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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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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

Johnny Pisspot

Hi.
I’m Johnny.
Two years ago, I had the Japanese sign for “water” tattooed on my left forearm.
One year ago, I was struck by lightning.
Ever since I’ve been able to pee when pressing on my tattoo.

It’s like I’m the world’s shittiest superhero. As long as I’m pressing, it doesn’t stop, I’ve got an unlimited pee source now. But that’s it. The urine stream isn’t particularly strong, not stronger than before, anyway. And it’s not like I can control the direction of it. The range is about three feet, so just enough to piss on someone’s shoes when they’re standing in front of me.

You’d think that a superpower would be, well, super. Mine is just lame. My dick didn’t even get bigger. The only cool thing about it was that apparently, my bladder could now expand indefinitely. I never actually had to pee. I had no idea where all the liquid went, but honestly, I didn’t really care. Not having to go to the toilet was kind of amazing. Number twos still happened, but besides that I didn’t have to worry. I could drink as much as I wanted without constantly having to be on the lookout for a place to evacuate my bladder.

As a kid, I’ve always watched superhero movies, and I was fascinated by them. I wanted nothing more than to become one myself someday. And now, I can piss on command. Way to go.

The only person who knows about this is my best friend and roommate Charlie. When I first told him about my newfound “power”, he wasn’t exactly in awe, as one can imagine. He just laughed. I had tried to make myself feel better by telling him about how I was going to become Pee-Man, the living nightmare of every neat-freak-criminal in town. Charlie had just kept on laughing. The next morning, he had greeted me with the words “Oh, look, it’s Johnny Pisspot”, and he’s been calling me by that name ever since.

How I survived the lightning strike was a mystery to everyone, even the doctors. I wasn’t hurt when it happened, just a bit traumatized.

Exactly one year after the incident, Charlie threw me a surprise party. Starting from there, I will now tell you the story of how I became a millionaire.

Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

It had been a busy day at the restaurant I was working at. December always was the busiest time of the year and during Christmas time, almost every firm was hosting dinners, families were having get-togethers, and seemingly everyone wanted to come to us. So, we were fully booked, the whole month through, every single day. The day of the party had been the 22nd, and I came home tired, pissed-off, and just wanting to go to bed to rest my body. Luckily, I didn’t have to work on the next day. Nevertheless, I was not in a party-mood, which was part of the reason why I almost killed someone not an hour later.

The first thing I remember happening was me opening the door to our small suburban apartment and wondering why the lights weren’t on. Normally, Charlie was still awake when I came home, no matter how late it was. He didn’t really have anything to do, most of his income came from his father. The rest he earned by playing small gigs in bars and the occasional birthday party, so he spent the majority of his time in front of the TV.

Anyway, I wanted to flip the light switch next to the door. Only that what I touched was something else. It felt like skin. What happened next is a bit blurry. I remember screaming, my screaming. Then lights being turned on. More screaming, this time not from me, but from about twenty people, half of which I’d never seen in my life. The “SURPRISE!” still echoes in my ears. Then darkness. Apparently, my tired state mixed with the shock had made me pass out.

I woke up to the feeling of something warm and wet in my crotch area. I had been carried onto the couch and was surrounded by five of my smiling friends, including Charlie, who was caringly holding my hand. Well, it wasn’t my hand. And suddenly I realized where the wet-warm was coming from. My best friend was pressing on my tattoo, the worried smiles suddenly turned into mean grins, and from somewhere I could hear a man chanting “I just shitted and farted”. I rose to my feet with the speed of a scared gazelle and smacked Charlie right across his face.
“What in the fuck,” I shouted. He smiled at me crookedly and started laughing. He was clearly drunk. I took a look around the apartment and quickly realized that the party had already been going on for some time. There were empty beer bottles and chips bags lying around, the sink was filled with dirty dishes, and I was pretty sure that I smelled weed. I had to get out of that place. But not with pants soaked in piss. I started for my bedroom, trying to ignore the laughter. Right before I could slam my door shut, I could hear Charlie mumble “Cmon man, itwss jus a joke”.

