The weekend arrived. Nightlife in Prague was pretty bad but for some reason I had the urge to go out. A friend from home was was in town sightseeing. Sadly for both of us he liked the idea.
We found the most expensive discounted wine we could find and drank it together while discussing life. By the time we walked out the door we were both a little drunker than we realised.
“Wes are we gonna make it?” I asked.
“Mate we always make it. We’ll have a good night out. Let’s just take it easy from now on tonight. I’m pretty drunk too.”
We didn’t slow down. The wine flowed and then came gin. After that the night became a blur.
The following day I sat up in bed and messaged Wes, ‘What happened last night?’ I got told I’d been sloppily trying to talk to girls who undoubtedly felt I was a pest. Dreadful.
I dragged myself out from under the sheets. First one leg, then the other. I managed to make it into the shower. The water helped revive me. My hangovers are never so bad in the morning. They always get worse throughout the day. ‘I’ll stay with Annabelle tonight and get an early night.’ I thought to myself.
I spruced myself up as best I could and made my way to her place. She lived on the outskirts of Prague, it was a half hour metro ride to get there. I made sure not to make eye contact with the other train passengers. ‘So many lowlife’s and deadbeats,’ I thought, ‘It’ll be safer to not look.’ The anxiety was crippling.
I hit the buzzer when I got to her building, “Annie, it’s me, open up. I have something for you.”
“Oh hi mister! This is a nice surprise! What is it?”
“I’ll show you upstairs. Quickly, it’s freezing out here.”
The door buzzed and I climbed the stairs. There she was at the top of them, her long hair flowing over her shoulders as she stood in her pink floral dressing gown. Everything was pink and floral with Annabelle.
“I’m glad to see you.” I smiled.
“Well I’m glad to see you too mist… oh what is that smell, you stink! How much did you drink last night!”
“Really? No come on, it’s impossible, I brushed my teeth for like five minutes.”
She got close to me again, “Eeurgth, go brush them again.”
I brushed them again.
“So what have you got for me?” She beamed.
“Wait, is Lenka home?”
“No, she’s not, why, what is it?”
“Ok, well, it’s nothing much, just my dick.”
She looked at me and blinked twice, “Your dick?” She asked.
“Well, yeah, I thought you liked it.” I laughed.
“I do, but I thought you might have got me flowers.”
“Ahh ok, no, sorry, only dick today, maybe flowers next time.”
She laughed out loud. Right then I knew it was a victory.
Hangover sex is almost always a little better than normal sex. The haziness of it all seems to add something. Perhaps it’s the quietening of the mind.
“Don’t take it out,” she said, after we’d both cum, “I like to feel it inside of me as long as possible.”
Well we used condoms so I didn’t have that to worry about. I lay there spooning her with a hand still cupping an ample sized breast.
“Do you think you could get it hard again and carry on if we were to stay like this?”
“For sure, if I’d took a viagra,” I told her, “I mean, if we wait maybe twenty minutes I should be good to go again. I’d need to change the condom though.”
“Yeah. Ok, so let’s just wait and do it again in half an hour.”
“Annie, I love having sex but let’s wait until tonight.”
“Why?” She asked. In a kind of pining way.
“Because even if we have sex in twenty minutes you’ll still want sex again straight after that.”
She just looked at me with mezza eyes and chuckled.
I pulled out and made us a coffee. Annabelle was the type of girl that had organic honey and soya milk and coffee that wasn’t actual coffee. It was called Caro. Made from wheat or something. It tasted even better.
“What are your plans the next couple of days?” She asked as I lay back down to close my eyes while the coffee cooled.
“Well today is the sabbath. It’s a day of rest. So my plan today is to have you pamper me while I slowly die.”
“Come on you’re not dying.” She put the back of her hand against my forehead and brushed my hair back gently.
“We’re all dying Annie, everyday is another day closer to death.”
She gave another small chuckle, “Well I was thinking, if you are free tomorrow and maybe some of the day after we could take a trip somewhere. I have two days off from the work.”
‘The,’ work, I smiled to myself. Those small mistakes from Czech to English always entertained. “I suppose I could. Where did you have in mind?”
