Monday, April 21, 2014

Machinegun Wally (Part 2)

The silence between me and Wally continued. It was actually quite nice. Sure he was a vinegary old prick when I’d catch him in the hall. But at least he wasn’t asking me to wipe down the toilet with a silk towel or demanding I trim my butt hairs for aesthetic purposes. This went on for about a week. Then I got an email from Fuckface. The subject line was “Hi.”  Below are the contents of that email:

“Hans, how is it there? Please, can you be nice to that guy? U talk to him the way that he though that u want to beat with him. Now he is scared that u can even poisoned his food. Can u solve it with him? I payed 2 month after Michael (referring to “Michelle,” our previous flat-mate) and its hard to find someone to that room. Thanx a lot. He is a nice guy. Don't akt please as a mad man.”

I was tempted to tell Fuckface to shove it. This desire was overridden by the fact that if I didn’t at least try to make amends with Wally, the guy might leave, after which point Fuckface would surly seek to charge me for the empty room. I told homeboy I’d take care of it. I wrote Wally a letter saying we should talk. It evoked no response from him. I knew I had to go bolder. One afternoon, I knocked on his door. He opened it in his mustard-stained t-shirt.

“Hey man, I know we’re having problems,” I said. “But I really don’t wanna fight anymore.”

Wally stared at me from behind his reading glasses. I didn’t know whether he was gonna drop dead or bite my nose off. Suddenly, his face softened. The tiniest smile parted his lips.

“I don’t exactly want to fight also,” he said. “Let’s just agree on this.”


A sense of calmness pervaded our flat. Wally now worked nights so I never saw him. I had the whole joint to myself. This was great because it meant I could let the lunatics hiding in my bones out. I walked the halls naked. I drank with abandon and banged out poems on my computer. When I took showers, I sang songs. Many of them were about Wally. My favorite was one I entitled “WWFF.” It went something like this:

“Wally! Wally! Fat Fuuuck! Fat Fat Fuuuuuuuk! Fat Fuuuck! Fat Fat Fuuuuuuuk!”

Once, while I was in the middle of howling this little ditty, I had a lucid moment. I wondered what I, a thirty two years-old man, singing “Wally! Wally! Fat Fuck!” to himself in the shower, might look like to another person. The thought terrified me at first. Then a thousand screaming hands ripped it to pieces. I collapsed in the shower, laughing. The entire flat filled with my laughter.

After that, I was downright happy. Wally’s crummy little peccadilloes couldn’t get to me. I dusted the sound of him cooking at 2 am off my shoulders. I snubbed my nose at his blanket of back-hair covering the tub. His cigarette smoke went in one nostril and out the other. Even his hacking, his infernal fucking hacking, was reduced to a mouse fart. I was a mad king in an empty castle. Wally just rented a candle flame.


One Tuesday, I came home from work, whistling. I opened the door to my room and strolled in. Just then, I heard a stirring in the hallway. I looked back and saw Wally standing there in his sweats. My veins hiccupped.

“What are you doing home?” I asked.

Wally frowned miserably and bumped the floor with his big toe.

“My boss is a shit,” he said. “Just today, he fired me.”


“Yes, can you believe this? He didn’t ever give me a notice. Only today came to me and fired. What will I do now? Go back to Lebanon? There is always war. I will for sure be in streets with a machinegun.”

The thought of Wally lumbering through the streets of Beirut with a machinegun was disturbing. The thought of him hanging around our flat all day every day until he left, was equally disturbing. I asked if there wasn’t another job he could find. He shook his head slowly.

“It will be very, very hard. I am only IT guy and there are many in Prague. Plus, I am from Middle East. Employers prefer Czechs or Slovaks because they will stay here. I was lucky to find this one job, which I had.”

“Well, don’t you know anyone here?”

“Not one person. I came here for experiment, that’s all. Now, I am seeing it is a shit. I will try to find something for next three weeks. If I don’t, I will leave to Beirut.”

I felt bad for Wally. But three solid weeks of him piddling around our flat in a mood would be a nightmare. I wondered if Fuckface knew of any available jobs (preferably with long nightshifts). I got online to ask him. When I clicked open my post box, I saw I already had an email from him. In it he complained that Wally still hadn’t paid his second month’s rent. I went to Wally and asked him about this. He told me he’d already given Fuckface a deposit, which he’d use to pay for his last three weeks. This seemed fair given the circumstances. But if I knew Fuckface, he was counting on that money to party with in The Gulf for his honeymoon. I knew he’d come back furious. Even still, I advised Wally to stick with his plan.


I was certain Wally would be grumpier during the following weeks. I was also certain he’d be more demanding. What I didn’t account for was him becoming particular to the point of weirdness. The crap he pulled was almost breathtaking. For starters, he began separating his garbage. He’d put it in a knotted trash bag next to the can. From there he went on to separate more of “his things.” He put his fruit on the windowsill, his dishes on the counter’s edge, his soap in the top cupboard, and his sponges in the bottom. He even went so far as to throw away my vegetable container. When I asked him about it he said:

“I’m sorry, but your vegetables were too close to mine and making them stink.”

I tried to choke this all down. It kept getting worse. One night I was walking to the bathroom. Wally opened his door and scowled.

“Do you have any big soft sandals?” he asked.


“Yes. When you walk by my room it’s waking me up.”

“But I wear socks!”

“This is not helpful. The tiles are old and loud. You must wear big soft sandals.”

I told Wally to shove his “big soft sandals” up his “big soft ass.” I hoped that would shut him up. The fucker just got weirder. He started demanding I keep the door to my room completely closed “at all times.” I told him that was insanity.

“Why the hell should I do that?!” I asked.

He pretended not to hear me. I yelled my question at him again. He poked his head in my room.

“Don’t ask why,” he said. “Just do it.”

“I’m not gonna shut the door to my room every time I take a piss!” I said.

“No? Then you are clearly an uncivilized Bedouin!”

“Ha! I’ve partied with Bedouins in the deserts of Egypt. They are nice people. I’m glad to have you think of me as one!”

My defiance infuriated Wally. In an effort to demonstrate what he expected of me, he started slamming his own door just to use the toilet. He even took to locking it.

What in Christ’s name is his deal? I thought.

One evening, just before Fuckface returned from Dubai, I was at the stove cooking. Wally opened the kitchen door and walked up next to me. He poked his nose over my food and sniffed. Then he licked his lips.

