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Christfried

Eiffelland

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The Rheinbund has the reputation of a very liberal country, thanks to Fehrbellin’s reputation as a progressive art and party city where everything is possible, and thanks to other progressive cities like Scharmbeck, Würzwald, Cöllen, Weissenfels and Grefrath. And maybe also thanks to Carnival and the Oktoberfest.
But the Rheinbund is more diverse than that. Parts of the country are conservative. Tirolstein is. Heilbach is. Disoriented after Pope John-Joseph’s liberalisations last Summer, especially Heilbach still doesn’t know what to do with itself. The very conservative Tiburanisch-Katholische Partei (TKP), with 60% of the votes by far the largest political party in Heilbach, suddenly sees its right to exist eliminated—suddenly the teachings it is based upon are similar to the teachings forming the basis of its biggest competitor: The Christiandemocratic CDV. Following the Catholic Church’s new teachings will turn the TKP into a clone of the CDV; an alternative could be to present itself as the purely Catholic CDV, but doing so would make the CDV too small to claim the position of Chancellor at national level—if that strategy would succeed from the TKP’s position. Still positioning itself as a very conservative party would mean that the TKP would remain recognisable, but that would mean deviating from the teachings of the Church, and it would be questionable whether the voters would follow the Church to the CDV or would stick to conservatism. Or should the TKP admit its obsolescence and merge with the CDV?
But it goes further. Würzwald is a progressive city, but it is the capital of a traditionalist sovereignty. Hot dance clubs giving the city its metropolitan aura are combined with traditional events letting the city look like a provincial town, reinforced by the typical Rheinian habit to preserve old city centres and banning high rises to the outskirts of the cities.

The biggest contrast is in the North though. The conservative Emsland borders the liberal Scharmbeckerland and Wetterau, and the ultraconservative Bramsfeld borders the liberal Wetterau and the ultraliberal Lotharingen. During the reformation, Lotharingen, Scharmbeckerland and the northern part of Wetterau went Lutheran, and Bramsfeld went Calvinist. Emsland went partly Lutheran and partly Calvinist. The problem with Calvinism is, that it can develop into several directions. It can develop into a very liberal direction, but also into an extremely conservative direction, and everything in-between. Calvinism encourages its followers to read the Bible and discuss about it with others. As a result, Calvinists, especially the more devout ones, know large parts of the Bible by heart. As another result, the discussions about the Bible led to differences in opinion regarding certain bible theses. Five of those differences in opinion led to schisms in the 19th and 20th century. In the Rheinbund, there is one Evangelic-Lutheran Church (the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche), one Tiburan Catholic Church, and six Calvinist Churches (in order of conservatism the Reformierte Kirche, the Reformatorische Kirche, the Befreit Reformatorische Kirche, the Christlich-Reformatorische Kirche, the Reformatorischer Gemeinde and the Reformatorischer Gemeinde unter dem Kreuz).

The Rheinbund did liberalise during the second half of the 20th century up to now, but did not secularise. Religion still plays an important role, largely thanks to the Catholic and the progressive Lutheran Churches reading Mass and holding Services also at Saturday and Sunday evening so that young people can party at Saturday night without skipping church visit, as well as other initiatives to involve young people in the Church. People also identify themselves with their religions. They send their children to schools of their religions (mostly also paid by the government). In the case of a mixed-religion marriage, one of the spouses usually converts to the other spouse’s religion; this is mostly not seen as an issue. In earlier days, society was more segregated by religion, but that is not the case any more.

The only religions that keep themselves segregated, are the Reformatorial Churches and Reformatorial Communities. Members of those Church Communities only marry people belonging to their religion, send their children to schools belonging to their religion and only join sport clubs belonging to their religion. They also tend to live close to each other, mostly in Bramsfeld, but also in Emsland, while some cities with 10 to 20 thousand inhabitants elsewhere in the Rheinbund are reformatorial bullwarks as well.

There is another distinction among the Reformatorials: The Orthodox Reformatorials (the Reformatorische Kirche and the Befreit Reformatorische Kirche) and the Experiencing Reformatorials (the Christlich-Reformatorische Kirche, the Reformatorischer Gemeinde and the Reformatorischer Gemeinde unter dem Kreuz). The difference is, that Orthodox Reformatorials consider Baptism and Confession enough to receive God’s Grace in the absence of sin, while Experiencing Reformatorials believe that God chooses the individuals He grants His Grace to among the people who have been baptised, have done Confession and are free of sin, and that having been baptised, having done Confession and being free of sin are not a guarantee to being granted God’s Grace. The reason why Experiencing Reformatorials are called such, is that they believe that you cannot say that you received God’s Grace unless you feel that you have been chosen.

The Reformatorials are also the ones who consider vaccines unauthorised interference in God’s Plan. As a result, easily preventable diseases rage among the Reformatorials from time to time.

It is in this community, to be precise the Reformatorischer Gemeinde, that Christfried Wexner was born and raised.
 

Eiffelland

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24 December 2022
Vrijpoort
16:00


The sun was sinking in the sea strait west of Vrijpoort, and created a light show of orange, red and purple in the sky and on the water. The 43 year old Raimund Wexler looked at the spectacle while standing at the top deck of the ferry that would take him to Holtenau, a harbour city at the northern coast of the citizenry Emsland. It was close to 0 degrees Celsius, but Raimund didn’t want to go below deck. He had to think about the events of last week. He knew that he had to take action, but he did not like it at all.
The polio outbreak was a clear sign that God was angry according to Raimund. And he thought he knew one of the reasons why God was angry: Sin. OK, he knew that nobody was free of sin, and he was aware of that. He prayed every day for forgiveness of his sins and for help to not sin. But it looked like there was too much sin among the Bramsfelders at the moment, so God punished. This was also the explanation that the Pastor had given during both Church Services last Sunday. The Rheinbund had the tradition to read two Masses or hold two Church Services on Sunday, but while the Tiburan Catholic Church, the Evangelic-Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church required the people to attend only one of those masses or services, the Reformatorial Churches and Communities required the people to attend both services.
Meanwhile, the Synods of all the Reformatorial Churches and Communities had declared all Wednesdays days of prayer so that God would take the Polio away, and Raimund prayed extra prayers on other days for the same reason. He also had another concern regarding sins: His 16 year old son Renold had been caught in the showers of the school sports hall while making love to a guy. Making love even! To a guy! Within a couple of hours, it was the talk of the town. Quakenburg was a town with 10,000 inhabitants, so rumours go fast there. Raimund’s parents knew it sooner than Raimund himself. So he was astonished to see his parents when he returned from work. He was more astonished when he heard that his parents wanted to hold a family council. His astonishment levels reached a peak when he heard the reason.
Raimund proposed to discuss the matter with the Pastor; maybe there was a kind of exorcism for this, or maybe the Pastor could help Renold overcome his inclination. But then his father started to talk. For the first time in his life, Raimund heard that his father had a younger brother: Christfried. Nobody had ever talked about this Uncle Christfried; this uncle had been hushed up by Raimund’s parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandaunts and granduncles. Not even the people outside the family had talked about him. For a reason. Also Christfried had been caught red-handed making love to a guy.
Raimund’s father told how his parents took action. Christfried was sent to the Pastor for intensive prayer sessions, but then it appeared that Christfried was still dating the guy in question. Christfried and his boyfriend were sent to boarding schools; Christfried in Plaggenburg and his boyfriend in Grömitz. Christfried and his boyfriend had foreseen that something like this could happen. In that case, they would escape and meet each other in Grevesmühlen, a city just on the other side of the border with Lotharingen. Their attempts to escape failed: Christfried was caught on time. His boyfriend lost his balance while climbing over the fence, was stabbed by the sharp points on top of the fence’s bars, and died. One year later, Christfried did another attempt to escape. Also this attempt failed, but this time the reaction was different. Christfried was 18, so legally an adult according to the law. The boarding school expelled him, and his parents told him only to come home when he would not be gay any more. Christfried disappeared.
“I’m afraid we must take bolder action in Renold’s case,” Raimund’s father said after having told this story. “But something has changed since Christfried. There are therapies to cure sodomites. Unfortunately, those therapies are forbidden in the Rheinbund, but I know that a formerly Bramsfelder institution offering these therapies moved to Vrijpoort. Indeed, the Sodom and Gomorrah on the other side of the Bramsfelder Bucht, but the fact that you can do in Vrijpoort whatever you want as long as you offer money also has advantages. So now it is possible to cure yourself from sodomy in Sodom and Gomorrah. I think we must follow this path. Especially because God is currently punishing us with the Polio, we must take swift action to remove the sin.”
That was last Tuesday. The family council decided to send Renold to this facility in Vrijpoort. All the paperwork was arranged. Today very early in the morning, Raimund woke up Renold, and together they went to Vrijpoort. With pain in his heart, Raimund took Renold to the institution where he would be cured, and took the ferry back home.

