Travel Assignment on my Hometown Wiesbaden, Germany
I lead the way out pushing aside a thick, stiff curtain of plastic sheets that were once transparent. They are the doorway to a grimy, old slaughterhouse that has been converted to a club called Schlachthof.
Once outside my friends sit down to get a steady surface for their cigarette and joint rolling activities. I am way too hyper to sit down. I look up at the simplistic “Schlachthof” sign that is mounted on the club’s graffiti covered wall. Its yellow light seems faded.
I sigh contently, sip my stale, bitter lager, turn and lay my eyes at another disintegrating building. A brick tower that is so impressive it looks like it was once part of a church but it’s just an old water tower. Soon it will be another party destination for the left-winged, black-clad, weed smoking and baggy pants wearing kaleidoscope of a clientèle that has been coming to the Schlachthof for years.
I hear squeaky wheels. Clanking. Glass bottles hitting glass bottles. Sounds of familiarity. I turn around and sure enough…
“Hans!”. The bald, cute old man looks up from his job of collecting bottles and cans. His concentrated mouth turns into a grin as he spots me running and jumping towards him spilling my beer as I try to dodge drunkards. I give him a big hug, let go and beam at him.
“You’re back!”, he says in German. “How’s London?”
“Yeah, yeah it’s good but how are you?”
“I’m okay. I just really want to be in bed next to my wife right now. You know how we met?”
“No, tell me!” I reply untruthfully. Hans has told me this story before.
“I was waiting on a date. I waited and waited but she spent so much time getting ready to look good that I got impatient. So, I took out her friend instead. We fell in love, got married and are still happily together today.”
I help Hans collect some cans in exchange for more stories. He notices that my plastic cup is empty.
“Here you go”, Hans hands me an unopened bottle of Becks he found, “Now go back to your friends!”
I take the bottle, give him a kiss on the cheek, head to the first group of people I spot to get my bottle opened and strut into the plastic sheets so determinedly that I avoid getting stuck in their cold and sticky grasp. I have passed this doorway for seven years. Schlachthof is the first club that let me in when I was fifteen but looked twelve. It’s where I had the best time leading to the worst hangover. It doesn’t seem like I come here only once or twice a year. The place doesn’t change and if it does change I change with it.
A yelping sound similar to that a dog makes when you step on its tail comes out of my mouth as I spot Dean, the American bartender, by the cigarette machine. I barge past a boy wearing zebra-patterned pants and embrace him.
“Dude, what’s up?!” he exclaims mid hug. “Come on, let’s go.” I follow him into the back room where I know a joint and a big catch up awaits me.