Drive

She is a nurse at the hospital in the Northwest and doesn’t own a car. I later learned that she can’t drive and doesn’t have the time to learn, either. Her hours are from four to midnight and often she misses her last bus. Since a lot of drivers don’t like going all the way to the Northwest I go instead. Interestingly enough, she often asks for me, although I have never introduced myself to her. I watch her come out of the hospital walking towards my car. I unlock the doors. She always sits at the back; a lot of women do that. And once they have buckled themselves they would grab their phones and start typing or swiping until I have taken them home. But she is different. She usually picks a main focus like the back of the passenger’s seat or she looks outside in the calmest way. Every now and then she asks me a question, and it catches me off guard. She breaks the silence when I least expect it. “This route must bore the hell out of you by now,” she says. I look in the rear-view mirror and see a smile on her face. I instantly smile back at her, trying to think of something to say. “I like it in the Northwest. It’s less busy.” Her gaze is glued at the passenger’s seat again, and I’m not sure if she has actually heard me. She lives south of downtown, which is about fifteen minutes drive. This is usually the most peaceful drive for me. With her in the backseat I don’t have to feel like I need to initiate small talk like with other customers. By the time we reach downtown there are more people about – all dressed up for their Friday night out. Some are waving at me to stop without realizing that my lights are off signalling ‘occupied’. I stop outside her apartment building. “Thank you. Have a good night,” she says and hands me the cash with 20% gratuity. “Thanks, you too.” As she gets out of the car, I see a man running towards me, waving. I don’t usually take random people that haven’t ordered via the phone or the app, but weekends are different. He opens the door on the passenger’s side and hops in. The entire car wobbles at his weight. “Good timing bud! To Jameson’s pub on Seventeenth, please.” “Sure thing,” I say. I make a U-turn and before I lose sight of the apartment building, I throw a brief look at the...

The four chambers

This room has the flair of an operating theater and I think I will stay. I have nowhere else to go. The halogen bulbs are nice and dim, throwing light on the examination table. However, the light does not reach me. There is a pool of blood forming in front of me, but I feel no pain. Perhaps it’s not me bleeding after all, but her. I believe that you can make your own God out of your very own blood. I close my eyes and see this beautiful child floating on the surface of the red sea. I have been there. It’s where I fell in love. She is staring at the sky, mapping out her future. I see how in the future she will grow up to a successful woman like me. Her father loves her very much and yet he doesn’t know how she really feels. Unfortunately I will never meet her and I can’t tell her that I am sorry. According to the map on the wall there are four laboratories on this wing and they’re all connected, but I haven’t got the energy to visit them all. At least I’ve made it into one of them. My heart rate is going down. There is not much blood left in the left ventricle to pump into the aorta. My body is still fighting as I watch internally. I feel how it is compensating. It’s trying to maintain a blood pressure by pumping whatever is left to my brain, my heart and my lungs. It’s drawing away all the blood from my skin and my limbs. I have a conscience after all and it’s paying attention to what keeps me alive…   Paula Deckard (c)...

I’m scared of losing meaning

Louisa hurt herself. It was ok. She didn’t feel anything. The knife simply cut through flesh. Before that incident she was at her doctor’s office where he showed her PET scans of her brain, which indicated little activity compared to other people’s samples that he had on file. All she thought about was why everybody had to compare her to others. He asked her whether there had been any recent traumatic event, which could have triggered such a state of mind. She answered that she had divorced her husband a few weeks ago, but didn’t explain that it was for his own good. Her husband was all a woman could ever dream of – handsome, kind and loyal. Unfortunately her view on life changed one morning when preparing two fried eggs for breakfast. They reminded her of a painting that she did in which she mixed yellow with a little bit of orange in order to paint the sun. Soon the frying eggs became scrambled, but she didn’t like scrambled eggs, so they burnt on the pan. If she had done something about it, it wouldn’t have happened, but something else would’ve happened – the eggs would’ve rotted. She merely decided that she didn’t want them to rot. It wasn’t just any decision. In fact, a world had fallen apart – her major internal nociceptors were no longer sending signals to her brain. Just like that. Of course she got nervous; she believed that nihilism had physically invaded her and that it was punishing her first with sexual anhedonia. She masturbated to a James Deen video, using everything possible, including her father’s golf club, but she felt nothing. Of course she didn’t tell her doctor that part. He wanted her to come in for more tests, but there was no point, there never had been. At home she grabbed her kitchen knife and cut the inside of her forearm. Paper cuts used to hurt, her first tattoo hurt, but this cut didn’t. Hopelessly she opened her childhood treasure chest in which she’d stored all her favourite CDs. How could she forget about all the music that had shaped her art – the only thing that really defined who she was? She listened to one CD after the other and eventually found herself shedding a tear. Love at the first sight is possible, so are miracles. Something in her stirred during a Nick Cave song, it could be the only stir she’d ever feel again, so she began to paint. She cut deeper into her forearm, grabbed a clean brush and painted...

