May 4th, 2012 / 2:18 pm

Friday, May 4, 2012 ——–

It was 2012, or maybe the slightly distant future or past. Actually it must have been 2011, because for part of the time I was back in Germany. It was a systematic thing that was unclear. When you divulge into your consciousness, things happen that don’t seem to matter, and you wake up in a state—economic, emotional, sexual, political. Wake up may not be the right term, and, for these purposes, it’s actually the complete wrong term. More it is a sense of acceptance, wild, trusting and illusory. You grind your teeth, you wipe your face and scratch your sides until they become raw. It was the fall or summer, spring, sometimes winter that day. Surrounded by people you used to know and maybe still do.

A terrorist cell has acquired a number of nuclear warheads. Missiles or projectiles, things that explode and cause massive damage. You wouldn’t know if they hit right next to you or even 100 yards away from you, but if you are within a few miles, you’d probably know, subconsciously, even in the numb screams and confusion you’d mostly likely resort to. Four countries stood up to the terrorists, four countries of considerable influence and randomness. They are not all wider than they are tall, but they’re all there and full of girth. Countries are Spain, Russia, Germany, and the USA.

Countries say they won’t stand for terrorist threats, they don’t negotiate or give in. It seems to me unclear what the demands are, they’ll always have the weapons, always maintain the power when willing to resort to violence. First country to give in is Spain. A private surrender, maybe weeks, maybe months before it appears in the papers. Three countries remain of considerable power and military history. Newscasts are held, people appear and say things and ask questions and disappear, and I float away.

The familiar faces appear in stairwells. You knows them, I know them. We smile at one another and have weightless silent conversations. I’m in a bed, a shallow room, a stairwell. I’m in a museum with everyone I know, and forced out by the authority. News is a hydrogen bomb has been dropped on Russia for issues of noncompliance. We huddle in a stairwell awaiting the next word.

I float between Berlin and New York. The cars flood out of the city, tall buildings are abandoned, teens shave their heads, adults too. We wonder about war. Papers, newscasts. Everything fades a bit. Authority tells us to get in the stairwell, under the stairs, out of the museum in Berlin. I sit with Nick and Kate and John, the only names and faces that appear memorable. I see August and Emily maybe, but no one else.  They tell us if the bomb goes off we wouldn’t even know it, couldn’t even try to expect it. Someone says the bombs are on the moon, being stored there. I recall several years earlier, a conversation regarding the trajectory of nuclear missiles—they must enter space before returning toward earth, their parabola contiguous, their rainbow made by gravity as I understood the title of the novel.

Doesn’t the US Armed Forces have a method of shooting down missiles before they land in the West, anywhere in the West, unfathomable military security technologies. A matter of national security. The bombs begin to strike the surface of the earth.

You are or I am in a restaurant. Connected to the restaurant is a dance hall paved in waxed wood. It is an endless hall and the sun pours in through the planked in walls. There is an unattractive couple who offers me and my girlfriend a joint. You are or I am with my or your girlfriend, who gets way too high and starts sitting toward the girl of the couple, leaving me or you to chat with the man of the couple, who seems disgusting, has a neck beard along his double chin and bits of food in it. I get mad and say some things about inappropriate and float away. Into the couple’s apartment and darkness. The dance hall waxed, which you drifted along in socked feet. I didn’t remember removing my shoes.

There is a buzzing, there is a buzzing. The time reads numbers. I am wearing long johns and a thermal shirt. I am drinking water and looking at my cell phone in a mass of red and beige.

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  1. Steven Vineis

      And then a Beastie Boy’s License to Ill expired.







  3. Merzmensch

      And the next day came

  4. Justin Ross Morris

      David, like you, I don’t like anonymous internet commentators who say mean things so I logged in to make this comment: this was painful for me to read. Maybe you’re trying too hard to be The Writer Traveling Abroad. It’s as though these experiences aren’t coming naturally to you. It’s as if they’re being pulled out of you via your image of what The Writing Traveling Abroad should sound like. With that said, the writing here lacks ease. And at times it seems inauthentic, i.e., forced and contrived; the word “histrionics” comes to mind. Anyway: These are merely some thoughts from a person who read this piece from start to finish.

  5. David Fishkind

      i spent 4 months living outside the u.s. sep-dec 2011. i hated it and will probably never live outside america again. i traveled to 4 countries in that time, but spent more than 3 1/2 months in berlin, germany. idc about anonymous internet commenters. seems like you’re right on with the piece though

  6. mimi


  7. deadgod

      What did you hate about “it”?  I lived in Europe for a decade and tired of red-tape nonsense (associated with ‘green card’, housing), but, for the last seven of those years, I enjoyed great working conditions and only really hated the constant, constantly robotic anti-Americanism.  (–though I could, did, and do grumble about how dumb people/things are…)  The daily static, street hassles, enemyships, money headaches — that’s all normal everywhere.  I mean, most people at this site will complain bitterly about the same stuff in Ohio or Florida or Brooklyn.  And I loved being a foreigner (and not just an alien at home).

  8. David Fishkind

      i guess i just hated (concerning germany, can’t really say anything about europe in general) was the uniformity/homogeneity of the culture w/r/t everything. everyone looked the same, acted the same, and for the most part seemed to share the same common interests. at first this was very exciting to me. like, i agree, much better political and economic climate, etc. but eventually it grew to be extraordinarily boring. there was almost no ethnic/cultural diversity and little diversity of ideas. it’s like utopia–seems good at first, but ultimately shitty. then there were other little things, like no delis or baseball on tv.

  9. deadgod

      Well, ‘culturally homogeneous’ is pretty much the opposite of what I’ve heard about Berlin!  (I’ve only ever visited for ~ a week.)  Europe’s big cities tend to be culturally and ethnically quite diverse – on a par with NY, LA, Chi, and so on here.  Not much baseball to miss after mid-Oct.  Maybe you were badly missing the things you’d stepped away from? and wherever you might have been paled boringly in comparison to anticipated re-acquaintance?  Or, maybe Berlin is a dull town…

  10. Vomithelmet McGee

      I didn’t get that from the writing. I mean, I thought it lacked ease in a different way that worked with the terrorist situation. Like it made the “I” in story seem distressed. I felt it worked really well for something short like this. Well that’s one different opinion anyway.

  11. mimi

      i agree with Vomit  

      and i have mixed feelings about the unclear/nuclear thing,  
      but i like “thermal shirt” in the last paragraph