Sometimes, you make mistakes...
rating: +16+x

So it was just all three now, me and the Moeller twins. Everyone left after the fiasco that was our last play. Ok, it was shit. Still. Money was running low, same for the dope. The room's a mess, seen too many parties and too little cleaning. I'm drinking one of our last beers with Ulrike, Einstürzende Neubauten blaring from the boombox does nothing to break the gloom.

“Sometimes you make mistakes”, she says as always, in her perennial monotone, “sometimes mistakes make you.”

Just another night with no future.

That's when Ute comes skipping home with another of her hare-brained schemes.

“Puppet show, work for three, paying well."

"Where did you even hear about that?"

"Not telling, just sign up."

"Puppets, seriously?"

"You want that next hit or not?"

"Fuck you."

"You know you want to…”

That's when I cave in. They both fucking know the best way to get me to agree to anything is bringing up their lesbian-threesome-cum-incest bullshit again, i'm not that kind of girl. Anything to make them shut up about that. Assholes, both of them, but likeable assholes. And we do need the money. Just not like that. Puppets, shit, I hate kids.

So we show up there the next evening. Surprisingly, the gig’s legit. At least the place is. Nicer than I expected too, well, depends on whose idea of nice, I guess, old industrial hangar, painted bits of machinery lying around. Why the hell is everything painted pink, though…
Bleachers outside, not kids sized, great. Not what I expected. Still feels strange that I've never heard of that place before.

So, I'm just sitting there in the car, waiting, wondering what's behind those doors. Ute’s just fooling around with her sister as usual, pointless to pry for more from her anyway. Not as if waiting for nothing wasn't my standard mode. The night's cold, a cloudy sky makes it dark as soot.
I can't really remember last time I saw the light of day.

The woman in charge finally shows up with her troupe. Ok, so from her clothes, I can totally put a face on all that pink. She'd stand out anywhere but the others are so bland I'll probably never match a name to their face. Actually, they might as well be faceless, I don't give a flying fuck. Pink is twitchy but seems friendly, or the other way around. In a hurry too. Show's on Saturday, can't even remember which day of the week is now. At last, she unlocks that door.

Yeah, puppets, carnival giants actually, papier maché and plaster, kind of ugly and crude but nothing I haven't seen before. Costumes, knick-knacks and tryhard sculptures against the walls. A lot of that is obviously just gathering dust. But the abomination in the middle makes me want to back out of that deal. Motherfucking headless, three metres tall, neon pink pony. On rusty wheels.
Ute's giggling, Ulrike's yawning. I'm just sweating. I mean, our shows never were tasty but that takes the cake. No way this is fucking happening. I totally want out but there's no backing out now, is there?

The pink lady doesn't seem to care for introductions, I guess Ute took care of that, I'd rather not know what she said. Not one for small talk either.

“The twins will push the float. You're short and thin, you'll fit in the head.”

She points at a broken thing hanging from the wall. A skeletal horse head, way too large to be real, polished white wood?, with a long fuchsia mane, cracked deer antlers and tinfoil earmuffs, a pink megaphone for a mouth, rawhide bellows for a neck. It's just a bit of shame, nobody will see my face at least. That thing literally stinks like rotting meat, though.

So there isn't anything more to it for us, the twins roll that thing towards the bleachers, I repeat the lines she feeds me through HF. The troupe silently dances around the pony, circling it slowly with a perfectly ridiculous solemnity which makes the whole thing disquieting.

Going back to the squat, we stop at a dive to get our feed of music, alcohol, people and drugs. Place is crappy but it's like a second home. Or a second not-a-real-home. Anyway, feels like an oasis after going through that desiccated pantomime. Ulrike's busy kissing her sister, but her eyes don't leave me. Will they ever stop? We hit the sacks right before dawn. Just hoping for a bit of nightmare free sleep, my life's enough in that department.

Back to rehearsing. I don't even know what's there to rehearse. Everything is so basic and Pink keeps feeding me her lines so it's not like I might forget them. Though, I'm not even sure they're the same as yesterday, or the day before. They feel new, but I can't remember what they'd replace. As if they actively resisted remembrance.

