I was in Münster, Germany, hanging with Harald in this local bar, local meaning poor, hanging meaning drinking beer by the gallon having not much to say and slowly but steadily getting fucked up. And so it was with the other patrons.

This was no party atmosphere. Just guys, workers, in the sad part of town dreaming of better days.

It was dark outside, freezing cold winter in Germany, and the joint had all its blaring neon lights on. Some guys were seated like Harald and I at the few tables, a few guys were sitting at the bar. Everyone was drinking huge amounts of beer in silence. Then again, you have to give it to German beer.

Eventually there were only a few guys left. Some dude, must have been a Gerd, had been sitting at the bar for hours now and showing off some and drinking with the look of someone who’s having a good day.

That’s when I saw his wallet on the floor, under his stool. ‘You dumb ass’ I thought.

Harald had seen it too. Neons were blaring a mean white light. Alright, we got up and walked to the bar. While Harald paid the bartender and said a few words to get people’s attention, I had to retie my shoes. So I did. Then we walked out of there.

We got into the car and drove away. Then we stopped to check the wallet out. And there, goddamn, a whole wad of Deutschmarks. “That’s some money, this guy’s monthly salary, he just got paid ,” exclaimed Harald.

“And he won’t get laid,” I said. Worse yet, I imagined that this guy’s home-coming to the wife and kids was going to be brutal. Well, this was a lot of Deutschmarks and Harald and I knew what to do with it. We started the car, turned on the radio, loud, and headed on, dropping along the way this guy’s wallet, with all its papers, somewhere someone would find it.

Soon we were downtown, refilled and loaded with booze, drugs hard and soft, and cash. It didn’t take long to find two blondes happy to meet with us. So, in the dark of night, all four of us climbed in my car, the idea being to go to my place because I had no idea how the blondes would react with Harald’s nazi paraphernalia.

We had a way to go because I was staying out of town, some miles away by the river. I was driving so Harald prepared a shoot for everyone again. Badoom! You have to give it to heroin. There was music, loud, wonderful and funny German blondes, Harald making sure nobody missed anything. For me, at this point, driving was like commanding a flying German machine and I was thinking how lucky I was, much more so that, at this very moment, I was expecting getting lucky even more.

I was not driving fast at all – no need to mess with cops – when I saw headlights in front of me, right on my side of the road. “What is this idiot doing?” I said. And we all laughed.

Indeed, what the fuck was this guy doing? His headlights were right upon us. Then, at the last moment, we saw this car swerve on the grassy part of the road and swing by us, his horn blasting. It was just a flash although I saw him looking at me, terrified. What the hell was wrong with this guy?

So I kept on driving on the left side of the road not knowing where I was really. Later, it helped me to understand why some folks would get on the Interstate the wrong way.

In any case it was late and I don’t remember seeing any other car. And Harald rolled some more joints and the music was good and the girls were laughing and looked by now more beautiful than ever and I was piloting a German craft and daddy ho…

I woke up because I was cold. I was alone in the car, hungover, cramped and shivering. I could see outside a bleak dawn in some forsaken industrial zone, the car parked in a drab derelict parcel. What in hell! Where was Harald? Where was I?

I got out of the car just to have a chance to stretch, puke and warm myself up. Then I saw Harald, curled up underneath the car. “Harald, what are you doing?” I said. For a second I thought he might be frozen but no, he came to.

“Where are we?” he asked from under there.

“Dunno,” I said.

“Where are the girls?” he asked.

Shit, fuck, yes, what about the girls?

Then I knew. I didn’t have all the answers and would never for example remember how Harald and I got there nor how the girls got out of there but I knew. Sure enough, my wallet, just there where I could find it, was empty.

Talk about getting lucky: save for a few expenses, that is how went some guy’s nice salary and I had no souvenir of paradise.

“Do you have any cash left?” I asked Harald.

“Yah,” he said.

So we got into the car, I started it and turned on the heat. Soon we found a greasy joint, opened early for workers. Neon lights were blaring, we went in. There were only guys inside. Some of them were seated at the few tables, others were sitting at the bar. Harald and I sat at a table by the window. Outside was freezing cold winter in Germany.

We ordered breakfast. And beer.

You have to give it to German beer.

Ellar Wise

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