Klaus Hnilica
Thursday November 9th, 2017

(Deutsch) Hol’ dir ein Bier…

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

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)

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
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)

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday February 2nd, 2017

Entschuldigung eines alten Sozialdemokraten

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

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)

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday March 29th, 2016

Soles Worn Thin

Carl and Gerlinde (Episode No 48)

“You always either suffer from diarrhoea, or are drunk, or else sit in front of the TV set watching soccer!”, Gerlinde barked from the balcony into the darkened room of her much-loved hotel Barceló Santiago.

ZZZZZZ_173721“My dearest Gerlinde! Do not be so upset with me, just because of one beer I allow myself each day while watching Kloppi and his FC Liverpool“, Carl grunted back.

He was pleasurably reclining, lying down and never once taking his eyes off the screen on the wall for a single second! After all, there was something at stake in this Europe League! And – after the surprising first goal – the brave Augsburg players were still coming along nicely against the Klopp troupe …

“As always, you are just talking nice! As it happens, my expectations for this spring vacation of ours on Tenerife had been rather different from what it turned out to be so far!”, Gerlinde kept complaining, regardless of the fact that her nagging was totally drowned by the noise the Atlantic Ocean made on the black reef – directly below the hotel.

By now, she was quite annoyed. It was already the fifth time this afternoon that she threw herself onto the deck chair and melancholically stared at the trashy blue ocean with the archaic three-mast ship in full sail, from where, yet again, numerous tourists who had been tricked into coming here were in vain looking for dolphins and whales.

Just like she had been trying for hours in vain to tempt her Carl to come outside and get some fresh air: mind you, it had taken her three years to talk her hard-bodied non-vacationer into finally flying to this unloved island of Tenerife – where her ’Ex Husband’ Jürgen still owned the formerly shared apartment.

Yes – it had been a total of three years during which she had tirelessly worked towards persuasion. And at the end of it, the moron was now sitting in the hotel room in front of the TV set, or else, if she was lucky, could be made to move his buttermilk cadaver up one flight of stairs to the pool area and swim a few negligible rounds; of course, he always wore his sunglasses and kept his stubborn head above the water at all times, because he had to be careful not to get his ’perm’ wet. To make up for it, a stiff neck was guaranteed, which meant that he could flee the pool after no more than five minutes. …

Maybe it was even less than five minutes!

After all, the borders of the pool were at all times under siege from beer-drinking English families with ’brexit’ favouring fathers who liked to scuffle and who often catapulted their resisting monstrous offspring towards the middle of the pool like misguided North-Korean missiles. If, under these circumstances, you persevered at the pool, you were at both lucky and unlucky. Because the survivors not only had totally wet hair on their heads but also found that, due to the huge waves, all sunglasses that had been originally worn were irretrievably diving towards the unfathomable pool bottom as quickly as a zebra fish.

And woe if, while fleeing in panic from this ’British Tsunami Chaos’, Carly was caught and shaken by a stray fall wind blast from the snowy tide that had been waiting in the background. In that case, Gerlinde could definitely forget the remainder of the afternoon!

Whenever such unspeakable adversities happened, Carl would wordlessly throw his dressing gown over his shoulders and ignore every deck chair, no matter how attractive it looked. Instead, he would stride towards the pool bar with determination!

It went without saying that, once there, he would not leave before he would manfully have downed four double ’Carlos’ into his tormented body – regardless of how Gerlinde was complaining!

So it can hardly be a surprise that Carl would, after such a display of assertiveness, astonish a totally perplexed Gerlinde on the very next day after the obligatory breakfast of fried egg by asking if she were spontaneously in the mood for a small hiking tour.

“What – today?“

“Well, yes. Why not? Two weeks from now, we will no longer be here, will we?“

“If that is what you want – with pleasure. You know I am always in favour of spontaneous decisions, my dear Carl.“

“That is exactly why I love you so much, my dearest Gerlindy”, Carl sucked up to her while clandestinely spooning the orange jam Gerlinde had gathered for herself onto the last remaining piece of white bread.

Since, however, the bus for the ’initiation hike’ she had been booking days ago already left at eleven, this was one of the exceptional cases where all protest was vain!

What was far more important for her was the fact that, less than forty minutes later, her ’hiking eager’ Carl stood next to the bus to Santiago del Teide ready to go and carrying his backpack. And, mind you, it was all for no more than 3 Euro and 30 cents – for both of them!

You definitely could not get more economical, could you!

Carl, too, was in the best of moods. During the speedy, curvy drive up, he pointed out for several times that there probably were only very few couples who were capable of deciding something so spontaneously and then of acting accordingly as they did.

It was unique, absolutely unique, this harmony between the two of them. Wittily, he pinched his Gerlinde’s upper arm so hard that she shrieked like a piglet. And since Carl grew more and more enthusiastic with respect to harmony and even mentioned Kurt and Hannelore – who seemed to find no common ground at all for shared experiences – he was rather surprised when Gerlinde, as early as after the third stop, urged him to exit, discreetly pushing him towards the entry point of the hiking path she had chosen:

10.3 kilometres to Tamaimo!

“Ha, this is ridiculous”, Carl was quite jubilant, “I could do it with one leg tied down!”. No sooner had he said this than he had already jumped from stone to stone without hiking sticks until he reached the bottom of the first steep decline, where he laughed and waited for Gerlinde, who preferred to start the journey a little more cautiously.

There was no question that the route was truly picturesque. Gerlinde really had done a great job choosing this tour. To the left and right, the terraced fields were still untended at this time of year; in between you could see well-stocked ponds and green meadows all the way to the steeply climbing hills in the background. And no human being anywhere. Only a few scattered palms and, very far on the horizon, a white house. Somewhere in the distance, a few dogs barked.

But the path was not easy!

Almost all the time, the way was steeply downhill and on the occasional flat parts, there were always razor-sharp small stones where you had to be careful indeed to avoid stumbling.

But then, wearing the good ’Lowa Shoes’ and being fit enough, all this is no problem, Carl still believed so when he started feeling that his right shoe seemed to swim away from his right foot. When he lifted his foot in order to see what was the matter, he was horrified to discover that the total profile sole was hanging at a thread; the only thing it needed to totally break off was a small rip!.

“So what now?” Gerlinde asked anxiously.

“I have no idea!“

“What about the left show?“

“Well, the left shoe still has its sole – no! On the left side, too, it is already hanging by a few threads …“

“Oh my God – what now?“

“Nothing – we continue on our hike!”, Carl grunted, sounding as if he were walking in fish oil.

Which is exactly what he was doing!

And he still did it when even what remained of the soles was practically no longer there. And even when the insoles where hanging from their last threads inside the shoes! And when the hiking socks were nothing but holes, and when the shirt and the t-shirt he had tied around his feet dissolved into bleeding fringes. …

But by that time they had actually reached Tamaimo! And there was a bar from where, after Cortado and water – God be Praised – they could order the taxi that took them to the hotel. …

“What a pity”, Gerlinde lamented after she had named their destination to the friendly, young taxi driver, “that this had to happen at the very start of our hiking program”!

Acidly, Carl agreed, although he had long ago decided that ’lost soles’ at the end of a ’hiking vacation as planned by Gerlinde’ would have been a lot worse.

Regardless, the bitter complaint they were going to send to the ’Lowa Company’ would never turn into an exultant thank-you letter. He owed Gerlinde that much. …

KH
(Translated by EG)