Why We Took the Car

Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf Read Free Book Online

Book: Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wolfgang Herrndorf
Tags: FIC000000, JUV000000
of the city, and that his brother was a weapons dealer. Somebody else said he knew for a fact the brother was a pimp and there was talk of a forty-room mansion where the Russian mafia had orgies. Another kid said Tschick lived in one of the old high-rise apartment buildings out toward the big lake, Mueggelsee. The truth was that all of it was a load of crap. And the only reason he generated so many rumors was because Tschick himself never talked to anyone. But for the same reason, he was slowly forgotten. Or at least forgotten as much as someone who comes to school in the same awful shirt and cheap jeans everyday and sits in the class clown’s seat can be forgotten. At least the dead animal shoes were replaced by a pair of white Adidas, which, of course, somebody knew had just been stolen. And maybe he had stolen them. But the number of rumors surrounding him kept dwindling. The last thing was a nickname for him, which was Tschick. And for those who thought that was too simple, there was also “special ed.” And with that, the topic of the Russian was pretty much exhausted. Inside our classroom, at least.
    Out in the parking lot he remained a topic of conversation a bit longer. In the morning, kids from the adjacent high school hung out in the parking lot. Some of them already had cars. And they found the Mongolian incredibly interesting. Guys who’d been held back five times and liked to stand in the open doors of their cars, just so everybody could see they were the owners — owners of cars that were hunks of junk, but which were tuned and modified. They made fun of Tschick. “Wasted again, Ivan?” Every morning. Especially one guy with a yellow Ford Fiesta. I didn’t know for a long time whether Tschick realized they were making fun of him, but one day he stopped in his tracks at the edge of the parking lot. I was locking up my bike and heard them all loudly taking bets on whether Tschick would manage to make it through the door to the school the way he was staggering. Or as they put it, the way the fucking Mongolian was staggering. And Tschick stopped and went back toward the parking lot and up to the guys doing the talking. They were all a head taller than he was and several years older, and they grinned as the Russian walked up to them — and then past most of them. He went straight up to the Ford Fiesta guy, who was the loudest of all, put his hand on the car door and said something to him so quietly that nobody was able to hear what it was. The grin on the Ford guy’s face slowly disappeared and Tschick turned around and went into our school building. After that, nobody made any comments when he walked past.
    I wasn’t the only one who saw this happen, and from that point on there was no stopping the rumors about his family being in the Russian mafia. Nobody could imagine any other way he could have managed to silence the idiot with the Ford with a couple of sentences. But of course that was baloney. Mafia. Bunch of baloney. That’s what I thought, anyway.

    Two weeks later we got our first math assignments back. First, Mr. Strahl put the results on the board to scare us. This time there was one A, which was unusual. Strahl’s favorite sentence was: “As are reserved for God.” Horrifying. But Strahl was a math teacher, after all, meaning he was a madman. There were two Bs, loads of Cs and Ds, no Es. And one F. I had a slight hope that I’d earned the A — math was the only subject I ever managed to score an A in once in a while. But it turned out I had a B−. Still, not bad. In Strahl’s class a B− was practically an A. I looked around discreetly to see who was celebrating having gotten an A as the papers were passed back. But nobody showed any sign of celebrating. Not Lukas or Kevin or any of the other math wizards. Instead, Strahl held on to one assignment, walked it personally to the back row, and handed it to

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