Description of a Coast

Rupprecht Mayer

About the colors I can tell you the least. The noise is so deafening, it even distracts the eye. Black granite, the bluish green of the water, dark green seaweed, blue sky, white spray. Red and other colors of the human body, if injuries occur. And don't ask me about the names of any coastal villages. I have been to sections 32 to 45, I think. Cliffs, slippery paths between rocks, some safety chains, rickety metal bridges. Stacked dwellings made of concrete, two or three stories high, the reinforcement often washed bare. Residents who look at you amicably, but also full of expectation, as if they wanted you to hire catamarans under palm trees. You start walking when the sea is calm, but towering breakers are never long in coming. Children's birthday parties with roaring salt water up to the hip are not uncommon. Walls are usually lacking. Coast people like Ernst are tired of discussing that. What happens to the kids? Yeah? Down there they reproduce by spawning, and there are plenty of young. Boys and girls grow a fish tail as soon as they are washed into the sea. He and Georg, whom I met several times, have frizzy hair not only on the back of their hands, but also on the palms. Hardly any furniture, some artwork made of shells and fossil corals. In the center of every house you will find a reinforced bathroom. They call it wet cell, appropriately enough. If the building, or better the skeleton of a building, is flooded by a strong surge, nothing will happen to the guests who found refuge in this room. In the cliffs, the mouths of underground pipelines lead the breaker overflow far inland. One of the tubes reaches Anodesburg, where the Days of New Music take place biannually, curated by Loretta Plankton. There, the subterranean rumbling and gurgling of the invading and receding water is clearly heard. The women at the coast prefer to go naked, but always look somewhat stressed out. I've not talked to them yet. Guttural sounds, to put it in another way. Besides Ernst and Georg I also know Max, from section 42. The coast is situated in the Northeast of our country. Maybe I can recall even more, but first you have to believe all this. I have been there several times, awake and in my dreams. And my dreams are very accurate.

Author Portrait

Rupprecht Mayer was born 1946 near Salzburg, Austria. After some 20 years studying and working in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, he recently resettled in Bavaria. He translates Chinese literature and writes short prose and poetry in German and English. English versions appeared in Atticus, Bicycle Review, Frostwriting, Hobart, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, NAP, Nano Fiction, Ninth Letter, Orange Quarterly, Postcard Shorts, Prick of the Spindle, Radius, and Washington Square Review.

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