Five minutes later, I emerged from my room with a fresh pair of pants on and went straight for the exit. Of course, I didn’t make it. Charlie blocked my path halfway through the living room. He was holding a big box with pink wrapping paper around it.

“Happy ligh…happy day of light…lightning…happy lightningday.”

He stumbled forward, almost throwing the box at me. I caught him just before he crashed into a chair. I took the box from him with an insincere “thank you” and proceeded to set it down on the kitchen table. People started gathering around me when I opened the surprisingly light box. I pulled out a long-sleeve T-Shirt in the ugliest shade of blue I’d ever had the misfortune of seeing.
Charlie suddenly appeared next to me.
“Turn it around,” he said.
I obeyed. Apparently, I had been looking at the T-Shirt from the back, because when I turned it around, there was a big yellow P drawn onto it. Like, actually drawn. With watercolour. Charlie started talking again:
“Geti? Coz you’re the pee-man.”
The situation couldn’t possibly get worse at this point. At least that’s what I thought. Obviously, every person present at this unfortunate gathering knew about my skills. Even more obvious was the fact that Charlie had told them. Which made me furious. I gave my roommate an angry glance. Not that he noticed my fury, he probably saw me double by now, anyway.
“Puti onn,” he simply said.
“Not yet,” I answered. “There’s something missing.”
I took a black marker out of a cupboard and drew a second P on the T-Shirt. Then I put it on.
“Peepee?” someone asked.
“Pisspot,” I said. “Johnny Pisspot.”

I grabbed a half-drunken bottle of Jameson that was standing on the table and climbed onto said furniture. Eyeing my “guests”, who had now all surrounded me, I took a big sip. Then I lit a cigarette and said, “I’m Johnny Pisspot”. Taking turns drinking and smoking, I proceeded saying these words, each time a bit louder, until I was literally screaming them at the top of my lungs. By now, people had started chanting along, forming some sort of a very out of tune choir. I was filled with a feeling of power, seeing my friends, who had laughed at me just minutes ago, look up at me and saying my name. This feeling mixed with the anger and the whisky reaching my empty stomach made me lose every sense of embarrassment.

I shouted one last time, “I’m Johnny-motherfucking-Pisspot!”

Then I let go of my cigarette, pulled down my pants and pressed on my tattoo. The stream hit one guy right in the face. I began turning, spraying all the people who had the misfortune of standing closest to me. Suddenly, I felt someone pulling my leg. It was the guy I had hit first, and he looked angry. Before he could pull me off the table, however, I hit him again with my stream, making him let go of my ankle. Then my other foot came swinging at his jawbone, knocking him to the floor. I pulled my pants back up, jumped down from the table and looked at the man lying in front of me, blood slowly surrounding the back of his head.
“Fuck,” I whispered. Then everything went black once more.

 

I awoke in my bed with a bad headache. It was somewhere around noon and I wasn’t sure if what I remembered had just been a dream. A quick look in the mirror proved that it hadn’t been. I had a pretty nasty looking black eye and there was dried blood stuck to my upper lip. I was fully dressed, and my pants and shoes stank like a cat’s litterbox. No dream. Definitely no dream.

I opened my bedroom door and went into the living room where I found Charlie cleaning up the mess after the party. He saw me.
“Oh, look, it’s Johnny Pisspot”.
Only now I realized that I was still wearing the T-Shirt.
“What about the guy?” I immediately asked, remembering the frightening amount of blood.
“He’s gonna be fine. Some of the others took him to the hospital. He needed stitches and is concussed pretty badly, but he won’t press charges,” Charlie replied.
“Good, that’s good.” I sat down on the couch. The piss-stink was everywhere, even though Charlie had opened all the windows. It smelled like a public toilet in there.
My friend sat down next to me.
“I’m sorry about what happened,” he said.
“Yeah. Me too”.

