T for Tom

Everyone Was Wearing Costumes – A Short Story

Posted in Europe by johnsontoms on March 14, 2012

Everyone was wearing costumes.  Everyone except for me, of course.  I gave up wearing costumes a few years ago.  Just didn’t need to pretend anymore that I was someone else.

Used to I was the best dressed, the go-to master for creativity, ingenuity, and pizazz when wearing a costume.  They always had to be recognizable but unique.  Not the kind you buy from the store, not the ones that everyone is wearing, but something that everyone will know only after giving it a good look over.  There was the homemade Team Zissou outfit that rode tight blue shorts so high up my legs that I could’ve been castrated, the full-bodied black makeup ‘Lil John costume that had even my best friends thinking I was a black man only until I removed my headgear long after the party died, the Totem Pole I became for Tiki Island Day in school designed from a box unhinged on all sides and stood up to form a brown, four-layers high pole with brown wings attached to arms outstretched even while walking, and the ukulele I had to carry as my sword while posing as El Kabong, the crime-fighting western horse from the cartoons, that I made perfect with two shoeboxes combined in such a way that a horse’s head was my own.  But somewhere around the end of college I learned, already knowing, that costumes were just a way of out-dressing each other – in the same way that a black-tie affair can still have winners and losers in the fashion department even when everyone’s wearing the same damned thing.  People will judge you for your output, curse you for your sameness, and walk away lonely and without dignity – it’s hard to be a cute pink bunny rabbit when you’re piss drunk in public, stumbling down an alleyway holding the rabbit ears with one hand if you haven’t already lost them yet.

For these reasons I tried to get away without wearing a costume.  Friday was the opening of Fasching, the German version of Mardi Gras or Carnival – it makes no difference really, it’s all the same word translated to many languages.  For this reason it should’ve been no surprise to me the lechery that was taking place, and the necessity of playing the part along with everyone.  For whatever reason though I thought surely I would not be the guy without costume, the guy that could then at that moment when seen with his bright teal and purple baseball cap and easily be recognized for the American, not something always met without derision in this country.  But there I was – I was going to join Matt at the bar, he dressed like a pirate, and I had nothing.  In the waning minutes of the stores operating hours once notified of his intentions I tried desperately to locate something, anything to wear that would allow me to participate.  But even as I stood before the fake plastic Viking hats, the devil’s pitchforks, the witch’s hats, I took nothing.  As I walked out of the store just as quickly as I had come in, the line in my head read: “I don’t have the indignity for that.”

It went about as badly as I could’ve imagined.  Everyone was wearing costumes.  Everyone and all their friends, all the people serving the beer and all the people buying the beer, and there were plenty of both.  On my walk to the bar where Matt was waiting I passed groups of Mongols, 80’s B-boys, cheerleaders, fighter pilots, cats, rabbits, sailors, racecar drivers, witches, cross dressers, athletes, disco dancers, angels, devils, men, women, all dressed to the hilt in no way recognizable to everyday character, except for the beer in the hand and the slur in their voice.  As I said, Friday wasn’t even the main appropriation of the festival, but lo! did it seem immediately as such.  The bar, Sternbäck, was operated by two young males about our age – middle twenties and attending school on the side.  Matt had met them here some weeks before and befriended them, as having a friend who runs a bar can return all sorts of benefits.  Through a couple of instances mainly of chance I, too, had met Killian and Christian, and was returning now to what I remember being a calm, cozy, home-like bar; a bar for the people.  It was about an hour after Matt arrived at the bar as I was walking along that he called.  “Where the fuck are you?” he asked.  I was always late in the real world – the army never sees this part of me.

“Five minutes out,” I replied.

“I’ll just meet you outside, there’s no way to… well, you’ll see,” he said.

It seemed to me not an outright odd thing to ask, supposing that he had just gotten there and had not been inside or was about to change scenes; sure, meet me outside.  But the way he tried to say something but couldn’t find the right words had me guessing that something was up.  Something wouldn’t be the way I pictured it.  No, tonight was in my head one way but outside very much different.   I pictured getting to Sternbäck and seeing a younger crowd of twenty-somethings drinking happily, shaking hands, laughing at the costumes as they stood around chit-chatting, maybe moving onto a club but coming back to our friends’ bar, the quiet place, the place with the rock’n’roll and none of the flair.

But on this occasion, on this night and for the next few days my imaginations of the way things would be were deftly insufficient for the madness that swooped over the city like a bird of prey that merely picks the meat from the bones before killing its prey – watching it waddle and wiggle into death throws, wailing and crying as the blood spittle falls from the gaping mouth, the soul escaping out the orifice as the body consumes its final breath, its last attempt at living.  Much was the scene on these nights when the people go mad.

The music would be loud, blaring from the speakers that were sloppily hung from the walls just over the interior entrance, and the windows would be wet with the steam emanating from the hundreds of bodies that billowed and pushed against its walls, seemingly it should’ve swelled outward like a rising loaf of bread, but instead the people just found a way to climb upward like a skyscraper that has no room outward to expand but upward.  They were on the walls, in the window sills, on the chairs, stacked three people high in the corners, hanging from the rafters and stuffed into the staircase, the only movement made possible by the flow of the crowd like a drunk amoeba, bathrooms used openly by men and women because fuck it there’s no way I’m getting to the proper loo from my position against the bar and in the back, smoking indoors for the same reason, waitresses struggling mightily to do the work the people had long ago given up – move about in the bar to find a drink, dance a jig, and get a minute with someone, anyone.  As they walked they had to hold the beer in the air, but it made no difference.  It didn’t end up on our feet but instead on our heads.  Just as well – probably would’ve done it myself with or without the people around.  It seemed like scene from a circus, imagined only by the maddest of men, the kinds of Dr. Seuss scenes sketched by his nightmares, played to the soundtrack of 99 Luftballoons (I dare you here to not laugh).

Between the lack of breathing room, the music in Deutsch that I could not sing along too, and the glaring trophy of Americanism that I was wearing out tonight could not save me or reproach me – I was lost in the ether, stumbling through the woods with the ability to talk to the trees but the trees have nothing to say.  After slamming a couple of beers for fear of never getting back to the bar I made my quick exit to smoke a cigarette, promptly to gather my wits and cleanse my senses.  Outside I could be myself, cool, calm, collected, casual, and with words that people could hear and understand.  Inside I was nothing, alone, muted, and staring.  For whatever reason Matt and Killian had followed me outside.

“This is like Wilford Brimley’s version of hell,” I said aloud gaining a laugh.  I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but it gained a hearty laugh, the kind that said we were having a good time and all were welcome.

It is in fact what caught the two girls attention, the two that were now making their way over to our group.  They were dressed as cowboys, or cowgirls rather, but of the modern type, the attractive, sultry, seductive type.  One with a fake, rubber cowboy hat over her blonde, shoulder-length pigtails that fell over the shoulders draped by a blue and white plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up, and a daisy of a smile, the kind where the corners of the lips ride above the teeth but not so far back as to hide that she knows something we don’t, very well her intentions.  The other was sporting no hat, her hair slightly disheveled and undone from whatever braid or ball or tie or loop it was pulled into, the mascara now running from her eyes but only so far as to show that she had been in a very hot place, indeed not underwater, unless she was drowning in public.  It gave her the look of a seductress, almost prostitutive.  As she began to speak she pulled her fake pistol up and had it pointing skyward while touching her cheekbones, for no apparent reason than to excite our fantasies.

“Ich kann nicht glauben, es gibt so viele Menschen im Inneren,” she began.  It began this way every time, each moment and encounter that we had, I had, with anyone in this country.  Often even I was mistaken for a German on post, what with my blonde hair and blue eyes, strong cheekbones and wry smile of contempt.  But in public is a novelty to hear English spoken, particularly outright to a stranger.

It has built up in me a reaction, and has become a way of engaging strangers.  How do I casually let them know I understood not a word of what they just said, but with every fiber of my being I want desperately to satisfy their needs, fulfills their desires, make their wishes come true so that I may speak with them, engage, imbibe, and know them – even in the biblical sense.  But all of this is difficult, so it would seem, to achieve by not so much as returning the favor of language.  To not so much as attempt to fake it even, carry on.  Sometimes I even try to ignore them for a minute to act as if I heard them but it weren’t bothersome enough to illicit a proper response.   Let them believe I speak the language and care not for their attention, let them come to me, let them fall into my game and only later surprise them with my malfeasance only after they have created an appropriately enticing image of myself in their minds, so that my heritage, language, culture, stupidity might come across as endearing instead of troublesome.

On this occasion however that was not possible.  Killian immediately responded in his native tongue and Matt and I were standing by, waiting for the moment to say something important, not drift into our own English language conversation that would give us away before chancing to meet these fine young women.

The sultry one, with the pistol still skyward, looked at me and said, “Hast du eine Zigarette?”  I knew of this one to begin the game.

“Ah, she wants a cigarette,” I’d say, looking at her and then away, as if to play along and still give her the information she needed.

“So you do not speak German then?” she said, taking the cigarette.

“No, we do not,” I responded with a smile.  It was here that she immediately went back to Killian, with no immediate sensation present on her face.  The one with the hat began running around the front of the building to speak to different persons, strangers or friends I know not the difference, be it their supposed familiarity or that fact that their words were in different tongue, undecipherable by myself or my friend, and lost floating into the night with all the dreams and whimsy that I could parlay in my mind of the beautiful way they walked, the sculptured legs that carried them forth one foot in front of the other, the flesh oozing from their costumes, their clothes that were designed in a way to be festive but primarily forthright – they came with one goal, the same as anyone else to know a man with his prick out of the fly, the thing dangling between his legs should be theirs and this was their way; goddamned the way of the world and so rare few of us knew the currency, knew the language, even if it couldn’t speak you could see it and read it on the faces and in the streets and in the eyes of every woman that had a taste of prick once and would sell their soul for it again.  And sometimes the barriers that create cliffs and valleys between the common man and woman do not exist.  Sometimes the modern world does us justice and removes even the most ancient of barriers, washes away the valleys with the rising river and the flowing tide, as if standing on the brink of the Grand Canyon and seeing with the inner eye that millions of years have unfolded before us, dropped the earth to depths unseen, lowered the floors of imagination, watched the stars burn out beyond their lifespans as galaxies, collide, explode, and blast the remnants of effervescence, multitude, expanse and wonder at speeds that implode the air, and burn through the atmosphere so strongly that it doesn’t fry away into the layers of oxygen floating above our skulls and graves but lands serenely in the river waters and with the rocks and sediments gathered there continues again to create new life and new paths and new answers and new valleys where once their was a history but now stands an open door, an opportunity, a chance to write with the stone something fluid.

“So you come with us to the next bar,” she said.  Without hesitation, “yes, yes, we will,” in unison we spoke.  As we began walking she introduced herself, “My name is Suzie,” while looking back for her friend and shaking both our hands, holding onto Matt’s.  The other promptly caught up and did so the same, her name Patricia.  She danced on ahead of us in a way like a child, pointing her pistol into the air and acting as if firing it into the night, the hips leaning to the side of the hand that fired the gun, the head looking away with a smile as the legs were walking forth one foot directly in front of the other, moving such that her ass would appear as rump and tight as possible, the way only the practiced ones know how.  We didn’t even make it a block when Patricia, walking ahead of us, began speaking to a group of men in the alley.  It appeared to us that the girls were friends with this group, of course not hearing a word, and knowing nothing even if we did.

“I don’t play this game,” Matt said walking on without them.  We didn’t know where the next bar was, the place we were so designed to have been taken by these beauties, but we knew that speaking English put us at their mercy.  Every chance, every move that was made had to be made as such to prove we didn’t them, didn’t need any woman in particular and it was their privilege to purport their time with us.  It was refreshing in a way to have a partner in crime, so to speak, who understood this.  Maybe not in the direct way as relating to communication, but in a primal, animalistic way that supplemented all the benign methods I had cooked up inside my head about what people thought.  It was often what people weren’t thinking that motivated their decisions.  To believe that our communication, verbal and body, was something that was premeditated, worked up, analyzed and produced only after practice was an invention mostly of my own that I toiled with day and night.  To understand that humans were merely the animals furthest from the mud was an idea I had only recently incepted, had heretofore never believed.  It is communication that separates us, our ability to conjure text and language and use it to act, incite, approach and reproach, teach, learn, write, recite, engage, and remember, that communication should be the truest most noble way to any illicit any behavior, to garner any response.  Walking away?  It seemed absurd, but it felt right.

We hadn’t made it five steps with our backs turned when Suzie called out to us, “Oh, boys! Come back!” I caught a grin on Matt’s face and slapped him on the back as we turned around to rejoin our friends, or whatever they were.

The bar we went into was a few feet away down a separate alley.  The entire downtown was merely a network of alleyways and walkways big enough for a few people across, much as it is with all of Europe.  Americans tend to not believe or even conjure that there was a world, a world society, a civilization and large gatherings of humans, smart or otherwise, before there were vehicles.  The towns have not changed in any drastic way enough to accommodate wide lanes designed for cars and trucks.  The only changes are instead inside the walls where the stores extend for many floors upward because the housing is old, the structures ancient and packed like sardines in a tin can, stuffed side by side and rising up to the sky with each other.  It may have even been that way hundreds of years ago when a single building house many cobblers, tailors, lawyers, taxmen, priests, and anyone with a ware to sell one floor above the next.  Now the only difference was that the bottom floor was a bar with neon lights, loud music, and alcohol.  Hell, even now the only difference may be just the neon lights.

This establishment was Jietzen, translatable into godknowswhat.  To the contrary of Sternbäck I immediately gathered that it was, at all times, a club, the seedy kind you can find in the downtowns of most American cities, rife with dance and hip-hop, more liquor than beer, and dance floors in multiple directions.  So far as I could tell these were commonplace now in Germany, be it by our occupation since the war or the sheer fact of its profitability – humans after all are not too dissimilar in general as regards anything but spoken language.  Here we ordered a round of drinks and began our night of nights – Matt with Suzie, myself searching for someone who would give me a hot minute, to use a particular phrase.

Patricia by now had said nothing more than her introduction, and I was carefree to indifference.  I was not in a mind to chase one female just because she was the equivalent match from my friend’s score, and going without costume made it harder to imagine any image she may have had of myself was benevolent.  I had to find something more… comfortable with nothing, or something odd.  I was like the black man in a white church, looking for that immutable spirit that the congregation was so attuned to consume and expel with fits of music and claps, and even though knowing that its exaltation could exist within my bones but having no way to share it with those gathered beside me in the pew.  I had to naturally make my way outside, away from my jacket that had my cigarettes and began to bum them.  If I didn’t like dispelling the belief that I may speak Deutsche, it was an afterthought when I needed a cigarette.  Just give me the fire.