Raimund also took another decision. He decided to try to find his uncle Christfried.
 

Eiffelland

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SODOM AND GOMORRAH

The Reformatorials often use the phrase “Sodom and Gomorrah” to express their rejection of too much sexual freedom, but the Bramsfelders use it for two cities in particular: Grevesmühlen and Bocholt. They share two characteristics with the cities Ratzeburg, Holtenau and Templin: They are just outside Bramsfeld, and the Bramsfelders go there to exercise sexual behaviours that are forbidden in Bramsfeld (a.o. prostitution and homosexual intercourse). But Grevesmühlen and Bocholt have the reputation of sexual freeplaces much more than Templin, Ratzeburg and Holtenau. Templin didn’t earn the reputation, because it is too small, too remote and too sleepy. People set up brothels there, but didn’t manage to set up a well-functioning entertainment branche with pubs, clubs and restaurants. Ratzeburg and Holtenau didn’t earn the reputation, because they are located in Emsland. Homosexuality is allowed, but frowned upon. Prostitution is still illegal here, although brothels are unofficially tolerated in the bigger places when they are not too noticeable (this in contrast with Bramsfeld, where prostitution is not only forbidden but also vehemently fought against).
So Grevesmühlen and Bocholt were the only places that could really thrive on the cocktail of legalised prostitution, legalised homosexuality, loose sexual morals in general and horny Bramfelders who see their sexual urges curbed in their homeland. And then Grevesmühlen is the real special story. Bocholt is an old city that goes back to the middle ages, and has always been a lively city, also inspired by the Catholic vibes of the southern part of the Fürstentum it was located in: Wetterau. Grevesmühlen was a provincial city that was even smaller and sleepier than Templin, but contrary to Templin it managed to take the curve. Riding on the vibes of the sexual revolution, vibes that were boosted by the legalisation of prostitution in the Fürstentum Lotharingen in 1969, Grevesmühlen grew. Between 1960 and 1980, Grevesmühlen grew from 30,000 to 200,000 inhabitants. And contrary to other cities that grew explosively during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, it became a lively city, a city where late-modernist and postmodernist buildings came to life.
How could this happen? Although it looked from the outside that the sexual revolution of the 1960s left Bramsfeld unaffected, things also happened there. Divorces are only possible in Bramsfeld when the marriage was not “consumed”, but the number of people who wanted to end their marriages also grew there. And the counterreaction was more vehement in Bramsfeld than everywhere else in the Rheinbund. People who left their spouses were shunned, disinherited and bullied out of the places they lived in. They moved to Grevesmühlen and Bocholt, more and more from the 1960s onwards. Bramsfelder youngsters who fled the oppressive athmosphere joined them, as well as Bramsfelder gays, lesbians, bisexuals and later on transsexuals. Strange enough, more to Grevesmühlen than to Bocholt, something that history does not explain.

As said, the legalisation of prostitution in Lotharingen and Wetterau also gave a boost to Grevesmühlen and Bocholt. With the brothels and the red light districts came the pubs, the restaurants, the theatres, and the nationwide reputation of cities of leisure.
 

Eiffelland

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Weissenfels, 10 February 2023

Klirrr!!

“Verdammte Scheisse!!”

Prince Ludwig von Heidemar-Loorburg was sitting in a gay bar in Weissenfels. His boyfriend Jonathan von Walsrode had been asked to assist in a heart transplant, so he was alone this evening. But he didn’t want to be alone after a stressy week, so he went out. Now he looked at a man in his sixties whose glass had fallen off the bar. The man was not drunk, but he was clear that something was bothering him. He said “Entschuldigung” when he saw that everybody was looking at him. He carefully put the shards on the bar, asked for sweeper and dustpan to get the small pieces off the floor, seated himself after having cleaned up the mess and asked for a new drink. Then he cursed again.

“Karl-Hans, I don’t know you this way. Did something happen?” the bartender asked.

“Yes, something happened. But let me start from the beginning, so that you understand the size of what happened,” Karl-Hans Schneller said. “Let me tell you the story of Christfried Wexner.”


Quakenburg, Bramsfeld, 15 April 1978

“Christfried, it’s irritating that you are continuously sitting on the couch here. Go out to do something,” Christfried’s mother said.
“Well, if you don’t want me to sit around here, then talk to the Lyzäum to take me up, or talk to the people in the village to give me a job. You know that the Lyzäum refused to take me up, and you know that nobody wants to give me a job here in the village, so help me then,” Christfried said angrily.
“You know very well why the Lyzäum doesn’t want to take you up, and you know very well why the people here don’t want to give you a job. Do something about it. Go to the pastor,” his mother said. “Why don’t you go to him now?”
“I can’t go there, because the tyres of my bicycle are worn out,” Christfried said.
She walked to her handbag, took her purse, took a 5 Goldmark banknote out of it and gave it to Christfried. “Here. Take the bus,” she said.

Christfried left the house. He hadn’t done so for a month, apart from when he was taken to Church (twice every Sunday), that time that he took his youth bank savings book to have it converted to an adult bank book (without his parents knowing it), and that time that he went out to go to the soccer fields and meet some of his school friends there, only to find out the hard way that they weren’t his friends any more. Covered with bruises and with a black eye, he returned home, only to hear from his mother that it was his own fault. He already knew that he would get a beating from his father when his action with his bank book would come out, so he always carried it with him in a little bag under his shirt.

The trip didn’t go to the pastor. The trip went to the soccer fields. Not for a particular reason; cheering for the local soccer club wasn’t Christfried’s thing, and he didn’t intend to cheer for his former friends. Actually, he didn’t know why he was going there. He just went there. The sky was sparkling blue, and the sun was shining. But it was not really warm yet: 15 degrees Celsius.

