out now

Continue reading


***EDIT – part of the LOVE ETC book.

(made available to read online for free once in a while or generally with a donation based password.)


[a short story]


It was of course the wine. People scattered all-over the floor, on top of each other, pale fists raised amidst exhaustion and craze. Nobody could’ve imagined anything like this to happen, at this ultra-chic dinner-do, whose guest list easily sported some of the most exquisite names in town and the buffet a sheer unbelievable accumulation of culinary delights from all over the world.

After more than an hour some of the guests, despite torn-apart garments and blood-dripping lips, still weren’t exhausted and somehow managed to swing their bizarre fists towards real or hallucinated opponents. Mostly they missed though – the Bordeaux had unmistakably taken its toll. Furthermore none of them was (except the three or four sport celebrities also mingling into the party) an athlete in the broadest sense which meant that their stamina was pretty meagre anyway. It was surprising that some of them still found the strength to let their wine-flutes swhoosh through the mighty Baroque chamber – and thank god the creepy waiters from catering had left the scene already a while ago, so that in the end nobody got seriously hurt when the glasses clankily shattered against the main wall and from there hailed as shards into the fuming copper-pots of the buffet.

As usual, it had all started rather idyllically, the fluffy routine of an eternally repetitive paradise. Approximately two hours after the party had started also the last guests came flocking in and the minister, wearing an ice-white dinner tuxedo this evening, majestically pranced his way to the centre of the 17th century table serving the dear attendants as bar and buffet tonight. He raised his glass. His eyes were at this time flickering already hopelessly drowsy which the wine through its ruby, translucent glow from the crystal chandeliers nicely juxtaposed. Using a fastidiously carved silver-knife, he clinked on the stem, three or four times. “Dear friends”, he announced, “I can’t tell you – ick – how glad I am that you’ve all come here – ick – for this wonderful evening …”, and so on and so forth.

His extraordinarily pretty wife meanwhile stood quite away from him. She was surrounded by a gay group of males in almost identical charcoal-grey dinner-suits who pretended to be admiring the short-cut, black evening-dress she was wearing tonight. In reality they were mainly concerned about sensing her bare, lofty legs as closely as they possibly could through their strenuously itching pants, as they were keenly propping themselves next to her. Or to stare with strangely heated dismal at her cleavage whose two silky semi-spheres conveyed the same creamy-beige texture as the lattes from those new multinational coffee-chain outlets in town. Regardless of married or not – in a way they were all secret admirers, gathering around like a swarm of sad, screwed-up moths who’d been banging their heads against the light bulb too often in their miserable little lives. One snap of her finger and every single one of them would’ve given up everything – career, children, wife, limousine, even their retirement plans – in the matter of only an instant.
“Hahaha”, she had to laugh at one of the less stupid jokes, made by the fellow with the hilarious glasses – a bright-orange, fluorescent plastic frame with finger-thick lenses. The guy was the uncrowned advertising-king, responsible for a not insignificant number of taglines which most people at the party would’ve associated with their appropriate products right on the spot. He was one of those people who knew everybody who had anything to say in this town, whilst on the other hand everybody he didn’t know would’ve done anything to get to know someone like him – which he, despite being mid-fifty, with still astonishingly capable lecherousness knew how to take proper advantage of. Nonetheless, his joke was quite funny and she kept shaking her head theatrically, causing her bleached hair to tickle in each surrounding man’s nostril.
To finish her off, the advertising guy then stacked-up another gag. “Hahaha, that’s … just … incredible”, she uttered between cramps of laughter while leaning on a strange, stocky guy who had to nibble on his already emptied glass to distract from the embarrassment of an erection the bulging revelations in front of his nose were causing.