After finding a group of guys outside the bar I approached them and spoke in English for a cigarette.  I’ve learned often the hard way that even trying if I knew the words they could tell by my accent that I was not German, and in the least not Franconian, this part of the country we were in.  So it was that I set about to ask in English for a smoke.  One man, a taller man dressed in a white suit with Hawaiian shirt, began to speak slowly and with a smile about my needing a cigarette, while laughing that I speak English.  It was done in a way that was not uncomfortable however, as if meeting my eldest uncle while at a family reunion – as if to say, “young man, I know so much about you even though we haven’t met,” and slapping me on the back before giving me a ten-dollar to run about the town.  His name was Sebastian and he went on to explain to me that Fasching was mostly a one-day affair – Sunday, in fact.  The things I was seeing, the costumes, the consumption, of alcohol, of sin, of joy, of light and being and time and expanse and story and life and spirit and spirit, the spirit of cheer and feeling the secret of life because it is felt and words can’t explain it, the feeling that I knew everyone had but I was without, just in the same way I was without costume.  The world held a secret that in fine print said “do not share with anyone out of costume,” and even the alcohol, that most ancient of serums, could not loosen the lips of even the slipperiest of whores, the most cavernous of women that like to shake the roots of suspicion with the wag of their tails because watching the plateaus of notion and truth slide into the ocean can often be as beautiful as the rising sun.  The sun would rise in two days, and on that day, would be the celebration.  What was happening here, this was just pretext.  This was gathering of the souls who needed to hide behind mask and hat, color and face every night, who’s bodies wretched in their sleep for the feel of cunt and cock, who long ago had given up on any notion of a normal life, not because they think there is anything different, but to be a part of civilized society, to be a part of the world that the world had created for itself we must be free of sin, walking to the gates cleansed of evil, and if we want that we cannot have what the marrow of our bones feeds off – the touch of the opposite sex, the fire that ignites when the fingers slip up the gash between a woman’s legs and know that I am home.  I am home here where the souls meet with flesh, where the spirits linger and the annals of history have been written with the creation of each new being, fucked away not with any other intent than to just fuck, sometimes in the bushes, sometimes in the bed, and sometimes in the bars where we now gathered as a way to get loose, get drunk, get laid.  And here I was standing outside with a man that I increasingly wondered if he were homosexual or not, and at once racing inside for another drink.  To get away, and to get mine, if it could be found.

Inside I ran again into Matt as he walked by, without Suzie.  He pulled me in close while laughing, “She’s only 20 years old!” he said, looking skyward as if in disbelief.

“These are not the moments we live to regret,” I assured him.  “You can rest believed that she knows what to do with her legs.”

“I know that, dear god have you seen them?” He went on.  He was right.  Suzie had two very thin, very tall, but still very sculpted legs sprouting from downward from her cunt.  The kind that once undressed would have depth even though the touch of her skin would be smooth and virginal as one could hope to imagine, and possibly might even be true except that no virgin is found in the streets at night, to be sure.  If instead her hair was cleaned, her makeup not dark and running, the movements of her eyes deep in the sockets looking about the bodies of the two men that stood there talking to her, the shirt not tailored to reach just above her hips and expose the sweet, delicate hips that protruded just slightly from her joints, the heels that were worn with jeans and stepped with master precision even in the cobblestoned sidewalks of the ancients, if were not for these things Suzie once might have been a virgin.  But this girl was no girl, that girl was part woman – if only for her knowledge of how to suck a cock, but here she was and she was Matt’s, without even his trying.  That fact in the mind gave her away, and she would gladly give it away again.

Most startling was that in my absence Matt was trying to get her to pry Patricia back over on my behalf.  “I sent her to get Patricia by the way,” to which I responded by laughing and swatting the air, hitting the imaginative words with my palm and sending the message that it was unnecessary, I was capable of working on my own I wanted to believe.  I didn’t believe it anymore on this night, but knew that given another chance would pull the right strings for my plight.

I had at this moment noticed that two girls were sitting by their own selves at the edge of the bar, that kind that you could see glowing from the other end of the room, the kind that demanded silence when they entered the room.  Both dressed in black, each with long blonde hair rolling down the sides of their cheeks, one straightened and the other with curls, big brown eyes and the only sign of playing along with the world was that the straight-haired one had on a small black pair of rabbit ears.  For all other intents they had just left the Ritz and were put off by much of the scene around them.  Of course they were approached, frequently, and each time said the right words to not offend their suitor but send him away thankful that he at least said hello.  I couldn’t hear the words but knew this to be the way.  These were women, in the least of the sense, because no righteous and full woman would patronize these alleys of gloomy repetition, no they were merely women because their figures were not delicate but blossoming with the ability to ride, to fuck, and eat the sperm until procreation was no longer a mistake but necessary because the world needs more of what they have.  Even if they were a hapless hump I’d be thankful to look them in the eyes while lying over their bare body, to see their faces grimace as it slid all the way in.  There in the few seconds I could see them I felt my existential fingers slip way up into their slats, the left into one and the right into the other as they crouched down on all fours in front of me like the dogs they were, asses out and legs spread wide with the juice flowing down my fingers, more and more with each push and pull, hooking the walls of their wombs with the tips of my fingers and sliding in and out, waiting from them to blow.  This was what they wanted.  It’s what we all wanted.

Just as I had put a foot out to move closer Suzie returned, without Patricia, saying that we should leave for another bar.  Patricia would join us later.  I was walking outside with them when a tall, dark girl, attractive in the way simpletons can be without being supermodels, dressed in all black and skirt with a fedora pulled way down over the eyes, looked at me and gestured with her fingers to her eyes that she was watching me.  As our shoulders brushed past each other walking by I reached back with a hand around her hips and pulled her in for one strong lock of the lips, her tongue racing down my throat like it wouldn’t again have the chance to see my insides, and my fingers treating her crotch the same way.  In about the three seconds that he had together walking in opposite directions I got to know this woman and what she felt like.  It wasn’t on fire, and it was detached.  There are certain moments here where acting occurs before any kind of thought process, and in the end I have to catch up on the thinking by letting the mind wander while the prick is occupied.  It can lead to the most soulless of fucks, the ones where body is moving but mind is not even present, away in another galaxy gathering artifacts of a life imagined, imagined without pain and suffering and the needless search for cunt, all the while the cunt sitting tightly over my own prick and sliding up and down to produce with it the rocket of juices that make me shoot a load off inside.  We hadn’t even undressed and I felt the same way in this moment – I wasn’t there, and presently left in body as well.

We got back to Sternbäck and began drinking, singing along and hanging from the rafters of the bar in the much the way we left the people before.  The scene had not changed and the atmosphere had only become more drunk, drunk both from the alcohol and the sight that after three or four hours not less but more people had joined the party and dropped their securities at the door, picked up a mug and began to dance in the few square inches that could be owned in a place filled with people, filled with smoke, wet with sweat and beer and tears and dreams and liquid shouts that stuck to the walls where the people stood who searched for fresh air.  It was in the middle of one of these jaunts, one these tunes that I caught a glimpse of the two vixens in black, had made their way behind us to the same bar and were again sitting alone with everyone, in a bubble though squeezed tight by the bodies pressing tight to their hips and still with all the gyrating, all the commotion, excitement, fireworks, screams and yells, beer mugs shattered like the night, the had not a presence of mind for any man or woman near or far in the room around them.  This couldn’t pass any moment longer.

“Why are you two so convinced to be alone,” I asked them after moving over.  Their looks were confused, most likely from the question and that it was in English.  I had to paraphrase.  “Why is that you two move from bar to bar alone, without anyone,” I asked.

“We are just out to have a drink,” the shorter one with straight hair answered.

“But you could do that anywhere,” I answered.  “Why here, why with everyone else?  You want to be seen but not touched,” I let on.   Still confused, I went straight for it.  “You two are the most beautiful girls out tonight, but you turn away every man.  I’m not sure what you’re looking for but you know you can’t find it here,” I ended.  They said thank you, blushing, in a way that struck me as odd.  Their honesty let on that they never heard such a compliment often, at least not without half-wit attempts to say something more generous, more misguided attempts at passing their fancy.  By their expressions they could see my motive was more curiosity than sly, and it worked to earn their minute.  I introduced myself, trying as I could to exchange the favor of their impression of me with more good vibes.  “Ich ben der Tom,” I said.  It was about as far as I could go but it got back a name, and I was in.  The one who spoke first would keep speaking, providing her name first.  She was Alina, and her friend was Irina.  I know this sounds absurd, but I couldn’t make out their names too well with all the noise.  Alina, I was sure of.  The other wasn’t important – she wouldn’t rightly look at me.  The notion that she may not have spoken English was of no concern, either way, I got nothing from her even her heart was pounding from the quivers that shot up the walls of gash at the sight of me.  I wouldn’t know soon, and didn’t care to – the other, equally gorgeous frau was smiling as she spoke, and she was controlled to her feelings.  She was excited to have something different, if only in words, and words were my weapons, my bullets, my love-letters from overseas because if they were used properly seemed exotic, derivative of a kind of ancient emotion exhibited only by the poets and painters and writers and creators of divinations from the Renaissance, that period of human ubiquity so grand that even the falsest of romance took place in a fire so bright that it blinded all bodies to the senses and fried all nerves save for the ones inside the genitals, exploding like shots of lava from the mouth of the volcano, deep inside where the first bit of creation still takes place and even angels fear to tread.  These were words we used, and I believed I had them properly sheathed for this moment.

“There must be something more to this, you believe?” I asked, choosing carefully the words that could be understand and still convey the meaning I would normally say with larger and more unnecessary words, like “perspicacity” and “profligate,” and realizing now as I write this why not many understand what I have to say.  This could be my very undoing – these… words.  They haven’t a fucking weight in the world if they produce nothing, are merely just sounds and utterances, hardly even worth the same as the moans that fall from the lips of the whore as the cunt envelopes the cock like a precision tool molded for the express purpose of eating pricks alive.  If that’s the kind of thing we’re looking for why do we still talk so damned much?  Wouldn’t it be easier if just unbuttoned our flies and used the wrinkles on our balls and cunt-lips to distinguish the differences between grunts of purpose, shouts of pain, moans of pleasure, and the everyday workaday nonsense that gets put together to discuss the fluctuation of the Asian trading market, the rising price of petrol, and the advances made in cellular technology?  Maybe it is the birds that chirp with the truest of meaning: “fly, eat, survive.” No excess, no fluff, no books of information about the past do the birds write, only the pretext of what is needed to fly, fly, fly! above the lands below where other beasts congregate fastidiously with nothing to do, nothing to accomplish than to discuss their forward progress, their raison d’etre that they’ve concocted to establish a society of similar minds and similar goals, to create a family and to create a household and to create a career to cover the assets, the bills, the wages, the problems that arise when the water pipes break and the tires go flat and the phones get cut off and the roof caves in, metaphorically I hope, forcing everyone to wake up from their slumbers.  I don’t even care if they rise like zombies with rotting flesh so long as the movements are different.  Everywhere a sea of the living dead already covers the earth, unknown to their own lack of spark, the electricity running through their nerves purely a collective gear working away at nothingness, the bodies resembling nothing more than an average human being seen mostly behind the wheel of a car or seated fatly behind a desk, crunching numbers and figures and toiling toward the finality of fleshly death, when the nerves no longer fire and the brain sleeps a peaceful sleep without the drabble of the world drowning out the noise of original and inspiring thought.  The zombies that come up from the ground, with arms outstretched and pieces of skin missing and eyeballs rolled back into the skull and without clothes and oozing piss and shit from the holes in the body and lumbering along slowly, might work to shake the living dead from their somnambulist pattern, might shake up the newscasts with something exciting!  Everywhere a smattering of useless information crapping out from the televisions and radios and newspapers and magazines and books and film screens and online weekly subscriptions talking about the latest cellular devices, the newest music tracks, the hippest clothes, the hottest stocks, the fastest cars, prettiest women, cheapest furniture, best athletes, rising tensions in the Middle East and the correlating rise in petroleum, the staggering costs of humanitarian relief in war-torn third world countries, the continuing struggle for election to the White House, the five steps to a sure marriage, the ten steps to fix unemployment in suburban America, five key ways to solve the European debt crisis, all of it just words, just nonsense.  They use the word crisis to discuss any topic these days, waiting for the people to asphyxiate themselves from all the smoke that surrounds the words on the paper, in their ears, and wafting in the air so thick that I could swat it with my hand.  The real crisis is not knowing if the zombies will ever rise, if anyone will ever crawl from the mud that keeps us sitting still like flies stuck to the spider’s web, if the new way of thinking will ever force us to wage war not against ourselves but against our way of life.  And it won’t take words.

If words were anywhere useful we’d all only say the things that were really going on.  That is, that it’s all a game of fucking.  If I were any way inclined to believe that Alina’s ears were really open, I’d jump right off the cliff and tell her I’d like to fuck – this of course does not need to be said.  What does need to be said are conversations full of clouds and rainbows and silly thoughts of a better world that would lead her to believe I am a good man, a smart man, a man worth her cunt.  Isn’t it a shame that we must become someone worthy of a fuck, as if a fuck isn’t the lowest common denominator?  As if it’s a treasure to be hunted, a pot of cunts at the end of the rainbow?  But it’s all just fucking, it’s all the words lead to.  Skip the unnecessary tracks on the record and get right to the hit.  Wherever there is business there is someone saying what a wonderful partner, owner, boss, employee they have, when all that person is doing is trying to fuck the other over, cut corners and spit out poor products if the money saved can be pocketed for personal profit.  Wherever there is a church or congregation they are all saying what a wonderful god they have, church building, choir, texts, bibles, and all the while they are just trying to find their way into a better life and a chance at living forever.  Wherever there are families discussing how wonderful their children are, how beautiful their homes, how cheery their jobs are, all the while they are just searching for a place to belong, a sense that all of this wasn’t done in vain.  Wherever there are people in bars drinking away their sorrows, drinking away their loneliness, talking about the music in the radio and the programmes on the screen, they are all just trying to fuck, literally, just trying to find someone to get wet with.  If all of these people in all of these places would instead just open their mouths to get out with the truth of the matter, to discuss the fucking that’s going on, we’d all be more likely to get what we were looking for and less likely to feel like the world had it out for us, that we were alone, that we’re tired, that we’re sad and feel like the end of the world might be the best thing necessary to get rid of all the problems and rife unserendipitous grayness of the lack of living.  Let the zombies rise, infect the living, and eat the flesh.  For just a change to the fucking madness.

When the conversation with Alina drifted toward an end I offered to take them to another bar, get their number and meet again tomorrow, or later.

“Her sister’s at another bar,” she said pointing to her friend, long ago ignored by either us.  “We’re going there.  It was nice meeting you.”

And with the swiftness of a prairie breeze they turned around, grabbed their bags and headed out of the bar.  I ordered up another mug, slammed it down and retreated slowly back to the hostel alone.

______________________________________________________________

I woke up during the late morning when all of my roommates had already checked out, even for a Saturday.  It was welcomed for my privacy, but alarming for its peculiarity.  Hostels are typically reserved for travellers, yes, but often a younger crowd such as my own who are looking to spend a weekend away in a town of their choosing.  This of course was Würzburg and was not without its charm, its offers, its beauty, and to think that the other travellers were simply stopping in for a place to rest their head, leaving me alone in the hostel, seemed unfair – I always hope to meet someone here, and I felt robbed of this in a small way.  It was probably for the better though.  I wanted to spend this weekend on myself, working on my writing and seeping through the crowds unseen by the rest of humanity.  After a shower and change I was on my way to achieve this disappearing act.

