1. I GOT THE JOB THROUGH Marius, who had gone to
school with a mutual friend at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. I
was supposed to write Zusammenfassungen for the theater where Marius
worked. These were kind of like Cliff’s Notes. They were critical
synopses that directors would consult before selecting which plays to
stage, to see if they thought a script sounded interesting before
reading the whole thing.
Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing, and it was only a matter of time before they found out.
2. Traveling Europe in the early nineties, I’d made
it to Berlin just as my money ran out. The GDR had fallen and The Wall
had been chipped into souvenirs for tourists and the people of East
Berlin had fled to the West. There were hundreds of buildings left
empty— power on, rent free—which were soon squatted by an influx of
foreigners. I met some people who gave me a room in a squathouse, and I
started busking on the U-Bahn. For most of the nineties I lived in the
squathouse and played music on the trains for a couple of hours a day. I
drank and did drugs.
Eventually I landed in Narcotics Anonymous.
THERE’S A COUPLE STAYING at the hotel, they‘ve been here for more
than a week, waiting for the deal to go through on the house they’re
buying. They’re a married couple, white, in their mid-thirties. He looks
like he could be a butcher- a squat, meaty guy with a New Jersey
accent. He’s always breaking balls. She’s meek. She likes sweatshirts.
She’s big-boned and self-conscious about it. They’re unpretentious and
friendly, in contrast to some of the guests who stay at the hotel,
people who seem to think if they drop a couple bills on their room
they’re obligated to act like dicks.
I usually get dropped off at eleven by my girlfriend Jen because I
can’t drive, and we always make out a little bit before I get out of the
car. We’re affectionate- not in a sleazy attention seeking sort of way-