Germany Shuts Up Shop

By Dietmar Dath

Translation Steph Morris

12. Deutschland’s undoing and doing-up

The country didn’t know what had hit it. It was suddenly wedged inside itself.

It was picked up and plugged by time, used as its own stopper. Every inch of the country was sealed along stretches of partly-interconnected indentations – not to be sniffed at. The inhabitants could no longer keep track of the boundaries between districts: the autumnal Eichsfeld landscape along the East-West border at the edge of the Thuringia lowlands was filled with dead cars, wiping out an indeterminate number of people, who didn’t however fall straight from the sky, instead oozing out of cracks and splits which had opened up everywhere. Layers of the atmosphere along many individuals’ horizons were suddenly indistinguishable from the hills, and began slipping down between them. The mainland on the Baltic ceased to be properly distinct from the sea. For three minutes in Hamburg, where one single St Nicholas’ Church had previously stood, two flickered against a turbulent sky, sunset red and midday blue at the same time. One church’s spire drilled down into the bad wartime memories of the other, and visa versa, without anything being damaged other than the brittle wits of a few fishwives who happened to be looking that way the moment the unimaginable took place. A large Monday with camels dumped a load of rivers and halved losses replete with gossipy singularities on the beach at Warnemünde, while the rolling hills of Saarland were dotted with fur-free patches running into each other, grey, giving a couple of bank holidays grief along the way, which, with an evil hiss, allowed themselves to be abolished. Myriad sense-defying insanities gushed out of the toilet drain of Paderborn’s Heinz Nixdorf Museum straight into the past – into Friedrich Nietzsche’s brain in fact. The Mecklenburg mountains were shifted thirteen centimetres to the left and then, as if the whole madness had changed its mind, flipped back into their original position, with ghastly consequences for thousands of frogs. In the havoc and wreckage around a third of the population of all major cities came to a sticky – or twisted, tangled, dangling and distended – end.

So-called foreigners, people who according to the obscure, tribal blood-laws did not belong, and who had always been embedded in a different space-time specificity and another dream-orientation from that of the local race, did not survive the events: the Swiss slid down walls like spilt milk; Afghans went up in tiny spirals of smoke; the Chinese and Taiwanese expired with a empty echo; Italians who had lived there for twenty years and Turks born in Düsseldorf forfeited every molecule of water in their bodies and sank in a fine dust to the ground. With a sound like ‘sarra’, a current blew damson-blue through doubly dubious time. Twelve intelligent octopuses, employed as bus and train drivers in 2036, fell out of the truncated future into Cologne cathedral, where they were battered to death with clubs and stones by a horde of Neanderthals. After a period of thirty Planck units the country, now rejigged and stoppered inside itself, rearranged itself, from north to south and from east to west.

Minor irregularities were observed: Hamburg’s dry docks protruded briefly from the Wiesental valley in South Baden; the Oktoberfest slid screaming down the Zugspitze peak and Bonn University fell into Lake Constance. After twelve further Planck units most of these aberrations were subsumed by the suddenly prevailing de-coherence effects and settled at the lowest attainable level of energy.

Vaults split wide, palaces in flames, creation halted, life without continuum, the turds doing turns, shattered secrets, God bleached, exuberance of the food of all wrongness.

The devil’s arse was sore, so much had shot out at once.
A dog barked.

Excerpted from Deutschland macht dicht by Dietmar Dath.