“I’m going to be frank with you,” he said. “And I want that you be honest.”


“Have you been entering my room when I’m not home?”

My knees buckled. I almost dropped to the floor laughing. It took me a few seconds to cringe away the smile.

“Absolutely not,” I said.

“Well, what about your friends? Or those girls you bring home? Do you think they have entered my room?”

“Why on earth would ANYONE go in your room?”

“I don’t know. Nothing is missing. But I am ninety nine percent sure they are entering.”


“I won’t tell you this. But I know for sure. Anyways, if it is not you or your friends, it is probably old tenants who have keys and are coming in, or possibly strangers who made copies. You should be very careful.”

I was stunned. Any attempt to make sense of Wally’s horseshit was now futile. I needed a witness to prove I wasn’t going insane. I called up my childhood buddy Bert, who also lives in Prague. He answered the phone, chewing.

“Zhuuuuuuup?’ he said.

“Hey man, you know that Wally guy I’ve been telling you about who’s my new weird-ass flat-mate?”


“Well, dude I think he’s going crazy.”

“Haha, why?”

I proceeded to give Bert a detailed account of the past two weeks. He laughed his balls off the entire time.

“I gotta meet this guy,” he said.

I told him it would have to been soon. Fuckface would be arriving that weekend and would surely want Wally out by the end of the following week. We agreed Bert would come over that Saturday. We’d drink it up in the common area and hope for a chance encounter with Wally. Bert ended the conversation with a single statement.

“I wanna see a show.”


Saturday came. I waited in front of the grocery store for Bert. We were gonna select that evening’s beverage. Then go up to the flat, have a few and see what transpired. As I stood there fixing my coat, a figure appeared. He was whoofing up the hill his sunglasses. His gut was jiggling and his titties were flapping. As he got closer, I realized it was Wally. I gave him a curt “hello.” He gave one back and walked up the ramp to the grocery store. Just then I saw Bert come around the corner. I pointed to Wally and mouthed “That’s him!” Bert brought his teeth out and laughed. He walked up and we went in the store together. As we passed the produce, I said:

“Should we try and talk to him?”

“Why not?”

We rounded the corner. There was Wally scowling at a container of yogurt.

“How’s that shit lookin’?” I asked him.

He glanced at me and sneered. He put the container back and walked off. Bert and I cracked up into our fists. Then it was off to the alcohol section. We bought a bottle of whiskey and brought it up to the flat. We started drinking and chatting about travel. The idea of going to Olomouc the following weekend came up. We’d both had it with Prague and needed to get out. We agreed we’d split the coming Friday. This put us in fantastic moods. We broke out the iPod dock. The tunes blared and the drinks poured. Soon the entire common area was swollen with good vibes. Then the kitchen door opened. Wally marched in wearing nothing but flannel. A storm cloud rumbled and flashed above him. He dragged his rain right through the middle of our party. He went to the windowsill (where his fruit was) and snatched a banana. As he turned back around, I rose. I looked him in the eyes and winked.

“How ya’ doin’ there, guy?” I said.

He walked past me without saying anything. He left the kitchen and went to his room. After his door shut, Bert laughed.

“Dude, he knows you’re fucking with him,” he said.

“I don’t care. He’s not just gonna come in here and shit all over our good time. Seriously, man, I’ve had it with him. But whatever, I wanna have fun tonight.”

Bert and I tried to reanimate the good vibes. The minute they came back, so did Wally. This time it was to wash out his coffee mug. As he scrubbed away at the sink, I approached him.

“Hey, bro, what’s your deal?”

Wally didn’t answer. He just continued scrubbing. When he finished he brushed past me. As he reached for the door handle, I said:

“You just gonna ignore me?”

He turned and shot me a look. It crippled the remains of my good mood. I still had the wherewithal to keep it together. I stood there, clenching my jaw. Wally opened the door.  He stepped past the threshold and slammed it. The blowback knocked my bones loose. Rage welled up in me like a charging tiger. I threw open the door and caught Wally in the hall. He stopped walking and turned to face me.


Wally dangled his arms and blinked.

“I was the wind,” he said.


He left without a word. I went back to the common area and sat down. Bert’s face was in a state of shock. I reached out and clinked my drink against his.

“Was that enough of a show for ya’?”

“Haha, yeah, but now I’m worried.”


“I don’t know, there’s something about that guy. Like maybe he holds it all in. Then one day, BOOM!”

“He ain’t gonna do shit. Let’s just get back to it.”

We tried to “get back to it.” The mood was officially spoiled. We kept thinking Wally was gonna kick the door open and blast us apart with a machinegun. Lord knows, we probably deserved it. The entire common area was silent. It stayed that way for a while. When we thought the coast was clear we started drinking again. The alcohol made us sentimental. We began to feel for the poor sap. He had just lost his job, after all. We contemplated inviting him to drink with his. Miraculously, he returned. I glanced at his hands to see if there was a weapon there. When I saw there wasn’t, I said:

“Hey Wally, wanna drink?”

“No,” he said. “I don’t drink alcohol.”



He filled a glass of water over the faucet. He looked absolutely miserable.

“Hey look man, I’m sorry about what happened,” I said.” It’s just that you slammed the door and I lost my temper.”

“It’s OK.”

“Well dude, at least come and chill with us. If you do, I’ll light up the hookah.”

Wally’s eyes sparked. A grayness behind them drowned the sparkles. He set his glass down and looked at me.

“I can’t,” he said.

“Why not?”

“Because. I don’t know how to talk with people. When I do, it is just shit coming from my mouth.”
His words were like a long needle. They popped my heart and sent it withering to the ground. I wanted to tell him he was wrong. All I could muster was:

“I understand.”

Wally told us to enjoy our night and walked out. Six days later, Fuckface kicked him out. He left Prague jobless, friendless and penniless. I pray he’s not in the streets of Beirut with a machinegun ...

Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Machinegun Wally (Part 1)

I woke up in a friend’s bed. It was New Year’s Day and my ears were ringing. I ran to the bathroom and puked. It sounded like eels blasting from a sewer pipe.

“You OK?” my friend asked.


I came back in and collapsed on her sheets. She laughed and got up.

“I’ll make you some coffee.”

I went into the kitchen and drank the coffee. It was hot and good. My friend picked away at her laptop. When she finished sending an email, she looked up at me.

