Category Archives: Marcus Speh

Dreamcatchers by Marcus Speh

Two writers sat down for a meal, carefully avoiding any talk of their art. They shared stories of their wives and children, of cars to let loose on the fast lane, of tech gadgets to play with as only boys play, exploring all keys and functions. They mentioned their fathers in passing and how similar they had become to them. They had a laugh, and when the pretty waitress with the blond hair bun and the wide swinging hips appeared at their table, they flirted a little in tandem, kicking gallantries back and forth until the maiden culled one and appointed a winner of their innocent game, which made their three hearts beat faster for a bit and the food that showed up on their table the better. All the while, as they were enjoying a full glass of friendship, they were secretly spinning yarns like giddy spiders. When they parted, with a manly handshake and a hug for the road, each had a good tale to tell.

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MESSAGE by Marcus Speh

We are fortunate to live in times of great tenderness. To describe the intimate touch between two of God’s mad children whom we encountered today in the crowd, on the railway, we must use a metaphor lest someone presumes we want to poke fun at the less able as they’re called by well-meaning magistrates of human diversity. The normal people, as they call themselves, looked with suspicion at the crazies hugging in the train. They cannot figure out why the bozos, as they secretly call them, caress each other so eagerly. “You don’t need to hang on to one other”, says their minder, “just hold on to that pole”. His voice sounds practical but not dispassionate. “Okay”, says crazy Jim and as he grabs the pole, another one of the group with dark eyes puts her head on Jim’s shoulder, smiles and sighs deeply. Jim smiles, too. He doesn’t think he’s stupid. Neither do we. Before the train disappears in a dark underpass, I read a feverish message on the tunnel walls: “If everyone hunts the offender who stays with the victim?”

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Fruit by Marcus Speh

Constable Cocks knew a lot of words once – words like compliableness, cantankerous and counterperformance – until one of his pals called him a talking banana with a moustache. That shocked him to the core of an existence, which had been founded on hearsay, female assistence and newspaper cuttings only, so that he had always felt frail for his lack of solid knowledge. A man can live without his right arm, his grandfather used to say, but he can’t get on in the world without a brain. But a banana didn’t have a brain. It was mushy and though it looked vaguely masculine, it felt feminine as soon as the peel was off. Constable Cocks resented his being compared to a fruit. When he got home, he threw his boots in a corner and snortily spit on the ground.

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The Dead by Marcus Speh

Do dead men sleep better under a tree or in the deep, deep sea? A tree gave shelter, and the variety of animal life under its roots provided welcome distraction. The dead men in the sea seemed scattered somehow, lost in the chemical mess of dihydrogen oxide. The ocean was like one body swallowing another, a mountain of of bodies, sailors lost at sea, children taken by waves, drowned women. There was no particular place for reunion with your loved ones. A dead body in the sea turned into a new creature, not wormfood. It went grey, then green in the face, hair got entangled with anemones, fish built their nests in the hollows of its wounds, sharks took a bite out here and there, creating gory works of underwater art. Flesh in water looked like tailored tissue, blood became ink for the writs of aqueous gods.

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FALSE FAME by Marcus Speh

Sometimes I go to a bookshop to look for my books on the shelves. This is a total wank because I haven’t published anything but the young bookseller doesn’t know that. “I am awfully sorry, Sir. What was your name again?”, he says. “I hadn’t mentioned my name”, I say. “I thought you’d surely recognize me from the papers.” — “But of course”, says he, blushing as he tries to bullshit the bullshit king. “Well”, I say, “see you next week maybe – hope all is fixed by then”. He looks flustered, helpless, browsing around for older, more senior staff as I leave, smiling and waving like a visiting politician with a pole up his arse.

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Frau im Mond by Marcus Speh

It was clear to him that there was a woman on the moon, quite possibly waiting to be rescued since the Great Depression. Now that the macroeconomic cycle had come round again, as scientists all across the planet were busying themselves with explanations of why and how history seemed to repeat itself like a girl on a playground swinging back and forth and back and forth, few were thinking of space travel and he might be able to snatch a rocket from an abandoned shuttle site to visit that woman in her oracular wasteland, bring her back to Earth and find love once and for all.

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TIJUANA by Marcus Speh

Four sex shop owners met to discuss their dire dominions. Teri considered herself lucky: she had re-opened her establishment among beech trees in the park and the customers were flocking to her.