We sat there in silence for a while, when suddenly Charlie jumped up.
“I totally forgot,” he exclaimed. He ran into his bedroom to get his laptop. Sitting back down, he clicked on a YouTube video and handed me the device. I feared the worst. And my fears came true. It was a video of me standing on our kitchen table, shouting, drinking, pissing, and then knocking someone out.
“Fuck me,” I whispered. “This is bad.”
“Actually,” Charlie began. “It’s not.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Some beer company called about an hour ago. Apparently, they’ve seen the video and want to buy the name “Johnny Pisspot” for their new brand. I told them I’d have to talk to you first, but that you’d call them back.”
I turned to my friend, looking for words.

“What the fuck did you just say?” I finally uttered.
“You heard right. Now you better call them back, the number’s on the table.”

It took two days for everything to get settled. Because of the video, I had gotten temporarily suspended from work, so I had time to concentrate on the paperwork. The company paid me two million dollars for the name. Two million. For Johnny Pisspot.

During the next few months I mostly invested the money in Charlie’s music. He got signed by a record label and released a first record that went sky high in the charts. I quit my job and volunteered for a study on incontinence. The guy I kicked in the jaw recovered quickly and has actually become a very good friend of mine. His name is Max. He’s a professional boxer. Every minute with him is partially filled with terror.

Well, if you’re still reading (if so, why?), here’s the morale of the story: no matter what powers you have, use them only for good.

Or, you know, just don’t get caught on video.

 

 

 

Blue

Blue. Always so beautifully, painfully blue. Wise, cold, calm. Her eyes seemed to see through everything. They could read the tiniest expression on my face. At times I thought that they could read my feelings like an open book. As if they opened up my heart and just started analyzing all the twists and turns of my emotions that even I wasn’t able to understand.

“You look sad,” she’d say. And sure enough, I’d feel sad. Sad about the fact that the moment we shared was fleeting at a rapid pace and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I’d force a smile and just look at her, look into those hauntingly beautiful eyes, gently stroke her cheek and wait. I never knew what I was waiting for exactly. Maybe for time to stand still. Maybe I was waiting for eternity. Paper dreams, honey, as it goes. They’re fragile. And they burn so quickly.

Still, I feel like this story isn’t over. We’ve encountered obstacles of various sorts, sure. We may even be going in different directions with this whole thing. Maybe I’m a bit in over my head. Maybe she’s more stable. Maybe I’ve punched one too many things on our way and maybe the end just comes as unexpectedly as the beginning. “The beauty of a moment lies within its passing.” True enough but why can’t things just last? Why does everything have to end? And why is it so tiring to fight for a lost cause?

Two opposing sides, trying to brave the storm. One moves back, the other goes into the offensive. It’s a pathetic war between strangers who seem like soulmates at times. The bodies serve as fresh soil for a strong tree that just keeps on growing. The leaves are blue. Or green, depending on the light.

Drown With Me

“What does your tattoo mean?” she asked shyly. She was observing my lower left arm with interest. To her, it looked like an unfinished circle with some kind of Chinese symbol in it. Her head turned upward and she looked at me with big blue eyes, full of wonderment and a hint of nervosity.
“It’s the Japanese symbol for water. And around it is a zen-circle,” I replied. I guess my voice sounded a bit harsh because she made a step back and looked at me in a startled manner. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound annoyed. It’s just that I’ve been asked that question so many times already.” With these words, I pulled the sleeve of my sweater back over my arm and turned away. I had only made two steps when I heard her voice again.
“Oh, because you can’t live without water, right?” She laughed heartily. That fucking joke. Everyone made it after I explained what my tattoo means. And I had actually had hope for her.
“Exactly,” I answered without turning my head.
She was still laughing. Slowly, the joy over her by then obsolete joke was fading and she calmed herself. “No, but seriously. Why water?” she asked with sincere interest.
“It’s personal,” I said while walking away.

