Short Stories

Women fdo patio

– This rope is mine! Yells Yugoslav. – I have more time in the house!

– You lying! Yells the Turk. – Landlord said rope to everyone!

The two women arrived in the courtyard with baskets full of clothes to extend. Now they argue over who gets the plastic ropes stretched across the courtyard. Yugoslavian does not know Turkish, Turkish cannot speak Yugoslavian. So it is in German that they have to speak to each other, the language of the country where they live.

– You mean! I three children! Very dirty!

– You queen here? You are nothing queen! Rope here for everyone!

“Your man hooks there, in the other corner!” You buy the rope for yourself, right?

– No, no! I have no money for new rope! And you do not give orders here!

They are standing in front of the baskets shouting at each other. People in neighboring houses have long known why the two women are angry. Still, there are still people running to the window to see how the discussion will end this time. Sometimes there are those who still scream, “Silence down there!” or “Hang your clothes in your houses!” From time to time a window slams shut, someone laughs at the humorous German of the courtyard women.

– Do you let this happen? Such a mess on a Sunday? Asks Mr. Stachel, visiting with his wife, at Lotti and Karl Waldmeister’s.

Mr Waldmeister closes his umbrella and places it against a corner of the porch.

– Well, let’s have breakfast before, I apologize.

Mrs. Waldmeister shrugs her shoulders.

– I soon saw that this was going to happen.

– God awful! – says Mrs. Stachel.

“There is no way to end this,” says Mr. Waldmeister.

But he knows very well how he can change the situation.

You have been thinking about this for a long time.

In the bathroom are two tumble dryers. Only one is used but the second could also serve. Mr Waldmeister is still thinking about the third big machine, gathering dust in the attic, offered to him by his neighbor when he moved to a nursing home.

“Do you know what, Lotti?” could tell Mr. Waldmeister to his wife. “It’s very simple: we put the tumble dryer on the patio and end the discussion once and for all!”

He doesn’t say it because maybe Lotti doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Maybe I would answer:

“Offer something to those who are always bothering us?”

Mrs. Waldmeister cuts the cake and stifles a sigh.

She would have a solution. You’ve been around this idea for a long time.

“Do you know what else, Karl?” could tell her husband. “Why don’t we put the third tumble dryer downstairs in the courtyard?”

He does not say so, because Karl would not take the idea seriously. Maybe he would answer, “Don’t even think about it! Let them try to buy a tumble dryer as soon as possible!”

Mr. Waldmeister closes the balcony door and turns on the fan.

Women continue to argue in the courtyard.

“In your place, I called the police,” says Mr. Stachel.

“Well, if this goes on like this,” says Mr. Waldmeister, “one day we will have no other solution.”

Mrs. Waldmeister takes the overflowing bowl of cream from the fridge and sets it on the table.

– Help yourself. There is enough.

The voice trembles a little, but no one notices.

We have everything that comes. Cake that arrives. Cream that arrives. And one more tumble dryer.

The Waldmeisters have everything they need.

Only courage is that they have very little. Vera Ferra-Mikura Frieden fängt zu Hause an Jutta Modler (org.) Munich, DTV, 1989

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