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mardi 29 avril 2014

Papers Please

The room is dimly lit, the dirty-white walls sucking up the cold neon-light. The floor is made of grey linoleum. There are no windows. There is a counter in front of one of the walls. To either side is a door.

The man behind the counter has a slightly arrogant look on his face, even though there is no one there to see him. Hidden behind a glass wall, he shuffles around some papers absent-mindedly, then puts them on top of a pile on his left. He pushes a button on the left side of his desk. The door opens a few seconds later, and another man enters the room.

He is dressed in old but well-cared for clothing, slouching slightly. He shuffles slowly towards the counter, as if unsure if he should be there. Then he glances fearfully at the man behind the counter, and hands him some documents through a slit. The man behind the counter starts organizing them without sparing so much as a glance for the other.

“What are your reason for coming to our country ?” the man behind the counter asks. His eyes have not left the documents on his desk.

“I come to join my wife who moved here,” says the other. The man behind the counter looks up from the passport in his hands, meeting the eyes of the other for the first time. Then he turns his attention towards the other documents in front of him.  The other seems to have regained a bit of his confidence. “We have always wanted to live in –“

“And your name is ?”

The other is startled by the sudden interruption, but obliges nonetheless. “Gregor Claymann.”

“Date of birth ?”

“Eighteenth of November, 1948.”

“Where is your birth certificate, mister Claymann ?” the man behind the counter asks. Even though he has been curt before, now his voice is cold as ice.

“Ah! I’m sorry! I have it right here!” The other fumbles in his pockets for a few seconds before producing the certificate.

The man behind the counter glances through it. Then he looks at the other. “This picture doesn’t look like you,” he says, pointing at the picture in the passport.

“It’s an old picture. But the passport is still valid!”

“I will need you to press the fingers of your right hand on the scanner to your right, please.”

Again, the other seems taken aback. Again, he obliges.

When he is done, the man behind the counter glances at a screen to his right. His eyes flicker between the screen and the passport for a few seconds. Then he picks up one of the documents in front of him. “It says here that during your physical examination last week, you weighted sixty-eight kilograms. The balance underneath you indicates that you now weight seventy. Why is that ?”

“I must have gained some weight, or maybe it’s my clothes. I don’t know-“

“Could you please step into the scanner to your left ?”

“What ? But it’s only two kilograms! I was naked when I was weighed at the check-up, of course it’ll –“

“Sir, please.”

The other gives the man behind the counter a resentful look, but ends up obliging.

Once he has closed the doors of the body-scanner behind him, the man behind the counter pushes an icon on his screen. The machine starts to produce a low humming.

After a minute or so, it stops, and the other exits the machine. “You see ? I’m sure there’s –“

“Sir, if you keep interrupting me, I will have to call security.”

“What ? But –“


Even though he can’t stop the outrage from showing on his face, the other remains silent.

The man behind the counter looks at the screen again. He manipulates the angle of the picture with a few well-practiced flicks of his fingers. Then he takes out a tray with two rubber stamps on it. He picks up the one to the right with his left hand, and the passport with his right. Just before the stamp touches the paper, he stops. “You said that you are coming to live with your wife, correct ?”

“Yes, we always wanted –“

“Your passport says that you are not married.”

“Well, it was only a religious ceremony, we did not have the money to buy a license and –“

“Please wait here, sir.”

“What ? But I –“

The man behind the counter pushes a button to his right. The door opens, and two soldiers enter the room. They grab the other, and start to drag him towards the door. The man behind the counter shuffles his papers together and clears his desk without looking up.

The other protests. His voice is full of resentment and fear. And resignation.

 Inspired by the game.

