LESSONS: Short Story Collection | Bob flower (2023)

In this constantly updated blog article you will find some short prose texts that can be used for teaching or for your own use. Two comments on this: I call the article a collection of short stories so that it can be found more easily via Google, even if other forms of short prose are included. The collection itself is the result of a process typical of digital culture.

LESSONS: Short Story Collection | Bob flower (2)

Note on creation

It is always amazing what the digital community achieves together. An example is this collection. She started with the following tweet:

What are the typical short stories you read in school?#follower

— ⓑ² (@blume_bob)February 15, 2019

The answers were actually a misunderstanding. Because instead of posting those short stories that occur very often (and are therefore rather boring for teachers), there were many very interesting answers to short stories that are less well known. I think that's great. I would therefore like to thank everyone involved once again and I am pleased that many can now benefit.

Since the following texts either come from the author of this blog or can be found freely on the Internet, I assume that the collection at this point does not constitute a copyright infringement. If this is the case, please contact me: info[at]bobblume.de

More about short stories

This blog also has a lot of help on the subject of short stories. A few are referred to here:

  • Procedure for an analysis
  • Aspects of analyzing short stories
  • Sample interpretation of Sibylle Berg's “Night”

Further explanations on the subject of short stories can be found in the volume “Finally Understanding Short Stories”. This is a student aid, with precise tips for better interpretations, interpretation aids, complete interpretations and a large method and subject glossary.

New, unlisted short prose

Here is the latest parable“The Brother” (2021)(intermediate to high school)

short story“Writing Exercises” (2020)(intermediate to high school)

short story“People” (2017)(intermediate)

short story“The Lesson” (2012)(lower to intermediate)

parabola“That's Me” (2013)(high school)

Table of contents

German Lesson (2015)
The Tree (2015)
One Night (2016)
The Aftermath (1914)
Shards (2011)
The Bread (1946)
The Cherries (1947)
The Night at the Hotel (1957)
Return (2006)
One is searching
Some Days (2001)
Love (circa 1937)
The Carousel (1928)
Streusel Snail (2000)
Mehmet (1988)
Yellow Like a Lemon (2013)
Road (2008)
dead birds
My Julilein (2013)
night (2001)
And the Sun Rises in Arizona (2000)
Beginning of the season (1947)
43 Love Stories (1969)
Beware of falling rocks! (2011)
Hair (2001)
Eyelash Animal (1995)

Bob Blume

German Lesson (2015)

"The beginning of the short story is always sudden, remember that!" The chill had crept up his neck from the leaky windows. It was particularly bad at the back, where he and Jana were sitting. In the corner of his eye he saw that she was freezing too. The light hair on her arms stood up.

"What did I just say?"
Herr Sternberger's chest trembled. He walked leisurely backwards, not taking his eyes off him. His corduroys looked like three layers of earth.

"Do you need an extra invitation?"

Paul looked past the teacher to the blackboard. It was inscribed with illegible characters. Some math from the day before, some English vocabulary. Sternberger's face beamed happily. Small veins ran past the red cheeks to the furrowed forehead. His eyes always rolled slightly when he tried to fixate on a target. That's why he only focused for a few seconds, only to turn away again apparently by accident. When he did this, the students laughed at him and pretended that someone was joking.

Paul could see his breath as he started.

"Suddenly!" Paul said breathlessly.

"Be louder, man. Everyone wants to hear what you said.”

The others hear nothing. They stare in boredom at little doodles in front of them that they made during Sternberger's monologue. Just circles and corners, sometimes a lewd figure in between, nothing earth-shattering.

"Suddenly, Mr. Sternberger! Short stories start suddenly.”

"Why not like that, funny?" Sternberger asked but wasn't waiting for the answer anymore. He pronounces the name as he likes. Mostly as if he was joking. He starts out slow and thick, with a lot of heaviness on the first syllable, after which his voice slides up as if to ask him a question.

"What does the author want to achieve with this introduction?"

The eyes of the class wander into space. Jana sits next to him and freezes. Always been cold. A lot of people say that's how it is with girls. But he's freezing too. He stares at Sternberger so he can turn away.

"Talk to your neighbors about it."

Paul glances over. But Jana has already turned into a row of three. It wouldn't be worth joining. Maybe it would be warmer? He turns to the window.

The snow lies on the trees like a sea of ​​blossoms from a world where there is no darkness. The houses stand firmly in the ground and emit life. The smoke before the snow - a shade of people. But without her? The trees further back are bathed in white. They look for each other, stand close to each other. But you don't see which is the most important tree. All are the same. dark fir green. If you walked through the forest now, it would be very quiet. Snow swallows the colors and the tones. The animals of the forest are in hibernation or in the south. The way of their freedom.

"What conclusion did you come to? Paul Witzig?”

Address a group and mean one. teacher torture. Mr. Sternberger stands with his legs apart and smiles at nothing. Some turn away, laugh. He thinks he's funny. Everyone knows it's not him.

"I haven't thought it through yet," says Paul. Jana's face is distorted next to him. She snorts straight away, she can't afford it.

"It won't work that way with the degree," says Sternberger, adding: "It can't work out that way."

Paul says nothing. He hopes he can now rest for the rest of the week. That he won't be asked by Sternberger and all the others who tell him that it won't work. When he still had questions about everything that interested him, it was different. But the questions were gone. Or with others. And he had never had any answers.

The bell jerked everyone upwards like a transparent cord. They fell out of the class, banging and frolicking about what was coming up now that school was finally over.

Paul took a deep breath, chasing the breath that made it across the table before dissipating. He got up, slowly, as if moving in slow motion.

Sternberger must have written something else on the blackboard that he had previously missed. "The end..." it said there.

Paul packed his things and walked closer to the blackboard. "The ending is mostly open." What did that mean? Open. So there is no end? No happy ending? No resolution.

A sudden beginning and no resolution at the end. For the first time that day, no, this week, Paul had to grin. The characteristics of the short story corresponded not only to Sternberger's school lessons.

In fact, they corresponded to the whole of life.

Too bad he wouldn't tell anyone. Nobody would want to listen. Just laughter, looks, little drawings on paper.

The dark cracking under his footsteps accompanied his walk through the snow. He knocked on the front door where his grandmother spread her arms. A small dot on the apron told him that there would be goulash. That made him happy.

"Goulash!" he said happily.

"You know, my little Paul," said his grandmother. I don't think I know anyone who can observe as well as you."

Bob Blume

The Tree (2015)

The path up the remote hill looked different at all times. While in spring the plants grew rampant and the air buzzed with insects, in winter it was barren and dark. But you could see the vastness of the valleys shortly before the crest, where only one last hill followed. A tree grew just at that point, which offered a whole panorama on all sides.

The older man, whose silhouette is now wandering into our view, had already known this tree when it was already bent in the light breeze, more than wild growth. The then young man sat down next to the tree with a warm sip of tea in the thermos he had brought and a cheese sandwich in a small brown leather backpack and thought.

He hadn't brought anything else with him, since the surroundings, including the fine little trees, offered the opportunity to look far into the area and to perceive the simple things in the world. Thinking came about as a sort of by-product, as a field of work, which in times of life hurrying by often hides under the big branches of indirect thoughts.

Even then, the old man sitting here believed that the tree had drawn the heavier lot. He could only do what was within his limited powers and had to respond to change with all the slowness his trunk and branches, his leaves and a few buds would allow. He couldn't just go away, pack up his roots and set out to put down those roots again next to a human being. He could only think big, let the leaves sprout, work, or at last let them fall.

The man, on the other hand, saw his freedom as a human being as he sat next to the tree and thought about the next few minutes. Thoughts that the tree could never think of.

And when years had passed and the man saw how the tree had become stronger, but was still swaying in the same place, or burned in the sun that surrounded it, then he felt an indescribable happiness to be human.

What would the tree think?

A daring question that the man asks himself the moment he had once again made the path into the forest one morning, which he now called his own because of the supposed connection with the tree.

Would the tree perceive its limitation and give thanks that a person's perception brought relevance to their everlasting life in the first place.

Or would the tree sit it all out. Silence for so long, until man himself would realize that the misjudgment was not due to the thoughts about the life of the tree. That it wasn't the tree that didn't get out of place, because the tree doesn't care about the place. Since he has sun, wind and weather here; That also the people around him, or onetheMan, don't care.

But that man in his egocentric thought is the only one who can change the life of the tree so drastically that nothing remains of it, not even offspring.

And maybe then the human would think about why he kept coming back here, just to think that he wanted to be completely different and somewhere else.

Bob Blume

One Night (2016)

"Will we ever forget this evening?" she asked as if into the night, whose deep black was only interrupted by the dark green of the tree enthroned above them. He waited a little too long before giving the answer that shouldn't have been necessary. “Ever,” he lectured, “is a big word. No one can…” He stopped talking; he didn't want to spoil the mood, not now.

"You know," she now said in his direction, "sometimes it's better if you don't think you know so much. Experience hinders the hope of surprises.” He nodded imperceptibly and ran his hands over the thick grass. After a day full of incomprehensible whispers about what one and the other thought about love, thick drops of sweat on the way to the clearing, an extended picnic with fruit and spread bread on a blanket that was too small - after this day the evening was not over been planned. "Ever," she repeated, this time neither into the night nor to him. He tried to run his hand over hers, but pulled away at the last moment. An insecurity had taken hold of him, although he knew himself that it was only the cold that was slowly creeping under her clothes.

