Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 12th, 2017

Failed Emancipation

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #54)

“Waiter – please bring a double cognac as fast as possible …!“,  Carl cried out excitedly while he was literally gulping air …

“Under way”, groaned the waiter while hurrying along his table. Thick drops of perspiration were building on his broad forehead.

“Whatever is the matter with you, Carl? Is it really necessary that you start filling up on cognac this early in the morning, when morning has hardly broken?”, Gerlinde irritably asked while taking a small sip of her freshly pressed orange juice with a worried expression on her face.

“Fear thee not, Gerlinde, I only need something really stiff to digest the news I am just reading in the paper here!“

“So – what sort of news is it?“ Gerlinde asked with raised eyebrows.

“Just imagine, the king of Saudi-Arabia and his very ambitions sun Mohamed bin Salam actually now, in the 21st century, want to allow women to drive cars!“

“How come?“

“Well – starting on June 2018 – women in Saudi-Arabia will be permitted behind the wheel of a car even without the consent of their husbands. Isn’t that absolutely maniac?“.

“Great! But as I know these brothers, there will certainly be some foul exhortation idea behind the deal… “

“Perhaps – but before you judge them too quickly, my dear, maybe we should remember that in Germany, too, the husband had the exclusive right to say what his wife and children should do until 1958.“

“Hm – great! But at least the women did not have to wear veils, did they“?

“No, they did not have to do that – but even if men allowed their wives to work, they were the ones who decided what happened with the incomes!“

“Super – that is what pimps still do for their sidewalk birds, isn’t it? “.

“Correct. The world is still as it should be in this patriarchal milieu!“

“It seems to me that you really need more cognac, Carl! If you are under the influence of alcohol, you definitely do not talk quite as much nonsense …“

“Yes, but only because I mostly go to sleep immediately! But where is this incompetent waiter now with my medicine?“

“Perhaps the waitress is quicker”, said Gerlinde. She jumped up and set a not-bad-looking young waitress onto the path of the dreamy waiter.

“And besides, if their husbands had not consented”, Carl, who obviously now knew no peace, continued, “women were not allowed to open their own bank accounts until 1962. How does that strike you?“

“There you see, my dear Carl, that is exactly why I absolutely do not wish to marry. I certainly would not want that to happen to me!“

“However, my dearest Gerlinde, this precaution is not necessary, because ever since 1969, every married woman in Germany is fully contractually capable.“

“Wow – that means everything really went at breath-taking speed with respect to the emancipation of the females – I am sure the CSU was the absolute pacemaker …“

“You mocker”, Carl smirked. He was still waiting for his cognac and getting more and more impatient …

“You are really poorly off with your cognac, Carl! In the meantime, would you like to take a sip of my orange juice? …“

“Excuse me! Has the day come when we men can no longer even drink our own cognac ?…“

“Carl, I will soon break out in tears“!

“Yes, please do – because otherwise I will have to do it”, Carl moaned.

“But there is truly no reason for you to do that, my dear Carl – with the exception that your cognac does not arrive, you men have no reason at all to lament, do you?“

“Oh – oh – and what about the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’; she is not only Honecker’s Late Revenge but also the Revenge of all Women Against Men for suffered wrongs!“

“As always, you are exaggerating, Carl!“

“I am not exaggerating at all, because the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’ would even be elected by all the women and elderly persons if she were ’a mounted specimen’  …“

“You know, instead of talking such nonsense, you probably had better get your own house in order “!

“Why is that..?“

“Why don’t you look at all the ’male specimens’ – for example the wonderful Herrn Schulz – or the kissing Herrn Junker – or the divine Mr. Trump – along with the grinning Kim Jong Un – or the eternal Bavarian drooling Herrn Seehofer… or – or – or … compared to those honourable gentlemen, even a ’preserved specimen of the Female Chancellor’ looks like an improvement to me …“

“Well, unfortunately, and as an exception to the rule – and very reluctantly – I have to agree with you, dear Gerlinde: the guild of men currently active is really a unique example for the word pitiful!“

“There you see, Carl …“! – when Gerlinde said this she had enough tact to suppress all display of triumph!

