Of puzzle pieces and attraction that shouldn´t be

“It´s hightime for the Operation Silent Monkey to take action.”

     “What´s the Operation Silent Monkey?” I asked. “What´s that you keep talking about?”

     “Between us, man, that´s our departure”, answered Bene.

     “But can´t you just stay here? Like as long as we are here? I mean like forever? You know that you already belong to the bunch. No one wants you to go.”

     “Of course not”, said Hana. “I believe dat´s clear, jo?”

     “That´s why we´ve already contrived Operation Grey Hare”, said Peter and grinned as if he was about to put Hannibal´s cigarre between his teeth. “The violent take-over of an upcoming Erasmus reunion.”

This is part of the ongoing A Big Plate of Sideorders series, an Erasmus memory.

     Now, this was druid country. Now, we had a course. The net was spun, the connections set up. Madness was getting started, and we enjoyed every second. It was difficult letting them go. Bene and I hugged and swore eternal faithfulness. The jigsaw had some of its parts taken out. Or at least misplaced to another part of Europe.

     In total, people were leaving for the Easter vacation. The international Mersey gang got distributed to the four winds. Pepe, Javi and Lucia went to Spain, Melli to Germany, Tammy to Rome and wherever afterwards on her comprehensive Eurotrip, and Jonathan flew to his girl-friend. Before Urte too left for Lithuania and Giorgis to Athens, my favourite Greek invited for a video session in Liberty Park. Urte and I arrived together.

      The region did not have the reputation of a safe neighbourhood and rumour had it that rents were cheaper because of recent murder cases. Our Greek not only needed to come to the gates like in most other places, he also had to sign us all in, have the custodian eye us up and tell us that we were to check out at our leaving.

     We went through the safety procedure, crossed the yard and went up the steep stairs to his flat. Giorgis had taken all his posters off the wall. It was officially forbidden to put anything up in the first place, the rules were strict, and he planned on returning. The safety and cleaning counsel of the house were supposed to give their permission for his re-entry. It looked strange to have his room appear so deserted. Like a farewell. Most of the time I did not quite like farewells. All of his belongings had wandered to his suitcase, and I needed to sit on the luggage together with him to actually close the container for all the newly purchased clobber.

     “Well, sadly enough, my dearsh, Hana ish in Blackpool”, said Giorgis. “Means she won´t come. Agnesh will only join ush later. Sho it´s only ush three beauties.”

     “If I would ever knew!” Urte winked at us. “Would I come?” After a short puppy look on both our faces, she said: “But I believe I might stand it.”

     During a marathon of comical revelation we watched the complete seasons of Spaced, the series that had been the starting point of fame for the Shaun gang, a formidable personal triumph of a band of friends who did little else but portraying their friendship and their common ideas. Rick´s mission was Spinal Tap, Hana´s was Black Books and mine was Spaced. A triumvirate of jokes and inspiration.

     Naturally, I had felt a huge man-crush rising for Simon Pegg, the gang´s centrepiece. He was perfectly normal, playful, funny, and the perfect chap you would like to have at your kitchen party. Simon would make a fantastic druid, I thought.

     Urte, the good soul, came to my rescue. Attraction was there indefinitely. I was thrilled to be close to her, leaning in from time to time, shoulder to shoulder. It felt good to have her really near, without much noise around us. I loved hearing her laugh. The fact that she would giggle in the same moments (not as loudly as Agnes of course but in a very idiosyncratic triad of sounds that took a small run-up before really erupting) and that she would enjoy the very same nonsense I had taken to love so much was another factor, like during Mike´s paintball death scene or Spike´s acid dance or the finger gun fight to the dramatic sounds of Barber´s Adagio for Strings. In fact, Hana was slightly huffy when Urte reported her some time later that Spaced was in her opinion even funnier than mighty Black Books. That looked like a missile aimed against Hana´s mission. Thus, a natural defense mechanism told her to stay away from that spaced stuff. Just as I still told myself that the thing I was doing, moving perpetually closer to a girl I a) couldn´t get because she was way out of my league and b) shouldn´t get because I already had one, was something I would burn my fingers on.


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