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At this point the nurses decided to pay them a little visit. Just to check on them. Karl was startled, when suddenly my colleagues entered the room. He jumped up from his chair, then groaned in pain as every bone, muscle and tendon in his body sent urgent “Abort, abort!” messages to his brain. He tried to find a hold and reached out to the first thing on the table – a little reading light, that’s standard issue in every room: “Oh, I am so clumsy. It broke!” he shouted… …a moment too early. He had missed the lamp and found a hold on the table surface instead. The lack of result left him confused and upset.

Now Klärchen entered the stage. She took two steps towards the table; said “Oh, what have you done? There’s glass everywhere” and lifted the lamp up with both hands. Then she held it a safe distance away from her body and let gravity do its thing. The lamp burst into thousands of shards. She turned towards the nurses, made eye contact and said: “Well, you better call maintenance. Somebody could get hurt.”

We could never prove that Nathan, the maintenance guy, helped them out. But over the next three days we heard laughter, the sound of expensive glasses being toasted and Mark Knopfler’s guitar trying to hide the sounds of their feast. 

Unfortunately they always had dinner around the time of our shift change. Forcing us nurses to sit at our station, pretending that we didn’t notice the smell of delicious spices coming from their room. “Anything noteworthy going on with the two of them?” asked my colleague. Before I could answer, my stomach started to growl so loudly that the other nurses looked at me in embarrassed silence. For a moment nobody spoke. “Oookay, let’s talk about the weekend shift”…

They made it through three meals in their culinary trip down memory lane. On the fourth night, they celebrated their year-long journey across India. Karl was on a lot of pain medication, so he didn’t notice how the hot spices burned through his already tortured colon. While he slept fitfully, his body lost the fight against disease, old age and Indian cuisine. The verdict had already been passed, all that was missing was the trigger to drop the guillotine axe. 

He woke up, went to the bathroom, tried to do “number two” and the pressure tore the walls of his colon. Blood and shit flooded his abdominal cavity – and his soul left his body. 

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