“But still, God has mercy on us men, Gerlinde: because at long last, my very dearly craved cognac is arriving!“

In fact, the friendly waitress suddenly came scuffling from nowhere and placed a huge brandy balloon – into which Carl might actually have jumped directly – in front of him under a thousand apologies and manoeuvres for the endless waiting time. And before Gerlinde could look around properly, his head actually already hung in the balloon up to his neck…

This was the only possible explanation for the fact that Carl, immediately after the cute waitress had vanished as picturesquely as a gazelle, could come up with the dry statement that, regardless of all currently felt superiority of the females, nobody could seriously doubt that even this lovely waitress was still moving on a pair of ’waiting upper legs’  …so why would we need a superiority complex? When all was said and done, women were, like in all times, basically just ’a piece cut out of man’, weren’t they?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Friday September 8th, 2017

Pure Slug Terror

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment # 53)

Somehow or other, Carl could very well sympathize with the murderous ideas that were reflected in the eyes of his neighbour Konrad whenever anybody uttered the word ’slug’!

After all, this peace-loving owner of solar panels had a spacious garden – including numerous vegetable plants and a glamorous flower bed. Just like Carl himself! And like him, Konrad, too, did not want to poison his family by using enormous amounts of the snail and slug bait ’metaldehyde’, did he?
So what to do? After all, every summer, as soon as dusk neared, these disgusting, finger-thick, brown ’slime-slinkers’ started their silent attack on defenceless zucchini plants and freshly planted marigolds like modern guerrilla hordes? And only when morning dawned and they had mercilessly eaten up everything, they dastardly retreated into their ivy-covered hideouts?

So it was no surprise that not only Konrad, but also many other garden owners patrolled their gardens like South-American murderer brigades equipped with headlamps, secateurs and razor-sharp spades. They did their murderous craft with exactly the same stealth and ruthlessness as those slimy ’slug monsters’ did theirs!

Yes – Carl had to admit that he would really have enjoyed taking part in such revenge crusades against this ’slug pestilence’. And that he had actually already taken his torch and his secateurs and been secretly at it when Gerlinde was not at home in the evening. But provoking a ’permanent crisis’ with Gerlinde for this reason – that was definitely something he did not want at all!

After all, his darling Gerlinde was a passionate animal rights activist and could not treat any animal poorly, which is also why she mostly only ate vegetarian! Except if an attack of hunger forced her to spontaneously fry a mountain of pork schnitzels or a leg of lamp. Or, even worse, if one of those sneaky gnats or horse flies was bold enough to NOT bite Carl on his lower arm but instead her on her lily-white neck: those were the moments when she actually was able to do some deathly beating!

My God – what a fuss she had made about it when, two years ago, he had tried to fight the slug terror with beer traps. He had actually filled several jam jars with beer and sunk them into the soil in the garden at strategic points! And – just like he had intended – said jars had been full of drowned slugs in the morning. Basically, one would think that was not a bad way to die – drowning in ’Krombacher’ – was it? But his super-sensitive Gerlinde had a totally different opinion!

She almost suffered a yelling attack when he, imprudently, showed her one of the well-filled jars with the ’slimy’ slugs in it – before she disposed of them into the sewage system.

Well, it must be admitted – they did not look particularly appetizing!
But then, according to everything he had read about it, these poor snails with their minuscule brains had not suffered very much, either.

Since, however, Gerlinde, even in discussions that lasted several hours, could not be persuaded, he soon realized that, even if, perhaps, the fight against the ’naked slug’ might be won in this fashion, the price would be the loss of his ’naked Gerlinde’! And that was definitely a price he was not willing to pay. It was better that these nice snails kept eating up all the vegetables in the garden – if that was what they and Gerlinde wanted!

Totally unexpectedly, the solution of the problem came from Gerlinde’s friend Hannelore! Because Hannelore’s animal-loving Kurt had developed the following procedure against the evil slug: in the morning, he strolled through the dewy grass carrying parts of yesterday’s FAZ and collected two or three well-saturated slugs on their slimy return trip with the big double-pages of the newspaper. He added the occasional half-nibbled leaf of funkia and then formed an easily manageable box of several layers that he encircled with rubber rings.

These daily three or four boxes with still living slugs would then soundlessly disappear in the biological waste container in summer. And with the exception of the slugs, everybody was happy!

Of course the layer of paper for the ’slug post’ should not be too thin, because otherwise everything would be slimed through in no time and the cute slugs would sit on the underside of the biological waste container on the next morning. Then the entire packaging procedure would have to start again until the waste was emptied next Monday.

Well- and that was exactly the weakness of this ’slug elimination program’ designed by Carl’s animal friends!

Carl suddenly discovered a hitherto unknown sensitivity in himself when some lone ’slimy plant eaters’ sat on the border or the lid of the biological waste container and slumbered in heavenly peace!

