Strange German

 “He raised his arms mechanically, methodically, slowly unfurled…”

Again, it was night. Night, night, always night.

I made my way down a dimly lit cobblestone street in the town in the shadow of the castle.

I made my way through the strange festive crowd, sweaty-browed white-legged men and their big-haired wives and cackling sisters-in-law, Irish dancers fresh from their show, all tight-pantsed and kicky, the Spanish Girls National Basketball team, and expensive-shoed men with colorful sombreros and dark, serious mustachioes.

A gentleman, a small German man, was studying the party-goers intently.

“That dance,” he muttered to his impossibly tall companion, his words like evenly-hitched rail-cars leaking out the side of his expressionless mouth.


He raised his arms mechanically, methodically, slowly unfurled, but not outstretched; his hands like spades on the arms of a clock, a strange preying mantis timepiece, starting at ten o’clock and midnight, then moving around slowly, searching, in the air in front of his friend, catlike, probing and testing, as if through a freshly cut corn or perhaps tall grass maze, all the while his tight black shiny pants creaking, and tight black shiny shoes moving not in unison to those European mantis-catlike arms, but in some strange mathematically complementary pattern, searching out the secret of cool as if it were transmitted through the very ground itself.

And in locked gaze, his companion mirrored each move—no—countered it, challenged it—a midnight duel devoid of weapons, musical or otherwise.

With each movement and countermovement came an adjustment, a new course correction; the addition of a slight flourish with the left hand, a hip shift right.

Should the roof be raised—are they raising it—should we raise the roof—yes, we must raise the roof.

It was a constant scientific dissection, digestion, integration, redistribution of collective cacophonic electricity. They were a well-engineered leather-clad fun-machine unleashing the year’s frustrations on a strange street, in a strange town, under the anonymity of night.

“I’ve  got him.” I whispered into the transceiver, coolly making my way down the alley in the town in the shadow of the castle.