Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #1

    Strawberries, part two

    This is the second part of my short story, "Strawberries." Please would you correct my mistakes.

    I would return from those long walks completely physically and mentally exhausted. I lay in my bed, looked at the ceiling and asked myself if I was losing my mind. Why couldn’t I be like the others? There were so many opportunities to succeed, to get good education and job and even start a family, but I was stuck in my own trap and shackled by my own chains. I was fully aware of my situation but was unable to find a way out.
    In my desperation, like a man clutching at straws, I called my good German friend Franz. I met him years ago, during my stay in Germany in the 80’s when I applied for asylum. Unfortunately, my claim was refused, but Franz and I had stayed friends. He was earning his money as a fortune- teller. His customers were rich men and women who had large amounts of money on their bank accounts but knew nothing about otherworldly matters. He read tarot cards, looked into the crystal ball, drew up horoscope, used hypnosis and held seminars in which he taught the wealthy people how to look inside themselves instead of being obsessed with material things. I told him that I had been experiencing the worst period in my life and contemplated suicide. Franz, who was usually calm and composed, grew angry. “Why don’t you leave that damn country of effeminate men and radical feminists and come to Germany? You’ll never be happy with those introverted people. Their inbuilt mistrust and envy will eventually drain you of all energy. You don’t need to tell me how you suffer. I can feel it inside myself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Just pack your luggage and book the plane. I’ll wait for you at the Stuttgart airport.”

    I decided to heed my friend’s advice and immediately cancelled the contract for my flat. I bought a one-way ticket and sold my furniture. The items I could not sell, I gave away to a charity shop. Suddenly my depression and morbid thoughts vanished like a bad dream. I had neither debts nor obligations to anyone. I felt like a bird whose broken wings had miraculously been repaired, and who was ready to fly high in the sky. The last night I had spent in my empty flat sleeping on the old mattress, which I threw into the skip in the morning.
    A few hours later, I sat in Franz’s sports car while we speeded the motorway at 180km /h towards Baden Baden. I had not seen him for years, but he seemed not to grow old, despite his 55 years. He had always taken care of his looks and would never meet his customers without a dark suit and a tie. I asked him what was the secret of his young looks and he answered, “No sex, no drugs, no cigarettes and no alcohol.” He then asked me if I had some love affairs with Swedish women, who are known for their beauty and libertinism. I told him the Swedes are not my favourite people, neither men nor women. I believed there must have occurred some kind of a genetic mutation in the recent past that caused Swedish men to behave like females and Swedish women like males. I sometimes became confused when I talked to them, not knowing if the person in front of me was a man or a woman, despite their distinctive clothes and hairstyles. Franz laughed and said, “There must be some rich, fat woman waiting for you in Baden Baden.”

    I spent a peaceful night in Franz’s flat, feeling as if I had ended up on some other planet. There was no loud music, no hammering, no shouting neighbours, and no quarrelling couples throwing things at each other. In the morning, I strolled through the town, which reminded me of a fairy tale, what with ornate facades, churches, castles, spa with mineral water springs, and the famous casino where once Dostoyevsky lost all his money. I looked around at the surrounding hills and saw few paragliders in the sky soaring above the meadows and trees clothed in autumn colours. I felt such happiness and excitement that I believed I was going to join them by only the power of my mind. I pumped the air with my fist. I was the victor. I had succeeded. I had escaped the ugly Swedish ghetto and come to the country where I was going to fulfil my potential.
    The next day Franz gave me a paper filled with hundreds of job advertisement. Countless hotels were looking for new personnel: waiters, cooks, chambermaids, night porters, doormen...Franz told me I should apply for a job as a nigh porter because it was easy, clean and I would have a lot of spare time. He helped me to write my CV and took a photo of me, both of which I sent by email to few hotels. Two days later, I got an appointment with the owner of the Hotel Bavaria, Mr Goebbels. When I saw his name, I couldn’t help laughing. I believed that this Goebbels had no connection at all with the one who was infamous for his propaganda during the Second World War, but still I was amazed at the speed with which my mind had made this association.