One of the matches played on that day was important. The senior team of SV Quakenburg would become champion of Northeast Bramsfeld if it would win and another club would loose, but this would only be known one week later, when all the results of this weekend’s soccer matches had been processed and announced. Christfried was watching this match, when a player of a visiting youth team came by to stand next to him.
“Great match. Quakenburg is really doing its best to become champion,” the guy said.
Christfried looked aside. He saw a guy of about his age standing next to him. A really nice guy of about his age.
“Champion?” Christfried asked. He wasn’t aware of the course of the competition.
“Didn’t you know about that?” the guy asked.
“No, not really. I was out of town for one and a half years. I didn’t follow the competition,” Christfried replied.
“Ah, OK,” the guy said. “Did your father get a job elsewhere?”
“No, my parents sent me to a boarding school, but I was expelled about a month ago,” Christfried said before he realised what he was saying.
“Whow, what did you do?” the guy asked.
“I tried to escape twice,” Christfried said. “It was really horrible there. I really couldn’t stand it.” Why was he so open about this? But the funny thing was, that the guy did not end the conversation, and did not judge. Abnormal for a Bramsfelder.
The guy remained silent for some moments. Then he asked: “My name is Simon. What’s your name?”
Christfried told his name.
In the meantime, Quakenburg had scored two goals within a minute. The match would go on for ten more minutes, but it was already clear that the visiting club would not be able to turn the tide. Simon asked: “Shall we go somewhere else?”
Christfried was stunned a bit.
“The match has been played. There will not happen that much any more. Let’s go somewhere more private,” Simon said.
Christfried was still stunned about this. But he agreed. Come what should come.
They walked to the bushes behind the building with the dressing rooms. There Simon made clear what his intentions were and started to kiss Christfried. Christfried kissed back. Simon’s hands went under Christfried’s shirt, and a few moments later his shirt was off. Also Simon’s shirt went off …

The sex was fantastic. It was the third time in his life, and the first time in 1.5 years that Christfried had sex again. But while he and Simon were redressing, they heard someone shouting: “Just as I thought! Christfried seduced the missing guy!”
It appeared that people had been looking for Simon, because his team wanted to go home. It was not clear why, but someone decided to look behind the dressing rooms. Christfried knew what the Quakenburger youth was capable of, so he started to run. He ran as fast as he could. To the entrance of the soccer club. When he saw a bus stopping, he jumped in and bought a ticket. Unluckily, it was not the bus home, but he decided to take a ride to the next village. He knew a shortcut to walk back home from there.

It was around sunset when he arrived home. While walking to the front door, he saw a large leather bag and a suitcase standing in front of the front door. He put the bag and the suitcase aside a bit, and tried to push the key into the lock. The key didn’t fit. He rang. No reaction. He looked through the front window. Then he realised that all lights in the house were out. It looked like everybody was gone. He looked at his watch. 7pm. When the family went out to visit other people, he was clearly supposed not to join, but he was notified. Why not this time? But more importantly, why did his key suddenly not fit any more? Had they really changed the locks? Was that the reason why his mother had pushed him to leave the house? But would they also have done this when he really would have gone to the Pastor to repent and ask for help? This looked more like a decision taken later on the day. It was around 3 or 4pm when he was caught with Simon. Was it really possible to buy and install new locks in three hours? But then his parents must have been notified about his encounter with Simon. Nice people here in this town!
Christfried tried the keys of the back door and the garage on the lock of the front door. They didn’t fit. He tried all three keys on the garage door and the back door. They didn’t fit. He went back to the front to check the bag and the suitcase. They contained his clothes.
The signal was clear. Christfried took the bag and the suitcase, and walked away.

You must be registered for see medias
(Gerry Rafferty – Baker street)
 

Eiffelland

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Quakenburg, Bramsfeld, 15 April 1978

Christfried had quite a large family. A family of farmers, companies delivering to farmers and food traders. Wexner was a big name in Eastern Bramsfeld. The family branch Christfried belonged to sold agricultural vehicles and agricultural devices, and was deeply rooted in Quakenburg.
Christfried already knew where he wanted to go: Grevesmühlen. But how to get there with a heavy bag and a heavy suitcase, from a remote town at Saturday evening, without enough cash money to buy a bus ticket, let alone a train ticket? His first thought was to see whether he could stay with somebody from his family until Monday morning, so he went to the houses of his aunts and uncles, to his cousins’ houses, to his eldest brother’s house, to his grandparents’ house, but strange enough nobody was there. Years later, Christfried would find out that everybody had gone to an aunt living in a village 10 kilometers away to avoid him, in the hope that he would have left Quakenburg when they would return.
Meanwhile, it had become dark. Christfried looked at his watch. 9:30 pm. Even IF he would have wanted to take the bus, that would have become impossible. The last bus on Saturday night departed around 9 pm so that the bus driver would be home before midnight, i.e. the start of Sunday. The bus services would start again on Monday morning at 5:30 am. If he would want to leave Quakenburg now, he had to do it on foot. But that would go very slowly with his bag and suitcase. Suddenly he got an idea. He was standing in front of the house of one of his uncles. What if he grabbed a wheelbarrow from there and use it for carrying his bag and suitcase? He walked to the garage. He knew that his uncle kept his gardening equipment there. He also knew that the lock wasn’t that good. Crime was hardly a thing in the Quakenburg of 1978, so not everybody paid attention to making their houses burglary-resistant. Like his uncle. The garage door was from the 1930s, and his uncle had forgotten to put the vertical lock rod into position. So even with the key lock locked, it was easy to pull the door open. Which Christfried did. He “closed” the door behind him, and turned on the light. There he saw the wheelbarrow. He put his bags in it.
He would have expected that his uncle’s dog would start to bark, and that would be problematic. His uncle had a Rottweiler. But he heard no barking. Where was his uncle’s dog? Then he remembered again that two weeks ago the dog had died. Then he got another idea. He had 500 Goldmark on his bankbook, but that was on his bankbook. The banks wouldn’t open until Monday morning. He had no cash. It was something he loathed, but he decided to do it. He would rob out his nephews’ and niece’s piggy banks. That would be a lot of coins, but coins were also money. He felt very sorry for his nephews and nieces, but he felt he had no choice.

His uncle and his family had left the house in a hurry, it seemed. He found his aunt’s handbag, with the purse in it. Inside there was 200 Goldmark in cash. He took it all. The piggy banks released 100 Goldmark in addition. He didn’t feel sorry for the money he took from his aunt. His family had been very nasty towards him after he was discovered to be gay. But he did feel sorry for his nephews and nieces. He decided to send them the money back later, as soon as he had enough to pay them back. He also took a raincoat from his aunt, a shawl and a headscarf to disguise himself for the case that someone would see him. But now he had to hurry. It was 10pm; the time at which people would start to walk their dogs or go home from visiting other people. He walked to the garage, took the wheelbarrow, walked outside, closed the garage door so that it looked like nothing had happened, crossed the street with the wheelbarrow and walked away through the meadows.


