Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

He was crippled by addiction

ary that fell on his kopf vom tippy oben auf dem Bücherregalfiel.

Had it not been the Dutch/Deutsch 21st Century Unabridged Dictionary, he may have rubbed his head and walked away, but the heavy block of thick pages in the hardback cover schlug ihn auf den Arsch to the cold tile floor.


His kopf was turned toward the thick, luxurious alpaca rug two inches away.

“Missed by that much.” He lamented. He could not his arm geliften. His fingers in view gebringen.

Wasser und brot. Wasser und brot.

Dutch/Deutsch, warum?

My wife is Dutch. Wir lernen Deutsch so that we can retire in Swaziland, Sweden . . .Switzerland, that’s it.


“Yes, Dave.”

A woman’s Scottish-lilted voice came from a luminous blue disc hovering silently above the accent table across the room.


“What is it, Dave?”

“Wo is meine Frau?” Did I just speak German?

“Let me check.” A soft humming emitted from the disc. And a moment later, “She is at a luncheon with Connie, Cathy and Katie at the Carson Club.”

Vier frauen beim mittagessen. That might go on für immer.

“Eureka, I need you to call neun-eins-eins.”

“Why, Dave?”

“Warum? Weil ich gefallen bin und nicht aufstehen kann!”

“Are you sure you can’t get up? You do realize that prank 9–1–1 calls are punishable by . . .”

“Eureka, bitte.”

Eureka moved towards him, hovering above his still body from toe to head. Backing a foot away, she dashed at his torso and poked him in the ribs. Dave clutched his sides and rolled on the floor, laughing and shooing her away.

Catching his breath, Dave arose dizzily from the floor just as Mila called to him from the front hall.

“Ich bin hier,” he answered.

Mila stopped short at seeing him clutching the bookcase for support and the dictionary on the floor at his feet.

“Es fiel auf mich,” Dave explained.

Mila hugged him fiercely. “It’s my fault. I was putting it on the top shelf to make room for some other books. I went to get the step stool — that’s when Connie called me, and I left for lunch. The book was barely in place and it fell on your head. I’m so sorry.”

“Das ist okay. Mila, ich denke in Englisch und spreche in Deutsch. Das ist verrückt . Wenn wir nächstes Jahr in die Schweiz ziehen, kann ich mit Menschen sprechen.”

“Slow down, honey. I can’t understand everything. I think you said, you’re thinking in English and speaking in German. . .”

Dave nodded.

“. . .and when we move to Switzerland next year, you can talk to people. But sweetie, don’t you remember? We’re not moving to Solothurn, we’re going to live in Bellizona.


“The Italian part of Switzerland.”

Dave sat down and let out a sigh of dismay. “Italienisch?”

“Yes, it’s not as expensive to live there, and. . .”


“Yes, Dave.”

“Get me all the Mario Puzo books we have and throw them at me.”

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