Ina Maria Vogel

After what felt like an eternity, I was finally called to counter 15 where, judging by the crookedly pinned nameplate, Herr Gottsknecht was impatiently waiting for me. His left eye looked stubbornly northwestwards, while his right eye drifted predominantly southeastwards. Predominantly, because a slight twitch kept forcing it to briefly change directions every now and then. A pair of glasses was trying to unite the two, to guide them, to make them look slightly less bizarre – but it obviously remained an unsuccessful attempt. Neither of his eyes was looking at the screen in front of him, and neither seemed to be looking in my direction. Nonetheless, he promptly addressed me with a merciless and harsh sounding “Guten Tag,” and I proceeded to explain my request. Herr Gottsknecht snorted loudly and was telling me in an irritated tone that the refund could only be applied for online.

I mentally began to sigh because the only reason I ever decided to drag myself through this in-person process was because the Deutsche Bahn website kept crashing and none of my countless attempts to get that damn refund had proven successful. I decided, however, to keep my inner frustration to myself and replied with a short, “I tried that. Didn’t work.”

I showed him my phone, where I had saved the ticket. Then, without asking for my permission, he reached for the device, took it out of my hands and started pounding on the display, trying to process the refund online, once more. In the process he snorted again, loudly and heavily. On his desk, just within reach of his right hand, I spotted an enormous-sized jar filled with peanuts. The nuts must have been dipped into a mixture of unidentifiable spices that, I imagined, immediately left a sticky stain on the fingers whenever a hand would reach inside to grab a few.

While I was still pondering this erratic and poorly thought-out choice of snacks, I suddenly observed Herr Gottsknecht’s short, meaty hand starting to dig into the jar right in front of my eyes. Absentmindedly, he had retrieved a generous scoop of nuts, jugged them into his mouth and gobbled them up all at once. While chewing, he looked almost satisfied for the first time in this interaction. Still staring at my phone, he then moved his spice-covered fingers up to his mouth to lick off the sticky, powdery substance. Before I was mentally able to grasp what I had just seen, let alone process it, my brain had to endure the next sensory overload: The very same fingers that he had just licked off were now tapping away on my phone screen, trying once again to initiate the refund online, all the while leaving hefty juicy fingerprints on the display. “Doesn’t work,” Herr Gottsknecht said, pushing the phone back into my hand and giving me a pitiful look with half an eye.

I surrendered to the hopelessness of the situation, mentally kissed my refund goodbye, and started to slowly make my way out of the travel center. I was being carried out into the concourse in the slipstream of a large family that, judging from the snarky conversation, had been similarly unlucky with their endeavor. Still somewhat disturbed by the utter waste of lifetime that had just occurred inside, I opened one of the large glass doors of the entrance and finally found myself outside the building again, right in the middle of all the hopeful and hopeless lingering on the front steps. Immediately, I was blinded by the setting sun. A beggar approached me, asking for change, and, while I rummaged around in my purse, I wondered where I had left my sunglasses. Then a vague idea occurred to me: probably at counter 15, right next to a giant jar of peanuts.

(…to be continued…)

Series – Evanescent

January: If Something Can Go Wrong…It Will – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Planet of Pleasure – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)

March: Evening with Jackie Chan – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

April: Vuvuzelas, Walkie-Talkies and Madiba Magic – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Remembering – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

June: 5-4-3-2-1 – Talia Stotts (America)

July: Getting Ready for Newborns – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

August: Regrets – Kate Korneeva (Russia)

September: A Hollow Pursuit – Diana Haidar (Syria)

October: The Test – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

November: A Life Rekindled – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

December: Wanderlust – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

Special: Catching Water III – Javier Gomez (Argentina)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world


Cover photo: Frankfurt, Germany – Crossing – Travelview (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.