Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment # 59)

By the way, Gerlinde, when I accidentally met our friend Kurt last Tuesday at REWE, he told me – under the pledge of secrecy – that, regardless of his considerable age, he will separate from Hannelore if, like in the previous years, she insists as stubbornly as she always did that we again book our next summer vacation together, Carl said at 22.20 hours when the temperature was still 28 degrees Celsius directly in front of the ice bar. This must have been the eighteenth time he wiped over his forehead with the same paper napkin.

Mind you, he added while steering Gerlinde towards the interior of the parlour, the nightmare was basically due to the word ‘together‘ as Kurt had put it while simultaneously, with the usual anxious nodding of his head, he had stacked ten cartons of ‘Philadelphia Cheddar‘ into his trolley.

Because his lamentable experiences last year between October and the end of the year regarding this year’s summer vacation was decidedly over the top, even if said top were that of a huge pregnant dairy cow, Kurt had said as they stood in the middle of the air-conditioned food area at REWE!

Since, however, neither Gerlinde nor Carl were able to decide spontaneously which of the numerous unoccupied tables to take in the neon-yellow sub-tropically warm ice-cream parlour – which was wide open at the front towards the street -, Carl shortly interrupted his report about Kurt’s confidential separation revelation while meandering from one table to the next until Gerlinde flung herself on a chair at the very back of the establishment and declared with a moan: it will be either here or I will suffer a break down on the spot!

Carl raised his eyebrows in disappointment but then – still dripping with perspiration – , after having joined Gerlinde and in the process almost having toppled over the neighbouring table, said that Kurt had talked about 34 travel brochures from five different travel agencies. Hannelore had forced him to work through all of them meticulously, along with making him to listen to 18 presentations in various adult education centres and libraries about travelling through Patagonia and diverse pole regions, through Australia and New Zealand, doing a desert safari and three different round-the-world-trips, as well as four meditation courses in Austrian and Greek convents. And all of it just because Hannelore could not make up her mind about what sort of vacation she wanted in which region of the world…

Gerlinde – holding the open ice-cream menu and pointing at a vanilla ice-cream fruit cup with plenty of cream with her right, almost stiff, index finger – said that she was not really surprised by this lament of Kurt’s. In fact, she, too, had already noticed that Hannelore seemed to become more and more indecisive as she grew older!

Since this was already the third time the waiter asked for their order, Gerlinde finally, with a threatening look at Carl, ordered her fruit ice-cream cup while Carl, although sitting in front of the several-page long ice-cream menu, was not yet ready to order more than a bottle of sparkling mineral water. Beyond that, he asked for a little patience as far as his ice-cream order was concerned and told Gerlinde that, when they were talking about this ‘monstrous vacation choice procedure‘ at REWE, Kurt had, above all, been angry with Hannelore because they were now, as a result of all this tedious work, starting a two-week trip to Portugal. To be precise: to a wellness hotel in the Algarve, where currently you had to endure 42 degrees Celsius in the shade and there were already forest fires twenty kilometres away that looked like they were never going to end …

Great – was Gerlinde’s laconic reply, before she took pity on the desperate waiter and ordered a CARLOS I (which was the least she could do) while Carl now at long last started to really get involved with the ‘ice-cream varieties‘ on the menu. Without giving the waiting steward a single glance, he told Gerlinde that, basically, his order was very easy. After all, he only wanted three balls of ice-cream without anything on it and consequently the only thing about which to make up his mind was the choice between dark and light chocolate, or about vanilla, hazel nut, stracciatella, strawberry, yoghurt, latte macchiato, cream-cherry, mango, maracuja, lemon, banana, pomegranate, raspberry, dragon fruit, bounty, cream grit, cinnamon, raffaelo, and seaberry- chinaberry! Nothing could be easier than that, which he found really hilarious..

But since the waiter still stood before him like a vengeful deity, he said, to the surprise of everybody, that he wanted an espresso.

Double – or single?, the waiter asked.

No – but maybe two balls of vanilla ice-cream after all, Carl said.

So: vanilla ice-cream!, the waiter typed it into his gadget.

No – just bring me a CARLOS I like the one Gerlinde has ordered.

And when, at long last, the incompetent waiter had left, Carl noted with a sour face that, for the first time, he now really pitied Kurt: because if he had a partner who was as indecisive as Hannelore, he would probably go crazy every single day of the year. With these words, he pushed the ice-cream menu towards Gerlinde with satisfaction. Gerlinde got up without a word and left.

Hopefully, she was only washing her hands?

(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday August 17th, 2017

“Don Carl“ – or: the Heroic Fight for the Underpants

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #52)

Rarely had Carl stepped into his underpants more enthusiastically in recent years. It was this great feeling of ’being embedded’ and ’being protected’ that he enjoyed.

It was a pleasure he made himself aware of several times each day these days – and the feeling was strangely enhanced whenever, during the day, he allowed himself to re-position the private parts hidden therein by discreetly re-arranging his trousers!

Yes – it was “allowed himself to” – not “had to” – as he formerly used to look upon it!

Because ever since, apparently, a movement that originated in Southern Germany – headed by the usual suspects /1/ – had started discrediting men’s underpants – which, incidentally, had been establishing an excellent tradition in the Christian culture over almost three hundred years – with Bavarian relish, Carl had become alarmed for more than one reason!

Yes – it was really a ’shock with an aura’ that found its way to Carl when, on this 13th day of August in 2017, he came upon said IF blog /1/ in the social networks. In this article, the author talked about a world-wide underpants-free future for all men: a world where, from one day to the next, wearing underpants by men was abolished. As a reason, it was stated that, apparently, all chafing, uncomfortable itching, disgusting tickling and virility-threatening clamping between razor-sharp zippers was now ignored, denied or hidden under a ’caftan ’.

A ’caftan’ that allegedly was only invented to give more freedom – that is, freedom for the ’unrestrained dangling of the male privates’ and consequently freedom to enjoy the ’so-called feeling of comfort’ that went along with it!