    Franz accompanied me to a clothing store where I bought a dark suit, dark tie, white shirt, pair of cufflinks and tiepin. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw an ideal night porter, a man in his thirties, tall, handsome, well built and well mannered, who spoke many different languages and was eager to work.
    Hotel Bavaria was a four-storey building, which cream facade blended in perfectly with the other buildings on the quiet street. Its sign was discrete. You should come close to be able to read it. Even the metal plate with five stars was almost imperceptible. In the spacious lobby, I was welcome by Mr Goebbels and the manager Mr Speer. The men were in their fifties, and I noticed that Mr Goebbels had no resemblance to the Nazi propagandist whatsoever, but strangely, he reminded me of Rudolf Hess because of his bushy eyebrows, tight mouth and prominent masseter muscles. Mr Speer looked like one of the male German tourists I used to see in Croatia on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea. They would sit for hours and sweat under the scorching sun, drink their beer they had transported all the way from Germany, pat their swollen stomachs, and discuss football and other sports. Mr Speer had a bronzed face and a short, sun-bleached hair, and I had an urge to ask him if he had spent the last holiday at the Adriatic Sea, but I was afraid that my curiosity could cost me my job, so I kept my mouth shut.
    To be continued

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,088
    #2

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    I would return from those long walks completely physically and mentally exhausted. I lay in my bed, looked at the ceiling and asked myself if I was losing my mind. Why couldn’t I be like the others? There were so many opportunities to succeed, to get a good education and job and even start a family, but I was stuck in my own trap and shackled by my own chains. I was fully aware of my situation but was unable to find a way out.
    In my desperation, like a man clutching at straws, I called my good German friend Franz. I had met him years ago, during my stay in Germany in the 80’s when I applied for asylum. Unfortunately, my claim was refused, but Franz and I had stayed friends. He was earning his money as a fortune- teller. His customers were rich men and women who had large amounts of money in their bank accounts but knew nothing about otherworldly matters. He read tarot cards, looked into the crystal ball, drew up horoscopes, used hypnosis and held seminars in which he taught the wealthy people how to look inside themselves instead of being obsessed with material things. I told him that I had been experiencing the worst period in my life and contemplated suicide. Franz, who was usually calm and composed, grew angry. “Why don’t you leave that damn country of effeminate men and radical feminists and come to Germany? You’ll never be happy with those introverted people. Their inbuilt mistrust and envy will eventually drain you of all energy. You don’t need to tell me how you suffer. I can feel it inside myself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Just pack your luggage and book the plane. I’ll wait for you at the Stuttgart airport.”
    Franz doesn't fool around, eh?

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,088
    #3

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I decided to heed my friend’s advice and immediately cancelled the contract for my flat. (The word contract there should probably be lease.) I bought a one-way ticket and sold my furniture. The items I could not sell, I gave away to a charity shop. Suddenly my depression and morbid thoughts vanished like a bad dream. I had neither debts nor obligations to anyone. I felt like a bird whose broken wings had miraculously been repaired, and who was ready to fly high in the sky. I spent the last night in my empty flat sleeping on the old mattress, which I threw into the skip in the morning.
    I am guessing that by skip you are referring to what Americans would call a dumpster.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #4

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Tarheel,
    Officially Franz doesn't fool around, but you don't know what can happen when he is alone with his client.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #5

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Yes, "a skip" is in BrE what you call a dumpster in AmE.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,088
    #6

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    A few hours later, I sat in Franz’s sports car while we sped down the motorway at 180km /h towards Baden Baden. I had not seen him for years, but he seemed not to grow old, despite his 55 years. He had always taken care of his looks and would never meet his customers without wearing a dark suit and a tie. I asked him what was the secret of his youthful looks and he answered, “No sex, no drugs, no cigarettes and no alcohol.” He then asked me if I had had some love affairs with Swedish women, who are known for their beauty and libertinism. I told him the Swedes are not my favourite people, neither men nor women. I believed there must have occurred some kind of a genetic mutation in the recent past that caused Swedish men to behave like females and Swedish women like males. I sometimes became confused when I talked to them, not knowing if the person in front of me was a man or a woman, despite their distinctive clothes and hairstyles. Franz laughed and said, “There must be some rich, fat woman waiting for you in Baden Baden.”