“I hope – ick, … , you enjshoy tonight’s wine – ick – as much as I do – ick – my dheear friends”, the minister proclaimed, gone-off at this stage beyond inebriated. He continued with various praises about the apparently precious grape they suckled away on this evening and briefly side-tracked in truly embarrassing and most certainly unprepared litanies about ‘God’, ‘Blessings’ and ‘Gift’ – until to the surprise of the attendants he changed abruptly the subject. There was a pause. Then he continued, his voice went murkier this time and had shifted a half-tone lower. “What I – ick – also whaanted to cshhelebrate today – ick, …, is that my wife and I – ick, … , that we, … , have our tenth – ick – annivhhershhary of finding eaachh othsher.”
She’d initially started as his secretary – although back then her business MBA from former Czechoslovakia would’ve qualified her for a much higher position than his own, her gender and passport, though, “unfortunately” not, as the honourable Lord So-and-so, his boss, had put it at the time. Ten years later she didn’t really listen anymore to what her subsequent husband had to say – the outright stupidity was simply unbearable. Instead she preferred to carry on laughing about the ad-hero’s joke, only perhaps slightly less preposterously.
“I looohve her – ick – soo muchsh”, the minister continued – more to himself and without really aiming at his wife. Thoroughly pissed he wiggled his glass above the head and some of the wine trickled on his bare scalp like blood. “I wouldn’t – ick – khnoow what to do, … , ick – withshout her.”
The truth was that beside her, since almost two years now, he’d entertained a semi-passionate affair with his present, comfortably nubile secretary. Furthermore, during his endless business trips, he’d slept with so many girls from Brussels’s finest escorts that he could remember only those he’d ordered at least two times up to his room, and even then, only dimly. On the other hand was it true that his wife was the one person he felt connected with the most at the end of the day and this thought proved soothingly heart-warming even now. Anyway, it was time to come to the point.
“How muchsh – ick – I regret thissh”, he took another gulp of wine before he carried on mumbling, “but I have to – ick, … , unfoortshunately, … , ick – let her go, …” Pause. “THE WHORE” – he screamed and raggedly pointed his finger towards his wife. Everyone was suddenly paralysed. The minister took yet another gulp off his glass and had to lean on a few wine-stained wood-inlays to not simply collapse.

From the infinitely long reprieve that followed, the spectacular end of the party rolled upon the guests in extremely slow motion. Like an ocean-wave someone would idly be watching approaching – although perfectly knowing it would be a thundering killer-tsunami when it finally arrived.

“This turns out to be quite a maaad evening”, the advertising guy uttered into the silence. How lucky he was. Entirely against his initial impulse he had in the end opted to come here – despite the other party on his list promising to be the far more exciting. The head-of-programming from the station with the fattest audience ratings in the country celebrated his 50th there. “Fuck the roof-terrace barbie”, he thought. This here was much better – even if they had topless nurses there who’d consider themselves “more than happy to massage your neck and your ego at any time” – as it said on the invite.

At about the same time the minister’s wife turned to her husband who’d obviously gone insane. Again she burst out – “hahaha.” What a ludicrous sight, this pathetic little man in his white dinner suit, squirming, totally gone and ranting on about her alleged adulteries. “Unfaithful to whom? Unfaithful to what?”, she asked herself amusedly. The simple and certainly sad truth was that she couldn’t feel anything for this person anymore with whom she might had signed a marriage contract sometimes ages ago. She couldn’t even bring herself to hate him for any of his petty assaults since she’d never loved him in the first place. It was more a matter of indifference. For her the minister was just someone – and he might as well have been anyone, had he not also been the one who doggedly balanced her credit card bills every month. Yes – they lived in the same house but no – they didn’t have any children. Separate rooms, separate beds, separate lives. Looked at it in utmost sincerity they were, at bottom, two strangers.

“Pleezshe – ick – raise shyour arms, … , who’s already done it – ick – withsh my wife?”, her husband whined into the silence. No arm was raised. Instead a woman further down the hall started to scream on the top of her lungs as if the cold hand of an undead had suddenly touched her from behind. And this was it, the secret signal that the flood-wave had finally reached the shore. First punches were exchanged amongst the guests and shortly thereafter people, glasses and precious silver cutlery flew criss-crossing through the whole party.

