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reluctant killings

“I don’t like it,” I said, looking around the bar. It was dark in there, gloomy. Whisky and cigarette smoke were hanging in the air, I could see winos hunched over their eighth or seventh glass, there weren’t a lot, maybe four, all sitting at their tables alone. It was the same old fucking scene. Depressing enough to make you want to drink more, but not too depressing to make you want to leave the place. The same old, every night. So boring.
“What?” The thin, faceless man sitting across from me ripped me out of my daydream. His name was Jack. Or Jake. I didn’t remember. And it didn’t matter.
“Huh?” I asked.
“What don’t you like?”
“Oh. Well, I don’t like anything, really.” I was tired and drunk and annoyed and a little bit angry. If he was going to talk a lot more, I would have to kill him, I thought.
“Yeh. But what did you mean in particular?” He didn’t want to stop.
“In particular?”
“You know. What was the particular nature of your statement?” He sipped at his whisky.
“Listen, I don’t like your big words, they make me dizzy,” I said.
“It’s the booze,” he answered.
“What?”
“That’s ‘cause you’re feeling dizzy, the booze, you know.”
I didn’t know. Because it wasn’t true. His voice made my head hurt. I moved my hand towards my hip, where I had my luger hanging. One clean shot. Bang! And it would all be over. His annoying voice would drown in the blood that would fill his lungs. He would collapse into his own meaningless being.
But I wasn’t that guy, tried not to be, anyway. I was a monster, yes, many had said so. But not in that way.
“Look, man, why don’t you leave me alone for a while, yeah?” I said to the man, as nicely as I could. My glass was running dry, and I knew I needed more.
“Why you…alright, fuck off then, shall I?” The faceless silhouette of a man got up and made its way to another table. He glanced at me every now and then, the slightest trace of fury in his blank eyes. I didn’t mind his glances. Hell, I could finally drink myself to oblivion in peace.
No longer did I have to listen to his…what was that? What the fuck was that? The lights had suddenly changed their colour from a tired orange to bright, blinding red. A cold breeze swept through the bar. Jack or Jake and the winos and me all sat up higher in our chairs, knowing that something, something was about to happen. The music had stopped, it was getting colder by the minute. Every time I breathed out, I could see red smoke escaping from my lips. I was trembling, filled with a cold fear. Then the doors opened, and a black figure stepped into the bar. I stared at it. It wasn’t human, I knew that much, or maybe I was just too drunk to see properly.
“You there,” the figure spoke in a manly tenor. A bony finger pointed into my direction. I glanced around and behind me. The thing definitely meant me.
“Yeh?” I asked, trying to hide the tremble in my voice as I stood up, more by command than out of free will.
“You’re comin’ with me,” the black thing said.
“Why?” I asked, as I unconsciously started walking toward whatever it was that had apparently come to claim my soul. Or just my life, or my money. Or my ass.
I didn’t get an answer to my question. I walked into the shadows surrounding the figure and it took me into its starved arms.
“You are safe now,” it said, then everything went very dark.

I awakened in a white and gold room, all white and gold and bright and god damn why is it so bright in here? My head was spinning, hurting, I almost couldn’t see. I vomited. Then I heard a voice, more mumbling than really speaking at first, but I soon recognized it, and my headache got worse.
“Nice here, ain’t it?” The faceless man asked. “So white and clean. I feel like Jesus on a cloud.”
“Fuck all that,” I said, “where the hell am I?”
“Dunno,” he simply answered. My eyes were starting to adjust to the intense light. The faceless man was still faceless, still boring and annoying. He was merely a silhouette of someone who had once lived, or at least I hoped he had. I looked down at my hip. The luger was still there. What the hell, I thought. I’m either in heaven or in an insane asylum. Or part of some really fucked up social experiment, or whatever they call those things these days.
Either way, for some reason they had left me with my gun. I figured that, had it been an asylum, I would’ve probably been disarmed. Oh well. It didn’t matter where I was.
I pulled the gun out of its holster and held it up against the empty eyes in front of me.
“Whatcha doin’ there?” The silhouette asked.
“Fuck if I know,” I answered.
I pulled the trigger and the gun sprung back in my hand when it put 7.65mm of lead into the blank expression. Nothing happened. I mean, the silhouette fell to the ground, yes, but there was no blood, not even a sound from my gun. I fired again into the vast space in front of me. No sound. The bullet just disappeared in the nothingness. I suddenly felt very alone. I looked at the thing I had just killed, lying there, doing nothing. Boring as when it was alive. The silhouette looked a lot like a chalk outline. You know, the ones the cops draw around dead bodies. And, in a way, it resembled me. There was something sad and at the same time dreadfully bland about it. Maybe that was the resemblance. Maybe it was the name, my name, that had appeared on where the forehead had once been. Maybe it was something else. Or maybe I was just too hungover to make sense of anything.

