“What the fuck does that mean?”
This is the conversation I imagine the German couple are having next to me at McDonald’s at 3am.
After choking down the Fillet-O-Fish I ordered via language blunder, I make my way back to our apartment, skipping over dog shit like it were my first time dancing. The towers are eerie. The surrounding trees ominous. There’s silence among the communal bins.
At level two I pause and listen for what Mr Kauf is playing on his stereo, or singing, or shouting. Instead, there’s nothing and I get lost in whatever it is I’m meant to be thinking:
No matter where you go in the world, hairdressers always have puns for their salon names: eClips, hair of the dog, hairport etc. No matter what time it is, someone, somewhere in the world is having: a shower, a beer, a shit, a colonoscopy, open-heart surgery, their last meal. No matter what anyone says, you can trust your mantra. And if you don’t have a mantra, you can trust that a Holiday Inn will provide a continental breakfast at a reasonable price and a cosy place to sleep, free of bedbugs. There may be the occasional streak of human faeces on the mattress cover, though. Which reminds me, I need to book a room for two for the start of June.
I escape my thinking, climb the final set of stairs and turn the key. There’s a rumble from the kitchen and I’ve momentarily forgotten someone sleeps there. My fly already undone, penis poking through my pants as if seeing the world for the first time, urine readied to splash into the bowl with great force. The same force that someone, somewhere in the world, is using to: flick a bug from a leaf, hoist an infant onto their shoulders, push a car into gear, or sign the customer copy of their last meal before stepping into oncoming traffic and being ploughed into by a scooter with enough force to send them plummeting back into the memories of the third, second and first time they had ever tried fish.