dimanche 27 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

Today we crossed the island we are on. A harsh walk up the mountain granted us yet another splendid view. On one side, the mountains falling down onto a small lake, with the sea off in the distance. On the other side, the mountains falling down onto a small lake, with the sea off in the distance. Like a mirror-image, both sides were the same, yet different. The climb was hard, and the descent even more so, but as we gaze upon the small bay a few dozen feet below our camp, it seems well worth it. We finished of the day by going fishing, my friend for mackerel and myself for crabs. But without success.
The sea ! What is it good for ? Absolutely nothing !
Well, except the view, of course. Now we are cooking our frugal diner, writing and reading, the sun still warm even at this late hour.
As I sit here, thinking, dreaming, I realize that I have gotten used to the traveler's way of life.
I sleep better, I am in better shape, and my fuel efficiency is also higher than before.
My mind feels sharp, so much so that sometimes I fell it is cutting up my brain. But I do not care. My thoughts have been sluggish, slow and patient, but now they fly again, soaring from one subject to the next, defying logic and common sense. And I let them. We have recovered from the harshness of the first few days, from the short, sleepless nights under the never-setting sun. And now we shall do as we please, knowing that we have earned that right.
Lo and behold, we shall go mad ! For madness is our birthright, our path to salvation. Only those who do not live shall stay sane. And we live, my Love, more so than most. But you already know that.
Remember those first weeks we met. Remember those frenzied days, where everything that was new was good. Remember as we raced down the street, leaving our restaurant bill unpaid, as we made Love on the rooftops of Paris. Remember that gondola we stole in Venice, and the night we spent in jail, laughing and singing so loud that they let us walk free in the morning.
Madness is our due, it is who we are. It is what makes life worth living.
I know that we have become calmer since, and I do not blame you for it, not anymore than I blame myself. Society tries to calm us down, to tie us down, for society is order and calm and rules. But we, we are madness and chaos. We will break free of the calm, of the chains they lay on us again and again. We will fight, and fall, and stand up to fight again. For they can not harm us. Nobody can. Madness is freedom, madness is love, and nobody will ever be able to tame it.
Even though I had forgotten, here I have found it again. Had I left for less time, I might have missed it, I might have felt the need of calm comfort and not the urge of madness.
But I did not, for my steps guide me to madness. And to you.
For you bring out the crazy in me. You have done so before, and you are doing it again.
And so I shall go find madness, in the vast blue oceans and the windy mountaintops, and I shall bring it back to you. And once again, my Love, we will be mad together, mad about each other. Like we were meant to be.


jeudi 24 avril 2014

Letter from the Northern Lands


My Love

Another day, another island, another lake. I don't know if the water is less cool here (we are further south), or if I am getting used to it, but this time around I felt comfortable enough to swim for a few meters after washing myself. The cool water felt so nice on my bare skin after our day's walk in the sun, I could not resist.
Tomorrow we shall cross the sheer mountains that surround our lakeside paradise, but before then we enjoy our evening, writing, reading and basking in the warm sunlight. I find myself thinking more and more about what will happen after my friend leaves, and I will be alone. Facing the hardships of travel without someone to talk to, in a land where chance encounters are sparse, I wonder how my mind will hold up. Even now strange thoughts swirl at the edge of my consciousness, and I fear that without company to keep them at bay, they may well take over. What will happen then ?
But it is no use fearing the unknown, I tell myself. What will happen will happen, and I shall deal with it when the time comes. Until then, I will enjoy these last days of companionship, and hope that the time I will spend alone will be as fulfilling as the time I spent up until now.
And whatever happens, my Love, I shall keep writing to you, and that at least will give my mind a North to follow.


mardi 22 avril 2014

Strange Times

Strange times indeed !

As spring is melting the last snow that lingers in the shadow, I myself find that life has taken a rather sudden turn. And now that my man-parts seem to finally be in order again (even though reduced in number), I find that inspiration lacks. Indeed, after all that, normal life seems too boring to be worth mention. Such is always the case with intense (although not necessarily good) experiences. Everything else seems so band afterwards.

So I look ahead, dazed and confused, and while around me people scurry about their lives, like so many tiny ants scrambling for their queens, I find myself oddly disconnected from the mundane needs of mortal women and men. I see the fire that makes them run, yet I care not for the flames that burn me. I have becom numb to the world.

Or so it seems to me, anyway, but Life goes on and so do I. There should still be some things out there of which I am as of yet ignorant. They may be few in numbers, but all the harder to achieve because of their sparsity, and they shall keep me busy for the years to come. That is my hope.

And if not, I still have one ball left to loose !