From everywhere in the city you can see the Fortress Marienberg that sits on top of the hill across the river, towering nearly a thousand feet up from the water’s edge, but only a few hundred meters from the water – it rises directly up, like cliff walls on a plateau, with a castle on top.  It’s exactly how I pictured much of historical Europe, and it may be the reason I am so infatuated with this city.  Nuremberg has more of the culture, more of the political history of the country inside its walls, but every time since the first time I walked through its streets it does not feel much different from an American city.  That is, unless you walk along the walls that line the moat of the old town center, the interior is chock full of nothing but stores and malls and shops and backereis to buy pastries and restaurants to eat and bars to drink and clubs to dance.  The structures once were beautiful homes, I’m sure, and their walls still climb higher upward than most American towns, as they outgrew their land with people and started building toward the sky in a way that Americans have only seen in places like New York.  But the integrity is lost.  Its halls have been stripped open for large spaces to store clothes racks and shoe racks and tables and chairs and couches and posters and things for people to look at while they spend their money hopefully in every establish.  Never mind the Nurembergring, a golden spire at the top of an iron gate surrounding the city’s center statue, rubbed for good luck.  Never mind the Zeppelinfeld, the site of the Nazi Army’s rallies and Hitler’s most infuriating speeches, where the beginning and ending of the modern world took place.  Never mind the Dietzen Lake, a grand water hole designed to surround the Congress Halle, to serve as the beautifying and powerful statement of largesse that the Nazi Social Party strived to achieve, right next to the Groß Strasse, the monstrous white brick plaza that leads for six miles directly north to the center of the party’s congressional buildings.  Never mind all of these things.  I want my MTV.

This being my third trip to Würzburg and without any particular plans to meet anyone, as it was originally established, I wanted finally to tour the ancients of its past.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get into the major sites in this town, but it was of no concern.  I like only to see these things, feel these sights with my own eyes and only the way I can, in my time.  I had begun to do this Friday after arriving by train, walking immediately to the gorgeous Residenz Plaza, the town’s old congressional seat and currently a UNESCO World Heritage sight – as if having someone put a plaque on the walls declaring it a world heritage makes it officially significant.  It is after all a French-styled palace, large blocked corners and gothic columns draping from the top to the bottom, surrounded outside the walls by a wonderful Central Park-esque garden, lit by light poles and with numerous duck ponds, hidden in the trees from the streets and stores.  Really a good escape to sit and think away from all the shit around me.  I had been around the building a few times before but this time, with the interior being closed and my opportunity to tour the inside gone, I chose instead to walk through the garden inside the walls.  I hadn’t even done this and was waiting for whatever awaited me inside.

The first thing I noticed was the fountains still frozen, grown twice their normal size from the white ice sculptures that grew from the spouts upward and outward, transforming the entire image of the day.  The clouds were hanging overheard and the air was thick with moisture, having just come out of the frozen month before us, and the water first now starting to thaw from the ice that covered everything for weeks.  But where the water did not cling to the ground and still hung in the breeze melted slowest.  This, here, were the fountains.  Amidst all the grey, despite the doom of winter’s last edge, sitting alive like fireworks exploding in the night, was a giant piece of pure white ice, draping downward from the bowl of the fountain in the middle of the garden.  It was quite transforming, ethereal in its visage and able to transport me to somewhere else.  It really hit me like a wrecking ball, just as quick and fierce as well, as soon as I entered the garden.  These places, the scenes, they were in fact wonders! Oh, how I longed for the ideas that can be found in the soils of this world’s gardens, this world’s landscapes, this world’s entities, away from the inorganic world of the Western Hemisphere were everything is pumped full of growth hormone and bulldozed as soon as it no longer gains profit.  Here, behind the golden iron gates, behind the hundred-years-old brick walls, lining the foot trails that have scene millions of citizens walk its grassy paths, were fountains frozen from flowing, told to stop by the earth! I continued to float through the entire garden, not using my feet to move but the transmutable laws of the peace that blanketed the plaza, seeing with new eyes and a new mind the sky above through the trellises that covered the paths and were themselves covered by the vines of the bushes and flowers and trees that grew over the piping, but now for the winter not in bloom, and having their branches break in a thousand ways like the water that flies from a balloon smashed against a wall, lining the sky like a spider’s web and with every bit of glowing energy when seen in the light.  The garden was held in three tiers, each above the next until you reached the top and could sit in a bench to see the duck ponds on the outside, or look back at the golden building.

As I sat there smoking a cigarette I drifted back to this earth because I couldn’t shake the knowledge that it was all fake – only some 60 years old.  I knew this because the town of Würzburg had been completely leveled during the second war.  It took about fifteen minutes for some 200 British bombers to destroy ninety-percent of the city.  I think it was in retaliation for a Luftwaffe attack on the British Isles – it otherwise had no meaning, no necessity, served no purpose to end the lives of the citizens of this town.  They had no seat of congress, no buildings housed any activities of the Nazi party, and nothing of significance took place here during the war; except of course the total and complete death of all things living here.  Over the next twenty years the city was rebuilt to exact replication of its previous state by the remaining survivors, most of them women, and known by a German equivalent of our own Rosie the Riveter.  Walking slowly up the brick walls of the Residenz you could easily distinguish this part of the city’s past, even if you didn’t know exactly when it took place (March 17, 1945).  The square blocks that were golden in hue were without wear and age and tear and use and erosion from a hundred years of rain like many of the world’s oldest structures.  No, this place was definitely new and pristine.  Was it beautiful?  Sure.  But it wasn’t the same anymore.

This was why I wanted to get to the fortress.  I had yet to walk up the hill and see the only thing that wasn’t destroyed on that day.  I wanted to view the town from the highest rise, from the furthest point, from the bird’s eye view.  This was my goal…

And I almost threw it away.  As I drifted through the downtown streets making my way from the hostel to the fortress, I discovered a parade of sorts taking place in the middle of town.  There was a stage on which stood a dozen men dressed in full-blown costumes, all of them wearing bright orange capes and feathered hats, watching a parade of musicians and groups walk past, the final of which was a brass band playing the White Stripe’s “Seven Nation Army.”  It was almost too much for me to turn down.  All I had needed to do was find a beer and walk through the streets with these people, find my own mask and whisk my way along with them like a specter, a ghost of the present, here just to observe and drink and be merry.  And there I stood, thinking just now of this, and weighing it against everything I had planned.  Sebastian had been right.  The trouble of Fasching was only just getting started, and what I had seen had been nothing.  The vulture inside of me wanted to fly down to the depths of the dead and pick at the bones of the living along with everyone else!  And I stood there mounted like that vulture on the branch with the choice of flying down or up, up to the skies or down to the bottom of the streets to be kicked around like the beer bottles looking for a piece of meat.  When the moments grew longer and longer without moving, when the hunger of days hangover started to sink in, I thought of this sight now and knew that it would be worse tomorrow.  And I knew then that I was not missing anything except the chance I had provided myself to see this city, and see it from the top, from the clouds, from the sky, from the vantage that would remove me, if only for a minute, from the dredge of the sewage I knew I would be swimming in all weekend.  And I left for the hills, for the fortress, on foot.

Just a few feet to the river and I was at the bridge, across it and over, standing on the other side for the first time and seeing a sign with paths marked to climb the mountain.  There were separate colors for the paths, with the shortest being red.  I didn’t know then immediately what it meant until I embarked.  It was red because it was steep, damn steep, the hardest to climb.  But once I got inside the first wall at the foot of the hill to see a mother bracing her stroller behind her for ballast and safety as she descended the grade, probably 20%, I knew that I would be alright.  Even if I weren’t all right I wasn’t going to be undone when this woman and her child’s safety weren’t enough to say no.  And I climbed.  I climbed and climbed upward like the soldier I was, this time without the orders but with all the same conviction, my own personal mission.  It must’ve been just over a half mile of straight upward climb, like only the mountains can provide, but with a gravel path to mark the way.  Looking back I’m not sure if the gravel was safer or not, loose rocks making the path slippery when maybe the grass would’ve been better; but it too was wet like mud, worse for the wear of the climb.  In a few minutes time I was at the top, passing the overweight travelers who were struggling to breathe after their ascent, clapping for their friends who took longer as if the joke were funny, as if it weren’t sad they struggled, and made my way immediately along the walls toward the cliff that overlooked the city.  There was a possibility of going on inside, maybe taking a tour, but I had to see the landscape, had to feel the breeze blow from the plateau’s edge.  And I turned toward that front, toward that ledge and walked just as rapidly as I had up the hill.  Until I came to the end of course.  It all went into slow motion at that moment.

Standing there alone, with only a bit of music and myself to join along the end, I saw for the first time the world before me.  My eyes were new, a child’s at first birth, in the way any of us can recall our earliest memory of the earth before us.  It was like the sun was rising for the first time and my skin was new.  The wind had never blown before this day, the trees had never whistled before this day, and the ground had never been so green before this day.  It was the first time in the history of man that the river had flown from north to south, it was the only time in history that the church bells rang, and it was the only time anyone had seen this scene with a clear mind.  The biting of my hungry stomach, the itchiness from a dry, dehydrated skin, the sweat from a back that carried a bag up the hill, the feet that pounded after the multitude of steps, the hair that was unkempt, all of these things meant nothing.  Before me, down way, way below was the image of a city, a country, a people, a piece of earth that can only be seen in this way on this particular patch of planet.  The hills dropped straight down and the distance outward to the 100-meter wide river was only about as much – I feel I could’ve thrown a rock toward the banks and strike water, but only after watching it fall for upwards of half a minute.  And from the shores on the other side spread a city outward in all directions, sprawling, crawling, reaching for more space to grow and more land to cover, each building unique its shape and design but all of them sharing the same roof, creating an ocean of orange tiled squares over the surface, and when the eyes couldn’t see further from the tops of the structures the hills began to take shape, rolling into each other like a valley that brings two mountains together at the crevice created by millions of years of water flow, still green with trees and the birds that fly amongst them, those of course below me as well.  This was not America.  This land was not flat.  Its history did not reflect the same feeling, and for the first time maybe I knew I was somewhere else.  I was there alone, but dammit I was there.  An earthquake could not have shaken from the throne I sat upon.  I was above it all.  The rolling beats of the marching band in the parade down below now crossing the bride could be heard even up here, and it meant only to separate me.  It echoed low and sweet – I was glad to see the town in celebration.  But here, I found a bit of peace.  Here, where no other man to my knowledge had been, maybe in person but not in spirit, was the beginnings of mankind.  If nothing good had come from this space and time, I was here to remark of its being, was here to paint the Mona Lisa of Würzburg smiling back, was here to write the 5th Symphony that caromed through the hills, was here to tell the world like Homer in song that it was possible to be still on earth and on Mars at the same time.  That I no longer belonged to the world as men knew it, that I no longer had any interest in one particular place, that I never ever felt like I actually belonged anywhere my whole life, here, for the first time, was seen through physical eyes; this city, not thirty minutes away from where I lived, could be my home, and I was alone it, above it, soaring like an bald eagle that has no place in Europe, still with all the beauty but no friends to join in formation above the crowds that gathered along the brick walls to sing songs that every man before them had sung.  I wasn’t singing their song.  But I had one with me, my own to sing.

A woman speaking English broke me of my trance, and I made my way around the fortress, going up into its innards and seeking maybe a piece of its secret.  The thing had been there, in many forms at least, since 1200 BC.  I circled it completely before entering the main court with the silo that stretched to the top of its highest peak from right there in the center.  There were doors and signs and advertisements and lights and benches, but nothing else.  On a Saturday nothing was ever open in Germany unless it was to sell products or food, and I guess tourism was no exception.  Just a few people milling around over the brick courtyards, myself the only one seeming to be lost, but only because I thought it was open.  I was hardly lost while walking these walks through time, traversing the bridge of the present to enter the past and go beyond the furthest point of human kind, to go back to the edge of creation, to back to the big bang, to go back to the open universe with nothing in it, to go back to the nothing before nothing was even nothing, to go back to a space that was full of everything and nothing at once, to see the ends of the mankind before the rocks of the earth had even melted into stone, to know the entire future and past at once, to feel like Christ on the cross who could see all that was and would be and die for it, to know that I had something to say and know that no one would ever really listen before the world came to an end at the hands of those people, no one listen, just touring and taking photos and returning home to say they did something.  I wasn’t here to do something.  I was here, merely because I was here, in the same way I was down below before.  No, these people were having a day off and making the best of it, because that’s what the stories say.  Otherwise there’d be nothing to speak of at work the next day.  To try to grab each one of them as I walked by and shake them vigorously and let them know that we were on the edge of the world, the one that was flat and had a precipice dripping the water off its corners, to try and include them in my portal would only get me locked up.  There’s just not enough clarity left to go around.  Probably the same amount as there ever was, but so many more people to spread it around it amounts to nothing, gets lost in the mix.  I walked down past the family of six taking a group photo and took steps in leaps and bounds to get out.  I glided, almost without setting foot to the ground and made my escape back to the foxholes and trenches below where everyone was being shot at.  The hill was so steep that I gave in to its push and ran!  Like a gazelle each step was six feet long and I was in the air between left and right legs.  I reached the bottom and danced out the gate back into the streets where I would look for my own costume to wear tonight.  Don’t mention that anything had happened.  We were here to wear costumes.

When I spoke to Matt a while later he invited me to dinner.  I didn’t initially accept, but he needed someone to talk to when his girl and her friend broke off into a conversation of Deutsche.  There’s a friend? OK, I’m there.  The dinner was casual and early, much before the night would begin to saunter into something I thought might be more fiendish.  Didn’t bother to wear the costume I had prepared earlier.  My dignity was still too far intact to go out to eat looking like a man from the 80s, but not the obnoxious kind of sweatband wearing cocaine dealer most people associate with 80s costumes.  No, I was somewhere in between Sixteen Candles and the Talking Heads, what I thought and hoped was more genuine, and what I knew could be translated slightly differently at a later time to be my own wardrobe – navy slacks, blue tee under orange cardigan, rustic brown blazer, sleeves rolled up and purple wayfarer shades.  It was, at least as far as I cared perfect.  But it was for later.  I rolled down the street jamming my own tune to a restaurant I was familiar with where they were waiting.

I walked in to see Matt with his girl at the bar, my favorite place in any establishment.  A beer up from the bartender and shaking hands with my friend and his woman, the beautifully dark blonde thing standing a foot shorter than myself, her name Sandra.  Matt had done well for himself and I was wondering what then could be arriving as we waited for her friend to show.  It was only a few minutes later when I had the answer.

I was talking to Matt when I noticed Sandra had approached another female that had entered the bar and I saw a woman, as full of figure as one could be.  Dark, rolling black hair that fell to the sides of the kind of eyes that are deep, deep dark and pouring out their sockets with pupils larger than a puppy dog, weeping almost to be seen, full lips and a body that curved in and out, downward to an ass as wide and wonderful as I had known only a few times before.  Save for the extra weight she carried on her frame she had the qualities that made her true value apparent, but only if you knew how to recognize that it was somewhere inside, hidden inside the cheeks that curled with her smile and poked out with the grab of her hands that sprang upright to whittle her hair with the fingers.  Somewhere in our modern world we got too caught up the in typical state of affairs that women should be model thin, razor sharp cheeks, and a stare to turn cold the warmest hearts – she had none of these things.  I reached out to know her better.

