der-echte-richard

To the guy stamping my bus ticket.

We all get asked at some point what we want to become once we grow up. And we answer “astronaut”, “firefighter”, “someone rich”, “someone famous”, “author” or “someone with my own garden where I can grow my favorite vegetable”. I mean, whatever makes you happy. But who would say “the person stamping tickets in a rustic bus in a post-Soviet country”? Well maybe this guy stamping my ticket right now. Who knows? Who am I to judge? Actually, it’s more challenging and surprising than it seems. He is there, cramming his way through the crowd. Always there, known to everyone who regularly takes this route. It’s the same price for everyone, same ticket every time. There is comfort in it. He knows every bump in the street. Every crossing and just 5 seconds later, he knows where to hold on because the bus is taking a massive bump in the road. A friendly tap on the back by the guy who is coming back from the pub. A little smile from the woman who just finished her shift. We are all here in the same boat, bus in this case. It’s familiar faces and new ones. Maybe he is looking around, seeing the same faces with different expressions. He is the one who can detect mood swings. Bad day at work? He can probably tell the difference. Happy occasion? He will know it. But you won’t. That’s the difference. He will even know when you are new to this bus line. So when I am looking around, looking at him, I cannot help but feel foolish about my estimations. I can write whatever I want but I won’t come close to what he knows. So sit down, guy stamping my ticket. It would be my honour to have a beer with you. Share your insights, your knowledge, your experience and understanding. Or don’t. Who am I to expect anything or judge? But maybe, just maybe, I will learn something. Even from your silence. So have a drink with me.

And all I am left with, is to say,

Thank you.

Raisin.

The whole morning she was unhappy with herself. Something was missing. It kind of went through the whole start-of-the-day routine. First of all, the pillow had escaped over the night. Now her neck hurt because she was only lying on the mattress. Waking up, everything ached and her neck was happily cracking. How she wished to be someone else. Next, the shower just completely ignored her need of warm water. It just would not get warm. Also, the shampoo was empty. “Why do I even shower then”, she thought while drying her hair. And this continued for the whole morning. The toast was soggy, the butter too hard, the crunchy cereal too soft. The wind too strong, the sun hiding behind clouds. The people too grim, her boss too happy. Oh how she wished to be someone else that day.

But still, she was missing this little something. Maybe a feeling, inside her. Rumbling, churning her stomach.

He represented his kind with all the pride he had. A little deformed but full of elation. Some say, you are stronger in a group. Here, he was in one but this little guy could have easily filled the role by himself. He was put into this little bread just this morning. He had a good position, just sitting on the outside on top of the bread. He could see everyone coming in, going by the baked goods aisle. He did not wish to be picked by someone special, he was just proud to be representing his kind, the raisins.

She was on her way to get lunch when she passed the deliciously smelling breads. For a moment, her stomach stopped murmuring. “Maybe that´s what I need?”. She picked the bread and put it into a paper bag. Happy to have the chance to brighten her day, they both were happy when she approached the cashier. She paid and sat down in front of the supermarket. Full of hope she took the first bite.

“Ewww. That´s raisins.”

Oh how he wished to be someone else.

This is not how his story ends. For he was not being eaten, only his colleague. He leapt of the bread and watched her throw away the bag.

“No, I do not want to be someone else. I am a raisin. I am the unloved version of a grape. Who are you to judge? You have not been pressed and dried. You are standing there, full of water and all those disgusting fluids that you need to survive. I have surpassed life. I am non-perishable. Who are you to judge my taste. You will loose your water, then we can talk about who is disgusting. I will not stand for this as long as the raisins are discriminated.

Wish to be someone else because I will not.”

Butter.

— Listen to “Lest my water break” from Kapitan Korsakov while reading

Some say they were meant to be together. They met shortly after they were put together in the plastic bag. Exchanging looks, separated by their fellows. How can someone feel so distant and still familiar?

