"There are stories I want to tell, there are stories that I try to keep a secret. If you listen carefully you will get to know me. I am the city." Experience "A Day in the City", a day like no other in a place like no other. A place filled with stories of love, crime, despair and hope. In the city nothing is ever what it seems. Enjoy these 21 poignant stories which allow you to take a peek behind the curtain of the city, the beauty and the horror endlessly entangled with each other. In the city there is as much laughter as there is crying, this short story collection will make you see all the sides there are to this magical place.
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A Day in the City
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mikko Soiniemi, born 1982 in Stuttgart, studied German and English at the University of Stuttgart. He is an avid traveler and cites his experiences on all continents, especially in the USA, as inspiration for his work. His interests are widespread and so are the topics of his stories. He enjoys all types of narrative media, from movies to video games. This is his first publication.
A Day in the City
A Day in the City © 2013 Mikko SoiniemiAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.Cover idea by Mikko Soiniemi. Design by Florian Mouret. Font: GNU FreeFontImprintA Day in the Citypublished by: epubli GmbH, Berlin,www.epubli.deCopyright: © 2013 Mikko SoiniemiISBN 978-3-8442-6207-0
What you are holding in your hands right now is the portrait of a city, my city, your city, the city. The concept of the city has always fascinated me.
It seems to be the place where humans can be whatever they want to be, yet fail miserably at it. It is a place that is buzzing and humming with life and yet there are times when it looks like the deadest place on earth. What exactly is a city? It is a place in which many people have come together to live there, yet there is no place on this earth where you could be more alone than there. What fascinates writers about the city is not just only the fact that it is a place of contradictions, but also that it is so richly filled with stories. The more people there are the more stories need to be told.
So the book that you are holding is exactly that, it tries to be a picture of a place that has a million faces, something that eludes all description. The city can never be represented in one story. This book is a Panopticon, it is your way to look into the minds of people that make up the city they live in, it is your way of putting together fragments in order to grasp the city as it lives and breathes. Imagine yourself floating over the heads of people and randomly join them for a little while.
Something like the city cannot be portrayed, but in every story there is also a part of the place where it takes place. Places form people and people form places. So maybe the cities we have in this world tell us a little about how and who we are.
What am I doing here?
The man who didn't believe
For a yardful of ****
The noble man or beautiful nature
Hail to thee, oh dark lord
Home is where the heart is
The River that was
Triumph of Evil
Ball of lonely Hearts
This book is dedicated to Nicole, who made me finish it, Florian who helped me finish it, and my mother, who I always have to thank.
He had always wondered how hell would be like. They told him a lot of things when he was a kid, about flames and screaming and torture and the devil. It used to make him very afraid. Soon he would find out what it was like, they were coming for him. He knew it, he knew it the whole last week. Ever since they told him he was thinking about it. He was pretty sure he would end up in hell, he was not the worst person on this planet, but there had been enough things that he had done to send a whole group of Mormons to hell. For a whole week now he was sitting there and kept thinking about when it all went wrong. He just couldn't tell. In fact there was not one particular point when it all went wrong, he never made that decision. Everything he did came naturally to him. There were chances and he just took them. It was like that when he took the first bribe, as it was when he shot his first person, as it was when he stole that apple, as it was when he kicked that cat.
The bottle was almost empty again. He was thinking about everything he had done and he didn't regret any of it. There was this one girl back in the day, with beautiful blond hair and eyes as clear and blue as the ocean, she was well worth forgetting about his wife, many times. There were also his friends, he was never lonely when he wanted a drink and he never had to sit alone at a bar as long as he paid for a drink. What were their names, he didn't know. He never met any of them again. How did his father say? “Life is like a restaurant and friends are like guests, they come and they go.” His restaurant went out of business a long time ago. He was a good entertainer, he liked jokes and knew many of them. The one about the Jew was his favorite. That never failed. Except the one time with that idiot Goldberg. He just didn't have any humor, but he smacked him good. That was a laugh. He would probably meet him down there again, along with his old pa. He was never shy of using the belt, he could remember the belt better than his father. That was one of the memories he shared with his mother. His childhood hadn't been bad, he had been going to school for quite a while and even after that it was okay. He could still remember the one time when they got Kowalski, that geek from school, man these firecrackers must have hurt. Funny, a firecracker for a wise-cracker.
