Horst the Bottler

Horst bends his knees and reaches for the bottle. It is promptly kicked away from him, out of sight and into the bushes. Horst stays crouched as he considers the implications of what just happened.Either someone is playing this old man for a fool, or else said person fully intends to prevent me leaving the park with any empty bottles at all.Horst starts to rise. His widening eyes take in his surroundings just as a hunted animal assesses escape routes. But this is his park. All of the other “bottlers” in this area of Berlin know and respect that fact. Therefore, his contender must not be a fellow bottler, unless he is new on the scene and asserting himself.Why can’t I just be left in peace to go about my work? I need to deposit enough bottles tonight that I can afford a chicken sandwich and a raspberry joghurt.The park is rectangular shaped: very long but not all that wide. Yet, it has been a busy summer evening; in the past twenty minutes alone he managed to collect thirty-five jettisoned bottles. Precious bullion. Of course the young people, mainly the backpackers, are cheerfully oblivious to the Deposit System.If I was thirty years younger this guy, whoever he is, would not stand a chance. I would break a bottle on my own body to demonstrate how serious I am.Despite his ageing frame, Horst feels that his mental capabilities are as sharp as ever, particularly in judging character. The initial signs are worrying; the man’s fists are clenched and his chest is fully expanded. Horst straightens up, as erect as his aching muscles allow, and locks eyes with the man. He breathes a quiet sigh of relief.“Was willst du, denn? Willst du meine Flasche?”Naturally, Horst wants the man’s bottle, but he is briefly content in the knowledge that he will hold onto the other empties. This man is an outcast as well; he is unaccompanied. And his eyes betray him. Although the man continues to act belligerent, Horst knows that he will ultimately come to no harm.

Horst the Bottler

loughy1

Joined December 2007

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Trouble at Work

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