"We can come here again," he said, as if trying to placate himself.

"No," she said and smiled.

Many years later he walked the path to the clearing; nothing looked familiar and he felt insecure. Came to the tree. sat down. Tried to conjure up some feeling. It was gone. Only a sadness remained like to a deceased acquaintance. "Ever," he breathed into the air, feeling ridiculous.

Somewhere else a woman laughed a loud, carefree laugh. She never thought about that night under the tree again. She had forgotten him.

Robert Walser

The Aftermath (1914)

I think I've already written this scene, but I want to write it again. A man and a woman are sitting in a boat in the middle of the lake. The moon is high in the dark sky. The night is calm and warm, quite suitable for the dreamy love adventure. Is the man in the boat a kidnapper? Is the woman the happy, enchanted seduced? We do not know that; we just see them both kissing. The dark mountain lies like a giant in the sparkling water. On the shore lies a castle or country house with a lighted window. No sound, no sound. Everything is wrapped in a black, sweet silence. The stars tremble high in the sky and also from far below in the sky that lies in the water table. The water is the moon's friend, it has drawn it down to itself, and now the water and the moon are kissing like friend and girlfriend. The beautiful moon has sunk into the water like a bold young prince into a flood of perils. He is reflected in the water as a beautiful loving heart is reflected in another love-thirsty heart. Glorious is it how the moon is like the lover drowned in pleasures, and how the water is like the happy beloved, embracing and embracing the royal lover. Man and woman in the boat are very still. A long kiss holds her captive. The oars lie casually on the water. Will they be happy, will they be happy, the two that are in the boat, the two that kiss, the two that the moon shines on, the two that love each other?

Marlene Roeder

Shards (2011)

I have become careless. How fast that goes. That would never have happened to me at home. I'm tired, that's the reason. Since I've been here, all I can do is sleep.

They gave me a room with model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. A rainbow is spray-painted on a wall. "What kind of baby room is that?" I asked. I'm almost fourteen man.

"That's my brother's room," the girl said, and dude, how she looked. Like she's going to break every bone in my body if I even look askance at those fucking planes.

"And where is he, your brother?" I asked. Because, hey, I'd have a problem with my elderly just letting someone crash in my room, even if it's a baby's room. But these pastor's children, they were brought up socially. charity and stuff like that.

"He's dead," she said, looking down at the floor, "He had muscle atrophy." I stare at her, imagining a boy slowly dissolving, muscles slipping back like spaghetti until he's just a heap Bone is covered with skin.

And falls apart

Surely I should have said something, something with heartfelt … But the only thing I could think of was congratulations, and that didn't seem appropriate. So I just said, "Great, dead man's room."

There's even an unfinished model airplane on the desk, standing there like it's in a shitty museum, and sometimes I tinker around with it a bit just to annoy the pastor's clan.

The other day the pastor himself came into the room to discuss some court stuff with me. I saw that he noticed right away, he was staring at the plane and I thought he was about to start crying or smacking me, but instead he looked at me and then he tried to smile.

No wonder people get lax about it. That you are no longer careful, that you forget to lock the door when you trudge into the bathroom in the morning with a tired head. That would never have happened to me at home.

I stand in my boxer shorts in front of the sink and rinse the toothpaste out of my mouth. When I look up again, I see in the large mirror that the girl is behind me in the open door. She's staring at me, staring at my back, the welts where my ass belted me... And my mother, who was watching, cried a bit, but watched...

And now the girl sees all this and I'm standing there with toothpaste stuck to the corner of my mouth and I've never felt so shitty naked. I whirl around but her gaze misses me, it's all still visible in the mirror and how come she looks like this in the morning, with long auburn hair that falls over her shoulder, flawless, yes, that is the word. Her eyes are wide, she's looking at me like something that fell down and broke, too bad. And then this furrow digs into her forehead - oh, I'm so sorry for you - and I want to hit her. Instead, I yell at her and throw my toothbrush at her, the shock blotting out the other in her eyes. I also throw out the toothbrush cup and creams, the razor and just about anything that's within reach. Blood is dripping from a small cut on the girl's chin, but it still stands. Finally, I slam the polished stone soap dish against the large wall mirror. BOOM! It explodes with a satisfying crack and the shards rain down glitteringly. Then she finally runs away.

my heart is pounding I'm so hot I want to strip off my skin and toss the old crumpled thing in the dirty laundry hamper. I want to lie down, face down on the cool tiles, take a rest. But that's not possible, everything is full of shards.

That was probably it with the priest's house. After I dismantle their bathroom, they throw me out. It was clear that something like this would happen. For some reason I have to think of the half-finished model airplane while standing in this pile of rubble. Everything is full of shards and I'm barefoot.

I have no idea how I'm ever going to get out of here.

There's a knock on the bathroom door. "Can I come in?" asks a man's voice.

"All right." What else can I say? Adults do what they want anyway, no matter what you think of it.

It's the pastor. His daughter must have fetched him because she's afraid of the crazy guy in the bathroom. I'm sure he's angry because I threw things at her, but his face stays calm. He looks around the wrecked bathroom, then looks at me.

The shards crunch under his soles as he approaches me. He wears shoes. My body tenses. Then he spreads his arms awkwardly and I get the idea that he wants to lift me up, carry me over the shards like a little boy. For some reason this hurts more than if he hit me.

I take a step backwards, searching for words and finding ones to hit him with: "Just because your son is dead... I don't need anyone to save me, get it!" The vicar's arms slowly fall down, including his Face sinks a bit and I look away.

"I don't have muscle weakness! I've got tons of muscle!” I say, because I'm almost fourteen.

And then I walk over the shards to the door. I feel the shards dig into my bare feet, but I keep walking.

Wolfgang Borchert

The Bread (1946)

Suddenly she woke up. It was two thirty. She wondered why she had woken up. Oh right! Someone had bumped into a chair in the kitchen. She listened to the kitchen. It was quiet. It was too quiet, and when she ran her hand over the bed next to her, she found it empty. That was what had made it so particularly still: its breath was missing. She got up and padded through the dark apartment to the kitchen. They met in the kitchen. The clock was half past two. She saw something white standing on the kitchen cupboard. She turned on the light. They faced each other in their shirts. At night. At half past two. In the kitchen.
The bread plate was on the kitchen table. She saw that he had cut his bread. The knife was still next to the plate. And there were breadcrumbs on the blanket. When they went to bed at night, she always cleaned the tablecloth. Every evening. But now there were crumbs on the cloth. And the knife was there. She felt the coldness of the tiles slowly creeping up on her. And she looked away from the plate.
"I thought there was something here," he said, looking around the kitchen.
"I heard something too," she answered, and she thought that he looked quite old in his shirt at night. As old as he was. Sixty-three. During the day he sometimes looked younger. She looks old, he thought, she looks pretty old in her shirt. But maybe that's the hair. For women, it's always their hair at night. Then they make you old all of a sudden.
'You should have put on shoes. So barefoot on the cold tiles. You will catch a cold."
She didn't look at him because she couldn't bear that he was lying. That he lied after they had been married for thirty-nine years.
"I thought there was something here," he said again and looked so senselessly from one corner to the other, "I heard something here. So I thought there was something here."
'I heard something too. But I guess it was nothing.” She put the plate down on the table and snatched the crumbs off the ceiling.
"No, I suppose it was nothing," he echoed uncertainly.
She came to his aid: "Come on. That was probably outside. Come to bed. You will catch a cold. On the cold tiles.”
He looked at the window. “Yes, that must have been outside. I thought it was here."
She raised her hand to the light switch. I have to turn off the light now or I'll have to check the plate, she thought. I'm not allowed to look at the plate. "Come on," she said, turning out the light, "that must have been outside. The gutter always hits the wall when it's windy. It must have been the gutter. It always rattles in the wind.”
They both groped their way down the dark corridor to the bedroom. Her bare feet slapped the floor.
"It's windy," said he. "It's been windy all night."
When they were in bed she said, 'Yes, it's been windy all night. It must have been the gutter.”
Yes, I thought it was in the kitchen. It must have been the gutter.” He said it as if he were half asleep.
But she noticed how fake his voice sounded when he lied. "It's cold," she said, yawning softly, "I'll crawl under the covers. Good night."
"Night," he answered, and then: "yes, it's quite cold."
Then it was quiet. After many minutes she heard him chew quietly and carefully. She was breathing deeply and evenly on purpose so he wouldn't notice she was still awake. But his chewing was so regular that she slowly fell asleep from it.
When he came home the next evening, she handed him four slices of bread. Otherwise he could only eat three.
"You can eat four," she said, stepping away from the lamp. 'I really can't stand this bread. Do you eat one more. I don't take it very well."
She saw him bend low over the plate. He didn't look up. At that moment she felt sorry for him.
"You can't just eat two slices," he said to his plate.
"But. I don't tolerate the bread well in the evening. you eat Eat it.«
Only after a while did she sit down under the lamp at the table.

