BICYCLES MIGHT PLAY A PART
Angry Birds—Bicycles Might Play a Part
The Deutsch, the land, be thou with us,
Watch over us with all thy might,
Bless thou our bodies and our souls,
And keep us safe both day and night.
The Deutsch, the land, o thou, our light,
Thy radiant beam on us bestow
That looking on thee we may see
That thou wilt ever mercy show.
We care not that we’re made to sorrow,
Suffer torments and repine.
Our only care is that our suffering
Has a purpose and design.
Andreas is working as a waiter at the FDP Party Conference, dishing up beyin salatesı or beyin çorbası to all the guests—something with brains. Everyone has to eat it.
Mirko watches Andreas the whole time. He takes a bowl of brain soup and eats it, watching Andreas.
Only a few people in suits left; it’s getting late. Andreas clears away the half-empty glasses. Throughout the scene he is trying to clear away.
Mirko: Like some of this brain?
Mirko: Brain soup?
Andreas: No, thanks.
Mirko: Don’t be so shy.
Andreas: I’m not gay.
Mirko: You what? Nor am I.
Andreas: Oh, I thought.
Mirko: Just because I work for the FDP.
Andreas: Because you’ve been staring at me all evening.
Mirko: You’re sweet.
Mirko: What’s your name?
Mirko: Hi, Erik, I’m Mirko.
(He holds out his hand, but Andreas doesn’t shake it; he carries on clearing tables.)
Mirko: You a waiter?
Mirko: Do you do it professionally? Is it your job?
Andreas: What else?
Mirko: Well, I dunno, thought you might do something proper in real life.
Andreas: Where’s that supposed to be?
Mirko: Where’s what supposed to be?
Mirko: I didn’t want to force myself on you, I just thought you looked approachable.
Andreas: I tell you, I’m not a poof.
Mirko: Because you’re approachable? One of the ones who believe in the old values, are you? Don’t meet many of them these days. Though looks-wise, people are going back to the old values. After all that hippie stuff—hair full of shit and all that—people are starting to shave properly again. A lot of people are going for that look. The old-values look. But their hair’s still full of shit on the inside. Especially in the gay scene, it’s fashionable to go around looking like a Nazi—you know, skinheads, bomber jackets, it turns them on. Makes them hard, the gays. They fuck under swastika flags, I’m telling you, combat boots are sex toys to them. Wouldn’t suit me. Na. Heard on the radio when I was getting shaved this morning that the presenter had done a parachute jump and cried and the listeners could vote if that was poofy or not. Can a man show his feelings or is that retarded? Call in or post your answer on Facebook! And I thought, like, fuck, just thinking of a parachute jump makes me cry. I cry even if I just cut myself shaving, no kidding, my eyes just mist over, I hate pain, can’t cope with pain at all—no way, I’m such a wuss and I’m totally straight. You don’t believe me, I can tell, but I’ve got a wife and kids. Youngest started school this year, oldest getting tits already, huge great things all of a sudden! Crazy how fast it goes, you have to learn to control your dick, I mean seriously, what I feel there is no way gay, I’m a hardcore tit fan. But I’ll cry at nothing all the same.
Mirko: What about you?
Andreas: What? Do I cry?
Mirko: Wife? Husband?
Andreas: I’m not gay, fuck it!
Mirko: God, I was only kidding. (laughs) You do flare up quickly! Let’s have it then. Wife? Kids?
Mirko: A lone wolf. Thought so. You can tell. But we’re a team. Even wolves run in packs.
Mirko: You can’t survive alone. We’re just a little part of things, even boys like you have to accept that. If you want to be free, you have to learn to be free with others.
Andreas: I work for a catering agency.
Mirko: Well, then, you’re part of a team.
Andreas: I don’t know the others.
Mirko: What do you mean? You have colleagues, don’t you?
Mirko: What do you mean, nope? Who are the others walking around here?
Andreas: No idea, never seen them before.
Mirko: But you must have a boss.
Andreas: Never seen him. It’s always his rep who rings me and tells me where to come.