“I’m Tom,” said with a smile.  She reached out and introduced herself.  For the music I couldn’t hear what she said, and when she repeated it I knew it was something I couldn’t hear because it was intangible to my ears.  Of a different language, of a different heritage.

“You’re going to have to spell that for me,” I laughed away.  It was then that she looked quizzically at me, and Sandra stepped in to explain that she spoke little or no English.  I laughed at the absurdity.  Absurd because I expected all along this to be like the many times before, in real or in story board, where the couples had meet and the friends kicked off like a ship set out to sea to float according to their waves.  No, this was not that.  I laughed because in less than a minute I saw a woman I would like to know, a woman I wanted to speak to, a woman I wanted to dance with, the most innocent of songs where two people just wanted to move their feet together, seeing in her something that maybe was real, and in that minute realizing I had no way to get it out of her.  …Bartender, I’d like another drink.

We sat down and began to order our drinks.  It took not much more time for my hopes of speaking across the table to disappear as it did for the girls to begin a conversation they only could understand.  Matt started by joking that Sandra always did this to him, and I knew then that when he said he needed someone there, for that or any reason, he was genuine.  In a way it was flattering, the conversation drifting from our shared occupations to the night before to the night ahead, to the women we’d known and the women we’d hope to know, ordering food in between and laughing at the people in the restaurant dressed in costume, and the few that weren’t in costume but would’ve been better off had they dressed up.

“It was nice of Killian to let me crash at his place last night,” Matt said loudly.  It took just around a second for me to connect that this didn’t happen, and that he wanted it sound as if it had.

“Oh, absolutely, what a favor he did,” I broke in.  I knew the game – he needed to corroborate his story about last night, letting Sandra think he hadn’t picked up a girl ten years his junior.  “You had way too much to drink last.  It was nice of him to take care of you,” I finished.

As we continue to speak I drifted off, my mouth uttering phrases but my mind wondering how long this had been going on, how well Matt had become at it, and how common it was for the world to behave this way.  Everyday there were marriages and relationships being put on the line by people looking for an everyday fuck, and all the while hiding it from someone.  I never understood.  Every blowjob I got made headlines in my environment.  It didn’t make sense to me to work so hard for something and have no one know about it.  Sometimes I don’t think I’m alone in that way – surely every criminal has told someone their crimes, Al Capone was a celebrity.  These things are too good to hold inside; sex was no different.  My favorite part is thinking that it’s a worldwide phenomenon.  Surely everyone everywhere is fucking someone at any given moment, be it their wife, friend, coworker, bus driver, priest, doctor, teacher, all the fantasies one could think of in a pornographic film including total and complete strangers.  Yet, here again was someone trying to hide it, from just one person.  Do you ever think more relationships would last longer if they openly said, “Baby, I slept with someone else last night?”  I’d like to think so.  Six days out of seven is a good ratio, so long as there are other ties that bind, so the phrasing goes.  I don’t want to dine with every whore I meet at the bar – I just want to rip out her insides like there was a flesh magnet on the end of my dick.  I don’t want to stroll serenely through the park with every girl that grabs my cock – I just want her to keep her hand there until the stiffness of an erection gets her wet and she gets on her knees without prompting, gurgling the thing like a popsicle until it melts in her mouth.  I don’t want to tell the secrets of this earth to the next pair of legs that walks by, the things only I know and see that I don’t believe any other man sees – the last thing I want from a whore is a lesson of the world, unless the world exists only in her crotch.  And yet, we are not allowed to make friends for just this purpose.  For just the minutes that we need a good lay and our partner isn’t around.  I’d like to believe that sooner or later we all come together and say this has been going on for so long and is so widespread that maybe we’ve got it backwards.  Maybe all along we should have been embracing plural sex partners, that maybe the whole reason we’re fucking around so often is not because we want to but because we have to, it’s what we’re supposed to do, in the same way we eat meat.  We eat the meat of the flesh, the flesh of the body, the body of the soul, the soul of the cunt, the prick, because we’re supposed to.  But we’ll believe a lot of things if it makes us feel good.  Being told we’re the only one someone could love is like being anointed a king… I suppose because we know it can’t happen.  Believe that.

As dinner wrapped we decided to reconvene at a hookah bar, to smoke hookah as it were.  I was initially rather shocked to hear this plan unfold, not believing that the innocent looks on the girls’ faces would provide for a soul that wanted to smoke hookah on a Saturday night, to get things started anyway.  Hookah was the public place for persons of the tea persuasion to imbibe in the smoke of the ethereal, to get as close to burning tea as one can amongst “normal” society.  It may be that we were going to Orient Palast, the bar, which was decidedly Turk in its environ; I suppose Sandra’s friend had gotten her into the habit and so it was that we would begin there.  What should have been surprising to me was that this locale would create for us a night of less debauch, fewer whores, but the same amount of drinks, to be sure.  The Palast was easy enough to locate, right downtown with the rest of the bars, near to the river and next to a club.  After a quick shower, change into costume, and a couple cigarettes’ walk I was present with my friends.  It is funnier even to me now that when I am not in my uniform I revert back to old habits, which is rather funny when walking to a hookah bar.  On this occasion, like all others when not wearing green, I was late, about thirty minutes this time.  They were of course engaged already in the bar and it gave me the pleasure of displaying for the first time my costume – a neon clad man from the 1980s.  The shades worn inside did the trick, though it also worked to create difficulty walking through the dark hallways of the bar.

More difficult however was finding a seat next to the group.  The bar had gone all out in their décor, full of desert sands and trees painted to the walls, Turkish drapes hanging from the ceiling, the ballast and support beams that went up the ceiling painted like an Egyptian spire from some pharaoh’s kingdom hall, the sitar music being played loudly from all corners, and the seats being padded floors raised up in certain areas forcing everyone to sit on pillows cross-legged or whichever ways they would choose.  We were in the middle of a bar next to a man and woman making out, and on the other side a younger man our age alone.  As I made my awkward way across him to find a seat it made it obvious to us that something should be said, or at least an introduction to take place.

“What’s your name man,” Matt said as I saddled into place between them.

“Andrew,” he responded.

“Here with anyone?” Matt asked.

He said no and we learned that he was on his own, that he just enjoyed smoking hookah, and that he wouldn’t be a bother.  He had a crooked smile on his face the whole time, hung below his shaggy hair that covered his dome and the simple t-shirt over jeans combination that spoke of a middle class life.  Matt made some joke about his habits, that it may have been sad that he were alone, but really I sympathized with the guy.  I’m sure he’d just come from his apartment where there were bowls among bowls of tea smoked, that he was lit like a bonfire and that he just wanted to get out of his apartment for a drink because if you’re not careful some habits will wreck you.  It told me that he was seasoned.  It told me that he was in tune.  It told me that he was the probably the smartest guy in the room, and knew more about living than anyone else in the bar, all the people with their arms around a significant other, all the people looking for a lay, all the people drinking to get drunk and hit on women, kiss the men, play the game.  It told me that he knew something I was always fighting to condone – that all we need is to know ourselves, to find our Zen, to be ourselves with ourselves.  Andrew never broke out his phone to read the internet, didn’t even have a book with him, all he had was that smile on his face.  And after an hour of ignoring our loud gestures and noisy conversation he went his way.  I took the time to remark on how he jumped up suddenly like he had springs in his feet and skipped away in a hurry.  He probably didn’t have anywhere to be.  It was probably just that he needed his space, away from everyone.

We continued to smoke from the hookah, refilling the plate with charcoals of banana and cherry and strawberry flavor, a remarkable thing to me.  I had smoke hookah a few times before, but it was never anything that I paid much attention to.  Frankly I had smoked too much tea to ever be interested in hookah and it was to me the smoke that non-smokers ingested, as a way to get in touch with the dark side.  If the coals were too dry, too burnt, whatever the case, the girls would signal the tender and have him replace them, and I was never certain how they kept track of who was buying what when were all seated there together, but what I did know was that I could order a beer and it would arrive.  In a tall glass too, properly.  It just sat there on a tray in front of us and not once did anyone kick a glass while trying to stand.  Probably the most amazing achievement of that night.

There was another achievement that I took short pride in.  After seven years of smoking… I’d say cigarettes, but really everything under the sun that lit with fire… After seven years of smoking I had never learned any significant tricks.  I had seen a few, but it was not something that I took the time to learn or master.  Much in the same way I didn’t smoke hookah while being a grass master, I just didn’t care to pick up any trait of my own.  I was too busy getting high to worry about the semantics of looking cool.  But here, smoking from a double-hosed hookah, in this bar, and having nothing better to do, I asked Matt how to blow smoke rings when I watched him do it next to me.  My interest was peaked by the Leonard Cohen record I had picked up just the week earlier, where on the inside was a photo of Cohen sitting in a hotel, wearing a dapper suit, and seen through a smoke ring he had just exhaled approaching the camera; one of the coolest photos I had seen in recent past, and seeing Matt now accomplish the same feat had me wanting to join the in-crowd of smoking tricks.  Turns out its really simple.  Fill the mouth with smoke and exhale as if talking, kind of like pushing the tongue slightly outward.  Sounds like a cunnilingus manual when you say it that way, but it’s all closely related if you really think about it.  Within minutes I had seen my own floating softly through the air before being wisped away like a genie into a bottle, breaking off into separate lines and filling the air with magic.  It felt like magic, maybe.  Just a little anyways.  It was enough to end our time at the Palast as we shortly thereafter squared away the bill and the decision was made to hit the club next door.

Its name was Odeon, and it was a club like any other, except that in downtown Würzburg it was the club.  There was a more renowned club on top of the northern hill outside of town, but this was here in the streets, with the people.  My interest to go inside was exactly that it wasn’t the club on the hill.  There was a train that went to that club and it had all the Americans in it.  If I thought I could avoid that by staying here in downtown I’d give it a shot every day.  I was wrong on this occasion though.

We walked in and immediately I saw the nearly seven-foot tall black males gathered in the first room, a couple of them wearing New Era fitted caps with baseball teams on them, and knew immediately that I could never really escape my own kind.  It wasn’t all bad though really, these were basketball players living in Germany trying to make a dime overseas.  They weren’t the soldiers that I worked with who went to the club on top of the hill.  No, these guys could at least be counted on to have spent a few in colleges, at the least; whether they actually studied there is of no consequence.  They were in this country because they were good enough at their sport to have a German team pay their way into the country, but not good enough to make it in the NBA, yet anyway.  And here they were, and here I was, and there I went into the back room where the bars and dancing and drinks and low lights and women and sin could be found.

I’m not good at all in clubs, really, not good at all.  To me I don’t understand what happens here, not because I don’t have a grip on it (really, what is to be misunderstood about businesses that exist purely to facilitate a one night stand), but because it wasn’t the way I ever went about it.  I was too used to dancing the right way, with our hands and our feet moving in the same direction, not into each other like we were fucking fucking, there on the floor with our genitals engorged inside their clothing (although it’s hilarious when some people give up no fucks and just fuck there on the floor).  I always needed a way to engage the person, speak to them and let them know that there was something going on inside of me that they couldn’t find elsewhere, that I was not like everyone else.  What I was trying to learn was that these women, today’s princess, didn’t want something original.  She wanted to be rammed hard after grabbing me by the collar in the club and taking me to the bathroom immediately where the deeds were done dirt cheap.  She didn’t want me to go on about the mystics, didn’t need to hear that there was something else, because to her the only thing that mattered was being like everyone else.  Why then would they do it over and over again?  There are a few that at least know of different ways to get a lay, but here in the club the lay was only a part of the dress the princesses wore.  The diamond studded clutch purse they carried in their hands, the designer heels and hairdresser they attended that night to get the look right, to go out and be seen by other girls, to spend money and talk about it the next day with their friends, to meet men and let them know they can have her at the cost of a drink, it was all an easily solved puzzle, but it had to be together – you couldn’t just take one of the pieces and be happy with it.  It all had to happen together.

That’s where I get lost.  I’m just not that way.  To me being alive is a celebration.  There’s a part of me that likes to get dressed up fashionably, but often I get mocked for my efforts – no one likes to wear bright colors and cardigans and “old man clothes” anymore, and they are intimidated, so I think, by the ones who do.  I do it just so that no one can recognize or know who I am just by looking at me.  I don’t ever want somebody to learn something about who I am just by seeing me walk by.  It’s probably why I’ve ruined my arm with tattoos below the elbow, because they’d never guess that I was capable of writing this now if they saw the rising sun on my arm.  All the things I see I put to paper as best I can because it’s all absurd, really.  To see the waists gyrating back and forth to me is like seeing the end of man – dancing used to be something jazzy and people used to take the time to learn the steps.  We don’t any longer need the steps, we just need the movements.  Up and down and up and down and side to side and up and down.  You get the picture.

It was the same picture before me here and I fled from our corner of the stage at the back to get a drink.  I told Matt I’d get us something strong and I brought back a double of Jim Beam with a splash of water.  He almost choked as he took the first sip, and I tried to explain to him that it was a real drink, to be drank slowly and enjoyed.  The cost was rather cheap too, and I was beginning to like this place just on that principle.  We had found our way away from Sandra and her friend as we grabbed our drinks, and it made for an opportunity.

“You fucking think too much,” Matt yelled.

“You’re not the first to say that,” I offered back.

“This place is primal,” he said.  “You just have to be more ridiculous than everyone else, and if you see something you want, just grab it.”

With that I pointed to the two girls who were giving us both the once over, standing about 20 feet away but their eyes right on us.

“You lead,” I said.

We walked straight over and I could hear him ask how they were doing.  I started laughing when they said “We don’t speak English,” and immediately we walked away.  I learned that trick the night before, to just jet on a bitch, and I say bitch because of course she spoke English.  They all do, at least enough to be in a club surrounded by Americans.  They were playing a game we refused, and it was the end.  I laughed in my mind to think that it may have been that Matt actually looked like the redneck his costume had him portraying, a trucker hat and long greasy blonde hair from a wig that flung over his white tee and jeans, tattoos spilling from all over.  A pirate and a princess wanted nothing with the eighties I suppose.

More astonishing was that it just happened without hesitation, that Matt and I approached them.  He was hungry for another score, and I was confused why he recklessly approached women with his girl just on the other side of the room, probably the sexiest one in the club, at least on this night.  She was wearing his flight suit, a subtle sign of tenderness I thought, and with the black lens aviators and pilot’s cap she was a knockout of a wench.  Something sultry about a uniform, for both women and men.  Maybe just as fate would have it she and her friend shortly approached us at the middle of the room, even though they continued to dance on their own.

“I’ve learned that Germans don’t really dance with people,” Matt said as we stood between the girls.  I hadn’t ever thought of it, but I started to notice that it was true.  No one was really engaged in dance with anyone in particular, instead their hands were in the air and their eyes were closed as they just shook their ass randomly and without any intent.  I wasn’t sure if I liked it more or less but it made the act senseless in a way.  If I wanted to dance by myself I wouldn’t be spending the money on a drink in a club.  I would just walk through the streets and dance like I always do.  Here, I danced because I was looking for someone to dance with.  To remove that seems a waste of time.

Maybe because of it Matt and I walked back into the first lounge and were seated, having given up on anything for the night.  He was stuck (ha) with his girl and I there to tag along with the one with whom I couldn’t even speak.

“I’m over tonight,” he said.

“Enjoy your drink,” I replied.  “This isn’t a club drink.”