 

 

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a thought

It’s a lonely life. But you don’t realize it until you’re sitting in a room full of people you love, and you feel alone. Like you’re just kind of there, without actually being seen. When you feel as if your loved ones wouldn’t care, or even notice, if you weren’t there, but they silently accept it when you are.
And then you’re sitting at home, at your once-white desk, typing sad words onto your once-new laptop, sipping away at your once-tasty whiskey. And you’re wondering if anything will change at some point or another. Because it has to, no? Then the sudden realization: maybe you have to change yourself in order to change your situation. Fuck that, you think, because you don’t believe that people can change. You don’t believe that people can really become someone else, that they will always stay the same at their core, that what they call change is nothing else than evolution based on experiences, added knowledge to what we already know. But we don’t change. You content yourself with that thought, because why wouldn’t you? It’s easy. And you like easy.

And then you’re standing on your balcony with a cigarette in your mouth, listening to your roommate, who was a virgin until two days ago, having sex with some girl he met on tinder, and you feel something tugging at your heart. A long-forgotten pain, something you put in the back of your head, but it never really left you. You feel lost. Lost on your own way, the way you paved yourself with hard work, tears and blood. It’s so pathetic. You feel lonely, even though you’ve never been further from being alone. You’ve got a girlfriend somewhere out there and you love her, and she loves you, but the emptiness in your head just won’t go away. Pulling at your cigarette again, you suddenly realize that you’re standing on your balcony, listening to your roommate having sex, as if before you had been hit by the never-ending train of thought, it had somehow seemed normal. Now, it’s creepy, weird, you’ve gone mad, you think. But you don’t return inside. You keep standing there like the fucking maniac you are, like they all are, pulling on your cigarette, taking in the warm summer breeze at midnight. But the summer breeze doesn’t feel the way it should, because it’s not supposed to be summer yet, why is everything so out of place all of a sudden? Still, the stars are shining, you’re not cold, your throat burns from the cigarette smoke or the whiskey or the tears starting to well up or something else. It doesn’t matter.

You’re back at that god damned screen, hacking angry and sad and beautiful words into the innocent keyboard. Every syllable is a scream, every sentence a cry for help to someone that doesn’t exist. It’s so useless and boring. Like a song you’ve known by heart since you were fourteen or thirteen or something a lot younger than you are now. You’re sad, so incredibly sad, and you don’t really know why. You think the writing helps, but you know your heart isn’t in it. Why? Because you’re trying to write reality, and you’ve never been good at that. It doesn’t matter. You lose yourself in the self-pitying rambling about how oh-so-godfucking-sad your life is. And yet, you know you’re lying.

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wasp

I could hear it coming. a loud one. it had spotted me and apparently decided to make me its worst enemy. it attacked viciously, startling me, making me let go of my beer. the bottle shattered on the stone benath my feet. my socks got wet, I took a step backwards, stepping into shards. FUCK. the thing was still coming at me, with hatred-fueled attacks. I could feel blood streaming out of my foot. but the blood was not important, I had made it my life-or-death mission to kill the beastly insect. I knew that I couldn’t flail my arms around because it would get even angrier if I did. I spotted my little torch on the windowsill next to me. a dangerous fucker, freshly refueled. I picked it up. the buzzing went from very quiet to very loud, depending on where the beast was. I tried to make it out, tried to lock my eyes on it, but it was too fast. my foot hurt. I swung around two or three times, stepping into more shards, making the pain worse. soon, I started feeling dizzy, but I had an enemy to kill. I finally cought sight of it for long enough to aim the nuzzle at it. the wasp was just standing in the air. just floating there in front of me. stupid insect. I clicked the button on my torch. a loud, sharp gas-flame came shooting out, straight at the insect. it exploded into thin air, making me the victor. I had won the battle, but lost the war. the cost was too great to be happy about it. I sat back down, looked at my feet, sitting there all mangled and all. next time, I’ll just go inside, I thought.

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Pretty Boys – Chapter 2

Chapter Two

 Edward and I quickly became good friends. His enthusiasm for the little things in life (which mostly consisted of drinking in the dark and listening to beautiful, if incredibly sad music), mixed well with my self-pitying sense of humour and my willingness to share every detail of my life. We’d spend our Friday and Saturday nights together, either drinking at our favourite bar called “Whisky and You”, or at one of our flats.

This went on for about six months, and then finally we decided to get a place together. We were, at the time, in our early twenties, both not exactly rich, and depressingly lonely. So, we got ourselves a nice two-bedroom flat in the centre of town, close to grocery stores and public transportation. The rooftop terrace with an incredible view of the sunset, the occasional house-party and cool neighbours made the steep rent worth it. Both of us were working odd jobs with a lot of time off, so we’d often be at home, cooking nice meals (as nice as we could afford them) and, as said, drinking.
However, there was one particular night that was different from the others.