Mirko: The world’s opening up, the desert’s growing, no one looks out for anyone but himself, we inject Botox into our lower lips, all alone, but it hasn’t made us any happier, has it? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of this whole concept of working wherever, living wherever, fucking whoever, it’s the way forward and all, it brings in the cash. That’s the beauty of it. Being liberal is actually the only way to survive. Being open for all the new stuff. Gays, foreigners, women’s rights—hey, do you know this one? An East German bird, an Asian, a gay bloke and a guy in a wheelchair go into this posh restaurant in Brussels and ask for a table. The waiter says, ‘What kind of a motley crew is this?’ ‘What do you mean?’ they say. ‘We’re the German government!’ (he laughs at his own joke, a fake smug laugh)
Oh dear. Yeah.
Hey, did you see Rösler go up to that black guy and shake his hand, all brotherly like? They’re trying to join forces now—walking up to each other like they’re stranded on a desert island. I tell you, they’re shaking hands now.
Andreas: Who do you mean?
Mirko: Don’t act dumb. The black guy. There weren’t that many.
Mirko: I only saw the one.
Andreas: The others are in the kitchen.
Mirko: The one Rösler went up to, to tell him that if an optician in disguise can make something of his life, then so can he—dishwasher to millionaire and all that crap.
Andreas: Rösler didn’t go up to Jan; it was the other way round.
Mirko: Is Jan the black guy?
Mirko: But that’s a German name.
Andreas: Jan is German.
Andreas: Jan went up to Rösler to say thank you.
Mirko: And then Rösler said, I’m here to represent you—
Andreas: No. Jan told Rösler he thinks it’s good that ‘one of us’ is working at the top.
Mirko: Yes, exactly. And then Rösler said—
Andreas: Then Rösler said, ‘What do you mean, one of us?’ And he went to Westerwelle and laughed about Jan—complained that the black guy had gabbled on about one of us, what can he have meant by that, he’s not one of them. One of them’s a black dishwasher, the other’s party leader Philipp Rösler. Quite a difference.
Mirko: Oh, come on, I mean with the blacks, you have to understand, they haven’t been here so long. Their time will come. One day they’ll get to be party leaders too, it’s just new for people. Takes time.
Mirko: To feel respect for them.
Andreas: Jan’s fifth generation.
Mirko: Look, I don’t know anything about this Jan of yours, but as a general rule, it takes time to develop tolerance to people. My mum, you know, she’s eighty-nine now, in an old folks’ home. There’s loads of blacks working there, Vietnamese, Russians, whatever, and she’s scared, of course she is. Am I supposed to read her the riot act, the poor old woman, just because she’s scared of all those foreigners? She’s been through displacement. She was raped by the Russians. Three times. She lost everything and brought me up all on her own. Am I supposed to report her because she says she doesn’t want to be touched by a black guy? She’s scared of them, they look different, it’s only natural that she’s scared. Like when kids are scared. Or do you want a Russian to change her nappies? She only has to hear them roll their fucking Rrrrs and she wants to jump out of the window. It reminds her of the past. What’s she supposed to do? Do you want the poor woman to kill herself?
Mirko: A bit of tolerance is very important. Respect. Racism doesn’t just go one way, you know.
Mirko: This soup’s revolting. Who’d choose to eat brains?
Andreas: How did you know about the swastikas?
Mirko: You what?
Andreas: That queers fuck under swastikas? Is that something Westerwelle does?
Mirko: What makes you say that?
Andreas: I dunno, because you say you’re not gay. You must have heard that from someone—that they fuck under swastikas.
Mirko: What’s your problem?
Andreas: What do you mean?
Mirko: What are you implying?
Mirko: You watch it.
Andreas: I was only asking.
Mirko: Are you sick or something? Are you homophobic?
Andreas: What? Why homophobic?
Mirko: You watch what you say or I’ll report you.
Andreas: For what?
Mirko: You just think about what you’re saying.
Andreas: What am I saying?
Mirko: It’s never happened to me before. Never. Where do you come up with that stuff, eh?
Andreas: You just told me.
Mirko: Now, look here, mate, any more of your jokes and you’ll find yourself with charges. You’re not talking to a nobody here. You clear away the glasses now and then run along home before I report your arse for homophobia.
Andreas: What the fuck?
Mirko: Or I’ll call up your boss and tell him about the ideologies you’re spreading here.
Andreas: What ideologies?
Mirko: That’s enough, I tell you.
Tr. Imogen Taylor