We carried on about what the next night would for us when the woman sitting next to us with her husband interrupted us, as I presumed he was.  They were an older couple, not by much but enough to be noticeable, and they seemed to be harmless.

“You speak English,” she asked.

“Of course we do,” Matt said.  It was a rather dumb question, really.

“And you are from,” she said, leading to an answer but also because her English was broken.

“California and Texas,” he said, pointing at once to himself and myself respectively, relative to the answer.

Since they were to Matt’s left and I to his right I couldn’t really get into the conversation, not over the music anyway.  It became better when Sandra and her friend sat down between us, but what I had at this moment was the opportunity to hear things about Matt that for some reason I had yet to learn.  It wasn’t that I was for lack of caring to ask, but rather that this lifestyle we shared didn’t allow for much room in the way of asking personal questions.  I had gotten used to not providing much information to other people in uniform and I’m sure he’d done the same, years before me.  So when I heard him say he had been married before and that he had two children, I was initially shocked and then summarily satisfied.  With the way he went on with women it all of a suddenly made sense.

Recently in one of Henry Miller’s novels I had his retelling of a conversation he had had with a friend, that he was a writer through and through but would not have the well inside him to pull shit from until he “had his heart ripped out.”  That was the way it was put – that nothing would swell around in the sewers of his brain and make it to page, that nothing would rise with fire until he knew what it was to lose it all, to break it all down and find a meaning in a space where there once was something.  I knew this to be true for myself and it all made sense now for my friend Matt, that he was trying to find the meaning still, that he hadn’t yet locked onto the structure of the rest of his life, and he was swimming vastly in a sea of cunt until he find one to sink his teeth into.  If you wrote down his behavior as I have, with a more critical eye, it would be easy to say that he’s an evil man, or that he’s just like everyone else, or that he’s common, or that he’s despicable and unlikeable and treats women poorly or isn’t concerned with the world but only of himself and the next landing strip for his aircraft of a cock, because with the way it flies around it probably has wings.  It wasn’t true, and I never felt it to be true of him, and now I knew why.  The things he said to the girls he was with, and the amount of time he spent on them even for just a night, the way he laughed with them and consciously efforted from them a smile to go alongside his, these things were all tender.  When the next day would roll around he didn’t expound upon the details but casually acknowledged what happened, because it had to be obvious for anyone who saw him walk off with these girls, as I had.  But it was his coping mechanism, in a way, to see his family wash away with the sands by the tide, and then continue living in the same career and the same habits and the same routines and the same interests and wishes and desires and goals and dreams, but instead of returning home to his family they are gone and have been replaced with emptiness.  To think that it could be found again after losing it once is absurd, to be sure, and this explains his reluctance to approach it again.  That may be the driving force for why he so recklessly approaches women, even with his girlfriend nearby, because he needs to let them know that he is not exclusive – he is no longer in need of love because he thought he had it and with the rest of the world believes now that it is no longer possible, it can’t be had if it even existed.  Why try to create something that cannot be achieved, why try to act like our nature isn’t to get fucked, why try to hide the animals inside of us, beneath our costumes, and act like civilized people? The ones who considered themselves civilized were fucking around on their wives and husbands all the same, but every time they get caught they act as if were some sin, lower on the moral barometer than murder and worthy of no respect.  Yet it happens everyday.  Fucking is just like smoking, or any other bad habit – it won’t make us better people outright, but it will make us feel alive.  And if we can harness that feeling enough, if we can replicate it frequently, if we can take it and bottle it and sell it on the shelves for 5$ a case, maybe then we ignore again the problems that brought us here in the first place.  Sex, an elixir to solve all your problems, now available in individual packaging and sold to the masses.  It’s a shame that people think sex is the problem, and not the solution.

Sex is after all the only time we are truly honest with someone.  Without words even.  Everyone fucks like the person they really are and you can tell a lot about someone by the way they give or take a prick.  Shy, shameless, proud, angry, tormented, distracted, shallow, hollow, tender, sweet, caring, forgiving, god forgiving! all these things escape from the person who is having sex, all these traits seep from the pores along with the sweat of passion, if its passion to that person, though it could be rage, it could be remorse, it could be regret, it could jealousy, it could fantasy, it could be anything, but in that moment it is real.  Think of all the people you’ve fucked and their true selves become easily seen in the way their bodies move, don’t you think?  The ones you’ve been in love with, were they loving in bed?  Or did it not end because they didn’t care?  Did you roll off of her and she not give a fuck if she came at all?  We should really be more attentive to what people do in bed to understand who they are, if we want to make anything of ourselves, and ourselves with them.

So if you’ve ever lost something, you probably fuck like you won’t ever have it again.  With the energy of a supernova, and probably just as bright when you come to an end, like the supernova exploding into bursts of light as the core burns out before turning into a black hole.  When you take away the things you loved, love itself, it just becomes a sexual session of telling the truth.  And the truth with anyone was that love didn’t exist, that it couldn’t be found, and that all we had was the fucking.  Love means having something forever, it means having something in moments when you’re apart, it means feeling content in the moments that you’re seated side by side and not sliding around on each other, it means being settled with the notion of just holding a hand for awhile.  And if you can’t have that, all you have is the sex.  The sweet, sticky, slippery wet act of copulation.  Makes my mouth water to think that there could be a world of people somewhere who know this, take it as religion and proffer up texts about the Cunt goddess tamed by the Cock god, and they created the world with happiness.  If God did actually give us ten commandments one of them was not Thou Shalt Not Cheat (or was it?)I know there was the whole not coveting thing, but you’re not coveting in sex, you’re sharing.  It’s the letting go and telling the truth and seeing the truth spread across the face of the girl beneath you.  That’s a powerful moment.  And if the truth is that it must be shared, that if it is too good to keep to one’s self, then it must be given to as many people as possible, like a virus of wealth and prosperity.  Maybe Matt didn’t know yet for this to be the answer, but he was closing in on it with each and every cunt.  I now knew that he was trying to find the answer, and I could hope that he would one day.  Until then he had his girl to go home with.

I learned from Sandra that I would be walking home her friend, who to this moment and time I still hadn’t learned the name of.  I didn’t bother to care really.  As we split ways outside the club and I took the Turk home I began rambling to myself, to the girl, because I couldn’t walk in silence.  I wanted to hold her hand, to let her know that I wanted to say something with my body if I couldn’t with my mouth, but surprisingly she responded to my incoherence with a bit of understanding.  Because I thought she didn’t understand a word of what I said I was why I was talking about why I rambled – I talked about why I spoke nonsense because I didn’t think she would understand it, it being the nonsense.  When I reached the point that I couldn’t just not talk, that I was a writer, she perked up and looked at me, “Writer?” she said.  I was shocked first, for her to get it, and then said that I was a reporter.  She understood that and got out “What you do now,” and I was pissed to have wasted a whole night not talking to this girl when I knew that I could find a way if she just understood a little.  I went on about being a soldier, working with helicopters, and trying to find a place to live in this soul sucking world, talking in pigeon English with necessary stuttering and hand gestures to get across the meaning where she couldn’t understand the exact word or phrase.  She got most of it, and I attempted to get her into a bar so that we could speak more, but she would have none of it.  Put her hands together and rested her head on them to signal that she wanted to sleep, and I gave up then thinking briefly that I still had a chance.  I wouldn’t be able to explain to her that we could talk honestly if we fucked, not in words she could understand to get her to agree to do away with words.  So we continued on instead toward my hostel, and I rolled into a pattern of speech recognizable in the insane – with fists toward the heavens and tones of voice reserved for political podiums.  It was enough for her to ask, “You crazy for what?” and I understood her well enough.

“I’m only looking for answers,” I said.  “If I don’t look for the meaning in life, I’ve failed to live.”

Blank stare, quizzical look.  I walked away toward the hostel entrance and she was nice enough to grab me for a hug.  Take care, I offered, and went inside to sleep.

__________________________________________________________

I was woken just an hour or so later when my roommates returned from their night out.  They too were enlisted members and I had met them earlier during the day when they checked in.  We were after all an easy lot to spot, what with the way we cut our hair and the general fact that a white, black, and Hispanic male wouldn’t be found together in civilian Germany.  They were nice enough people, out for the weekend to get away from their wives, and I had learned that they were in the veterinarian field of the Army.  Interesting, maybe, but not really.  They had nothing to provide other than asking where the bars were, where the women would be, and a look of sheer astonishment when I explained to them the capabilities of the M239-E 30 Millimeter Canon.  That part of the army they never got to touch like I did now.  They were meatheads that got a safe job working on dogs, like themselves.

This is why I was not entirely surprised, first when they entered, and secondly when I heard the broken language coming from the mouth of a girl who had joined them into the room, or been dragged along, whichever the case.  I didn’t know exactly what it was but I knew it to be related to Russian, her accent breaking deeply at the ends of phrases, words hitting the floor along with the bottles everyone was dropping.  I had at that moment been glad that I decided to fold my clothes and place them in the windowsill, fearing that beer was now covering the whole floor.  I couldn’t see too well for the lights being out, and made out like I was asleep.  Never let on that I was awake when they kept saying, “this dude is going to be so pissed,” because really I wasn’t.  I wanted to go back to sleep but I wasn’t going to blame them for being exactly what they were – lost causes.  When I say that sex is a good thing, I mean that it must be and can be if it is genuine, to be learned from.  But this was not their way, it was not a mechanism for transcendence, it was a stage for exhibitionism, as they would surely tell their stories later about the events that unfolded.

It happens this way when you see a man throw a woman he hardly knows onto the bed, skip the foreplay and pound away while his friends crawl around on the floor to get a better look, the one in his undershirt and drawers waddling up behind them and then sticking his hand into the girl’s ass, laughing as it ingests all of his fingers, laughing harder when his friend tells him to back off because his balls are hitting the knuckles, hitting the beer bottles again and spilling again whatever was left in the bottle.  I saw all of this unfold, and briefly thought that if I needed to get laid here it was in front of me.  Pass her off like a whore and go for a ride.  But that’s not me.  I can’t surrender like that.  I need sex like the next man.  But I can pass as long as I am still intact.   Never have I jeopardized my laurels to get laid, and this wouldn’t be the first.  Soon enough he was off her, maybe ten minutes of it, and they laughed themselves to sleep.  I beat them there.

__________________________________________________________

The sun woke me up first.  Soon enough I would’ve risen with the sound of the first beer bottle being kicked around by my roommates, but I was glad to have been coherent before they jumped out of their slumber.  Each had their corner of the room and the girl, still not visible from my angle, was wrapped completely in the blanket she slept in.  Her thong was left on the floor like a greasy used Kleenex, soaked maybe from the sex, maybe from the booze on the floor.  It attracted more attention than it deserved from the soldiers rising out of bed.

“Dude, I totally fisted her ass,” the Mexican one rang out with a laugh.

“I fucking know,” his bro answered.  “I could feel your hand while I was fucking.  It was gross.”

“No, it was hilarious.”

Noticing that I was awake they started to retell the story to themselves, and to me.  Every detail from the bar they were at to walking home to getting in bed to clanking around the glass on the floor to the fisting.  Real exciting stuff.  That’s when, while walking around the room picking up the pieces, they asked if I wanted a piece of ass.  Said it was real easy, just wake her up.

“I don’t even know what she looks like,” I said.

“Fuck, neither do I,” said the one who fucked her.  “She’s Ukrainian, I think.”

For the next ten minutes he and his two friends stood over her and lightly nudged her, saying, “Whore, wake up” and “get out of bed.”  She was about as responsive as a rock, if you actually stood over a rock for ten minutes expecting it to reply.  I encouraged them to check for breathing and sure enough she was alive, but here I began to wonder what might have been involved.  Before my suspicions could dive further we started to hear a groan emerge from beneath the blanket as she slowly started to wake.  When she rolled over she blurted out something in Ukrainian and sat slowly up.  She was surprisingly attractive, short brown hair cropped around the ears, the bosom full and the hips wide enough to be womanly but the legs shapely enough to be fit.  Her eyes were tight and piercing like they come in Ukraine, but her complexion was dark.  She was very attractive.  It meant nothing though as she waddled around pantless and drunk, hair pulled in all directions from a less-than-memorable escapade with these boys.  They proceeded to help her shower and clean up, and soon enough all of them were gone.  It gave me the peace I needed to do some laundry and clean up before this night that I hoped would end not too dissimilarly from there’s, minus of course the fisting.

The morning was waning but the day was still young, noon having just passed when I noticed I had a few missed calls from Matt.  It seemed frantic and distraught, the message left saying “DUDE GET HERE NOW” and I began to wonder what I could be missing.  While I was waiting for the clothes to dry I had smoked a cigarette on the outdoor veranda and could hear the parade taking place.  It seemed to me early for such a thing, and I was getting eager to join the crowd.  I rushed out the laundry that was half dry, using only the dry pieces that I needed, got into costume and began walking in the general direction of the Sternbäck, cigarette in the hand.

The first thing I noticed when I left the hostel was the Turkish vendor setup right outside the door with a cheap, small plastic table selling small bottles of Jaegermeister, that devil drink that doesn’t seem strong at 82 proof but creeps up like the hounds of hell, sweet as cider but as unforgiving as a night in purgatory.  He was all alone on the west side of town there by the train station, a quarter-mile from where the downtown area started, but it meant to me that he was catching the crowd on their way in by selling them wares of necessity – I didn’t stop for him but it meant to me that I would need alcohol, not to lift my own spirits but simply to fit in.  It was only a little past noon and I wasn’t about to seal my fate with the licorice bitch of liquor held in that green bottle.  I was going to the bar.

I got a block down and the music kept growing and I couldn’t believe that the parade had started so near to the north part of town, up near my hostel.  I had figured that it would run from the church in the middle of downtown just a little ways to the square and further to the walking bridge by the river, as it had the day before.  No.  That wasn’t the case.  Today was the day, I thought I had known, but I was still learning.  Wearing my shades in the overcast day I covered my wide eyes that spelled on my face the look of shock at the crowds of thousands of people lining the streets where the cobblestoned roads were packed with parade float after parade float, each of them full of people throwing out bags of candy and waving flags of their city and country, playing music from the sound system that hung on the sides of the car, and driving slowly, carefully to avoid the people that were stumbling drunkly into the street to catch the free sweets tossed about in the air or just to crossover to their friends.  Wanting to stop I had to fight myself, needing to meet my own friend, but all along I thought to myself that it would be impossible to locate anyone I knew amongst this mass of costumed hooligans.  In this moment it occurred to me for the first time what Fasching was – it was fucking Mardi Gras.  Why everyone insisted on calling it Fasching like it was something different blew my mind, and maybe it was because it we liked to think that Mardi Gras was somehow ours and ours alone, and this was just some cheap replication.  But no, that was not the case.  I’d like to believe that this was somehow different, more reserved in its debauchery but equally as large in its compass.  Everyone was participating from the old to the young, the drunk to the sober (though the sober were few), the white to the black, the near to the far, and all had costumes.  How I was going to find my costumed friend, with his phone dying as I was learning after repeated calls, I had no idea.  My feet kept moving because I knew Matt would be near Sternbäck and if he weren’t, well shit, there was beer there.  The objective lay before me and as I walked I saw an unrelenting line of ghouls, ghosts, goblins, pirates, pilots, bunny rabbits, sheep, prisoners, cops, rock stars, athletes, astronauts, and everything under the sun except people.  They were hidden beneath the costumes and the booze that began to gather in the street like running water.