They shared the same destiny, as it is mostly the case when you land in this kind of packaging. Most of them will end up forming the outer sides of a nourishing mini-meal for they were slices or toast.

He was on one side of that artificially formed loaf, she was stuck on the other. As it is mostly the case with slices stuck together, everyone is craving some personal space. And often, the other side looks more comfortable.

The grass is always greener on the other side. So it goes.

They weren’t interested in personal space for it was useless when separated. One day, their package got bought. Excitedly, most slices were discussing how they might end up. What kind of sandwich will they be? With meat? With cheese? A vegetarian one? Or as the holy grail, a French Toast! Well you see, toast slices are not really looking for anything special, they are not even a proper bread. But one thing they really want is for sure. To be spread with butter. Not any fake butter or margarine. Proper full fat butter.

Is the grass really greener on the other side? If it is spread with butter, yes. So it goes.

2 weeks went by and they had lost all hope by then that they would be united as a sandwich. Only little did they know that their new owner was especially fond of the end pieces. So as their day came, the whole package was opened and they were the first to be used in the sandwich making process.

No French toast, they said. But still, they were happy. Finally, being united, forming the union of a sandwich. She was picked up first. Ready to be baptised with the foundation, the bond of all sandwiches, butter. As soon as the knife touched her, she felt that it wasn’t what she was expecting. It was margarine. Disturbed she laid back onto the table.

We can make it work, he said to her. It is only important what we make of it. She couldn’t live with it. Weeks of waiting, longing to become something greater than just a slice of bread, only to be spread with margarine. He tried to talk to her but her mind was shut.

As soon as she got picked up to be put together with her lover, she leapt forward towards the ground.

If I waited forever to see the light, only in the last minuted to be denied. I am leaping forward for

The grass is always greener

after suicide.

Shoelace.

I am stability. Ever wondered what walking on a rope between two buildings feels like? Ever wondered how it feels to look into the eternal abyss? Did you ever have the feeling that just hanging around is your sole purpose in life? You didn’t? I do.

Over the decades, my style, my sole purpose has been challenged. But I transcend style and history. I am not loved, not even adored. Still, I support you. I am walking the earth with you, catching the dirt on the way. Do you ever wash me? No. Do I complain about the sacrifice I make for you? No.

I am stability.

I see how you are looking up to me right now, maybe with curiosity, maybe intrigued why I am hanging here. Well you see, this is my grave. Doomed until the cable repair man comes and cuts these sneakers off. Well, rather cuts me. For I am a shoelace that hold to sneakers over a cable in the middle of a crossway. Until then

I am stability.

Tablecloth.

Sure. You can lean on me. Why not? I mean I had your back since you were having your first drink. Put your greasy chicken wing fingers on my fine linen. Spill that cheap red wine on me. I don’t even mind. I will be there for you.

Sometimes , you put me in the washing machine at 60 degrees, who am I to judge your choice of detergent? My embroidery getting ruined? I have never been an enthusiast of extravagant superficialities. I’ll be there for you.

I mean, I am friends with the table, my companion. Sturdy and unforgiving he endured endless nights. Consequently, many say: why would a tablecloth be needed?

As in life, we all need a Medium to relate to, something that shows us boundaries but at the same time, integrates. And me, I am literally woven with strings, tied together in complex patterns to form a unitary fabric to spill beer on. I don’t even mind what’s on me, I take the stain with pride.

So take me to your wedding, sit on me while having a spontaneous dinner in the park. But think about me once in a while.

Your sincerely and truthfully forever,

Tablecloth.

Lawnmower.

Chop, chop chop. With forty-five thousand rounds per minute the blades massacre the lascious green. Only the tips land in the basket to collect them. The severed pieces are thrown onto each other, left to rot, someplace nobody knows. Whats is left is a meticulously leveled plateau of plants. Humans find it pleasant that way. Why? Who knows. This roaring machine makes everything plain and wipes away any obstacle in its path. That reminds me of something...