“We could go to Mariánské Lázně, it’s so romantic there and there might even be snow!”
“Even snow!” I shouted, mimicking her. “Well we can’t not go and miss out on all the snow.” I smiled and opened one eye to check if she was smiling too. Of course she was smiling.
“Really? Do you mean it? We can go?” She squealed.
“Sure, but tomorrow Annie. Not today.”
“Ok mister! Ahh I’m excited!”
The next morning I was rudely awakened. My biggest pet peeve. Why can’t people be considerate to other people’s sleeping patterns.
“Open your eyes mister, we’re going on vacation!”
“A vacation lasts more than one night.” I mumbled.
“A MINI vacation then.”
“If you say so.” I let out a deep sigh and attempted to snooze my way back into R.E.M.
“Come on! The sooner we leave, the sooner we get there!”
I’ve always found it easier to wake up once left alone. I waited for her to go shower and opened my eyes. Staring out the window at the steel sky. ‘I hope the sleep depravity doesn’t have me feeling shit all day.’ I thought to myself.
I got up and looked in the mirror. The lines seem to get deeper every day. The image looking back at me certainly didn’t help perk me up in any way.
“I’m going to dry off and then go get the car from my parents while you take your bath, ok?” She smiled excitedly. How can one person be so continuously happy. I’ve tried every hack in the book and still only manage every other day.
While Annabelle walked the mile or so to her parents I slipped into her deep hot bathtub. Baths are infinitely better than showers. Maybe I could fall back to sleep in there.
I was still submerged when she returned. Since there was no lock on the door she barged straight into the bathroom with her hands on her hips. “Now hey,” she said, “we said we would leave by 10.30am so come on mister.”
I just stared for a moment then put my head underwater until I heard her leave and close the door. Except, she hadn’t left. I came up for air and she was still there. Now perched on the side of the tub with her hand reaching down into the water towards my penis. “Ok ok,” I laughed, “I’m getting up. I’m getting ready. Let’s go.”
She clapped her hands and went to finish packing.
The car was an old diesel. Some Vauxhall thing. It had done many miles but drove well and drove smooth. We trundled along playing word association games in both English and Czech. A vain attempt to help me learn the language and a refresher course for her. Five years of living in the Czech republic and I still had the Czech vocabulary of a five year old native.
It was a two hour drive from Prague. The airbnb was a modern apartment overlooking a park. Everything overlooks a park in Mariánské Lázně.
“So, we’re here then,” she smiled, “what would you like to do? My parents came here and they said there is a beautiful walk in the hills with many many romantic bridges.”
“Well you like romance so let’s do that.”
We’d had some snacks during the road trip. Crisps and wraps and liquorice sweets. I’ve never much liked liquorice but Czech liquorice is different. Tastier somehow. I’ll assume more sugar. If only I could give up the sugar. Anyway hunger wasn’t an issue. The issue became the car. A strange burning rubber scent drifted in through the air vents as we drove to the place of romance. Annabelle looked panicked. “What’s that smell?”
“Relax, it’ll be nothing.” I told her.
What the hell did I know. I’m useless with cars. We continued to drive. Up up up. The higher we went the more the weather changed. The clouds dispersed revealing patches of blue sky and the sides of the road were dusted with a thin fresh layer of snow. Up and up we went. The more elevated we were the thicker the snow. Finally we reached near to the summit. In a village called Kladská There was nothing there but a car park, a pub, and a handful of houses. The lake never became noticable until we were outside of the car. “It’s nice to see snow.” I told her.
“Oh it’s magnificent!” She squealed. Her eyes seemed to sparkle more with all the light bouncing off the ground up into her iris’s. Those beautiful blue and yellow iris’s.
“Which way do you think we should walk?” I asked, looking around and admiring the medieval looking buildings. It reminded me of some old forgotten village from the 10th century. A blacksmith and sword carrying horseman wouldn’t look out of place. “We could check the map I suppose.” There was a map about fifty metres away. The only signposts I could see from where I was stood were in Czech or German. ‘Makes sense since we’re so close to the German border,’ I thought to myself.