Strange? – all of a sudden he felt pity for these slimy monsters that yesterday had still eaten into his zucchini plants and he embarrassingly found that he no longer had the strength to send them back into the container after they had so courageously liberated themselves from their ’ FAZ incarceration’ . Instead, it felt almost like a compulsion to give them back their freedom. …

Gerlinde and Hannelore actually even cried a few tears when, a short time ago and after his first glass of beer, he admitted this weakness of his. They would not have believed it possible that the otherwise sometimes quite rough Carl was capable of such sensitivity. It was quite sweet – really sweet … …

After his third bottle of beer, Carl found it just as sweet as his two admirers. However, he considered it more prudent to perhaps not mention that he actually had released the few who managed to break through into freedom – but, of course, freedom meant the so much more attractive freedom in his neighbour’s garden– and not in his garden!

And since slugs are by nature rather discreet creatures, there was certainly no danger that this small secret they shared with him would see the light of day any time soon. …

KH
(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 …

KH
(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 …

KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday June 1st, 2017

An Outrageous Summing-Up!

He had promised himself that this was going to happen: when he, ’Colonel ’ Vatter – two “t-s”, please – would turn seventy, and if by then he would still be clear-headed, – then he would write a summing-up of his life in front of the entire family clan Vatter, especially in front of his wife Cornelia, his daughter Conny and his son Corni! And since, even in early childhood, he had been given the nickname ’Colonel’, the ’ruthless summing-up of his life’ was a foregone conclusion.

Or rather, it was ’some kind of summing-up’! Just like you also have double accounting!

Basically, it was a dry listing of ’positive’ and ’negative’ assets, including a subsequent ’balancing’, just like on a scale, that was now determined!

Without qualms and totally self-critical, he was going to list under ’positive assets’ everything that he had managed to accomplish in his life and how he had left all losers behind. And, naturally, under ’negative assets’, he was going to list everything that others had failed to accomplish! He was going to list their failures in the most precise and unbiased way, just like all diligent book-keepers traditionally knew that was their duty!

Basically, in his opinion, every upright man should make such a list when he nears the end of his life in a neutral and humble way! A balance sheet of life where you focus as clear as glass and judge your success and other people’s failures.

Even your own family could not be left out of such a balance sheet, provided you wanted to include them.

But then, everything had to be dug up and put on the table. Even if you only had the dining room table – because no other table was big enough. Naturally, this was a nightmare for his much-loved Cornelia: because said dining table was overflowing with stone-hard breakfast eggs, tough steaks, burnt schnitzels, half-cooked chicken legs, mushy beans, hard milk-rice and many, many more ’delicacies’ from her kitchen!

But then, after a short hysterical spell of screaming, she would certainly have calmed down and understood that such a balancing only made sense if it was carried out with the highest possible degree of honesty.

And if on this ’dinner table of life achievements’ space would have become really scarce – since perhaps Conny and Corni, too, would have bashfully added their ’failure packets’ – then he, the ’Colonel’ would certainly have been quite willing to place his ’palette of successes’ underneath the table. After all, there was plenty of space and Conny and Corni would have had an ideal opportunity to learn in a very pedagogic way how the German proverb ’modesty is a virtue’ can be both strikingly demonstrated and lived in practice! And they would have experienced themselves what our Federal Chancellor had recently said when she had talked about ’our values giving us a sense of feeling at home’…

Initially, he had actually believed that this kind of ’life balance sheet’ might well also have been written as an ’interim balance’ focussing on special phases in life. For instance, even as early as on his fiftieth birthday, such a balance could have been written – especially if you looked at his unparalleled career!

But unfortunately, at the time, his well-loved Cornelia had run amok and had, out of the blue, demanded a divorce. Just because, again, she had made an elephant out of a mosquito, this time named Marianne! Mind you, it had been Cornelia herself who had introduced this Marianne to the family. Against the wishes of the ’Colonel ’!

My God, how she had idolized the much younger Marianne! The two were inseparable! And every shopping tour with her had been celebrated like a glimpse of paradise. Cornelia could and would simply not see that the golden Marianne was bringing nothing but discord into the harmonious Vatter family.

Actually, at the time, he, the ’Colonel ’ himself, had to get active and show her once and for all where the limits were that she could not trespass. However, she needed to be shown those limits all the time. It had been really bad – there were days when – hard to believe though it might be – she needed three limits in a row!