Wolfgang Borchert

The Cherries (1947)

A glass rattled next door. Now he's eating the cherries that are for me, he thought. I have the fever. She has put the cherries in front of the window so that they are completely cold. Now he has thrown down the glass. And I have the fever. The sick man got up. He pushed himself along the wall. Then he saw through the door that his father was sitting on the ground. He had the whole handful of cherry juice. Everything full of cherries, thought the sick man, everything full. cherries. I should eat them. I've got the fever. He has the whole. Handful of cherry juice. They must have been pretty cold. She put them in front of the window especially for the fever. And he eats all my cherries. Now he's sitting on the ground with his hand full of it. And I have the fever. And he has the cold cherry juice on hand. The nice cold cherry juice. He must have been cold. He was standing in front of the window. For the fever. He grabbed the door handle. When it squeaked, the father looked up. Boy, you gotta go to bed. With the fever, boy. You must go to bed immediately. Everything full of cherries, the sick man whispered. He looked at his hand. All full of cherries.

You need to go to bed right now, boy. The father tried to get up and made a face. It dripped from his hand. All cherries, the sick man whispered. All my cherries. were they cold he asked loudly. Yes? You must have been pretty cold, right? She put them in front of the window so they're really cold. So that they are completely cold.

The father looked at him helplessly from below. He smiled slightly. I can't get up, he smiled and made a face. That's too stupid, I literally can't get up. The sick man stayed at the door. It rocked softly back and forth from his swaying. Were they nice and cold? he whispered, yes? Because I fell down, said Father. But it's probably just the fright. I'm lame, he smiled. It's from the fright. It'll be right back. Then I'll put you to bed. You have to go to bed real quick. The patient looked at his hand

Oh, that's not so bad. That's just a small cut. That's about to stop. That's from the cup, Father dismissed. He looked up and made a face. I hope she doesn't scold. She was liking that mug so much. Now I've broken them. Just that cup she liked so much. I was about to rinse them out when I slipped. I just wanted to give them a little cold rinse and put your cherries in there. It's so bad to drink from the glass in bed. I remember that. It's really bad to drink from in bed. The patient looked at his hand. The cherries, he whispered, my cherries? The father tried again to get up. I'll bring it to you in a moment, he said. Same boy. Go to bed quickly with your fever. I'll bring them to you right away. They are still standing in front of the window so that they are nice and cold. I'll bring them to you right away. The patient pushed himself against the wall back to his bed. When Father came with the cherries, he had stuck his head deep under the covers.

Siegfried Lenz

The Night at the Hotel (1957)

The night porter stroked a notebook with his bitten fingertips, shrugged his shoulders regretfully, and twisted his body to the left, the fabric of his uniform stretching dangerously under his arm.

"It's the only way," he said. 'You won't get a single room this late. You are of course free to ask other hotels. But I can tell you right now that if you come back without a result, we will no longer be able to serve you. Because the free bed in the double room, which you don't want to take—I don't know for what reason—will then have found someone tired."

"All right," said Sponge, "I'll take the bed. Only, as you may understand, I want to know who I have to share the room with; not out of prudence, certainly not, for I have nothing to fear. Is my partner—people to spend the night with, you might almost call partners—there yet?”

"He's asleep," repeated Sponge, taking the registration forms, filling them out, and handing them back to the night clerk; then he went up.

Involuntarily, Sponge slowed his steps when he saw the door to the room with the number he had been told, held his breath in the hope of hearing any noise the stranger might be making, and then bent down to the keyhole. The room was dark. At that moment he heard someone coming up the stairs and pretending to be lost in the corridor. Another possibility was to go into the room to which he had been lawfully committed and in one of the beds a man was already sleeping.

Sponge pressed the latch. He closed the door again and felt for the light switch with the palm of his hand. Then he stopped suddenly: next to him - and he immediately concluded that that's where the beds must be - someone said in a dark but energetic voice:

"Stop! Please don't turn on the light. You would be doing me a favor if you left the room dark.”

"Have you been waiting for me?" asked Sponge, startled; but he received no answer. Instead the stranger said:

'Don't trip over my crutches, and be careful not to trip over my suitcase, which is about in the middle of the room. I will direct you safely to your bed: take three steps along the wall, and then turn left, and when you have taken three steps again you will be able to touch the bedpost.”

Sponge obeyed: he reached his bed, undressed and slipped under the covers. He heard the other's breathing and felt that he wouldn't be able to sleep for the time being.

"By the way," he said hesitantly after a while, "my name is Sponge."

"So," said the other.


"Did you come here for a convention?"

"No and you?"



"No, you can't say that."

"I probably have the strangest reason anyone has ever had for driving into town," said Sponge. A train was shunting at the nearby station. The earth trembled and the beds the men lay in vibrated.

"Are you going to commit suicide in town?" said the other, "it's dark."

Sponge explained with anxious happiness in his voice:

'God forbid, no. I have a son, sir ... (the other did not give his name), a little rascal, and I came here for his sake.'

"Is he in the hospital?"

"How come? He's healthy, maybe a little pale, but otherwise very healthy. I wanted to tell you why I'm here, here with you, in this room. Like I said, it has to do with my boy. He is extremely sensitive, mimosa-like, he reacts as soon as a shadow falls on him.«

"So he's in the hospital after all."

"No," cried Sponge, "I told you he's fine in every respect. But he's endangered, this little brat has a glass soul, and that's why he's endangered."

"Why doesn't he commit suicide?" asked the other.

'But look, a child like him, immature, at such an age! Why do you say that? No, my boy is endangered for the following reason: every morning when he goes to school — he always goes there alone, by the way — every morning he has to stand in front of a barrier and wait for the early train to pass. Then he stood there, the little fellow, waving, waving hard and friendly and desperate.”

"Yes and?"

'Then,' said Sponge, 'then he goes to school and when he comes home he's confused and dazed and sometimes howls too. He is unable to do his schoolwork, he does not like to play and does not speak: it has been like this for months, every day. The boy will ruin me.”

"What makes him behave like that?"

'You see,' said Sponge, 'that's strange: the boy waves, and - as he sees sadly - none of the travelers waves back to him. And he takes it so seriously that we — my wife and I — have the greatest fears. He waves and no one waves back; you can't, of course, force travelers to do it, and it would be absurd and ridiculous to make a rule about it, but...'

"And you, Mr. Sponge, now want to suck up your boy's misery by taking the early train tomorrow to wave to the little one?"

"Yes," said Sponge, "yes."

“I,” said the stranger, “children are none of my business. I hate them and avoid them, because of them — actually — I lost my wife. She died in childbirth."

"I'm sorry," said Sponge, propping himself up in bed. A pleasant warmth flowed through his body; he felt that now he would be able to fall asleep.

The other asked: "You're going to Kurzbach, aren't you?"


'And you have no hesitations about your project? More frankly, you're not ashamed of cheating on your boy? Because what you intend to do, you must admit, is outright fraud, a deception.”

Sponge said angrily, "What dare you, I beg you, how do you do that?" He let himself fall, pulled the blanket over his head, lay there for a while and then fell asleep.

When he awoke the next morning he found himself alone in the room. He looked at his watch and was startled: he still had five minutes until the morning train, there was no way he could still catch it.

In the afternoon - he couldn't afford to stay another night in town - he arrived home dejected and disappointed.

His boy opened the door for him, happy, beside himself with joy. He threw himself at him and pounded his thighs with his fists and cried:

"One waved, one waved for a long time."

"With a crutch?" Sponge asked.

'Yes, with a stick. And finally he tied his handkerchief to his stick and held it out the window until I couldn't see it any more.'

Botho Strauss

Return (2006)

There was the master baker Alwin, who one morning no longer came into his bakery, left his wife Myriam and emigrated to Mexico. There he bought into a paper mill and became a successful manufacturer. After all, he owned twelve paper mills across Latin America. After twenty-five years he returned to Hanover. His wife still lived there in the small apartment on the edge of Eilenriede. She was now fifty years old and suffering from bitter poverty. When her husband found out about it, he took heart and visited his wife in their old home. The woman sat with a glass of peach liqueur at her table, where she always sat when the kitchen work was done. She looked up when her husband was suddenly standing next to her again, and then looked back at the tabletop. She heard what an offer he made her and what support he promised her. But she shook her head and begged him to leave her alone with him again.

Monica fur

One is searching

Ferdi Waldmüller, nicknamed Waldo (the name has been changed for reasons of anonymity), was notorious for eating insects if he was given money to do so. You could then watch as Waldo put a fly or bug in his mouth, bit it, chewed it, and swallowed it. For small insects it cost less, for large bugs Waldo charged more for the demonstration. And there was always someone who paid. In order to be able to enjoy this hair-raising spectacle for free, we hired him as a smuggler and praised him: You, I know someone who will eat the biggest beetle if you pay him fifty shillings for it. Waldo only brought himself to it because he constantly needed money. He didn't get a shilling from his parents. That the lack of money forced him to do something so disgusting almost made him a hero and a martyr. None of the rest of us would have had what it takes. Whenever Waldo came along with some new acquisition, a baseball cap or an expensive double CD, we couldn't help but calculate how many insects he must have had to choke down to get it.

I guess kids these days have no idea how kinky Waldo's act struck us. Today there are flies in the lollipops and spiders in the lemonade. All I can say is these flies and spiders are stone dead while Waldo's creepy crawlies lived. I saw it with my own eyes.

