Book excerpt

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It’s Friday and everybody at work has some amazing weekend plans. I bet that most of them just sits at home, folds laundry and watches TV. Klaus came by to ask me who is he going out with? He wanted some insider info on Mandy. I told him that she was as tall as him but probably stronger and that he can only hope that she does not have some dangerous mental issues. I meant it as a joke but after seeing a glimpse of worry in his naive bluish-greenish eyes I decided to explore the subject. I told him that Mandy has been very sensitive ever since she had pubic crabs and everybody in her college class laughed at her. And she has hard time getting rid of them. It was a stupid and totally implausible lie but it was all I could come up with at that very moment. Klaus didn’t think twice about believing me – he bit that hook like the baby silver perch that day on the beach.

‘She has pediculosis pubis and she can’t get rid of it?!’ he said.

‘You know how to say crabs in Latin?!’

‘Yes, pubic crabs, not regular crabs. She can use shampoo to kill them. I’ll buy her one.’

‘No, you won’t. Who does that? Besides, she thinks…she thinks that the scratch comes from some skin disorder.’

‘She can’t see the crabs?’

‘She also has very poor vision.’ I was out of control.

‘Why nobody tell her?’ insisted Klaus. I noticed that his grammar would always drop down a level if he was in any way confused or excited. I guess he’d lose the linguistic focus.

‘Because she is very sensitive. You don’t just walk up to somebody and tell them they have crabs. This is not Russia.’

‘We don’t do that in Russia. Only when you know the person well.’

‘Well, don’t say it to Mandy. She is too sensitive. It could send her over the edge.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘It means that…well, she is also…she is a little mentally unstable so it means that we don’t want to disturb her. You promise you won’t say anything.’ Whoever said that lying is like quicksand was right. I could feel that mud around my throat.

‘It is very difficult for me to withhold the truth,’ said Klaus.

‘Even when truth is none of your business?’

‘Truth is everybody’s business.’

‘I will tell her, okay. You don’t say a word. You are a man, and a foreign one for that matter.’

‘I am almost American.’

‘I am almost five five.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘My height. I am almost five foot and five inches tall. Keyword almost. You are almost American but you are still a foreigner so zip it when you talk to Mandy.’

‘Zip my pants?’

‘No, zip it means don’t speak.’

‘You mean I should not speak when I talk to Mandy?’

‘Exactly.’

‘That’s impossible. If I talk to somebody then I have to speak.’

‘No, you don’t. Let her do the talking. You just listen and smile politely and mind your own business.’

‘Dating in America is very complicated…five five…you are not very tall.’

‘You are not very muscular.’

‘Don’t be mad, I think your height is very feminine. It’s the perfect height for wearing high heels. I love high heels. For a woman, not for me, I prefer desert boots. I am not cross-dresser. ‘

‘I don’t wear high heels.’

‘I know, you also wear desert boots, but if you did wear high heels your height is perfect.’

‘Just don’t say anything to Mandy.’

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