Kathryn Wright

Haifisch, Hilf Mir, Ein Lied, Engel

The shark glides through the water, glaring at the creatures outside of its plexiglass prison. There are tiny creatures and larger ones, probably adults and offspring, but he cannot guarantee that is the correct answer. These tiny creatures pass by the prison and point their deformed fins at him and the others in his cell, then of course the small ones have to start pounding upon the plexiglass and attempt to deafen the poor captives. He looks to his cellmates, to confirm that these tiny creatures are a nuisance, but they are swimming near the surface, they know that soon one of these creatures will appear from above the prison and drop shreds of putrid fish into their prison. The others will charge forward, claiming their pieces of bloody artificiality before someone else can debate the claim. He does not join in this game.

Und der Haifisch der hat Tränen1

Maybe he has been in a prison for his entire life, he really cannot tell, but at least he remembers a time when he could swim eternally and never meet a wall. The fish swam away from him in terror, but that rarely mattered as he would only catch all of the ones he needed to survive, while the others were allowed to swim away. His kindred knew a hierarchy, one that enforced the drive to become the best. His former mates would laugh their dorsal fins off if they saw him now, he used to be popular with the women, and according to rumors he heard he was also very succesful with them. Of course, there was always the chance that some of them were in a prison like this. He had heard from some of the others here that there were prisons around the world, always eager to grab a new captive.

Und die laufen vom Gesicht1

He cringed slightly as the tainted water ran over his wound. He had not come in easily when the creatures tried to haul him out of the water. It did not help his fight that he had been injured in an earlier fight, but he had managed to cause some damage to his captors, and so he was not completely ashamed of himself. He had been wounded in the previous fight –he had fought a few young rapscallions who seemed to not remember the hierarchy –but those wounds had healed over already, leaving nothing more than long thin scars. It would never heal, not while he was still furious at these creatures for incarcerating him, and not even telling him what his charges were. He would escape this watery prison, soon, and find his way back to his home, no matter what this endeavor cost.

Doch der Haifisch lebt im Wasser1

How would he escape? There was a creature that opened a door leading to the outside every day, but that door looked much too narrow for him, and that would be a rather impressive leap for him to even get through it if he could fit. No, he could not escape alive, only death could bring him the freedom he sought. He could attack one of the others, and hope that he responded correctly, but they were all so sterilized, he would probably just scream and die. He would have to do this on his own. Break down the walls? He had tried that before with no such luck. While he hated to admit it, the best option he could find was drowning. It would be humiliating if it was an accident, but as this was suicide, it would be an amazing protest. Just stop swimming, stop allowing the air to flow into his gills, just stop the fight in order to win it. This will be my beautiful end.

so die Tränen sieht man nicht1

The creatures dove into the prison to retrieve his stiff body.

"What the hell do you think was wrong with him?"

"I don't know. Poor bastard, he was supposed to be released into the wild tomorrow. Well, at least he died where it was safe."

***

Timmy loved the park almost as much as he loved the aquarium. He had started pre-scholl about a week ago, and the adults were already complaining about how much he loved to explore, and how he always ran away from them. Sometimes he would run over to his parents, and get one of them to play with him. But he avoided doing that now because it always made the un-chosen parent mad, and then his parents would argue for the entire walk home. He was getting somewhat bored –all of his friends had already gone home for a nap –but when he looked up at his parents, they were already in the heat of an argument. He sighed then began to walk around the park, looking for something to do that he had not already done a dozen times today.

Aus der Asche ganz allein2

He walked far away from the yelling, it hurt his ears, and for some reason it always made him sad, and he could not help but think that whatever they were yelling about, it was all his fault. He found a high hill, the slopes covered in soft dark green grass and wildflowers of every hue. The slopes were steep, but he was four years old, he could still do anything that he set his mind to accomplish. He kept in mind what his best friend's parents had taught him, put one foot in front of the other and eventually you will get where you want to go, and slowly ascented the slope. He slipped several times, his shoes ripping out the grass as his foot slipped, creating dark red swipes in the luscious green landscape. He made it to the top of the hill and glanced around. The top was nearly completely flat and barren, with a small circle of rocks in the dead center of the wasteland, and soot and pieces of logs in the center of the rock circle.

