Das Title

Das Ist Normal
Part 6

"So what's on the agenda tomorrow?" asked as we walked back to the 'Alte Post' after a few bevvies with Bill in the hotel bar.

"Dunno." I told Den, "I usually go and see Mika (authors note: say it like meek-ah) if I'm in the area but I can hardly go like this can I?"

"Who's Mika?"

"Oh you've not met have you? She's a friend from college, she's German but she did the tourism course in England to improve her English"

"So why can't you see her then?"

"Think about it"

"Where's she live, this Mika?"

"A little place called Ringen up near Ahrweiler, she works for the tourist board in Bad Neunahr"

Den opened the door with his key and we started up the stairs.

"Well I think you should give her a call at least. Anyway I'll see you in the morning, g'night"

"Night Den"

Urgh! What a day! I kicked my shoes off and lay down on the bed. I suppose Den's right; I should at least phone Mika even if I can't see her.

"Chris! I was just thinking that I hadn't heard from you in a long time!" Mika exclaimed down the phone a few minutes later.

"Yeah sorry"

"So where are you?"

It was out before my brain caught up, "Andernach, the Vulkan Eifel"

"Great! You must come up and see Mama, moment Chris" it went quiet at the other end then I heard 'Chris aus England!' I couldn't hear anything else but she was obviously talking to someone else, 'ja...ja...okay', "sorry Chris that was Mama, do you want to come to dinner maybe tomorrow?"

I'd forgotten about Mama Polch.

"I er"

"What are you doing tomorrow?"

"Er nothing" my big gob!

"Well I finish at three, meet me at work and we can get a drink before we eat. Hang on a second" another muffled conversation with Mama, "Mama says you should bring how do you say Fahrer?"

"Driver?" I offered

"Yes bring your driver along too. That is settled then. Are you and Julia still going out?"

And my opportunity to duck out was gone! She rattled on about this and that for nearly fifteen minutes.

"So I will see you and your friend..."

"Dennis, Den"

"Yes you and Dennis at three"

"Three" I sighed


"Tschüss Mika"

How the hell did I let that happen? Bum, bum, bum! Den, oh bugger, I'd best tell him he's got an invite. I slipped my trainers on and went to find Den.

I rapped on his door.

"Who is it?"

"Nena" well you never know who's listening!

"Hang on a mo" there was a short delay before he opened the door. "Chris, I was just watching some telly"

I followed him inside, closing the door behind me.

"What's up?" he said sitting back on the bed where he could see the telly and me.

"I rang Mika" I told him, plonking myself in a chair

"You didn't come round to tell me that" he stated

"She's invited us over to eat at her mothers"

"And you said no?"


"You agreed didn't you?"

"Well I couldn't get a word in"

"You said invited us?"

"You're instructed to come too"

"Well I wasn't doing anything anyway"

"Den!" I complained

"Oh you didn't tell her about Nena did you?"

"I told you, she could rabbit for England"


"You know what I mean"

"So what are you, us, going to do?"

"Ring and cancel?"

"Don't you dare!"

I sank back into the chair

"Why not?"

"For one you need a break and secondly I want to meet Mika. If she's that good a friend she'll take you however you are"

"I suppose so"

"And you can explain why tomorrow. Ooh!" he winced at something on the telly.

"What are you watching?" I asked craning my neck round

"Some German cop thing, that must hurt!"

The apparent heroes, helicopter cops were brawling with some villains on the roof of the Reichstag in Berlin.

We both chorused "oooh!" as a baddie landed a kick to the pilot's groin. I relocated so I could see better and the pair of us sat glued to the action with me doing a translation from time to time but lets face it most cop dramas can be followed without the sound! Den produced a couple of bottles of beer and we ended up watching some late night comedy cum satire show. I have to admit that some of the jokes were over my head although the audience seemed to enjoy it. I eventually headed back to my room about 12.15.

"Have a good trip Bill" Den offered after breakfast next morning.

"Cheers, I'll see you both on Monday"

Our boss drove off, he'd be home by teatime.

"So what are we doing before we meet your friend at what, three?"

"Yeah three." I agreed, "bit of sightseeing? We could catch the train up to Altenahr"

"Sounds like a plan. You going like that?"

"I guess I ought to put something different on. I'll go and change, meet you downstairs in what?" I checked my watch, "forty minutes, half nine?"

"Half nine then" he agreed

 day out jacket

Comfortable and not too revealing, I like it - sort of!!