Eventually, the ’Colonel ’ had been more than happy when Cornelia finally saw that this Marianne person had to leave. And instantly! However, the idea Cornelia – in some sort of somnambulant shock – had come up with that they needed a divorce, was quite over the top and called for medical treatment. Of course, the ’Colonel’ was more than considerate and thus, to make matters bearable for her, refrained from the aforementioned first ’interim life balance report’ when he turned fifty: After all, among the ’negative assets’, one would have had to write Cornelia’s less than beautiful desire to get a divorce, while, at the time, he would have had to write his advance into the concern management among the ’positive assets’. That would have been the only way for such a documentation to make sense, rather than just becoming a stale re-interpretation of the truth.

But, naturally, he did not want to thus punish Cornelia! She was desperate enough as it was!

The children, too, had been against the idea. Well, they hardly had anything noteworthy to report under ’positive assets’, which would have meant he alone would have appeared there …

No – it had really been quite a good idea at the time from which all parties concerned benefited to refrain from this first ’partial life balancing’. After all, for him, a ’Colonel’ such an omission was definitely bearable!

Following the logic at the time, another chance for an ’interim balancing’ would have been when he had turned sixty! In fact, he had been quite prepared to do so and had already collected and listed loads of material. But then this excruciating data theft became fashionable, where illegally gained information about diverse Swiss accounts had been offered to the German finance system. Since ancient times, the entire world had parked their dirty money on these accounts. And suddenly, everybody who owned perhaps a million or two more was called a tax fraud – and worse!

Naturally, the ’Colonel ’ had to be the shining model for his children Conny and Corni and, by being one of the first who reported himself to the authorities, demonstrate to them that tax fraud was just something you did not do! And that, if your slate was clean, you never had to be afraid that the legal authorities who suddenly started to move all over the place might come after you.

However, when suddenly, one week before his birthday, the finance authority officers had invited themselves for a kind of ’pre-birthday-party’, his much-loved Cornelia opined that, this one time, it was probably a good idea to limit the celebration to the immediate family. Since her nerves were already very tightly strung, the ’Colonel’, naturally, agreed without hesitation. When expressing his gratitude in a few words, he refrained from even the slightest hint at a ’life balancing’. With his tendency towards honesty and unadorned truth, such behaviour would only have stirred up unwelcome dust from his environment. Not to mention the immense problems that the very fragile health of his extremely old mother and his even older father would have caused. Neither of them had long survived the subsequent debacle of the European Financial World – they had each lost too much money …

But now, on his seventieth birthday – the ’life balancing’ was finally going to happen!

At least a short version thereof!

All that would have been inconvenient had now more or less been omitted or made itself obsolete: for instance Cornelia, who, five years ago, had separated from her ’Colonel’ and was now living in Belgium with a musician. Allegedly, Conny was doing well with her family in the USA and Corni was in an important bank director in England.

Well, the problem was actually that now, although nobody was in his way, there was also nobody he could have told about his grandiose successes. Except the two drunken nephews and the cross-eyed cousin he had not talked to in thirty years! And, of course, Marianne, with whom he had now lived for six years, because she had never given up her habit of breaking down all obstacles that blocked her path!

Marianne, however, although she was a wonderfully attractive lady, had not the slightest bit of understanding for his, as she called it, almost ’sickly chronic self-indulgence’: on the contrary, she herself wanted to be admired! And all those silly memories from the past were things she certainly could not have cared less about!
But if he, the ’Colonel’ felt that he needed to give a life balancing, then why did he not himself write down his great life achievement. Quasi as a last will for the entire Vatter family. And now he also had time, didn’t he?

With these words, she pressed a brand-new, lockable, leather-bound note book into the hands of her ’Colonel ’ – hands that were overflowing with age spots. She added a quick kiss on the dried-up wrinkles of a forehead that already reached to the nape of his neck.

If, however, this was too much of an effort for him, whispered Marianne, then he could feel free to tell his entire life balancing story to Inge the cleaning lady who, as always, was going to care well for him: since she turned off her hearing aid most of the time anyway, it was a good idea to tell her about his great life on a daily basis –and in the process, he could include all his small, big and even bigger indecencies in detail! Wasn’t this a great way to spend the day for a man in his prime! And – without catching air – she happily told him that now, in a real hurry, she had to be on her way to the airport, since she was flying to the Algarve with their daughter Carola to play golf! Even from the already open door, she managed to send an entire salve of the hottest kisses towards her ’Colonel ’ …

KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Falling Down

I no longer remember who told me this story. Perhaps it was the tourist guide when we drove to the ’Manrique Museum’? Or that female professor of geology from Brandenburg? She has been coming to the ’Lanzarote Park Hotel’ in Playa Blanca in March for eight years now and also reads Spanish Daily Newspapers, not just this stupid island magazine Lanzarote 37°. Or was it maybe Pedro who told me this story a one of his inimitable ’language cocktail’ variations at the pool?