It was July 21. Edward and I were sitting in our usual booth at, our usual bar, drinking the usual whisky. It was about half past ten in the evening and we were both feeling tipsy. For some reason, we had been in a gloomy mood the whole evening and began feeling melancholic because of the alcohol and the glim atmosphere. And don’t ask me why, but as soon as the speakers began playing a rather upbeat song with rather depressing lyrics (exactly the kind Edward and I liked), my friend suddenly asked, “Have you ever been in love? I mean, besides your lovely ex.”
I considered his question for a second, surprised at the randomness of it. It only then occurred to me that we’d never actually talked about girls, not for longer than five minutes, anyway. I knew nothing about Edward’s love life, or even if he’d ever had one. Intrigued to find out more myself, I faced the blond man with his deep brown eyes.
“I have. A long time ago,” I said.
“Who was she?” my friend asked.
“Her name is Leah. I went to grammar school with her,” I began. “That was about five years ago.” I could feel the memories come rushing back like a tidal wave. The song went into its first chorus. Oh Elena, I kinda wanna make it right… The melody was catchy, and I caught myself trying to escape from the thoughts by sinking into the tune. Edward pulled me back to reality a bit too quickly.
“What happened?” His voice sounded almost demanding. He was thirsty for this information. I appreciated it, since it showed that he’d really grown to like me.
“Oh, you know. I was in love with her for like three years, but nothing ever happened.” I hesitated, trying to gather my thoughts, as if I was scared to tell the story wrong that had been haunting me for all of my adult life.
“I was always watching from the sidelines as she started a relationship with this guy, slept with that guy, got her heart broken by another. It’s your textbook friendzone-story.”
“Alright, sounds bad enough, but I feel like there’s more to the it,” Edward pushed.
“Yeah, well. We did kiss once. On a warm summer night, much like today. We were sitting on a meadow near the school, looking at the sky and inventing new star constellations. The whole thing was a big fukin’ cliché, really. I mean, there were the stars, the warmth, the comfort and trust. At some point it just…clicked, you know. I kissed her, she kissed me back, and we continued kissing for a long time. It was magical. But the next day, woosh. Leah acted like it had never happened and three days later she had a big dude named Brad attached to her arm. She slowly but surely broke off contact and started ignoring me. What followed were cigarettes and alcohol in worryingly high amounts, a couple of woozy one-night-stands and finally, Alice. The thing with Alice was that, even though I cared about her a lot, I could never bring myself to actually say those three damned words. The whole Leah disaster was just too…present in my head. It still is,” I finished, feeling spent and having no desire to keep talking about the subject. My roommate wasn’t exactly supportive of my desires.
“That’s ‘cause you never got closure,” he said determinedly.
“I guess,” I replied dryly. Edward seemed to understand now that I didn’t want to dwell on it any further, for he returned to the double of scotch in front of him. I scrutinized the man who had, not that long ago, saved my life from angry, vengeful jocks after I had punched their friend in the balls. He seemed lost in thought, as if my reminiscence had awakened memories of his own. I decided to try my luck.
“So, how ‘bout you?” I asked.
“Huh?” Edward looked up from his glass again.
“I mean, what’s your story?”
He looked at me sceptically, as if unsure if he really wanted to go into his own heart-breaking past.
“Come on man, I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours,” I said.
He was still hesitant, but finally answered. What he told me that night made me look at him in a different light. I mean, I had always felt that there was a certain sadness about him, but I had never expected it to be as deeply rooted as it was. He told me about the love of his life, a girl named Meghan, whom he’d known for almost all his life. He went on about how they grew up together, always playing, laughing, and later going to the same school. Their parents had been good friends and they had lived very close. He had always been in love with her, he told me, and she with him. They had been a couple for a really long time, but then, obviously, it all went downhill. They had gotten into an awful fight one night, when they had both been twenty years old. He had stormed out in tears and had gone to a bar to drink away his sadness. He had cheated on her that night. Edward didn’t blame it on the alcohol, he only blamed himself. The next morning, he had immediately confessed and apologized. On his knees. With tears streaming down his face.
Meghan, however, hadn’t taken it well in any way, as you might imagine. She was gone the next day, leaving Edward with a note that read, “I hope you die alone.” He never saw her again. Her parents refused to talk to him and even his own mom and dad had been disappointed. All of this had led him to move to the city, where he’d led a lonely life. He had been clinically diagnosed with depression and had started developing an addiction to alcohol, and pretty much everything in his life was about to fall apart, when he went to that party where him and I had first met.
The thought that I was the only thing that gave him the strength to hold on to life made me gulp. My throat suddenly felt dry. I took a big sip of my whisky before facing Edward again. As if he were reading my thoughts, he suddenly said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m feeling a lot better than I did back then.”
This comforted me, if only for a minute.