Of course, this had unimaginable consequences for the body – life – health – morals – society and economy! Not just for Germany and the European Union, but, when all was said and done, also for the entire Christian Occident and thousands of underpants-producing workers.

And was the time really chosen at random?

Had not just a few months ago Putin forbidden all activities around ladies’ underwear for the entire Eurasian Economic Zone, which had had disastrous consequences for TRIGA?

Maybe this was the balance against the male half of creation that was necessary due to gender-equality, after the first hit had devastated the female half of creation?

And was it really totally by accident that this campaign started in Bavaria of all regions? Or was it perhaps part of a long-planned conspiracy by Putin and Seehofer?

But when Carl, a few days ago when they had a meeting to discuss the ’development of new market strategies’ at TRIGA, mentioned these aspects, he was appalled to notice how his colleagues could not have cared less. Bernie – i.e. Dr. Osterkorn –, who was the head of the hosiery sector at TRIGA, in particular, did not seem to understand the impact of this event at all. As often before, he, again, lacked the antennae for trends in fashion and society!

Incidentally, the same was true for Gerlinde during their breakfast in the morning!

She, too, only had a laugh for him …

And – almost sympathetically – called him, Carl, a maniac who, once again, was chasing ghosts. And when Carl reacted offended and left the breakfast table without having drunk all of the morning coffee she always brewed for him with special love and care, she cried after him that she was not going to believe in the threat to occidental culture before Horst Seehofer appeared wearing a ’Caftan’ for the next Political Ash-Wednesday in Vilshofen!

Luckily, Carl knew what needed to be done in such catastrophic situations when everything was in danger of tumbling down: ’nothing’!

Now that was one aspect where, as always, he found himself in the best company with the others …

(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Saturday July 8th, 2017

Marriage for All? Not for Carl…

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment # 51)

“No – please not! You can have anything you want, but not marriage… “ Carl heard his Gerlinde moan when, for the n-th time, he again lay on his knees and looked up at her with true dogs’ eyes asking for her slim hand.

Standing straight but as pale as a corpse, and wearing a hideous pink-coloured dress made of Lace of Brussels, Gerlinde just murmured: “No, please not! You can have anything you want from me, but not marriage! Anything you want, but not marriage … !”, while at the same time nervously fingering the margarite chaplet she wore on her head with pointy fingers. But Carl just stared at her through glassy eyes and tried to fit yet another golden ring on her right ring finger, although they were all far too big and consequently kept falling from her perspiring hand all the time. When, finally, he almost managed to do it and her right hand was quasi equipped with a beautifully sparkling, golden finger, she gave a beast-like howl, shot up and ran through Carl and towards the front door…

Carl woke up soaking wet with perspiration!

His inside was smattered; it took him half an hour to calm down at least a little bit.

Gerlinde, who had just run through him like a North-Korean rocket, lay next to him snoring comfortably. Occasionally the sound that squeezed itself through her throat sounded more like a bark! Following their mutual agreement, he would poke her right upper arm in such a situation until she moved to lie on her side and the sound from her lips would dwindle down to a spring-like purring …

Unfortunately, this “wedding nightmare” was a dream Carl suffered from more and more often recently!

To be precise, he had been having it since June, 30, 2017, which was the day the German parliament, after Angela Merkel’s quick “change of marriages”, had decreed with a considerable majority that the right to marry is now to be established for persons of the same sex. Yes – ever since then, this nightmare kept returning in periodically changing intervals!

Nor was it helpful to discuss matters with Gerlinde – or with Hannelore and Kurt! On the contrary – the “nightmare frequency” even increased after such discussions, because Carl saw himself more and more being moved into a “depressing offside position”. After all, it was now a fact that everybody could marry – except if you were relatives – and thus rise to the superior category of “spouses”. A status which included all the significant characteristics, such as your realty property, garden, car, child, dog – and, naturally, also your spouse, whom, when talking with others or at business dinners, you could simply introduce as “my wife”!

If you belonged to this category, you knew that you had made it: you had actually arrived in real life and had fulfilled one of the most important norms of our society! No matter how long this norm lasted?

Couples like he, Carl, and his reluctant Gerlinde, were actually often looked down on with a mixture of pity, rejection and secret envy in this “normative society”. In fact, sometimes – as he saw it: far too often -, they were even considered to be in a state of “Not – Yet”! Which meant that, regardless of their advanced years, they still had not yet found the partner for life and that, due to this lack of commitment, their life was just in a phase of limbo: these couples had not yet arrived in real, actual life.

This was especially true for Carl with his “courtesan”, as some of their friends frequently called Gerlinde to his face whenever their alcohol level had reached the mark at which truth not only lay on the tip of their tongue, but also found its way beyond their slimy lips.

But then, what exactly was the position of his Gerlinde?
Was she his girl-friend? Or his life partner? Or his cleaning lady or lust object? Or what? …

For his Gerlinde, however, all those questions were something she could not have cared less about! For her, Carl’s bickering was neither understandable nor reasonable. In her opinion, all the problems he had with this non-existent and socially accepted term for couples that suggested they were one unit were just due to his being uptight! And his age! To be sure, both were naturally rather strongly related, as she herself often pointed out with a forgiving smile.

And whenever she had no arguments left, she was quick to cite some US study or other where it was scientifically proved that men, as soon as they tied the knot, unfailingly and inevitably started putting on weight – and not in small amounts, either!. And that was something she wanted to avoid at all costs, because a married obesity was something she definitely had no need of. Compared to that scenario, the almost slim Carl, in the “Not- Yet” state, was a lot better!

Although, as far as this was concerned, Carl was totally of another opinion than Gerlinde and still lamenting his unexplainable and singular non-married status, he had to admit that Gerlinde’s bizarre “obesity prejudice” soon started making his nightmares even more horrible: because now, whenever he urged her to marry him – she actually suddenly replied: “Yes, I will”!