Rrrritch – someone was thrown against the minister’s wife and ripped the already illegally revealing back-bit off her dress. Everyone in the room could now see her remarkable bottom, letting its silky skin shimmer through scarlet-red, cutely laced panties. Wine glasses traversed through the air and sprinkled also everything red. Those who weren’t involved in the fight anxiously ducked underneath the tables. Many other women soon found themselves half-naked as their dresses were also torn-up ‘by mistake’. Men bled from their noses and had really ugly bruises blushing-up on their faces. All the red sparks in the room, literally, expounded. Klirrrr – a definitely not cheap porcelain-plate was angrily smashed against the wall.

“Raissse thoshe hands – ick, … , who of you aaashholes has already – ick – fucked my wife?”, the minister still kept babbling. Someone suddenly snatched him, dragging him down into the jammed pack of wrestlers. Within a second a fist had hit his face and he shut-up almost immediately.

Not far from him also his wife crawled through the crammed bunch of people, paving her way to the end of the buffet where the last bottles of wine seemed to be only just waiting for her. She was already halfway through when someone suddenly grabbed her ankle. It was her husband, the pathetic little piece of minister.
“Have you lost your fucking mind?”, she said composedly but with enough self-assertion to make herself heard above the turmoil. She was neither afraid nor angry. How dare he? She had to try hard not to burst out into hysterical laughter again. Instead she froze facial expressions altogether and stared at him with the same dreary chill of a medieval death-mask that usually disconcerted him enough to eat straight from her palm again. Also this time it worked and she could free herself from the repellently flaccid grip of her husband – when suddenly another fist came, like a thunderbolt from heaven, anonymously and intentionlessly crashing into his face. She could hear something cracking. “Ough, that must’ve been the nose”, she thought and very briefly felt something like pity. He stared at her with all the befuddlement he could possibly muster while droplets of blood came marching out his nostrils like tiny, shy leprechauns. In the end she couldn’t help herself but just to ignore him. She continued her trip to the wine which after the fuss seemed to be waiting for her more impatiently than ever.

“I like the way you crawl”, said the advertising-king with the bang-orange glasses, popping a green olive stuffed with an almond into his mouth. He looked down on her without even remotely trying to help her up on her feet. Instead he suavely indulged in the sight of her bare intimate regions which owing to the bruises and scratches she’d earned herself on her trip from the other end of the hall seemed to him all-the-more scintillating and arousing. And yet, without too much lack-of-style, she finally managed to stand next to him. First, by provocatively grabbing onto the leather belt of his trousers – all-the-while staring into his eyes. And then clambering-up to his face on his starch-blue, velvety mickey-mouse tie. Back on her feet, she instantly snatched some of the wine and took her much-anticipated gulp of rejuvenation, before pointing the glass with a frolicking-flirtatious gesture towards him.
“I can’t actually stand smart-arses”, she rubbed into his face with a devilish grin, “but anyway, let’s cherish this evening.”
Klinnnk – they cheered on each other, without breaking eye contact one second. Then he began to wipe his spectacles with a monogrammed handkerchief. His eyes suddenly looked like those of a mule. “There’s still this roof-terrace party at a friend of mine”, he suggested without really offending the rhythm. “The wine’s drying up here. Wanna come along?”
He put the glasses back on his nose, nervously adjusting the rim with the tip of his middle-finger, then stretched-out the right crook of his arm – which she promptly hooked herself into.
“Why not?”, she thought while they tipsily reeled their way towards the exit. One last time she turned round to the tied-up bundle of human beings. She shook her head. Only too well she knew that tomorrow morning – except a few more gauzes and plasters on company floors and parliament corridors in town – everything would’ve gone entirely back to normal. Forgiven and forgotten. No hard feelings whatsoever. We all drink too much some time, don’t we? Never mind. Not to worry.

While they silently and motionlessly sat in the taxi which would bring them to the other end of town, they stared from their diametrical opposite windows of the cabin, sobering-up and alone with themselves, into the ghastly-featureless darkness of the city they lived in. The longer they drove the further their lonely bodies moved closer together. Centimetre for centimetre they kept hungrily skidding towards the inevitable centre of the pigskin back-seat. And as the car finally stopped in front of the high-rise building, whose lifts would shoot them straight into the next thing, their sweating and trembling hands had almost touched.

vienna & london, june 2004 – april 2009
© 2004 – 2009, all rights reserved