© MMXX A.N.E.
The times he lives in are different. Since not only pieces of art can be reproduced infinitely – but also human beings, too – the Surplus Alps can be seen from any place on earth. The times he lives in are times of excess.
He is sitting on a bench at Zauderville train station. The sky knows only one color these days: grey. The sky knows only one thing to do these days: weeping. He’s cold. Apart from a little broth now and then, maybe one liter in total, he hasn’t eaten in eight days, multiplying the sensation of looming hypothermia.
If nobody had told you that it’s June, you’d probably supposed it was September already. Or again. To him it has been autumn every single day for months. Years, even. Yesterday is long gone. Jester-days of mockery killed spring- and summertime an eternity ago.
Today the weather is supposed to change. He’s killing time. Writing into a small notebook in even smaller letters. He’s homeless, of course. You must understand that he doesn’t dare to return to his well hidden tent in the woods. At least not at all cost, that is. He’d be soaking wet, taking the moisture with him into the only dry spot he has unlimited access to. He needs the weather to change. He’d, luckily, stayed the night with a friend. The shower! Oh, the warm water running down his haggard body. How he is yearning for a warm shower right now. But he has to wait.
“Szeretlek!”, whisperers his girlfriend sweetly into his ear. “I love you, too!”. They’re cuddling up under the blankets in their mutual apartment on the outer rim of Windbone City. Windbone is a beautiful city. It has been a fountain, a kiln of culture for centuries. Of wealth, and it’s oozing heavily with beauty, art, poetry. Some Scandinavian writer would have compared it to Italy, once. And wasn’t that statement as absurd as fitting?
They have been together for one and a half years. Oh, love. They had been traveling a good deal together, Lisboa, Habana, Budapest, Rome. They had gotten to know each other at work. It sounds worn off but you get to know one another best, when you have been working together. Moving together was a thing coming naturally. Love. Love is the bad omen that sings sweet serenades promising demise. Good times anti-cede the worst of times. But, look – their bodies lie skin to skin on the bed, sharing their warmth.
The apartment is from right after the war. Walls like a bomb shelter. Nothing fancy, but they had put some work into it, so it had become a cosy place to live. It’s dry. It’s warm. The best thing about those old apartments is that the bathroom and toilet are separate rooms. And the Toilet bowl itself reminds you of your grandparents: do you remember those toilets that allow you to observe your own shit before flushing it away?
He has taken a train to the gare de l’ouest and had been drinking a coffee. One more coffee. His fourth today. What is it about him, that he doesn’t eat, but pours coffee down his throat as if it was water?
Here it’s warm and he’s got some electricity to load his devices. To transcribe what he wrote in his little notebook with green ink into bits and bytes. The coffee doesn’t fill the void. It surely warmed him a bit. He wants to return, but it still rains. Yesterday he had a tic. Damn tics. Will that tic make him sick? He reckons he won’t be that lucky. The tic had been removed by himseldf – the poor thing had eaten itself into one of his tattoos. Just great. Now it’s dead.
Can a virus actually infect something that isn’t even there? I mean, he has a brain but it’s nothing inside anyway. How he’s longing for a place of his own. Wouldn’t an apartment be great. The end of your life is when you don’t have an address. He can’t afford one. Not any more. Not in the western world.
It’s a day later. Our guy finally went back to his tent in the woods, although it had still been raining. There had been nothing he could do. The forest had turned into an arrangement of little torrents, something he had never before observed there. At least it had been dry in the tent.
This morning he went back into the city and spent the noon at Astradinars, because of the internet.
Once you’re homeless you start to observe the little things in life. Like where do you get clean water from, toilets, electricity, internet and so on. You come to see all the other homeless people even more than before. Like in society in general, there’s a hierarchy to them, too. Our man still looks quite fashionable as to easily blend into the very society he is no longer part of. There are many like him, especially women. Men tend to deteriorate even faster. Yesterday, he saw a man without shoes, black feet, torn, dirty clothes, a really sad appearance. How is this possible in the 20th century. It’s just incredible. Then again, this guy was, unlike him, quite corpulent, something he found peculiarly interesting. So what is to be concluded from that piece of foresight? The bad news is: You’ll be unholy and rotten, pariah! The good news is: You’ll be more than well fed, though!
Our man is roaming the city and its suburbs, watching, observing. Still, because of all the coffee he pours into him, he is quite active. He wonders for how long he will still have the energy to do so.
His hair is already falling off and he’s very haggard. Maybe this has nothing to do with his eating habits at all. Might as well be the age. But what is he supposed to do? For he is on a deathwish. His life is just pointless. It always was.
„Get out of the water, son!“, his mother cries, „Your lips have already turned blue and your skin looks like the scales of a cooked hummer!“. „Just a bit longer, mommy, please!“, the boy shouts back.
„Get out already!“, his mother replies dismissing his efforts. They’re spending the summer on Sylt, like every year. The water is warm, the surf breaks roaringly on the beaches. The weather is just great there in summer.
How careless is a boy’s life. No worries, no sorrow, no responsibility — as a child you’re being taken care of. What do you know about life, then. Nothing.
Another manic Monday. Our guy roams the streets. The weather is fine, finally. Everybody’s out. All the people are so busy, in a hurry, rushing hither and thither, but, like him: do they ever arrive anywhere? They got their homes, TVs, jobs and so on. But aren’t they just rushing from one place to another? He observes a guy with a t-shirt saying: „Make Money“. What a disgusting little fellow, he thinks.