At the very moment when he feels how this smiling “Yes” starts warming his soul, he is overcome by an irrepressible flatulence that blows him up like a hot balloon and makes him rounder and rounder – until there is a big bang and he bursts with a loud plop. And then he feels how his embarrassment about being finally liberated is even stronger than his anger about Gerlinde’s outburst of hilarity …

(Translated by EG)

Carl and Gerlinde (installation #50)

Carl always knew that he would never ever spend a single day, not even a few hours or minutes and seconds vacationing on the Canary Islands – and definitely never on Lanzarote!

After all, what business did he have in this pitch black lava excrement where absolutely nothing reasonable grew, yet where ever new overfed hordes of tourists from Germany and England bent their backs in ecstasy whenever they saw a small green blade of grass making its slow way from the cold magma towards the heavens after no more than two hundred and fifty years. Said blade of grass was certain to speed towards the sun during the next few centuries at a growth rate of at least nine-tenth of a millimetre per decade …

Well, what else was that blade of grass supposed to do, since there was no ground water at all in this holiday resort? And the ah-so-life-giving rain, too, only deigned to fall in minimum amounts on a maximum of eighteen days each year. Which is why even the twenty-five million years old volcanic cones next to the magma deserts also managed no more than a quasi-whispered shimmer of green on the sparse volcano sides. After all, there was no other volcanic region in the whole world where similar masses of tourists have ever experienced fewer drops of rain, and would continue to witness as little rain in the future – as on Lanzarote!

No – it was definitely not a place Carl wanted to see first-hand. Not at all!

His sitting in a Condor machine to Lanzarote with Gerlinde nevertheless was more a blunder than anything else and perhaps exclusively due to the fact that, after the last agonizing forty-three weeks at work, he needed a few days away from the firm and away from Gerlinde’s constant Canary Vacation pestering. Nothing more needed to be said on it! Except that the Iberostar Hotel with a view of the ocean that Gerlinde had booked, at first sight and if you made a few concessions, did not seem to look all that bad, did it?

Mind you, all this ocean in front of your nose tended to get a little boring after no more than five days, regardless of said ocean being really wonderfully blue and showing it, too. The water then again looked grey and grey-blue with white foam crowns and, of course, totally pitch dark at night unless a sliver of moon was mirrored in a strange way therein. But this baroque game of colours still could not contribute towards a drastic change in Carl’s emotionally unbalanced frame of mind, because when all was said and done, it came down to simply being water, water, and again water – instead of a mountainous landscape with glaciers, ravines and aeries. That much remained facts, even if Gerlinde was not prepared to admit it and immediately countered all his grumbling about the ocean with a pout as big as a huge wave.

And as far as this aforementioned ocean was concerned – there was no way you could avoid it on Lanzarote, not even on the endless boardwalk!

No, it was absolutely impossible!

Because if Carl moved from south-west to north-east next to his Gerlinde, he had it on his right side – and vice versa: when he moved from north-east to south-west, it was, naturally, on the left side: the ocean! And whenever he sipped his elaborately served and beautifully warmed brandy ’Carlos I’ in one of the millions of pubs along this boardwalk, it was not to his left or to his right, but, of course, right in front of his nose. And the same was true when he ate his ’shrimps with garlic’. And when he ate pizza with Cortado, it was no different – except if he quickly disappeared to the toilet. There was no other way to avoid the ocean.…

And, naturally, this ever-present ocean was also constantly accompanied by a just as ever-present wind. In fact, more often than not is was quite a storm that raised Carl’s hair to point south-east whenever he had forgotten his baseball cap. In the afternoon, the same wind was camouflaged as tepid ’Calima’ and had come all the way from the one-hundred-and-forty-six kilometres away Africa to direct his no-longer-abundant hair towards the west. Quasi as a free extra, it also filled both his nostrils with the most fine-grain Sahara sand. The same was true for Gerlinde’s golden nostrils.

It goes without saying that the ocean also had a word or two of splashing to contribute when they ate their lunch: the battle was far from won when Carl and Gerlinde, after having waited ninety minutes before a table near the ocean that had then been cleaned by a diligent waiter and set with cutlery and the menu by another before a third one took their order of ’Cervezas’ and the next waiter that of the actual food, finally sat down. After all, the suddenly occurring change of waiters around noon naturally necessitated a totally new ordering process of the desired garlic shrimps and sardines.

But then: so what? After all, Carl and his beloved Gerlinde were on vacation and they had this absolutely heavenly view of a very blue ocean that, even far out on the horizon, never seemed to lose its blueness…

But when, at long last, the ordered Sardines arrived thirty more minutes later, which was considerably after Gerlinde’s sizzling ’garlic shrimps in the pan’, they looked surprisingly good even to Gerlinde’s sceptical Carl. Unfortunately, they also seemed to look good to the not-at-all bashful seagull that sat on the dangerously close boardwalk fence. Said seagull was even quicker to grab his second sardine with its beak than Carl had been to pick up the first one on his fork.

Carl was quite perplexed when he gazed after the bird as it hastily flew out onto the damned ocean with its pickings. Since Garlinde, full of laughter, did the same, he at least managed to alleviate his unfortunate situation by pinching a few of her garlic shrimps unnoticed and accompanying them with some of her Cerveza.

Of course, this fight about food continued in the evening when they sat at dinner: in the dining room, however, it was not the seagulls who emptied the half-empty plates for Carl and Gerlinde but the overeager army of diligent service persons who apparently were paid at piece rate. What else could have caused them to take the plates of their guests away so dextrously that said guests frequently rammed their forks into the table by mistake whenever they tried to pick up the last remnants of meat or baked paprika? And it was quite normal that tables were cleaned and newly laid three times during a single breakfast – and all this while Carl and Gerlinde kept getting new breakfast eggs, small bowls of marmalade, butter, croissants, poppy seed rolls, fried bacon, cans of tea, coffee and orange juice!