It’s like a fresh breeze, she said.

Jenna was thinking about selling pizza and porn. She’d had a Margherita the other day – that means no meat, she said – and when the pizza was thin and tasty, clients might feel inclined to take a flick home with the food. Especially couples, Jenna assured herself. Sarah had said little the whole time and when they asked her why she kept quiet, she said crustily that she was going to sell her concern to Tony Tonic, the adult movie star.

I feel a little sad about it, she said, I’m going to miss the free merchandise, but this man’s got a great name in the industry and I heard he cannot get it up anymore.

You don’t say, said Teri, his tackle is famous.

He feels useless now and a freak he says, Sarah said and sighed.

The last one, Marge, smiled cryptically: she was secretly in love with Tony Tonic, would double her profits by taking over Sarah’s shop and have a baby by January.

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JANE DOE by Marcus Speh

This woman, she made me feel bad whenever I would meet her, even though I loved her, she said.

I think I know what you mean, I said. There are people who just aren’t good for us even though they may be good people.

Exactly, she said, took a ribbon between her teeth and put her hair in a bun.

Why do you do that, I said.

I don’t like the feeling of my hair on my neck after making love, she said.

Love, I said. Love, love, love, I shouted. She laughed.

You’re such a cutie, she said. I pouted.

I am serious, I said. I love loving you. You’re like a hind, I said. All graceful strength, gliding muscle.

And you’re the hunter, she said, aren’t you. She laid a cool finger on my chin: get that lip down and come here, sportsman.

Later I sought her fingers, which were still wet from the forest floor. Sleeping, she panted, her nostrils wide and round, small caves, hollows to my heart.

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THE POWER by Marcus Speh

Walking down a dead end alley, a woman talks unkindly to her man. He looks hurt. The man thinks: Women! They think they have power over us because they have our children. – The kid between them keeps its eyes closed. It is, in this very moment, deciding if it should be a boy or a girl. Instinctively, the man shows his muscles. His wife’s eyes widen and she stops talking. The thought of sex grows between them like a desert flower out of dead soil when it rains. The kid suddenly screams: she is going to be a girl! The parents rejoice: a girl! The woman thinks: Men! They think they have power over us with their magical dicks. All three look at each other now. And listen.

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ELECTRIC EYES by Marcus Speh

missed the bus today. hung out at the stop for a bit, then drifted into thoughts of alien spaceships fighting over the last women on the planet. i wondered if all things were what they seemed to be. buses for example. they might be highly intelligent metal creatures but we look at them as things, created for a purpose. or let’s look at something not made by man, like snow. it just seems to fall to earth for no reason in particular, every flake like every other flake. which is only true as long as you don’t look at them more closely. then you realise that each snow flake is like an entire world unlike any other. and if you look even more carefully, with microscopes that haven’t been invented yet, you see that these snow flake worlds are populated by millions of tiny men, all frozen. one breath of warm air from you and they’d come alive for a moment as short as they’re small before they melt, disappear and enter a place where you can’t go, at least not on a bus, which finally came. i sat down on the green bench of this bus. i growled at an elderly lady who wanted to sit next to me. i looked out the window at the winter wonder world, and i spat this whole mental monolog out on the ground like a piece of gum i was done with. out on the slushy, thawing ground covered with silently screaming snow people. i closed my electric eyes and relaxed into the ride.

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EL ASESINO by Marcus Speh

04:46 hrs – Habana, Cuba. I can’t sleep. Too much to think about. Jim’s a handsome fellow and I figure he’d rather spend his day fucking our creamy whores, smoke our cigars and write slimy novels instead of teach me (I read this somewhere that all therapists are blocked novelists). But I’m Castro’s last and deadliest weapon, el asesino cubano. To bring down imperialism, I must understand American from the inside.

Jim gave me Hemingway to read, un escritor bianco, who wrote: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” When I inquired why I was not taught Huckleberry Finn instead of the cheesy For Whom The Bell Tolls, Jim said that Mark Twain’s sense of irony was not contemporary enough. I sensed ambiguity, which I hate.

I look out the window of my hut at las putas, and I stroke my cock, and there’s no ambiguity there. Ambiguity is the death of the revolution. Long live El Máximo Líder, chupame ahora.