Until one day the outrageous message came and spread like wildfire that Waldo was getting enough pocket money from his elders and that everything he said about it was bogus and a lie. In other words, that he had absolutely no reason to force himself to eat insects. He liked them, that was all. His little sister had blurted it out: Even when Waldo was alone and guaranteed no one was watching him, let alone paying, he ate beetles, small and large, spotted and iridescent green. In fact, he was quite addicted to them. Our admiration for Waldo, which was mixed with horror, vanished abruptly. We felt totally screwed. Overnight, Waldo had transformed from a hero to a sneaky monster. Incidentally, he later became completely normal and switched to gummy bears, chewing gum and chocolate bars. We lost track of him because his parents moved to another city. Then came this graduation party. Pretty much half the class was in love with Sissy Kratky back then, the other half were us girls. The boys stood reverently around Sissy and Sissy flirted with them. Out of sheer kindness I knew, because in reality she thought everyone was pretty childish. And then suddenly a boy appeared who looked exactly like Brad Pitt, only prettier, and naturally everyone else was suddenly open to Sissy Kratky. It was love at first sight. And that's like lightning striking. Sissy and the stranger boy – for some reason I took him for director Schillhammer's son, by the way – really stuck together. She smiled mysteriously, they whispered, they were silent. It looked like they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. As they sat together and held hands inconspicuously, they spread an aura of perfection and happiness, so that one somehow felt completely unsuccessful next to them. Until Professor Hirsch, our drawing teacher, was the only one who recognized the young man: "You're the Waldmüller!"

It was over and done with. Those who didn't know the old story were told it. Sissy locked herself in the toilet and only came out after a long persuasion. She didn't want to say a word to the nasty monster Waldo, not a single tiny word! Though he's said to have stopped eating bugs in years.

"Imagine," Sissy would say with a shudder, "I almost kissed him then!"

Nadja Einzmann

Some Days (2001)

Some days I wait for something to happen. On a call; that the house collapses; or the doctor tells me that I only have a few weeks to live. I sit in bed and wait and my mother knocks on the door. She has nothing to report. Be so kind, she says, take the garbage down, or: how about a walk, it's a wonderful day, sunny, and the sparrows are whistling from all the rooftops. No, I call to her through the closed door, I don't feel like it, I don't feel like the world. And I'm sitting in bed, the sky looks blue through my window or is clouding over, or a thunderstorm is brewing. My bed is my ship, my bed is my raft, I am adrift, sharks and other sea creatures below me and stars and sky above me. What should I do with you, my mother says, and puts dinner in front of the door. None of my kids, none of my kids, they're all normal and go to work, go out in the morning and come back in the evening, except you. What is to become of you? There were times when I was different, there were times like that. I was extremely lively. No task was safe from me, and then, just to pass the time, I drew and vaulted and fought and danced the nights away. My siblings looked tired when they got home from work. They had seen the whites of their eyes bloody throughout the day, and their hands were sore and painful. I didn't look like I was struggling. Never. I hovered over the ground where others walked, and stooping was very rare. Yes, there have been times when I've been different and I don't mourn them. Wrap your hearts in aluminum foil to protect them when you go out and don't pass them around! There have been times when I have been different and my mother grieves for them. Child, she says, don't you want to get up so that your father can go fishing with you and your siblings tell you about their day? No, I say, I don't feel like the world. I'm sitting in my bed, which is my raft, and the swell is high. Salty wind blows through my hair and the waves overturn.

Lily Grün

Love (circa 1937)

A man once wrote to me: '- I will try to forget all this quickly. What I called your love, your infidelity and your cowardice. When I think of you and the times we were together, a bubble always comes to mind. Colorfully dazzling, endlessly beautiful. I saw my tenderest, sweetest thoughts in her, all my longing. Then she burst. And what was left was nothing. Nothing!' I smiled as I read this letter and didn't mean to be angry. Do not judge lest you be judged. Why shouldn't the man, in grief at his loss, lose his last shred of sanity?

Another man once wrote to me: '--ma'am, I saw you last night and had no opportunity of approaching you. I was angry. I would have liked to have taken you in my arms and carried you far, far away, in spite of all the people around us, and told you that I love you, that I am enchanted, that I am delighted - - -" I smiled too when I said this read letter Isn't there even a clause in the Code that prescribes extenuating circumstances for mental confusion?

Once I was talking to some man. He told me about other women. Of women who loved him and whom he left, whom he loved and who left him. I listened patiently. Then he said of one: 'You know, it was a woman like you. A woman who makes you very happy when you are with her and who doesn't make you shoot yourself when she leaves us...!' I sentenced this man to death.

Walter Benjamin

The Carousel (1928)

The board with the servant animals rolled just above the ground. It was at the height at which one dreams best of flying. Music started and the child rolled away from its mother with jerks. At first she was afraid of leaving her mother. But then it realized how true it was to itself. It reigned as a loyal ruler over a world that was its own. In the tangent trees and natives formed a trellis. Then, in an Orient, the mother appeared again. Then a treetop emerged from the jungle, like the one the child had seen thousands of years ago, like it had just seen on the merry-go-round. His animal was devoted to him: like a mute Arion it rode along on its mute fish, a wooden bull-Zeus carried it off as spotless Europa. The eternal return of all things had long since become childish wisdom and life an ancient intoxication of domination with the roaring orchestrion in the middle. When it was played slower, the room began to stutter and the trees began to come to their senses. The carousel became unsafe ground. And the mother stood there, the stake that had been rammed many times, around which the landing child threw the dew of his eyes.

Julia Franck

Streusel Snail (2000)

The call came when I was fourteen. I haven't lived with my mother and sisters for a year now, but with friends in Berlin. A strange voice answered, the man gave his name, told me he lived in Berlin and asked if I wanted to get to know him. I hesitated, not sure. Although I had heard a lot about such meetings and often imagined what they would be like, when the time came I felt rather uneasy. We made an appointment.

He wore jeans, jacket and pants. I had made up. He took me to the Cafe Richter on Hindemithplatz and we went to the cinema to see a Rohmer film. He was not unsympathetic, rather shy. He took me to the restaurant and introduced me to his friends. He drew a subtle, ironic smile between himself and the other people. I guessed what the smile revealed.

I was allowed to visit him at his work a few times. He wrote screenplays and directed films. I wondered if he would give me money when we met, but he didn't give me any and I didn't dare ask. That wasn't bad, after all I hardly knew him, what could I ask for? In addition, I was able to take care of myself, I went to school and cleaned and worked as a nanny. Soon I would be old enough to work as a waitress, and maybe one day I would become something real.

Two years later, the man and I still being strangers, he told me he was ill. He died for a year, I visited him in the hospital and asked what he wished for. He told me he was afraid of death and wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. He asked me if I could get him some morphine. I thought about it, I had some friends who used drugs but none who knew about morphine. Also, I wasn't sure if the hospital wanted and would find out where it came from. I forgot his request.

Sometimes I brought him flowers. He asked about the morphine and I asked him if he wanted cake, knowing how much he liked cake. He said the simple things were his favorite now – he only wanted crumbles, nothing else. I went home and made crumbles, two trays full. They were still warm when I took them to the hospital. He said he would have liked to live with me, at least tried, he always thought there was time for that, one day - but it was too late now.

He was dead shortly after my seventeenth birthday. My little sister came to Berlin and we went to the funeral together. My mother didn't come. I assume she was busy with other things, besides, she had known my father too little and hadn't loved him.

Rafik Shami

Mehmet (1988)

Everything was prepared: the beer was chilled, the sausage and cheese platters nicely garnished with pretzel sticks and onion rings - the slide projector in the living room had been set up for hours, the holiday pictures had long been arranged according to travel destinations; it should be a comfortable evening. Although Heinz had rehearsed the sequence of the slide show umpteen times, he was very unsure. It was a quarter past eight and the first guests arrived. At nine o'clock Heinz couldn't stand the tension any longer and he cleverly tried to draw attention to his holiday slides - and as is always the case, he was able to start right away. The first picture showed the whole family at Frankfurt Airport, the second, "above the clouds," was turned upside down; Heinz immediately apologized. The third »Arrival Istanbul Airport«, daughter Ramona and son Jens in close-up. The hostess explained that Ramona was invited to an architect today of all days, she apologized. The further order of the pictures was the same as in every holiday screening. Overexposed, allegedly funny scenes, which bored the guests with many explanations. However, the stories about the simple, hospitable people in Turkey, whom they had met everywhere, were exciting. The Müllers, who have also been to Turkey before, have been able to confirm this again and again. It was almost a successful evening. "Good evening," said Ramona, "I'm sorry that we're so late, but I still had to wait for Mehmet, his boss let him clean up the whole warehouse again by himself." Mehmet shrugged his shoulders in embarrassment, smiled and said: " I boss say today I'm looking at pictures of Turkey, he doesn't want anything, he says a lot of work, the pictures don't matter.' In the semi-dark room nobody could see how Heinz and his wife changed the color of their faces and held their breath. There was an awful silence. "But you really wanted to go to Mr. Schneider, Ramona???" said the mother. "I? To Mr. Schneider? - That's right. But the celebration has been postponed. I told you. Or not???« Now the guests tried to bridge the embarrassing situation. "It's nice that you came after all. Do sit down, Ramona.” Mehmet noticed immediately that he was being overlooked, but he sat down anyway. Heinz tried to control himself and went into the kitchen. All of a sudden, Mr. Müller remembered that the children weren't at home and that the poor dog must have gone out urgently; the other guests also suddenly had a poor dog and a sick grandmother. Ramona guessed what was to come, took the puzzled Mehmet by the hand, pulled him to the door and said: "Please, please go very quickly now, I'll explain everything to you tomorrow." "What's the matter? Why tomorrow, nothing today??” From the kitchen, the father’s voice grew louder and louder, Ramona turned around in desperation and said very quietly: “Please go now, please go!” Now this event of our boring everyday life could have a sad ending strangle, then this pathetic tale would end like this: Mehmet stared numbly at the closed door. Although it was warm outside, an icy cold went through him, and he was shaking all over. Anatolia was suddenly very close. In his village, people had never kicked anyone out. Or, to finally tell the reader my version: Mehmet goes out, pees through the mailbox on Heinz's front door, breathes a sigh of relief and decides for his life never to take a woman as a girlfriend who is ashamed of him and with him first want to watch slides in the evening.

