Irmtraud Morgner (1933–1990) was an East German writer best known for her magical-realist novels and short stories.

Harlequin in Tübingen

"Are you one of those females who say nothing or 'no' when they mean 'yes', creature?" I heard, and watched as the man fished a mirror and make-up pencils out of the pocket of his jeans. With difficulty: his jeans were so tight he had to keep shifting his weight from one leg to another. Moving his free leg allowed the pocket to open a little bit. There wasn't enough room for his thumbs. Small, pretty hands. I focused on them, hoping to bring myself back to my senses. Maybe he was drunk? Only a drunk could have a conversation with a beast with a woman's face in an ordinary city in the ordinary Federal Republic of Germany.

I watched while he painted his face and pulled faces in the mirror. He drew with a steady hand. He's not drunk then, I thought. So he must be mad. Only a madman could think a siren was an everyday occurrence in an everyday city.

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