“I have this thing today,” she said. “What are your plans?”

I scratched my head.

“Well, I’m gonna finish this coffee and schlep my ass home. Then I’ll prolly meet my new flat-mate.”

“New flat-mate, huh?”


I drank down the last of my scalding beverage and set the mug on the counter. My friend gave me directions to the nearest tram stop and we hugged goodbye. I walked out the front door and into the cold. It bit into me like greased teeth. I tightened my scarf and pressed on. Forty minutes later, I found the tram. I boarded it and took a seat. My head was a swimming mess. I’d just flown into Prague from SFO some thirty hours beforehand. Since that time, I’d done little but drink. In the haze, I’d failed to meet my new flat-mate, who’d moved in while I was in Cali for Christmas. My current flat-mate (who’s also the flat-owner) had told me in a previous e-mail the guy was “nice.” This meant little coming from him as he himself is a horrendous asshole.

Some fuckin' New Year, I thought.


I staggered to my flat. I opened the door and went inside. The place was calm and empty. I figured people were still out. I went to the toilet and had a piss. The floor and bowl were unusually clean. I zipped up and went to the washroom. As I ran soap across my palms, I noticed that the walls, tiles, tub and sink were spotless. This got me curious. I went into the kitchen to check the states of things. The floors had been freshly mopped and the counters, scrubbed. The fridge and stovetop had been wiped of their stains. The common area was neat as a pin. This left only the oven. Prior to my departure, it had been a disaster in there. Blackened cheese had hung from the grate and biscuits of carbonized slop had littered the base. I pulled down the face and had a peek. The grate and four walls were gleaming black.

I closed the oven up, smiling. Just as I did, the kitchen door squeaked. I stood up and turned around. There at the threshold was a dude in his sweats. He was bald and stocky with a crooked nose. His belly hung below his t-shirt and his eyes were deep in his face. I flinched when I saw him. When I realized who he was, I smiled.

“Hey man, I’m your flat-mate, Hans,” I said.

“Hello, I’m Wally.”

We shook hands. It was then that I noticed how hairy Wally was. His knuckles were like little unshaved crotches. His arms were like vast, public jungles. I unlaced my fingers and took my hand back.

“So,” I said. “You really did a job on this place.”

“Yeah, it needed it. Come and let me show you all things I cleaned.”


Wally took me on a slow tour of my flat. He pointed out every spot he’d run a brush over. We ended up back where we’d started. This brought him to the oven.

“I’m sorry, but this one was really disgusting,” he said. “When you cook, just place our black pan underneath to catch the food, which is falling.”

Our black pan?

“Listen,” I said. “I use that pan to bake chicken with so I don’t wanna dirty it too bad. How ‘bout I just put a doubled sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom?”

Wally blinked at me like I’d just ripped a fart up his schnozz.

“Use the pan,” he said.

I could feel my insides heating up. The nerves along my spine popped loose. A deeeeep breath saved me.

“I’ll take care of it,” I said.


That night I thought about how I’d approach the situation. I was very much divided.  Part of me wanted to bum rush Wally and backhand the fucker across the mouth. The other, more reasonable part of me thought back to my college days when I’d been the annoying new flat-mate. I’d moved in with someone I’d barely known. He was a soft-spoken Persian guy named Roy, who plucked his eyebrows and took hour-long dumps. He was very particular about how he wanted our flat kept.

“This place has to look nice,” he told me. “Otherwise, any girls we bring home will judge us by it.”

I nodded under my beanie and proceeded to give two shits. While Roy worked his buns off to keep our flat in a relative state of cleanliness, I helped him out by leaving my dishes unwashed, tossing my clothes everywhere, and throwing temper tantrums every time he told me nicely to flush twice. Had I followed his advice I might have gotten laid more than the zero times I did while living with him. But as things were, Roy pulled pussy like a bowl of milk, and I pulled it in silence like a god damned loser.  Despite all this, Roy had been patient and kind with me. I figured it was my turn to do the same with ol’ Wally.


Over the next ten days, I tried to befriend the lout. This wasn’t an easy task as our work schedules rarely matched. Even still, I managed to get him talking one evening. He told me he was forty five, Christian and from Beirut. I told him I’d studied Arabic in college. I rattled off a few phrases and he got a kick out of it. I mentioned I had a hookah and his eyes lit up.

“I am loving hookah!” he said.


“Yes, but only this very well-prepared hookah with Isfahan tobacco.”

“Well, hey, I do a pretty good hookah. We should smoke it together sometime.”

Wally grinned sweetly.

“Don’t be offensive, but I am from the land of the hookah so I’m sure you can’t do it correctly.”

I raised an eyebrow and cracked my knuckles.

“Wanna bet?”

“Sorry?” he said.

“Nothing. Anyways, my offer stands. Have a good one.”


Though our little chat hadn’t made us instant friends, it had at least opened the lines of communication. I hoped this might be a good thing. For a while it seemed to be. We talked a few times about Lebanese culture and whatnot. Then Wally shifted tracks. He started engaging me only to make demands. At the top of his list was addressing the freezer issue. I’ll admit, it looked like a Yeti cave in there. He wanted us to get together and bang the ice out. That way we’d have more space. When he’d approached our other flat-mate with his plan, the guy had blown him off. This left yours truly holding the bag. I told Wally we’d get to it eventually. He wasn’t pleased with this answer.

The days passed. I woke up one Saturday morning with a fabulous headache. I’d spent the entire night prior, guzzling beers and writing poems. I hadn’t gone to bed till 4 am. I walked into the bathroom and took a shit. When I came out, Wally was standing at the door. His gut looked atrociously big. He hadn’t shaved in a week. I asked him what the problem was. He pursed his lips into an “M.”

“I would really like to manage the freezer,” he said.

My mouth fell open and my eyes rolled back.


“Well yes, or at latest tonight. I believe I was very patient with you.”

I had a party to attend that evening so option two was out the window. This left “right fucking now.” I stomped to my bedroom and threw on my shirt.

“Let’s get this over with.”

I followed Wally into the kitchen. He opened the freezer door and winced. The ice inside was swollen and grey. It looked like an arctic bunghole. Wally reached in there and started pulling things out. As I’d been to a zabijačka (i.e. “pig-slaughter”) ten weeks prior, the stuff he produced wasn’t pretty. There was every type of crystallized sausage. Not to mention, frozen headcheese, blood soup, and pork belly. He stacked it all up on the counter. It looked like the forgotten remains of a snitch from Tony Soprano’s ice chest. I sized up the pile and asked him “What now?” He fingered his bellybutton delicately.