Motorway Laubach-Grevesmühlen, Bramsfeld, 16 April 1978

Christfried knew the surroundings of Bramsfeld very well. The fact that it was close to full moon was also helpful. He walked around Quakenburg and then to the west, to the motorway A1, which was the Rheinbund’s longest motorway and ran from the border with Pannonia in the North to the border with Remuria in the South. The moon had already set when he found an asphalt road. That asphalt road led him to another asphalt road, which led to the A1. This motorway was not his first choice, but the motorway going to Grevesmühlen was further away. He had been walking already from 3pm the day before, and the 30 km to the A1 was easier to do than the 50 km to the motorway to Grevesmühlen. He hoped to hitch-hike to Laubach from there, and then to Grevesmühlen.
There was close to no car traffic, because it was a Sunday. Car traffic was not forbidden in Bramsfeld on Sundays, but the religious beliefs of many Bramsfelders prohibited them to use their cars on Sundays. Christfried reckoned that it could take a very long time before a car would pass by. Also because it was still morning. The sun had risen, but it was still early, when Christfried pushed his wheelbarrow up the ramp to the A1 going to Laubach. One hour later, after having been passed by two cars ignoring his hitch-hike thumb, he reached a petrol station. Of course: Closed. It was a petrol station in Bramsfeld on a Sunday. A small one; therefore, without truckers. He was there alone. The petrol station would reopen at 6am the next morning. But it had two vending machines selling food and beverages. Now Christfried was very happy with the heap of coins he had collected from the piggy banks. He took all the sandwiches and a couple of cans of mineral water and sodapops out of the vending machines, ate and drank, and fell asleep.

Hey! Junge! Wach auf!

Christfried woke up. He looked into the face of a man about 30 years old.

Oh, hallo,” he replied. Then he looked at his watch. 7 o’ clock, but given the sun’s position, probably in the evening.
“Everything fine?” the man asked.
Christfried confirmed.
“Do I need to take you anywhere?” the man asked.
“In the end, I want to go to Grevesmühlen, but is that on your route?” Christfried asked.
“No, not really, but I can take you to the trainstation of Laubach. Then from there, you can take the train,” the man said.
“Do the trains ride on a Sunday?” Christfried asked.
“Maybe the N-Züge and the E-Züge don’t ride here in Bramsfeld, but the D-Züge always ride,” the man said. “At least I have traveled through Bramsfeld by international train very often on a Sunday, without any problems. And the international ones hold in Laubach. I also know that the Intercities hold in Bramsfelder cities on Sundays. Only the shops aren’t open, and you have to buy your ticket in the train.” [1]
“OK, then if you can take me to the trainstation in Laubach, yes please,”Christfried said.
“OK. Get into my car. I will take you there,” the man said.

They walked to a Raimer /8 Coupé with Pannonian licence plates. Christfried put his bag and his suitcase into the boot of the car. Then he seated himself on the passenger seat.

“If you don’t want to tell it, you don’t need to, but what happened?” the man asked while they drove on the motorway.
Christfried told how he had been thrown out by his parents for being gay, and told about his walk to the petrol station. He didn’t tell about the burglary.
Then the man whistled between his teeth. “That’s quite the story … But now I also know why there were no sandwiches in the vending machine any more. You probably ate them all. Well, understandable.”
“But what’s your story?” Christfried asked.
“I am from Sankt Veith, Pannonia. My father was also Pannonian, but my mother is from Grefrath. My father died when I was 20 years old. Two years after that, my mother decided to move back to Grefrath. She didn’t manage to find her way in Sankt Veith, and her parents got sick. Being their only child, she decided to move back to Grefrath and take care of her parents. Now I visit them once a month. First by train, therefore I know that they go here in Bramsfeld on Sundays, and now by car,” the man said.
“A bit like my story. Only I was pushed away by my parents, and in your case your mother left you,” Christfried said.
“It was also my feeling that she left me. But I do understand why she did so. And strictly speaking she only physically left me, not psychologically,” the man said. “And the fact that she wants to take care of her parents, my grandparents, is something I value. And I also like to see that she enjoys life in Grefrath much more than in Sankt Veith.”
“And what about you? Would you see yourself moving to Grefrath?” Christfried asked.
“No, not really. I have everything in Sankt Veith. My life is in Pannonia,” the man said. “But now back to you. Why Grevesmühlen? Do you know somebody there?”
“No, but it is more or less the city where all rejected Bramsfelders go to,” Christfried said.
“But maybe also a city with limited possibilities. Why not Grefrath, Cöllen or Fehrbellin? Or maybe even Vrijpoort?” the man asked.
“Vrijpoort is impossible. I don’t have a passport,” Christfried said. “And how liberal is Vrijpoort towards gays? Then I have more options in the Rheinbund. But I will think about the Ruhrgebiet and Fehrbellin.”
“I understand,” the man said. “Given that I am straight, I have a black eye for what people think about homosexuality. So I don’t know what the Vrijpoorters think.”

Then the sign indicating “Laubach-Zentrum” approached. The man steered his Raimer off the motorway and into Laubach. There were hardly any cars on the road, but there were pedestrians who looked at them. At the train station, he parked the car and turned off the engine. Christfried and the man got out. The man opened the boot, and gave Christfried his luggage. Then they shook hands, and the man wished Christfried good luck.
While the man was watching Christfried walking into the train station, somebody said to him: “Are you aware that it is Sunday? Using your car now is a desecration of the Day of the Lord.”
The man turned around. He looked into the face of a woman in her fourties. He didn’t want this discussion, so he simply said in Bajoran: “I’m awfully sorry, Madam, but I don’t understand what you say. I don’t speak German.”

Christfried looked at the sign indicating when the trains would depart. He did consider the words of the Pannonian man, but when he saw that the train to Grevesmühlen would depart first, he decided for Grevesmühlen. He was yearning for a coffee, but how could he carry it while having to carry two pieces of luggage as well? So he decided to go to the platform.
Not all railroads had been electrified yet in the upper North of the Rheinbund. Actually, the only ones that had been electrified, were the ones on which international trains rode, so that the Rheinian railways could impress the international travelers with the most powerful electric locomotive of that time, giving the international trains in at least the Rheinbund a top speed of 200 km/h. But the intercity line from Emden to Spremberg still lacked electrification, so that the intercities on that line were tracked by diesel locomotives.
When Christfried arrived at the platform, the train wasn’t there yet. The three yellow lights at the head of the locomotive were already close-by though. He was the only one at the platform. The train halted, and Christfried entered it. Then the “Nach Spremberg, einsteigen bitte … Nach Spremberg, zurückbleiben bitte” sounded, then the conductor’s whistle signal, and the doors closed under a sound signal while lights above them flashed slowly. A few seconds later, the train departed. Christfried watched the platform lights pass by, then the lights of the city, which became scarcer and scarcer, and then it became dark. Sometimes a farm lit up, sometimes the lights of a level crossing with the accompanying bells, sometimes a village or town, sometimes a train station. Then the train slowed down and the intercom sounded to announce that the train would stop in Grevesmühlen in a few minutes. The conductor announced from which platforms the connecting trains would depart, and ended his message with “Meine Damen und Herren, Grevesmühlen Hauptbahnhof”. The train slowed down. Christfried took his bag and his suitcase, and walked to the door. He already saw the flashlights of Grevesmühlen’s entertainment area. This would be his place to live, at least for a couple of years.
The train halted at the platform. Christfried got out. Then he carried his bag and suitcase to the baggage lockers, and locked them up there. He needed to find a place to live for now, but that would be easier without luggage. A quarter of an hour later, he found a cheap hotel, and rented a room there for a week. Then he collected his luggage from the station, took it to his room, took a shower, put on fresh clothes, went out to eat something, came back to his room, and fell asleep.