It was really bad news – almost as bad as the damned tv program, where, due to the hell of a time shift, Carl missed all news about Donald Trump and Recep Erdogan, and often even the national soccer league and the ’Tatort’ that, after all, for practically all Germans – except Gerlinde – had replaced the church visit when it came to marking a Sunday – which was even worse. …

But the worst of all was this terrible fuss they made about that strange César Manrique’ on Lanzarote!

Apparently, he had lived exclusively in magma bubbles and implemented an entire concert hall for an audience of six hundred into his bubble, along with a discotheque in his subterranean dungeon where, next to the dance floor, white, fingernail-sized, almost blind albino crabs crawled in a totally clear pool of water. Normally, those crabs only existed a thousand metres below in the ocean, but here and now in this pool, they spent all their lives eating the algae that grew there on these few square metres of lava. Mind you, they did it day after day, week after week, year after year in total darkness – what a terrible life this must be, thought Carl, who felt a cold chill go down his spine whenever he thought about it. Compared to such a life, his life with Gerlinde – even here on Lanzarote – was actually a gift of God, wasn’t it?

(Translated by EG)

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXI)

On Friday of all evenings, Gerlinde and Hannelore undertook to get Carl into the theatre, there to watch Schiller’s ’Maria Stuart’!#

ZBimg071Mary Stuart herself could hardly have been worse off: because Carl was not only forced to sit in a narrow torture chair with nightmarishly little room for his legs between the two education-hungry theatre enthusiasts, but, on top of it, was also exposed to a noisy herd of students for whom he was supposedly a deterrent detoxification example in the same way as people were pilloried in the middle ages. Naturally, the quick brains of those young students had immediately noticed what Gerlinde and Hannelore only had the courage to tell Carl in homeopathic doses: that the infernal height of his pains would be two-and-a-half-hours of ’Pils deprivation’!

Those incompetent theatre production people actually had not only – against all union regulations – denied Mary Stuart all and any kind of breaks on her painful way towards the guillotine, but the audience had to suffer likewise! And in doing so, they had guaranteed Carl’s deprivation destiny in one go.…

And on a Friday night on top of it all! After an ever so tiring week of ruthless price negotiations at TRIGA with their Vietnamese sub-contractor in men’s underwear and ladies’ panties at the end of which Carl had no other wish left than three bottles of Pils, his sofa and a stupefying TV series for making sure he could start his pre-evening nap…

Small wonder that Carl, when he finally had received the whispered confirmation from Gerlinde on his left and Hannelore on his right that, indeed, the theatre producers had scheduled a ’break-free’ outrageousness, out of sheer protest fell into some kind of ’sleeping rigour’ which culminated in him sleeping through the entire first act of the Schiller drama without even in the slightest being concerned about the disastrous psychological effect such behaviour could have on all the young persons …

In fact, even the terrible background music between the individual scenes did not make the slightest impression on him – music which consisted of a scratching noise made by ’chalk on dry blackboard’ enhanced to the level of insanity which not only gave the entire audience pain down their entire backs and up again, but also caused tinnitus to all hearing aid users… Unfortunately, with its persistence, this ghosttrain-like soundscape eventually had some effect on Carl: his slumber became increasingly more unsettled than at home in front of the TV set. The consequence was that he was disturbed in a rather unkind way several times by what happened on stage! This was particularly true for the huge, squeaky black wall they kept moving hither and thither! What a grotesque idea of the producers!

Presumably, they did this with an anticipatory eye towards thinning the number of persons on stage, as Carl murmured half-asleep. Maybe they aimed at crushing elderly actors to death between the stage border and the ’moving wall’ – or at least to maim them, as it seemed to happen to this person Mortimer. He, however, seemed to stick to his life with toughness, regardless of all the cork-screw-like calisthenics with which he kept escaping the ’moving wall’  …

Apparently, poor Mary Stuart was not as lucky: even after her first appearance, her upper body was considerably squeezed into a forward-bent position! It certainly must have been painful… Queen Elizabeth alone had been spared. Upright and with serenity, she strutted over the stage; apparently, the deathly ’moving wall’ was impotent against her armour-like crinoline!

Carl found it particularly annoying that, on this Friday evening of all performances, all the actors were suddenly eager to be heard and understood by the audience!  Because, as opposed to former habit, they no longer said their lines while turning their back to the audience and speaking to the back of the stage where nobody could hear them. Instead, they rumbled their Schiller texts like machine pistol fusillades into the audience with such noise that they followed Carl right into his sleep …

Queen Elizabeth alone showed pity: she obstinately whispered in the direction of the stage light. Of course, she did not do that because of consideration for Carl’s slumbers but because of her bilious-green made-up face. She probably had hoped to remain undiscovered? Well, this was a miscalculation that had serious consequences, because Mortimer quickly saw her between the moving walls in her pink crinoline and immediately attacked her with a few nicely rhyming impertinences. Regardless of her whispering and crinoline, he ruthlessly gripped between her legs without any scruples!

Well, that was outrageous, as Carl – in contrast to Gerlinde and Hannelore – found during one of his few wakeful moments. In fact, this was a scandalous disgrace! After all, there were quite a few young people sitting in the front rows who on watching this scene giggled nervously! The guy sitting diagonally in front of him practically leered at the girl sitting next to him in a particularly shameless manner!

