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)

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)

Roland Dürre
Thursday April 13th, 2017

IT-Treff – Nostalgia 1999 – It was Awesome!

Among the IF Blog documents, you can find a very special article. For a long time, it was hidden at the very bottom.

It is a satire on New Economy – a theatre play titled:

“Can we be saved?“

Norbert Weinberger and yours truly wrote it. The idea originated when we were on a flight from Munich via Zurich to New-Delhi with Swiss Air.

Swiss Air was a compromise that had taken long to agree upon. My friend and partner Norbert always flew Lufthansa Business Class as a matter of principle. And, just as true to my principles, I always flew Economy. Since we wanted to fly together, we compromised on Swiss air Business Class, because at the time the price was almost exactly halfway in between.

Incidentally, the reason for our flight was the official opening of our joint subsidiary company “AMPERSAND limited“. The trees grew into the heavens at the time.

The Business Class of the Swiss Air plane to New Delhi was completely empty. In those days, Swiss Air was still an independent airline and suffering from losses – but that did not matter to the friendly crew. The service was excellent, we were really mollycoddled. During the entire flight, charming stewardesses served us champagne. That was also one of the factors that made us bold. Consequently, we developed the rough concept for our theatre piece while flying.

Together with friends of ours who were also entrepreneurs, we had the first performance on June, 29th, 1999 with an audience of considerably more than 500 at IT-Treff 99 in the over-crowded Munich Schlachthof. It was great fun and the audience were enthusiastic. For us – the cast – it was mania. And additionally, it was a great outlook towards what happened around the turn of the millennium.

How did the IT Treff come about? In the mid-1990s, it was not always quite so easy for IT enterprises in Germany. The general feeling was not too good. Consequently, a few courageous IT entrepreneurs wanted to do something to improve the mood.

Their names were: Muschka Utpadel-Domdey, Alfred Bauer, Hans Nagel, Dr. Christian Roth, Markus Winkler and yours truly.

Our idea was: let us celebrate against the crisis. So we initiated the IT-Treff and invited the entire Munich IT scene. And alas – they all came.

Stars with names like Gerhard Polt and Django Asül performed for us and extended their programs to include IT-specific topics. The Bavarian Government was always on board – I remember well how Secretary of State Hans Spitzner gave us very special welcome addresses. There was always hot music – we even produced our own CD in the Schlachthof with the George Greene Hotline Band. In fact, to this day I enjoy listening to it.

And the entire IT sector danced. That was in the years 1996, 1997 and 1998. We had our last IT-Treff in 1999 – and we (the organization team) made our own cabaret IT-Treff Satire (1734) “Can we be Saved?“ – for you to read and imitate.

Since is it such a nice piece and was such a huge success, I offer a bonus for small and big theatres if they play it. You can call it a “negative performance fee” (royalty), which means you do not have to pay 10% of the turnover, but instead get something back. It is short and very much to the point – the prelude can also be used for other occasions besides celebrations.


 

Here is the IT Treff 1999 flyer from the outside

And from the inside

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday February 16th, 2017

(Deutsch) Zum Abgrund hin mit Lin und Win …

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)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday February 11th, 2016

Hairy Headlessness …

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment No 47)

ZZZZZM214Yes, indeed – there were areas where Carl was displaying truly unshakable stability! Mind you, I am not only talking his favourite beer, the hazy Glaabsbräu, or his hair tonic, or the much-loved Nivea Cream he puts on his skin on a daily basis – no, he also was religiously faithful when it came to his dentist and his French Baguette from the Briegel Bakery – and the same was true for the TRIGA underwear, the Davidoff Small Cigars and the Falke Socks – and, of course, his hairdresser Florian Breitschuh!

This last was the easiest to understand, because whenever twelve weeks had gone by, Carl would go and see Herrn Breitschuh at the hair studio ’Haargenau’ and have his magnificently growing head of hair shortened: it was something he had been doing for thirty-seven years now!

In fact, the ever bolder grey hair growing randomly in his nose and ears now shortened the ’twelve-weeks-period’ that had been his habit for decades. But then, Carl took this fact with serenity, because having his hair cut by Florian Breitschuh  had never been a burden. In fact, it had always been a welcome ’relaxing break’ in his otherwise stress-burdened daily work life.