A couple of weeks later, as I was making my way through the city, I heard a familiar voice. “Hey, water boy, hold up.”
Godfuckingdammit. Her again. I stopped walking and turned around. There she stood. Scrutinizing me with her big blue eyes. Huh, she’s pretty. I could see her eyes quickly glancing at my left arm but she composed herself and said: “Hello.”
“Hi,” I answered dryly.
“Whatchu up to?” She had her hands folded in front of her stomach and was bobbing up and down on her feet. It was making me nervous. Overall, she looked like a little girl. I really wasn’t in the mood for talking but with the weight of western politeness on my shoulders, I forced myself to utter some words:
“I’m on my way to get coffee.”
“Oh, is this an invitation?” she asked with a cheeky smile.
It’s really not. “Sure,” I said, resuming to walk.
“What’s your name, by the way?” I asked when she caught up to me. I witnessed her face taking on various expressions. First confusion, then a slight hint of anger and finally realization.
“Huh, I guess I never told you,” she said astonished. “I’m Cindy.”
“My name is…” I was interrupted.
“I know what your name is, you dummy, you told me already.”
“I guess I did,” I answered. We spent the rest of our short walk in silence. When Cindy and I had drunk our coffees, I paid and we said our goodbyes. She’s actually quite nice. 

During the following two weeks, we met up quite a lot and I actually began to like her. And, well, she liked me too. So, the inevitable happened. On a rainy night after dinner, we kissed. It was cheesy as fuck, like a movie scene: movies, dinner, rain, kiss. Absolutely fantastic. We spent two great months together and hoped it would hold on for much longer.

However, one day when she was over at my house, I was not being very talkative.
“Are you okay?” she asked with a concerned undertone.
“Yes.” That’s a lie. Shut up. Do I really want this? Shut up. What if I don’t like her as much as she likes me? Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

For two weeks, I kept lying, telling her that everything was alright. I must have put her through hell. She had to live in uncertainty for such a long time. I finally decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to end it for the sake of us both. The lies had to stop.
So, I told her to meet me somewhere quiet where we could talk. I guess she already knew what was going on. “I have never told you what my tattoo really means,” I said calmly.
“Huh?” she was visibly confused about that opening statement.
“Well, let me explain. Water is my element. Not because of this whole zodiac sign bullshit. I have chosen my element based on the way I deal with bad stuff. Now, imagine a rock, that’s some shitty thing that happened to me. Picture this rock in the middle of a river. The water is flexible, adaptable, it flows around the rock and continues its way. The water is me. With time, the water will have turned the big rock into nothing but sand. That’s the good way of dealing with the past. And I sometimes manage to do that. However, more often than not, the water comes rushing down so fast that it take the rock with it. And wherever the water goes, the rock will be there too, somewhere in the dark, scary depths. When this happens, I can’t forget the past. It follows me wherever I go. And sometimes it gets so huge that it completely stops me from keeping on going forward. I guess you might say that I’m drowning in myself at these times.
Now, I have two choices: I can make you into a rock that’s slowly turning into sand. Or we can keep going and eventually, I’ll make you drown with me.
I have chosen the first option.”
She understood. Without a word, she looked at me one last time with her big blue eyes. I remember them well. Then she turned away and started walking.
I remained, chipping away at that big rock I had just thrown into my river.

Ugly Bench

“Hi, my name is -. I am a self-loathing asshole who likes to think he’s the poorest bastard on this entire planet. You know how bad I am at talking so I’m writing you this letter. Right now, I’m sitting in the dark, typing words on a digital piece of paper. The only light I have is the screen of my laptop and the illuminated keyboard. I can see the smoke of my cigarette in this feeble light. I don’t really know what I want to tell you with this. I guess throughout the past week, I’ve started to have doubts about us. My emotions have gone on a rollercoaster that just doesn’t seem to end. I am pure confusion and cannot grasp a single clear thought. There’s this one question in my head that wakes up from its unstable slumber every time I see you. It’s strong and powerful and it controls every one of my waking hours with you. It’s rendering me reserved and quiet. To be fair, I never talk a lot but now I’m doing it even less. The question’s name is „do I really want this?“. And every time it wakes up, it screams its own name and punches me repeatedly in the face. When this happens, I probably look like I’m sick because you always ask „are you okay?“.  With a broken nose and bleeding teeth I then look at you, smile a crooked smile and tell you everything’s alright. I don’t think you believe me. And I hate myself so much for doing this. Because everything’s not alright. Not at all. I can’t live this lie any longer.
I know this phrase sucks ass but believe me when I say that it’s me and not you. I’ll take the blame and I’ll take your hate. I want you to hate me. Because that will make it easier for you.
I’m sorry but this is the end.
I’m sorry.”

