Fraulein F

FAUST(who during all this time has been standing before a mirror,
now approaching and now retreating from it)

There is the stump of an old tree in Gorlitzer park, knurled and twisted, bitten by the frost and kissed by the sun. Was it seven years ago or seventeen? There is the stump of an old tree in Gorlitzer Park contorted as if it were struck by lightning. This lightning struck spot was hard to take your eyes off. It engraved itself.

That’s where I met him. A shuffling figure in an old black anorak, the hood always pulled like a cowl over his face. He had a letter, an A in a circle, tattooed on the back of his hand. He was already loosing teeth from the speed.

M, as he styled himself was a little strange. People gave him a wide birth and well they might because he zigzagged down the pavement, hid his face and muttered continually but that day he stopped me. M stopped me. With one hand held out as if to direct traffic he stopped me in the park. He stopped me dead by the tree and hissed something unintelligible in my ear.

“Fraulein F, really, the last time you told us this it was Weiner Strasse and the time before that it was Der Halbe Rose, around the corner.”

The intercom interrupted my train of thought – which theses days drifts a little anyway but I was sure it was Gorlitzer Park.

He stopped me.


Casting my mind back all those years, five, seven, seventeen or seventy – no matter. I find it hard to recall the exact terms of the offer he made or the conditions of the deal we struck but so far he has at least kept his part of the bargain. M certainly has delivered.

I watched him perform the spell. It seemed ridiculous. His bony musician’s fingers describing arcs in the air. It was like watching a mime artist pretend to peel an orange. I must have giggled but he silenced me with a sharp look and extracted his white fingers from a pair of fine ladies leather gloves. They looked like the hands of a strangler.

In return I did have to part with a somewhat intimate item but it was of little consequence. At first it was a rush of course but after a while I began to watch my friends grow old around me and my mind has begun to spin in ever tighter circles. Oh yes M has extracted his price.

I remember how one of his hands was manicured, the nails cared for and painted black but how on the fingernails of the other the varnish was chipped and bitten. He pressed his finger to his thin white lips.


Well that’s really all.

Wearliy I collect my things and wait for the buzzer to sound. The same interview every day for a thousand days. The tests, the constant tests. What M had promised me had indeed came true but he had never said that anyone would believe it.