This evening in Karlsruhe, I went back to the courtyard with the duck-pond and the flamingos on the way to the Späti that isn’t a Späti.
It turns out the flamingos are in the zoo, but still. It’s all laid out like a park in front of the pond. The zoo’s almost embarrassingly easy to break into.
I sat down beside the pond, cracked open a beer and looked around. Mostly well to do types, though a few delinquents on a bench yonder were getting rowdy.
Some dude came along with a bottle of beer, went straight for the pond, stood in it with his boots and all on and started scooping the water into his mouth with the bottle. He kept doing it, loads of times, and his beady eye caught mine as he kept scooping. I looked away, figured the poor guy must be thirsty. But of course I looked back.
He took his already sodden boots and socks off, and started doing circuits around the perimeter of the pond. He rolled up the bottom of his tracksuit bottoms initially but they got wet and the weight of the water started dragging them down.
By the time his arse was showing he dived flat on his face into the pond, right in front of couple of respectable looking oul wans.
“Na, toll,” one of them said, disdain oozing from her every pore. They looked at him in disgust, then resumed chatting.
The dude went to where he’d been before, sat down on the ledge with his feet in the water and put his head in his hands. He looked thoroughly miserable, worryingly so.
My neighbor on the ledge, a guy with a large rucksack who was presumably waiting for a train to bring him somewhere better, got his stuff ready to go, then started looking at your man, who was still there, head in his hands.
The neighbor talked to him, and it seemed a normal conversation. They both laughed. Then the neighbor got his wallet out and gave the dude a note. Dunno how much it was, it doesn’t matter.
The dude was overcome, thanked the guy profusely, they both shook hands, punched shoulders, and the guy with the rucksack left.
The dude was alone again. He sat down again, contemplated what to do next. Sit-ups. He lay down on his back in the pond, clothes on and started doing sit-ups.
Some fat people came along and laughed at him. They sat down, continued munching.
There was nothing left for your man to do but parade around in his jocks, just in front of the fancy restaurant next door. The diners tried their best to ignore him, but the staff could no longer ignore him when he sat at a table and perused the undoubtedly overpriced menu.
As I was leaving, he’d returned to his place by the pond, put his trousers back on, and sirens could be heard approaching. Normal order was being resumed.