dimanche 20 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

It is already the third day since we arrived on the islands, and still their beauty does not cease to amaze me. As we sit in our little shelter, gazing over the sun slowly setting in the distance, we feel at ease. The temperature is much warmer now, and during the day we no longer need to wear our coats. It feels like summer, even though the higher peaks still have patches of snow here and there.
I have been thinking a lot, these past days, about what it means to travel, and what it does to oneself. Whether you go from city to city, like we did together, or whether you walk into the unknown wilderness, travel takes you away from comfort. The comfort of knowing people, culture or places. The comfort of being able to communicate easily, to know your way. It breaks the plans you made, and gives you new ones. It pushes you, always, to overcome your limitations. We leave to lose what we have, and then we fight to get it back.
Sometimes travel breaks us, and then takes the pieces to make us whole again. The tiniest of things can lift our mood and make us smile, or send us to the depths of despair. Those who say they never wavered, never travelled. If you single-mindedly march on, not caring what happens around, fixed only on reaching your goal, you might just as well stay home. It is those with an open mind who travel best, letting the voyage set the pace. Listening to the voices of the weather, of their body or the people that they meet. Let yourself drift, and be guided by your steps. Only then can you truly enjoy the travels that you make.
Of course, you need the will to see through what you have been told to do, but not for glory or fame, not to impress or amaze. But because you know that otherwise, you will regret it.
I feel, sometimes, that so few people listen, even tough so many talk. Always trying to become something else, without taking the time to think about what they would like to be.
We have so little time on this earth, so why squander it with haste ? We should enjoy it as much as we can ! Enjoy the long summer sunsets, enjoy the cigarette you smoke. Enjoy the autumn leaves falling, the cold wind blowing. Enjoy the waiting, and the blur of action when it happens. Enjoy the company of friends or lovers. But do not spoil it with impatience.
Do not try to control, or be controlled, but go with the flow, slowly, gently. Push a bit here, a bit there, but do not try to force your way through.
Do not be afraid, for death comes to everyone, at any time. So before it happens, enjoy !

These are the thoughts that fill my mind as I sit near our small lake, watching the geese fly gently in the sky. In a few days my friend will leave, and I do not yet know if I should then continue south or go back north into the wild. I feel like I have missed something there, in our short stay, but facing the harsh cold alone, my pack even more full than it is now, scares me. Yes, my Love, it scares me.
If you were here now, what would you tell me to do ? Go where I must even though I might break, or go where I want, even though I might leave regrets behind ?
I do not know, my Love, and I have but a few days to decide. I hope that something will show me the way, for I am afraid I have lost it.
But do not worry, for wherever I choose to go, my heart will carry you along, my Love. And you shall be no burden.


jeudi 17 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

Today as well, the sun is shining. After walking inland for an hour or so, we cam upon a small lake, where we could wash our clothes. They were in dire need of it too, since we had not had the chance to do so since we left. Afterwards we took a quick bath in the clear, fresh water. We rinsed the grime and sweat off of our bodies quickly, for even though the sun was warm and the water invigorating, it way still too cold for a long swim.
Afterwards we ate, and then napped under the gentle rays as our clothes dried. It felt good to feel clean again, and we left the lakeside with a smile on our faces.
In the afternoon we crossed a small mountain-pass to get to the other side of the island. The view form the top was, as you can probably guess by now, breathtaking. As we reached the seaside again, a brisk wind started blowing, but we did no mind, for the heavy packs on our backs kept us warm, sweating even. Now we have made camp in a small copse near a bay, to take some shelter from the wind. Wild blueberries growing between the pines served as desert, but we did not wait long to go to rest. Long days and short nights are taking their toll. But it is a rewarding fatigue, full of things accomplished, that will lead us to sleep tonight.
But not before I have written my letter to you, my Love. For the more I experience the wonders of the northern country, the more I long to tell you about them, to share them with you. I would like to be able to show you what we see, to let you smell the rich aroma of the ocean and the forest, to let you feel the brisk wind blowing through your hair, to let you taste the freshly caught fish. But all I have to let you experience what I do are words. And as poor an excuse as they are, I still feel you are near me every time I write.


mardi 15 avril 2014


Do you remember the days ?
Do you remember the ways we took together, watching as the world sways in our wake ?
Do you remember the joys we shared, the pains that had us ensnared, the times we cared, I for you and you for me ?
Do you remember the good and the bad, how you tried to make me a dad, and I was forced to make you sad ?
Do you remember the times we laughed and cried, the naked breasts we spied, united in heart and soul as we tried
to get closer ?
Do you remember ?

I remember the drive you gave me, never to set me free, how by the balls you held me, literally.
I remember how your pain was mine, how I held you crying, as you were hurt, or smiling when you where fine.
I remember the stupid things you made me do, your brother and you, and how you saw me through when I was down, turning me back around.
I remember the pain as you were dying, holding back the tears, not crying, but mourning in silent grief. And still I don't know the thief that stole you form me.
But I shall remember how we used to be.
My right testicle and me.