Before long I had reached Sternbäck, or could see it from across the street.  I was met by a buttress of citizens who were gathered on both sides of the road watching the parade go by, there by the end of the street.  Sternbäck was wonderful on most nights for its beautiful location near the river but now I was panicked to think that I wouldn’t be able to cross the street to get there.  Then as I looked I noticed there was no barrier separating the people from the floats, nor was there anyone who cared when a drunkard slipped between the short spaces between vehicles to cross the road.  To just pass quickly through the families and not piss anyone off was all I had between me and the other side and shortly I saw a break, passed through and was on the other side.  Somehow by luck there was not a crowd at the door of the bar, they were in the streets and on the sidewalk and for a minute I thought I could walk in and there would be room to meet my friend and our bartender mates inside.  I was wrong.  The bar was lit up like the two nights previous and it was a sea of sweaty bodies once again, moving like the tide if the moon was hanging only mere miles from the surface, the waves flowing rapidly with the beat of the song from left to right and the only way through made by making enemies and pushing against all will to break toward the bar.  When I got there I quickly ordered up two mugs, not because I found Matt but because I needed to slam them quickly and did so with the determination of making sure to not mess this – this day was going to be fucked, so let’s fuck it.  I dropped the mugs and saw a missed call, heading outside to find my friends.

Standing on the steps of the bar looking out toward the street I knew there was no way to find a pirate in the sea of rapscallions and scallywags so closely designed with no intention to represent each other.  But there we were amongst them all and by sheer luck Matt found me standing alone on the steps like a neon light, the penguin on my shirt glowing amongst the black and blue that gathered on the faces of the people that were bruised from drinking and dancing there in public.  We joined Killian, also a pirate, and his friend Matthew, probably the only person not in costume, there at the side of the bar.  Apparently the plan was to head off to Killian’s girlfriend’s apartment where there would be a party.

“This is a good thing,” Matt said.  “Get the in with her friends.”

He talked sense and we hung out watching the people go by.  Our heads were spinning like a wind catcher during a storm at all the legs that walked by, some in Wonder Woman costumes, some like sheep, some like pirates (there were so many pirates), some in no clothes at all, some in Lego costumes, some in pilot’s flight suits, some in tight leggings and neon shirts, some like angels, some like demons, but all of them suited for a late night pull of the cunt.  God, they were so beautiful, so youthful and wet and begging to be noticed that if you could just approach them and sink your teeth into the lips of the crotch and never mind the cunt hair they would be thankful even if they never got my name.

“I’m waiting for that dare to be great moment,” Matt broke in.

“What went wrong,” I replied.  To this moment I didn’t think him one to miss those.

“She was standing outside the bar just over in a Snow White costume.” He paused to lick his lips as he pointed at the now vacant stairway.  “And in a minute she was gone.  She was blonde, tall, ugh, perfect.  That was it and I missed it.”

“There will be more,” I assured him.

Almost as if on cue a girl in a tight white garter approached Matt and handed him a pair of angel’s wings.

“Hold onto these,” she said.  “So that I may find you again.”

She walked away before he could do anything, but we all got a good laugh from the moment.  Here Matt was holding a pair of angel’s wings given to him by a girl that no one knew, but from the sight of her walking away we would all settle to know for a few minutes, or an hour, or a nighttime.  I wanted to see something funny and got to thinking, the way I always do.

“You don’t need those for her,” I said.  “Save that for your dare to be great moment.”

“What do you mean,” Matt said.

“You find the one you want and tell her, ‘I think you dropped these’.”  Everyone got a good laugh here, repeating the phrase out loud because it was honestly hilarious, but possibly genuine and worth a shot.  While Matt mimicked out the phrase in front of us he broke the wings, and abruptly it was all over.  We were still laughing but the wings were dead.  Some angels never get their wings after all.

With that the four of us headed through the alley to the open space that separate the bar from the small road leading to the more residential area, finding a nice patch of bushes amongst which to take a piss, evacuate the bladder for the first time during a day that would surely be full of vacuous moments such as these.  I zipped up and started laughing hysterically at the murderer from Scream who was break-dancing on the ground next to a boom box.  The madness just kept going on and on and on.  We walked back to the front of the bar and Killian stopped halfway to turn around and point.

“They are arresting people for pissing in public,” he laughed.

Sure enough there was a green van with costumed people in zip-tie handcuffs getting the whatnot about flashing the privates in public.  It’s a funny proposition really, because public urination is not a crime in this country.  But I suppose if the sun is up and the streets are so full that privacy cannot exist, it crosses some kind of line, the bureaucratic kind of line that exists when the lawgivers and law keepers get bored.  As stupid as it seemed I didn’t wait to find out where we stood in this margin.

“What did you stop for,” I begged.  “They could’ve seen us, keep walking.”

Matt was on my side and we grabbed them to continue on.  It was exceptionally funny when we got back to the bar and saw a guy in a rabbit costume pissing right on the corner of the building, nowhere near to hiding himself at all, and it went on and on and on and on like he had been holding it all day, the poor guy.  It was one of those minutes long evacuations that never seems to end and maybe because it took so long his friend eventually came over to catch him and drag him away with his cock still out.  Carry on, rabbit man.

“Should we head to the party,” Matt inquired.

“Maybe one more drink and then we go,” Killian said.  “There are not many people there yet.”

That was argument enough to convince us to stay a bit longer.  The parade continued to drag on and it was made apparent to me that Sternbäck had a beer cart out near the street from which we could grab whatever drink we wanted for free, it being Killian’s own and all.  A round of Hefeweisens and shots for everyone.  I’m never the one to take advantage and paid off the beers.  Killian said I was good after that, and I felt like I had shown him one of those kind moments that humans have, and in return he provided the okay to drink freely.  Shortly after the shots we were approached by the most stunning little thing dress in black sheep’s clothing, an almost ironic choice of attire for the darling with long black hair pulled back behind her face with structured cheeks and sharp blue eyes.  She said a few things to Killian and despite Matt’s attempt to get her attention walked away to her friends.  I think it was the high-five Matt gave her.  I can never tell if he goes overboard with the high-five, or if it works despite all its pastiche.  In the end it’s an icebreaker like any other and it got her attention more than my silent ogling.  Still though, this one walked away.  The pretty ones always do.  Killian went on to tell us her name was Catherine and that she he “almost made her his girlfriend,” said with the kind of regret a man has when he misses his chance.  With the way her legs dropped from her waist to the floor I couldn’t blame him for thinking it.  We all wanted to make her something of ours, or just to make her.  With the pause in conversation though I was told there was a latrine down the stairs on the other side of the cart that would make for a better urination than risking arrest.  It was also made aware to us that there were a few girls down there handing out blowjobs like the candy being tossed from the parade floats and for this reason we agreed to go down, to the latrines in hopes of going down on someone, or some thing if such whores were not human.

Matt took off with a sprint and started climbing poles and bikes and shoulders like Batman to get down there while I stared into the crowd waiting for a gap to open up.  I ducked left and then right and before hitting the opening, standing behind a man in front of me blocking my path, I saw over his shoulder a face I recognized.  I didn’t immediately put a name to it, but neither could I look away from the sweet chubbed face under the blonde hair.  Her eyes were cheerful and they grew more bright when I heard her say, after a moments staring into mine, “It’s Tom!”  Oh, fuck, I thought.  I was beat to the punch.  And from over the other shoulder of this man that stood in front of me peered the dark, brown eyes of Sophia, colored like Madonna from the 80’s, hair in pigtails, and body draped in white like a virgin’s soul.  Oh, fuck, I thought again.

It was one part awkward and one part joy.

In the back of my mind I had been wondering if I were going to run into her, mostly because I knew she would be an easy lay if I couldn’t find anything else.  But after neglecting to so much as call her it seemed to me more rude than anything else were I to run into her unannounced as I had.  She quickly came around the obstacle and stepped in front of me.

“Oh my, how are you,” she asked with a warm tone.

“I’m trying to make sense of all of this,” I said.  “I’ve been here for three days now and am having the time of my life with it.”  I thought it rude to explain how little I cared to call her and decided that this conversation might be the trigger I needed to secure a lay if the night fell through.  “It’s a wonder running into you though, good to see you.”  Not the best, but it worked well enough.

“I know, how wonderful,” she said.  “Who are you here with?”

“Matt,” I said.  “You met him some weeks ago right before New Year’s.”  I tried to point to him but he was downstairs looking for a score.  To say it that way when talking about a sub-level bathroom sounds like a cocaine race, but upon second observation the chance for tail down there was just as likely.

“I don’t remember him,” she drabbled on.

“We were here with Killian then,” and as I tried to further explain Killian himself walked up.  The two had met between myself when I was last here and again I was in the middle of the reuniting.  They drifted off into a speech of German that I could not follow, no longer trying to learn the language that would take more time than a life’s work of studying.  I stood there wondering whether or not to beat it quickly to the latrine while they spoke but Killian walked away almost as quickly as the thought crossed my mind, and again Sophia was in front of me, up close so as to pin me like the lion she is.  She has a strong spirit, killer instincts like the king of the jungle, and I could see she was not put off that I hadn’t called her since the last time we fucked.  Genuine interest seeped from each word she spoke and the questions kept coming.

“How do you know Killian,” she asked.  They went to high school together.  “We went to high school together.”

“Yes, I remember,” I said, nearly rolling my eyes.  Am I the only one that doesn’t forget things?  “Met him through Matt here a few weeks back.  You were with me.”

“Hmmmm,” she buzzed.  Maybe it was a game.  I didn’t play games.

“We’re going to a party soon, but I’ll let you know where I’m at,” I offered.  “Maybe we can meet up later.”

It was best to end it this way.  Without having spoken to her in awhile, without having called her while I was there, and without having made once to mention what I was up to would take too much explaining, and knowing that she couldn’t stand to be left in the dark I told her that she’d find out later if she cared to ask sweetly; that is, to ask with her cunt.  After sleeping with a girl a few times over the course of a couple months with no conversation in between, the arrangement made itself obvious to both parties.  She smiled as I said those last words and I knew it was just a call away, later, maybe, when no other cunt could be had.  She wasn’t a whore, but I knew her to be human like us all – she just needed a good lay once in a while.

After making my way downstairs finally to relieve my bladder we reconvened at the beer cart, the four of us standing there with another drink in our hands and the ones not named Killian eager to join the party.  Matt, Matthew, and myself had this idea that girls begat girls begat girls and everyone would get their screw in if we could just get there.  But as we watched Killian’s behavior, and once again heard him say “one more drink” we knew he was delaying.  Really, I didn’t care much either way.  The parade had ended just minutes before and the people weren’t going anywhere – they were just occupied now with kicking around the glass bottles that filled up the streets, drinking quickly to make it rise like flood waters.  All around me, amongst the broken glass, the insistent chatter of drunks, the buildings that gathered stories for when the walls would talk, there still stood thousands of people cheering, hooting, hollering for someone or anyone to give them a minute of their time and eventually see which thing would fall between their legs.  There were too many pairs of silky smooth ones for me to choose and I didn’t care now if we were at the party, in the streets, in a club, or on the moon.  The shots, which we had had a plenty few more of, were starting to make their way into my conscious, and the beer was sipping away the sobriety.  We kept bullshitting there in the street when the snow began to fall.

For the whole month before, end of January to this week at a total of about four weeks, the weather hadn’t jumped over freezing once and sat for most of the time around 5˚ Fahrenheit for most of three weeks, a hard chill even with the lack of snow on the ground.  About seven days before it had broken the freezing threshold and again we were treated with something near 45˚ for a few days, which let me believe it was rescinding rapidly.  But here, in the overcast grey of the clouds that covered the sky and hid the sun behind a drape of water began to fall first little droplets of water and then ice and then snow that whipped about in the air like a smoke blown from a pipe.  It wasn’t immediately surprising, what with the winds so high all day, that snow should form in the clouds during the day, but surreal and fantastic in a storybook kind of way.  For all the things that could teach me that I was truly on the other side of the planet, for all the objects and streets and buildings and trains and fortresses and castles that could show me what Europe looked like, for all the languages that were spoken and the food that was eaten and for all the rivers that lined the trees that lined the roads that lined the walls of the churches that sat atop the hills that overlooked the city that could in no greater way place before me a portrait of a country that was not mine, for all the times I struggled to put together the signs in Deutsch that meant nothing to my feeble mind, for all the women that wore their dresses and high heels on a normal day and not just when they were going out but because it was the way to do things, for all the ways that people drank beer here without cessation but never with excess, for all the little cars that lined the sidewalks next to the apartments, and for all the history that punched me in the face on every corner, sticking out like Halloween on Christmas, I had yet to have that phantasmal moment where I knew once and for certain that I was not in Kansas anymore.  No, for the first time I knew I was somewhere else.  Away from everything that was predictable and repeated and cloned and sad and boring and lacking the color of life, so here I could feel it on the skin and watch it fall from the goddamned sky.  It was in the water that made the snow and the wind that sat it down quietly like a feather dropped from a soaring eagle, it was tender to the touch but carried with it the weight of a wrecking ball to the mind – goddamnit here I was in southern Germany with people I hardly knew having the best time of my life doing nothing more than drinking, drinking heavily, grabbing ass and blowing kisses while wearing costumes and thinking nothing more than of who I wanted to fuck in the corners, to be someone else behind the shades and the think not of the problems of the world or the sadness that welled beneath us all like a reservoir but to focus on the visceral actions that exist when a man meets a woman and within minutes know what lies ahead, to act upon it, and to all the while share that kind of excitement that two people have when they know they are together even just for a day, one with the other and nothing more than important the music that will make them dance, the laughs that will spill from their mouths, the drinks that will keep them warm and the night that would put them together.  The snow continued to fall and I stared up into the grey sky, not feeling at all the cold chill that enveloped us all, barely clothed in our costumes but warm from the excitement that even in the fucking air was telling us we didn’t know what was coming next.  The sun was still up, the drinks were still free, the women were still loose, and the snow continued to fall.  It must’ve looked like something out of a movie, the way no one was bothered at all by the streetcars that drove by sucking up trash into their mobile receptacles, or the glass that broke beneath their feet with each step, or the growing need for warmth as the snow melted to water that cooled with the breeze that continued to get strong.  It felt real.  It felt cold.  It pierced to the spine of the soul, it made one aware of his surroundings and our surroundings were not of this earth, were not human.  What was being conducted here in the streets said nothing for the Renaissance of man and instead spoke highly for the coming days of tribulation.  Seven years of trial! Who will come before the judge to spread your legs wide and take all elements of poking and prodding to feel real?  Who will risk your welfare to step into the never-ending snowfalls for just a minutes worth of pleasure?  Who will forsake eternity for the chance at a fuck?  We all said we would.  Sign us up.  And the bartender poured another drink.