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You Said It by Marcus Speh

Jane, I didn’t send the book back. I should have. That’s what I did last time and the whole week after I’d sent it back, I wondered if they’d give me my money. When it arrived it was Friday and I felt as if I’d mislaid five days like a set of spare keys: not that I needed those five days back, and after all, it wasn’t anybody else’s fault, but that’s almost the entire time it took to create the world if you believe it. Or if you don’t, think of a week at work, right from Monday morning at the desk to Friday afternoon still at that damned desk. I know that’s not the same, Jane. No, I’m not trying to insult your god. I’m more comfortable with one of my work weeks than with a week in the life of the Lord, even if it’s the first week ever. I’m not blasphemous. I’m only trying to tell you that I didn’t send the book back which I ordered by mistake. I know I fucked up. You already told me last time. “I’m telling you for the last time”, you said then.
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The Disciples by Marcus Speh

My telling the bible story of the concubine cut in twelve equal pieces for the glory of god disrupted the party worse than if I’d dropped a firecracker in the midst of the assortment of businessmen and their spouses who had only just sat down to the first course.

“That was some sick shit”, said a large man with the hands of an undertaker sticking out of his tuxedo like signs of a violent end to an evening that had begun like any other gathering in this old Berkeley house with its ancient vines and meticulously crafted front yard overlooking the campus.

The woman next to him, a little thing in a yellow dress that provided too little contrast to her yellow hair and who almost looked as if she’d been born in her garment and acquired the mane later, made a hissing noise which seemed to strike the right chord with the crowd so that now others were emitting similar sounds from their chests over which expensive linen napkins were draped like blankets for the dead.

“Really, Becky”, mother said, looking at father with that look which had always been reserved for moments of public embarrassment too deep for words, “I think you had better take supper in your room.”

I nodded and left and that was that. As I turned, I quickly counted the guests – there were thirteen of them – and I suddenly was afraid that terrible things would happen to the girl with the yellow hair.

Again, I would not eat tonight.

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Brunch by Marcus Speh

The mask on the wall of Roger’s apartment wasn’t a mask at all but an alien head as he’d tell anyone who’d ask and many who didn’t. Every Sunday when we met for brunch at the Kaffeehaus Lala Orange, he’d bring the thing and put it in the centre of the table where it floated as if held by invisible strings and began to soothingly talk to every one of us. Not aloud which would have raised the suspicion of the waiters and other guests but silently in our own heads. This actually happened or if it didn’t it so realistically didn’t happen that it came as close to being real as the existence of this world comes to proving the Book of Genesis. But it all stopped one week when Roger stopped coming and therefore couldn’t bring the alien head and we had to get along without it, just like that.

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MOO by Marcus Speh

The cows turned as I mooed deeply  from within my chest. When they began to move towards us, the bull looked nervous and pushed his harem around and away. I mooed again and now a stampede began. I looked at my daughter and before the splendid wild cows reached us, I could see a glimpse of admiration in her eyes: the men in her future would have to be able to moo just like that. Nothing less would do for her, this much was clear.

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MAFIA MARRIAGE by Marcus Speh

Mafia? What I know about the Mafia? – I’ll tell you: I was once married to an Italian, a gorgeous woman and an ardent Catholic. She was the daughter of a Carabinieri general, who was proud to have received a handsome payment from the Mafia for helping them kill one of their implacable opponents – down there they spring up like mushrooms after the rain, I am told. After I left her, I never lost the fear he might send someone to break my kneecaps. I still remember our last meeting: I stood outside of his black Mercedes: he lowered the tinted windows just enough for me to be able to see his sunglasses and the moustache holding them up: Son, he said, don’t forget your friends but don’t underestimate your enemies. I wasn’t listening well because I had my eyes on the rabbit leaning on him like my ex-wife used to. I swear it was grinning at me.

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BARBARA by Marcus Speh

This is my last cigarette, said the serious writer more to himself than to anyone else: he’d pulled the shutters down, switched off the phone and sat in front of an empty desk inhaling. This doesn’t have to be your last one, said the cigarette, and the writer was surprised at the sexy voice. He felt like giving it a strong name, like Barbara. I think you’re panicking, he said to her. She sighed, blowing smoke, tickling his throat with memories of the many moments when smoking had given him unearthly pleasures. There’s nobody like me, Barbara hummed, nobody so forgiving and so attentive to your deepest, darkest needs. The serious writer nodded, conscious of his loss, and crushed her on the last breath.

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