The Kill that made me feel Good

The kitten doesn’t like me. When Dad found her this morning on the doorstep, he thought it would be a nice idea to wake me with her. But instead of a pleasant wake-up call, the kitten scratched my head. When I come back from school it stares as me as if I weren’t a part of the family. We have decided to keep her in the carrier at nighttime.             I’ve just brushed my teeth and I’m ready to go to bed. Daddy has placed the kitten in my room. Her evil eyes are scrutinizing me.             “Hey princess, look, you have company tonight.”             “But cats rob little children’s breath, Dad!”             “Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve told you not to read horror books, haven’t I? She’s just a little baby; give her a chance to get used to you.”             I never used to be scared of the boogieman, candy man, hollow man or even the postman, but she? This is the first time I’ve had a living creature at the end of my bed. Dad gives me a kiss good night, then turns off the light in the hallway.             The kitten doesn’t make any sound until 3 a.m. I wake to hear her pitiful meowing and switch the night lamp on. I notice that her head has got stuck in the bars of the carrier. “Shut up, otherwise you’re going to wake up my parents!”             Carefully I try to push her head back into the carrier.             I don’t know what I have done, but all of a sudden her meow stops, her eyes close and she hangs her head down as if dead.             “Kittie?”             Two seconds later she opens her eyes and pulls her head back forcefully; she continues to meow even louder.             “Shut up! Shut up!”             I desperately grab for something from underneath my bed and find the pair of surgical scissors that I stole from one of Daddy’s colleagues. I hate this creature; I never realized that animals could even express anger, agony or anguish.             “Shut up!”             Mindlessly I stick the pair of scissors into the carrier – turning and twisting violently.             “Shut up! Shut up!”               The sharp end of the pair of scissors has entered flesh. I hear a small groan and then feel no more movement. There’s blood on the tip of my pair of surgical scissors. I hear no one down the hallway, either, and no squeaking of coil springs. It’s dark inside the carrier. Touching the blood, it looks like...