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OOC 1: [1] N-Züge (Nahverkerszüge) are local trains halting at each station, E-Züge (Eilzüge) are regional trains that do not halt at each station but connect smaller cities (and larger cities not on a main rail route) to each other and to a station at a main route, and D-Züge (Durchgangszüge) are intercities.

OOC 2: The Raimer /8 Coupé is of course .

OOC3: The electric locomotive is .

OOC4: The diesel locomotive is .
 
Last edited:

Eiffelland

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Grevesmühlen, Lotharingen, 1 June 1978

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“Hey, Christfried, come into the water!”

This is the life, Christfried thought. He worked as a bartender in one of the gay sexclubs in the famous Kornmarktviertel. He worked there five days a week. The other two days he went out himself or rested. The stripclub was open seven days a week, from 10:00 to 06:00, but the shows lasted from 18:00 to 04:00.

The guy who called Christfried, was one of the dancers from his club. Gorgeous body, extremely pretty face, and a very sensual dancer. His name was Jörg. Part of his job as dancer was not only to perform acts on stage, but also to do lapdances and entertain the guests, who could invite him for a drink, or for more. Christfried already earned a quite good salary, but the dancers earned more.

Christfried was 1.83 meters tall, had greengrey eyes and light blonde hair. Back in Bramsfeld, he was confined to one of the dull hairstyles that were considered appropriate there. Letting his hair grow, as per the fashion in the 1970s, was a no-go; that fashion style was considered girl-like, and there was a bible verse on that (Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”). But now he let his hair grow, and discovered that he had a wave in his hair. Today at the beach, he wore a tiny dark blue speedo, and only that. He wasn’t afraid to show his body any more.
Jörg was wearing a white speedo, and didn’t care that that white speedo became transparent when wet, so that everything was visible.

Christfried went into the water. Jörg had a frisbee to throw over. The two swam around and played catch with the frisbee. At a certain moment, Jörg said: “Come, let’s go to the FKK beach. Believe me, swimming naked is so much better than swimming with swimming trunks on.” So they did.
At the nudist beach, they took off their swimming trunks and went into the water. They swam around, and at a certain moment Jörg started to kiss Christfried. Jörg started to kiss Christfried all over his body. “Oh, you’re so gorgeous, let’s make love, here, now, in the water,” he said. So they did.

Since his arrival in Grevesmühlen, Christfried had had lots of sex, sometimes even several times a day. When he had to do a late shift, there was always another bartender or dancer who persuaded him. And those persuasions were often conducted in a fast way. But even if this was only sex and not love as in the love in a relationship, this was the first time since two years that he got so much affection. He enjoyed it. One year in Grevesmühlen, and he would have had more sex than his former friends from Quakenburg would ever get in their lives. And also better sex, not with frigid girls who put curlers in their hair before going to sleep simply because their mothers also went to bed with curlers in their hair. The sexual deprivation among Bramsfelder men must be high when they even find women with curlers in their hair sexually attractive.

After Jörg and Christfried came out of the water, they looked for a calm place covered by bushes and started to cuddle there. At a certain moment, Jörg said: “Let’s make love again.”
“Whow, I don’t know if I am still able to make love after that session in the water,” Christfried jiggled.
“I have something for that,” Jörg said. He grabbed in one of the pocket of his shorts, and presented a small brown bottle. “This is a popper. Open the bottle, sniff on it, and you can go on for hours,” he said.
Christfried sniffed on the bottle, Jörg did the same, and they started to make love.
 

Eiffelland

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Weissenfels, 10 February 2023

“But then I’m asking myself one thing. Gay sex is forbidden in Bramsfeld. Wasn’t Christfried wanted for that?” someone asked.
“By the way, what would happen if somebody is charged with gay sex in Bramsfeld but doesn’t live there or moves out of there? Normally you are extradited when you commit a crime in a memberstate and then move out,” someone else asked.
“There were indeed some cases in the 1970s and the early 1980s of people who were extradited to Bramsfeld or Heilbach because of charges with gay sex,” Ludwig von Heidemar-Loorburg said. “But after a couple of protests, the memberstates reached a compromise on that. You are not extradited to Bramsfeld or Heilbach for charges with gay sex, but when you go there yourself, you will be arrested. Also to that rule there is an exception: Even when you are wanted for gay sex in Bramsfeld or Heilbach, you can travel through those states, so as long as you stay in the car or the train, you won’t get arrested.”
“And what if you fill your petrol tank?” somebody asked.
“Then you won’t get arrested, either,” Ludwig said. “By the way, the police in Heilbach stopped enforcing the prohibition of gay sex. It is still forbidden officially, but the police don’t take action on that any more. But I think that things would be interesting in the case of Christfried and Simon. They were caught while they were redressing, not while they were making love. If the person who caught them only saw them redress, there was no proof that Christfried and Simon made love, and if this person did see them make love, why did he wait with calling them out until they redressed?”
“Maybe he himself was a closeted gay and was too much interested in the action,” someone grinned.
“That could very well be,” Karl-Hans Schneller grinned as well. “But I will tell you more about this later.”


Grevesmühlen, Lotharingen, June and July 1978

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Close to Grevesmühlen, there was a sand quarry where sand had been excavated for the construction of the motorway from Laubach to Grevesmühlen and Spremberg in the 1960s. When the quarry filled itself with water, the Grevesmühler municipality saw possibilities to create a recreation lake. So it did. From the start onwards, it is a success. Swimming, rowing, windsurfing, sailing, it is done here.
Grevesmühlen was also very quick with establishing a nudist beach at the recreation lake, which became such a success that it was extended several times. This nudist beach is frequented by many Grevesmühler gays, but also by people from other places in Lotharingen, and by closeted Bramsfelder gays.

Summer 1978 was a normal Summer for Northern Eiffelland. At least for that period. Sometimes warm, sometimes not, sometimes rain, sometimes not. Later on, Christfried would mainly remember the warm and beautiful days of June and July 1978. The beach adventures at the recreation lake, his work in the club, dancing in the Grevesmühler gay discos, making new friends, sex on all kinds of places…

Meanwhile, the contact he had with Jörg deepened. The two not only had sex, but also deep talkings about everything. Jörg also appeared to have a Bramsfelder background. Because of his struggling with his homosexuality, he failed the exams for the Realschule. One year later, he passed them, and moved to Grevesmühlen. That was four years ago. Now he was doing an education in the gastronomy.

Was Christfried in a relationship with Jörg? That question was difficult to answer. Christfried had special feelings for Jörg, but he was by far not the only one Jörg had sex with. It had become clear very soon that it was impossible in Grevesmühlen to claim a guy for yourself. Monogamy did not exist in the Grevesmühler gay scene. Monogamy could not exist in a city built on sex. And so Christfried also had sex with many more guys than Jörg alone. But Jörg was his favourite. Were the two in a relationship? And if yes, was this relationship based on love, or based on sex?