Rachel Hollenstein

Yellow Like a Lemon (2013)

Fine steam rose from the coffee cup. It was still dark outside and it was snowing. In the only chair at the wooden table sat an old man in worn blue work trousers and a woolen gray sweater. Every morning before his hard work in the murky mine, he would sit in this room, brightly lit by neon lights. His work in the mine was monotonous and dreary. Just like his life. His eyes were fixed on the end of the room, motionless. There was a door there. However, this door was not grey, brown or black like normal doors. No, she was yellow. Yellow like a lemon. It had once been painted yellow for fun by one of the miners. As interesting and promising as that door looked, behind it lay only a long dark corridor leading deep into the mountain and desolation. So morning after morning the old man sat in that chair and stared at the yellow door. Even if he unfortunately knew exactly what was behind this door, this yellow made him think every day. He imagined what could be behind such a promising door. He imagined tales of beautiful royal gardens full of flowers and trees, oriental bazaars with exotic-smelling spices and mountain peaks covered in white powdery snow. He thought of many small fish in the sea and flowers in a mountain meadow. He thought of everything wonderful and interesting in this world that could lie behind such an interesting door. He thought about getting up, stepping through that door and ending up in a better world. In a world where justice and peace reigned. In a world where he didn't have to do such dreary work. Those few minutes in the morning were the only minutes in the man's life when he was happy. With the seventh strike of the clock, the old man was torn from his dreams and reminded of his work. He got up, went to the yellow door, and stepped down the cold, long, and desolate corridor to the mine. A fresh start to a hard day's work. Like this wintry morning, hundreds of other mornings passed before it, and hundreds more followed. One autumn morning in October it all came to an end. When the old man came down for coffee as usual, the yellow door was gone and the man was looking down the long, dark, and desolate corridor.

Lydia Dimitrow

Road (2008)

She had taken everything with her except the scarf. There was no more Kafka on the bedside table, no stale herbal tea in the kitchen. She had taken everything with her, except for the scarf, and perhaps the heavy scent of her perfume still lingered in the bedroom. Or maybe it was just his memory. He had unlocked the apartment door and knew it straight away. Because when you come in, no Jeff Buckley, no risotto. And it was colder than usual. All the windows open, as if she had flown away, not gone away. The bathroom was half empty. No more perfume bottles, no curling irons, and the shower curtain was missing. The blue shower curtain with the red hearts. He had never liked him. The jewelry box was no longer under the mirror. There was only one comb, no more round brushes, neither small nor large, not even medium, just gone, just a toothbrush and aftershave. A shampoo for men. So that the hair does not fall out so quickly. The red leather coat was missing in the hallway. She simply took the small shoe cabinet next to the umbrella stand with her.

She had taken down the pictures. In the living room, in the bedroom. Took the books. The kitchen just cold. And empty. Without risotto and herbal tea. Even without a microwave, but he didn't notice that until the second time. He sat down and counted the videocassettes. Twelve instead of thirty. The CDs were gone. Only Metallica. He sat there looking for her. But there was nothing. Not even the wooden giraffe from Kenya that actually belonged to him. Just the kerchief on the sofa, the black kerchief that she had never liked. After all, he had given it to her. He heard the apartment door being unlocked. He heard the footsteps, the hesitation, then the second door opened. He didn't get up, he didn't look up. He said, "Mom's gone, Dad."

Gunna Wendt

dead birds

When Maja went for a walk with Julie in the monastery garden after her concert, the thought struck her that the pitch-black crows hanging out in the trees must be enchanted nuns who had chosen this disguise to leave their monastery unnoticed.

And who was the giant bird of prey used as a camouflage that turned the busy backyard into an icy emptiness one winter morning? They were sitting in Julie's kitchen having breakfast with cornflakes, raisins, and milk and felt lifeless, touched by a magic wand that made them freeze and fall silent silently .

Maja and Julie got up from the breakfast table, simultaneously, and looked out the window. Where were the animals? Suddenly Julie's eyes pointed up at the tree feathered.He stayed in the yard for a long time, changed the branch a few times, maybe to see more or to know he was better hidden. Everything stayed silent and empty, the animals disappeared.

Maja took Julie's hand and led her into the study. A radiant blue screen on which colorful hummingbirds fluttered around illuminated the room and involuntarily inspired Maja to write an opera.

Once upon a time there was a little cat who fell in love with a hummingbird. They met in a forest and made love After seeing what was happening there, she ran back to tell the cat about it. The cat is seized with jealousy.

Meanwhile, the traitor regrets her deed and confesses her betrayal to the little cat. As she runs to her next rendezvous in the forest, the cat's captors are already waiting with nets to catch the rival horrified cat recognizes. Not the rival was caught, but the beloved little cat. She sings her death aria.

On a walk, Julie asked the question: Where are the dead birds? Maja was amazed, didn't know an answer, and Julie seemed very moved by the question.

Once a bird flew against Maja's window with all its strength and curiosity. It broke its neck, she picked it up and put it in a box.

Wildis strict

My Julilein (2013)