dimanche 13 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

We have arrived on the islands. After a short night and a day of travel, we reached the mountains in the sea. The sun came to greet us for the first time in a week, and as its golden light shone down on us the gloom that had crept into our minds vanished in one glorious blast of fire. Our spirits rose, and the lingering shadows of doubt fled before our radiant joy.
Oh, to see the sun again. To bask in its warm glow, the freezing cold of moments prior just a fleeting memory, soon to be forgotten. To shower in its golden light, and feel our hearts begin to beat again. I had forgotten what a miracle it was, the sun.
Our mood at its peak, we trekked along the mountainsides, no fear of the unknown left in our chest. We went to fish again, laughing merrily, as we watched the seagulls swallow whole the waste of our catch. Gazing upon the jagged shoreline, interspersed with peaks rising from the ocean depths, we saw the moon rise, pale at first, then in full glory. Basked in the dim light of dawn and dusk (there is a mere hour between the two where we are now), the landscape left us speechless. It was as if someone had filled up the vales and valleys of a gigantic mountain-range with water. Even as I try to describe it, I know my words can be no more than a pale echo of the beauty I now behold.
Talking softly, rocked by the gentle tunes of the sea, we could but wonder why men would give up these lands to go live in the unforgiving grey of modern cities. Forgotten was the cold, the rain, the sleepless nights. Only wonder remained, wonder of what we saw, and wonder at those who did not care, did not dare to see the same. Even the mosquitos now seemed friendly and tame, a small, gentle reminder that nothing was without its due.
As I sit here on my rocky outcrop, watching the ocean stretch before me, I feel at peace. I feel at peace like I had not for a long time.


jeudi 10 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

Today we arrived at the sea. The view as we crossed over the last mountain-pass and looked down into the fjord before us was breathtaking. Sheer cliffs fell down into the deep blue sea, strewn with veins of white where hundreds of small streams fall down into the ocean.
The clouds over our heads and the lush green of the forest gave us the impression of a tropical paradise, where it not for the low temperature.
As we reached the small town, down near the shore, we met a local fisherman who shared with us some of the secrets of his trade, after which we feasted on fresh mackerel, sea brass and pike. In less than an hour we caught more fish than we could eat.
Now it is almost two in the morning, and as the seagulls cry their mournful voices out, filling their bellies on the leftovers of our meal, the sun rises again above the craggy peaks, and sleep is about to make another victim. But I shall not rest ere I finish this letter to you, my Love.
Thoughts of you fill my head as I smoke my clumsily rolled cigarette, my fingers numb from the cold.
What are you doing now ? Probably sleeping soundly in your bed, where I long to rest my weary head in your warm bosom. I miss your soft touch, your gentle, reassuring voice. I miss the feel of your skin against mine. I miss the softly whispered words of comfort, the wordless fingertip games played under the cover of darkness. I miss you, my Love. All of you.


mardi 8 avril 2014

I got Balls

Outside, the sun is shining, freshly risen through the morning dew. The clouds are parting, letting down the blue sky. The birds are singing their morning songs, and the animals come out to play. I, however, stay in my bed, held there by my ball and chain. Or, to be more literary, only by my ball.
One week since it started. One week taking antibiotics, hoping for a quick recovery. A hope that dwindles day by day. One week were I'm bound to my bed, my testicle hurting in all but one or two positions. Every step I take takes its toll. Even sitting on a chair becomes unbearable after a few minutes. My ball will not let me.
The size of a nice potatoe, and just as hard, my right ball stretches its side of my scrotum to the limit, the otherwise wrinkly skin now almost smoooth. It dangles when I stand, and pulls on the chain that tethers it to my body. Sometimes I wish I could just cut it off. Get rid of it once and for all. Get rid of my right ball. After all, there is still the left left to call upon.
My left ball is doing okay. It is normal, and has taken over the sperm-generating responsibilities the right used to perform. Indeed, it has matured quite a bit since the beginning of this whole mess, and proved itself up to the task. For that, I am thankful.
The right, however, keeps pulling me down like and anchor, trying to drag me deep into the sea of misery it has laid out for me. Pulling, stretching, hurting, itching, I loath it so, the ball I once loved. Goddamn this stupid infection !

dimanche 6 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

Tomorrow we shall reach the coast. Although a lot has happened, those few days in the mountains seem short now. We have seen a lot, but at the same time, we have seen little. It is strange how time seemed to move so slowly, days seemed so long, and now it all seems so short.
Today, we finally took a shower for the first time since we left. The warm water seemed to wash away dirt and fatigue alike. Coming back to life again. At the same time, we feel frustrated, as if everything ended too soon, although it has barely even started. Travel has a strange effect on time, or at least our perception of it. Slow as it happens, short when we turn around and look back at it. But I do not mind, for this lingering frustration shall drive me to go further still. Tonight we rest, and tomorrow we shall push on. Hold on harder. Walk faster. Bite down until our teeth break. We take our short experience here, our mistakes and our regrets, and we shall grow stronger. We will neither bow nor beg.
No, my Love, we shall not give up until we become who we are. Neither god nor destiny shall bring us to our knees. We shall prevail, my Love, and I shall come back to you a man with his head held high.
We are fighting against ourselves, and we will win.