The first weekend of July marks the beginning of the summer holidays. This is celebrated in Grevesmühlen with a festival. Depending on the weather, this festival takes place on the beach or at the Stadtplatz in the city centre. In 1978, it took place on the beach. Christfried also had some bar shifts. Behind the bar, in front of the bar, at the dancefloor, he enjoyed the party.
After one of his barshifts, Jörg came to him. Half-long dark blonde hair, sappfire blue eyes, clean-shaven, about the same hight as Christfried, slightly musculous, bronzed skin, wearing only swimming trunks and a T-shirt. Christfried was wearing tennis shorts, socks, sneakers and a shirt identifying him as a bartender.
“Hi Jörg,” Christfried smiled. He took off his bartender shirt, put it in his bag (which was lying in the bar cart, like the bags of all other bartenders working on that bar cart) and grabbed an other shirt from his bag.
“Oh, do you really need to wear that shirt?” Jörg asked with a playful sad tone in his voice.
“Well, maybe it’s going to get cold later,” Christfried said.
“But it’s not cold yet. And the sun is good for you,” Jörg said.
“But first I have cream myself in. I get a sunburn faster than you do,” Christfried said while grabbing a tube of sunscreen out of a pocket of his shorts.
“Let me do that,” Jörg said.
Christfried gave him the tube. Jörg led Christfried to behind the bar cart, and took a bit of cream. Slowly he moved his hands over Christfried’s back while creaming him in. Then he placed a lovebite in Christfried’s neck. Christfried moved his head backwards and laid it on Jörg’s clavicle. Jörg started to cream in Christfried’s chest and belly with slow movements. Then he said “Come”, led Christfried to some bushes at a distance from the bar cart, started to kiss Christfried, and moved his hands to Christfried’s shorts…

The weather was still warm, so Christfried and Jörg went into the water for a swim. They met one of Christfried’s flat mates, and some of the dancers and bartenders of the club where Christfried and Jörg worked. They started to drink and have fun.
Later during the night, it became a bit chilly. Christfried, a bit influenced by the cocktails, said at a certain moment: “It’s getting cold. I should have taken some warm clothes with me.”
“There is a way to get warm again: Dance!” one of the other bartenders said.
“Good idea,” Christfried said. He walked to Jörg, bowed and asked: “May I have this dance from you?”
“Oooohh, bold move, asking a dancer for a dance,” somebody said. He wasn’t aware of the situation between Jörg and Christfried.
“I will see where it ends,” Christfried said.

He appeared to be a good disco dancer. Not as good as Jörg, but the latter made sure that Christfried didn’t fail. The second number they would dance on, was a slow number. Jörg whispered sensually into Christfried’s ear: “Are you in for setting a show?” Christfried said yes.
They performed an erotic dance at a level that nobody expected. This was seen by one of the managers of the club where they worked. He offered Christfried to become a dancer. Christfried said yes.
It would become the first night that Jörg stayed at Christfried’s place. And not the last.

Christfried’s first show was together with Jörg. It was a huge success. Many more shows followed. With Jörg, alone, with other dancers, sometimes threesome or foursome shows. The adventures after closure time continued, but more and more Christfried went home together with Jörg.


Grevesmühlen, Lotharingen, 3 August 1978

The last guest had left the club. The bars were clean. The beer pipes were clean. The money in the cash desks had been put in the safe. Jörg and Christfried were still in the club, together with four other people.
“Hey Jörg, Christfried, can you give us a show again?” one of the bartenders asked.
“Come on, we already gave two shows tonight. You have seen enough of us for today,” Jörg said teasingly.
“But we had to work during your shows. We had no time to watch,” the bartender said. Then he put up a puppy-eye-face and said: “Please?”
Jörg looked at Christfried, who nodded. The people in the room cheered. One other bartender walked to the DJ boot and put a single with a very sensual number on. Two minutes after Jörg and Christfried started their dance, the other people joined in. Soon after that, some shirts went out, more shirts followed, then shoes, socks, trousers, underpants …

One hour later, Jörg and Christfried were on their way to Christfried’s room. Later that day, they would go to the beach. The weather forecasts were great for today, and they wanted to make use of the weather. Christfried’s room was closer to the beach than Jörg’s, so they would get some sleep at Christfried’s place.

When Jörg and Christfried approached the flat Christfried was living in, they didn’t see the from the military police. Four men in uniform stepped out of it.
Herr Wexner?” one of them asked.
Christfried and Jörg looked at the men.
“Are you Christfried Renold Adrian Wexner, born on the 10th of March 1960?” one of the men in uniform asked.
“Yes,” Christfried said.
“My name is Lieutenant Brauen, Armeepolizei Lotharingen. You were expected to report at the Kaserne Lauenbrück on the 1st of August, so two days ago. You are under arrest for evading military service,” the man said.
 

Eiffelland

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Barracks Lauenbrück, 3 August 1978

Two weeks before his 18th birthday, Christfried was examined for military service. During this examination, he repeatedly indicated that he was gay. In any other memberstate, even in Heilbach, the physician would have noted this in the file, after which Christfried would have been rejected for military service. In that case, his society service would have consisted of 3 years of civil service, instead of 26 to 30 months of military service (depending on the rank he would get in the armed forces) and the rest of the time civil service.
But he was examined in Bramsfeld. While Tiburan Catholicism already allowed people to be gay but only obliged gays to be celibatarian, Reformatorial Calvinism was still of the opinion that gays should get cured from their homosexuality, willingly or not. Military service was considered a way to force gays to become “normal”. So Christfried’s multiple indications that he was gay were not noted down. He was considered fit for service: “Keine Angst, wir werden Sie von Ihrer Veranlagung befreien.” [1]
With the Lyzäum lasting seven years from age 12 onwards, Christfried would have obtained the Abitur in 1979, and his society service would have started in August of that year. But he was expelled from school, and was not admitted to another school. Because of that, he had to start society service in the year he became 18, so already in 1978. The letter ordering him to report himself for military service on 1 August 1978 was sent to his parents in Quakenburg. But angry as he was about the way he had been thrown out of the house, he hadn’t sent his new address to his parents. He considered the break-up with his family final. There wasn’t even a letter explaining things between his belongings, let alone a letter of goodbye; his parents had just put his belongings in a bag and a suitcase, and that was it.
The armed forces did receive indications of address changes of all male Rheinians about to be called for society service from age 17 onwards, but Christfried’s address change had not been processed on time for the letter to be sent to his new address, and his parents did not inform the armed forces that their son did not live with them any more. Furthermore, the last thing he thought of, was to request a re-examination after his move to Grevesmühlen. So the arrival of the military police was a complete surprise.

Each memberstate in the Rheinbund has its own judicial system, because laws can differ between memberstates, and do differ. Also penal law differs. There is also a judicial system at federal level (or in Rheinian legal speak: Rheinian level), however, a.o. for crimes considered national crimes. Draft evading is a Rheinan crime as per Rheinian law, so Christfried’s case was a Rheinian case.

