"I should have stayed at home," he says

by Rajiv Steinberg, TheShortStraw political, homeopathic and women's shoes correspondent

VIENNA, AUSTRIA ( Kranzinger returned early from an around-the-world trip sponsored by Austrian Airlines that he had won by being the first to correctly guess the bra size--34B--of Herman Goering's grandmother during a radio talk show contest.

Returning from his year-long trip eleven-and-a-half months early, he said he was, "dizguzted vit ze vorld'z ztate of affairz."

When asked which state of affairs, whether poverty, wars, malnutrition, or perhaps pollution, Kranzinger, a pet shop owner from Kalkgruben, with a ruddy complexion and a moustache perpetually marked by beer foam ("It'z not foam, it'z a birthmark," he insists indignantly) replied: "Don't be an idiot, ya? I'm referring to all ze foreignerz. It'z juzt zo darn confuzing out zere. Das Ungeziefer. Vermin."

Kranzinger was then asked by TheShortStraw correspondent which vermin he referred to specifically, cockroaches, rats, other species?

Shot back Kranzinger: "I zaid, don't be an idiot. Of courze I don't mean zose vermin. I am referring to human vermin, ya? Schweinhund. Und zpeaking of vhich, vat zort of nationality are you anyway?"

This TheShortStraw correspondent, judging the sensitive nature of the topic as well as the heated nature of the interviewee, decided it was better to leave the question unanswered with any degree of honesty. He replied his mother was English; father Swedish.

"Ach zo," said Kranzinger, squinting and putting on his glasses. "Iz dat zo? Hmm, I am not zo zure.You look very zuzpiciouz to me, ya? If I didn't know better, I vould zay you are a vermin of ze firzt order." Kranzinger chuckled. "Zomeone zay order? Order? Get it?"

Until his trip, Kranzinger had never left Austria, and rarely Kalkgruben. A fanatical follower of Joerg Haider, the right-wing politician, Kranzinger decided to see for himself the evils Haider has often warned about.

"It vaz much vorze zan ze fuhrer-I mean, our leader, Herr Haider-zayz it iz. Und, in particular, becauze of ze vermin, you never know vhere in za vorld you are, it'z a mez, ya? Scheisse!"

Kranzinger elaborated that upon arrival he had mistaken Paris, his first destination, for Algiers.

"Zere vere all zese Arabz valking around, und on every ztreet corner zey own ze café, I zought ze pilot made an error, zat it vas ze middle eazt, zo I zaid, whew, ziz place needz a good doze of etnic cleanzing, ya, und I hopped on ze firzt plane for London. London--ah, zoze lilly vhite Londonerz, vhite as lilliez or pale az chalk, dependz how you look at it, eiter vay, a lovely zight. We love ze English. Herr Hitler alzo admired zem in ze beginning before zey turned unruly und difficult. But vhen I got off ze plane in London-vell, zere vere all zeze brown people, many vit ze turbanz, ya-scheisse!-only thing mizzing vaz one of zem playing a flute und a znake coming out ze bazket. I zought I vaz in Pakiztan. Und I zought, damn zeze pilotz today. I vas terribly frightened."

Kranzinger wiped his brow and continued: "Zo, I got back on ze plane und vent to Miami. Mein Gott, zere, even worze, ya? No one zpoke any English! Vhat iz ze vorld coming to? A mozt dreadful experience, to zay ze leazt. It vaz avful. Vhere have gone all ze Anglo-Zaxons? Scheisse!"

Kranzinger zen vent-uh, TheShortStraw correspondent apologizes, he had spent several hours too many with Kranzinger.

Let's try it again: Kranzinger then went to the south of Spain.

"Now zere it vas good, ya? Zere vere many pubz vit German vriting, und German sausage und mustard und beer, ya, und ze oom-pa-pa German zongs und muzic, und I felt right at home, except for ze occazional Zpaniard lackey, ze dogz. Ztill, it vaz zo much like home zat I got homezick und I got on ze next flight back to Austria."

In Kalkgruben and visibly more relaxed, Kranzinger, chomping a sausage and drinking a beer from a glass mug with a nearly naked woman inside (the mug, he says, has been in the family for two hours or twelve generations, depending on how much he had had to drink that day), said that only now did he fully understand Haider's words of warning.

"Ze man'z a geniuz," Kranzinger said. "True, he haz no muztache to zpeak of--ztill, und I vould bet my vife'z dumplingz on zis--he'z ze only one vho can prevent zoze louzy vermin from turning zis place into denz of inequity like Pariz or London. I don't vant to get too philosophical, but zoze placez have become like a brothel vitout ze proztitutez, if zat iz not too difficult for zomeone like you to underztand, schweinhund. Svedish fazer, mein azz, more like a Cherokee mozer, und a monkey for ze fazer, ya?"

Kranzinger shivered suddenly from the memories and the presence of TheShortStraw correspondent as if from an icy draught, then smiled sheepishly. He wiped a bit of mustard from his moustache, and said: Scheisse, it's good to be home. Now, get out."

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


TheShortStraw is intended for use by those age 18 and older. All stories are fictional and satirical and should not in any way be construed as fact. All contents Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw. All rights reserved.

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