Klaus Hnilica
Thursday August 11th, 2011

The Magic Pill

No – Nahla had never seen Africa!

Even if, once in a while, she used to crouch besides this stone balustrade and dream her own dreams, she had not the slightest idea if Africa lay anywhere far off in this direction at all…

But Fred had arrived from this direction!

He said he had arrived on a huge freighter sailing under Panamese colours and filled with eight thousand containers, even though Nahla had not really been interested. To her, it did not matter at all from where this Fred had come and where he would disappear to after just a few days.…

This was true half a year ago, when he first turned up with a number if sailors in the harbour pub where Nahla earned her money entertaining people. It was still true today.

Well, yes – this Fred certainly looked good. When he walked into the pub wearing his light jeans and the spotless shirt that looked fit for the military, you got the impression he looked almost too good, rather like he had “the world is mine” written all over him. And his “predatory glance“ – knowing full well that escape was impossible – had immediately focused on Nahla’s dark satin skin and stuck there like the tentacles of an octopus. But that was his problem, not hers. It seems like he had “counted the chicken before they hatched”, as the ‚Limeys’ said. Being non-white, she refused to react.

These kinds of things had no future. No matter how mooney-eyed those pale young bulls looked your way. As her mom had made sure she understood even when she was a child, this kind of thing would always end in a catastrophe.

And her stupid girl-friend Minou had suffered through the entire misery with these types of blokes several times already: but when it came to love, she was hopeless, anyway. She kept getting entangled in the sleazy traps of the Limeys!
It was not going to happen to her, Nahla promised herself as she banged his beer between the glasses of his bold friends with an icy expression, regardless of his extra-polite manners. …

And then – it happened anyway!

Last April, when Nahla, after a noisy Friday night at 3 a.m., had – along with Joe, the fat owner of the ’Perliott’ – pushed even the last drunks and spongers out of the door, Fred had suddenly stood there.

He was leaning against her dented Peugeot and grinning. He looked all  white and fresh!

Why did he know her car?

“Hi Nahla!“, he said, speaking a cultivated Engilsh regardless of the chewing gum in his mouth that always made Nahla uneasy,  “I hope you still remember me and do not feel threatened by me“.

”Hi! As you can see, ’The Perliott’ is closed “…

“I know, Nahla…“

“And I am dead tired“, she snarled, devoid of any emotion.

“Me, too …“

“Well, then why don’t you go home and get some sleep, Fred! It is what I will definitely do now …“

“To be honest, I am not that tired“, Fred smiled and nonchalantly pressed his next chewing gum between his seemingly faultless teeth.

Nahla gaped at him. Stiffly! Helplessly!

The sudden breeze made Fred’s wild, reddish hair look ominous.

Something pushed at her. She never moved her eyes from him. Courageously, step by step, she made herself move towards the driver’s door of her shabby car. As if paralysed, she slowly started looking for her car keys in her huge plaited leather bag: seemingly in slow-motion, she unlocked the dented car door, opened it clumsily while it made its usual scraping rasp and – let herself fall down on the multi-lacerated driver’s seat without another fight left in her …

Fred hardly felt any resistance when he pushed her onto the shotgun-seat with determination and intoxicated her with his super-terristrial ”Gaultier Aroma” …

Since his agile tongue immediately penetrated all over her, she never felt the small pill he cleverly maneuvered into her pharynx while they exchanged body fluids until it was too late. Only when she suddenly seemed to burst with fire and burn all over, she knew she had lost and was no longer “master of her senses” …

Now she was easy prey for Fred! The same was true on the next night! And also during the following days and nights!

“It is the power of the magic pill“, said Fred with a smile when she asked why she seemed to make her way through the day like a walking corpse, whereas at night she seemed to careen from hell to heaven. And if she was prepared to help him spread the magic pills in the ’Perliott’ among the drunken customers, then she would soon no longer need to worry about her daily fatigue, he said with a super-nonchalant wave of his hand – which put the entire beauty of his lower arm tatoos on display. Instead, she would be able to remain in her pink little bed until the afternoon and dream of him – but, please, exclusively of him! And he warned her with a roguishly lopsided smile against letting herself be caught a single time with anything other in her beautiful head …

Later, Nahla no longer knew why, one night in the frenzy of her happiness, she had directed Fred to the brick balustrade.
Perhaps they had been confiding in each other about secret favourite places, or something else – like magic places where they had been looking for God or the devil, or where they had been crying or dreaming. Places where you felt you could hope for at least a few hours of spartan happiness that did not have to be ignited artificially all the time …