This euphoria shrouded me for so long that I hadn’t noticed my friends eating something resembling a pizza, gnawing away frantically at a hunger that came from a whole weekend’s worth of drinking accomplished in a mere few hours.  It dawned on me that I had yet to eat, and realized that I wasn’t much hungry still; the alcohol probably had more than filled my stomach and made no room for food.  I’d get my carbs and protein from the darker beers and hope they held off the kind of drunken stupor that often follows the path I was walking down.  Killian pointed down an alleyway, suggesting we follow him to a döner stand where we could eat.  Out of spite I counter-suggested that we take a shot first.  “But of course!” he shouted, and there we all were once again holding our seventh or eighth shot of Jaegermeister, the one cold bitch I promised not to betroth ever again.  The bitches we want least always seem to find a way back, if only for one last stab of the heart.  The snow was still falling as we knocked the shots back and Matt, now catching up to my rapture, shouted out loud to no one, “This must be recorded!”  I slapped him on the back and just smiled to myself.  He continued to scream, “Only the elements of literature can properly preserve this weekend!”

“Oh, it will have its place,” I said.

“Only the history books can hold this day together forever!” he continued.

“I’m already working on it,” I said, as he looked at me, catching on now.  “It’s going to be called ‘Everyone’s Wearing Costumes’.”

“I’m counting on you for this,” he said, snapping back to the reality that I was as sure of writing it as he was of having the time of his life, and as sure as he was learning to accept that I’m as strange and odd as I sometimes can lend to be.  He knew I was thinking too much all the time, even for someone that knew me very little and for only a short time.  I never could figure out if it was as marked of me as the color of my skin or that I wanted to be known that way, but it was always obvious in just that fashion.  The things I did, the words I used, the grins on my face, the way I watched the masses move, they all added up to a man stuck between swimming in the sewage and climbing in the trees, both equally savage but only one with a vantage point by which to watch the other.  The sheer fact that I had in place the title and the elements by which it would be centered should account for some kind of madness, the story not even yet complete but the work already in place.  I guess it’s like life in that way – if we wait until it’s over to start making sense of it we’ve failed to do anything sensible.  It would be about the costumes and eventually my behavior, our behavior, the way we were all masking something from someone.  But in this moment I was masking nothing, letting him know that despite the way I looked and drank at the moment that I was still the writer underneath.  Matt here recognized that my spirit was still high, that maybe I could still be of some use in the world down below where the only one’s to find their trophies were the ones who made a mockery of themselves because they didn’t exist, just the idea of them existed.  I too often like to think that I exist in this world, and so choose to make it better with my lofty ideas, and here I wanted him to know that I was capable of both.  It’s unfortunate that sitting here now it’s been three weeks since that day, but the words always find their way to the page when the meaning is meant to be shed.

The movement of feet got the heart racing and the blood pumping and I knew the alcohol was flooding in when the next hour seemed like minutes.  We finally found that döner stand and I stepped in to eat half of one, as much as I could take, for the caverns of my body were as full as the Cask of Amontillado, ripe with enough wine and spirits to drown any man behind the bricks of the life he’s created.  Somehow in the blur of eating a döner, which I paid for with the ten euro bill that someone handed me thinking I had dropped, and trying to drink a beer on a near run’s pace in the falling snow-turned-ice-turned-rain, we ended up at the door of a club that I thought near my hostel, for whatever reason that might turn advantageous.  My memory in finding it seems pervasive as we enter into the dark inside, but I trust my internal compass when it says I’m across the street in the shopping area immediately from the train station.

Walking in I immediately recognized that this club would be the like from last night, and the one from the night before, and the one from when I was in college and the one from when I was right out of school and in high school and back in Austin and in Austin for the first time and when visiting Los Angeles or living in Hampton or like all other bars across the earth, all the same.  But finally, maybe from the drunk, maybe from the impressed acknowledgement that this would be my last night, maybe from the costume that hid the man beneath, I had nothing to fear and for the first time began to have a good time in a place that heretofore I had never once enjoyed, returned to, or wished for more.

“Primal?” I said to Matt as we entered.  The rooms were backlight with a low read light, which got even lower in my eyes behind the shades.  Something about wearing shades inside did not seem any more ridiculous than anything else that had or could happen on this Sunday.  The walkway led up to the bar, lengthways on the right with the dance floor of equal proportion to the left.  If you walked to the end of the bar and took a left to come back where you entered you’d discover a whole ‘nother room, with its own bar, but we didn’t make it that far before Killian looked back at us from the middle of the bar and waved for us to follow him, the way people do when they are walking one direction and turned facing the other.  It signaled to us, without any misinterpretation, that we needed to get back there.

Through the segregation of the bar we passed a chain and entered a draped room, long and narrow to both sides and easily recognizable as what once was a kitchen is now used to store kegs and racks of bottled beer, stacked high in the corners at both ends with the old stoves and ovens and refrigerators lining the walkway in the middle.  There were about ten other young men and women in the room, each seated or propped up against some piece of industrial cookware, most all of them smoking.  Smoking what, I’m not too certain, and not too interested.  But the idea of a cigarette to calm this madness was tantalizing and quickly the fumes were burning in my hand.  We were invited as friends of Killian to drop our coats above an old closet, where they were safer, and then handed a beer.  Turns out everyone knows Killian and its good to be one of those people.

Having no one in particular to speak to beside ourselves Matt turned to me and said, “Can you believe the sun is still up?”

“You couldn’t tell by the darkness in here,” I replied.

“And that I’m as drunk as I should be at midnight,” he said.

When the cigarettes were done we exited the room and went back into the bar.  Finally in a groove, finally no longer caring, finally saying if this were to be the place, if this were to be the day, if this were to be night, the time, the hour, this were to be it, I had to do it.  Fuck all the things I knew and didn’t know, wanted and didn’t want, needed and didn’t need, the searching for something deeper, more affable to the wandering mind and more genial to the searching soul, fuck the things that allowed me to distance myself from the rats at the bottom of the sewer and swim with them, we’re all rats, “it’s primal,” it’s the way of the people and the people hold the vote these days, they have the voice, not for the pursuit of government and economy but for culture that is windswept with the cries for more primordial ooze, the cries for more freedom that allows for no progress, consumption only of the wicked, the bile, the animalistic, the foul…  These words are so strong for something that is spread across the earth, and I wonder now, and again, why these things seem forbidden?  Why am I so contrived to believe that these things are not for me in the same way that they are not for the pure, that by searching from some enlargement of the soul in a Socratic way that I am not much different from the believers who curse the same activity for a wholly opposite reason, that our actions are different by intent?  Surely neither religion nor philosophy has saved the world from itself and the only answers that exist can be found in the world’s world, of the people’s people, if we are to know something about the way things work we have to watch the way things work.  Discussions of higher things real and unreal do not lead to the goal of the night and the prize of the hour, the pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth when two people meet in the hay, when two people fall hand over heels for each other and never learn their names but instead study the folds of the skin that rolls from the waist to the crotch and further down to the feet where they will land the next morning happily after retrieving that end.  It’s what we all want.  The animal beneath the costume knows.

It was with that feeling that I started making my rounds through the dance floor, like some maniac without a head manifesting thoughts from his cock.  The lights were low enough and the mood high enough that no one seemed to care.  The part in the movie where everyone throws their hands in the air and just begins gyrating back and forth to the pulse of the beat, not caring if the roof were set on fire and the water rained down from the sprinklers, touching bodies as I slithered through the crowd like a serpent, hearing this voice and seeing that face and finding not at the moment any particular interest of my own, mostly because everything was black as night through the shades that I never removed.  It was as if they created for me a shield by which I couldn’t even see my own self, the partition to the mind of the saint I thought was inside, I could no longer care or touch or feel like who I thought I was and became for the moment my inner self, my animal ego.  Cunning like a fox, with the movements of the paws as dancelike as the red-furred coon that jumped and hopped through the forests scavenging for a nut, with equal movements up in the air and across the land, smooth with the instinct of a lifetime of repetition.  But like the fox also I had to put my sights on all the land, capture the environ to make my plan of attack and see where the sustenance could be found, the food of life that keeps the heart pumping with blood, the lungs full with air, the bones nice and strong, the pushing out the red blood cells rich with oxygen to hydrate the muscles that put the whole skeletal body in motion, and forging ahead without stopping to think for even a second about what’s happening because the instinct has taken over, the smell of cunt was in the air and the parts moved like a specter through the air to haunt the present tense until someone screamed “YES!”

While getting my bearings straight I discovered a door that lead outside and wondered what marvels there were through the door, if I now felt comfortable in a skin and environ that wasn’t mine it surely would be a dream to take that bliss into a space I called my own.  Outside it was bright with two flood lamps lighting the patio, half of it covered with a tarp, groups of guys and girls gathered around smoking cigarettes and saying sweet nothings that I couldn’t decipher.  I propped myself up in between two groups and lit my square, sucking in the fumes to get my fix.  It wasn’t even a minute passed when I heard a voice in my ear.

“Your… costume,” I head a stuttering woman’s voice say.  The accent let me know she was struggling to communicate not for excess of alcohol for lack of English comprehension.  “It is sexy.  I… want to… fuck you.”

And there it was.

“We can make that happen,” I said as I grabbed her by the ass and slid my hand down the cheeks, inside the tight fitting leggings and under the crotch until my hands found the wet spot.  I fingered her there as we stood amongst the crowd, some noticing and others oblivious, telling her the things I wanted to do to her.

“Let’s get out of here and I’ll make you cum,” I said, pulling her behind me with my hands still sunk in between her legs.  We made it to the bar where I ordered us both drinks, making our way to the dance floor to focus less on dancing and more on the insides of all her orifices, exploring the mouth with my tongue like a tick searching for bacteria, crawling with 20 pairs legs to feel each nanometer of the gums and teeth and tonsils to the back of the throat, warm and moist enough like the cunt that was open for my hand, fingers whirling around like an egg beater and creating the same kind of moist dough in a mixing pot as I was in her gash.  She responded by going at the cock like she was drying a towel, wringing it with one hand until it was dry.  Back and forth on the erection in my pants, no one seeing anything for the darkness, for the booze colored filters we all looked through, but me and her feeling every bit of the almost-fuck that was going on.  It carried on this way and I thought myself to leave, whether by boredom or by wanting to leave her wanting more, let her on and go my way.  I was getting my jollies but I wanted something more, needed something with more promise.  This whore might provide that but the way she gave me a tug on the floor left me with the impression that that was all I would get.  I walked away immediately and went through the chain to the kitchen, not stopping to get anyone’s approval and just walking back like I owned the place.

Once back there I grabbed another beer without asking.  It felt privileged to be able to run amok this foreign land, grabbing, stealing, cahooting and cavorting about like I had done this a hundred times and was the king of the castle while all the peasants were out in the room still paying for their drinks and salivating at the chance of a hookup.  Upon making another round through the club I discovered Matt, alone in the corner with a dark, round faced woman, short a slim with all the features of a Romanian.  “This is Bianca,” he said, and I cordially shook her hand.  It was best to leave him off and went my own way again through the bar, assuring him again with a wave that I’d be all right, he needed to do his thing.  The cunty whore that I had hogtied with my fingers earlier was passing by with another man rapid-like, near the door outside, leading him on probably to the filthy bathroom stalls for a screw and as she saw me walk by she leaned up and kissed me on the lips, like it was something sensual and romantic and not coming from the mouth of a whore.  Probably just got the mouth syphilis, who knows.  I ignored it and walked outside for a cigarette, to see if the landscape had changed or the grass had grown any greener.

Not as soon as I had stepped outside had I reached into my pocket to discover that my phone had a message from Sophia, trying to figure out where I was.  By now the sun had gone down and I saw that it was only 9pm.  Actually she didn’t seem to care where I was – it read “Can you be at my place in 15 minutes?”  The point was clear, the message right and the intent was enough to guarantee me that I could get what I needed, what I wanted – a red-handed slough with a trick.  Knowing that the night was young and the need was pressing, I had the first truly nasty thought I had had in a long while – I could score Sophia for a few hours and still return to find this girl that I had thrown around like a loose piece of meat.  First I had to find her here and make sure that I could harangue her in a bit when the time was right.

She was on the dance floor by herself now and I moved right in.  Before I could speak she hopped up to seat her ass on the bar that separated the rooms and brought me into her, slipped right in between her meaty thighs that wrapped around my waist.  Losing track of what I was doing I dropped my fingers again into her cunt pulling the pants down below the waist and working up a nice stew in between her legs, letting her return by grabbing the seat of my pants and asking for the cock to drop in, but I wouldn’t do it.

“I need your number,” I said to her.  Pulled out the phone and let her key in the numbers.  “I’m going to call you later,” and turned to walk away.  Before I could out of her legs she grabbed ahold of me with them and tried to pull me back in, and when I unhooked my fingers from her slit she got the message.  At this she pushed me away and grabbed the nearest male figure and brought him in the same.  His look of surprise was priceless, expecting maybe for me to return with blows, but instead I only said in his ear, “She’s a catch, isn’t she?” and tapped him on the shoulder to reassure him he was getting exactly what came to him for standing there.

Sophia was reassured that I could be there in 15 minutes, and for all my weary headed thinking I thought I could too.  Her apartment was just across the main highway bridge less than a quarter-mile from the train station, where I thought the bar was.  I was mostly right and found my way across the street begin my walk over the river.  It was eerily quiet as I made my path along the walkway near to the few cars that drove by.  There didn’t seem to be many people out at this time and I chalked it up to the running out of a day that started way before it should’ve, if by should’ve we mean that we want to stay out until 5am and needed to better pace our alcohol intake to achieve this end.  No sounds, not many lights, few vehicles, fewer opportunities to something stupid.  I took a second to gather in the sight below me as the chunks of frozen ice continued to flow down the river from end to another, thawing slowly out of the freeze that let the river once again run like a… well, a river I suppose, making its way to the power plant.  The apartments were setup like any other modern complex where the buildings rose high with the likewise number of tenants.  Nothing special, but it was a roof over a head.  I found the building and made my way to the top where her flat was located, knocking gingerly on the door so as not to wake anyone.

She opened it, wearing only her nightclothes, and said “Hello.”  I thought it was funny and instead brought my hands to her face, clutching the back of her head and bringing her in for a kiss.  We moved together like that down the hallway and into her room where I kicked the door closed and threw on the bed.  Without any more words we moved as if we were talking the whole time.  She down on her back and I in between her open legs, running my hands up and down her sides and along the grooves of her large ass, seating them comfortably behind the cheeks and squeezing like I was juicing an orange, but instead juicing a cunt.  Juicy, juicy.  She was more than ready to receive me but I held it off, instead grabbing at the pants and ripping them down below her waist and off past her feet, not even wearing panties, and stuffed my face down in her crouch, lapping at the lips of her vagina like a dogs laps water, up and down with big huge movements getting the water to come and sucking hard to make her moan, around and around it went until she was ready to burst.  I saw her arch backward with an audible grunt that she had come and watched her make the the motion of rolling over, pulling on my hair to pull me up to her, kissing her on the lips with the stain of her orgasms still on my lips and face.  She sat up and pushed me down backwards where my legs stuck out, beginning to rip at my clothes like a thief digging through a chest of robes looking for the jewels at the bottom, finding my cock finally unveiled and sinking it deep to the back of her throat.  As I stroked her hair she moved up and down with her head to stimulate my prick, and this time I learned that she had gotten better with given head.  The last time I was here some six weeks ago I grimaced as she literally sunk her teeth into the tip of my cock, asking her to stop after just a few minutes, “I’m ready to fuck,” I had said then, but knew that something else was up.  Now she worked it like a seasoned veteran, the right amount of pull and tug, using the hand to work the balls underneath, going at it with a hunger of a thousand-year’s starvation.  She looked up, “I can’t take it anymore,” she said, and hopped on top guiding the cock with her hand into her cavity, riding on top and working the hips back and forth.  Her eyes closed as she put her hands behind her head to twirl her hair about, not because she was distracted, she was consumed by the feeling of my prick inside of her.  The bitch needed this badly and was getting exactly what she wanted.  We worked like that back and forth, sometimes her moving forward and back and other times I would lift her up by her ass so that she was squatted above me and there I would rise with my hips up and down, sliding in and out of like greased pipe in a bowl of Jell-O, the pieces fitting together too well for it to be human, romantic, on purpose, this passion was severe and severed from any kind of emotional other than the one’s relevant to getting in a fuck, the only thing on mind.