And when Elizabeth – still whispering – added shame to disgrace by actually putting her own hand between her legs, the entire affair turned extra embarrassing! The two very young girls sitting to the left in front of him delicately looked to the ground! Carl was quite glad that, in this embarrassing situation, the orthogonally kneeling Mary Stuart was able to get upright for a moment and shoot Queen Elizabeth a punishing glare…

Some of the young students became restless! They needed a cigarette! Just like Carl needed his Pils!  But now, horny Elizabeth never wavered! Even the black wall was suddenly meaningless: fearlessly, Elizabeth stood there in her crinoline, totally green face, abandoned by all and would certainly at this moment have liked to get her face painted red if that had helped her at all, or yellow, or blue or in pink polka-dots  …

Just not black! This colour seemed to have vanished from her: perhaps this was due to the threatening wall, which, after all, had enough black, thought Carl who was now wide awake, since the cooled Pils was quasi already flowing towards his uvulae… He was sure over his glass of Pils that he was also going to remember the current female politician this lonely Elizabeth reminded him of – as he said half-whispering to Hannelore when at long last the lights were turned on …

Naturally, after this cultural torture, the Pils at the ’Fundus’ was salvation not only for Carl! The pub was full to bursting and everybody indulged in the most expensive culinary delicacies offered by the restaurants with wine and water that suggested they had been starving endlessly. Schiller and his verses were totally forgotten! Along with Mary Stuart and the evil Queen Elizabeth! Even Hannelore and Gerlinde were exclusively occupied giggling about the scurrilous couples at the neighbouring tables – and Carl already enjoyed his third glass of undisturbed beer. In fact, he was even wondering if it would not be a good idea to bow before Friedrich Schiller by ordering a huge portion of those delicious ’Schillerlocken’?

(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday September 6th, 2012

The ‘Eternal Feminine’ Carries Carl ‘Aloft’…

Carl and Gerlinde (XXVI)

Well – where else? Naturally, the only direction it could carry him is ’aloft’. After all, the joy he now again found with the ’eternal feminine’ moving actively night in night out next to him as it used to. Not to mention how it saw to his household day in day out in the daytime in the most expert fashion, on top of treating him, this ’untamable masculine’, to the most tricky delicacies when he returned from the firm of an evening – exhausted but never ever again in a bad mood – to relish hiding in the well-prepared ’little nest’ …

And this wonderful mood of his he now carried right into the firm each morning –  to the true delight of all his co-workers and in particular his secretary Bettina – also proved to be surprisingly stable throughout the entire day.

Even when dear ’Bernie’, alias Dr. Osterkorn, seemed to use his nerves for some kind of daily exercise like a super-motivated rope-pulling athlete, his good mood remained. As it did when Miriam Braun, the new ’underwear sales representative’ in her very pregnant condition now perceived the world exclusively over her mother-to-be womb and apparently preserved all her creativity for the twins she expected!

In fact – his robust good mood could not be destroyed in the evening, let alone at night, when he was permitted to indulge in Gerlinde’s homey warmth. That was the time when he would inhale her fragrance and again and again delight in her delicious, uncovered body with its endlessly long legs that permanently found their tentacle-like way to his side of the bed in the semi-darkness of the bedroom. The same was true for her satiny arms: each morning, he wound his way out of them with the utmost care, because he had and wanted to prepare breakfast while Gerlinde still continued enjoying her dream world among those smacking sounds he had – totally inappropriately – in former times called snoring.

And for Carl, it was also quite obvious that, now that Gerlinde had made the re-appearance he had totally given up on believing in, he would not start fretting about the months that lay behind in a small-minded way. He was definitely not going to annoy her with petty reprimands.

No, that was the last thing he would do! What right did he have to do anything of the sort, anyway? After all, they were not even married, nor did they plan to get married in the near future; both of them had already made a disastrous experience with this oh-so-blissful marital status.

To be sure, he would certainly have liked to know what she had been up to on Tenerife – as he had been informed, that was where she had been! And he was wondering whom she had met on Tenerife?  And why had her ’Ex-Hubby’ all of a sudden so lavishly let her stay in his Porto Santiago apartment? And how often had he, perhaps, visited her there? And how, on the whole, it had been with all those gentlemen in this allegedly so dream-like Porto Santiago?

But no, he was not going to ask! This was her affair and hers alone! He would rather bite his tongue off – which, incidentally, would also have looked stupid and would have made neither him nor Gerlinde any happier.…

When all was said and done, the only thing that mattered was the fact that Gerlinde was back with him and apparently also enjoyed it; everything else was basically irrelevant! At least for the time being!

Oh my God, what a blessing it was to live with ’cleanliness revisited’! Everything sparkled, radiated and smelled like heaven… it was simply beyond words! And if this fundamental joy he felt when everything was nice and clean was really bourgeois, then he certainly relished being the greatest bourgeois on this planet and in this entire solar system!

To be sure, he was himself quite surprised at the new joy he experienced when being permitted to pamper Gerlinde. For instance with his extremely appreciated, delicious breakfast varieties: on top of delicious coffee and fresh rolls, there were the most exotic jams and cheese from the most exquisite delicatessen shops. On Sundays, he even added Norwegian salmon and champagne! Now if that was not something special! And he really enjoyed seeing how Gerlinde beamed at him and relished all those delicacies he was offering her. Yes, that was really something that made his day!

And it went without saying that he no longer quietly hid behind those huge pages of a popular daily every morning. Instead, he enthusiastically related numerous big and small curious incidents that happened in the firm, or else he would tell about things he had read. He also often talked about his new position. Times were frequent when he also asked her opinion about some underwear collection or other. This went especially for the latest one, for gentlemen; and how she felt about Frau Braun’s pregnancy problems and if she was going to finally come and visit him at the firm and meet Bettina, his secretary?
And unless he was totally wrong, his small ’sneering blackbird’ was even at times a little proud of her Carl and of what he had achieved while she had been gallivanting on the Canary Islands and barely making ends meet – hopefully not with too many alien body contacts?

When, on one of the subsequent Fridays, Gerlinide even went so far as to ask him to accompany her and Hannelore to a private view in B. at 5 p.m. – it was about ’monitoring the female by the female’ and the exhibited works were exclusively by women – Carl literally melted and looked truly happy; of course, he promised to call it a day at the office a little early, even though he already feared he might, again, be the only representative of the male sex among all those art enthusiasts. After all, the same always happened when, for the sake of Gerlinde, he now also went to see one of those typical ’women films’.

