girl with a German accent – that may
or may not be convincing – (not sure
exactly, I’ve never been to Germany
before, nor attempted the accent)
knocks quietly at the door. I let her in.
“Hi”, she says, nervously, “this is going
to sound weird, but can I borrow your
phone?” It didn’t sound
weird, I understood her perfectly, handing
over the cordless phone.
She was supposed to meet her friends
somewhere, but they were nowhere to
be seen, then she took a ride with a man
in his car, he said he’d help her. It
didn’t sound like he did, she ended up
walking a long way from town.
I finished my coffee, violins were
threatening, I turned the stereo down
and heard the rest of her conversation.
She couldn’t’ve been more than 17 and
still sounded German. Or Swedish. Or
Austrian. Or at least from somewhere I’ve
never been. (Though from that
one could wonder if she was from Gore. Or
perhaps the West Coast?) I narrowed it
back down to Germany, then heard her say
“yeah I’m by the New World in Lyall Bay”.
“Island Bay”, I interrupted.
“Island Bay”, she spoke back, but not to me.
“Two minutes? Great, ok”.
She pressed the button on the phone, searched
for a place to hang it up, then dropped it on the
chair. “Thanks so much”, she
said. I was still perched on the couch, absently
reaching for the empty cup, the paper too was
empty (I’d written nothing all night!)
“That probably sounded really strange”, she said again.
“Your accent’s fine I said,
pretending to sip more coffee, the cup arriving near
my lip. Having knocked magazines out from under
the rack they lay on, underneath the table – having
scattered my flatmate’s cigarrette filters across the
floor; upturning an ashtray on to the mat swiftly followed
that move. My pen had rolled off the table too. And I
didn’t know what to do; not wanting to look silly I sipped
imaginary coffee from the weightless cup.
“Do you know”, she asked, smiling, “what the time is?”
“Hang on, there’s a clock here, somewhere”, I said, slamming
down the twice-empty cup, kicking the ashtray towards
the magazines, catching my foot in the strap of my bag that
lay on the floor…
“No-no”, she interrupted, “I have a watch on…”
“Oh?” I scratched my head.
She looked at me, presumably as strangely as I was perhaps
meant to have looked at her when she’d asked for the phone.
“It’s five 27,
for the phone”,