She was reading the letter out loud. At some point, her voice broke. It was nothing more than a faint murmur. I could see how the paper slowly got soaked by little drops. After the last sentence, it seemed like it was raining from her eyes. She cried and the paper was shaking in her trembling hands. She didn’t make a sound. She just cried in silence. I let her have her pain. I couldn’t even look at her. I could feel a tear roll down from my own eye. It was stopped by my tongue. The taste was salty. I felt weak. After about five minutes that had felt like years, she turned her head and her red, puffy eyes met mine. I could feel the cold blue color of her iris drilling into my soul. She stared me down with such contempt and hatred that I grew scared. Then I heard her voice. It wasn’t soft like I had known it to be. It wasn’t weak either. It was ice-cold. Calm. Almost apathetic. She spoke just one word. But this word pierced my heart like a sword. It filled the hole with gasoline and lit it. I was burning from the inside, slowly dying in terrible agony.
“Why?”
She was still staring at me. My mind was racing. I knew that I had to say something. And I wanted to. My mouth opened. I could feel slimy worms making their way up my throat. I wanted to puke them out. But I couldn’t. They just got stuck in there, making it impossible for me to breathe. My mouth
closed again and was sewn shut. I looked at her. She spoke again.
“I see. You’re pathetic.”
With these words, she got up, made the letter into a ball of paper and
dropped it on the ground in front of me. “Fuck you,” she said. Then she walked away, leaving me alone on this ugly bench.

Walls

A long time ago, there lived a princess. She was a princess like any other, living luxuriously, commanding servants and being admired by young men. However, unlike other princesses, she lived a bit off from the king’s castle. Her residence was a large tower from which she was not to be released until she had found a suiting husband. So, in order to find such a man, the king had commanded to build walls around the tower. Right after the birth of the princess, the constructions had begun and after eighteen years, the tower was surrounded by three sturdy walls. Every wall formed a circle, so if one had looked at the tower from above, it would have looked like the rings that form around a stone that’s been thrown in the water.
After the constructions had ended, the king proclaimed that whichever young gentleman could make it past these walls in any way would get to marry his daughter.
There had only been one who had been able to make it past every single one of the walls. All the others before him had either tried to climb and then fallen down because of exhaustion or wanted to use ladders and ropes that weren’t long enough. This one man though, a young knight by the name of Leonard, approached the problem differently. He didn’t try hard to get over the walls. He didn’t try to surmount or break them. He used a carrier pigeon to send letters directly to the princess. He conversed with her in this way for a month. In the mean time she pleaded with her father to let Leonard into her tower. The king kept saying “No, he has not passed a single wall.” And the princess would always be at a loss of words. But one day, after almost two months of pleading, she had her father come to the tower again and said: “He himself has not passed the walls, no, but his heart has.” To that, the king, who loved his daughter very dearly, could only say: “Alright, I shall allow him in. After all, I have said
in any way.” The young woman was overcome with joy to finally getting to see the man who had sent her so many loving words. She started crying tears of happiness and hugged her father in the most loving way. She heard his deep, rough voice speak once again “If…”, the king pushed his daughter away and looked at her sternly. “If he manages to send you a letter every day for half a year, I shall allow him to see you.” Upon this challenge, the lady’s tears turned from happy into sad. What man in his right mind would want to waste half a year of his life sending letters to a princess he has never seen in his whole life?
Nevertheless, she informed Leonard of the challenge and his answer stoked the fire of hope that had started burning inside her heart ever since she had first received a letter:
“My love,
I gladly accept the challenge and shall not disappoint you.”