"Good morning, my little Juliet," he said. She smiled. He said it every morning. "Good morning, Doctor Müller," she greeted and blinked politely. She hated it when he called her Meinjulilein. That wasn't her name. Her name was Julia. Julia Weber. Julia was a beautiful name. A noble name. The Roman women had always been called that. noble women. proud women. Caesar certainly did not call his wife Meinjulilein. He probably wouldn't have named his secretary that, either, if he had had one. But the miller wasn't Caesar. No, he wasn't at all. On the contrary. Actually a stupid, uneducated person. With enough emotional intelligence to sneak up on the post-war generation and secure an executive seat. Emotional intelligence. That was something she was missing. She had to admit that. She was more of the uncommunicative type. At least with people she didn't like. They always noticed that immediately. But otherwise. Otherwise she was more than qualified for this job. Secretary. Bah. Oh well. Better than nothing, her mother had said. Better than being unemployed, her father had said. Do you know what it means to be unemployed these days? And, as I told you right away, it's useless. Studying German and English for a master's degree. Who does that! You should have studied business administration. Or anything else useful. You've got it now. She always smiled then. Anyway. The miller had grinned when he had seen her A-certificate and said that at least she wouldn't make any spelling mistakes. Then he had asked her if she could make a good coffee and then hired her. That's it. And she's been working here ever since. For three years, four months and nineteen days. And actually it was okay. Kind. Yes. But. Except that he called her Meinjulilein. Always. Oh well. And sometimes gently patting her bottom. She had a nice ass, she knew that. She was very careful about her figure. On her appearance.A sound mind in a sound bodyher father always said. He had learned Latin. As is she. The miller didn't know Latin. He couldn't even speak proper English. Which means he probably knew average English. So an average person. He sometimes made mistakes, confusing "for" and "since" and "become" and "get". He also had an insanely German accent and wasn't even ashamed of it. His Ti-Eitsch was a weak, unmotivated S. That was embarrassing. You, on the other hand. She had learned five languages. English, Latin, French and Spanish. And some Italian on holiday. She'd learned a little bit from looking at Florence. Florence. That had been wonderful. The art, the art. The old churches, the paintings. The stained glass windows, the sculptures. Beautiful. She had told the miller about it when she got back. Just because he asked. He had smiled and listened to her. Then he had nodded and said "fine." And smiled emotionally intelligent. And then asked her for a coffee. With milk without sugar. Today he didn't pat her ass. Thank God. She hated it. She had once told Linda that he did it sometimes, and she had indignantly said that it must be sexual harassment and that she should report him. She smiled at that and shrugged. What did it matter. That hand on her butt for a few seconds. She didn't really mind. And making such a fuss about it… no. It wasn't worth it. Besides, she needed the job. It was hard to find anything. Her father said so straight away. And actually it was okay. Her father kept talking to her anyway. That she should catch the miller. After all, he was a doctor of business administration. A manager. Banker. Possibly had money. And he didn't look bad, the guy. What more do you want, girl! her father had called out when he saw the miller once. Grab him! She always smiled and promised her father to try. Perhaps. And she had tried. Really. Because of reason. After all, she was supposed to get married, at some point. After all, she was already thirty-four and a half. But it hadn't worked. She had tried. But every time she thought she'd almost managed to fall in love with him, at least a little bit, he'd called her Meinjulilein again. Or else made a crap. Well, he wasn't bad looking, she had to admit that. And he even liked her. At least on her ass. He had a slight belly, but otherwise he was relatively perfect. He also hid his stomach by loosely tucking his shirt into his pants. He was always impeccably dressed. Expensive suits. Matching ties. Shiny polished shoes. Perfect. Too perfect for her taste. Of course she liked beautiful men. To look at. But nothing more. And the miller was beautiful. Straight narrow nose. High cheekbones. Dark hair, which he always styled with gel in a sweeping wave. Full lips. Pretty, yes. Despite it. He was...too American for her. Too boy band somehow. He must have been the star when he was in school. Surely all the girls had had a crush on him. And those who weren't would have gone with him anyway, for reasons of prestige. Because it was so decorative. And he was certainly mean to the unsportsmanlike, uncool. She was one of the nerds back then. Respected but ignored. Nice but boring. Not polarizing at all. She got her first kiss in college. About Wadim, a Polish exchange student, who had incredibly reminded her of Count Strapinsky from "Clothes Make the Man." The miller hated Poland. He called them Polacks and made jokes about them. In fact, he hated all foreigners except Americans. Vadim had been an incredibly sensitive person. The Americans, on the other hand, were downright admired by the miller. His ideas about the USA were in heavenly spheres. She herself found the Americans stupid. Too superficial for her taste. But that, in turn, suited Müller perfectly. Because superficially he was definitely. The miller had even been to America before. At some business symposium in New York. He's raved about it for years. Above all from the good American coffee that the secretary had brought him there, who certainly bore a resemblance to her, Meinjulilein. It was so good that he immediately ordered another one from American Meinjulilein. Apparently he hadn't patted her bum. Something like that would definitely not work in America. Like I said, not that it mattered much to her. But in America he would soon have a sexual harassment lawsuit on his hands. And then there was the death penalty in America. Not that she would wish him the death penalty. Now for the butt thing. But the thought that he would be stewing in some cell in one of those ugly bright orange suits, there was something. Absolutely. And in front of the prison, angry, feminist demonstrators would be standing with banners and signs. Oh no, that would be too mean. She devoted herself to her work. Seal letters. She subtly licked the gummed edge of the envelopes. That was fun. It was kind of daring. Not that she wanted to arm the miller. She made it for herself. Because she liked being bold here. The miller walked by and nodded at her with a grin. His gaze lingered on her short skirt. He didn't even notice that she was daringly sealing letters. She didn't care. She continued to lick envelopes. Subtle. Then she stuck on the stamps. They were boring stamps with boring flowers on them. Blue pleasing flowers. And they were peel and stick. So you didn't have to lick them. A pity. But she stuck the stamps on very neatly. Exactly one centimeter from the edge. She didn't need to measure. That was years of experience. Then she stacked the envelopes neatly in the letter rack. Flush. she waited. Then she sharpened pencils. There were three pencils of hardness HB. Commercial pencils. She had one of those electric sharpeners on her desk that just kept sharpening pencils as long as you left them in it. Once she was so bored that she sharpened an entire pencil. She then sorted the resulting wooden rosettes with a red lacquer edge on the desk according to size and then arranged them in a neat pattern. She had been very bored that day. She picked up one of the red-lacquered pencils. They went perfectly with her immaculately painted fingernails. And they shone nobly. They were perfectly sharp. Although. She pricked her finger. The pencil point left a greyish mark. no blood Could be sharper. She put the writing implement in the sharpener hole. The automatic sensor immediately recognized the pencil and it began to rotate. This time she didn't sharpen the pencil but took it out again after a few seconds. Perfectly pointed. she waited. What would happen if you put your finger in it? What would a pointed finger look like? For example, if the miller would casually lean on her desk, as he sometimes did, and then quite accidentally flick his finger…. That would be terrible. She took the other two pencils and sharpened them just as perfectly as the first. Then she noticed that the pencils were different lengths. She sorted them by size. Flush from the edge of the table. Still she waited. She knew it was about to happen. It was ten thirty sharp. And indeed. The intercom went on. "My Julilein, would you come over here?" she heard the miller's voice. She got up and went into his office. To his mahogany desk, which she stopped in front of. The miller lounged in his leather executive chair and eyed her suggestively. She smiled. "Yes?" she asked. It was an unnecessary question. She knew what he wanted. Finally it was ten thirty-one. "Oh, please make me a cup of coffee, my little Juliet," he said. She nodded and waited. "And throw in one of those juicy biscuits, will you?" he added. That was her cue. Like every morning at ten thirty three. "Yes," she said and went out. The coffee kitchen was right next door. The office had one of those little cheap coffee makers that did just fine for two or three cups. The coffee you could make with it, while not phenomenal, was good. OK. Sufficient. She opened the coffee maker. The filter bag from the day before was still in there, with the dark brown, damp ground coffee. With pointed fingers she removed them and threw them away. Then she opened the cupboard and pulled a fresh filter bag out of the box. She spread them apart with her long, delicate fingers and placed them in the filter. Then she filled tap water into the descaler. The miller insisted on decalcified coffee water. It was ten thirty-five. Though she doubted you could taste the difference. Although. You might. But at least not him. She listened as the water trickled through the device in a thin, puny stream. Sounded kinda pathetic. Then she took the coffee can from the cupboard that the miller himself had brought from America. With a buxom pin-up blonde on it. A Gil Elfgreen picture, but he didn't know that. She filled the filter with two and a half spoonfuls of ground coffee. Then she resealed the box and put it back. And she filled the water from the descaler into the machine. It rippled poorly. Finally she closed the white plastic flap and pressed the power button. It glowed a cheap orange-red. It was ten thirty-seven. The machine immediately began to make bubbling noises. But not like a hot spring or anything. More like a cold dragon. An old, unfortunate dragon. A thin trickle soon formed and poured sparsely into the pot. Brownish. Now, at ten thirty-nine, she set the cup ready. It was white and made of porcelain. commercial. Just like the saucer. The dying, rattling noise of the machine betrayed that the coffee was done. She waited a moment longer. Then she took the pot and poured the coffee. And then she took the ready milk jug and poured a little shot into the coffee. A light brown cloud formed immediately. Perfect. It was now ten forty-one. She smiled contentedly. The coffee looked good. The only thing missing was the cookie. She opened the cupboard door and took out the packet of cookies. With the juicy biscuits that the miller was so fond of. She took out a biscuit. He looked good. Appetizing. And then she did what she did every weekday morning at ten forty-one. She licked the biscuit and placed it on the saucer.

Sibylle Berg

night (2001)

They were pushed into the evening with thousands from different doors. It was narrow on the streets, too many people tired and crowded, the sky was pink. People would ignore the sky, the evening and go home. Then sat on the couch, would eat cucumbers and, with a little pain, watched the sky that would change from pink to light blue, then purple, before setting. A night made to leave everything behind, but for what? They functioned in what seemed to be support, the people of the city, and support knows no breaks, rules, no quiet time in which the unknown has room to unsettle with stupid questions.

The girl and the boy did not go home. You were young, so sometimes you still have courage. You should do something really crazy today, both thought independently, but that's no wonder, because with so many people in the world it can easily happen that thoughts are the same. They went to a mountain that protected the city. There was a high lookout tower, you could see as far as the Alps and give them names, the Alps. They would then listen when you called them. The two didn't know each other and didn't want to know anyone that night, so they climbed the 400 steps to the lookout tower. Sat on opposite ends, sullen at first that there was another. That's how people are, it's called trespassing. But then they forgot to be there and thought about the night. The thoughts were about flying, going away and never coming back, and without realizing it, they soon sat next to each other and said the thoughts out loud.

Not surprisingly, the thoughts were similar for so many people around the world, and yet it is like destiny to meet someone who speaks what you are about to say. And the words became soft in the night, clear sentences gave way to the sweet porridge that lovers let out of their mouths to lie down on to sleep. They held hands all night and didn't know what was nicer. The sounds the wind made, the animals singing, or each other's smell. It's so simple, said the boy, you just don't have to go home now and then, you have to go into the woods. And the girl said we'll forget it again, that's the bad thing. You forget everything that is good for you, and then you get back on the tram in the morning, go to the office, go home, wonder where life is. And they were still sitting when morning came, when the city began to breathe. Thousands left their homes, their cars busy cleaning, and the two realized that going down to life would be the end of them. I wish there were only us, said the boy. The girl nodded, she thought for a moment: That's how it's supposed to be, and at the same moment the world disappeared. Only a lookout tower, a forest, a few mountains remained on a small star.