He‘s walking and walking, no goal in sight. He hasn’t eaten in more than a week. 8 days? Nine days? Ten even? He doesn’t even feel hungry. He‘s basically living off of coffee, keeping his blood pressure up. Only in the morning he‘d feel extremely weak.
There is this mall. He enters it and watches the people. To him it seems so randomly picked, what they are buying. When, back then, he was like them, he would also spend a lot of money on things you actually don’t need. That nobody needs. He had never been into fashion, of course. He‘s still a bookworm, though. But even this is pretty much nonsensical, he reckons. Aren’t there libraries. Public libraries, free for all. Isn’t there already an abundance of goods, that could be available to everyone? Is there actually a necessity to buy things today. But this world will probably never change. He drinks another cup of coffee to go.
After hours of hours of walking through the streets, he makes his way back into the forest. It’s still muddy and wet. Well.
Back in his tent he reads a book criticizing a postmodern society. He notices that his tent is overrun with ants. He throws them out, one by one but it won’t stop. What the heck. He lifts his backpack. Under the backpack a whole army of ants. How did they even manage to enter. They’re of the friendly kind though. They don’t even bite. Since it’s pointless anyway he leaves them be. There’s nothing to eat in the tent anyway. What could they possibly want there? Make friends with him? Not likely.
He‘s got a smell like vermin. He despises himself. Maybe, tomorrow he can go for a swim if the weather is fine? He definitely should or else his odor will turn into a lethal chemical weapon.
The waiter pours in a little wine. „How is the wine? Do you like it?“, he asks politely. „Very good, thank you!“. The waiter fills the glass half way with delicious, deep red Spätburgunder. He opens a bottle of water and fills a glass.
Our man savors on thin slices of Bündnerfleisch with aged Parmeggiano and some virgin olive oil. He sips from the wine.
The main course is whale, rare — apparently the quota for catching whale has been fulfilled only recently, because it tastes, very, very fresh. It goes with some mildly seasoned gratin of young potatoes. Delicious.
Afterwards he has a variety of cheeses, blue, nasty, creamy and hard. He chose from a variety of goat and sheep. He even managed to get a piece of Highland Blue from the Whitestone Cheesery. Just incredible how intense it is. The french ones are a little less evil, but still mind bending.
He finishes the meal with a glass of greenest milk. Keller et fils. The wind blows the candle out. And the meal is finished, the bill is paid for. That night he would have the sweetest dreams.
The next morning he awakes with a inflammation in his ear. Ten days without food. He feels totally grounded. There are ants just about everywhere, overrunning his body. He feels miserable. He‘s finished.
He can’t go swimming with his fucked-up ear. With eating too little or nothing at all comes another dark passenger of the mind: degenerative dementia. Even if you don’t feel hungry it becomes more and more difficult to think straight forward. To make dedicated decisions, even.
He begs a friend for help on the subject. He is encouraging him to get his stuff in order. And he‘s helping him out with a bed and a shower.
So he‘s going to a washing salon and gets his clothes clean. He‘s dumping the tent, which is overrun by ants on the inside and snails on the outside. Not just snails. Those disgusting slugs. Covering everything in slime. It‘s an old tent, anyways, having served him for almost a decade. Spirits are high, he‘s cleaning the place up after him. Now, apart from dementia, and, combined with greater amounts of caffeine, euphoria is also a true comrade to the fasting monk. The weather is just great. Sun is shining, it’s rays warming his body.
He will return to the north. Once again he will try to find a solution to his problems. Because in this world, for as long as there are people out there who are willing to help you out, for as long as there is a little, tiny grain of solidarity left, there is hope.
Oh, how he is longing for Sylt and a delicious meal. Oh, how he doesn’t want to let down all the people who set their hopes and efforts into him. Northbound he must be.
After washing his stuff he buys himself four chocolate cream filled bismarcks, alongside some cacao and just hopes he doesn’t have to vomit. Instead of feeling better after the rush of sugar, and although he doesn’t feel nauseous, he’s getting really tired. He will visit his friend, this helpful caring Jack of Alltrades once more and return to what is as much as what one can call home at all, the day after.
The train enters the well known countryside of his childhood. All the Buildings, even the trees and the countryside with its forests, fields and scattered vineyards. Upon entering the train station he reads the all to familiar sign: „Velkommen åt Skitgård“.
He checks out of the train onto the platform and inhales the perfume of the place. Memories. Often times memories are well attached to smells or tastes. They both open up boxes upon boxes on the attic of one‘s mind.
Let‘s see – he thinks. I need to go to platform 13. Only an hour or so of traveling left.
Whilst he makes his way there, the speakers on that platform inform anyone who stands by:
„Attention please! Platform 13: train passing through. Please step back and secure your personal belongings.“
For some reason, our man had his mind somewhere else, probably got distracted in memories or so, he drops his belongings on a bench at track 13. and steps a little, out of curiosity if he might spot some trains, in direction of the tracks. Not too close, of course.
When the passing freight train sped through the station, it would suck a fair amount of air close to it, because of its velocity and mass. And because our man was so thin, and because our man was so light, and because he was unaware of the danger, before he knew it any better, was sucked under the train and transfigured into jam.
The ants and bugs eating from the jam later told their offspring, that it had been the most tasty jam they’d ever had. It had a peculiar note. It supposedly tasted like…, like, hope, you know.