In Circles – a short story by Archie Aston

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In Circles

A short story by Archie Aston

There’s my phone again, rumbling away somewhere, crying out for attention. I guess that means I have to get up and find it. “WHAT DO YOU SLIMY DICK CLOWNS WANT?” I shout at it before choosing whether the caller deserves to feel the warmth of my contact. It’s Chris. What the fuck does he want. He gets the red button, “I do have work to be getting on with don’t you know” I say out loud to remind absolutely nobody.

So I have these East German magicians. Loads of the cunts. Well, lets say twelve. I guess that make’s them a circle, or a ring or something (no, a ring is paedophiles), enough for the Stasi to be elbows deep in their magic asspipes anyway, with
cameras and microphones and folders the size of Teufelsberg. Now I just need to make these magicians a more believable target for the state snoopers, I need to make them flat out enemies of the GDR, defective elements and the such. Ideas, ideas. Maybe they were nefarious bootleggers of gin on the side is the best idea I can conjure up, as I stare predictably at my empty glass. Looks like I’m leaving my desk again. Gin is a
far superior interruption however, to the tyranny of the phone.

“WHAT THE FUCK NOW?” I spew again as the phone screams into life somewhere in the room. I dig it out to see Chris is foolishly trying his luck again. The red button follows, naturally. We’re not even great friends (is anyone?). I think about turning the bastard off, but I shy away from the concept. What if work rings (as they tend to on my days off), or an agent or publisher (Ha!)? I like to pretend I hate it, or at least I don’t rely on it as much as I clearly do. I keep it at arms length but that’s all you need to pick it up again.

Right then, back to these magician cunts. And the Stasi. Maybe the Stasi saw them (sawed them?) with some politically undesirable women. Or physically desirable women, either works for me, in fact all the better if I can get some fucking
into this. Those erotic novels are flying off the shelves these days, and I can write sexy shit like ‘he veered his irascible purple bulb toward me’ or ‘the lips of her natural rupture drizzled around his demonstrative weapon’. Easy. I’ve earned
myself another gin there.

“FUCK. OFF!”, that bastard phone again. I run over to dutifully ignore Chris’s name flashing up on the screen. And by the time I’ve returned to the desk my computer makes that jellybean of a noise to tell me some other dawdler is trying to
get my attention. And it’s not even ‘some other dawdler’, it’s the very same dawdling twat, my not so great mate Chris. He really wants my attention doesn’t he. I skim through his message, something about his work and his wife. What did he do again? Yes he worked in one of those CCTV control rooms, those dark rooms full of screens full of streets full of people, sitting and watching like Colonel fucking Sanders in the
Matrix. He always told me how he loved his job, and I can never trust anybody who said that. He’s got me on FB too now.
Something about his wife and his work, he’s coming round. And now I’m on FB (thanks Chris) so my magicians must wait. A bottomless waterfall of babies and bad spelling.
Scandinavians with better cameras than me. Nobody fucking cares. Social media makes me feel so alone.

Chris has somehow weaseled himself into my flat, and he hasn’t even brought beer. He’s on MY sofa drinking MY gin telling me HIS problems. Something about his wife and another man. I feign interest or sympathy (it’s the same face) and I think about my magicians. Maybe the Stasi had uncovered their plot to flee to the West in false bottomed coffins or those boxes they decapitate those lovely glamour models in. Maybe one of the lovely fuckable glamour models was being sliced by a Stasi dude too. It would make sense that they had someone on the inside, or in the inside. Those fucks
would put cameras and microphones in anything; bags, rocks, watering cans, magic wands? There was one informer for every seven citizens, so they reckon. The most surveilled populace in history, so they say.

Chris is still on about his job and his wife and the cameras. What cameras? Oh his job, he was a watcher too. A sentinel in the private army, the sentry on the corporate gate, the new gargoyle. Something about his wife and another man. He’d seen them together on the cameras at work. Holding hands, all that shit. I apply my face accordingly. I wonder how long I can use the same cucumber in my gin. Look at them in there rank
and colourless, full of booze. Maybe one day they’ll start fermenting and I can have a self-filling glass. Maybe I can write some Auster shit, like my magicians levitate over the Wall itself, to the West, to Freedom. They just rock up and fucking take off. Why not? I guess Chris wont be loving his job anymore, which is a result, of sorts.

Archie Aston was born in Birmingham, UK in 1986 and currently lives in Berlin, Germany.  In Circles was taken from his first collection of short stories, There’s Nothing Wrong With Running Away, available on Amazon.

Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a 'recovering musician', he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.

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