I see a boy I know in the bakery.
“Hey,” he says. “You didn’t come to my show.”
I look at him blankly.
“Oh,” I say.
“You said you were going to come,” he says.
I look at him even more blankly.
“I did?” I say. “When?”
He sighs mournfully. “On Facebook,” he says. “You said you were going to come on Facebook.”
“Oh,” I say. “I must’ve been drunk. When was it?”
“Oh!” I say cheerfully. “I couldn’t have come on Friday. I was in Chemnitz. I went to a poetry slam. It was brilliant.”
“Did you win?” He asks.
“No,” I say, “the slam actually wasn’t brilliant. The slam was pretty shitty, actually. I mean, it probably was. I didn’t actually listen to any of the other slammers. I was backstage, and we were arguing about who was a Nazi and stuff. Like, is Thilo Sarrazin officially a Nazi? I was in the ‘Yes-Camp’. But I didn’t get through to the final, so I just assume that the slam was crap. It must’ve been, or I would’ve got into the final. Probably.”
“You didn’t get through to the final?”
“No, but afterwards we went to a disco. And I didn’t have to pay for one drink. Every time I went to the bar, and tried to give the barkeeper some money, some Chemnitz guy would touch me on my wrist and say ‘I’ll pay for this drink, put your money back in your wallet.’ I didn’t pay for one drink all night.”
“Yeah,” says the boy I know. “There’s a real Männerüberschuss in Saxony. Probably they think they better pay for all the girls’ drinks, otherwise they’ll all go home without them, and then there’ll just be all men in the bar, drinking alone.”
“And all the men over 40 call it ‘Karl-Marx-Stadt‘ still. That’s so sweet, isn’t it? I think that’s really sweet of them. And that scary Karl-Marx head they have there is really, really scary. He looks like he’s really pissed off with everyone for loving capitalism and everything. He looks like he’s thinking: ‘You fucking cunts with your Starbucks and your Lush and your handbags and that!’ And everyone thought my German was really good. They all said my German was really, really, really good and that my grammar was almost perfect and they thought I came from North Germany or Holland or somewhere. Last time I went out in Berlin, like, in the evening, this black German in this bar I was in said it was a ‘Schande‘ that my German was so bad. I hate Berlin. Berlin sucks. Chemnitz is much better than Berlin. I hate it here. A Schande!”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that. You probably misunderstood him. Your German’s not that bad.”
“I mean, it’s not a fucking Schande, is it? I said to him: ‘My German is not a Schande, actually. The fact that the police never investigated the NSU murders properly, just because they assumed that Turkish people who owned kebab shops must’ve been Mafia, that’s a fucking Schande. Me saying ‘isch’ instead of ‘ich’ is not a Schande.’ That’s what I said to him.”
“Good. Well, anyway, you better come to my next show, okay, Jacinta. That’s the third time you’ve clicked that you’re coming and then you just don’t show up. You’re just like an American and you’re always pretending you hate them so much.”
“Oh,” I say, grinning confidently. “I am definitely-definitely coming to your next show.”
“You better,” he says.
“Just send me an invite on Facebook,” I say. I look up at him and squint at his face. He is a lot taller than me and I have a really bad hangover. “I just hope I don’t forget.”