jeudi 3 avril 2014

Letters from the Northern Lands


My Love

Today we went fishing. What would have been a quiet, slightly dull day at home is an adventure all on its own out here.
It took us nearly two hours (as best we can tell) to reach the lake. We hiked down the mountains, first on craggy plains strewn with gigantic, millennia-old boulders, and then through the forest.
Small brooks and rivers we had to cross, unaided by paths or bridges, for where we thread, none had set foot before us. Marshes sucked in our feet as we tramped through them. We were sweating profusely, the chill of the higher altitudes all but forgotten, the cold and biting wind only a distant memory. Mosquitos stung every part of our exposed skin, feasting on our blood, prey so rarely seen in these parts.
Despite the never-ending nights that engulf these lands in winter, everything was green now, as if the whole of nature tried to pack a year of life into only a few months.
The trees and stones where thick with moss, the underbrush was lush and lively. From one crag to the next, the vegetation would change drastically. We felt as if in a fairy tail.
Trolls could be hiding in that cave, leprechauns watching us form behind that rock. Fairies flitting through the ferns and were-lights hiding in the damp marches. For our tired minds, all these things, and many others, would not have seemed out of place.
As we arrived on the shore, the chilling wind took it's due again, but it kept the stinging insects at bay. Using ant eggs we found as bait, we set out to catch our lunch (or was it dinner ? it is hard to tell when the light of day never changes and the sun hides behind the clouds). No sooner did we sit down, our lines cast, to light a fire, did our floaters start to bob. We caught one fish, then two, then three, and as the fine smell of cooked meat reached our cold noses, neither the wind nor the clouds nor the rain could tear the smiles from our faces. Stuffed, we set out to reach the mountains once again, where the chill would shelter us from our bloodsucking friends.
Now once more I sit in our little shelter, writing to you before dinner.
I wonder, have you already eaten ? Or are you still in front of the stove, a watchful eye on the softly simmering lamb chops ? Will you read a book in that cozy armchair that your father left you ? Or will you meet your friends for an evening of girly chatter, perhaps discussing my fate, in what I know them to believe is an ill-conceived venture ?
I think of all this, and I miss you, my Love. But I also know that all this is not for naught. And should I come home now, without having done what I set out to do ? I doubt that would be the kind of man worthy of you. Nor is it the kind of man I want to be. I shall stay, my Love, For a while longer, until I feel that I have done what was to be done. And when I come home, after days and weeks have passed, we shall smile together truthfully, knowing that whatever it was that drove me away is now gone, and that we can stay together, in each others hearts and in each others arms, for as long a time we have on this earth of ours.


mardi 1 avril 2014


Epididymitis is an infection inside your balls. The tube relying the testes (the actual ball) to your penis (which is also where sperm matures (the tube, not your penis)) gets infected by bacteria. This means that, given you did not have any recent surgery near the afore-mentioned area, some bacteria actually travelled all the way from the tip of your penis down into your testicles. Which would be the same as walking 200 km just to kick someone in the nuts. Either you really hate the guy, or you're an asshole.
Epididymitis is a clear proof against the existence of God. No, seriously. What kind of fucked up mind would even conceive that idea ? "Hmm, what to do next ? Oh, I know, lets make some bacteria that infect peoples balls !" All due respect, but that does not sound like something that would come up in the bible. Anyone who would consciously allow something like that is far from godly.
If left untreated, or in extreme cases, epididymitis can cause infertility, necrosis of the testes (yes, that means your ball becomes black and dead), and chronic pain (as if you have had your jewels cushed five minutes ago). This conditions can lead to medical amputation of your testes (go explain that to your pals). But even amputation only relieves pain in 50% of cases. And you might experience phantom pain. From your balls.
Now I know this topic is more geared towards the male audience (since in most cases, women do not have testicles). And most women probably think we are pussys for complaining about a little pain in our scrotum. And maybe they're right. But balls are a special thing for men. We derive our value form them. For two billions years, it was the only thing that justified our existence. Being able to contribute to your reproductive success without actually reproducing (by helping out relatives who share our genes) is a new and rare occurence, considering the entire history of life on this planet.
Oh, and why am I talking about all this stuff ? Well, I've got a friend who knows this guy who kinda asked him the question, so I did some research, you know, to help him out...