Back at our flat, Edward propped his acoustic guitar onto his right knee and began striking a couple of chords. I had heard him play and sing many times already, and he was a real natural. At least in my eyes. He had that certain something about him that you see in the documentaries of musicians. Music to him was a gateway for his pain, and his talent gave him the means to let it out. I was envious of the way he could make that thing sound, and I was envious of the way he could take you into his world with his voice. However, at the same time, I knew that the only thing I should be feeling was admiration. Admiration for the broken man, who had somehow managed to get all the hurt under control with a few notes.
I had heard Edward play all sorts of stuff. From Elvis to Springsteen. From Dylan to Ed Sheeran. From Passenger to Brad Paisley. But I had never heard him play Edward before. His very own setlist of roughly fifty songs, each better and more entrancing and more heartstring-tugging than the last. He played them all for me that night. And after having heard his story, the lyrics pierced my heart like a thousand needles. I broke into tears more often that I would’ve liked, as did he. The whole thing was just so hauntingly beautiful and so soul-wreckingly sad. Among his huge repertoire there was one song that particularly stood out to me. It was called Doesn’t Always Work Out, and the lyrics were pretty straight forward. Nevertheless, it got stuck in my head and I caught myself humming the tune as I was laying in my bed, desperately waiting for sleep that I knew wouldn’t come.

The following week progressed as usual, though there was the ever-growing feeling that my friendship with Edward had reached a new level. A seemingly unbreakable bond of trust had formed between us, and I enjoyed spending time with him even more. We talked a lot about our past, mostly about his, since mine appeared to be somewhat boring, at least to me.
Then Friday rolled round, and we were sitting in our booth again. We talked and laughed, feeling a lot happier than the week before. I even managed to take a girl home with me. She was blond, a bit fairer than Edward, had mesmerizing green eyes and a smile that was to die for. Her voice reminded me of someone I had forgotten, and I felt a connection, if feeble and influenced by the Laphroaig. Oh, and she was hot. Not in a young Jen Aniston sex-in-the-eyes way (I was a sucker for that woman), but still hot.  She had apparently been drawn to our booth by the joyous portrait of two young men, both not the ugliest of blokes. What made her choose me over Edward remained a mystery, though she did mention that she liked men who wore rings (I had one on my left middle finger and one on my right index).
The last time I had slept with a woman had been almost a year before, and I wish I could tell you that the sex with Nadine (that was the green-eyed girl’s name) was wild and ferocious and amazing, but it really wasn’t. My performance was adequate at best, hers a bit lacklustre in terms of passion. I mean, I still knew what went where and she rode me like a goddess and her breasts felt great in my eager hands and I lasted longer than I’d expected. There was just something missing. A spark, if you will. We didn’t make love. Neither did we fuck. We humped. Like two love-starved bunnies.

She left in the morning, declining my offer to have a cup of coffee on the terrace. I promised to call her and didn’t. She hadn’t exactly given me the impression that she wanted me to call her in the first place, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. I quickly forgot about the random fling, and Edward didn’t enquire about it further. Little did I know that my spontaneous venture in the bedroom would come back to bite me in the ass.

It was three days later, on Monday evening, that Edward and I were walking down the street that led to our flat. We had both gotten off work at the same time and had gone to the grocery store to buy something for dinner. Nearing the door to our building, I saw an at least 6 feet tall, bulky man standing in front of it. He was wearing washed-out denims, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket. An earring was protruding from his left lobe and he had something tattooed on his neck that I couldn’t quite make out at first. He took a step toward us.
“Oy, you there,” he said. He sounded angry. In the orange sunlight, I could see a big vein popping out on his forehead that looked like it was about to burst.
“Hi, can I help you?” I asked, trying to sound as nice as possible.
“You Lars?” the big guy demanded.
“I am, and who are you?” As soon as I had finished my question, I saw the answer. Well, I read it. The tattoo on 6-feet gave me enough information as to why he was here. Nadine was the word scarred into his tree-trunk neck.