“Well, I need something to hit the ice. Do you have a hammer?”

I thought of the labyrinth of cabinets in our hallway. I was sure there was a hammer in there somewhere. Problem was, our other flat-mate (whom I will henceforth refer to as “Fuckface” for the sake of convenience), has a decade’s worth of garbage stored therein. Thus, finding anything specific is nearly impossible. I told Wally to check the cabinet opposite the kitchen anyway. He went over there and opened it up. An ancient vacuum tumbled apart at his feet. He kicked away the pieces and reached in. I heard a squeaking noise, then a loud “POP!”

“This will work,” he said.

He held up the leg of a chair. It was peeling and bent but it looked solid. I gave him the go-ahead salute. He crouched down and raised the chair-leg. I knew Fuckface was sleeping in the room adjacent.

This outta be good, I thought.

Wally went to town like a nutbag on a virgin. He swung and pounded and blasted away. Chunks of ice flew up everywhere. They bounced across the floor and spun into corners. The noise was unbearable. It got louder as Wally went deeper. Soon he was halfway inside the freezer. His t-shirt was up around his belly and his sweats had slid down. I could see the top of his ass crack. It looked like a hairy hell-mouth. I felt myself getting ready puke. The kitchen door swung open and distracted me. In walked Fuckface with his glasses and boxers on. His entire body was red with sheet wrinkles. He looked at me then looked down. The sight of Wally’s bounding ass crack widened his eyes. He noticed the ice everywhere and flipped.

“Vat are deez shits you are doing?!” he said.

Wally stopped pounding and turned his head.

“I am breaking the ice from the freezer. Then Hans will sweep it.”

Fuckface craned his neck and scratched it.

“Dis is idiotness. You should do grandmother remedy wit dee varm vater.”

Even Wally was blown away by Fuckface’s terrible English. I heard him eject a tiny puff of laughter.

“That would be too slow,” he said. “This way, it’s fast.”

Fuckface shrugged and left us to it. After a few dozen more slams, Wally finished. I grabbed the broom and swept up the ice. When all was said and done the freezer looked pretty nice. There was plenty of room for all our stuff. Wally told me I could have the bottom shelves, while he took top. I said “Whatever” and loaded in my shit. I walked to my bed and pitched forward. As I lied on my face, I could hear Wally mumbling. I drove in my earplugs and drifted off.


The freezer incident emboldened Wally. He started taking more liberties with the flat. He threw away our old dish towels on the grounds that they were “too disgusting to touch.” He rearranged our kitchen cabinets, claiming that their “management of space” was poor. He started smoking heavily in his bedroom and leaving the window shut. This stunk up the entire hallway and drove me nuts. I tried to bite my tongue, but it was tough. Wally made it tougher with his after-smoking ritual. When he’d finish a cigarette, he’d lumber into the washroom. He’d lean over the sink, snort deeply then hack up a lung’s worth of phlegm. As the washroom is next to my bedroom, I could hear everything. It sounded like a walrus battling a sever sinus condition. I asked him politely to tone it (and the smoking) down. He said he would, and then didn’t.

On a Wednesday towards the end of the month, I came home exhausted from teaching. All I wanted to do was slip into bed and die. I changed into my sweats and got to it. Suddenly, I heard Wally open his door. He stomped into the washroom and started hacking. I gritted my teeth and bore it. When it finally ended, I heard him fire up the washing machine. This blew me to the ceiling. I jumped out of bed and opened my door. Wally was already in his room. I went in the washroom and unplugged the machine. It wound down and froze. My nerves eased a little. I went back to bed and tried to sleep. It was a lost cause. Twenty minutes later I gave up. I went to the John to take a piss. When I came out I found Wally in the hallway. His mouth was pinched to an anus. I asked him “How’s it hangin’?” He lifted his hand in the air.

“Why you unplug this?” he said.

“Because, man. I was trying to sleep. Anyways, I was just about to plug it back in. It’s only been twenty minutes.”

“This is a shit!” he snapped. “You have for sure ruined my socks. Now, I will need to buy new ones. Next time, don’t unplug, just write a note that you are sleeping and I won’t wash.”

It was a reasonable request. Under reasonable circumstances I might have considered it. As things were though, Wally was driving my shit bonkers. I couldn’t help myself.

“Look, buddy,” I said. “You don’t ever tell me what to do. I’ve lived here for almost four years and you’ve barley been here a minute. But you think you can just come in, rearrange everything, and start telling me to write notes?! Fuck that!”

Wally was flabbergasted. I could tell he wanted to yell back. For some reason he bit his lip and stomped into his room. I did the same and we both slammed our doors. This jostled Fuckface. He pounded his wall and told us to shut up. I yelled the same back at him. Then I opened my computer and wrote it out.

The rest of the week was bad. Not only were Wally and I not on speaking terms but Fuckface left for Dubai to get married (a whole other story). This meant that for the next six weeks it’d be just me and the walrus. I wanted to leap from my window sideways …

Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Other Hans

“Hans.” Scarcely have I encountered a four letter word that’s provoked such varied responses from my peers. As an adult, their reactions to my name have ranged from mild curiosity to genuine interest.  As a child, however, their reactions weren’t nearly so favorable. From any given new acquaintance, I could expect everything from incredulous looks to gut-busting laughter.

“ Haha, Haaans?! Like the bad guy in ‘Die Hard?’” Many classmates would say.

“Yes, fucking idiot. Like the bad guy in ‘Die Hard.’”

My common cut-back may have been harsh, but it paled in comparison to what came next. Once these kids got a whiff of my irritation, they all wanted a crack at my name. I heard a thousand different word plays. Among the favorites were “Hans-Solo” and “Hans Ketchup,” “Hans Her Way,” and “Hans Down.”  There were even ones that involved my last name – Fellmann.  The most devastating of these for a pointlessly homophobic youth such as myself, would have no doubt been “Hans Feels Men.” Fortunately for me, its creator was named, “Nick Beanus.”

Despite my name being everybody’s free-for-all throughout my childhood, I at least had the distinction of being the only poor fuck with the name “Hans.”  Most times, I carried the thing around our little cow town like a genital wart – something that could indeed be teased about, but as far as I knew was unique to the adolescent ranks of Shitspeck, California.