And so he did. He proved himself to be a patient man and after the given time period was over, Leonard was led to the tower through a hidden tunnel underground. When he and the princess beheld each other for the first time, they stood face to face for a very long time, meticulously scrutinizing one another. Then they ran into each other’s arms and kissed. Leonard was indeed a very handsome man. He didn’t have broad shoulders or an overall muscular body but his face was that of an angel. Furthermore, he was a man of words, not of strength. Even though the princess was very much pleased with these qualities, the king disliked that Leonard wasn’t strong. For he had wished that his daughter would marry someone who could produce a powerful heir. So he decided to challenge the young knight once again. He told Leonard that he would have one and a half years to prove himself worthy of marrying the deserving woman. Leonard accepted the challenge for he was very much in love with the princess.

He trained day in, day out. He ran mile after mile and wouldn’t stop even if his legs felt like they were on fire. He trained with the sword for hours on end and would not once give his arms a rest even if they felt like they couldn’t even lift a feather. His body grew strong, very strong. He devoted every single minute of his life to the challenge.
But then, a day before the agreed upon end of the challenge, Leonard encountered the princess of another land. She was daughter to the king of a much vaster and richer kingdom. She seemed to like the handsome young man a lot and so she invited him to her castle. Leonard was tempted by that offer, however he wanted to refuse since he had invested so much time in the challenges of the other king. But the long days of training had rendered his mind dull. He went with his instinct and accepted the invitation. When they arrived at the castle, the king conversed with Leonard’s new acquaintance for a while. Then he approached the knight and hugged him with his strong arms. „You shall make a fine husband for my daughter. If you accept, I shall arrange a wedding in a fortnight,“ he said. Leonard’s mind was racing. His heart commanded him to decline the offer and marry the other princess, whom he loved. But its voice drowned in the thoughts of all the luxury and power he would gain from this new opportunity. So Leonard accepted.

Back in the tower, the princess was growing very excited for the next day, for she would marry a man she truly loved and whom her father now accepted. She barely slept during the night and when the hour of leaving was finally upon her, she started crying hot tears of joy. The princess and the king were taken to the venue of the wedding. There they were greeted by a large group of people who had been invited but one was missing. The bridegroom was missing his own wedding. They waited an hour, then two, then three. People started leaving and the king was furious but the princess did not dare to give up her hope. When the sun had set and there were only few people left, she finally let loose. She cried and cried until there were no more tears to cry. The king ordered his soldiers to look for Leonard and kill him on sight but he was never found.
The poor princess was locked back into her tower. However, this did not bother her. In fact, she asked her father to have even more walls built for she wanted the man who would marry her to be absolutely convinced of his choice. Seven more walls were built. A few brave men tried to overcome them but every single one failed. One young gentleman managed to make it over five walls. He was stuck there for almost half a year, living off his provisions at first and then slowly starving when one day another gentleman appeared who offered to help him make it over the remaining walls. However, the other man declined for he had realized that a woman was not worth the effort of surmounting ten walls. He died there, stuck between two enormous stone constructions.
The princess lived a very unhappy life and died unmarried at the age of forty.
From then on, the tower had served as a prison for adulterers until it was destroyed in a war.

Two Pretty Girls

“Alright, I did it. We’re together,” Jonah said
“Wait what?” Leah asked
“Yeah, I kissed her yesterday after she had walked me to the bus station.”
“Oh. Well, that’s nice, I’m happy for you,” she said a little confused
“Why thank you. I’m happy for me too.”
“So how was it?”
“How was what?”
“The kiss. It was your first, wasn’t it?”
“Ah, yes. It was…overwhelming. But also the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
“Congratulations, you’re no kiss-virgin anymore.”
“Hallefuckinglujah,” Jonah exclaimed with a proud grin

They were sitting in a café, drinking cappuccinos. Jonah was a young man of seventeen years and Leah, who was still sixteen, was his best friend. They told each other everything. And now, Jonah had the most exciting news of his life. Two weeks back he had met a girl called Carol at a concert and he had asked her for her phone number. They had gone out a couple of times and then, on the day before this one, they had had their first kiss and became a couple. For Jonah, this hadn’t only been his first kiss but he was now also looking at his first real relationship with a girl. He was extremely excited and happy about this turn of events but Leah seemed less convinced. She looked him sternly in the eyes when she said “Don’t you think it was a bit fast?”
“Why?” he asked
“Well, you’ve only been on three dates and now all of a sudden you’re together.”
“Are you jealous by any chance?” Jonah grinned. The thing with Leah was that ever since they had met, he had had a thing for her. He’d always wanted to be more than just friends but she’d never shared his feelings. Or at least that’s what he had thought up until the first time he had told her about Carol. Her answers had been very reserved and distant. Jonah liked this circumstance in an admittedly sick kind of way. To see the girl with whom he had most likely been in love for some time (he wasn’t exactly sure what he felt for her) suffer like that filled him with a twisted pride. Leah was silent. She was thinking about whether or not to give an honest answer.

