Snapshots

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Dorotea

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​”I have a boyfriend behind my ear,” Dorotea told a baffled bypasser as she crossed the street.

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Max

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Max emerged from the salad bar at the street corner and spotted all of a sudden the ATM across the street. He was struck numb as he realised he had been had. Yes, he had been had. Without doubt.

He looked around himself surreptitiously, eyes lowered. Why, oh why, had his boss Molly asked him to pick up her lunch? Why had she not had time to do it herself, as she had gone to the ATM to fetch some money just before she sent him off to buy her her lunch? There had been no queue at the salad bar. So why? Why had she sent him off on an errand she could have done herself?

He returned to the office carrying a doggy bag in his moulded hands and body drenched in humiliation.

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Harry

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Harry, an American entrepreneur who had found love in Sweden, feels a bit lost in this part of Stockholm where workers, environmentalists, intellectuals, artists, and the addicts and homeless intersect. He, on the other, likes to watch old speeches by Ronald Reagan on YouTube and to get his news from Glenn Beck on Fox News. He does not like people who use their minds.

No, he does not like people who use their minds as that exposes him as the windbag he is. Some would even say he is a pompous ass but that is in my view to take it too far. He is more like a windbag. If you pricked him with a needle, he would most certainly vanish into thin air.

He has for long lived in a world of good ol’ ideology that has become his reality and these days he oozes raw, brutish capitalism. A bit ego-centric you might say, but he believed it was the birthright of every Christian (yes, he had had a good Christian upbringing) to rejoice in the bounty created by his fellow beings.

“It is all there, up for grabs, so grab it,” he says, while vaguely remembering an essay he read in his youth about cups and saucers that were evidence of God’s benevolence. And that thought annoyed him as his cupboards were short of cups and saucers. So, he fired away. Aimlessly.

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Anna

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Anna, the New Mexican girl standing in her booth across the street says: “I’m not a taco stand,” and serves a slice of pizza.

Molly the Wobbler

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Molly came wobbling by. She had kind of square-looking legs that were accentuated by the short legs of the trousers she wore flapping around her ankles. Some might consider her an industrious woman as she went about in her busybody way, though she reminded more of Pop-Eye the sailor man as she came along in her own comic strip.

She had been brought up the hard way. At an early age, she and her father had made a pact. She agreed to being a good girl in return for a huge helping of crème brûlée which they used to share for want of a tender heart.

Even when obeisance turned to obesity, she continued eating ‘cause nothing pleased her more than her father’s approving eye. Eventually, she had become her father’s eye, the I of his doing. Time had proved him right. He was proud and Molly shone in the light of his eye.

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Tilda

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Tilda sweeps by a homeless man in the street. - “No, oh no, I want nothing of that in my body,” she says to herself.Tilda’s language is pure and clean, her body intact, her sex irreproachable. She is the one who stands wondered puzzled when faced with the atrocities and obscenities of life. - “No, oh no, I want nothing of that in my body,” says Tilda.

No, she is housebroken; she has not only learned to keep her body clean but her house as well. She cleanses and she polishes, she weeds her garden and every corner she can clear of garbage, vermin, butts and outcasts to be. Tilda always fastens an eye of condemnation on what she cannot see; is anguished by that which goes beyond her field of vision.

- “I am because I subject myself, therefore I subject myself to my tyrant,” she could say, if she weren’t so happily ignorant. But that’s why she stays in the funhouse of the mirror that affirms her. And she adjusts her behaviour as she’s been taught by her CBT therapist, pulls a few strings to rearrange minor distractions, runs a mile or two before continuing weeding her garden.

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Britta

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“Why allow change,” Britta said, and closed her door. And life continued on 99 Kocksgatan as it always had.

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K.

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K. passes by every day. She has just come back from an international conference in Asia. On her return home her inbox had clogged.

- “I got SPAM in Asia,” she deduced with her usual mindless prattle and an upsurge of xenophobia buried deeply within.