“You are talking too much, be quiet!”

“You are giggling too much, what´s the matter with you?”

“Have you done your homework?”

“What are your parents gonna think about this when I tell them?”

“Don´t run in the yard!”

“Don´t run!”

“Don´t!”

And in the end, just maybe, you feel like one of these blades of grass. Standing there, upright, in the middle of everybody else. You cannot move, you are not supposed to. And whatever made you distinct, it got chopped of. By that huge blade, swinging over you, daring you to come closer. But what is supposed to change? It has always been that way, for you, for the grass. Humans find it pleseant that way. Why? Who knows.

So whatever you do, don´t be a brick in the wall. Be a stone in the grass. Dent that blade. Make the dent memorable so at least you won´t get your head chopped off for nothing.

Bridge.

Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner Sometimes I feel like my only friend Is the city I live in, The City of Angels Lonely as I am together we cry.

He drove down the highway in his cabrio and put on his sunglasses. For a long time he has not felt like he mattered to anyone. His job sucked. He got richer by the minute but it just sucked. The Rolex, the clothes, the drugs. It all sucks.

“What are you gonna do then?”, he frequently asked himself. You don´t know anything else. You don´t have the guts to do it differently. Saying that made his stomach cramp. Only the car, a ´69 Pontiac Firebird, that´s the only good thing that came out of this. The rumbling V8 under the bonnet was soothing his stomach pain, which he tried to kill with Whisky when he wasn´t driving.

“How do I get out of this endless loop?”

He looked towards the sky and imagined just vanishing. What would be remembered about him? Certainly not how he ripped those people of with selling rotting stocks. He wanted to change something when he was younger. He felt like he COULD change something.

“Just enjoy the end of the world”, his business partner says. But why does it have to be the end? Because shit is burning? Because we are killing each other for a piece of paper with a number written on it?

There he was, rambling V8 in front, the road, crammed as always.

“I AM gonna change something”, he said while turning towards the empty lane. With a smirk on his face he put down the gas pedal. “I will change. I will help. This is not the end”, he said. He looked up towards the pedestrian bridge. A girl with an ice cream cone was standing there waving. He waved back and crashed into the car in front of him that abruptly.

(Under the bridge downtown) Is where I drew some blood (Under the bridge downtown) I could not get enough (Under the bridge downtown) Forgot about my love (Under the bridge downtown) I gave my life away, yeah

Bank clerk.

The automated shades open up and the bright sunlight kisses him awake. Beer bottles, a powdery substance, some pills, naked girls. He rubs his eyes and stares into the sun. He gets up and stumbles towards the table where his sunglasses are. They put a yellow filter over the world around him. He feels tired and empty, but infinitely blessed. He leans on the giant glass window that faces to the infinity pool. Some of his friends passed out on the lawn, well, who even knows who is friend and who is not. In the end he does not care anymore. Why did he buy this house, certainly not to make lifelong friends.

He stumbles down towards the dinner table where breakfast is served for him. Cleaning teams hurry around him to erase the mess from last night. “I am so sick of this silver spoon”, he thought. He throws it through the room. He was full, just filled with everything. Money, cars, people (“friends”), drugs, alcohol, houses, estates, women, servants. What do you want to have when you had everything? What do you want when you can have anything you want? To your mind, the reader, one or two things certainly come to mind. But he had it. Everything you can come up with, he had.

C.R.E.A.M.

  • CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME.

When he started out, he often reminisced about the time this Wu-Tang classic was his favorite tune, pushing him to work harder. To work dirtier. Get more money, accumulate cash. The rest will come with it. And it came, raining down on him. On the way he lost the tune, the beat. The introspection went right down the drain.

Everything in his house is shiny and it makes his blood boil. It gives him a headache. All clean, all shine. But what do you know, the scrambled egg stays an scrambled egg, the orange juice, still the same brand from his childhood. He hold onto these reminiscants of simpler times. He grabs the juice and pours vodka in.