I didn’t have time to think, or even react for that matter. Before I had fully processed the obvious turn of events, I felt Big Guy’s fist connect with my jawbone. I went down like a sack of potatoes falling to the ground. The world was turning, and I could see black spots dancing in front of my eyes. For some reason, I didn’t pass out. More muscle than actual body strength on that guy. I couldn’t see it, but I heard Edward dropping the bags containing our dinner. He took a step forward and came into my blurred field of vision.
“You okay, Lars?” I heard him ask. I held up a thumb, or at least I hoped I did.
“And what do you want, lil’ bitch?” 6-feet asked.
“Well,” Edward began, “you see, I’ve got a penchant for smokes and kicking douches in the mouth.” I noticed then that he had lit a cigarette.
“Sadly for you,” my friend continued, flicking the just-lit cig away, “my last cigarette’s gone out.”
Oh my god, I thought, wondering if what I had just witnessed hadn’t just been an imagination. Edward had recited the exact words from an Idles song he had shown me the day before. It was surreal, almost scripted. And to be honest, really, really lame. However, without being able to see Edward’s face, I knew that he was grinning like a little kid, proud at what he had just pulled off. I couldn’t blame him.
The situation got even more ridiculous very quickly. I saw my friend assume some sort of fighting stance, ready to face his adversary, and then immediately being punched to a pulp by big-vein-neck-tattoo-man.

Battered, embarrassed and downright emasculated, Edward and I sat on our couch, trying to process what had happened. Edward had a broken nose, which he had plugged with toilet paper because of the continuous bloodstreams, a bruised eye and a couple of bruised rips. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, and I respected his decision (or rather reluctantly accepted it, since he had kept telling me he was fine after three attempts to get him to see a doctor). Edward winced with pain when he got up to grab his guitar from the corner of our living room. He started plucking at the strings, letting a chord ring out here and there, humming a melody, then, slowly, adding words to the now more consistent rhythm.

 Pretty Boys
Faces all but shards
Pretty Boys
Thought we were so sharp
Tried to fight Goliath
He ain’t a fella you should fuck with
David came too late
There was no escape
Pretty Boys
Broken and sad
Pretty Boys

 He repeated the lyrics and I tuned in. We sang a while, then went to sleep, for we were both exhausted.

The grocery bags were still standing outside the building.
We went to bed without dinner, like two boys who had gotten into a fight and were being punished for it.
If only mom could’ve seen the other guy…

 

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Pretty Boys

Chapter 1 – Prologue

 

The day I let you go will be the day I die.

I cannot imagine to ever love someone the way I love you.

We will descend to hell together, smoking one last cigarette.

When our time comes, I will be by your side,

my eternal friend.

 

The very first words Edward had heard from me had been “And who the fuck are you”.
You see, I’m not a particularly rude person, maybe a bit antisocial, but not rude. Edward’s timing had just been…unfortunate.

The day was July 2nd in the year of the snake.
Time: somewhere around 10PM.
Level of drunk: high.
Mood: bad.
Tears shed by time of contact: two.

Edward couldn’t have picked a worse moment to sit down next to me for the first time. We were two of the guests who had been invited to a house party, somewhere in the southern part of town. Well, I hadn’t actually been invited personally, but my girlfriend had. My girlfriend, the at-the-time-thought-to-be love of my life. And also, the main reason for my not so posh reaction to Edward’s approach. You may have already formed an idea of what happened. That’s right, she broke up with me. Surprise, surprise!
The bitch broke my heart at the house party of a friend of hers, who, by the way, later that night got to revel in the skilful movements of her tongue around his dick.

Funnily enough, I remember pretty much everything that had happened that night, except for the talk I had had with my girlfriend. To this day, I have no idea why exactly she had decided to end things with me. I just know that it hadn’t been because of Mr. Fellatio (I had started calling him that sometime after the party). Anyway, after the breakup, I decided to get drunk. And when I say drunk, I mean fucking hammered. Why I didn’t just leave like a normal person, is still a mystery to me. Maybe because alcohol was easier to get by by staying there. In the end, I was glad I stayed. Otherwise, this story wouldn’t exist.

So, I made my way through the crowd and to the bar (yes, there had been a bar, the place was huge).
“A double of scotch”, I said to the bartender. He nodded and proceeded to take a bottle of Laphroaig from the shelf behind him. Upon seeing the full bottle of my favourite whisky brand, I reconsidered.
“You know what, give me the whole thing”, I told the sweaty man behind the counter.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do that”, he replied in a confused manner. The blue neon lights that were hung around the shelf illuminated the green bottle in his hands, and I felt something magical. A kind of attraction. A need for the golden liquid. I didn’t have time to argue.
“Listen, mate. Just give me the damn bottle. My girlfriend broke up with me about two minutes ago, and I really need to get drunk, like, right now.” I felt weird saying these words, I probably sounded like an addict, but the barkeeper seemed to understand. He gave me a faint smile, handed me the bottle and turned to his next “customer”.

In the short time it took me to get the whisky from full to half-full, about seven people tried to come talk to me. Apparently, the news of my separation had spread around the party like a wildfire, and people I had never seen before in my life were now trying to become the best of friends with me. However, I was not in the mood to talk, and I let the Samaritans know by telling them to fuck off the minute they sat down next to me. With every new half-assed attempt on comfort, I grew angrier. That’s why, by the eighth person, I could think of nothing better to say than “And who the fuck are you.” I didn’t even bother to look up, and I wasn’t exactly expecting an answer. But there was one. Like a cannon, it came shooting out of the young man.