Of course, Carl was secretly happy that said wild growth of hair inside his nose and ears was restricted to those areas, instead of starting to grow all over his breast or even shoulder blades: after all, Gerlinde always showed unmistakable signs of revulsion whenever she saw a male human with animal-like hairy shoulders in the public swimming pool or sauna. In fact, on these occasions she even had to take extra pains to restrict her compulsively starting ’faecal linguistic eruption’ to a reasonable dimension and make it socially acceptable; naturally, this was a life-saving hint for Carl when it came to how he needed to control his hirsuteness!

But the thing Carl appreciated most about Florian Breitschuh was his taciturnity
With the exception of a short welcome, there was no unnecessary word spoken between him and Carl. And, in particular, there was never any exhausting talk about vacations, the impending climate catastrophe or the ever more threatening refugee situation.…

No – Carl and Florian Breitschuh were always silent during their ’hair cutting activities’!
But still, there was one comment Carl never refrained from: as soon as he sat down and had the barber’s cape around his neck, he smiled at the mirrored image of Florian Breitschuh and sonorously said:

“Two Centimetres“!

After this verbal tsunami, Carl would usually close his eyes and not open them again until the sweetly soft bristles of the Breitschuh hairbrush would indicate that the ’hair-splittingly precise’ end of the haircut was reached, at the same time brushing away everything that might threaten to tickle Carl’s ears, nose, shoulders, neck or collar.

At the very moment when the Breitshuh hairbrush would make its last fanning movement was always the time when Carl opened his eyes and saw in the mirror, admittedly with less enthusiasm as the years went by, his freshly styled, grey ’two-centimetre top hair face’!

Subsequently, a short left and right rotation would suffice before he would, with a hardly noticeable nod, show Florian Breitschuh for the hundred-and-fortieth time how absolutely satisfied he was with the result! Florian would then acknowledge this with a subtle smile and a bow only recognizable for those who knew.

So why did he now have to cope with this absolutely unbelievable event that was beyond all rationality?

What a monster was suddenly looking back at Carl when, as usual, he opened his eyes full of confidence after the haircut was finished.

Was this balding head really E.T. the extra-terrestrial? Or maybe it was one of those millions of pitiable cancer patients who nowadays were never missing from a TV series? Or was it Satan in person bashfully grinning back at him from the hairdresser’s mirror?

Hm – Carl growled and tentatively looked at all angles – then again at the face looking at him just as hesitantly from the opposite side – just like he were currently fleeing from somewhere…

“Hey“, Carl yelled, now a little louder: “who is this?“

After all, it was a fact that he himself was sitting at the hairdressers’, which he spontaneously remembered; but no other familiar face could be seen anywhere. Only this strange guy behind the mirror who seemed to stare out and be totally perplexed …

And when Carl asked him who he was, he laughed and said: “I am your wife’s hairdresser, young man! Incidentally, she sent you to see me, since your hairdresser broke his arm!“

“And ?“.

“Well – nothing “and”! I explicitly asked you again when you were sitting in my chair after you had said ’2 Millimetres’. To which question all your impolite reply was that you did not like repeating yourself. Then you closed your eyes. So I went to work. With the machine!“

“Hm”, Carl said yet one more time. Then he remarked that, luckily, he was not vain.

On his way back home, however, he came to the irrevocable decision that he had to call in sick for the next two weeks: his secretary Bettina, as well as Miriam Braun would get crying fits on seeing him like this.

Even his boss Dr. Osterkorn, would probably advise him to not see any customers for the next six weeks. And he would call his Gerlinde immediately and propose a four-week vacation in Iceland. After all, she had pestered him about going there forever and he had always succeeded in avoiding it because there was nothing in the world he hated he hated more all this rain and cold climate.

But if you wore a suitable cap, such weather capriciousness was not at all a problem, was it? Why had he not thought of this earlier? Wasn’t it strange?

Yes – perhaps he should immediately buy the right cap and surprise Gerlinde? Why not? After all, Nicki Lauda also wore one of them …

KH
(Translated by EG)