Steig ich auf zum Sonnenschein2

He walked over to the dark circle, staring intently at the abnormality of the scene. There was a small box near the circle, he picked it up and examined it, finding that there were two rough sides and two smooth sides and a little tray that slid out of it. Within this tray there were several sticks with rough elliptical tips, he had seen one of these boxes before, his grandfather had several. From watching his grandfather on days when his parents could not tolerate him anymore, he had learned that when you strike the rough patch on the stick against the rough patch on the box, you would create a pretty light. He took one of the sticks and struck it against the box, but only a tiny spark was created, he coaxed the spark, telling it things that he always wished someone would say to him, saying things like 'good job' and 'I knew you could do it'. He tried several more times until finally a flame sprung from the stick.

Das Feuer liebt mich2

He stared at the beautiful light he had fathered until the unruly child began to burn his fingers. He screamed and dropped the stick onto a log in the stone circle. The fire steadily began to grow, absorbing nutrients from the partially burned remains of the wood. He knelt down near to the circle, watching the fire grow slightly larger every few seconds, feeling proud of accomplishing something for the first time in his life, or at least his parents might think that. The flame was larger than him, and so he stood and stared up at how large it had grown, admiring the work he had done. Would his parents be proud of him, maybe so proud that they would stop fighting long enough to congratulate him? So intent he was in watching that he did not even notice the spark that leapt from the fire onto his shirt. An hour later, both fires killed themselves, deprived as they were of nutrients, leaving behind only the charred remains of its disillusioned father.

Das Feuer liebt mich nicht2

***

Billy wheeled away from the park, he used to talk to Jimmy there, but he had only recently learned of his death. It was unfortunate, he had always liked Jimmy, he was the only kid that had ever listened to his stories without complaining. Jimmy never appeared disgusted by Billy's deformed legs. He wanted to think about other things, there was nothing he could do to help Jimmy, so he needed to concentrate upon helping someone else. He liked helping people in whatever way he could, that moment when they were relieved to have someone around, when they would ignore his deformity and think of him as a kind soul, that was the moment he lived for. A trip through the town was the next thing for him to do, search the streets for someone who could use a helping hand and offer them one, that was what he spent his days doing.

Wer Gutes tut dem wird vergeben3

Of course there were people around who had more groceries in the trunk of their car that they could not carry in one trip, but it was always the same excuse, they lived on the fifth floor and there were only stairs, or something like that. He doubted that was true all of the time, more likely than not people just didn't want him around but didn't consider it polite to come out and say so, so instead they pointed out his deformity and told him he was useless because of it. Still, there was no point in arguing with them –that would make him an angry cripple, and no one likes them –so he would smile and say good-bye then wheel off. After determining for today that everyone he had met thought him repulsive, he wheeled off towards his home, say 'good day' to everyone he met along the way. Once home he mused upon the day, reminding himself that people were not mean, they were just afraid of what they didn't know. They were good people, they just had not gotten used to him yet, sure he had lived in the same town for nearly thirty years now, but give them some more time and they would accept him.

So seid recht gut auf allen Wegen3

After he had convinced himself once more that things would change for him, he turned his cd player on and pushed play. The same cd had been in there for the past few days, but he loved it, so he did not mind the repetition. The dark guitar and keyboard began to ring out as "Benzin" began, it was Rammstein's album "Rosenrot", he had picked it up recently in a second-hand music store. He often considered it the best six dollars he had ever spent. He wheeled back to a small room, it was probably supposed to be a closet, but he used it as a studio. There was one painting in there, unfinished, that he had been working on for the past four years, every time he thought it was nearly complete, he would find something missing and spend several more months fixing it. He knew it was almost done now, he was running out of details to add, also he was getting rather bored of it. It would occupy his time until eleven when the midnight train would come speeding by his home. Every night at five til eleven, he would stop his work, switch on the porch light, and wait outside until the train was almost upon him. He would wave to the conductor, and in return the conductor would blow the whistle long and hard right by his home. He knew it made a difference to them to have someone happy to see them.