Then she decided to play it cool and said sarcastically “You wish. Not every girl is into you, you know.”
“Yeh, I guess you’re right. But Carol obviously likes me and that’s everything I need so you can just keep your sarcastic comments in your pocket,” Jonah said before emptying his coffee cup. Then he added “Anyway, what’s new with you? Any interesting boy stories?”
“Actually yes. A childhood friend of mine has recently asked me if I wanted to go out with him sometime. I said yes.”

What was that? Did he feel jealous? No, why would he. He had no reason to whatsoever. Nevertheless, more than a “Nice” wouldn’t escape his lips. They left the café, said goodbye and parted ways.
During the following two months Jonah and Carol met up a lot, had sleepovers, made out, watched Netflix, celebrated Valentine’s Day and even almost had their first time together. Leah was right, it was moving fast. But Jonah couldn’t have cared less about that. Not that he even would have, since this was his first relationship so he had no experience with “moving too fast”. He was just enjoying the time he spent with Carol. But then, at the start of their third month together, Jonah started having doubts. He wasn’t sure if he actually loved Carol. They had been together for two months and he was so unsure of his feelings that it nearly tore him apart. He was absorbed by thoughts about her, wondering if he was just using her. Carol was his first girlfriend so the thought that he was just in love with the feeling of actually having such intimacy with a girl wasn’t so farfetched. He doubted more and more, went on walks in the middle of the night and cried a lot. Ironic. During the time he should’ve felt the happiest, he actually felt the saddest. At first he didn’t tell Leah about any of this for he was now surer than ever that he was actually in love with her. He had always wanted her. And he still did. Then, on a Wednesday when he was walking through the night because he once again couldn’t sleep she called him.
“Helloooo, what are you doing?” she asked cheerfully
“I’m walking,” Jonah answered less excitedly
“At this hour? Why?”
“I have to get my head clear.”
She realised that something was up and replied more seriously “I see. Do you want to talk about it?” Oh, he loved her alright

“Thank you. I’m just really doubting my feelings at the moment. I think I’m going to break up with Carol soon.”
“Holy shitsnacks, that’s not good news, boy!” she exclaimed
“I know. I just think it’s unfair for Carol if I don’t end it. She loves me a lot, of that I am sure and I feel awful thinking that she’s under the illusion that I love her just as much.”
“Yeah, it’s probably the right thing to do.” He loved her so much
Jonah said that he would try to get some sleep now and they hung up.

A week later, on an ugly park bench near the river, he broke up with Carol. It felt good. He knew that it was the right choice. It wasn’t a bad break up either. They stayed friends for some time and met up again every few years to catch up.
However, after the break up Jonah’s plan was to get together with Leah. This proved to be an idiotic dream for she had had some experiences with her childhood friend and they were just on the verge of getting together. So Jonah grew desperate. He started making dumb jokes about how Leah was the perfect girl for him. Of course he wasn’t really joking. After some time, Leah grew quite annoyed of those jokes. Her and her childhood friend became a couple and she gradually broke off the contact to Jonah. When she finally told him that she wanted nothing to do with him anymore, he felt like the biggest idiot on the planet. He had lost a girlfriend, which was okay, but he had also lost his best friend, which absolutely destroyed him. He turned to alcohol and cigarettes. And he suffered. He suffered so much, not succeeding in getting Leah off his mind. The self-loathing grew strong within him and he perceived himself as nothing more than a miserable piece of shit. He never saw Leah again. But he wrote about her. Songs, short stories, letters, really everything that helped him get over the pain. And to this day he is still writing.