I simply cannot recall exactly …

But it was always about that toothless street musician!

He is a true disgrace on the never-ending boardwalk close to the ocean in the south-west of Lanzarote. With his dirty and unappetizing appearance, he should not be permitted to sit there. This is simply not tolerable! Not on this fantastic EU-financed boardwalk! After all, hundreds of people pilgrimage here until late into the night.

Besides, this ’music-playing pig’ does not restrict his appearance to his rusty folding chair in front of the last stretch of fallow land, where hardly anybody would notice him anyway. Instead, he can now be almost exclusively seen on the stone boardwalk balustrade.

What an exhibition: a ’music-playing rubbish heap’ in front of the eternally sparkling, sunny ocean! With a greasy hat lying on the floor and a cap on his sun-burned head! And two watery eyes that look like puddles …

Mostly, he dribbles into his melodica – which is some kind of key flute – from which the same melody is released at all times. But it is strangely alluring! You have to give him that. Perhaps it is even by Mozart? Even if it is perhaps a little too sad? Unfortunately, I was never able to really find out.

Seven years ago, when the concert building Lava-Bubble in Jameos del Agua was closed due to stones falling down from the ceiling, this disgrace had already been playing on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. In those days, he allegedly had a rather rich musical portfolio.

And while the volcano rocks were being glued together with special resin above the roof, he also sat there every day. Perhaps even the occasional cent out of all those six million euros this roof cost found its way into his shabby hat. Who could know? Definitely not the ’music-playing rubbish heap’.

And the inauguration concert given when the renovated concert hall in Jameos del Agua  was ceremoniously re-opened will definitely also have been something he was totally unaware of. As must have been the fact that the famous English conductor John Miguel Smith was going to be at the baton and that even representatives of the Spanish Crown had accepted the invitation.

However, he did notice that the rather pompous John Miguel Smith with his much too young female companion had had a stupid accident where he stumbled right in front of the ’music-playing heap of dirt’ on the day before the concert and fell fully on his nose; yes, that was something he had definitely noticed.

And the Spanish cursing of the noble Brit was probably also something he noticed!
Mind you, Betty had even cried out “attention John“, because apparently he had recognized a strangely alluring melody and consequently only had eyes for the shabbily dressed source of the melody. But at that moment, it was already too late! He fell full-length onto the dignified brown cobbles of the boardwalk here in Playa Blanca…

Ranting, he immediately jumped up, was appalled when he inspected his atrociously grazed hands and elbows, moved his badly ailing fingers like a maniac and kept shaking his head while he smoothed the damaged, bloody t-shirt over his stomach.
He only noticed that he had also torn his rough silver Greek Knot Cross from his neck during his fall when Betty tearfully offered it to him. He gripped it like a bird of prey and threw it into the greasy hat of the street musician, who was totally appalled.

He was quick to pull Betty after him in order to get away from this upheaval among the nosy masses of people as fast as possible. Probably his only remaining worry at this time was tomorrow’s inauguration concert at the “lava bubble”! In Jameos del Agua! And his wounded arms, his injured stomach, his bloody hands and his lacerated chin. And he certainly hoped that nobody had recognized him – the famous John Miguel Smith, when he kissed the boardwalk lying on his stomach like a fallen frog …

What mortification!

However, in at least one case, this hope seemed to have been in vain; because when the ’music-playing rubbish heap’ had overcome his shock paralysis and fished out the cross that lay between the few coins in his hat, there was suddenly a strange sparkle to his alcohol-marked face. A sparkle that even continued when he opened his toothless mouth out of which came a questioning “Miguel?”…

And then again “Miguel – Miguel, is it you?“

The street musician got more and more excited and even panicky. He dropped the soiled melodica and started using his left paw, too, for squeezing the silver cross – and again and again, he croaked: “Miguel !…Miguel !!…Miguel…!!

But John Miguel Smith was far beyond hearing and being seen. In fact, he hurried like a wounded animal along the boardwalk accompanied by his totally hysterical companion. All he wanted was crawl into his lair at the Hotel Vulcano as fast as possible!