Dann bekommt ihr bald Besuch3

He heard several thuds once the engine had passed him, he peered into the darkness and discerned what looked like two men with guitars. Once they were close enough, he noted that their clothes were rather worn and a bit of coal dust had covered them, giving them a monochromatic look. He invited them inside and gave them all they cared to eat and a place to sleep for as long as they cared to stay. Something was curious about them, they were both rather young and handsome men, but they seemed to be ragged beyond their years, he was curious as to why but he figured it would be impolite of him to pry into their lives. They talked for hours upon hours about everything from Rammstein to van Gogh to string theory. He was hoping that they would stay for more than just the night, it felt so good to talk to people who were intelligent and didn't give a damn that he was a cripple.

"If you don't mind my asking, what are you boys doing out here anyway? Didn't think there was much excitement out here."

"Well, honestly sir, we were looking for you. I'd say we did a rather damn good job finding you," the taller of the two said.

"Lookin' for me? I'll be damned, I didn't think I was well-known. Why were you lookin'?"

"I'm sorry sir, but we are angels of death. We were sent to fetch you." It seemed that the taller one was the leader of the two, as he had been the one who talked the most out of the two.

"Damn, does everyone get a personal escort? You two must be busy as hell then."

"No, heaven sent us because they like you. We hear a lot of people are scared when they die, and so they do stupid things. Things that can jeopardize their destination, if you know what I mean. As I said, heaven likes you, so they wanted to make sure there was someone here to make sure everything went smoothly."

"That's awfully kind of you. I don't feel like I'm dying, so how do you know its my time?"

"You'll die in about," he looked down at his watch "ten minutes. Heart attack. Most unfortunate."

"So when that happens, you two will make sure I get to heaven?"

"Yessah. In the meantime, any last requests?"

He thought for a long time. He could ask them about what it is like in heaven, or if any of that Armageddon stuff is true. There were so many questions you could ask an angel, but would that be polite, to interrogate guests?

"Well, I'd hate to inconvenience you two, but I see you have guitars with you. You two wouldn't mind giving me one last song, would you?"

The tall one smiled "That sir, comes free. But we'll give you a few, and make sure that we play them a hell of a lot better than hell."

He was found several days later after the conductor told local authority that he hadn't seen Billy in a while. The coroner determined that he had died of a heart attack at 4:30 in the morning. He was not able to determine why Billy had died smiling.

wir kommen mit dem Liederbuch3

***

The two angels returned to their home. It was not so much a home, as a space behind the clouds in which there was enough space for them to stand and stretch their wings ever so slightly. He did not like to gloat about his height, but he was glad that he was abnormally tall. His shorter friend was stuck with his nose at the same level of most everyone else's, he was stuck in the stench and heat that occurs when thousands upon thousands of hominids were packed into a small area. The trip had taken them longer than they thought and it was now dark and time for their home to sleep. Technically that meant the B shift could sleep while the A shift kept an eye on the living, but no one slept, there was no room to sleep.

Erst wenn die Wolken schlafengehn4

"Come on Sid, its time for our shift. Let's see if there are any good concerts going on," the tall one said.

"You'll just be looking for Rammstein concerts. I want to hear Metallica." He grumbled as he trudged towards the end of the watch cloud.

"Let's just be excited if we find anything other than pre-pubescent auto-tuned whores."

