30 January, 2006


He’s surely one of those gang kids, a graffiti-spraying, pot-smoking hoodlum, the way he’s dressed. She eyed the boy carefully, just taking the seat across from her, a wide, deep-sitting jeans, a t-shirt three sizes too big with a massive hand showing the middle finger, and perhaps - she couldn’t recognize exactly - his own head, closely shaved and wrapped in a cloth. A loser, obviously. She pulled her daily newspaper from her handbag. Why did they always have to put these naked women on the first page. She skillfully overlooked the hardly erotic, overbearingly primitive photo and devoted herself to the text under the half page long headline.

Shit! I’ll be too late! Why do I always have to bring her to nursery school? She always takes so long, but there’s something sweet about how she stops every few steps and notices things that I wouldn’t even see with a magnifying glass. “Why do the ants always march in a line?” “Does it hurt the leaves when they fall from the trees?” And the five extra dollars he received each month from his mother for taking care of his little sister and bringing her safely to nursery school each morning were very helpful. To be honest - even if he occasionally had to rush to not get to school too late - it was fun with the little girl, and he would have done it even without the extra money. But today was too much. Today of all days she had to make so much trouble, today, the day of the test - that stupid poem! He struggled to remember the words, “Who rides so late, through night and wind? / It is the father, with his child; / He has the young lad clasped in his arms, / He holds him securely, he holds him warm…”

What is he thinking about? The boy wouldn’t leave her alone. His presence made it impossible for her to concentrate on the scandal report in her newspaper. She’d hear about it anyway in all detail this afternoon drinking coffee with her neighbor. He looks so suspicious the way he wrinkles his brow and thinks so concentratedly! He’s surely up to no good. Hopefully he’s not thinking of taking my purse. She pressed the handbag of artificial leather close to herself, while crumbling the newspaper on her lap.

“My father, my father, can't you hear, / The promises the Erl King is whispering to me? / Be quiet, stay quiet, my child; / It's just the dry leaves rustling in the wind... the wind...” how does it go on “love you, your beautiful figure excites me...” no, wherever did I put that paper?

What’s he looking for so nervously in his bag: a can of spray paint, a knife, or something worse…? How many people are still in the wagon? She looked hastily behind her. Thank god. It’s too many. He wouldn’t stand a chance.

I’ve found it. So, what was it again? “Fine lad, will you come with me? / My daughters will tend to you; / My daughters will put you to bed every night, / And cuddle and sing and dance you to sleep.”…

Well, that was close. Just a crumbled piece of paper, luckily. That can’t do any harm. Unless he downloaded the instructions on how to build a bomb from the Internet. One reads about such things. Now where did I see that? That’s when she noticed the newspaper hadn’t stood up under the pressure of the handbag hugged against her breast, and had to surrender. Still holding the handbag tightly in her hand she tried to smooth out the newspaper and spread it flat again. Now where was that. I just read that here somewhere about the Internet and all the things one finds in it.

“He arrives at the farm with pain and distress. / In his arms, the child was dead.” Now that wasn’t so bad. That old Goethe guy isn’t as difficult as I had thought. But because of him I nearly missed my stop! He sprung up and with a few quick steps was by the door, which opened in the same moment through a light pressure.

My goodness. Why did he have to jump up like that. The shock has given me hiccups. But at least I’m glad he got out and will attack someone else, not me.

27 January, 2006