After surviving high school, I wanted to get away from the imbeciles who’d ridiculed me for so long. Thus, I spent the summer in Europe, where finding someone with the name “Hans” was as easy as finding said genital wart – not that I would know really, just a guess.

When I returned home that September, I was eager to get back out there and travel. I quickly realized, however, that traipsing around the planet, getting drunk and screwing anything that moved required capital. As I was just in Junior College and in no position to get a real job, I turned to part-time work to fund my summer blow-ups. It was then that I heard about an opening for a food delivery driver at an Italian joint in my hometown called “Lucca’s.”


I showed up at the place one Monday around closing time. I inquired about the position and the manager – a Brazilian dude with greasy black hair and the mouth of a catfish named Federico – gave me the rundown and told me I could start the following day. It was money in the bag. I shook his hand and made for the door.

“Wait,” he said. “Whuss yo’ name?”

Now that I’d been to Europe and thought my name was hot shit, I dropped it with style. I curled my lip, shot my chin up n’ let ‘er rip.


I was hoping for at least a casual inquiry as to why an American had such a name. Instead, I got a bucket of laughter to the face.

“Ha-ha-ha, Hans?! Yo’ name iz, Hans?!”

Those sour memories from the schoolyard started swelling in my brain. I almost spouted off with my go-to response, but was somehow able to refrain.

“Yes,” I said. “What of it?”

“Ha-ha, nuthin’. It’s juss that I’m surprise. Before I come here, I don’ know any Hans. Now I gonna be workin’ wit two!”

My bowels almost released into my boxers. I collected my jaw from the floor, cracked it into place and spoke.

“What do you mean ‘two’?’”

“Juss what I said, TWO! Anutha guy name Hans, he work here too!”

I was flabbergasted. Not only was there a second “Hans” in my town, but he was working at the very same restaurant where I’d just been hired! It’s funny saying this, but I was almost jealous. The presence of another with the same shit-smear across his nametag took from my dirty prestige. It was like someone had just knifed out an old battle scar of mine, and was now parading around the room with it to his mouth, poking his tongue through the middle and making fart noises.

I “humph’d” under my breath. Federico heard me and chuckled.

“Don’ werry,” he said. “He’s nat like you. This guy really special, ha-ha.”

Really special?” I thought. “What does the hell does that mean?”

I’d have asked him but it didn’t matter. I’d be meeting my doppelganger in the flesh and there was no substitute for that. I tipped my new boss two and slipped out the front. My mind was burning with


I pulled up at Lucca’s the next afternoon with crack in my veins. I didn’t even punch my new timecard. I just went straight to the back tables where I found Federico. He was leaning cross-legged against a booth-panel, chatting up a waitress. I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around.

“So where is this guy?” I asked.

“Who?” he said.

“The other Hans!”

“Oh, ha-ha. He come in at five.”

I looked at my watch. It was two o’clock.

“Damn it,” I thought. “Three more hours.”

To kill time, I started working in earnest. I folded five stacks of boxes, took three deliveries, and made two runs to the grocery store. Once five rolled around, I could barely contain myself. I stood out back, scratching my elbow to cranberries and waiting for this fucker to show up. At around 5:20 I began thinking Federico had bullshitted me. Right then, he spoke from the doorway.

“You gonna fold some more boxes?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes and turned around. As I made for the door, I heard something in the distance. It was a man’s voice but it sounded unnatural … almost like someone had run an electric wire through it and was frying it to static. The seconds clicked off and the voice grew louder. I turned my head and Federico pointed.

“Here come yo’ frien’,” he said.

I watched as a man in spandex shorts pedaled up into the parking lot. He was perched on a stilted unicycle with a megaphone to his lips, shouting nonsense at the clouds. Around his neck hung a square placard painted with red, white and blue letters. They read “HANS OLAFSON FOR PRESIDENT.”

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me,” I said.

Federico unhinged his lips and chuckled through his big teeth. I just stood there staring as my name-twin approached. He got about two feet from me on his unicycle then hopped off. It swiveled to the ground with a resounding “PLOP!” He picked it up with one hand and offered me the other. I was reluctant to, but I shook it.

Err, nice ta’ meet’cha,” he said. “I’m Hans.”

“I gathered that,” I said, eyeing his placard.

It took a bit but homeboy caught my drift. He dimpled one side of his mouth, raised the opposite eyebrow and spluttered.

“Prrr, yes, yes,” he said. “Well, I’m running for president.”

“Picked up on that too.”

Now he was really confused. I figured then was a good a time as any to hit him with the news.

“Name’s Haaans,” I said.

A spring came loose in his brain. He glared at me with his owly eyes and slowly retracted his head. I tried to discontinue shaking but he gripped my hand tighter. Just when I thought his hair might catch fire, he released.

“Oh,” he quacked. “Well, I gotta work.”

With that, he slipped past us and into the restaurant. Federico and I upturned our hands and howled.


In the months after meeting Hans, I got to know the guy pretty well.  He was a fantastically bizarre character full of idiosyncrasies that could spook your mind down a rat hole.  My favorite of these involved his journal. He carried it folded in half underneath his sweaty armpit wherever he went. One day I got curious about the thing and asked him to show me it. He chewed the wall of his cheek in consideration and stared at me. After what seemed like minutes, he popped it from his armpit and unfolded it across a nearby table. In it were scores of esoteric phrases and acronyms stacked on top of one another in crooked patterns. He pointed to a line of letters that looked like barbed wire drawn across the page.

“Mmmmm, know what this means?” he asked.

I cupped my chin with one hand and my scalp with the other and tried to twist my brain into processing the letters.  All I managed to do was tweak my neck and hurt my eyes.

“Fuck no!” I said. “What?!”

Hans stood back proudly and raised an index finger. With the tone of a sage, he enlightened me.

Don’t turn ketchup into peanut butter or the angry dogs will start flying over your ass cheeks in the swamp.”

“A-hoosity whu whu whu?!” I said.

He didn’t bother to elucidate further. He simply collected his journal, tucked it under his pit n’ split. A moment later, Federico came over and sat down in front of me. He could see in my face that I needed answers.

“Rememba when I tol’ you Hans was 'special'?” he said.


“Well, I meant "special" like he crazy.”


“Yeah, he used ta’ be in a mental hospita’ but they let him out on medication. Now he work here so he even betta.”