Sibylle Berg

And the Sun Rises in Arizona (2000)

The asphalt cowboy with spurs on his boots: the man is only a man in the car. It's too light too early, the shirt rubs against his neck, the tie chokes him. He wants to scratch, scratch, scratch until evening comes. He's still far and he's sitting at the table. He rubs his leg a little on the chair. So that it shouldn't be noticed that she looks at him again with that look that says: What is the dog doing at the table?
His daughter talks about clothes, his wife talks about clothes, he doesn't know these people. You don't see him. He doesn't understand important things. About music, books, flowers and clothes, nothing at all. They make him feel like something annoying, too loud, too rough, not pretty.
He is disturbing. Everywhere. If he's lolling on the sofa and wants to drink beer or watch sports for hours, he's in the way. His beer bottle leaves rings on the art books lying on the side table. His feet move the carpet, his chips crumble, his breath makes a bad haze. Live Shit! He eats his breakfast patiently, it doesn't really slide down his dry throat. What do you feel, what do you think, why are you so rough, why don't you feel nothing, think nothing? He is never enough. His wife never wants to believe that he doesn't think anything, feels nothing. That he's happy watching sports, staring at the ceiling, crouching in a pub, and being silent with other men. Finally breakfast is over, a fleeting kiss, father goes out into the world, maybe he'll never come back.
He goes to his car. He gets in, takes a seat, the car greets him: Hey, move! And finally he's wearing the same clothes on the outside that he always wears on the inside: greasy jeans, boots, leather vest, cowboy hat.
The spurs on his boots rattle, he steps on the gas pedal. The machine works, it obeys him. She begs for control, wants to submit. He steers, he steers. The strong machine, so many horses, they carry him across the prairie, the ocean, it doesn't matter. Finally he is who. A lone man holding the reins with muscular arms. Ride his horses, faster, better than everyone else. No weeping women, he and the machine, and the sun is rising in Arizona. Freedom, I mean, he hums and mentally smokes a fat cigar. This is his true home. With every kilometer he forgets the women, the art books, the rings from the beer glass, that's his car and if he puts beer in there, it's his business. Nobody has any say in that.
Yeah, he says quietly, shoots the gear, the car moans gratefully. The other men on the weaker horses - left behind. The last fight that one is allowed to fight in a world full of fags and women who clamor and whine: drive the car to peak performance with a steady hand, push on, lose everyone, defeat, show where the hammer hangs. Under his hand the car becomes a boat, a tank, a Formula 1 missile - it doesn't matter what, the main thing is metal, wood, pistons that eat oil and work like a limb, like a man, damn it's so little, what he needs. The hat, the horse and its calm. Why is this only here? Because the world has gone wrong, because nobody has any respect for a man's work, because they laugh at him at home if he doesn't know his art books.
And he races down the city freeway. In front of him the Sioux, behind him Apaches. A bigger car would be great. Bigger car, more freedom, more speed and power and far away with it and never back. Never going back to a family that doesn't understand him, to things that are none of his business. Sometimes, when he can't see himself, he wants to cry, it pisses him off, the life that someone secretly slipped into his pocket and that he damn well doesn't want. He doesn't know the guy who goes to the theater in a suit with his wife. His wife, who used to be so blonde, admired him. Laugh at him now. Wasn't even blonde. Dyed, cheated, laughed at. He wants to be damned, to have a different life, one he always imagined as a boy. He had been a hero in his dreams. And is now someone who has yellow skin and yellow fingers from smoking, from being sad. The car encloses him, is heaven all to himself, gives him footing in a goddamn world that's gone haywire. Speed ​​and clutch, the chrome, the leather, and then it starts to fly. Across the street, the other cars are small, the streets, the air under the exhaust, fly, take a lap, there's his house, tiny, with two women in it he doesn't understand, in a life he doesn't deserve, in a world no longer made for someone like him. He turns away, diagonally over the mountain across the prairie, the sun is there and he smiles. For the first time this morning.

Elisabeth Langgässer

Beginning of the season (1947)

The workmen came to the entrance of the village, high in the mountains at the last bend in the pass, with their sign and a wooden post to nail it to. It was a hot late spring day, the snow line had already moved up to the glacier walls.

Everywhere the meadows were lush and vigorous again; the wildflower wasted itself, the dandelion swelled and puffed its head over the milky stalks; Globeflowers, as if greased with yellow cream, burst with happiness, and a sky of improbable blue was reflected in radiant pools of small-flowered gentians. The houses and inns were also like new: their shutters freshly painted, the shingle roofs well repaired, the scissor fences added. One more breath: then the strangers, the summer guests, the teachers, the courageous Saxons, the children, the mountaineers, but above all the car owners would come in their big cars...Ford and Mercedes, Fiat and Opel, sparkling with chrome and glass. The money would roll in. Everything was prepared for it. One sign came to another, the hairpin to that

Totenkopf, kilometer signs and signs for pedestrians: Two minutes to Café Alpenrose. There was a wooden cross where the men were about to drive the post into the ground, and a shield was also placed over the head of Christ. His inscription remained the same to this day as Pilate had designed it: J.N.R.J., the disappointment that it should really have read: he only claims to be this king, had lost its vehemence over the centuries. The two men, carrying on their shoulders the post, the shield, and the big shovel for digging the post in the ground, set everything down under the wayside cross; the third set down the tool box, hammer, pliers and nails and spat encouragingly.

Now the three men discussed where the inscription on the shield would be best displayed; it should be used as an eye-catcher for all those who entered the village on the wide pass road, better: drive, and not be missed. So it was agreed that the sign should be put up just before the crossroads, as a kind of greeting that the village sent to every stranger. Unfortunately, it turns out that the post would then have had to be set in the pavement of a gas station, a thing which was forbidden in itself since the cars, especially the larger ones, were then hampered in turning. So the men dragged the post a little further out to the community meadow and were about to start work when they noticed that this spot was already too far from the place name sign that gave the name and the community to which the stains belonged. So if the village wanted to claim the privilege of this sign and its inscription, the sign had to move closer, preferably just opposite the cross, so that carriages and pedestrians could pass between the two

must. This proposal, made by the man with the nails and the hammer, was applauded. The other two again loaded the post on their shoulders and dragged it in front of the cross. So now the sign with the inscription should be perpendicular to the wayside cross; but it turned out that the ancient beech tree, which spread its branches on both sides like a cloaked Madonna unfolding its cloak, covered the inscription in summer and its shadow play blurred its meaning, but at least weakened it. So only the other side next to the Lord's Cross remained, and since the first, which merged into the pavement of the gas station, would have indicated the thief's place on the left, so to speak, the place on the right was chosen and finally retained. Two men dug the earth, the third quickly nailed down the shield with powerful blows; Then together they placed the post in the pit and rammed it from all sides with larger boulders.

Their activity did not go unnoticed. Schoolchildren competed for the honor of helping to pass the hammer and nails and find matching stones; some women also stopped to study the inscription carefully. Two nuns, who were refilling the vase of flowers at the foot of the cross, looked at each other uncertainly before moving on. With the men who came from the woodwork or from the fields, the effect was different: some laughed, others just shook their heads without saying anything; the majority remained unaffected, expressing neither approval nor disapproval, indifferent to how things might develop. On the whole, the men could be satisfied with the effect. The post, bolt upright, bore the sign with the inscription visible from afar, the afternoon sun glided like a finger over the inch-sized letters and slowly traced each one like the judgment on a blackboard. Even the dying Christ, whose pale, blood-soaked head was bent to the right in death, seemed to be trying with his last strength to pick up the inscription: one could see that it was also affecting him, who until then had been regarded by the people as one of their own and well suffered. Relentless and enduring like his suffering, she would face him in black and white for a long time to come. As the men left the crucifixion site and packed up their tools again, all three looked up at the sign with the inscription with satisfaction. It read: "Jews are not welcome in this health resort."

Wolf Wondratschek

43 Love Stories (1969)

Didi always wants. Olga is known for this. Ursel has had bad luck three times. Heidi makes no secret of it.

With Elke you don't know exactly. Petra hesitates. Barbara is silent.
Andrea is fed up. Elizabeth does the math. Eva searches everywhere. Ute is just too complicated.
Gaby doesn't find one. Sylvia thinks it's great. Marianne gets seizures.
Nadine talks about it. Edith is crying. Hannelore laughs about it. Erika is happy like a child. With Loni you could throw a hat in between.
Katharina has to be persuaded to do so. Ria is there immediately. Brigitte is indeed a surprise. Angela doesn't want to know anything about it.
The weekend can be eaten.
Tanya is afraid. Lisa takes everything tragically. With Carola, Anke and Hanna it's no use.
Sabine is waiting. It's such a thing with Ulla. Ilse can control herself amazingly.
Gretel doesn't think about it. Vera thinks nothing of it. It's definitely not easy for Margot.
Christel knows what she wants. Camilla can't do without it. Gundula exaggerates. Nina is still shy. Ariane simply rejects it. Alexandra is Alexandra.
Vroni is crazy about it. Claudia listens to her parents.
Didi always wants.

Linus Reichlin


A young woman hanged herself in her cell with an immersion heater cord, but that's a one-sided account. It is true that her tea had gone cold during the nine-hour long interrogation and that the guard gave her the immersion heater to warm up, from which the young woman hanged herself, but again this is a one-sided account. It is true that the young woman did not want to or could not drink any more tea after being unsettled by forged letters, weakened by the constant coercion to testify against her boyfriend and finally persuaded to do so by the advice that she should hang herself had to use the immersion heater not to warm the tea, but to hang herself from it, by the immersion heater cord that the warden gave her, but this is shown one-sidedly. It is true that he gave it to her out of pity. But then she didn't feel like drinking anymore, not even because of the letter in which her boyfriend was anonymously accused of infidelity and which a journalist found out had been forged by a police quick-change artist, but that is the saddest of all one-sided accounts . It is true that the journalist was fired from his newspaper because of one-sided reports, and it is also true that the truth is always one-sided, even if the murderers are allowed to have their say.

Thea Dorn

Beware of falling rocks! (2011)

The great Sassen, lord of two television stations, a radio station and several publishing houses, was a mighty man. That evening he sat in the heavy black-leather armchair of a hotel bar, with the pleasantly dimmed lights and the blurring sounds of a piano, and sweating. He tried to keep his mighty body upright as the beads of sweat broke off his temples and slowly trickled down his neck into his collar. His head, which usually ruled empires, seemed ridiculously far from his torso. He was enthroned on the massive body like a rock ball that had accidentally been blown off.