His ma was fine too, she drank a little, but who didn't. The one time he went to church they talked about Jesus and how he turned water into wine. And after all, she was not unbearable before her fifth drink, only after that it was better to be somewhere else.
And his car had been great too, what a beauty. He could see how jealous everybody was when he drove by. The color so bright and red, the engine running so smoothly. He had listened to all the great songs on the radio, he really shouldn't have driven the car after the party.
It had been a good life, not outstanding, but acceptable. He had been thinking about this for a whole week now, which was more thinking than he had ever done before in his life. It was not surprising that they would come, he expected that a long time ago.
He never had a nickname, one thing that he really regretted. No one ever gave him one and it was like he never had a name. But what can you do? He had been called many things instead.
His wife had done so often enough, as if he cared. She was gone anyway, no one ever saw her again. They still think she went away with the mechanic. Let them think so.
One week of thinking and he had decided many things. He wanted to write a will but to whom and for what? It was hard nowadays to find decent people. They were coming for him and he knew he deserved it. He thought about what they would put in the paper, but who would read it?
He thought about calling someone, but who, he didn't even have a phone anymore. It was just too bothersome. He stopped going to the mail box a week ago, not that it mattered, he never received mail anyway.
The bottle was empty again. He put back the hammer and pulled the trigger. He had always wondered how hell would be like. They told him a lot of things when he was a kid, about flames and screaming and torture and the devil. It used to make him very afraid. Soon he would find out what it was like, they were coming for him.
I am pretty sure that most men do this. It must be normal. I mean everybody takes a peek from time to time. It is not really looking, it is more just a little glance at what the others have. It is just the situation, you stand there and then it happens. Who doesn't do that? Even if you tried to, you could not avoid it. You face the wall, you don't have anywhere to look at and then somebody comes in. It is a reasonable thing to look over into that person's direction. There is nothing about it, after all it would actually be very impolite not to look over. Ignoring someone cannot be considered well mannered. And then of course you will look there, it is just logical, you never know how big a person is. So you start from the bottom and move up and somewhere there in the middle there is the zone. As I said, it is just normal, well, correct social behavior after all. The strange ones would not look, that's it, it is strange not to look. You can believe me, I never look longer than necessary. I never did, I make sure that it cannot be misunderstood. I use my neutral but still welcoming face and I carefully prevent this embarrassing moment in which your eyes meet and you shy away as if doing something inappropriate. So you can see, there is no room for misinterpretation. I behave like any other decent person would do.
But why then is this guy next to me smiling in that fashion. I don't like it. It is like a joke that I don't understand, I feel left out and at the center of attention at the same time. He is smiling a little too much for my taste. I swear I only looked for a short second. Now he nods in my direction. What am I supposed to do? Do I know him? But if that was the case, he would have said something, wouldn't he? But would you say something to somebody here? I nod back, trying my best to smile a little, that should do it. What was that, he raised his eyebrows, what is that supposed to mean? I saw it, he raised his eyebrow and then grinned. That sicko, as if there was something to laugh about.
It's been minutes since anything came and I feel even worse now, he will have noticed it by now. He might already suspect I have some kind of problem. I feel so uncomfortable that any chance of success is long gone. Relief is far out of reach. It is all because of him, standing there staring, grinning. What a sick guy. Oh no, not this too now. I feel it coming, why does it all have to happen at once. He could have just waited a little longer outside, all would have been fine, but instead he had to come now. It is like he planned it, I am sure he was just standing outside waiting for this. This creeper, he thinks he is funny, that is sick, really he has a problem. What kind of man does something like that? I can feel it racing through my bowels, but what can I do? It is getting hard to breathe, I switched to something that is more gasping than breathing. That son of a... Look at him, he is just standing there playing all innocent. What impudence, how he turns his head and fakes this questioning look. This is so low. I am sure this gets him going, he enjoys this, that's his obsession. Like a little worm I lay in front of him and he just stands there and smiles. That pervert.
Finally, he zips up, turns around and leaves. What a change, I feel free. Free of this maniac, I am in a flow and one with myself, a deep breath, more a sigh comes across my lips. It is from way deep down and feels fantastic. I have to smile, he wasn't that big anyway.
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