On the fringes, too, this vernissage was exclusively female: a young singer contributed to a great atmosphere and a famous author presented a very adequate reading of one of her own short stories written around a painting. Of course, the artists were also introduced by a female member of the city council; the only man who was allowed to say a couple of welcoming words was the mayor himself. But he certainly vanished into thin air faster than you could say “good-bye”, which left Carl S. the only male creature worth mentioning in the room who thus was subjected to the entire broadside of fantastic female art on this afternoon. You could easily ignore the two unimpressive, diminutive so-called men who drowsily sat there without much interest …

But at least there was, as Gerlinde stated, cool beer! Also, there were mountains of delicacies! Incidentally, this was no more than a minor negligibility for Carl. After all, he wanted to totally focus on the quite substantial number of paintings by all those female artists. …

And still, by the end of this very successful private view that had enjoyed acclaim from all parties present, there was some domestic strive at home between Carl and Gerlinde after they had – in a rather befuddled state – been given a lift home by Hannelore.

Mind you, Carl had really intended it as a compliment when, seeing the group of artists assembled around Gerlinde and Hannelore who had both bought pictures, he had remarked in a far too loud voice that he was truly surprised to see how well women could paint these days. There was no way he could have made out any difference in quality to what men painted! With admiration, he said more than once that this was truly phenomenal.  He had given his voice a pronounced and strong sound between several more glasses of champagne – and then was totally perplexed when, all of a sudden, he saw himself deserted by everyone except two silent, not totally alien ladies who wore a stony countenance… Well, that was definitely the time for him to notice that, apparently, something had gone wrong!

(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday April 26th, 2012

Gerlinde Has Had Enough! Or Maybe Not?

Carl and Gerlinde (XXIII)

Of course, Carl had often annoyed her! And during those last weeks before she – admittedly a little cowardly and not very stylishly – had made herself scarce, he had actually done so without pause – at least that is how Gerlinde felt about it. Now, on her day of leisure of all days, she was sitting on her patio in Porto Santiago and, again, looking for excuses for that life of hers you could only call Bungled up with a capital B! But then, if you were honest and thought about it objectively, Carl had not been such a catastrophe, had he?

To be sure, the way he kept drinking beer was truly disgusting and the way he displayed his wobbly belly like a trophy was absolutely something she abhorred.

Certainly! But on the whole, he did not look all that bad! At least from the rear! And if he took pains, he could be really charming, there was no denying it!

Unfortunately! If what she had heard was true, some of his ’special underwear plants’ fell victim to his urban charm on an almost weekly basis, didn’t they? And we are not just talking Hannelore and, what’s her name? Some of them were fellow employees and customers. As far as ’underwear’ was concerned, they were far from just aiming at the ’appetite for selling’. Rather, their interest was exclusively with the ’appetite for him’.

Mind you, between bed sheets, Carl was certainly not your superman!

But – and you had to admit that was quite a rare quality in a man – if he set his mind to it, he was capable of quite a bit of sensitivity and fantasy! For most of the women, that was apparently enough! Well, the same had been true for her in the not so recent past, hadn’t it …
And – Carl was certainly lavish! With him, she had never had financial worries! Unlike now, when, regardless of free accommodations she never quite managed to make ends meet! It seemed that somehow she had totally miscalculated this when she had so abruptly left all those weeks ago. Just as she had miscalculated some other things as well! If Anna had not offered to let her do part of the waiting at the ’Salzburg’ cafeteria, she would now look quite stupid. But as it was, things were looking quite well: she was busy, she did not get cabin fever and she grew to be a terrific tip magnet: before the poor guys had time to think twice, their cents seemed to find their own way onto the invoice plate …

Well, the working outfit was certainly rather forbiddingly scanty! She really could hardly draw breathe in those tight-fitting shirts! Comfortable was certainly something else! And poor Dottore Satori also kept breathing hard whenever she bent down towards him … Now how was this going to end?

It was no surprise that the anatomically so interested Dottore soon believed he had acquired some right to her just through his ’tipping habits’. Consequently, he kept talking her up and inviting her out to share a meal. Once or twice, maybe even three times, she had already accepted. Without ever confessing to Anna!
The meals had certainly always been tasty …

But whenever he came along with his post-face-lift accompanying shadow for a small Aperol or a big Brown with Apple Tart, he was as stiff as freshly beaten egg-white; in the most rigorous way, he avoided every single gesture of friendliness, just in order not to give his jealous ’Botox Mummy’ a reason for stupid ideas.

The mummy probably also sat on the money! And there must be plenty, because, as Anna knew, both of them had now already been staying in the luxurious 5-star patio hotel not far from Gerinde’s bungalow site during a number of weeks in winter for several years!

Except – Gerinde was not quite able to figure out to what end the good Dottore kept trying his luck with her each week anew. With his distrustful ’aristocratic grandma’, he certainly was not going to be able to enjoy himself on the sidelines. Not to mention that Gerlinde did not at all feel like it these days: her life was complicated enough as it was. Thank you very much.

But perhaps it was just another case of testosterone. Just like with Carl, it probably immobilized all rationally controlled brain regions immediately as soon as a female object appeared on the horizon that looked even remotely like potential prey. The remaining parts of the brain were automatically set to emergency operation: calf-eyes, grinning impertinently, increased saliva production, et cetera, et cetera.  …

Anna said it had taken more than a year with her too, before the Dottore had stopped with his attempts; but then she, as she had admitted to Gerlinde, had at one time let herself be persuaded to a do small ’intimate fight’ in the kitchen, which had been a bad mistake, because the good Dottore had assumed this gave him rights he actually was nowhere near having. But there came a time when he eventually realized his mistake. Ever since then, he always got a bigger piece of apple cake than all the others…

Well – sitting under her sunshade, Gerlinde had to admit to herself that probably tomorrow would be another one of those days at the ’Salzburg’ when she would catch herself wishing her ’mister impossible’ were sitting at one of the tables, instead of the constantly grinning Satori.