As he stands there, he likes the way he is. Looking up from the screen and the number that has to be divided into commata to make it easy to read. “How much would you like to withdraw?”, he says with a smile in his face, knowing that he is lucky not having to asnwer that question. Cause he is just a bank clerk.

“Dollar dollar bill, y'all”.

Cabbage.

„What the fuck do you mean they breached the candy frontier?” “Sir, we can’t hold the sweets aisle any longer”

His father was born into this war, as was his grandfather. He can’t remember seeing anything else than vegetables on the floor. They were scattered there, like a grotesque reminiscence of the horrors that this conflict had brought. It all started when a can of German sauerkraut was thrown out of the shelf. By whom, no one can really tell. In the end, no one will really care. That is, if there will be an end. After the Aisle 6 incident, the cabbages parted into factions, releasing thunder in the vegetable aisle. Sauerkraut against white cabbage, white cabbage fighting, in what the claim was defense. The red cabbage saw its opportunity to once again gain what was rightfully theirs, taken by the white cabbage hundreds of years ago. Every faction had a bill to settle.

“Sir, we need to retreat. The Würstel faction has joined the Sauerkraut.”

He held his head high up, facing the ever-glowing neon lights.

“Sergeant, have you ever seen the sky turn black?”

“No sir, can’t say I have, sir.”

“Me neither.”

He took the toothpick, which had pierced so many cabbages before and went away from the position they had held. His grandfather died there, his father did as well.

“I won’t.”

For as long as he could remember, he was lying there. Piercing every cabbage that tried to cross the line. Just as he was told by the men before him. But this war, it has gotten larger than him, not only involving cabbages but sausages and even eggs now. The causes of joining the war become more irrelevant with every action.

He looked down again, facing the storming groups of Sauerkraut and Würstel.

“This will end.”

He put up his toothpick, held it high into the air and threw it to his feet. The line of Sauerkraut stopped. No one knew, what he just did. They were told to capture this position. But what if there was nothing to capture?

“I am going home”, he said, turning his back to the frontier.

With each step, he thought harder and harder what he desired. What he wanted to do first when arriving home. Maybe he would just go on a walk. Maybe he would have a drink. Maybe, he would rest.

A deep pain hit his back. He stopped. His breath began to shorten. He fell to his knees. As he was looking down, he saw the tip of a toothpick, sticking out of his rib cage. Looking up, he said:

“Well, how could I believe… to change… the life of a cabbage?”

The bottle opener. He looked deep down into his empty glass. Whisky had been there, however there was nothing left of it in liquid form. The only reminiscence of it was the smoky, earthy smell of it. He dug his nose into the glass and inhaled. Meadows came to his mind, sheep just biting grass in windy atmosphere, cliffs dangerously greeting the sea. Big waves crushing against the harbour where the whisky barrels were loaded. Still, there he was, sitting alone. In his bar. Same people, same bartender. The one woman having her chin in her hand, comforting herself with the sturdiness of the bar. He was looking around, no wind, no sheeps. It was all just an illusion, drinking that little dram of finely curated nectar of the gods. He leaves his seat at the smoky bar, leaving behind the people around him. But somehow, there, standing on the street, he felt lost. Where would he go in this state between drunkenness, pettiness and no sense of belonging. When did he start being in this state? Why did he enjoy staying in it? “Well there is consolidation in sombreness. Being tender with yourself, trying to cope with your thoughts. Maybe there is something in between two drinks. Maybe just take a step back, see how you had some good times there, with the guy who always talks about his collection of typewriters, the one telling that he has been a famous fighter pilot when it still mattered, the woman who was (according to her) the most famous classic car thief in the city. So here you are, reading his story. And maybe, just maybe, you have become interested in his path. So, where do I begin, you may ask. Well, grab yourself a drink and all you need is, well, a bottle opener.