He scanned the land, looking for any demons up to some mischief, or mortals trying to do themselves in, the typical things that angels were supposed to thwart. Rammstein would be in the studio for the next month, and of course they only recorded during the day, so he would not get to hear any of their new material. He laughed as he heard some of the conversations on Earth. Particularly on Sunday and Wednesday nights, he would hear discussions about God and angels, how God was so great and could do anything he wanted, and angels were so free and happy and beautiful and they could fly away. True, he had wings, but he could not fly, nor had he ever been able to. The wings allowed him to glide down to Earth, they were much too arthritic from having to be held close to him and too broken from crash landings that they scarcely worked as a glider anymore. After listening in on these discussions, he would note people looking up at the sky, and like a child he would hope that they could see him. When they looked his way, he would raise his wings and sort of wave with them. No one ever waved back, though he was sure that he had caused a few smiles for lonely children.

kann man uns am Himmel sehn4

The cloud shook below his feet, and he fell, barely having enough time to grab hold of the edge of the cloud. Others fell, their screams piercing his eardrums, he wished he could hide away from the noise, but he needed his hands to hold on until he could climb back on top of the cloud. He did not know why God permitted the storms to continue like that, everytime a storm sprung, several angels would fall to the Earth, shattering upon contact, but immortal so that they were forced to lie in pieces until someone went down and saved them. Once he managed to climb back upon the cloud, he glanced around to see who was there: the twenty A. africanus, check; fifteen Homo erectus, check; nine Homo habilis, check; he did not count any missing until he got to his generation and younger, out of the 93,457 of them, 15 were missing. He found all of the people he knew except for Sid. The next time he was sent down to Earth, he would see if he could take some time to find the pieces of Sid, and put him back together, though God rarely ever sent them down to Earth anymore. God would approve of an angel helping out another angel, right? They were supposed to do good and protect people, so wouldn't that include protecting other angels? He was terrified of finding out, but he would still do it.

wir haben Angst und sind allein4

He sat down upon the raging cloud and searched for where the fifteen had landed, hoping that he would be able to figure out which one was Sid. He searched for nearly three hours before the shift ended and Shift B would watch the waking world. He went back to his space upon the main cloud and sat down, pulling his knees to his chest and resting his forehead upon his knees. His broken moth-eaten infected snow-white wings circling around his trembling form, hiding him from the reality he wanted to forget. He mourned for Sid, true he was still undead, but he would never be the same after this. He would always be a little more wary of heights, always a little scared, he would have less muscle and nerve control, he would probably be littered with scars, and why? All because he had been too close to the edge looking for a fucking concert when God had decided upon a whim to have a fucking storm. He was not even sure if that is what Sid was looking for, he could have been watching young lovers, or the first words of a child, or hell, Sid had died young and recently, maybe he was watching the first words of his child, or listening to the prayers of his girlfriend or wife. He only knew that Sid's name was Sid and he liked Metallica, but that was more than he knew about any of the others, and thus Sid was his best friend up in this hell. He cried himself to sleep, his pathetic wings shielding him from the frigid torrents of wind assaulting the other angels.

Gott weiß ich will kein Engel sein4

***

1 Und der Haifisch der hat Tränen And the shark it has tears

Und die laufen vom Gesicht And they run down its face

Doch der Haifisch lebt in Wasser But the shark lives in water

so die Tränen sieht man nicht So no one sees the tears

"Haifisch" by Rammstein

2 Aus der Asche ganz allein From the ashes, all alone

Steig ich auf zum Sonnenschein I climb up to the sunshine

Das feuer liebt mich The fire loves me

Das feuer liebt mich nicht The fire loves me not

"Hilf Mir" by Rammstein

3 Wer Gutes tut dem wird vergeben Whoever does good will be forgiven

So seid recht gut auf allen Wegen Therefore be good in all your journeys

Dann bekommt ihr bald Besuch Then you'll soon have visitors

wir kommen mit dem Liederbuch We'll come with the songbook

"Ein Lied" by Rammstein

4 Erst wenn die Wolken schlafengehn Only once the clouds have gone to sleep

kann man uns am Himmel sehn can you see us in the sky

wir haben Angst und sind allein we are afraid and alone

Gott weiß ich will kein Engel sein God knows I don't want to be an angel

"Engel" by Rammstein