Was du mir bedeutest

Personen: Janine, Dave, Paula, Björn, Linus, Melanie, Jenny, Johannes, Simon, Marco, Teja (aka Steffi), Ray Zeit: nicht angegeben     Akt, 1. Szene   (Es ist nachts und Janine steht auf dem Geländer einer Brücke und starrt kaugummikauend ins Wasser. Ihre Hände in ihren Hosentaschen.)   JANINE: Ach, das Leben, das unerklärliche Leben… Wenn man damit nicht klarkommt begeht man Suizid, weil man hofft, dass man nach dem Tod endlich den inneren Frieden findet. Aber ich bin mir nicht sicher, überhaupt nicht, denn ich glaube ja nicht an das Leben nach dem Tod. Wieso auch? Wieso auch? Auch wenn ich itzt springe wird sich auch nichts ändern. Wenn ich sterbe, will ich nicht ertrinken, dann verschluck ich mir die Zunge oder sonstwas. Nein, nein…   (Es taucht Dave auf, der etwas angeheitert ist. Er sieht sie und läuft unverzüglich zu ihr, um sie aufzuhalten.)   DAVE: Ey, Kleine…was macht Ihr da? Es ist unsinnig, was Ihr vorhabt! Ich werde es nicht zulassen, gebt mir Eure Hand, kommt!   JANINE(erschreckt sich): Holla! Wer seid Ihr denn? Was glaubt Ihr, was ich vor habe?   DAVE(nähert sich ihr vorsichtig): Hört mir zu, es ist keine Lösung…   JANINE(nervös): Kommt ja nicht näher zu mir, Ihr macht mir immense Angst! Ich warn Euch, kein Schritt näher!   DAVE(kommt ihr noch näher und hält ihr eine Hand hin): Vertraut mir!   JANINE: Weg!   (Dave stolpert über einen Stein und stürzt mit ihr zusammen ins Wasser. Sie gibt ein Schrei von sich.)   JANINE(japsend): So helft mir doch! Ich kann nicht schwimmen! Hilfe!   (Dave schwimmt zu ihr und hilft ihr bis zum Ufer. Sie völlig durchnäßt und schnappt hastig nach Luft.)   DAVE(besorgt): Geht’s Euch gut, mein liebstes Fräulein?   (Sie schlägt mit ihrer Faust heftig auf ihn ein.)   Janine(endlos verägert): Zum Henker! Was denkt Ihr, was Ihr seid, Ihr alter Schwede! Wolltet Ihr mich umbringen? Glaubtet Ihr, ich war bereit für den Tod? Glaubtet Ihr das?   DAVE(zurückzuckend): Was? Also wolltet Ihr nicht…   JANINE(unterbricht): NEIN!   (Er fasst sich an den Kopf, sie macht heftige Schritte und ist immer noch verärgert.)   DAVE: Es tut mir…   (Sie läuft davon ohne ein weiteres Wort)     Szene   (Dave ist bei sich zu Hause, steht vor dem Spiegel und schüttelt endlos den Kopf.)   DAVE: Wie eine Furie! Dabei machte ich mir bloß Sorgen. Doch, was wenn sie ins Wasser gefallen wäre und keiner wäre ihr zur Hilfe gekommen? Ich hätte sie dann tot aufgefunden…und mich dann geärgert, warum ich sie nicht ein paar Tage früher oder vielleicht Monate,...

Savasana

He opened his eyes in the dark. There was an unpleasant taste in his mouth and his throat was dry. The ceiling was of dark colour. It seemed to him the sets of lights had been on not so long ago – in a different life. As he peered to the side he saw more than ten people lying flat on their backs. In a flash he saw an image of narcotized patients surrounding him. That image faded as soon as a gentle female voice broke the silence. “You may now open your eyes.” He felt like he had cheated, as though it had been an experiment in which he didn’t follow the instructions correctly. “Gently stretch your arms and legs,” the voice continued, “wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly turn your body to the right side.” The halogen lights slowly came back on as everyone moved to his or her side, placing the head lightly on the right arm. Watching the strong, tanned back of his female neighbour, he saw the sun-kissed desert sand of a far away land. A little over her left shoulder blade was an unusual birthmark in the shape of a gecko paw. The sight of the gecko paw made the bad taste in his mouth go away. Or it could be the change of position. He slept better on the side than in the supine position, due to the risk of the base of the tongue collapsing into the airway triggering snoring. He was the first to leave the room after the Namaste. His girlfriend Dawn was waiting for him outside the studio with a pleasant smile, which reminded him that all was real. “Hey babe,” she said and kissed his dry lips. “How was the class? Do you feel relaxed?” “I don’t really know.” They got in her car and she waited until all his Yoga classmates had walked past the car. There was his neighbour with the gecko paw on her shoulder. “Should I be worried that you might be getting too intimate with these ladies?” He puts his hand on her big belly and felt a little kick against his palm. “See how she’s agreeing with me?” Dawn said. He shook his head smiling. “Perhaps you two could keep an eye on me by doing Yoga with me.” She started the engine. “I would love to, babe! But don’t you remember the last two times? My back was killing me! Savasana has never been so painful!” “You didn’t give yourself a chance to get used to it.” “I’ll be...