“I’m Edward, you piece of shit. How dare you talk to me like that you lifeless drunk? Mind your own fucking business.”

I must confess, I was taken aback a bit. The sudden change from phony friendliness to merciless hatred definitely took me by surprise. I looked at the man with the angry brown eyes. He was wearing a white shirt that was tucked into his pants, halfway opened, revealing a white tee underneath. In the feeble light, I could make out a golden necklace and a golden watch on his left wrist. His blonde hair reminded me of DiCaprio in Titanic, but it suited him well.
“I’m sorry”, I began.” I thought you’d be another wannabe-friendly douche”.
“Well, I’m just a douche”, he replied, suddenly smiling.
“Ooh, self-pity, I like it.” I handed Edward my bottle. “Do you like whisky?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure my mother fed me with that stuff instead of milk”, he replied, and took a big sip.
“I’m Lars, by the way”, I said, admiring my newfound drinking companion’s lust for the Laphroaig.
“Nice to meet you. So, why so sensitive?” He asked, giving the bottle back to me.
“Oh, you know, the usual. Girlfriend breaking up, heartache, wanting to cry but not being able to, contemplation of seemingly every life decision and so on.”
“I see. So, from what you’ve told me so far, I gather that the breakup happened here?”
“Yeah, about thirty minutes ago.”
“Damn.”

We sat in silence for a while, taking turns on the by now almost empty bottle of whisky. I was already feeling a lot more than just drunk, but I knew my limit, and this wasn’t it. Edward was about to say something when suddenly a big guy with a baseball cap appeared in the corner of my eye.
“Oy, you Lars?” He asked.
“Yes”, I answered, already dreading what he was about to say.
“You Alice’s ex, right?” He went on.
“Yes.”
“You know Kyle?”
“No”, I was growing impatient, but I didn’t want to start anything with the guy, since his two biceps alone must have weighed more than my whole body.
“Kyle’s the host. Friend of Alice’s, you know. I heard they’ve gone up to his room. Someone said summin’ ‘bout moaning. Thought you should know.” Then he left as suddenly as he had appeared.
I was speechless. How could she have already moved on? Or was Kyle the reason she broke up with me? Edward intercepted my train of thought.
“Dude”, he began.
“Let’s beat him up”, I interrupted.
“Not exactly what I was going for, but sure. I’m drunk enough for some good old-fashioned violence”, my companion replied.
“Great. But I get to do the punching.” With these words, I got up from my seat and started for the stairwell, Edward followed right behind me. My alcohol-induced state made me more than ready to do something I’d never do soberly. Plus, I was angry. No, I was furious. I felt like a Viking who had to defend his honour. I felt like the Christians taking back their holy land. I felt strong, and I was not going to let that feeling go to waste.

We made our way up the stairwell. When we had reached the top, I asked a drunk chick to point me to Kyle’s room. With a rather vague motion of her index finger, she pointed us in the general direction. After opening three doors (again, the place was huge), that each led into rooms with humping couples in them, we finally opened the right one.

I entered first, and what I saw made me want to puke. Upon stepping into the only dimly lit bedroom, I made out a pair of eyes. Above them, a full head of wildly gelled hair. Underneath, a naked body. As my eyes slowly adapted to the darkness, I moved them downwards. I stopped my scan at the body’s crotch area. There was hair, a lot of hair. And it was moving back and forth, like a chicken picking corn from the ground, just not as fast. I could now see the whole room, and what was really going on. Kyle was staring at me with an expression of pure shock across his face. In front of him, on her knees, I saw Alice. She was, well, orally occupied. Obviously, she had not noticed that someone had entered the room, because she kept on slobbering on Kyle’s boomstick like there was no tomorrow. Her raven hair fell down over her naked shoulders, and the only thing she was wearing was a black string.
Alice suddenly paused. She had probably been put off by her partner’s sudden silence. She looked up at him and asked:
“What’s wrong, babe?”
Babe?” I whispered.
BABE?” My outburst startled the kneeling woman, who instantly rose to her feet, covering her breasts. She saw me.
“Lars?” Her voice was quiet, weak even.
“You bitch”, I blurted out.
“Lars, I’m…”
“Is he the reason you broke up with me?” I could feel a strange strength rise up inside of me. A burning rage.
“No, no he’s not. He’s just…” Her voice cracked, she started to cry.
“Oh, sure, go ahead and cry. You know who should fucking be crying? I should fucking be crying. I’m not the one who jumped onto the next best cock I could find.” I was getting fired up now. My words only fuelled my anger.
“Hey, easy, buddy.” Kyle had apparently found his tongue. Too bad, he should have kept looking for it, because the last thing I needed in that moment was the guy fucking my ex-since-about-an-hour-ago to call me buddy.