Christfried was taken to the closest-by office of the Armeepolizei, which happened to be at the Barracks of Lauenbrück, in the North of Bramsfeld. As soon as he saw the shield “Bürgerschaft Bramsfeld”, he feared that he was in deeper trouble than he originally thought. At Lauenbrück, he was handed over to the military police there, after which Lieutenant Brauen and his men drove back to Lotharingen.
Christfried was taken to an interrogation room, and left there waiting for 10 minutes. Then two officers walked in. The one higher in rank introduced himself as Major Zumpe and the one lower in rank as Captain Thielemann. The names on the uniforms were spelled as “W.G. Zumpe” and “L.C. Thielemann”. Major Zumpe carried a file map.
Zumpe browsed through some papers in the file he carried. Then he started talking.
“Christfried Renold Adrian Wexner, born on the 10th of March 1960. Religion: Reformatorial Community. You would expect some obedience and decency from a boy from that religion, but no. Expelled from two schools, the rascal. Stripping in a gay club in Grevesmühlen. And he doesn’t show up for military service,” he said.
“I wasn’t aware that I had to report for military service,” Christfried said sharply.
“No? We sent you a letter,” Thielemann said.
“I didn’t receive that letter,” Christfried said sharply.
Zumpe sighed. “We’ve heard that so often,” he said with a tired undertone in his voice. Then sharply: “We’ve sent you a letter. Don’t lie to us that you didn’t receive it.”
“Where did you send it to? To my parents? I moved out last April. What about getting your administration in order?” Christfried said insolently.
“Now don’t get cheeky,” Zumpe said angrily. “If we indeed sent that letter to your parents, then they will certainly have passed it on to you. You knew that you had to report last Tuesday. Don’t lie to us.”
“My parents don’t know my new address. They can’t have sent me the letter,” Christfried said panickingly.
“Oh, your parents don’t know your address?” Zumpe asked ironicly. “Why didn’t you give it to them?”
“My parents threw me out,” Christfried said sharply. “They put my clothes into two bags in front of the front door without a note or anything, and changed the locks.”
“So you were also expelled from your parents’ home,” Zumpe said patronisingly.
“Yes. For being gay,” Christfried said sharply.
“For being gay, no less,” Zumpe said patronisingly. He browsed through the file again. “Here I have the medical examination report to determine whether you are fit for military service. You were examined on the 24th of February. And you were deemed fit for military service. I do see a note though: The physician marked that you mentioned that you are gay, but considered that a lie to dodge military service. That is something that occurs more and more, even in Bramsfeld, so I can imagine that he is a bit critical about that.”
“But I am gay, for Christ’s sake!” Christfried screamed.
“Don’t use God’s Name in such a way!” Zumpe screamed. “Everybody can say that he is gay to evade military service! You are not gay, you are a draft dodger!”
Then Thielemann started to talk.
“Let’s see if we can get out of this in a nice manner. Mr. Wexner, when you refuse to report for military service, you will stand trial. This is a serious crime, and can lead to up to ten years imprisonment, after which you will be called for society service again. Then you will be 31, with primary school as the only education you absolved and no work experience at all. And it will be 1991 instead of 1978. This is really not something Major Zumpe and I want to do with you. We want you to lead your life productively. But society service is not something you can skip. You have to serve those three years. And you were deemed fit for military service, so you have to serve the military part of it. At this moment, you are legally a draft evader. We are willing to drop that charge, if you are willing to fulfil your military service. In that case, we will consider the fact that you did not show up when you had to the result of an unlucky course of events. That will save you a lot of trouble.” He paused for a moment. Then he continued: “You can ask for a medical re-examination while you are serving.”
Christfried thought for a moment. Then he said: “I want a lawyer.” He paused a moment, and then continued: “Not from Bramsfeld, but from Lotharingen.”
Zumpe and Thielemann looked at him, their faces showing that they didn’t understand.
“I’ve been expelled from school twice. I’ve been refused all kinds of jobs in my birth town. My parents have thrown me out of the house. And all that because I love guys instead of girls. I wasn’t expelled from school because I was making trouble everywhere. I wasn’t expelled for mobbing. I wasn’t expelled for stealing from my class mates. I was even one of the best pupils. But then my boyfriend and I were caught while making love. We were expelled from school. My boyfriend was sent to a boarding school in Grömitz, and I was sent to a boarding school in Plaggenburg. My boyfriend died in a stupid accident while trying to escape. I myself tried to escape twice, and was expelled after the second time. When I was examined for military service, I told the physician that I am gay. He answered that the armed forces would ‘liberate me from my tendencies’. When I came back to Quakenburg after having been expelled from boarding school, my former friends beat me up. Covered with blood and bruises, I arrived home. The only thing my mother said, was that it was my own fault. All that for being gay. And then you want to put me into a platoon filled with Bramsfelders who piece-by-piece hate gays? If that file of yours tells that I told the phisician that I’m gay, then the officer will know that as well. And soon the people I am serving with. That’s going to be two years of mobbing. But apparently the armed forces don’t care. I don’t trust the two of you, and I don’t trust Bramsfelders in general. The first time that people valued me for what I am and didn’t judge me for being gay, was in Grevesmühlen. Bramsfelders hate gays; I don’t expect to be defended properly by a Bramsfelder lawyer. I want a Lotharinger lawyer.”
“Is this a refusal to fulfil your military service?” Thielemann asked.
“I want to talk to a lawyer first, before I decide,” Christfried said.
“OK. My offer still stands, but we will have to imprison you,” Thielemann said.
“Am I allowed to make a phone call?” Christfried asked.
“Yes, you are,” Thielemann said.

Christfried immediately called Jörg.
“”
“Hi Jörg, here Christfried. I’m so happy to hear your voice.”
“”
“I’m in the military prison of the barracks of Lauenbrück. They’re going to keep me here for now.”
“”
“Well, actually, I’m in deep trouble. Although I repeatedly mentioned during the physical examination that I’m gay, I was deemed fit to serve. The physician even said that they would ‘cure’ me from ‘my tendencies’. Today I heard that the fact that I told that I’m gay landed in my file. This means that my platoon officer knows this as well, and then also the petty officers. It will be a matter of time before the rest of the platoon also knows it. And I fear it’s a platoon of Bramsfelders that I was assigned to. I don’t need to tell you to what that will lead. And that for two years. But the only alternative they let me is ten years imprisonment.”
“”
“I don’t know. But I need a lawyer. And not one from Bramsfeld.”
“”
“I need a lawyer who doesn’t make a problem of the fact that I’m gay, and who understands my problem. That’s not going to be a Bramsfelder. Could you please check out in Grevesmühlen?”
“”
“OK. Thanks.”
“”
“I love you too.”

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OOC: Translation:
Keine Angst, wir werden Sie von Ihrer Veranlagung befreien = No worries, we will liberate you from your tendencies.
 

Eiffelland

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Weissenfels, 10 February 2023

“So you were not allowed to join the army when you were gay?” someone asked.
“Indeed, and it was something to be called unfit-to-serve for”, Karl-Hans Schneller said. “But that only kept you out of the military part of civil service. The rules applicable for society service nowadays applied in those days as well: If you don’t serve in the armed forces, you have to do civil service instead.
Later on, the rules changed for conscripts, because too many straight guys said at the examination that they were gay. From then onwards, people who indicated that they were gay were admitted and put in separate batallions. This to prevent aggression against them.
But it was still not allowed for professional soldiers. In 1985, a general was outed and shortly after that fired. It lasted until 1992 before the armed forces also allowed gays to serve as professional soldiers.
In any case, Christfried had all the reasons to be afraid. The armed forces in Bramsfeld were infamous for officially calling gays fit-to-serve and then giving them a ‘special treatment to cure them from their homosexuality’. People sometimes came out of the armed forces handicapped, or even didn’t survive the ‘special treatment’.”
“But this is horrible. Why didn’t anyone take action?” someone else asked.
“Simply because nobody in the highest ranks got the idea to send in a prosecutor from outside Bramsfeld to investigate all the casualties there. The cases were investigated by Bramsfelder prosecutors, who themselves didn’t mind if a ‘special treatment’ went wrong. And simply because the victims were put under pressure not to file a complaint. Even by their own families. Because then it would come out that the son of the family was gay. And if you came out of the ‘special treatment’ disabled, you were dependent on your family, so you would think twice before you went against your family risking that it would expel you. Who else would take care of you if you didn’t have a family?” Karl-Hans said. “But I also have to mention that ‘special treatments’ did not go wrong that often. Mostly people were not beaten up to death or disability, but then still painful, humiliating and psycologically traumatising it was. Christfried didn’t tell me whether he knew this beforehand, but in prison he felt he knew enough to distrust the situation.”


