Klaus Hnilica
Wednesday July 15th, 2015

Trapped on the Balcony

Carl and Gerlinde (XLIV)

Oh God – what a heat! Absolutely beyond endurance! And today of all days, Hannelore and Kurt had planned to invite them, because, at long last, they had managed to finish the renovation work on their house. It had taken them two never-ending years during which everybody had been sure that there was never going to be a happy ending!

ZZZZGAfter all, when Carl had read about the sixty documented façade fires in the City of Frankfurt mentioned in the ’Frankfurter Allgemeine’ where the insulation had been quite an effective fire accelerator and shown this analysis with all due superiority to Kurt, the latter had lost all enthusiasm about minimizing heating costs. But then, his persistent ’climate preservation activist Hannelore’ eventually prevailed and forced him to install said insulation anyway! And since she had already gathered steam nagging him, she made him renovate the rolling shutters, too: ever since last Tuesday, all the fifteen rolling shutters on the windows and doors of their one-storey semi-detached house now moved up and down without the slightest sound, sun-sensor controlled and fully automated.…

And this is what he and Hannelore wanted to toast with their friends today, Kurt had stammered. Mind you, the families Renner and Gutmann had to send in a last-minute cancellation, because Kerstin had suffered from a heatstroke, Anne had been stung by a bee yesterday and reacted allergic and her husband was still busy dancing around his office without being able to say when he would be back.

But then, sitting on the north-facing balcony of the first floor, Kurt continued after having yet once again related the entire renovation adventure and while still gripping his Aperol Spritz – now minus the ice cubes – one could just about tolerate even temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius! This wonderfully refreshing breeze coming from all sides was also what had eventually made Hannelore agree to serve her delicious buffet on the balcony, after all. …

”Kurt, if you continue your monologue holding this full glass in your hand”, Hannelore suddenly aggressively interrupted him, “the only guests remaining with us will have died from thirst and turned skeletons before having so much as smelled all those delicacies we prepared for them. Please let us, at long last, push the now tepid Aperol Spritz through our throats and then turn to the cold beer sitting in the ice buckets! And my appetizers would also definitely appreciate being devoured and pushed into our empty stomachs as fast as possible, before the basil is totally dry and the wasps have eaten your savoury sardine bread spread…“!

“God be praised”, Carl moaned with relief, touching Hannelore’s naked arm while Gerlinde tried to console the so harshly interrupted Kurt with a few whispered niceties.

Carl was also the first to, after the short and embarrassing pause, grab his small bottle of beer from the ice-bucket and, without a single break, use it for removing the lukewarm Aperol Spritz taste from his throat!

All the others followed suit, and since they actually did enjoy the nice breeze on the balcony, their chewing mouths soon started resuming their lively gossip.

It took this bone-shattering “NO! Damned!” for another interruption of their chattering to happen: all three of them gazed at Kurt who, highly excited, stood in front of the closed balcony door with an ice-bucket full of empty beer bottles: nobody had noticed anything, because it had all happened so noiselessly.

And now they were closed! The balcony door shutters!

And, of course, the control device was inside and nobody had their cell-phone with them. Well, where should anybody have kept it, wearing their light summer outfits; even Carl had no suitable pocket in his Pumpkin Shorts!

“So what now, my golden programming genius?”, Hannelore attacked her totally flabbergasted Kurt. “If I remember correctly, you told me more than twenty times last week that this is something that absolutely can never happen, because you programmed the shutters for all the balcony doors to always remain half open. Or am I mistaken, my super-wise Kurti?”. 
“Dear Hannelore, you are not mistaken. You see me facing a mystery …“
”My dear Kurt, this is not just a mystery, but a totally closed balcony door”, Carl added with a grin.

“So – and what now, my dear folks?”, Gerlinde had turned a little acidic.

“I do not know – I truly and really do not know …!” Kurt stammered.

“Maybe we should yell!”, Hannelore suddenly shouted, “yes, let us all together give such a loud yell that is sounds like cowbells ringing; somebody is bound to hear us …“

“Ha, ha – who would hear us?”, Kurt moaned. “The neighbour on the right is hard of hearing and sitting in front of the TV set and the neighbours on the left are on vacation…“

“And the ones back there are having a garden party, so they will not hear anything because of all the noise they make themselves”, Gerlinde added with frustration.

“But Hilde, on the opposite side, still has her lights on! Look at the upper storey!”

“And all the windows are also open”, Kurt suddenly sounded quite triumphant…

And he immediately started yelling loudly for his beloved – who, incidentally, at the age of 82, also was only of limited hearing. This was not something Kurt let himself be deterred by: he yelled “Hilde” until – well, until he no longer had any breath left!

Of course, the occasional car also drove by! But they took no notice at all of the ’incarcerated four on the balcony’. And even if they had noticed, they would surely have thought those guys up there well equipped, since they were so strangely yelling and full of joy, also waving all the time…
And, of course, Blanka, Hilde’s Polish nurse, was also not available – but then, she would not have understood anything, anyway, because the ’Deitsche Language’ was not precisely her strong suit!

When finally Carl had managed to tune his powerful organ in harmony with the ’help ’- cries by Kurt, the one who had been so much wanted actually appeared in one of the illuminated windows, enthusiastically waving towards the merry balcony round. …

She also noticed how hot it was and how she was totally in the nude underneath her light shirt!

Kurt’s desperate yell, however, that he absolutely needed the house keys deposited with her again only brought the reply:

“I am in the nude …“!

And when asked where Blanka could be found, the answer, of course, was again “I am in the nude… “!

But since, regardless of Hilde’s fortuitous nudity, the time approached midnight and not only the Aperol bottle, but also the three bottles of champagne were empty, Carl manfully took the initiative: powered by quite a bit of alcohol, he suddenly – without any advance warning – catapulted himself over the balcony railing like Tarzan for all to see, awkwardly gripped the downward leading rain pipe and – even before Gerlinde could give an anxious outcry – landed on the ground with some kind of primal yell!

At least that was what it seemed to be, considering the muffled sound of his impact and this animal-like “Ouch – Shit!“.

And after fearful questions from above and tension-laden silence from below, finally came an all-salving moan and the spooky comment:
“Now, I, too, am in the nude …!“

Which was when everybody gave a yell of liberation, noticing that Carl’s beautiful new summer outfit hung from the rain pipe in tatters and he, Tarzan himself, apparently had survived the entire episode without breaking any bones; he was still wearing his undamaged TRIGA boxer shorts…

Since the automatic movement lights on the patio had turned themselves on, he even stood in the limelight, looking very spectacular with blood smeared all over him! So it was hardly a surprise that Hilde enthusiastically joined in with the applauding audience, constantly saying that Kurt was not in the nude, after all…

However, since it was not Kurt but Carl – whom she took for Kurt – who knocked at her door, it only took a few minutes before the sought-after spare keys were in his hands. …

What a triumph for the ever so robust TRIGA boxer shorts! Because without them, Carl could never have run to Hilde’s so quickly …

KH
(Translated by EG)

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