“What about this way!” She hollered.
She walked towards the largest area of untouched snow, picked up a chunk of the stuff and launched it at my semi attractive face.
“Oh, it’s like that is it!” I immediately returned fire with three rapid snowballs her way.
“Ahh you beast!!” She screamed.
Yes. Tis I. The beast. The snow beast. Cruel and unapologetic. I picked up a handful, pulled off her hat and plonked it on her glossy hair. Returning the hat to its rightful throne.
She wailed a little but it ended with a laugh and an arm link.
“I knew you’d forgive me.” I blinked rapidly.
She responded with an eyeroll.
“This looks like a trail,” I announced, “let’s follow it.”
And so we walked, and before long we found the first bridge. Then came another. And another, and another. The whole place was riddled in bridges. Clearly it needed to be, the trail had morphed into a wooden walkway that ran parallel to the whole periphery of the lake. Each bridge a man made saviour for crossing the plethora of streams that dispersed from their mother pond.
“Let’s take some pictures.” She said.
“Sure, why not.” I answered.
The pictures were nice. I was surprised. I usually look on camera as I do in the back of a spoon.
Picture taking turned into snowman making. Then more picture taking.
Including the external activities I’d say it took us a good two hours to walk around that lake.
Back in the car. Engine on. Heaters on. Lights on. Well, at least the engine was on, everything else seemed to disagree. First it was the power steering that went.
“Something’s not right,” she said softly, “it’s really heavy to steer, and there is a warning light on the dashboard.”
I looked over. There were three warning lights flashing. Brakes, airbag and engine management. “Strange, I wonder why,” I said soothingly, “don’t worry though. The engine management light comes on for tons of stupid reasons. So long as it stays amber and not red we’ll be fine. Not sure why the power steering went off though.”
“Help me I can’t steer! It’s to heavy!”
Me and hysterical women have often went hand in hand. “Annabelle chill. All cars used to be like this before power steering was invented.”
She looked at me as though she would quite happily push me out of the car. I returned her deathly glare with my most sympathetic smile.
“There you see, we made it.” I told her as we pulled up in front of the airbnb apartment. “Maybe it was just a faulty connection. Turn off the engine and then back on again.”
Click click click. It was dead. Not even so much as a chug from the engine. “Oh great, now it won’t even start at all.” She said. There were tears welling up in her beautiful eyes. ‘Hello McFly, anybody home, think, do something, say something,’ I told myself. Women crying is my krptonite. Anyway what the hell! It wasn’t my fault the car was falling to pieces. “Have you got breakdown recovery?” I asked her.
“What’s breakdown recovery?” She blubbed.
“It’s where you just call someone and they send a mechanic. If they can’t fix it they tow you home.”
“No. I don’t think so. If something breaks my Dad just fixes it.”
“”Ok, here’s what we’re going to do,” I told her, “we’re going to go online and I’m going to buy you a breakdown recovery membership.”
“No. It’s ok, I’ll call my Dad, he’ll know what to do.”
Feeling slightly emasculated my ego piped up, “Well what’s your Dad going to do from a hundred miles away. It’s probably a new car battery you need and you can’t get one at this time of the day.”
“He’ll know what to do. I’m going to call him.”
‘Fine then,’ I thought, ‘ring Daddy, for what good it will do.’
I sat there while they conversed in Czech. All I could do was watch her facial expressions. They were making her smile a lot more than I had.
She put the phone down and looked at me, “He said not to worry about it. He’ll fix it tomorrow and that we should just enjoy our time here.”
I was dumbfounded. “Wonderful. Erm, how exactly is he going to fix it?”
“I don’t know. That’s not how it works in my family. He deals with that stuff.”
I was incredulous, “Did you tell him it’s probably the battery?”
“Yeah, he says it’s not the battery.”
“Well if it’s not the battery then it’s alternator that charges the battery.”
“I don’t know mister. Come on we can go have sex now.”
“Well that’s one way to forget about it.”
“He’ll fix it. Don’t worry.”
