Für Freunde der englischen Sprache I: Für meine liebenswerte Kerkermeisterin / My Darling Dungeon Mistress

24. März 2024

Mein Elektropostfach war nahezu voll, es moserte herum mit dem Verschicken von Anhängen. Und wer weiß, was alles nicht angekommen ist? Habe mich von etwas Datenmüll verabschiedet, jetzt kann ich wieder ein Fünftel des Möglichen raufknistern. Ich entdeckte so manch verschüttete Mail, zum Beispiel die mit den Übersetzungen von zwei Texten, die Katy D. aus B. 2002 mit sechs Komplizen für deren Interalia-Seite anfertigte. Im Freunde-Teil I gibt es also meine Geschichte „Für meine liebenswerte Kerkermeisterin“ aus dem Debut „Der BFC war schuld am Mauerbau“. Anmerkungen von Katy: „Das Berlinerische ist jetzt Cockney … und aus Mireille Mathieu, die in GB keiner kennt, wurde Liza Minelli.“

My Darling Dungeon Mistress

None of my teachers were ever in love with me, but there was this Stasi women from the district council of Berlin Hohenschönhausen, Department of Internal Affairs. She didn’t want to let me go, even though I’d filed between 20 and 30 applications to leave for the West. East Germany was too boring, too unhip, too deadly dull for me. Most people did their best to realize their dreams in their early twenties: have kids, get married, kill kids, get divorced.

How fulfilling. Back to the Stasi woman. We got on well. I didn’t have to keep telling her fairy tales about the freedom of movement and expression. I’d told those stories so often since May 1986. That’s when they sat me down opposite three henchmen in a sparsely furnished room. One of them asked, “But why?”

I answered, “Just because!”

The next one asked exactly the same thing. “You’ve been sittin’ ’ere the ’ole time,” I said. “Ain’t you bin payin’ attention?”

“Yes, but I’d like hear it again from you personally.” The third henchman was just as quick on the uptake.

This went on for almost three years, every second or third Tuesday afternoon, for an hour at a time. Those blathering daydreamers went on and on about a society that takes care of your every need. That sounded fair enough, but how could it compare to punk rock and pornography?

At the beginning of 1989, they hinted that I would soon be released from my East German citizenship. To make sure I wouldn’t really hold it against them, at my last few appointments they conjured up a darling dungeon mistress: a delicate rose in her mid-twenties sporting a cute Liza Minelli hairdo.

The beginnings of an early summer’s tan toned down the treacherous pallor of her poor nutrition. She was wearing a sky-blue blouse. Under the negotiating table she was hiding a long black skirt with a sunflower print. I’d already seen it.

As she invited me in, hurrying straight to the negotiating table, she pressed the record button on the inside of the table leg. Why hadn’t the Stasi dished up this socialist nymph while I was still in puberty? Then I’d have become an informant. We talked about our holidays. I said, “Before I leave I’m going to the Baltic again. And then, who knows? Africa, America, Asia. Tha’s everyday life in the West, innit!”

“Yes,” she replied, “I’m going to Hungary one last time and, by the way, there are going to have to be some changes around here.” She gave me a meaningful look. I didn’t get it.

Somehow I thought they’d never let me out if we just kept on having nice chats. What was I supposed to do? Slam my fist on the table? My glands would probably secrete squads of protector hormones, prompting her to swoon into my arms! I’d learnt that at school. If I was nice to a girl, she’d let me carry her satchel, and if I called her names, she’d ask if I had a girlfriend. Be it at school, at the community centre disco, or the district council of Berlin Hohenschönhausen – politeness didn’t pay. I resolved to make a real scene at the next appointment. Without knocking, I strode in and announced, “Mornin’! I don’t love you!”

She looked surprised, a little sad even. Then she urged me not to do anything I would regret. Now what was that supposed to mean?

A few weeks later I exchanged my East German passport for a “certificate of identity”. In July 1989 I happily crossed the border. No, she wasn’t the love of my life. Nowadays we only see each other at parties thrown by the federal intelligence service. She gets her long blonde hair out of a bottle and her leathery brown skin from a sun-bed. We always pretend not to know each other. But who cares? These days I go out with one of my teachers instead.