Backstory Biernes #4, Friday, May 29th 2015: Currywurst Confusion
Everyone has days where nothing out of the ordinary happens. And even when something extraordinary does happen, it’s probably nothing that crazy. Hell, that’s most days if you’re lucky. I often think about how easy I have it compared to some people. It seems like luck and history have got a lot to do with it.
That’s the kind of thinking that led me to write Currywurst Confusion.
It was inspired by a simple true event in my life. One afternoon, I went to grab a currywurst at a nearby imbiss and ordered a currywurst. Actually, it may have been a boulette (a Berliner hamburger), but that’s beside the point. The woman working the grill starting preparing the food, and I tapped my pockets for money. I had none. So I quickly called the woman and canceled the order and apologized as politely as possible. She didn’t seem miffed about it. She just said, “Okay, okay,” and shrugged her shoulders. I was doubly thankful that she was not badly perturbed. I walked away smiling and went home.
On the way, I kept thinking about my mistake and the complete lack of consequences. I knew that the consequences of a failed currywurst purchase would never be that extreme. Perhaps the worst that could happen is that the woman would curse me and fling mayo at me, and even that is an obvious stretch. It got me to thinking, what is really the worst that could happen? I didn’t fool myself then, nor do I fool myself now by thinking I could ever come up with the most insane thing that could happen. Once conceived, any idea can be made more bizarre by merely adding another element. But it was a fun idea, so I started thinking, and when I got home, I started writing.
I love the idea that a simple mistake could be the worst mistake of your life. It could mean your death. Or worse. That’s reality. But it’s also fiction.
Crazy ideas come from everywhere. They’re just waiting to be plucked out of the air and put on paper, so to speak. It’s one of my favorite things about writing.
I will leave you with a completely separate idea, but one that is related. Currywurst Confusion was published as a “to be continued” story. I can’t remember if I actually wrote the second part. But if I remember correctly, the woman from the imbiss saves Johan and the story continues with them together.
Although I will probably write a second part, simply because I still love the idea, I think it is interesting to leave things ended in such a way, even using “to be continued” in place of “the end.” As many of you may know, I have ended many stories without a traditional conclusion, and I am fine with that. As long as it works with the overall piece, I say, “Why not?”
Thanks for reading.