Doesn't matter. I just fucking wish it stopped raining. Two days to go and we're out of this gig. Back at our pad, the cot feels cold and I have a splitting headache. I hope I didn't catch anything nasty from staying inside that thing. It sure doesn't feel or smell like it's seen regular cleanings.

So this is the day. Not a hint of stage fright. No excitement either. Pink is the same terse. The dancers move like clockwork around the hangar. No audience yet when we arrived, I wonder who's going to pay for that. Or even watch for free. At this point, I don't even mind playing for the bleachers as long as I get paid.

Silence.

Pink strikes her trois coups. The door rumbles open. I can't see anything below but I hear Ute's muffled laugh. I can hardly see either through the floodlights. There is an audience, though. Masked, grey, stuffy silhouettes, hints of gleaming jewelry. Whispers and polite laughs.

The twins push the monster, always short of reaching the slowly moving yellow spotlight. The puppets circle us like apathetic vultures, dancing to the slow, slow whine of the rusty wheels. The lines keep coming, I am but a mouthpiece. The audience shows no reaction to anything but I don't care. This is so sluggish it's excruciating. I can hear Ute distorting them into something even more ridiculous, if anything can be more ludicrous than that mechanical masquerade. Unprofessional but not unexpected from her. She keeps getting louder. And lewder.

Oh, fuck that, at this point, I'm sure Pink’s furious and we're not getting paid anyway. I'll just repeat whatever Ute's drug-addled brain comes up with next.

“Here we come in solemn union,” Pink whispers through the pony’s speaker.

“The Moeller twins are the best kissers this side of Berlin,” Ute and I answer. No reaction from the audience.

“Held together by the ties that bind."

"When I'm done with this, I'm taking the knot.”

We're almost done, the spotlight has stopped, a few seconds more, we'll enter it, the dancers will converge to the float and we're heading home.

“We belong to you, now and always."

"My muff belongs to Ute Moeller!”

Ulrike's not letting the last word escape her,
“Let us forever be made and unmade."

"Sometimes you make mistakes, sometimes mistakes make you.”

Berlin's cool night sky for curtain. The audience stops whispering, there's a low, brown buzz getting louder in the air. Then silence punches me in the gut. Pangs of red. Then nothingness. All is silence. The audience is gone. So are the dancers. Pink helps me get out of her contraption and quietly takes my hand. She leads me back to the hangar and I'm too dazed to react. The twins follow, uncharacteristically silent.

The hangar feels gloomier tonight, like something's missing. Actually, the fluorescent tubes aren't buzzing anymore, so maybe it's just that. Pink still won't let go of my hand. She shows me to her digs under the rafters, I just follow, I don't feel in charge of anything anymore… No chairs, no bed either. Rugs, pillows, an eye-wrenching pink nest, the air’s heavy with the musty smell of dried roses…

I prop myself in a corner, she puts on a record on a gramophone but no music plays. She shows me a comic she's been reading, mythological stuff, but unfamiliar, a decaying city with a faceless, almighty ruler, not truly malevolent but preoccupied about keeping the citizens from leaving the walls above all else. I point to her how absurd the predicament of his worshippers is, she just shrugs.

She's pushing closer, spooning me. I'm beginning to feel truly uncomfortable… I bluster apologies and show myself out. The hangar’s empty. No trace of the twins. How long did I stay up there? And where did they run? I have the motherfucking keys. Probably shagging somewhere outside.

Car’s still there. I take a look round the bushes, under the bleachers. No one. Everything's deathly silent. Might as well check the road. There's a black van parked, wasn't there earlier. Door swings open. Some guy in black rolls out and lines me up with a rifle.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Wait. I've seen this guy before.
Where? Can't place that face for a second.

