Klaus Hnilica
Thursday June 30th, 2011

Cackle at the Regular’s Table …

Carl and Gerlinde (XI)

Since Carl would not stop talking about the two vintages he was going to serve at the regular’s table, Gerlinde, just interrupted …
“Hannelore, the coffee meeting at Klara’s was really nice! She is doing a brilliant job! Everybody from the times when we were still young and pretty had been invited….“

”I am glad for Klara“, said Hannelore, „I truly am! And how are those no-longer-quite-so-young ’beauties’ today?“

“Great! They all look excellent, maybe a little greyish, but they are all in top shape“, said Gerlinde, “even – now whats-her-name – who had this hip operation, was all easygoing and happy.…“

”Who is ’whats-her-name’?“ asked Hannelore.

“Well, you know, don’t you, the raven-haired one“, said Gerlinde, ”she was always a little strange. Incidentally, Anne, she used to be your neighbour when you lived in that house at Brühlerstrasse…“

“Our neighbour?“

“Yes, their garden bordered yours at the back. Her husband, who is a little stocky, is a little on the peculiar side”, added Gerlinde while taking a good sip of the Pinot Grigio.

“Do you mean that unfriendly guy, Gerinde“, interrupted the still angry Carl, “with whom I had that argument on the garden party of – now what-was-her-name, where you were invited for a cup of coffee?“

“No, Carl“, said Gerlinde, “I mean the one who is clearly insane. Ever since he retired, he is into brain callisthenics. He also teaches fast-reading courses…“

“But the one I mean“ insisted Carl, “is not stocky. He is tall and red-haired! What do you say, Kurt?“

“Redheads are always dangerous! They disagree all the time!“

“Now, Kurt, won’t you stop this nonsense?“, hissed Hannelore, “but, Gerlinde, I think now I know who you were talking about when you say raven-haired! Her expression was always a little strained – I can clearly see her before my mind’s eye …“

“Didn’t the name of the guy I had that argument with at the time start with a “K“?“ – that was again Carl interrupting. But when Gerlinde asked him to, he at least went for another bottle of  red wine.

“Gerlinde, are you talking about the Renner girl“, Anne hesitantly asked, “she lived to the right of us and always ran through the garden in the semi-nude?“

“No, Anne, not to the right, I meant your neighbours at the back…

“Well, there were several…“

“That might well be, but the one I mean is raven-haired and starts with an ’L’ – at least that is what I think? And, as I mentioned, she had a hip operation some time ago …

“But, of course, Gerlinde, now I know exactly who you are talking about“, moaned Hannelore, ”both of them are also so terribly catholic.. aren’t they, Kurt?“

“The catholics are even more dangerous than the redheads!“

“Oh my God, Kurt“, was all Hannelore had left to say to him, ”why do you keep coming up with your stupid assumptions…“

“What do you mean, stupid assumptions – I beg your pardon! …“, came the snarl from an energetic Kurt to all the assembled…

“Yes, of course, just go ahead and beg your pardon“, was Hannelore’s tart retort. “And besides, you know her quite well, too, because she is close friends with your so much loved female dentist’s assistant!“

“What do you mean, so much loved female dentist’s assistant, Hannelore?“

“Kurt, you know pretty well who I mean. Kurt, there is no call for you to pretend all this innocence“ continued Hannelore acidly.

“But I do not know any female dentist’s assistant“, now Karl got indignant.

“Of course, you know the dentist’s assistant, Kurt! And you know her even better than you will ever admit. And you also know her girld-friend, who we are just now talking about!“

“Once again, Hannelore – I do not know a female dentist’s assistant! The only lady I know is not a dentist’s assistant but a secretary and her name is Schmidt”, came the irritated lecture from Kurt, before he drank up the entire glass of red wine that had just been replenished in one gulp.

“So the dental-calculus lady is a fabrication of mine, or what?” was the poisonous reply by Hannelore.

“Can’t you stop telling ancient stories?“, retorted Kurt.

“That is exactly what I will do, Kurt, as soon as you give me the name of her raven-haired girl-frien…“
“Well, in that case, I can easily say, her name is – hmmm…“

“Schramm! Wasn’t their name Schramm?“ called Anne in a far too loud voice. “My Hubert used to hate them like pests. And he hated their fat dachshound even more. The dog always barked at our ’Stubbsi’ and left his offing all over the place …“

“No, Anne, it was not Schramm. Didn’t I say it was something starting with an ’L’ – I am absolutely sure about that…“, repeated Gerlinde a little unnerved.

“Listen, all of you, now I have it! Wasn’t the red-head named Karl, just like me?“ barked Carl whose tongue no longer sounded too swift.

“That may well be, Carl“, Hannelore’s voice was surprisingly soft as she said it, “but the husband of whats-her-name, the one Gerlinde is referring to, was named Horst, I am absolutely sure about that. I just cannot remember her name…. Neither her first, nor her second name. I could go up the wall!“

“Guttmann… now I remember!“ cried Gerlinde suddenly with an air of triumph “the raven-haired was called Kerstin Guttmann … Now was this a hard delivery, or what ?…“

“Of course, Gerlinde, her name was Kerstin“, moaned Hannelore with relief, “I always had nothing but arguments with her!“
“Yes, she was certainly strained and austere! The only thing you could do with her is have an argument! Her husband is just like her, too” Kurt kept barking at them, ”but he is not red-haired, Gerlinde, just for the records …“

“Nobody said he was, Kurt!“

“And neither does Guttmann start with an ’L’, my dear Gerlinde, let this also be said“, came the smart-alec comment from Anne.
”Yes – Anne, you are right, of course. Please forgive me …“

“But do you all know what was so funny about Kerstin Guttmann during our coffee meetnig at you-know-her-name?“ Gerlinde continued with obvious relief. “She of all people, you know, she who always claims to be omniscient and talks in a terribly loud voice so everyone will hear her strangely deep voice, she of all people did not remember a single one of the names of people she was talking about. Isn’t that embarrassing? Mind you, we are talking not a single one! Isn’t that just hilarious? “

“Typically Kerstin“, said Hannelore acidly, “why can’t she just keep her mouth closed if she has these kinds of problems remembering. She could have just sat there and quietly listened, like in those days – what-was-her-name – did. You all know who I mean, don’t you?“

KH
(Translated by EG)

PS:
Two weeks from now, on July, 14th, 20112, you will read “Razor Sharp…” with Elsbeth

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