February 25, 2010

Sample: Bavarian Road Trip - part 2

Part two of my failed anecdotal short story. Part 3 and commentary to come, on why this doesn't work and what I could do to improve it, and why I won't work on this any more. The formatting might be screwed so apologies for that.


Oktoberfest resembled a theme park designed by Hell. The gaudy and the obscene adorned the fairground rides in pretence of Bavarian authenticity, where coloured lights flash neon and people wear lederhosen in public. A multitude of drunk Italians and Americans invaded the converted wastelands, where unconscious bodies already lay in the mud besides the tacky souvenir stalls.
People packed themselves into tents in the late morning with a sole purpose – to drink a magnum of beer and intoxicate themselves into oblivion. The tents were full and once they were full no one goes in, only a few come out. Those who do come out only do so in order to throw up.
“There's no point, we got here too late.” Jens said, he slurred his words in exhaustion, unenthusiastic to go drinking.
“This queue isn't moving.” Ivan said. “See that moron in the feathered cap? I saw him here about half an hour ago when we tried that tent over there. He hasn't budged an inch. So what do we do then. We are here in Munich, in Oktoberfest and we can't get a fucking beer.”
“What about that one.” I pointed to a small tent in front of us. The queue moved slowly. “They are letting people in, and people are coming out too.”
“That's the lunch tent. They serve food there.” Jens said.
“Do they serve beer?” I said.
“Yes, but you have to eat food to go in there.”
“Well I'm starved, I could eat something. Hey it's better then nothing, no? We can down a few litres of beer along with lunch.”
The boys looked at each other, each shrugged in turn and gave a communal nod. We left the stagnant queue to cross the mud to join the another. Our plan - to drink vast quantities of beer under the pretense of eating food

All the orphaned drinkers came here looking for adoption. True to German efficiency, they vacuum packed us into neat lines onto wooden pews inside this caricature of a tavern decorated with kinder surprise ornaments. The loud multilingual shouting - as alcoholic tourists asserted themselves after their fifth breakfast beer - made it hard to converse at a standard volume. The menu offered meat, mostly pork, including five different types of sausages. A buxom waitress with yellow pigtails came to our table
“Vier mass.” Jens said.
The waitress came back, carrying a dozen litres of beer with her strong, meaty arms and the tray of her ample breasts. I wonder if it is a pre-requisite for Oktoberfest waitresses to possess a DD cup or up?
I picked up the giant mug and I felt small and insignificant - it was heavy. The golden liquid swished inside the cup as I raised my arm and my muscles clenched to our toast. Each glass emitted a musical chime when we knocked them together. My first Oktoberfest beer.
“Here's to getting utterly trashed.” Ivan said, when we toasted.
“I'll toast to that.” I said.
Our food arrived and we all had sausages; the waitress threw down our weapons for attack missing the set belonging Yuri. He grabbed the frauline by the arm and she turned. Yuri blushed. He panicked when he remembered he didn't know any German. He lifted his hand and mimed the action of cutting a steak, his face contorted into accompanying expressions. His hands flapped about and his mouth stifled cries. The waitress knotted her brows deciphering Yuri's overacted charade, until Jens tapped her on the arm. He explained in German, she looked back at Yuri's acting once more and gave an awkward nod to Jens. She finally brought Yuri the knife and fork he danced for.
The boys drank gulps of beer more generously; advocating the slow food movement as they ate slowly. The pace of ordered beers became sped up as they got through three mass each by the end of lunchtime. I nursed the same mug for the hour we ate. When the forks were placed in the finished position, the waitress took our plates, our money and ushered us to the door. Staying there and drinking was obviously not an option. With only two bites left Jens cordially ordered me another beer which I had to down in a swig as soon as I finished my food. My stomach expanded and contracted from the shock. I felt tipsy and nauseous when we emerged in Oompa land.

“So what now?” Ivan said. “We can't stop here. Lets go on a ride.”
“Are you high? I'll throw up if we go somewhere like that.” I said.
“We could go into Munich.” Jens said. “There are lots of bars there equipped to deal with people from Oktoberfest. We can drink beer and sight see too.”
“Is it far?” Ivan moaned. “I want a beer at least to last us the walk.”
“Half an hour without alcohol will not kill you Ivan.” I said.
Leaving the grounds did not admit defeat for we had more adventures to attend to. I saw the city in a haze. It was only lunchtime and I already staggered. A chaos expelled and inhaled by the festival included the sights of unconscious tourists in Bavarian attire; Japanese taking photographic documentation of the strange and the mundane and Italians who shouted insults with vivid hand movements. I expected the crowds to thin out the closer we approached the city centre, but we found other Oktoberfest outcasts looking for a home to drink in.
The mist of the alpine humidity trapped inside the city made the November air cold and damp. Jens and Ivan moved with non-linear motion down the street. I grabbed onto the railings, leaned on the walls or whatever object I found to support my left. Yuri maintained a sober line while Ivan still held onto his wit and argued constantly.
Munich is a beautiful city, it is very grand, traditional and catholic. The centre consists of stone churches and cathedrals, but it was the cleanliness of Munich that left a lasting impression. Germany is tidy - Darmstadt and Frankfurt - the cities I know intimately are well cared for, yet I found them shabby in comparison to Munich. Even in the face of it's mass alcoholic tourism Munich retained the vibe of a city proud of its personal hygiene. The imposing towers of Fraukirche dominated the skyline with its rotund, green topped phallic-mammary towers – a hermaphrodite morph of the masculine and feminine.
“Hey know what would be fun?” Ivan said. “Look at that fountain?”
“What about it?” I said.
“It has stepping stones.” he grinned.
“You are kidding me.” Jens said. His voice held a tinge of slur set against a serious background.
Ivan still grinned. “Jens when are you going to stop being such a pussy?” he said. He walked on over to the fountain, and started hopping the little stone ornaments in the water. Jens rolled his eyes accompanying the disapproving locals who gaped at Ivan. Yuri yipped and ran in after Ivan, his natural clumsiness caused him to lose his balance and he fell into the water. I felt a grin cross my face. The fun tempted me and I moved forward.
“Oh no, not you too Jessie.” Jens groaned.
“Live a little Jens.” I said. I went after the Russian frogs hopping on stone lily-pads. No one stopped us. Perhaps during Oktoberfest the Muncheners tolerate anything short of vandalism, violence or litter. The many drunks that walked past us cheered on in solidarity.
“Come on.” Jens called after us. “If we don't go now we won't even get into a bar. The fountain will be there later.”
The three of us looked at each other for a response, Jens did have a good point, with the Russian indecisiveness I led us out of the fountain; Jens grumbled with both his eyes and arms crossed. Yuri tripped again on a stepping stone, soaking his trousers. Ivan came back with a hop.
“So lets get more booze then shall we.” Ivan grinned. Jens sighed tutting, he pointed a digit towards the main square marking the route to follow.

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