I lost it. I leapt forward like a wild, very drunk tiger, cocked my fist and threw a Hollywood-worthy haymaker at the douchebag’s admittedly impressive jawbone. My adversary stumbled backwards, tripping over the edge of his bed and falling onto his mattress. I saw my opportunity. His tower of love was exposed, and more importantly, so were his babymakers. I advanced quickly, while he was still struggling with the pain of my first blow. For some reason, right before burying my fist in his nutsack, I yelled “thanks for nothing, asshole”.
I hit. He howled. I laughed. He kept howling. Like a beaten dog he lay there, in the foetus-position, his hands holding onto his crown jewels. I felt good. A strange feeling of confidence overcame me. I turned around and saw Edward still standing in the doorway, trying to hold off the people who had heard the screams.
“Oy, the little prick hit Kyle in the nuts”, someone shouted. He sounded angry.
“Uhm, Lars, right now would be a pretty good time to get out of here”, Edward said.
“Right.” I glanced around the room, saw an open bottle of red wine on the nightstand and grabbed it. I proceeded to look out of the window. Not too high, we’d probably survive.
“Edward”, I yelled. “When I say now, we jump.”
“We what?” He yelled back. He was now desperately trying to fight off three guys, who looked very pissed.

I glanced over at Alice, who was still in the same posture, though not crying anymore. I took a sip from the bottle.
“Try not to be a cunt next time”, I said. Then I opened the window, screamed NOW as loud as I could, not only to give Edward the signal, but also to give myself some more courage to actually jump. And then I did. I even managed to put my hand on the open end of the bottle, as not to spill anything. Right before landing back first in a bed of roses, I could see Edward following my example. His jump was a bit more…enthusiastic. He crashed into a bush about two feet away from me, and I prayed that the cracking I heard came from the plant and not his bones.

I slowly got up. Everything hurt, my head was pounding, and I felt at least a dozen thorns that had made their way through my clothes. Nevertheless, I got up and stumbled over to my companion’s crash-site. Edward jumped to his feet. He did not look like someone who had just leapt out of a building. Apparently, he could read the confusion on my face because he suddenly said “coke”.
I understood.

With a last glance at the heads that were staring down at us from out of the window, I lit a cigarette and began limping towards the street. Edward followed, taking the wine bottle from my hand. He raised it into the air.
“To new friendships. And kicking douches in the mouth.” He said ceremonially.
“Here, here”, I replied in the same sarcastically formal tone.

We continued on into the night.
Legends say that at least one of us puked not far away from the house.
Don’t listen to legends.
They’re never as good as the real story.

 

Featured

brisbane

I might fail to realize

that I’m only sad when you’re sad.

or at least when you seem like your whole world has been shattered once again.

you carry so much pain inside that heart of yours,

I wonder when it’s going to explode.

but don’t you worry, my friend,

I’ll be there to give you half of mine when it does.

Featured

cloud 17

trust these words:

I’ll never forget you, my greatest love.

even now,

I can’t seem to get enough of you,

and with every new angle I get to see you in

you get even more beautiful.

my heart is on the verge of exploding,

because there’s so much love it has to hold.

I want to keep you in my arms forever,

please don’t stop shining your light on me.