But then – if she was perfectly honest – she had no idea what she would do if actually her impossible Carl were sitting there, smiling and ordering his beer in a tight-lipped way? Would she ignore him? Pretend he was a stranger? Or even send him away…? Or would she, perhaps, even be glad? Actually, would she be glad enough at seeing him to embrace him and kiss him in front of everyone?

Mind you, all this regardless of him being a truly disgusting, ego-centred ’chauvi’ for whom women were just something to be used! While he himself never managed to achieve even the smallest of results at home! Not to forget that he, quite wilfully, occasionally provoked and annoyed her by his lack of culture and boorishness. And the only things that surpassed his obesity were his bouts of perspiration, his rhino snoring and his roaring laughter. Yet – and this was the strange thing – you could, for some unfathomable reason, like him …?

Consequently, Gerlinde, sitting under her sunshade at 26 degrees Celsius and drinking one small Aperol after the other, started asking herself more and more intensely and audibly why this stupid cow Hannelore had not long ago made it more than clear for this impossible dummy Carl where, when and how he might find his ill-treated Gerlinde. And that said Gerlinde might perhaps, under certain circumstances graciously see fit – if it had to happen and he were to swear a holy oath to improve his manners and if he were to really ask her very nicely – to let herself be persuaded to try one last time with him. And if everything else, too, was perfect, she might just consider making an exception to the rule and just this one more time fly back home with him…?

Or did that serpent Hannelore play a false game? With her, you could never really know …

(Translated by EG)

Incidentally, the ‘strange hens’ are drawn by the author himself!

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday March 8th, 2012

Carl for President

Carl and Gerlinde (XX)

At three in the morning, when Carl woke soaking wet from his own perspiration, he just knew he was the right person for the job! Especially since, just a few seconds before he had opened his eyes, the Federal Chancellor herself had nodded at him and displayed slightly raised corners of her mouth – which, to him, looked like an extra token of appreciation – . …

Well – it was not really a miracle, was it? After all, he, Carl S., was not only a presentable man of years, but also an extremely honourable citizen of this beautiful nation. And the Federal Chancellor seemed to be especially appreciative of one fact: the mortgage on his house had been paid off years ago, he was totally debt-free and professionally, he was really well grounded, fit for real life!

To be sure, he was no pastor! Neither had he ever been Prime Minister or Federal Judge! To make up for it, as opposed to these other gentlemen, he knew full well where the money came from, especially the tax money. And he also knew how to spend it economically. That was certainly not a bad portfolio for holding the office of Federal President, was it?

In the past, his eminent professional status had often been confirmed by all kinds of persons: after all,  being in charge of the sales department for high-quality men’s and ladies‘ underwear at ’Triga’ was definitely not something to be ignored! Not to forget how much he earned!

He was sure the Federal Chancellor would be happy with the fact that, given his income, he would not really be depending on this ’life-long honour gratuity’. In fact, he would not need it. On the other hand, if they offered him those 199,000 Euros each year, who was he to say no?

Looking at this particular sentence, ’for life’ was definitely not something to be ashamed of. Neither were the office for himself and the service persons and office car! It goes without saying that, like his predecessors, he would spend quite a bit of this ’honour gratuity’ on donations and the promotion of worthy causes. After all, as Federal President, you have no time to spend all that money, anyway: in winter, he would stay in sunny Africa or Australia and in summer in one of those glamorous Starnberger See mansions. With friends, because, as we all know, a Federal Persident has plenty of them. More than now with just Hannelore and Kurt!

And then there were all those discreet donations and promotions – the people liked it, didn’t they? In particular if, for instance, they were also good for strengthening the role of women in in society. They always had a hard time getting on equal terms with the men, anyway! Just think of women playing soccer and you have to laugh out loud. And what about women boxing or ski-jumping….

Yes, that was exactly where he would lavishly give generous donations to the tune of one or two thousand Euros each year! He certainly felt deeply for this matter and he was sure the entire nation would very much appreciate it!

Incidentally, his family situation, too, was a perfect fit for this political office. He was divorced, if only once, but that was certainly better than not at all and he had two children with Inge: René and Kora. He had never been interested in them! Well, you can certainly see how well-suited he was, even if, of course, you did not have to make much ado about it: after all, a Federal President had to be clever, he thought to himself. At long last, he switched on the bed lamp and – even if there was nobody whose sleep he could have disturbed – tiptoed into the bathroom  …

And with respect to this constantly talked about ’unlawful acceptance of benefit by a public official’ – he was sure there was no reason for him to worry. Talking thus to himself.Carl, as if to emphasize it, energetically pressed the “economy“ lavatory water lever …

Because for him, in free business, this was absolutely not an issue! But still it might be advisble to wash one’s hands in innocence! And considering how the nationwide discussion currently ran, it was actually clear that he had to think about the occasional incident that happened in his professonial life. If he was honest, he had to admit that he definitely had taken a few staples home from the office, he said while he sniffed at his fingers and walked back to his bedroom. The same was true for those strange clear plastic binders – or what were they called? – and two Indian rubbers a year ago – and that pencil sharpener for the broader version of pencil.  It had not been altogether upright, Carl had to admit. Nor had the Leitz folder two months ago and all those unauthorized photocopies paid by the firm been altogether upright! Not to mention all the private telephone calls and internet surfing! Oh my God – all the places he had visited online! That would certainly have been embarrassing for a Federal President if found out, he said as he looked at Gerlinde’s empty half of the bed, before quickly seeking refuge under the warm bedcover.

In fact – perhaps, considering everything in the light of the energy-saving-lamp, it was really about time to wipe the slate clean!

As in “tabula rasa“!

