Manuel

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.
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