jokes

missing manuel

My main friend here, Manuel—the German bass for hire with the baby face I befriended on the boat across the Baltic—dropped offline for the days remaining before he disappeared back into Denmark for the weekend, which was disappointing because I wanted to party with him and also because he’d left town with my sunglasses still on his coffee table, locked inside his apartment, seventeen stories above Kreuzberg. But also I am glad to have been forced by boredom-stronger-than-fear—after these days spent in the twee Prenzlauerberg cafés and apartment, writing and hustling for my next accommodations and clinging to the internet for comfort—to investigate the city alone.
Yesterday I made a friend I didn’t like as much as Manuel, a Syrian immigrant who worked in the vegan cafe where I had two lattes with mammal milk, and we made a plan for him to show me around today, but then he canceled. Instead I went to Tempelhofer Feld in search of a hike, and now I would like a word with whoever put that on a list of hikes, because it is more like a long walk on some bricks around some fields where there once was and may or may not still be ammunition. I did however sunbathe topless (!!! woo) in one of the fields. Also on the walk to the park from the U8 station I found a tomato, so now I have a tomato. Later I bought weed for twenty dollars American from a Nigerian guy on, I think, Hermanstraße, so now I have weed. Then I FINALLY went to an ATM—it had pizza smeared all over the screen, like someone thought that was a good thing to do with their time and pizza—and with my new euro got terrible Moroccan food at a place somewhere else in Neukölln where the proprietor addressed me in Spanish and I just rolled with it. Then I followed some signs for an English-language comedy show at the bar across the street and surprised myself by having a great time. Lots of jokes about the availability of drugs in Berlin (which is, evidently, ample), and some about the German sense of humor (which is, evidently, not good). I could tell that the last comedian was a good comedian, but I hated listening to him because he talked about dating in New York City and being Jewish on the USAmerican Atlantic coast, which is not what I came to Europe to think about. The bartenders were all Italian and didn’t like me as much as I liked them. I made another friend, an Anglo-Serbian voice actor, and I might like him as much as I like Manuel (unsure), except I think that what what I thought was a wedding ring might just be a ring, so now I have to play defense. He convinced me that Belgrade is where I want to be, except again for the cigarette smoke.
In his goodbye-until-Monday note, Manuel suggested I reach out if there was trouble so he could refer me to a friend.
I said, Like what? Again, all I can think of is nuclear winter, but I’m hoping that the only real trouble will be that I can’t wear my contact lenses because I only have my prescription sunglasses, which is when you think about it a pretty good life.

mitte in lazy loops

I met a man in Berghain, and after the sun had come good and up we wandered the city a while, making our way through Mitte in lazy loops, buying an okay orange and some shitty grapes and eating them on a bridge while he told me about how he and his twin, who were triplets in utero, like to blame everything that goes wrong with either or both of them on the resorbed third-who-wasn’t, a joke that—surprise!—their mother hates.

cgi catalan lizard

Tonight I finally met Raúl, and he’s amazing. Has these crazy wide-set eyes in something like topaz that he blinks probably one-third as often as most humans blink their eyes, like some kind of beautiful CGI Catalan lizard. I want to put a long-stemmed rose between his teeth every second that there isn’t one. He took me to a great dinner somewhere fancy near University Square, and when I saw another table’s hoopla and made as if to tell the waiter that it was my companion’s birthday, too, Raúl, unsmiling, unblinking, rose from his chair and got down on one knee beside mine to make an even bigger false scene. God I love being outsmarted. He has a whole plan about emigrating to the United States, a plan that involves marrying an Argentine flight attendant. After dinner we went outside to his motorcycle and he produced a helmet for me, which I put on backward, not even trying to be funny, just being a fucking idiot, and he laughed and laughed. Then I put it on correctly and we rode away and it was my turn to laugh but with the pleasure of the motion through the hot, still night. Later, we went to meet his visiting Polish manfriend in a gay bar with a redhead theme. The manfriend had a ladyfriend with him, also Polish, also gay, and he — the one of the two who spoke English — talked about her being on the prowl for shes, and we didn’t correct him because why would anyone ever put a stop to that? Since Raúl had treated me to dinner, I treated him to a toro rojo sin azucar. The bored gay boi Barcelona bartender (not a redhead, btw) was not interested in my Spanish and was like, Okay do you want a lime?

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