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The German (excerpt)
Blind Man’s Bluff
Casual and Unobtrusive
Extra Strong
First time Bloomer
Ideal Parties
A little Life
The Bowling Alley
The Other Woman
The Bird
No excuses
There were Two of them
The Signing
Philosophy of Silence
Real Ugly Things
Small Town Diners
The In The Forest Thing
The Shop Assistant
What it’s like being a man
Alternative Ending
The Incident
The secret Dialogues
Worded stimulation for the little urges inbetween


Cross, cross, cross. 13, 23, 28, 33, 10 and 16 I struggle with the last few numbers. Its Friday just after eight the weekend is to start and I am intending to win the lottery tomorrow.

I am sure this time around cause I got the numbers given to me by someone, someone I decided to trust for once someone I paid a fiver too for the numbers, so they must be good numbers I think.

Later on that night I go out and knowing that I will win the jackpot I am not shy spending a few bucks. I am in town in a posh bar drinking cocktails that I couldn't afford otherwise. There is a girl, there's always a girl in a bar like this and I buy her a drink and then another and then I buy her friend a drink too and suddenly it's just me and them, we are alone together in the bar and the bar is about to close and they both stare at me as if I was some kind of god, with plate sized eyes wondering what can be now.

There is another bar I know further up the street, it's not posh and there aren't any cocktails, but I don't tell the two girls, cause I don't want them to leave. Not yet anyhow. The other bar is dark and dinge, but it has its charm I think and I can see the two girls, how they raise their noses and look at me. I don't mind and offer them another drink and they stay with me again not on cocktails this time but on cheap wine and they are not sober anymore either, none of them. They keep looking at each other behind my back and then they look at me straight, they both smile and there smiles look fake, like their eyebrows and there fingernails. Even their breasts are probably made of foam, I think. I smile back it's a stern smile I give them a good one that I had copied today at work from an internet page about smiles. It's a good smile, it's an I know what I want and I know that I get it smile and I think it works.

As we leave there is doubt again when the cold of the night creeps up my legs there is all the doubt that I had all day perhaps all my life.

When they look at me again with a question in their eyes I just shrug my shoulders. There are no more answers tonight. I ask them if they want to come back to my place, but they don't as I knew they would do and I know that I will never, never see them again. I shrug my shoulders again as they turn on the empty street to walk back towards town back to the glamour, and the cocktails, and the neon signs that keep flashing day and night. I just stand there and stare as the dark swallows them and they are out of my world again.

I stand and stare till a cleaning truck almost runs me over. The street is glistening with the fine raindrops that started falling when we came outside and there is steam coming out of the sewers. I notice that my legs have started walking home and I finally turn to follow them.


The next day is a grey day. I sooth my hangover staring at the wall opposite my bed which stares back. My room is small with a small bed and a small chair and table, and a small cupboard that got all the things I have inside.

There is a pocket washer and a pocket computer that doubles as my phone and my stereo, then there are three identical suits in various states of decay standard suits nothing special, grey with greyish blue sliplines running down the legs were they should be. There is a video visualizer that you can tune to anything and it will play just that, its three years old but still quite a good buy, I got it cheap back then, I think it fell of a lorry.

I got eight hours till the lottery results, eight hours till my life will change for good.

Forever, I keep thinking, forever different.

When the lunch call comes for the second time I leave my room. I missed breakfast but I will have to get lunch and after lunch I will leave the building, perhaps for the last time.

It’s hot again and my legs take me to the park that looks like a bleak desert, today all the trees are shrivelled up and the grass is a dark shade of brown rather than green. I just walk looking at the sky that has no definable colour. I have to think about something that happened a few years ago although it feels like a million right now. A million years was when the dinosaurs were still around I remind myself and have to smile. I am still smiling when I am back on the street, walking towards the “Centre for meeting Strangers” a popular hangout these days.

The place to score anything from pirated software, hardware, hard drugs or porn or girls, boys you name it and you can be sure there will be someone who got what you look for. I am not looking, just window shopping. Gazing at what’s on offer and secretly selecting what I will spend my winnings on.

That’s when I start having doubts again the ‘what if’ remains in my mind just as vivid as always.

© Marcus Bastel