We went back inside the apartment, drank coffee, fucked in the shower, and watched fifteen minutes of the only English channel available – CNN. Afterward I suggested going online to find a nice restaurant. I’d noticed there were plenty of places to chose from as we’d drove through the centre. Mariánské Lázně seemed to be some kind of tourist hotspot for Germans. Even in the winter.
“I only have 6%, I’ll just plug my phone in to charge for a few minutes first.”
Ok,” I nodded.
“Whaaat. My phone isn’t charging.” She said in an extremely panicked voice.
“It’s probably just the wire. Give it a wiggle.” I called back.
“I’ve tried! Nothing’s happening!” She cried.
She was right. No amount of wiggling twiddling or bending helped.
“Ok, before we do anything else give me your Dad’s phone number so we can use my phone if we can’t get yours working for any reason.”
She looked deeply horrified at that remark. She let out a small groan like the sound of creaky door ready to fall off it’s hinges but then passed over the number. I punched in the digits and hit save. “Ok, let’s see if we can fix your phone.”
I blew in the little hole and used a dry toothbrush to try cleaning it. Nothing seemed to work. That really depressed her. Sure enough the phone died and would still not charge.
“Don’t be sad Annie-bear,” I winked, “we’ll go find a place that sells a cable. It must be your charging wire.”
She nodded solemnly.
We went out to find an electronics shop and a restaurant. As we walked my mind constantly drifted to being stuck in Mariánské Lázně, but each time I mentioned the car it was met with the same hostile response, “My Dad will sort it. I don’t care about the stupid car. I need my phone to work.” It was one of the few times I’d seen her genuinely annoyed.
By some miracle we still managed to find a shop open after eight that sold charging cables. She plugged it straight into the power bank and for the briefest of moments the lightening strike of a charge flickered onto the screen but never to be seen again.
“It’s still not working.” She cried. There was a tremble in her words. I genuinely felt sorry for her.
“Let’s just eat first before we figure it out Annie. We’ll feel better after some food.”
She nodded slowly in response. We found a nice pizza restaurant. There were few words spoken over the meal. She was certified depressed and I was certified concerned. Her phone and car were our lifeline to reality.
Once back in the apartment she left her phone plugged in at the wall and went to sleep with her back to me. ‘Well, that’s the end of another peculiar day.’ I thought.
I almost managed a full nights sleep before the scream woke me, “It’s working! It’s working!” The phone randomly coming back to life had her dancing around the room like she’d won the lottery. ‘She’s happy again,’ I thought, ‘that’s nice.’
“Great, so what’s your Dad said about the car?” I asked.
“Oh yes, the car,” she smiled, “he says he talked to our relative who has the same car and had the same problem. He says it’s the battery.”
I decided not to gloat. Although there was something in the early morning brain waves that struck me, “The burning smell Annie, it may have been the alternator belt. The rubber belt that turns to charge the battery.”
“Oh I don’t know mister. Our relative is driving him here and he’s bringing a new battery. My phone is working again though, isn’t it wonderful!”
“Yeah, it’s brilliant. So what time are they coming?”
“He says around 2pm, so we can go into town and get lunch.”
We walked into the centre, through the park. The huge huge park, the bullseye off the entire town. It was very pretty though. Little streams running through it all and the odd pond. We seen a cool older looking couple and had them take some pictures. Thankfully they put some effort into it. Even telling us where to stand for the best light. Most people couldn’t give two shits and take a terrible picture.
When 2pm rolled around there was Annie’s poor Dad on the floor tinkering under the car. ‘The old man’s traveled a hundred miles to get on his hands and knees in the rain,’ I thought. Poor guy. To make it worse the new battery hadn’t worked either.
“Annie it must have something to do with the alternator belt. You remember? The burning rubber smell?”
She looked at me nonchalantly, blinked twice and said, “He’s here now. He’ll sort it.”
Well I didn’t know how to say it in Czech, and she clearly didn’t want me to try. So I kept my trap shut and we all drove back to Prague in the wife’s cousin’s husband’s car.
Me eating liquorice and her passing me love notes on the back seat. ‘Well I’ve had worse endings to a weekend,’ I thought.