    I spent a peaceful night in Franz’s flat, feeling as if I had ended up on some other planet. There was no loud music, no hammering, no shouting neighbours, and no quarrelling couples throwing things at each other. In the morning, I strolled through the town, which reminded me of a fairy tale, what with ornate facades, churches, castles, a spa with mineral water springs, and the famous casino where once Dostoyevsky lost all his money. I looked around at the surrounding hills and a saw few paragliders in the sky soaring above the meadows and trees clothed in autumn colors. I felt such happiness and excitement that I believed I was going to join them by only the power of my mind. I pumped the air with my fist. I was the victor. I had succeeded. I had escaped the ugly Swedish ghetto and come to the country where I was going to fulfil my potential.
    The next day Franz gave me a paper filled with hundreds of job advertisements. Countless hotels were looking for new personnel: waiters, cooks, chambermaids, night porters, doormen...Franz told me I should apply for a job as a night porter because it was easy, clean and I would have a lot of spare time. He helped me to write my CV and took a photo of me, both of which I sent by email to a few hotels. Two days later, I got an appointment with the owner of the Hotel Bavaria, Mr Goebbels. When I saw his name, I couldn’t help laughing. I believed that this Goebbels had no connection at all with the one who was infamous for his propaganda during the Second World War, but still I was amazed at the speed with which my mind had made this association.
    When I first saw "Goebbels" (the second time too) I thought You've got to be kidding. I can't help wondering if that's real or made up.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,088
    #7

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Franz accompanied me to a clothing store where I bought a dark suit, dark tie, white shirt, pair of cufflinks and tiepin. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw an ideal night porter, a man in his thirties, tall, handsome, well built and well mannered, who spoke many different languages and was eager to work.

    Hotel Bavaria was a four-storey building, which cream facade blended in perfectly with the other buildings on the quiet street. Its sign was discrete. You had to come close to be able to read it. Even the metal plate with five stars was almost imperceptible. In the spacious lobby, I was welcomed by Mr Goebbels and the manager, Mr Speer. The men were in their fifties, and I noticed that Mr Goebbels had no resemblance to the Nazi propagandist whatsoever, but strangely, he reminded me of Rudolf Hess because of his bushy eyebrows, tight mouth and prominent masseter muscles. Mr Speer looked like one of the male German tourists I used to see in Croatia on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea. They would sit for hours and sweat under the scorching sun, drink their beer they had transported all the way from Germany, pat their swollen stomachs, and discuss football and other sports. Mr Speer had a bronzed face and a short, sun-bleached hair, and I had an urge to ask him if he had spent the last holiday at the Adriatic Sea, but I was afraid that my curiosity could cost me my job, so I kept my mouth shut.
    Goebbels and Speer?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #8

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    I have been in Baden Baden. Such a beautiful place, especially if you have plenty of money, but I have never met someone called Goebbels. I used it intentionally to make a reader's mind make its own associations and create its own inner pictures.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #9

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Tarheel,
    I have just one question regarding sentence in your post nr. 6
    "I looked around at the surrounding hills and a saw few paragliders in the sky soaring..."
    You have probably meant to write an "I". But I am wondering if I need that second "I" at all in this sentence.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,609
    #10

    Re: Strawberries, part two

    Now I am wondering what kind of preposition should I use in the sentence "...immediately cancelled the lease to or (for) my flat."

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Strawberries, part one
    By Bassim in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 27-Feb-2015, 21:30
  2. strawberries
    By e2e4 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: 30-May-2008, 22:03
  3. Her lips tasted of wild strawberries.
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 22-Dec-2007, 23:01
  4. Strawberries really fourish/prosper in cool climates.
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 15-Dec-2007, 01:02
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Nov-2007, 00:12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •