Other people's clothes

A preprint from the soon to be published novel

I had really only known her from a distance, I never imagined spending a year in a foreign country with Hailey Mader. I knew she wore Chanel Mademoiselle—a ubiquitous windexy vanilla scent that was popular with dental hygienists, gallery assistants and other women proximate to benign power. I knew she possessed the frightening fortitude to break her own nose, chewed Dentyne Ice gum, and decorated her dorm with 1930s posters of Italian liquors—but I had no idea what Hailey’s artwork was like. I’d never seen her in the pit. She’d told me once with an air of deep seriousness that her work was conceptual, as if that explained everything. At school, to me, she was a character in a poorly acted TV show with only the edges of an identity.

But apparently Hailey could speak German, a fact which Carol had been excited to relay while she handed me a wad of brochures. I was relieved I wouldn’t be alone. Relieved someone else might have a plan. I still had Hailey’s number from a study group so I called, and she’d sounded genuinely excited, rattling things off—her tickets were booked, she’d found a hostel, she’d get a new sim card when she got there. But there had been a slight falter in her voice towards the end of the conversation, a barely noticeable shift in tone, as if it were just dawning on her that she would no longer be alone. I imagined Hailey might have wanted to re-invent herself in Berlin. Maybe she’d watched Cabaret with Liza Minnelli too many times. Or maybe she’d planned on cutting her bangs short and producing techno. Or maybe she also wanted to escape the assholes in New York. Whatever it was, by the end of the call she knew we were stuck together.

Our first meal in a proper Berlin restaurant was at a fondue place near the hostel, a dark hobbit hole with knobby wooden chairs, thick menus and flickering candles. The waiter was cute in a crusty-teenage-heart-throb way, and kept theatrically checking in to make sure we were ok, then retreating with a wink. I asked Hailey why he was being so nice.
“We are hot and barely twenty. And foreign.” She stared the waiter down with a fuck-me grin while slugging a square of bread through the thick bubbling cheese, he reciprocated with a head nod as if he were going to jerk off in the backroom.
“So what happened with Ivy?”
I stuttered. I hadn’t realized she’d known about Ivy. I’d missed my final crits for the funeral, so I guess everyone in my classes knew, but I had somehow hoped to keep her for myself here. Before I’d left for Berlin I was still regularly forgetting, thinking of things to tell her, pulling out my phone—and only after I’d began typing would it hit me that she was gone. I thought the distance would help me peel back the layers of hurt but it had only made it harder to acknowledge.
“She was murdered,” I said matter-of-factly, startling myself.
“I know,” Hailey said, subtly gesturing her knife towards her neck. “Do you know who did it? Like do you have any ideas?”
I couldn’t look at her. “No leads. They think it was completely random.” I was mushing the remnants of my plate. I wasn’t ready to trust Hailey with Ivy.
She was holding my stare, she wanted more, she jabbed a chunk of bread, “Nothing’s random.” I shifted my focus to the drone of the refrigerator holding chocolate cakes iced in what appeared to be whipped concrete.
“Did you dye your hair to look like her?”
“How do you know she was blonde?” I asked, startled.
“I looked her up on Facebook,” she paused, “everyone loves a dead girl.”
I nearly spit out a nub of bread,
Hailey continued. “And anyway, we can be best friends now. I’ve never really had one—my family moved around a lot.”
I was relieved when the waiter interrupted my silence and Hailey began speaking in overly enthusiastic German. The language frightened me, every sentence felt like a car being compressed into a cube, it seemed impossible to flirt—but the waiter was laughing and Hailey was coquettishly tracing her collarbone. The situation embarrassed me. I stared out the argyle stained glass window until he left. We counted our shiny new currency, terrified goblins, Hailey whispered that we didn’t have to tip too much, it was different in Germany, but it felt too weird, so we tipped like Americans, regretting it as we trudged back to Hostel Star.

Starship 19: Apokolypse of the praktikal moment - Cover Nora Schultz
  1. Whales Nora Schultz
  2. John Boskovich John Boskovich
  3. Anonymus Place Nong Shoahua
  4. Plants and Fruits Rosa Aiello
  5. Freedom and control of others (including myself) Cornelia Herfurtner
  6. Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis in 5 chapters Jack Smith
  7. Talking with Elizabeth Ravn Julia Jung
  8. Entropic Delusional Culture Eric D. Clark
  9. How to tell a story? Francesca Drechsler
  10. A Visit from the Left Robert M. Ochshorn
  11. Lies don’t fact. On voices and fake news Mihaela Chiriac
  12. Unwirklichkeit und Wirklichkeit von sozialem Sadismus Stephan Janitzky
  13. things are scattered Max Schmidtlein
  14. Inferius Sorbilis Tinctura Elijah Burgher
  15. Looking like a human cat Stephanie Fezer, Vera Tollmann
  16. María Galindo Maria Galindo
  17. Introducing the parliament of bodies Paul B. Preciado
  18. Spukken trippen 2 Lars Bang Larsen
  19. Pieces and Masterpieces Jakob Kolding
  20. Still Lifes Vera Palme
  21. Nullerjahre Tenzing Barshee
  22. No Dandy, No Fun Hans-Christian Dany, Valérie Knoll
  23. Triplets Mark von Schlegell
  24. Kontaktlos ist nicht der Standard Ulla Rossek
  25. The Mythology of Modern Law David Bussel
  26. Another Fish Story Jay Chung
  27. A biographical interview with Huang Rui Ariane Müller, Huang Rui, Bei Dao, Mang Ke, Gu Cheng
  28. dp how many times Karl Holmqvist
  29. Save digital tech Mercedes Bunz
  30. Two dark patches Haytham El-Wardany
  31. Reflecting in Sizes Yuki Kimura
  32. Amazon Worker Cage Simon Denny
  33. La Escuela Nueva Florian Zeyfang, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, Alexander Schmoeger
  34. I hope you keep in mind you and I are left behind Michèle Graf, Selina Grüter
  35. da ich nichts weiter tue als mich in mir umzutun Elisa R. Linn
  36. Basketcase part 1 Gerry Bibby
  37. A conversation between Daniel Herleth and Samuel Jeffery Daniel Herleth, Samuel Jeffery
  38. Dear Starship Julian Göthe
  39. The Boulders Amelie von Wulffen
  40. Other people's clothes Carter Frasier
  41. Damn Forest Mark van Yetter
  42. Imprint 19 Starship
pageview counter pixel