She came in that position, vibrating on top of me, shaking like a bolt of lightning, and pausing to catch her breath.  Immediately I threw her down and got on top.  The juices from the orgasm made her walls seem like the sucking wall of a whirlpool, the dense feeling of the flesh lost to the cool sensation of the water that pulled inward toward the womb, a rush of wet coolness and not the sticky warmness of a woman’s innermost cavity.  Lift up and lay over and in and out of her, I’m not even sure she was aware there was a human being on top of her, if I can be called one, she probably thought only of the touch of fireworks in her cunt, ravished by the electricity of a thousand bolts to a cadaver replenished with life, unable at first to comprehend the simplest of computations, the mildest of pain, the wonderings the knowledged man who walks the streets aware he alive and loaded with the problems of the human condition, this cadaver needing only in this moment to know that its flesh once again moves, it heart once again beats and it spirit is lifted, sucked into the flesh of the body as it emerges from the womb of the soul, the last thing to flitter the eyes because its incapable mind must square its thoughts completely on the nerves that run shock through the appendages and the torso and back to the head again, eyes closed in the rush of the to the head that swells when the nerves bolt the brain with too much to handle, too many feelings at once and the eyes shut out so that it can think only of what is going on inside.  I was inside, I was penetrating her soul, not because we connected but because she was revealing something about herself.  I could see it on her face.

She sent a few more orgasms out of her slit and, because it’s her favorite position, she got back on top.  Slowly she started to roll the hips again and there again it was – I looked down at the place where the crotches met and saw blood seeping from her, down onto my cock and spreading across my pubic region.  The surprise I got from the first time her womb dropped all over me, back three months ago, mostly prepared me this [https://allofasuddenly.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/the-horror/].  But I don’t think there’s any way to be prepared for a girl to bleed out on your cock.  In any case I met it with the biggest amount of humor I conjure.

“Sophia,” I broke the silence.  “Are you near to your period?”

“No, why do you ask?”

I could only look down at her gash, in a way that meant for her eyes to follow mine.

“Not again,” she moaned, as the terror spread across her face.

When she got off of me I just went through the motions to clean myself, and as I got up to open the door I started laughing hysterically, the comedy was just too much.  Here I was trying to get my dick wet, with a woman that I knew well and found attractive, but every time I give her another chance she bleeds all me.  I feel bad for her.  How many men has she lost because her cunt decides to split open each time they fuck?  She tried to say something to me about her roommates being home, but I wasn’t listening.  I just tore across the hallway still erect and covered in blood, laughing.  Behind me I could her shutting the door to her room, and I entered the bathroom to wash my cock and legs, dispose of the condom, and make sure I was clean.  When the red was gone from my skin I walked with a limping cock back into her room, she was standing in a robe by the window smoking a cigarette.  I started laughing again.  Her one hand with the cigarette was out the window and her other arm was hanging onto the opposite shoulder draped across her chest.  For someone to look to beaten, so defeated, and so confused, it was not the most warm welcome to be laughed at.

The whole thing unfolded so quickly that I couldn’t even think of what to do.  I wanted to leave immediately and search after that whore from before, but I was still naked and in the presence of a girl who, also nude, would suck and fuck.  I just sat down on the bed, dick going slowly limp, and chuckled to myself, still unable to make out what to do.  Sophia rolled over and spooned up next to me, her breasts lying against my skin, not saying a word.

It was unlikely that anything would come from this more, I thought, but I wasn’t in the mood to stop – not today, not on the day I didn’t think before acting.  I rolled to her side where she would be below me and started working again at her with my fingers, thinking that the bleeding wasn’t so bad and if it the plowing were soft enough, maybe it wouldn’t happen again.  As I worked the fingers inside and out of her, she started to warm from the touch, arousing the swirling motion I was making between her legs, and like a remote control pet she started purring with the touch of the right buttons, sat up and put me inside her mouth.  The game played on like this for a few minutes, she stuffing her face on my crotch while I diddled her pink lips.  I was hoping she’d warm up to the idea of another screw but her moans turned to groans and soon enough, “I just don’t think I can do it again.”

“Well, where can I go,” I said, frustrated that my cock was up and bluing with the tease.  I stood up and held her face to follow my hands, ending up at my cock, standing over her while she sat on the bed and continued gargle down.  It was the most wonderful thing, to stand over a woman like that, and have them eat away you.  I don’t want to say it’s because it’s powerful, or demands something of a woman much like a slave, but I can’t quite put words to the feeling.  In any case I hadn’t had a woman swallow me whole and take a load to the mouth in a very long time, and I was enjoying the way her tongue tickled the base of my cock.  Then…

“Don’t cum in my mouth,” she laid.

I laughed.

Laughed hysterically out loud, because at this moment it seemed like no thing could go my way, no thing could get any worse, even though it wasn’t that bad.  It was a failed attempt all weekend, in some respects most of them sexual, and to have come close and have it ruined was in no way worth anything more than laughter.

“You can leave,” she said.  The tone wasn’t demanding, more like a congenial apology on her behalf.  I supposed being laughed at after bleeding from your vagina isn’t the best feeling in the world.

“What do you want me to do, really,” I asked rhetorically.  “You alright?”

“I’m fine.  There’s no need to talk about it.  Really you can leave.”  This time it was more of a suggestion, not a release.

I started chuckling a little before speaking.  It was only 11pm and here I was being ushered out of her apartment, as I wanted originally, without having done anything.  I wouldn’t even come out of this as the bad guy.  But somewhere inside of this sack of bones emerged the soul that genuinely cares.  I wouldn’t stay, but I couldn’t leave her broken.

“Is there anything I can do for you,” I asked.  She didn’t answer.  Since the first time with her, with the first bleeding, seeing the family photos when I left then, knowing that she had lost a long-term relationship recently, that she was living now in a different life than she had ever before, I knew enough to guess something major with her was wrong.  She tried desperately to fuck it away, using the sex to distract the mind, and still her body tortured her.

“Let me tell you a story,” I said.  She tried to say something, but didn’t know where I was going with this.  Neither did I.

“The whole time I was growing up I knew I was going to the university, just knew that I would come out and make something of myself,” I started.  Oh boy.  “There lived inside me some grand determination, some indefinable spirit that told me to do whatever I wanted, and I did.”

“I’m not sure why you’re saying this,” she broke in.

“I got out, I had a girl that would become my wife, and I had my career.  And then I went and fucked it all away.”  My hands started flying through the air as I spoke, getting dressed all the while, tying my shoes, etc., with the discursive passion of a maniac.  “I had it all.  And then it was gone.  And in spite of all the things that have gone wrong, that passion inside of me to achieve great things still exists, and has only grown.  It’s as if I will impact the world in more ways than Christ on the cross!”

We started laughing together.  Myself with insanity, her at my insanity.

“You are crazy!” she shouted, as if to push me out the door with her words.

“And no matter that feeling, no matter how many days go by that I have yet to seize that ambition, I have to live with it!  I am tortured by the spirit of my self that I cannot define, but I do not want to change!  If it weren’t for that ambition and that reckless identity I would not even be here, here in Germany, and living my without abandon.”

She threw out her cigarette and began demanding there that I leave.

“Do not let whatever is torturing you,” I said, “do not let that ghost haunt you.  Or you’ll be dead for as long as you live.”

When we reached the door I turned around to grab her in my arms and kiss her deeply on the lips.  She didn’t pull away, and when it was thoroughly impressed upon her, I turned around to leave.  Down the stairs I went and back after that cunt from the club that I didn’t even have a name for.

There was frost on the cars as I walked alone down the sidewalks.  I took a different path back downtown, along the river to the footbridge instead of across and down by the businesses.  There was a quaint little walking park on this side, saddled with trees, and for only a few minutes past 11pm there was no one beside myself.  It was beginning to dawn on me that the night would be ending quickly, if it hadn’t already.  I took the time to walk casually and smoke a cigarette, mostly because it was below freezing by now and my blazer wasn’t going to cut it any longer.  The alcohol was wearing off, the hunger setting in, and I needed either a beer or a woman.

After making it across the footbridge I recognized a large pirate hat walking in my direction, and the silhouette had with it the figure of a small woman by the arm.

“You filthy whore!” I shouted.

“Who did you expect,” Matt said back, as we got closer.  “This is Bianca.  Did you already meet Bianca?”

“Yes, yes, back at the club.  You know what’s still going on anywhere?”

“No, it’s all kind of dying.”

“I can tell.  Probably going to grab a beer somewhere.  There’s a salacious whore back at that last club I’m looking for.”

“Ludwig?  Mostly busted up now.”

“Whatever, I’ll find something.  Y’all can go your way.”

“Catching a cab now.”

“If I don’t see you tomorrow you can read about it when I’m done.”

I walked over to Sternbäck since it was right up the street from the bridge and walked in, hoping for the best.  From the outside the music was still blaring, but inside remained only remnants of the day’s lot.  There were about 20-30 people dancing drunkly throughout the bar, but most of them were not single 20-to-30-somethings, the object, the desire.  Slammed a beer and began on foot looking for Ludwig, as it was apparently called.  I passed through the downtown on a mission, looking for that piece of gold that might be present.  But when I got to the approximate location of where I remembered and thought it to be, I saw no signs of life, or signs of any kind.  Not even business signs.  I remember distinctly not seeing any nomenclature outside representing a club when we first entered, but now, with most of the people gone, nearly all of the people gone, there was no way to know which unmarked door was the interest.  I heard no loud music coming from anywhere, and decided to get somewhere, anywhere with a shot.  Start over and see what happens.  I began to walk back to the hostel and started to hear loud music emanating from a glass-walled building I could see from a couple yards out.  It was located just across the street from my hostel and I thought to myself that this might be the shot I was looking for.

When I got to the door I could see that about 40 people were jammed inside of the single room that was about 20 feet by 20 feet in space, all of the drinking and talking wildly while the DJ spun Deadmau5’s “Ghoast’s ‘N Stuff,” a recognizable tune that at the moment I didn’t want to take.  It was great house electronic, but played so loudly there was no way to talk to anyone here.  And no one was dancing, so there wasn’t that do even.  As I turned from the floor back to the bar I ordered up a hefeweisen from a shirtless male about my age.  Whatever, I thought, it was hot in there, and it was Fasching.  But then, like a vulture swooping in for prey, another taller shirtless male raced in through the doorway, behind the bar, and pounced on the bartender, the two of them rolling to the floor locked at the lips, the sweat from their bodies sticking to the mixture of carpet and tile.  They rolled there for a good three minutes like a dog-pile in a football game, almost as violently, and I’m sure from the scene they were happy to finally be together, despite however long they were apart.  It was close to the most romantic thing that happened all weekend anywhere in town, but it wasn’t for me.  I slammed the mug back and walked across the street without even checking the traffic lights.  Within minutes I was in my bed, undressed, and sleeping.

At least I thought.  I was fully clothed and lying on top of the mattress sheets when I woke up.  I had a new roommate and hoped I didn’t wake her when I came in last night.  I shuffled through my memory, which didn’t work, but opened up my phone to discover I had dialed a mystery number.  Must’ve been the girl from the club.  Wished I thought of that earlier when the night was still mostly young, or right after I left Sophia’s.  I also wished that I had eaten yesterday.  Half a döner?  I think that’s all I had.  It felt like the truth in the pit of stomach anyway.  That dry, just waking up feeling that you get when you’re hung over was engulfing my entire body and mind and I didn’t even care to secure my things before taking a shower.  Just stripped right down there in the middle of the room and walked out with nothing but a towel around me.  Didn’t care who saw, I think no one did.

When the cleaning was done I checked out of the hostel and walked outside to light a cigarette.  Extreme hangovers are the only times that I can’t stomach smoking a cigarette, feelings of dizziness and dehydration sinking in until I’m close to falling over like a sack of potatoes.  It never stops me though, and I stood there smoking through the fog of smoke that filled my eyes.  Thank God I had partially filled my water bottle the day before.  Took that down like I’d been seeking water for days; in fact, I was, but I was only getting it in alcohol.

When the light of day started to break into my mind, I knew that my time in this city was over.  There’s always a feeling at this time – of regret, or remorse, of loss, of sadness.  All of these feelings were birds of various species flying around in the sky of my spirit, but all converging at once to become one flock – I didn’t want to go back.  I wanted to spend the day exactly as I had the last three, I wanted to sit down and write about the things I had done, I wanted to let the world know what it felt like to be someone else for a few days, I wanted to extract myself from the world’s ordinary shit and spend some time on myself like I had planned, I wanted to call Sophia and tell her to not hate me, I wanted to go to the club and start ordering gin and tonics, I wanted to walk through the brick-lain streets and eat bratwurst mit bröchen, I wanted to disappear and watch the world go by, I wanted to drink a thousand lakes of water, I wanted to sit under the sun and think about nothing, I wanted to feel the stroke of a woman’s hand down my backside if only to feel tenderness, I wanted to walk through the woods and climb the trees to never come down, I wanted to start over, I wanted to go back to Friday and try it all again differently and see what I could learn, learn more, I wanted again to not think like this and be the person who, for three days, wanted nothing, needed nothing, asked for nothing, and took only the things that came his way, without goal, without dreams, without anything more than two eyes that wandered away with a pair of legs and two hands that found their way up the middle.  I certainly didn’t want to go back, not to the post.  It happens this way every time, really.  But each time it gets worse, every weekend that I have away is a moment of revitalization like I’d found the fountain of youth and at once wanted both to never grow old and to return to the hinterland and declare that I had found the secret!  I returned with new vitality, new evisceration, new life that from Monday to Friday slowly died working away at the bones like a hammer until release – release to go away and travel this beautiful world, the world I’ve only seen in books and looks nothing similar in real life, has so much more to offer.  More than a book only real life can provide for us the change we need, the moments that shake us, often physically, and out the end we emerge anew.

But there’s always a repression, and that ordinary world that wants taxes and paychecks and shiny cars and debt bills and credit scores, well, it was still in control.  I’m not sure how to break free of it.  So I try to break free one step at a time, if for only a few days.

Feeling shackled I put my shades back on and walked to the train station to go home.

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  1. Before Me Lied A New Dawn | T for Tom said, on December 28, 2013 at 1:49 am

    […] its forms would be.  This made the evenings sparkle with possibilities.  Over those few months I spent three consecutive days in the sewers of the Carnival abyss, drenched in the beer and liquor and wine that seemingly fell from the sky during German Fasching, […]


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