Once back in my room it was dilemma time! Chris would just go in jeans and maybe a shirt but Nena! I opened the wardrobe and sat looking at my 'meager' choice. I finally decided on one of Jules summer dresses, a sort of greeny blue with flowers all over it. My new breast forms did their work and I ended up with a small cleavage on show! I grabbed my denim jacket, my only Chris wear I've got with me, shrugged it on and checked in the mirror.

Well I'd do.

"I was just about to come looking for you"

"Sorry Den"

"Come on then Miss Ziegler, let's go catch a train."

We walked through the town, under the bridge and along to the Bahnhof. I managed to coax some tickets out of the machine and we arrived on the platform just as the northbound Bremen train rolled in. we climbed up into a rather tatty looking carriage and had barely got seated when a whistle sounded, the doors slammed and we slowly moved off.

"We have to change?" Den asked

"At Remagen, it's usually the same platform and the Ahr train waits until this gets in"

"A real connection eh?"

"Not much good if it goes without the passengers"

This particular journey stops everywhere so the twenty K journey lasted nearly twenty minutes.

"Here we go," I mentioned standing to get off

"They've even got MacDonald's here" Den mentioned as we passed the new drive through.

"No ones safe"

The train clanked to a halt and sure enough the Ahrtal train was stood waiting a shiny new thing.

"That's more like it" Den opined as we joined various prams, bikes and other pedestrians getting onto the luxurious new train. The Bremen 'express' clanked away and we settled ourselves in the relative cool of second class. 10.12 on the dot the doors hissed shut and our transport revved up and started the almost hour long ride up the valley.

I took my jacket off; the sun was hot through the window despite the tinted glass. Under the motorway bridge and on past our rendezvous this afternoon at Bad Neuenahr, around Ahrweiler and into the vineyards of Dernau and Mayschoß before climbing through the gorge and tunnel into Altenahr.

"This is us" I told Den as we pulled to a stop.

Once on the platform of the unimpressive station I turned to Den

"Welcome to the playground of the Ahr!"

"Does this playground have a café, its eleven o'clock and I need coffee" Den retorted.

What can I tell you? We got a coffee along by the cable car run before riding it up the hillside. Den decided he needed a Currywurst from the snack bar by the bridge before we headed through the 'town' to tackle the climb up to the Ahrburg ruins high above the town. Let me tell you, strappy sandals are not great for climbing mountains! We finally reached the top and I gratefully collapsed onto a bench with a view over the gorge while Den went to explore. Jeez, how girly can I get!

 burg ahr

You can just see me standing by the bench!

I'd been sat for a while when Den came over.

"You okay kid?"

"Er, oh yeah. Just not looking forward to going back down wearing these, I'll never mock women complaining about wearing heels again!"

"Well I'm done, shall we start down?"

I'm not sure who was the more embarrassed by the time we got back down to the town, Den or me! I ended up doing the damsel in distress bit, hanging like grim death to Den's arm to avoid going, how can I put it? Arse over tit! We made our way back to the station and more by luck than design arrived just as the down train pulled in.

"We going straight to meet your friend?"

"It's only one fifteen, lets have a look round the old town first"

"Old town?"


"Right okay. So you decided how to handle this?"

"Not really"

"Well you'd better come up with something soon"

"I know, I don't suppose I could wimp out?"

"No I don't suppose you could. Is this us?"

"Ahrweiler Mitte, yep it'll do"

To be honest there's not a great deal to Ahrweiler. A couple of shopping streets, the town wall and not a great deal else! It's fairly pretty though and Den put his camera to use.

"Can you do me a favour Den?"


"Well I, erm"

"Spit it out"

"Well Jules wants a picture or two of me as proof that I'm keeping to my end of the deal"

"Is that all? Stand over by the railings then"

 burg ahr

You can just see me standing by the bench!

Well no one said I take a good picture and he caught me before I was ready!

"What we doing now then?"

"Well if we walk along the river we go almost straight to the Tourist office"

"Walk along the river it is then."

We negotiated our way to the south gate, pausing only to buy ice creams on the way. The riverside path was quite busy with bikes; skaters and people just out for a stroll. The trees offered welcome shade from the afternoon sun and I felt quite relaxed as we strolled along. It was further than I recalled but Den didn't complain as he took pictures of the ducks and several seemingly uninterested herons fishing the burbling waters of the Ahr.