I couldn’t fathom how Hans had been before. However, I soon learned the severity of his current state. What I once thought were quirks, revealed themselves to be deep disturbances. For instance, his journal didn’t just contain odd entries of his own crafting, but messages he believed had been sent to him by God via “107.7 The Bone” – a local rock radio station. To add to that, he thought extraterrestrials were trying to control his mind. The megaphone he often screamed at the skies with (though multifunctional) was primarily a defense against them. His deepest disturbance concerned his father – a Norwegian fisherman who’d moved to the states when Hans was a child. I never found out exactly what it was, but whenever he mentioned the man his brow would furrow down past his eyes and he’d start punching his knees violently and hissing something about his life being “a total disorganization” because of him.

Despite his madness, there was one realm where Hans could perform smoothly. I first became aware of it one night not long after we’d met one another. I was standing in back waiting for Federico to count out the tips I’d earned. Suddenly, the phone rang and Hans leapt up and grabbed it. I was expecting Federico to rip it from his hand and take the call. Instead, he winked at me and drew my attention to Hans with a jerk of his head. I watched as the blips and twitches melted from the man’s composure. He stood up straight, craned his neck and in a voice any businessman would be proud to own, said:

“Hello, Lucca’s Italian Eatery, Hans speaking. Will that be takeout or delivery?”

Every orifice in my body widened in astonishment. This lasted till the call ended. Once the phone hit the cradle, Hans shrunk back down to his fidgety self. He skewered the delivery slip then wandered off towards the stockroom.

“This why I hire him,” Federico said.


Although Hans was disturbed in his marrow, he’d never struck me as the dangerous type. In fact, I’d gathered that he was quite kind. I can recall at least three occasions where I watched him from the doorway as he milled around the back parking lot petting stray cats and feeding pigeons. Sure there were rumors floating around Lucca’s that he had an odd crush on some young girl. But even if they were true, that didn’t make him a bad guy.

One afternoon, about six months after having been hired, I came into the restaurant to pick up my paycheck. I didn’t see Federico (or any other staff member) up front so I headed to the back. When I pushed open the swinging doors I saw a sight that made me flinch. There, in his cream colored work slacks, stood Hans with both hands behind his back and his head slouched forward. Around him were two police officers – one male, one female – leaning into his face and shouting. The female officer had even put her hand to the wall so she could press in on Hans’ space and reduce his will to that of a carpet stain. The entire staff watched from the sidelines as the scene unfolded. I went up to Federico asked him what was going on.

“Hans went on his unicycle las’ night to that litta’ girl’s house. He was outside her window fa’ tweny minutes yelling sumthin’ with his megaphone like he loved her. Then she wake her parents up and they call police. He ride off before they catch him tho.”

“Jesus, are they gonna arrest him?”

“Don’t think so. They juss gonna scare him a litta’ so he don’t do it again.”

Federico was right. A few minutes later the cops took off, leaving Hans with a harsh warning.

“If you ever go near that little girl again,” the female officer had said. “I’m gonna personally hunt you down and imprison you for the rest of your damn life!”

Hans reacted to the threat like it was a spider dangling in front of his face. He smacked its invisible presence away from the tip of his nose then scampered off. The officers left without saying another word. None of us knew how to interact with Hans after that.


Over the next month, Hans’ behavior grew stranger. He started having full-on conversations with nonentities and pacing up and down the back halls of the restaurant. All of us tried to ignore it as much as we could. When he lost his ability to take calls, something had to be done. I tried to talk to him one day to see if I could bring him out of his funk. He mumbled something about homosexuality being “unnatural” then started cursing his father. I didn’t know what to make of this. I changed the subject.

“Tell me how you got your name, Hans,” I said.

I watched as the incongruous mass of mental gears slowed behind his eyes. A drop of peace suffused his weathered face and he spoke with relative clarity.

“Well, I’m Norwegian. And uh Hans is my uncle’s name.”

“Oh that’s cool. Do you see him ever?”

Yeah but uh he died. I used to visit him in Norway. We’d go fishing together.”

“Hmmm, I like Norway. It’s a beautiful place. I was there not too long ago.”

“Yeah we’re from Bergen. I like seeing all the fjords.”

“Me too. The waterfalls and the villages nearby are also nice …”

At that point our conversation started to dissipate. I’d have brought up Norwegian troll mythology but I didn’t want to go there. Instead, I let the silence bake. I was hoping Hans would pose a few questions of his own.

Thirty seconds went by. A minute. Finally he spoke.

“Err, your name is Hans.”

“Yes, it is.”

Well how …?”

“… did I get that name? My Dad. His great-grandparents were German.  And even though he doesn’t speak a lick of German or have any real connection to Germany, I think he gave me the name cuz my mother is Mexican and has a huge family, and he didn’t want me to forget that not all my ancestors swilled mescal and wore loincloths, ha-ha.”

My racially self-deprecating joke sailed right over Hans’ head and crashed against the wall behind him. He dimpled both ends of his smirk and looked off to one side. Just then the phone rang. He shot up, grabbed it, and with cool professionalism, said:

“Hello, Lucca’s Italian Eatery, Hans speaking. Will that be takeout or delivery?”

I took this as a sign that things were back to “normal.” I walked over, patted Hans on the shoulder and wished him a goodnight. He gave me a funny grin from behind the receiver. I returned it as best I could then went off and punched my timecard.


The next day I rolled to Lucca’s at five. I clocked in, took a leak, and then went to the back to find Hans. I wanted to ask him if he’d ever been to Geirangerfjord – my favorite spot in Norway. I ran into Federico instead. He was sitting at a booth with a few waitresses and speaking to them in a low voice. I gathered something had happened, so I asked what was up. He turned around and looked at me. There was a disappointment in his eyes that I couldn’t place. I thought back to the previous night and tried to remember if I’d screwed up any deliveries. When I was sure I hadn’t, I asked again.

“What is it?”

He took a deep breath and folded his hands.

“Hans got arrested las’ night.”


My first thought was that he’d been stalking that girl again. I voiced this and Federico shook his head.

“Not that,” he said.

I racked my brain to think of what else it could be. When nothing came to me, I asked. As the words “What happened then?” left my mouth, the room sunk into a pit. Federico looked away and let it crawl from his lips.

“Hans murder his fatha’ in his sleep.”

