NICHT FUN by Peter Nolan Smith

In the autumn of 1982 Henri Flesh and I flew to Berlin. We booked rooms at the Hotel Kempenski for a three-day holiday from BSIR, Hamburg’s most popular club. That night the French DJ and I went out to the Dschungel in Charlottesburg, where we ran into a pair of Christina F lookalikes. All the girls wanted to be the sexy refugee from the Zoo Station, who had become a star thanks to her bestselling book.

The next day the four of us went to East Berlin. My girl’s name was Chloe. The ex-ballerina from Koln was as blonde as Ilsa of the SS.

We passed through Checkpoint Charlie in a nod.

The squat female border guard wasn’t happy about letting us into the workers’ paradise, but allowed us to exchange 25 DMs into East German currency. The Stasi or secret police had ways of dealing with our kind and two bland men followed us to Karl-Marx Platz, where a thin concrete spire rose into the September sky and a troop of armed Soviet soldier marched across the plaza.

“There’s parking everywhere.” Henri wished that we had my BMW.

“Here comes a car.” Chloe pointed to where a small car whined down the street.

“Wooo, ein Trabant.” The girls waved to the driver and explained to us that East Germans waited for years to purchase one. It sounded like a lawn mower. The Stasi agents didn’t like our laughing.

We drank bier in a restaurant. The people at the tables avoided lifting their heads. They knew how to act around the Stasi.

One big glass cost twenty-five pfennigs. I had enough money for a hundred beers and bought a round for everyone in the restaurant. No one said thank you. No one touched the glasses. They stayed on the bar.

The Stasi approached the barman and spoke in low voices.

“They are no fun.” Chloe wasn’t liking this day trip.

We left the restaurant and went shopping, except there was nothing to buy in the shops.

“Maybe we could score some drugs.” Ilsa entered a pharmacy and exited in a huff. “They were only selling steroids.”

“Last thing I want is to look like an East German female athlete.” Henri joked to the laughter of the girls. The Communist competitor were three times the man I would ever be in real life.

“Us too.” The girls acted out weighing weights.

The Stasi were no amused by our behavior. Two more followed us. Their message was clear

Heraus auslanders.

Wir zuruckgehen nach Ost.” I had had enough of East Berlin.

“Communism is a failure.” Henri liked his socialist France.

“Same as capitalism.” Chloe hated the consumerism of the West, where everyone’s soul was for sale.

I wanted to go back to the hotel and neasring Checkpoint Charlie we gave our remaining East German DMs to a young boy. He looked at the Stasi agents and threw them on the ground, then ran down the street.

Chloe rested her head on my shoulder and we passed through the Berlin Wall at the sunset. I waved down a taxi and told the driver to take us to the Kempinski.

He asked about East Berlin.

“It’s a worker’s paradise.”


Even Henri knew the meaning of that word.

Ich bin fertig.”

Chloe was ready for fun.

I doubt I would ever see East Berlin again and bid the half-city ‘Niewiedersehen’.

Unlike Chloe it was no fun at all.

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