Freedom

The van’s motor was roaring incessantly, almost drowning out the sound of the music that was blaring out of the old speakers at maximum volume. The hot midday sun was beating down on the dusty road and the air was flickering because of the heat. Sweat was dripping from her forehead and it was getting harder to breathe with every minute. She felt as if she was stuck in a driving sauna, only that this one wasn’t relaxing at all. A quick glance at the overhead mirror confirmed her fear that she had already turned beet-red. Strange. She never got sunburns. Then again, who drives through Portugal in a badly isolated, amateurishly renovated van in August? People with serious problems, she thought. Or maybe just people with a need for adventure. And that definitely applied to her.
She had left behind her old life not a month ago, and was now enjoying the possibilities her new-found freedom brought with it. She had distanced herself from everything; her job, obviously, but that didn’t worry her all that much, since she had never found real happiness in it. But she had also left her family and friends, the people who loved her the most, and none of them knew when she was coming back. Hell, not even she herself knew how long she would be staying in this country.
However, all of that was of no real concern for her. Neither the time nor the people would make her feel bad. No homesickness, no regrets, just her and the open road;
from one town to the next, sightseeing, shopping here and there, surfing on the coast, sleeping underneath the stars and thinking about what she was going to do next.
At least that’s what she had expected her trip to be before she had left. She had been so excited about just being by herself for a few months. Of course it hadn’t exactly turned out the way she had intended, things rarely do. People get lonely so quickly, and she felt alone every night she had to check into a cheap motel, because in real life you can’t just sleep underneath the stars everywhere you go.
The heat was getting unbearable now. She stopped the van and exited into what she hoped would be fresh air. It was not. Outside, it was even hotter. The air felt solid, like a concrete wall. She reached for her water bottle and took a sip. Not very surprised she swallowed the almost hot water and stared at the vast land in front of her. It was absolutely, stunningly beautiful. 
He would’ve loved it here. 
Her thoughts jumped back in time, as they always did when she started feeling melancholic. And they always jumped to the same thing: her boyfriend, or rather ex-boyfriend. They had broken up shortly before she had left for her trip. Not because of a fight, not because they had stopped loving each other, not even because one of them had cheated on the other. No, they had decided to break up because she couldn’t take him with her and neither of them believed that long-distance relationships worked.
She wasn’t sure why her thoughts always went straight to him. Maybe she just missed him, even though she didn’t want to allow herself to do so. Or maybe she regretted not having taken him with her, even though he would’ve said yes without thinking about it for a single second. But no, she just had to do this on her own. An idea born from one of her many principles that he always considered to be stupid and unnecessary. And perhaps they were. At times not even she really believed in them, but they gave her some sort of strength and security. Her principles were the shield that protected her from getting hurt, or at least that’s what they were supposed to do.
He had always seen through them. He could tell by the look on her face what she was thinking, and sometimes she loved that about him. However, more often than not, she hated him for seeing into her head. It made her feel weak and threatened, as if she wasn’t the master of her own thoughts.
(And let’s be honest, we all hate it when someone tells us the truth about ourselves. We know they’re right, but why can’t they just leave us in denial?)
Out here, however, she could think her own thoughts, without having them basically read out loud by someone else. Here she was free.
She had yet to learn that real freedom comes hand in hand with loneliness.
He was appearing in her mind more clearly now. She could see the deep blue eyes, the short brown hair, gelled to the left. You call that a haircut? She could hear herself joke about his hairstyle and choice of clothing, nevermind the fact that she had of course always liked the way he looked.
The mental picture made her smile. She thought of his childish grin, the cute faces he used to make, his boyish three-day beard, the noises he used to make during sex. She thought about the nights they spent on the big meadow, looking at the sky and inventing new star constellations, and about the time they had danced by the river in the forest, surrounded by fifty tiny candles. She remembered the first time he kissed her; it had been a rainy day in the summer, and he had come to her house unannounced to take his life into his hands, as he liked to say.
She remembered the first time he told her he loved her, and how she had only said it seven times. Literally. The first time had been at a party, the second via text, which, in hindsight, probably didn’t count. The next two times had been after sex, in the heat of everything, amidst all the emotions that had been floating around the room. Then the fifth time right before they had entered the chapel to his father’s funeral. The sixth afterwards. And the last time had been at the airport, right before she left. Because yes, of course he had come after her, even after the break up. She hadn’t expected anything else, since that had always been what they did; hollywood romance.
Seven times. In three years.
Fuck. She could feel a tear roll down her face. It didn’t get far, though, it almost immediately evaporated. She had to stop thinking, but for some reason she just couldn’t.
And, as it so often happens, with the happy memories came the unhappy ones. The times of pain and hatred. When he had behaved like an asshole. When he had gotten lost in his head, drowning in self-pity. All the times she had wanted him to be social and he just hadn’t been able to make the effort. All of the minutes he had been staring into the candle-lit bedroom with an empty gaze, not noticing her at all.
She thought about how he had always wanted to solve a problem right away. How he would feel sorry for himself because he thought he wasn’t good enough for her. She thought about how much that had annoyed her. And she thought about all the second chances she had given him, and how she hadn’t been able to answer when he asked her why she stayed.
She remembered how much he drank, and how she sometimes despised him for behaving like a child.
Asshole. He was an asshole. 
She had seen him cry many times, while she had never shed a tear, not until now, now that he was far away from her.
She let it out. All the hurt, the hate and regret. All the memories, the fights, the appreciation and love. It burst out of her like a waterfall, her heavy tears hit the ground, wetting the red sand for the blink of an eye, before turning into nothing.

Sunset

A sunset doesn’t have to be an ending, it can be the beginning of something that the daylight could never give us.

For our most meaningful truths and our deepest fears only come out in the dark.

I can’t tell you why I sometimes feel like I’m losing you a little bit more with every step I take. Maybe I’m just afraid of letting go of my demons who have kept me company all this time.

I’d like to give you everything. I’d like to think that I’m good enough to make you happy.

I want you to see that there is more to me than the black clouds and self-pity.

I want you to know that I’m right here. I won’t give up, and I won’t run away.

And I don’t care about what other people might think, because I know that we’re on the right track.