“JESUS!” I shouted. “HOW?!”

“Wit a pillow to his face. I guess they living togetha’ or sumthin’ and had a fight las’ night. Then Hans wait till his fatha’ go to sleep and he kill him.”

Even though it was his father who’d been murdered, I felt terrible for Hans. He’d never said it outright, but I knew something unforgivable must have happened to him in his life, and I suspected it was his father who’d been responsible. I felt sick to my stomach. I asked Federico if I could have the day off and he told me I could. I clocked out and went to the back lot where my car was parked. It was a cloudy day, not unlike the one I’d met Hans. I looked up at the sky and wondered where he might be.

Prolly back in a mental institution, I thought.

Suddenly, I felt a little better. Hans may have been without his megaphone and unicycle, but he’d surely have his notebook, and hopefully, a few people around who understood him.


After his father’s murder, I never saw Hans again. I’d heard he’d been locked up, but where and for how long I never found out. Though my memories of him are fading, I still think of him sometimes. Mostly it’s when I tell someone my name and they get all curious. They ask me where it’s from and how I got it, tell me it’s unique to the US and that so am I. But I smile bigger than I used to. Not out of pride or arrogance but because I’m thinking:

“Homey … you ain’t met ‘The Other Hans.’”
Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Favorite Sport

I’ve always hated sports. Even as a child, I disliked them. I can remember my folks trying to get me involved in every sport imaginable. They tried karate, cross-country, baseball, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, rock-climbing, etc. I couldn’t kick worth a shit so karate was out. Cross-country required lungs and mine were already dumpster material after my having started a career of smoking at age 11. Baseball was tolerable. I liked to hit the ball as long as it was pitched to me slowly, but when it came to running the bases I’d just as soon drink Kool-Aid from my coach’s jockstrap. Tennis was a laugh. The uniforms were way too bright for my taste. Furthermore, I found it pointless to hit a ball with a racquet when I could just leave that ball where it was and go chew gum somewhere. Wrestling made me sick to my stomach. Yes, there was the “prove your manliness” thing. But I was less concerned with my masculinity and more concerned with trying to keep sweaty armpits and balls from entering my mouth. Gymnastics I was forced to quit for reasons I won’t name. And rock-climbing? Well, I liked it OK, but after suffering nine broken bones, multiple head injuries and a ruptured growth plate in my left wrist from some form of climbing or another, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

As I entered my late teens, my distain for doing any kind of sports was consummate. This left watching them as a form of enjoyment. Most of my family and friends regularly engaged in such activities. I figured I’d give it a shot. I saw my first soccer game in Spain during a study abroad program. It was Real Madrid versus some rinky-dink team or another. The stadium was packed and we ordered beers. They were non-alcoholic beers (I came to find out) which already put a bad taste in my mouth. I sipped at mine with a scowl. A few little players were out there on the field kicking a ball around. One player kicked the ball into the face of another. The surely-not-so-injured player dropped to his knees and screamed through his fingers in agony. I set my beer down and rose from my seat.

“Where are you going?” my friend asked.

“A bar.”

Soccer was blacklisted after that. This left whatever else. At some point, my Dad got box seats at a Giants game through his company. I’d seen a baseball game before that and been bored to tears. My Dad swore the box seat experience was different. He even told me to invite some friends so we could all have a good time. We went up there an hour before the game and started eating and drinking. His colleagues and their families joined us. This was all fine until the game started. Then one of my friends (who will remain nameless) got ass-kicking drunk and started cussing like a sailor in front of my Dad’s colleague’s children. Their parents were horrified. My enormous father was ready to pick my friend up by the hair and hurl him through the plate glass. Needless to say, this ruined the “box seat” experience. I whipped out my notepad and wrote “baseball of any kind” under soccer.
My Dad (God bless his soul) was still determined to show me that sports games could be fun. He came to me one summer day with two tickets in his hand. I leered at them like they were anal probes. He smiled and handed me one.

“Wanna go see a college football game with me?” he asked.

“Ummm …”

I had a very precise idea of where I thought my ticket should go. I might have said something politely to that effect when I glanced at who was playing. There was the challenging team: The Three-Peckered Owls or some such nonsense. Then there was the home team: The Bears. The latter are the mascots of Cal Berkeley – my Dad’s alma mater. I couldn’t find it in my heart to be that tremendous of a cock. I took my ticket and thanked him.

The whole ride to campus he explained to me the joys of college football.

“It hasn’t been polluted by materialism and greed like regular football has,” he said. “College players are much more down-to-earth. They play for the spirit of the game, and it’s contagious. I got us end-zone seats so we’ll be sittin’ up real close to the action. Really son, you’re gonna love it.”

We arrived and got drinks and snacks. We took our seats up front and settled in. There were thousands of other fans there. Everyone seemed excited for what was about to begin. I tried my damnedest to get excited too. I tossed handfuls of popcorn in my mouth and pounded my Coke and yelled and cheered with the crowd. The players came out onto the field. They looked like roided aliens in space armor. They lined up and bent over. Then someone blew a whistle and they slammed into each other. The ball sloshed about over a sea of giant, reaching hands. People were screaming and veins were standing out on their necks. I noticed one vein on one man’s neck that was particularly large. It looked like the branch of an oak tree growing up from under his shirt. I saw it swell and pulsate. There was something mesmerizing about that huge vein of his. I watched it and watched it and watched it. Eventually my eyelids began to sag. They clopped shut and I dozed off …

“CAL JUST SCORED!” my Dad screamed.

I jerked awake in a daze.

“Who? Did he use protection?”


I rubbed my eyes and looked up at my Dad. His face was tinged with sadness. It was bad enough I’d fallen asleep during a game at his alma mater. But the fact that I didn’t even know where I was or who was present, was beyond hurtful. We watched the rest of the game in relative silence. He never tried with me again.


When I came to Prague to write and teach, I had no idea how big sports were here. I was hoping, in fact, that the Czechs were as uninterested in them as the city of Prague is in cleaning dog shit from its streets. After a few weeks of teaching however, I found this wasn’t the case. Not only did 90% of my students love sports, they expected me to love them as well.

“Vat is fa-vor-ite sport?” many of them would ask.

On a few occasions, I contemplated mentioning “ball-handling.” I knew, however, that the joke would be lost. Most times I just shrugged my shoulders.

“I don’t really have one,” I’d say.

