Actually my name is Uli Zuper and at the beginning of January I found a notebook consisting of stories accompanied by prefaces from different people. I wasn’t sure what to make of all these stories but I thought that I should put them up and let the world make sense of them. They are certainly odd little things that divulge nothing but a diversity of voices and apart from that plurality of texts, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the flow of the stories. It is as if somebody tried to reconstruct the mess of the web in print form. If you are the owner of these stories you can contact me below and we can arrange to get your stories back to you.
   Here’s a story in the collection that exists on its own.


Free Food for Thoughts


  The world consists of wonders, does it not ? I spend the greater portion of each day marveling at the simple wonders of a sunrise, bodies in motion and the patterns of birds in flight. While people hurry from place to place, I slowly walk in wonder at everything that’s ignored and my thoughts always return to the very foundation of this world’s biggest mystery which rises to shadow everything else: how is it that there should be something rather than nothing ?  Contemplation of this question feeds my spirit. It calms worries about the petty circumstances of my life.  Unfortunately, it does little to feed my belly and so when I’m hungry I have to find ways to eat for free.
   I tramp from city to city and always make sure that my economy, which comes mainly from begging, goes into the upkeep of the suit that I wear. In this way I can enter a restaurant without stirring any suspicion. I’m mistaken for an eccentric artist or actor. There are three principle ways in which I manage to eat for free which I shall outline below.
   Method number one involves first of all rummaging through a dumpster or garbage can in search of shopping bags and items to place in them. With at least four bags full of items I can proceed to a restaurant with my arms full of these recent purchases. As I’m seated, I make sure to chat the server up about some sale or another that I happened upon. I place the bags on the floor next to my chair and proceed to forget about them while I set about studying the menu with great care. (Typically, the more money someone has the longer it takes for them to order.) After I have ordered and received the food I eat slowly and wait for the right moment when another patron is leaving the restaurant without being seen by the busy staff. At this moment, I shout out “He’s stolen my bag. He’s stolen my bag” and I beg the server to keep an eye on my other bags while I chase the thief and I run as fast as I can in a zig-zagged course to distance myself from the restaurant. I’ve used this method 32 times with great success.
   The second method involves any restaurant with wooden seats. I bring in a small saw which I slip under the sleeve of my sweater. Through the course of the meal I slowly saw away at one of the legs of the chair. When I feel it’s close to the point of breaking, I get up to go the washroom. Upon my return, I sit down heavily on the chair which gives way to my fall onto the floor. I make a great show of my injury and struggle to remember my name. In the fear and confusion that always ensues, I’m told to put away my wallet. I’ve only really injured myself once with a serious bump on my head. That came with a very delicious free meal of sushi.
   The third method is to wait for a solitary diner to join any line up. I have studied the look of things and consider myself a good judge of character and culture.  I can engage anyone in conversation smoothly and quickly and with the grey hairs on my head I can easily turn the conversation to more serious matters. While engaged in conversation in the line up, I’ll suggest that we dine together. After sitting down, the waitress has the impression that we are best friends and the issue of bills is overlooked.  At some point near the end of the meal I’ll get up to go to the washroom and leave through the backdoor leaving the impression that my friend is footing the bill. 
   Is it arrogant to say that there was an exchange of money for good company ? I think not. At the very least it’s a story for this person to tell. At best they are hoodwinked with wonder for I will certainly bring up in discussion the splendors of this world and the wonders that lay scattered at our feet. I see their eyes light up to hear me speak with such passion. 
   For my part, I feel justified in all this for there must be at least one human being who can earn a living from the mysteries of this world. I don’t belong to any religion, ideology or culture so there is no organization to support me in my pursuit of a cataloging of the world’s wonders. I see the world as it is and share these observations with others. Isn’t the world large enough to support that simple ambition ?
    And I live another day.

Advertisements