.Would you please correct my mistakes in the twelfth part of my short story.
The third cinema was the size of a large room, with a small screen and three rows of seats filled with mostly overweight men who munched on popcorn, peanuts, crisps, and drank soft drinks. We sat down, but even if we had wanted to, it was impossible to concentrate on the film amid the chewing, crunching and munching. As if that was not enough, a woman cleaner came in with a mop and a bucket and started cleaning the floor, ignoring the obscene pictures and sounds. Miroslav
wentgot up, and I followed him outside on to the street.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“Honestly, I feel only empty,” I answered. “I can’t understand that people can spend hours watching other humans having sex.”
“Neither can I, but there are different reasons why they go there. Some are lonely; some are bored; some don’t have enough money to go to a night club, and some want to arouse themselves before they go to a brothel. You see how the Germans are practical. Brothels and
theporn cinemas are next to each other. We Slavs would never have come up with onsuch a street plan.”
I wanted to tell him our societies would never have allowed such exploitation of woman, but someone whistled on the other side of the street, and Miroslav beckoned me to follow him. Two burly bouncers shook hands with him and then with me. Behind them above the entrance, a red neon sign with a heart and an inscription “Hot Heart” shone brightly. Miroslav asked them if we could go in, and one of them answered, “No problem, but don’t stay too long, otherwise
ourthe boss will be angry.”
We stepped inside, and my eyes immediately fell on a naked brunette on the stage wearing only a pair of high-heeled shoes
onat the end of her long legs. She swayed to the music, caressed herself and gyrated slowly, so that everyone could see her body in its splendour. The soft blue spotlight gave her skin an ethereal glow. I felt an urgent need to stroketouch her, hold my hands over her firm breasts, and kiss her nipples. A man sitting close to the stage lent forward and raised his hand, holding a banknote in his fingers. She moved slowly towards him, all the way caressing herself, crouched and then squatted so close to his head that her knees almost touched his ears. She held the note between her fingers for a second or two, pouted her lips and stared at him intently. The man withdrew his hand, and she slowly put the note inside her shoe, before returning to the centre of the stage. I was amazed to see how this well-practiced ritual kept all the men in a state of awe. We were like hypnotized, unable to turn away our eyes from the beautiful body and the pleasure it created in our minds. For a few moments, I had forgotten my refugee life, the stinking camp, and my nostalgia. It (suddenly) dawned on me why some men could spend a fortune on a woman’s body. It was an instinct difficult to fight. If I had enough money that night, tonight,I would have probably done the same thing as that man did, and willingly parted with my money for a bit of pleasure.
“Admit, if she had proposed to you, you would have said yes,” Miroslav said when we stepped outside on to the street.
“Of course, I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second.”
“Neither would I. Such a beautiful body...” He fell silent probably giving his imagination free rain just as I did.
We walked along the noisy streets filled with neon signs and the lights of numerous restaurants, snooker halls, amusement arcades, discos and nightclubs. At some places, the queues were long and stretched along the pavements, but people were waiting patiently in silence. We stopped at the Pyramid and sat on the bench. I wondered what Margrave Karl Wilhelm would have made of the city he founded more than three centuries ago-- if every weekend he had to listen to the wailing of police cars and ambulances, loud music blaring from every corner, and the shouting of drunken people. He wished to create harmony, but every weekend the city inhabitants turned it into a chaos.
A middle-aged man with a moustache and long hair, who seemed to be disorientated, shuffled by
in justwearing only socks on his feet, holding a shoe in his hand. He asked us if we had seen his wallet, and when we told him we had not, he grunted and walked on, his body bent, his head darting this way and that. Another man came up and wondered if we had weed to sell. A group of noisy girls of secondary-school age walked by holding cans of beer in their hands. They were smoking, and a pungent smell wafted into my nostrils. “Cannabis, or hash,” Miroslav said. I never smoked and knew nothing about drugs, but now watching them shouting and walking carefree down the street, I remembered my adolescence in which such reckless behaviour was impossible to imagine. It would have been easy for me or my friends to procure cigarettes and alcohol, but it had never crossed our minds to drink or smoke cannabis. Neither did we dream of having a one-night stand. You would meet a girl you loved passionately, spend with hermonths or years courting her, and then you got married and waswere supposed to be faithful to her until the end of your life. A break in a relationship was painful, and it would take you a long time to get over it. Here, love was relative and flexible. It could last a few hours or a few days and could be replaced with lust or another love, without any qualms of conscience. Feelings had tuned into goods which could be sold, abused, bartered, or used for pure pleasure without any obligations. The books by Erich Fromm flashed in my mind. He saw capitalism as a deranged system whereto which the majority of people had managed to adapt so well that they did not understand what was wrong with it, although as human beings they could feel its disease. Maybe the people I saw thisthat night were trying to escape the system for some hours. On Monday, they would turn again into anonymous cogs, silent and submissive.
TO BE CONTINUED
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