Since, as everybody knows, the famous conductor Smith strictly forbids all attempts at finding out about his life and mercilessly deplores even the smallest public assumptions, the desperate calls of an old man, too, were lost in the rippling of the ocean that ran along the lava coast near the boardwalk balustrade.

But still, as I said, I heard somewhere that this incident is the reason and the only reason why the street musician, since that time, only plays this one ’endearing melody’ that, to this day, I could not identify. It is because he still hopes that his Miguel – whom he could not have cared less about when he was a child, in fact whom he even gave away for adoption – might one day pass by and invite him, his alleged father, to drink a brandy ’Carlos III’ with him…

Well, I am not sure if it is really the ’Carlos III’ this rubbish-like musician dreams about, but I would like to invite everyone who can tell me something new about John Miguel Smith to have a ’Carlos I’ with me in the pre-warmed glassed of the Café ’Gilbert’ on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. As I see it, the old ’music-playing piece of dirt’ should get some help, so why not through a good brandy?

PS:
Please note that all persons and activities in this story are fiction. But still, I will continue to look for this melody that caused the famous conductor to fall down. I have to find out more about it …
KH
(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?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Woebegone Europe – What Exactly Is It?

At the moment, nobody can probably say what kind of construct the so-called ’Europe’ is. Economically, it does not look too good, its crisis countries struggle against increasing unemployment rates, it is politically divided and the citizens and elites have become more and more each other’s enemies because, after seven years of Euro crisis, they now see themselves confronted with a refugee stream from Africa and the Near East that does not look like it will end in the near future.

Is this the demise of this ’European Artificial Concept’ European Union (EU) and currency union, where none of the governments that are part of the whole is capable of showing us a uniting narrative – which means that the stupid shouting of rightist disruption mushrooms is being slurped up by an abandoned citizenry like Grail Messages?

Or is this diffuse concept EU doomed because all its borders have to stay open? Since, as the German Chancellor – who simultaneously writes into her subjects’ annals that a 3,000 kilometre-long border as Germany has it cannot be controlled anyway – tells her citizens that otherwise the Euro will have failed. Just like the EU with its 14,000 kilometres of borders, cannot be expected to control them all?

And those who think they know better and tell people that ’Schengen ’ should under all circumstances have been adhered to and that the exterior borders should have been protected are told that, after the interior borders had fallen, they perhaps learned nothing at all from the world financial crisis that, too, was initiated by the Americans. After all, did anybody care about the Maastricht Rules when the individual governments hastily saved their banks because the economic control mechanisms had failed – or that is at least how they interpreted it – and, consequently, everybody had to return to the ’primate of politics’ as a matter of course?

And that is how we are going to continue, no matter what! As it is, the safety packages and soft budget limitations are an excellent tool for keeping the interest rates of ’Mr. Draghi’s EZB’ low and even for, without any shame, indebting ourselves even more without having to deal with the intricacies of debt reduction and structural reforms as the usual dumb asses demand!

What a pity that parts of the population and the EU and currency union get more and more dissatisfied regardless: masses of them run towards the leftist parties in the south and towards the right extremists and national conservatives in the north and east, instead of at long last becoming wise and taking their example from good old Germany – this is true for the euro crisis, the refugee crisis and the energy revolution! It would be quite easy, wouldn’t it?

Even if there might be the danger that the occasional wisecrack who believes that Germany, based on well-meaning, will actually do the wrong thing due to its uncoordinated policy, thereby threatening to destroy the peace project of a unified Europe. One of those wisecracks is he historian Heinrich August Winkler. He says: It is part of our German responsibility to kiss inflated moral egos that especially progressively inclined Germans world-wide possess good-bye. It is an erroneous belief that we, if necessary even all by ourselves, have to realize the good things. It must not become our lives’ lie!“

Hm – how confusing! This is definitely not what our Federal Chancellor thinks?

But maybe the man actually has a point?

KH
(Translated by Evelyn)

+On Thursday, at 11.50 a.m., in the fully packed “facility cafeteria”, Hubert Spiegel related the strange circumstances that led to the disarmament of the mysterious “mirror devil”. He started a little awkwardly by saying:

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“Well, you know, I am not really a patient of this “facility”! But my mom is! At her own instigation, she was admitted here five years ago! You may not believe this, but she liked the pasta soup served in this “facility cafeteria” so much that she refused to go anywhere else. Now isn’t that really mad?

Well- and now I come for a visit as often as I can. But then, you do not always have time, do you? After all, we all have to really work hard. Basically, none of us has a money machine at home, …

Aside from this – even if that may now sound a little strange – I am not one of the loonies residing in this “facility”!

But then – and I admit this quite frankly – sometimes in the morning at six when I am standing in front of my mirror in the bathroom and looking at this “stranger’s face” that smiles back at me, I start wondering if I, Hubert Spiegel, perhaps am mentally handicapped after all!

Neither am I all that sure if the person I see with that huge stupid grin on his face is actually me? Or maybe that is someone else altogether? Perhaps a “Peeper”? Or even one of those “stalkers”, as they call them in America…

Are you also familiar with the sensation that a stranger’s face follows you each day into your bathroom? Until you are standing in front of your mirror? The only thing that has proved to be helpful for me is sticking out my tongue at him!

So!!! Yes – I have to really do some prolonged asshole licking…

Because if the other one also gives me his asshole licking, then I know at least that he is no better than I am, which means there is no need for me to worry about him staying in my bathroom – if that is what he wants, he is quite welcome!

Now isn’t that really cute?

Well, you know, as time goes by, you simply come up with a few tricks, don’t you? After all, one is not totally brain-damaged! But just to be on the safe side, I regularly do the “ear-splitting test”!

Are you familiar with it? Because it is certainly of good parentage …
You would not believe how long this “ear-tip-stranger” needed before he eventually understood about the test and then managed to convince me that he really is not the evil one who wants to harm me! Because if there is one thing I really hate, then it is those poofters: I detest them as much as the devil hates holy water!

Anyway, initially it was always like this: whenever I gripped my ear and simultaneously stuck out my tongue – as did the guy opposite me – and whenever I then took hold of my right ear with my right hand – because I had to know, what the other one was going to do, didn’t I? – then that other devil always took hold of his left ear with the left hand … which means he did exactly the opposite of what I did? Can you imagine? Every single time…

Initially, it really almost drove me crazy! I simply could not believe that this stupid fucker was not capable of mimicking something as easy as this, instead doing exactly the opposite? I really found it unbelievable…

And, to be perfectly honest – I then started taking my orientation only from the lolling tongue. At least there I could be sure that I am really only dealing with the moron I knew…

But it was definitely no easy task!

Because as an extra devious plot, the idiot actually sometimes took his right hand to grip his right ear!

Yes – that is really what he did! But do you know when he did that? He did it exactly all those times when I touched my left ear with my left hand – that was exactly when he used his right hand, the trickster – and at no other times! Not ever at any other time…
Mind you, we are talking at six in the morning, and every morning – except Sundays – because I never wash on Sundays, nor do I even enter my bathroom! After all, Sundays are the days when I use water in the church for getting my skin wet – holy water!

Well – if you experience this kind of shit every day and then do not get mad, you are either completely gaga or – pardon the language – you are fucking way beyond caring!

But then, as I am sure you can easily imagine, I miss nothing. After all, who do they think I am? I am definitely not my mum!

Yes – if it had been my mum, then this devil in the bathroom would have been able to continue until doomsday. She would not have fought it; after all, she always was an easy pushover for all strange populist leaders.

But that is where I am different! I am far too street-smart to become thus victimized …

Would you like me to tell you how I won over this pig last Tuesday?
At six in the morning! In my bathroom! I bet you will never guess, although it is basically very easy if you think about it!

Well – last Tuesday – when I again stood in front of the grinning bastard – with my tongue lolling out down to my tits – and this devil also sticking it out – here is what I, the wise guy, did:
I moved my right hand to my right ear – but when the other one only grinned and moved his left paw towards his left ear – I moved like lightning and got my left hand to my left ear – which meant the stupid guy on the opposite side had no choice but to also grab his right ear – just like he always did…

And, people, I really wish you could have seen the stupid face this idiot with his lolling tongue suddenly made – with both paws holding both ears – exactly like me – and gone were the times of “left” and “right”, etc…

I can tell you, for me, this was an absolute hit on the head for liberty!

Because all of a sudden it dawned on me that this freaking idiot had just been tricking me all the time with his “right – left – turn” – and that he actually had been nobody else! No, absolutely not! In fact, it had always been me and me alone! Yes: me, me, me – opposite of myself – and with nobody else involved.

Can you imagine?

And what do you think how hilarious we found it and how we burst out laughing as soon as we discovered it! We fell over with laughter – both of us – and we truly went overboard and never seemed to be able to calm down… it was truly mad – really!