Along the way I formulated a plan and Den, despite some reservations, agreed to go with it. Finally we arrived outside the tourist office.

"I'll wait over here" I indicated a bench half hidden in the greenery.

"What's the name again?"

"Polch, Mika Polch"

"Okay then, see you in a minute or two."

I plonked down onto the bench and watched the bathers over in the spa, oblivious as they were to me outside. Then I heard Den's voice.

"...Said he'd meet us here"

Then the pair of them appeared.

"Best wait on the seat I suppose" Den suggested

Mika glanced over and I watched as her face went from disinterest to puzzlement to recognition!


"Er hi Mika" I never could fool that girl!

She looked me over with an appraising eye.

"What is this Chris? A joke?"

"I think you two need to talk" Den broke the spell.

"Yes I think me and this girl need to chat" Mika agreed

"Shall I lose myself?"

"Oh sorry Dennis I am so rude." She fumbled in her bag a moment then went on, "you should have a look at the spa and the Kursaal, take this pass, it will give you entry." She gave Den the card

"How long?"

"An hour back here Den?" I reckoned it would be over by then and we could easily head back to Andernach for dinner.

"Okay then, see you girls in an hour"

"I think I need coffee," Mika mentioned

"Sounds good," I agreed following a very confused Mika along the road to one of the new coffee bars that have recently sprung up.

Half an hour later and a still unbelieving Mika was still shaking her head.

"So you agreed to this, this masquerade for the bet?"

"I guess so"

"Well I have to say you look good"

"You're the first you know"


"Yep, the first to recognize me since I started all this Nena guff, what gave me away?"

"Actually nothing did. Your friend seemed pretty insistent that we sit on that bench and I thought there was something fishy going on. So I took a guess. And then when you spoke I recognized that little crinkle you get here" she pointed to the corner of her eye, then I knew."

"Well I guess I should go find Den so we can get back for dinner"

"Get back? For why?"

"Well I guess the dinner invite is off"

"Of course not! I'll ring mother and explain so she is not surprised, she has been cooking all day!"

No discreet retreat then. We walked back to Mika's office, she went inside to make the call and I waited for Den.

"So we sorted now? I suppose we could eat in the town rather than the hotel"

"What and disappoint old Mother Polch? No, we're still eating with Mika and her Mum"


"See you Friday Nena"

"Night Mika" Den put in.

We waved until Mika's old Golf was out of sight then Den got the door and we went up to our respective rooms.

Boy! What an evening. My attire didn't faze Frau Polch in the least; it was so 'liberating' not having to pretend to be Nena. I was Chris, no worrying about what I said or pretending to be German. No tonight I was me, me in a dress, but me nevertheless!

Den had a good time too, Fr. Polch is a fair ole cook and she'd done us proud with a traditional meal of onion soup followed by pork with creamed potatoes, home made sauerkraut and red cabbage. Afterwards she had a pair of willing tasters for her homemade schnapps, I never knew there were so many different types. By the time we left Den and Maria were like best buddies - the drink crossing the language barrier.

On the drive back to the hotel, Mika insisted that I join her and her colleagues for their usual Thursday night out. Softened by the alcohol and Dens urging I agreed as long as I could be Nena. I told you I was half cut!

Brring! Brring!........ Brring! Brring!

I stumbled across the room to find the phone.


I'm afraid I was more than a little the worse for drink!


"Is that you Chris?"

"Jules! You missed a great parteee!" I sang collapsing onto the bed.

"You're drunk!"

"Am not. Well maybe a bit. We had a party, me an Mika an Maria an Den"

"Who's Maria?"

"Mika's Mum of course." I stopped and stared at my now nylon clad legs. When did I put them on?


"I'm wearing tights," I told Julia

"God! I'm not gonna get any sense out of you tonight, I'll ring tomorrow"


"Why not?"

"Out with Mika, no that's not tomorrow. It's Friday, oh I remember"

"Remember what?"

"I put my tights on coz it was getting cold"

"Chris Hornby! Ring me when you're sober!"

"Okay, bye bye"

"Night Chris" she sounded a bit p'ed at me.

Maddy Bell 15.04.04
Photo's © Maddy Bell 2001,2002
© 2004

Pictures of Nena have been generated using Ania's 'Cherie' Fkiss doll on Angy-Chan's template and are Copyright 2004. They are used with permission, if you'd like to see more go to www.acharsi.prv.pl

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