God Save Denmark
“Don’t go down the drain!”, the man said as he cleaned his finger nails with his scythe. And I answered (in my mother tongue which he understood needing no translation, since death understands and speaks all languages), “I certainly don’t intend to go down the drain”, and then I put the bottle to my mouth, and the contained snaps, and around me in the bar, which was huge and looked like a labyrinthine decoration nightmare from an international hotel and catering fair, people of all sorts and color sat: a negro in a wheel-chair with a white cotton beard drank Bourbon, a blue-eyed Finn was lying on the floor guzzling vodka with a gesture as if he were a sword swallower in a circus, a distinguished pompous Italian sipped a glass of vermouth, and a grave looking Frenchman with bread crumbs in his moustache drank pastis, while a drunken Scotsman danced on a table, his freckled face looking like a shower of blood, and surely was the whisky that made him dance, and so my gaze could keep on seizing the guests of the night, including a couple of kat-chewing Somalis sitting freezing in the corner with distant sad expressions on their chocolate brown faces. And I didn’t go down the drain, yes I did, but that was to the Gents to puke. The bar was called Cafe Babylon and was located somewhere in Fort Europe, which was not what it used to be and in a way never had been, since it constantly changed; though, for that matter, it could have been: perhaps the place was like a mountain of times and habits, of joys and sorrows. and then where were all the rusty voices, and as people got drunk and uninhibited they started to mix, the pale tattooed British generously shared their laughter with some ouzo-drinking Greeks, et cetera, and even if people did not understand each other due to the language barriers, they still understood each other, if nothing else then though the excited gesturing of the sexes where lusty eyes and urgent hands spoke their own distinct language. But then came the night descending cold and mercilessly on Cafe, Babylon lying somewhere in Fort Europe, and the following morning nobody remembered a word of what they had said the night before. Yet something crucial had happened during the night: the Portuguese port-face, Mario, woke up in the arms of the sherry stained Carmen from Seville, a fair, blond German opened with a roar his thundering hung-over eyelids and stated romantically straight into the dark wilderness that was set ablaze by the deep black eyes of a Tuareg woman, et cetera. But all was not cosy and well: a cursing Russian was led away by the Language Policer having raped up to several eastern European women in the shadow of the heavy starless blanket of the night, and there was even a spectacled New Yorker Jew who thought that he had been seduced and deceived by the central European novel, but that this had hung itself during the night, for which reason a hoard of investigators and various intellectuals had immediately started probing the contents of its will, and they all worked industriously as ants in the shadow of the father and of power, and then a dancer came strolling in baggy trousers demanding a beer of relief, and so another day was under way: quick, quick.
And me? Well, I was just sitting in the corner by the jukebox, as the machine was playing in turn jazz, europop, Brazilian Bach, ragtime, the pope’s new hit version of the old Bowie song I’m the DJ, tyrolese yodeling, South-American military marches, West Coast funk, Korean karaoke, city punk and North-African rai music. Then suddenly came the national anthems. Everybody got up shouting simultaneously. I did not understand a word, but I understood the underlying sensation and I dit not know whether to laugh or cry, but neither did they. And then somebody shouted, “I’ll buy a round!”, and this everybody understood, rushing to the bar, and I stared down through the lounge where turned-over tables and chairs lay about like after a bomb scare. Only those that had got together during the night through lust of the flesh or of the heart had not heard the offer of a free drink, and actually it looked as if they were screwing, naked flesh, hairy male buttocks and swinging tits met my gaze, and the fellow standing in the other corning cleaning his finger nails, to my surprise, looked rather indifferent. Well, he was in no hurry, he would get what he had come for, and now they were singing in the bar, drunk and happy, and judging by the quick desperate movements of the hairy male buttocks, things were also nearing completion in that end. Yes, now they were screaming and got off, and all these heavy pale tits, all that milk which would soon be pouring out now that the men’s white semen had got things thus far, and I wanted to choose a song from the juke-box, bit I did not have any more money and needed a drink of some sort no matter what, just something to pour into me, for I had reached the point where I could just about take one more, and so I got it, from a generous official, and then I want down the drain.