And perhaps that was why her reaction had been showing all the disapointment when they were at her favourite place and Fred kept demanding in no uncertain terms that she had to be thinking of him and exclusively of him at all times. At the same time, he sat down comfortably on the light-grey balustrade like some thrown-on pancake, without ever leaving her out of his sight for a single second in the starry night.…

And perhaps that was the first time ever that Nahla actually felt and knew for certain that she was totally and completely in his power. She would never again be able to escape! Now that was a realization which almost by itself, like in a flirty game, led to her giving him a totally unexpected slight push with her right hand when he leaned far back on the balustrade with legs apart and an air of challenge.…

Regardless of the darkness, she actually noticed his surprised expression when he fell backwards. From somewhere, a short flash of light had appeared. And the shrill, startled yell, too, resonated clearly in her fuzzy head, making her – totally inappropriately – feel elated as she afterwards went back to her car without ever looking back.…

And today, sitting under the wavering shadow of the sycamore and, after an endlessly long time back at her former favourite place, when she again looked out over the blue skies, she would also remember her super-cool red-head with his marvellous perfume. But she still did not know if, somewhere behind this shining blueness, in the far distance, there might be Africa. …
(Translated by EG)

The picture is:
Elke Rech – “Bildnis einer Unbekannten”
Ölmalerei; 80×100 cm

And on Thursday, August, 25th, 2011, we will accompany ”Carl and Gerlinde“ to the“Heurigen“.

7 Kommentare zu “The Magic Pill”

  1. Chris Wood (Thursday August 11th, 2011)

    What is it that the limeys say? I cannot think of a good English equivalent of “Rechnung ohne den Wirt gemacht”. The nearest that comes to mind is “counting your chickens before they are hatched”. But that fits badly in a story about a sailor.

  2. KH (Thursday August 11th, 2011)

    Chris, statt ” da hat er aber die Rechnung ohne den Wirt gemacht”, kann ich auch sagen ” da hat er sich aber verkalkuliert”…

  3. Chris Wood (Thursday August 11th, 2011)

    Yes, but the limeys (British) do not say that either. They talk English! Can it be that “Limey” has become a German word, which has lost its English meaning?

  4. KH (Thursday August 11th, 2011)

    Irgendwie läuft da jetzt etwas quer in der Argumentation; soweit ich weiß und wie ich es auch aus den Londoner Tanzhallen in den 60er Jahren kenne, wo mir von Farbigen, natürlich spaßhalber, gesagt wurde, ich sei ein ‘Limey’, kann ich nicht sehen wo hier das Problem liegt.Oder was sind denn deiner Meinung nach Limeys, wenn nicht eine abwertende Bezeichnung für Britische People! Und meine Intension hier in der Kurzgeschichte ist, dass ich durch diesen Begriff die Einstellung der Farbigen Nahla charakterisiere, allerdings aus einer deutschen Erzählpersekptive nicht aus einer Britischen…

  5. Chris Wood (Friday August 12th, 2011)

    The word “limey” is American slang for “British”. It originated because the British found out about vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), and started providing limejuice for passengers and crew on long ship journeys, e.g. to USA. Perhaps the blacks you met in London confused this with the white colour of lime or chalk, and used the term to mean “white”.
    But even if Nahla had the same confusion, she would not think that white people said “Rechnung ohne den Wirt gemacht”, because the whites she would meet would not be German. And as I wrote, there seems no English equivalent. (And if she lived in Namibia, she would not have picked up the word “Limey” from confused black Londoners).

    Note that “poms” is Australian slang for British, derived from pomegranate, due to the red faces of newcomers down under. It has nothing to do with the British taste for chips, “pommies”.
    “Pommies” is derived from the French word for apple.

  6. KH (Friday August 12th, 2011)

    Chris ich danke Dir sehr für die erhellende Diskussion und ich denke nach wie ich meinen Text passend ohne allzu große Eingriffe ändern kann. Für mich ist das so interessant, weil es zeigt welche Aspekte man beim Erzählen berücksichtigen muß, wenn man aus seinem üblichen Erfahrungsmuster ausbricht! Und wenn sich dann jemand so detailliert meldet ist das schön.Thank you!

  7. Chris Wood (Friday August 12th, 2011)

    Dear Klaus, thank you for being so kind. With my pedantry and your creativity, we might make a good team!

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