Sassen's counterpart, a young artist named Nona, sculpted the air with her slender hands as she spoke. “My material lives, it breathes, it pulsates, you understand? I'm not trying to manipulate it. As a sculptor, I always have to listen to where my material is going. I'm not forcing it, I'm just taking it where it wants to go.” Nona's bare elbows flashed as she tossed her long dark hair back in her hands. Her smooth armpits reflected the mild bar light. »When I start work, my material is still afraid. It's careful. It can't know if I'm doing violence to it. Only gradually does it open up to me.«

The tall man pressed his back deeper into the arm of the chair. The rivulets that constantly trickled from the source above his ear accumulated between his shoulder blades and colored dark lakes on the midnight blue suit. A faint chill seized him.

Sassen had passed the stage where he could still connect words with meaning. The sculptor's voice rippled over him. »I feel the impulses that my material sends out. It only becomes calm when it has found its final form. Everything has an ideal form. At that moment I know: my work is finished.«

Nona finished her speech with a terse smile and sat back, hands folded in her lap.

Sassen's white, fleshy fingers had detached themselves from the body. Like a quintet of slugs, they crawled across the leather armrest of the chair, leaving wet, shiny tracks in their wake. "Nona, you are an extraordinary woman." His breathing was shallow.

Nona sent another brief smile to her face. Underneath, the cocktail dress worked its way up her thighs, inch by inch. For a second the edges of skirt and stockings met, deep black lay against transparent black, then a narrow strip of white skin shimmered.

His heart, his heart, yes, the great sinner felt his heart. Something unknown shook him, a rumble made him shiver, brought the red wine he had just brought to his mouth to boil, let it slosh over the confining rim of the glass. Sassen could feel the whites of his eyes, a bar, a white bar, burning in his pupils. Distorted images tumbled in his brain, dancing on the inner wall of his skullDeadly Tango. The erratic head threatened to fall from its fragile position.

Nona got up and the trembling died away with the white bar. » Waiter, a salt shaker, please! The gentleman has stained himself with red wine.”

Sassen's face had grown still, like a desolate canvas. Only behind the wide open eyes glowed a powerless ember.

It was a picture of touching beauty, how the great senate prepared himself for eternity. The young sculptress hesitated for a moment before bending over him. With practiced fingers she closed the eyelids in the monumental face. The signature of a significant life. Her footsteps moved silently away across the dark runner. And that same day, a respectfully shaken world received the news of Sassen's death.

Jenny Erpenbeck

Hair (2001)

I grew long black hair in my mother's womb that stood on end when I was born. It's spring and the world is very bright. One black hair after another surrenders, falls out, flies away, leaving blond siblings to succeed on my head.

When I was three years old, my father put grass braids on me, but soon my hair can be gathered into two tufts. Right and left above my ears, these tufts stick out in an arc from me, like water coming out of a pipe, they spring from a ponytail that looks like a cross between a daisy flower and a bottle cap. So by the time I'm five years old, my hair will be washed, brushed and tufted, sometimes even braided. Nobody knows anymore why my mother had to cut them short on the eve of May Day of all days. Out for the first of May! They play brass band music on the radio. My mother puts the cut braid in a transparent case as a souvenir. I have to go out to the May Day demonstration, but at home there are six inches from me in the glass coffin! This morning thousands file past my close-cropped head, they show me their teeth, they laugh, no, they laugh at me, the whole city bends over me and strokes my head and laughs at me, even the flags laugh, they bend over me and let their long red hair fall on me in waves with singular malice.

From May 1st I want to have braids at least as thick as my cousin Heike. A child can attach itself to the right and left of her braids, then she turns and the children fly. My cousin Heike is a carousel, I want to be a carousel too. At that time, hairbrushes with many individual plastic bristles had not been invented, and a few years later, when they were invented in the West, we know nothing about them. With a comb, it takes two hours to comb out after washing your hair. For two hours I sit on a stool in the bathroom, a towel around my shoulders, and hold my wet head out to my mother while she pays off her heavy May debt, dividing my hair into strands and unmatting strand by strand. Once a week we devote ourselves to the restoration of splendor in this way, fortunately at that time daily hair washing has not yet been invented, and when it is already invented in the West, we don't hear about it. For almost a decade now, I've had two blonde pigtails that fly in wavy lines in the air as I run to school because I'm late again. I use the ends of these to wipe the records when I can't find the rag. From which I suck the water in the summer after bathing. I tie the pigtails together in the back so they don't wipe my fresh ink, sometimes accidentally pinch them if I close my door too quickly behind me, and I go with these two pigtails to my first date. The one I like wears a leather jacket with safety pins all over it. The punks are made up, but I didn't find out about it. I wrap the tassel from my braid around my index finger and don't know what to say. The punk doesn't call a second time, my hair is falling apart. The revolution on my head doesn't look red or purple like my contemporaries - it emancipates me to the Christmas angel. Open hair! What used to be a holiday hairstyle I now allow myself forever, of course I have to comb it myself now. And what looks like paradise with Botticelli gets stuck under the straps of my satchel, becomes electrically charged when I pull a sweater over my head, and twirls into a felt on restless nights. For five blissful minutes in the wind on the back of a moped, I tear my hair around for half an hour afterwards, and finally I simply cut off the utterly indissoluble tiny knots according to the classic model. Once, on a summer vacation, I fainted while I was working on my morning hairstyle in over thirty degrees with my head tilted and my arm going up and down like the lever of a machine. Every once in a while I curse that hair fervently, but as fervently as one curses things you can count on. I never forget for a moment that my hair is the treasure in which my entire lifetime is stored and I am obsessed with the idea that someone could cut it off while I sleep. In bloody fantasies I imagine how I would torture the scoundrel.

When I was sixteen the first man got caught in my hair and it seemed the lanyards finally did the trick. A desire comes over me that I had never known before: to separate from myself this flax that grew to me as a girl. For the first time in my life I go to a hairdresser, the hairdresser cuts off more than half a meter, the hair falls to the ground, the hairdresser sweeps it up and throws it in the bin. When I cross over to Hiddensee with my boyfriend during the autumn holidays, the wind blows around my head. But there is nothing left to get confused.

Anne Duden

Eyelash Animal (1995)

Feathery, frayed gold in hanging masses of water. Finally. At evening. And a pale, sharp-edged blue beneath the single, rosy haze of light. Noise rises from the layers of hardening, unmuffled, winged by hollow cold, and the gas emanates and finds no end.

This is still the best of all the moments. She can still breathe deeply once a day a month a year and let herself feel that there are arms and legs on the torso with its big big eyes, which are swinging slightly just now before they step out and grab a little .

As a reminder.

No, with the darkness at your back. No. The rib lifters don't want to move anymore. Once a day when it gets high. And the swelling pillows have become thin and transparent, two badly sewn skins that now rub against each other at the slightest movement. They have run out of filling, because I push myself too often, and I need all the stringy liquid, all the jelly for the one decisive fight, which begins early in the morning, often in the deepest darkness, and then usually, albeit decreasing in intensity, the whole fight day lasts. Of course, no birdsong penetrates such densely accumulated layers of slime, only streaky light that has already been chased through all the storage and consumption zones before it gets here.

With the darkness at your back, certainly not. And completely worn out in the joints. Someone is always pulling out my hair, including the hair bulbs. Most at night. But they collect all my pillows and deposit them for me. Under the hydrangea bush, which is in full bloom right now, during the coldest time of the year, I recently had to dig up the few dead ones that were important to me. It was easy and dry work. Because it was only about the three crucial human innards: heart, kidneys, liver. Everything else had not been buried. And these were wrapped in blue plastic, bundled and tied, only superficially buried in peat dust. For every dead person there was a head-sized, white-pink flower ball on the leafless bush. I was responsible to them, the dead, but I was not guilty.

First wood against wood, rammed and beaten. And screams from wall to wall and floor to ceiling and back again. Then blows of metal against wood and splinters, husks and tears, dry and groaning, up to the one soaring scream across the rigidly arched tongue into the now ruptured space. The tongue lies back on the floor of the mouth and flows, ebbs, sags, seeps into whimpers, sobs and silence. A WOMAN WILL BE ELIMINATED.

The girl lay on her back, cut out and severed, surrounded by darkness that was nothing but a guide to punch, scream, and remove. The door opened and the overhead light turned on. Is she going dead now? she asked; her older brother in the other bed didn't ask anything, but he had half sat up and was staring around as if suddenly blind. No, your mother is... she just needs... well get some sleep. There were a few seconds between what I said and when the light was turned off and the door closed.

She had come from a deep context, against her will, from an animated dark stillness. She was being propelled inexorably upwards, pulled upwards toward an inevitable, unavoidable goal she was not about to reach at all. A buoyancy removed her from something she urgently belonged in, a floating fauna and flora to which every fiber of your connective tissue, every muscle cord and tendon, every nerve ending was intertwined. The anchoring had been cut from behind by a sudden event from above. A call, a scream. Much of her was left hanging below, ripped off and torn out, all the peace she could possibly have, so that she was now being dragged up, sore all over.

When she was very close to the tumult, she directed her will once more towards what was disappearing, towards the caution of being deposited. But she is already on the threshold, she is already being dragged over her. And one last scream or smack, the opening of the door or even the light coming on, and the truth breaks out over her angry little body. Her body, just moments before an eye closed at night, a large sleeping ciliated animal, now violently forced to lift the giant eyelid that completely covered it, to open it.


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