But then – weren’t the delicious pieces of cake Frau Wolf surprised him with in the office also something he had to count among his dept? After all, there was hardly a single day when he did not lavishly indulge in one of them without the slightest trace of shame? It all was a true delight for Frau Wolf, but, of course, truly a discredit in the eyes of some strict TV commentators. These ladies saw – or rather smelled – fraud in such behaviour, except if he had discreetly dropped three Euros into the empty plate for the income-dependent secretary in order not to make it look like bribery. Yes, if the journalist Frau Schauster had dug deeper in his case, he would have looked rather stupid in no time at all. …

But vacations in vacated mansions that belonged to friends are something she could definitely never have dug out for him and Gerlinde. No matter how deep she dug! But hey, wait a minute – was that correct? Had not he and Gerlinde, four years ago – it had been really exciting – spend three days in the Hannelore and Kurt’s flat, because those two had unexpectedly been called away and the paperhanger had been in the flat? And, following Frau Schauster, they probably would have had to give their friends a hundred and fifty Euros per person and then, in order to behave honourably in the Schauster sense, deduce from that money whatever he and Gerlinde had done in the field of housecleaning and spent on miscalleneous things, such as adhesive tape, etc. at the usual prices. Not to mention the tax declaration for the possible monetary advantage? Yes, in the light of the 25 watt bedlamp, this looked like a truly dark spot in his otherwise really clean slate. Carl had to admit it to himself and would actually have liked to drink a glass of cheering-up schnapps right there in his bed.

But then he calmed down without the schnapps. After all, journalists did not find out everything – and as far as this instance was concerned, Hannelore and Kurt were absolutely to be trusted; besides, neither of them was friends with Peter Hintze. He was sure that having received help from that man would not have been a good idea!

And as to Gerlinde – there was no way she was going to endanger him in this respect! That is, there would have been no danger if she were to be found… But, hey, all of a sudden he was standing up straight in his bed, near the middle of the sleeping space: was there not a totally different problem he had to solve? And that problem certainly weighed a lot heavier that this negligible tax issue? It so happened – and no talking or ostrich algorithm was going to help against that – that he did not have a ’First Lady’! Because his future ’First Lady’ had decided to make herself scarce without a single word twelve weeks ago now!  Which meant that he, Carl, was actually the first would-be Federal President – who had no ’First Lady’ to accompany him? Now how to make that plausible to the Federal Chancellor – and to  Rössler and Seehofer…

In the light of this fundamental problem, all his other competence was basically marginal? That did not only go for his economic competence, but also for his horrendous international experience. After all, he had sold ladies‘ underwear all over Europe for many years, hadn’t he? And for a Federal President, international experience was paramount, wasn’t it?

But then there were also a few silver linings if you looked close enough! Because he had, for example, never been in Greece! Somehow or other, the Greek did not appreciate the ’Triga Underwear’ – probably because they used to wear those white capes in ancient times. Well, so it could not be disputed that he did not know Greece, which meant that he was totally neutral when it came to the rescue umbrella. This was definitely an area where nobody could find fault with him. And the Federal Chancellor was sure to appreciate it, too, because she definitely could not afford yet another misstep in whom she appointed. Perhaps that was why she had lifted the corners of her mouth in such an encouraging way …

And he had to admit – when his iphone rang in the morning to wake him up and neither the Federal Chancellor nor Gerlinde were at the other end, he was a little disappointed after all the things he had experienced during the night. Under these conditions, he was no lnoger in any mood to play Federal President for anybody. Definitely not!

(Translated by EG)

And two weeks from now, on March, 21st, 2012, we will finally have news about Gerlinde. So stick with us.

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday June 2nd, 2011

Gilded Peaks…

Carl and Gerlinde (X)

„Well, even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn“, grumbled Carl. After all, the hotel Gerlinde had chosen did not look too bad at first sight!

The only thing that annoyed him was that, judging by the number of cars in front of the hotel, surprisingly many people could afford to spend time in the expensive Southern Tyrolian mountains. Hadn’t they planned to make these few days away from home something very special just for himself and his dear Gerlinde?

What a pity …

Carl would certainly have seen fit to really relax after the strain of twelve hours in the car, if only there had not been so many tourists all over the place. They destroyed his tendency towards a good mood as a matter of principle. And this unplanned bad mood even continued after Gerlinde had unpacked and stowed things away precisely according to his orders, which gave him at least a minimum chance of finding a fresh pair of  underpants without having to throw out everything in the process of looking for them in the far too steep shelves. The same was true for socks – if he desired to wear his comfortable sandals. …
On the contrary: his evil mood got even more evil when he made his grumpy way along the stream towards the centre of town with Gerlinde where all they found were entire hordes of sun-roasted „touris“. They looked so relaxed and well-rested that he probably would not even have minded seeing some plague-spots, just in order to get a little contrast to this open-air plebs. On witnessing this disgusting self-content sitting in front of colourfully flag-decorated  ice-cream sundeas and huge beer glasses in the evening sun, Carl not only started feeling his blood pressure explode to lofty heights; he also started wondering if the financial crisis had actually passed by all these Southern Tyrolian ravine wiseguys without causing any damage. Or maybe they were all just pretending?

Judging by the way they were sitting around and strutting between their tables here in Ortisei, it looked like money was of no consequence to them! Apparently, all they had to do was snap their fingers – and here it was…

Or how else did it all work out?

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Klaus Hnilica
Sunday January 30th, 2011

The Impertinent Hen…

When Carl stepped out of the front door, he shrank by half his height!

SoIt was so bitterly cold! Even colder than in winter. Mind you, we are talking September, when you could usually count on an Indian summer. This expectation had probably been the reason why Carl had not even bothered to close his bathrobe. So now he stood there barefoot in his “Birkenstock” slippers.

Was this now the beginning of cold rigor?

Carl had heard about this condition and consequently, following a spontaneous impulse, he already started to turn around and get the newspaper at a later time, when the sun would have found its way through the blanket of clouds.

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