. To the shortest edge of the nearer desk. The other policeman, who held the door open for me and directed me to my place, sat in front of the computer.
He and his colleague were typing on their keyboards. I saw that he created a folder in another folder, then dragged it to the desktop and deleted it. Then he created a text document. He uttered an “Mhm”, pressed formatting in the register.
“Where is this shit?” the policeman said to himself. I have had enough
“Is this some quiet cop and idiot cop act?”
“You know that an insult to an officer can, in the worst case, result in imprisonment, Mr…” he had already forgotten my name, only saw it again in the file “…Schradinski”
“Call me Nathaniel, I don’t like wearing my last name very much. Well, yeah…I’m sorry, that was just a question. You know, I have social phobias. I’m trying to cope with them by just asking questions. That’s because when I was little, my father showed me his shaft”
“Are you making fun of us?”
“Do you ask so much because you also have social phobias? Was your father’s shaft bigger than mine?”
“One more word about the penis of one of the fathers of those present, and you’ll go back to your cell”
“All right, I’ll listen to you”
“You’re the one who got caught”
“Yes, while I was having tea in a cafe”
“Who are the two gentlemen who were with you?”
“I don’t know, I just met them today”
The eyes behind the room divider moved. The silent policeman came forward and presented me with one of these thin cardboard file folders. I opened it and the policeman explained to me what I saw in front of me:
“As you can see, the excerpts from their phone tell us that you had written contact with the gentlemen before”
“Yes, is that a crime? We got to know each other online”
“Say Mr. Schradinski…” the other one took over again, “… what kind of spark plugs should you get for the two gentlemen?”
“For a birthday party. For the cake, I suppose”
“Then why six, these gentlemen look a lot older?”
“Are you interrogating everyone you’re trying to help? I don’t know, for the daughter, the son, the dog, it could have been for the Holy Spirit and Baby Jesus… I’m not interested. They seemed nice the few times we chatted, so I tried to help them. That’s what a good citizen, NO… a good person would do”.
“Well, then maybe you could tell us if you ever helped this gentleman as well?”
It struck me like a blow. The policeman showed me a picture of Ätz and I tried panic-stricken to suppress the stroke I just had. I said the first thing I could think of: “Why should I know this nigga?”
They had enough of. The quiet one almost busted his collar with swollen anger, because of the arrogance with which I brought over my words. They locked me in one more day. It was much better now. The uncertainty had gnawed at me, not the room. I leaned back and took myself out. Like I waited until my father called me to dinner. Even though the cops had threatened me, they let me out four hours later. They probably found the six-car spark plugs I had in my jacket pocket when they went through the evidence.
“Goodbye,” I said to the guard who took me out.
“Are you planning on spending another night?” the guard tried a joke.
“Let’s see, room service leaves something to be desired, but I would recommend it to any homeless person…but I think my “insider tip” has already made the rounds”
I grinned, and the guard’s jokes had passed. It was around 11:30 am when I left the police station. I drove home. On the way, I scraped the cell phone I got back. Slowly it started to become a habit.
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