And now I am sure you will understand why I came here today!
Actually, I absolutely need to tell my mum about it! Even if it means she will start fretting before I start because she wants her pasta soup!

But she absolutely has to know that there has never been a stranger in my bathroom – never ever! It was always only me – and even me alongside me …

So, here we go and good luck to you all – but now I need to go and see her! She needs me!“

KH
(Translated by EG)

PS:
The author will relate this story (in Viennese dialect) during this year’s Halloween event of the “Authors Group TwentyTen” in the Hanau Olof Palme Haus.

Carl and Gerlinde (# 49)

Well – it was truly a shock this morning after Carl had beheaded his Sunday morning egg which, for a change, had actually been soft enough inside for spooning out. At the very moment he started eating, Gerlinde said:ZZZZZZZA180843“Carl, I decided to quit smoking as of now!“

As she said this, her face radiated with happiness, regardless of the fact that only a few minutes ago she had been busy in the kitchen without even having washed and made up her face before – which was definitely what she did not really like at all. But then, Carl was so preoccupied with his morning egg that every effort towards looking perfect in the morning would have been a waste of time anyway.

Only when Gerlinde tried her announcement for a second time, introducing her words with a massive hissing and additionally pressing her already empty eggshell on his still uneaten egg, he seemed to wake up and turn towards her.

“Hey, Carly! I am going to stop smoking as of now!“

He glanced at her wordlessly.

“What do you say? Aren’t you glad?“

“Nö.“

“Why not? You have been complaining for gazillions of years that the cigarette smell annoys you?“

“Well, yes”, said Carl, took Gerlinde’s empty egg off his half-eaten one in irritation and continued spooning his egg where he had been interrupted, albeit with less zeal.

“So what now?” Gerlinde was at a loss and working her way towards getting fed up.

“Well, do you know what you are doing? You are upsetting the age statistics I just took a huge effort re-arranging!“

“Is this one of your enigmatic jokes that you love as much as I hate them – or what is the meaning of this, my dear Carl?“

“This is not a joke, my dearest Gerlinde, but we are talking the latest scientific facts I processed while integrating all the corrections “.

“And?“

“Nothing and, Gerlinde! After all, you know quite well that, given our age difference – you are 42 to my 58 – one can easily start wondering “.

“Is that so? All of a sudden?“

“Yes – all of a sudden! But then, perhaps you, too, have been reading the newspapers over the last few days and noticed that, according to the latest retirement statistics, I only have 24 more years to live, while you easily have 44 more years to look forward to, my dear Gerlinde!“

“So where is the problem?“

“The problem is that I, too, want to live another 44 years, just like you!“

“And?“

“And, following the latest New York study, I have been working on a nice plan how to actually achieve that goal …“

“But that is nice, Carl …“

“Well, it is not – because with your latest remark – though not knowingly – you just made this plan totally unrealistic, Gerlinde …“

“My God, how so?“

“Well, in said study, it says that I can live up to five years longer if I eat five walnuts every day”!
“And an extra five years will be added if I kiss you on a regular basis! A glass of wine every evening gains me another 3.8 years and 15 minutes of daily exercise adds 3 years.

Eating five portions of fruit each day gains me another 3 years and indulging in chocolate rather than gummy bears means one more year. Taken together, that gives me almost exactly those twenty years you have on me statistically, my dear Gerlinde …“

“Except the entire concept has one glitch …“

“Yes, if it were not for the fact that I have to kiss you and that, by being thus kissed you would again live five years more than I …“

“I can see that the situation is really bad…“

“Yes, it is grave, but all this could be regulated if, once in a while, I were to kiss our friend Hannelore instead of you …“

“A great idea, because then she, too, will live longer …“

“Yes – and besides, you know, she is not really a bad kisser! But the true catastrophe will start if you really stop smoking. Basically, according to the New York study, this will give you 10 extra years. And since I do not smoke, I have not the slightest chance of growing old alongside you, my dearest Gerlinde. That is just a plain fact!“

And it was also a fact that Gerlinde no longer answered, but instead acted. So Carl suddenly found himself in the middle of an unspeakable confusion of shattered breakfast cutlery, marmalade, butter, coffee and tea under a tablecloth that Gerlinde had thrown at him …

Gerlinde was quite sure that this activity was not conducive to a longer life, but judging by the moaning that came from under the tablecloth, it did not have an immediate life-shortening effect, either – regardless of the advanced years of the pitiful candidate …

KH
(Translated by EG)