This was invariably followed by an argument over which “Czech” sport I should get into. Tennis and hockey were always at the forefront. I already knew about tennis so that went absolutely nowhere. Hockey, on the other hand, was a possibility. My friend Bert who’d moved out to Prague the year after me had always raved about it. Hockey was his favorite sport because, as he put it:

“The players get hyphy as fuck and beat the shit outta each other!”

At this point, he still hadn’t been to a Czech hockey game. He was itching for the chance. One Friday a couple of my expats friends called me. They told me they had two extra tickets to a Slavia vs. Sparta match that evening, and would a friend and I like to come. I told them “yes” and called Bert. I could hear him on the other end soiling his boxers as I gave him the news.

“You’re gonna fuckin’ love it, Felm!” he said. “Hockey is like no other sport. None’a that bitchin’ ‘first down, referee,’ bullshit. Just fools gettin’ up in each other’s grills and givin’ head shots. It’s baumish!”

I feigned a measure of excitement. I’d been disappointed before and wasn’t expecting much else from hockey. I met up with Bert and my other friends at 19:00 in front of TIPSPORT Arena. The place was packed and people were filing in mindlessly like herds of cattle. We joined their ranks. Everyone was stoked except me. This changed a bit when we got inside. Stands were serving real beer (with alcohol) and what looked like damn fine sausages. I ordered one of each and walked out to the bleachers. There were a lot of people there but not so many that we couldn’t sit comfortably. We took our seats and started drinking and eating. Things were progressing nicely. A whistle blew and the players slid out onto the ice. They formed two squares, one on either side of the dividing line. A man got on the intercom and announced the rival teams. The crowd cheered and booed appropriately. I readied myself for the action. I took a bite of my delicious sausage and washed it down with a swig of my even more delicious beer. The buzzer rang and the players bolted into each other. I heard clicks and smacks and grunts and huffs. It was a swirl of sticks and uniforms. Everyone was cheering and I found myself doing the same. I was really starting to enjoy this hockey thing, very very much so indeed. The clicking and the grunting continued. Then it went on for longer. I went and grabbed a few more beers. When I came back out, there was the “clicking” and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t even more “grunting.” These things of course were followed by loads of cheering. My, was it nice and all but no one was giving any “head shots” of any sort. And I had yet to see a single “fool” get up into the “grill” of another. Not that I was hoping for such things, mind you. I’m all for peace and love, but hey, a little healthy ass-beating might have been a tad exciting. As it stood, watching Czech ice hockey was kind of like watching slightly aggressive male ballerinas in uniform, perform tricks with their pucks and sticks. This is great if you’re in it for the “art” of the game. But if you’re a guy like me, who doesn’t really give much of a fuck to begin with, it’s really quite boring.

I looked over at Bert to see how Czech-style hockey was grabbing his fancy. He was slumped over in his chair, grabbing his cock. I nudged him awake and asked him what he thought.

“Sucks,” he said. “Let’s get outta here.”


After that, I was done - done with watching sports, done with even talking about them. When students brought up the latest game between whomever, I changed the subject. When they asked me what I thought of so-and-so’s recent steroid-use scandal, I yawned. My patience was lost. My interest had flat-lined.  I was more inclined to discuss toenail fungus removal than I was any sort of sport. This went on for a good while. Eventually, I forgot about sports entirely. They became the stuff of wallpaper. They were as much a part of my life as a freckle on my asshole. The thought of having a favorite sport was inconceivable. I had favorite bars of soap, yes, but a favorite sport? Hmph!
On a Tuesday like any other I had a private lesson with a student named Ivan. I walked into his office and found him sitting at his desk and fiddling with his computer. He said “hello” without looking away from the screen. I said “hello” back and asked him what he was doing.

“Vatching game,” he said.

I rolled my eyes and set my crap down. I figured he’d be a minute. I took out a book started reading. Ivan interrupted me.

“Come to here and vatch dis,” he said.

Not wanting to be rude, I rose from my seat and walked over. I was expecting to see hockey or tennis or soccer or whatever. But there on the screen was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It wasn’t quite hockey and it wasn’t quite tennis, it wasn’t quite soccer, but there were balls involved as well as guys on bicycles (of all things). Two players in different uniforms were riding around what looked like a basketball court. At either end was a goal net, with goalies posted lengthwise on their bikes in front of each. The players in the center were adroitly batting a ball around with their front tires. Their aim was to knock the ball into the opposing team’s goal net. On a few occasions, the ball was kipped into the air. A player invariably responded by head-butting it towards a goal net. I was fascinated by this weird little game. When halftime hit, I asked Ivan what the hell it was.

Kolová,” he said.


“Yes. You don’t know it? Dis is wery famous Czech sport. And it is original Czech.”

“What exactly does that mean?”

“Vell OK, not original Czech becos’ I fink some Germany man inwented it. But vee have most famous players bratři Pospíšilové (The Pospíšil Brothers), and dey vinning verld championship twenty times.”

“Jesus, that’s a helluva thing. Is there even a stadium around here?”

“I don’t know. Dis vhy I vatch it sometimes in Youtube.”


That night I got on the net and did some research. I found out that Kolová or “that which is of the bicycle” was invented in 1893 by a German-American named Nicholas Edward Kaufmann. The article said Kolová is popular throughout Central and Western Europe. There are even players hailing from countries as far away as China, Japan, and Malaysia. The rules of the game are simple:

1. Only two players to a team – one on the court and one at the goal.
2. Players on the court can only hit the ball with their heads and bike wheels.
3. Players at the goal can hit the ball with their bike wheels and any available appendage.
4. No player is allowed to touch the ground with their feet.

This last rule may sound tough as hell, but players’ bicycles are specially rigged for optimum balance. To keep from tipping over though, players occasionally have to bounce up and down in place.

As Ivan had mentioned, the most famous players in history were the The Pospíšil Brothers. Nationally, however, the Germans hold the most world titles at 32, whereas the Czechs come in second at 25. This fact made me smile a little. I’m not hugely connected to my German side, but I do have a modest measure of pride for it.

I’ve since decided that if anything, Kolová is my “favorite sport.” Not that I give a fuck about following it or anything, but I appreciate its uniqueness and its ability to survive for over a century on this fickle planet. I might even consider going to a game. I won’t promise to stay awake or sober through the whole thing. But I will promise to go happily, and for me, that’s saying something.

Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.