I know. In a car's vanity mirror. Memories flood. I can hear the sound of our performance. Wait, I'm that guy? I'm going insane, that bloody fucking doesn't make any sense. I can hear him thinking. Something about stopping senseless slaughter, orders or not. He's pissed at the woman sitted next to him, looks like a mean, cold, old bitch, doesn't move a finger, she's the spider to him. That's bullshit, I'm dreaming all this, it's im-fucking-possible.

A thump and a sharp pain bring me back. I turn away and start running. There's a dart sticking from my side. I rip it out and stumble towards the hangar.

I hear him calling from ahead of me. “Lock her up, I'm getting the others.”

I hear another door opening, footsteps behind me. I'm feeling woozy. I turn back, it's that woman. No way she's fucking real. I want to wake up. There's a hole in the concrete fence ahead. Pretty sure that wasn't there before. I slip through and fly towards the hangar. Literally. When the fuck did I learn how to fly? No time to think, can't think straight anyway.

Footsteps have stopped, I look back, no hole. Gunfire. Everything's out of focus. I make a sharp turn and head towards the door. He's leaning over the twins. They can't be dead. They just can't be dead. I can't feel my body. The light is hurting my eyes. Fade to grey.

I finally wake up from that nightmare. Except, this isn't the squat. Way too clean. Dull metal walls. I'd try to get up but I'm strapped to the bed. Surgical light blinding me. Is this a hospital? Noone’s here to answer. I scream. And wait. And scream. I'm dazed and hungry. The door finally opens. I didn't expect to see that face again, or rather I didn't want to… Except he's wearing orange, not black.

Questions bustle and clash through my head but only one comes out.

“Are they alive?"

"I'm afraid not. I can't tell you more and you probably wouldn't understand. Maybe it was a mistake. Do you know what she told me? - Sometimes you make mistakes, sometimes mistakes make you. - It feels like a lifetime ago. Only nine months. Before you ask, you won't see what you birthed. It's locked up in a box with two like it. Permanently, I think. It's neutralised, like everything else, anyway. I'm not sure why you lived. The other two died before term. You're the last instance alive. The spider wants to close that file and move on. You're to be decommissioned, I came to pick you up.”

I don't dig half of that. Decommissioned? What the fuck?
The guy in black, orange, whatever, is now holding a pistol. He looks as surprised as I am.

“I'm not supposed to have one of those. Maybe it's for the best.”

He unties me, says he's sorry for everything, tells me not to look. There's heavy, heavy silence. I can't take my eyes off that gun. He lifts it, shoves the barrel down his mouth, shoots, collapses.

I can't even scream anymore. I'm just standing there. The deafening tritone of a siren shakes me up. Can't wait to see who'll respond to that alarm. I fly out of the room, into an immense hallway lined with doors just like the one I exited. I hear shouts down the hall. The spider is the next thing I see. She grabs me, asks me where I think I'm going, tells me I wasted two years of her life by bearing a perfectly non-anomalous plastic toy. Pink. With a fuchsia mane. She mumbles something about a catheter, says that I'm to be terminated and to wait here for the guards. She never seems to stop, I can't take it anymore. I put my hands around her neck. She vanishes in a puff of pink glitter.

The walls around me are shaking, crumbling. I fly as fast as I can, the hallway never seems to end. The doors disgorge their content in a cacophonic pandemonium. I finally reach a hub of sorts. Exit's blocked by a blast door. I glide to the roof and punch through it. There's no other side, only nothingness, stars shimmering in the darkness as far as the eye can see. I fly towards the door and through it.

I don’t know how I got back to the squat. The streets are eerily empty and silent. Nothing of this can be real. I don't know when I fell asleep and started dreaming. I'll climb the stairs, and I’ll have a beer with the twins. But there's no squat. The rooms are bare and decaying, dust and rubble. Ulrike's graffiti are gone. So is the boombox, blasted silence. Not a trace of any of us. I can't believe that I couldn't save them, that they'll never be here when me again. Or maybe, maybe they never were in the first place and none of this is real. None of us ever were. All that is is a hole burnt through a mourner's veil and there's no living flesh to be seen through that hole. Outside, the void has too many stars and I am but one of them.

All is silence.

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