Grevesmühlen, 3 August 1978

At first instance, Jörg didn’t know where to go to, but then he remembered that acquaintance of his employer. A journalist from Fehrbellin who sometimes came to Grevesmühlen to visit the owner of the stripclud, and then also had sometimes sex with one of the dancers in the stripclub. Alfred Stengel. The man told something about his inquiries into how the armed forces treated conscripts who told during the examination that they were gay. Jörg himself knew that something about the treatment of gays by the armed forces in Bramsfeld was wrong, when he was declared fit-to-serve while having told that he was gay. Luckily for him, he was very quick with requesting a re-examination after his move to Grevesmühlen and then being declared unfit-to-serve, after which he fulfilled his society service completely with civil service. But that was something Christfried had forgotten. Jörg reproached himself for not warning Christfried for that.


Fehrbellin, 3 August 1978

The owner of the stripclub contacted Alfred Stengel, who contacted a befriended lawyer, Lambert Werthner.

“Hi Alfred, long time no talk.”
“Hi Lambert, sorry, but there was a lot do lately.”
“How is that story about the Bramsfelder army going?”
“That’s going fine. I’m collecting the last bits and pieces of information. But I also have the feeling that I’m being followed since a couple of weeks.”
“Oh my goodness, whom have you irritated this time?”
“You know how it goes in my case. That could be anyone, even the armed forces. I am trying to find that out.”
“I know, you have to do what you have to do, but take care.”
“I will. But how are things going for you?”
“As always. I get many cases, but most of them are public defender cases. Being outed was not good for my career. The positive fact that I’m a good lawyer counts less than the negative fact that I’m gay. But I manage to get my clients’ respect when I’m able to get them free or reduce their punishments. Nevertheless, I do want to ask you again: Be careful with outing people.”
“To be honest, I would not have outed you. You didn’t deserve to be outed. You cheated because the outside world forced you to present yourself as somebody else than you actually are. I wouldn’t out the Mayor if he would be gay, either. He just works hard and does what he can for the city. You know that I leave people who don’t do anything wrong alone. But if I could out the Legat of Bramsfeld or the Prince-Bishop of Heilbach, I’d do it. I can’t stand hypocrisy.”
“Well, if you can out those two, I will spend you a bottle of 18 year old whisky.”
“Thanks. I’ll do my best. But the reason why I called you: I was called by a friend of mine. He is the employer of an 18 year old Bramsfelder boy who has been arrested for draft-dodging. The boy was examined in Bramsfeld and called fit-to-serve despite being gay. When his parents expelled him, he moved to Lotharingen and forgot to have himself re-examined. And now he is in the army prison in the barracks of Lauenbrück. This boy needs assistance, otherwise he won’t get out in one piece. He needs a lawyer. And not one from Bramsfeld, I can already tell you that.”
“But then why me? Why not a lawyer from closer-by? It takes me four hours to travel there.”
“My friend asked me to look for a lawyer who would be proficient in this kind of cases. I don’t know why he looked for a lawyer in Grevesmühlen, to be honest. I don’t know either anyone who is specialised in draft-dodging cases, but I do know that you are excellent in penal law. This is a case against the government. For that, I need an excellent lawyer. No matter what we think about the armed forces not allowing gays in their ranks, gays are not safe in the armed forces right now, because everybody is hostile towards them. Gays would only be safe in the armed forces when they serve in their own ranks, among gays. I have investigated the Bramsfelder army during the last two years. I cannot give too many details, but I can tell you that we have to prevent that somebody is pushed through the gates of hell. I’ll drive you to Lauenbrück if needed. Then I can immediately show you my new car.”
“Your new car?”
“Yes, but I won’t tell the details yet.”

Lambert Werthner thought a few moments. Then he said: “I will call the army prison in Lauenbrück for an appointment today, and will send a telegram as well so that they have my name. Send your friend a telegram that I will take up the case, so that they can inform the guy that we’re going to save. And I accept your offer to drive me, because then I can study all the applicable laws. Thanks for that. Let me go to the library to get all the applicable texts. After that, we go to Lauenbrück. We see each other at 2pm in front of the KöBi*. Take some lunch with you, because directly after that we go to Lauenbrück.”
*Köbi = Könligliche Bibliothek, the Royal Library, i.e. the biggest and most important library of the Rheinbund.

Alfred Stengel and Lambert Werthner were both men in their late thirties. Both men were gay. But while that was not a problem to Alfred’s career as a journalist, Lambert as a lawyer was more dependent on his social standing. He married to preserve his career, and even got children. He was a very successful lawyer, but when he was outed, he lost his job, his wife, and all contact to his parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. He grounded his own law firm in Fehrbellin-Wedding, in front of one of the university hospitals, bordering one of the worse-off city quarters of Fehrbellin. But also an underground station.
His problems began when he refused to facilitate the communication of an incarcerated mafia boss with his gang. He was blackmailed that he would be outed, reported the blackmail, put down the defence of this mafia boss, and was outed.
He was still one of the best penal lawyers of Fehrbellin, and probably respected for preferring to undergo the shaming of society above committing a serious crime to avoid the shame, but the fact that he was gay superseded his fortitude.
Nowadays he mainly got public defender cases. He had to start his reputation from scratch. He did his job with the same amount of enthusiasm as before, but earned about a quarter of the money he earned before.

At 2pm, Lambert Werthner stood outside the library to wait for Alfred Stengel, when a middle-dark green halted in front of him. Alfred Stengel got out.
“You bought a new Mistral?” Lambert asked. He knew what kind of cars Alfred normally bought: Small but fast coupés. Now he had bought a small family car. A four-door even.
“Well, you don’t see it from the outside, but it is a GTI. It is as fast as the cars I drove before this one. And it is a four-door car, so if I need to flee from somewhere quickly with a couple of people, we can all get into the car quickly. Furthermore, I made it look like the usual Mistral, so that I can hide in the crowd,” Alfred said. He handed a paper bag with two sandwitches and a bottle of water. “Here. Your lunch. But please eat it outside the car. I don’t want stains on the upholstery.”
“Thanks. I understand,” Lambert said.

After Lambert had eaten his lunch, the two men started driving.

As soon as they had left the Fehrbelliner Ring and were on the motorway to the North, Lambert started to talk.

“OK. Christfried Adrian Renold Wexner. Born 10 March 1960. Called fit-to-serve despite having emphasised that he is gay. Then in the turbulence of being thrown out of the house by his parents and completely shunned by his family, and of having to find a job and a place to live, he forgets to have himself re-examined. Then the armed forces send him the letter of deployment, but they send it to his parents’ home. His parents don’t have his address, but maybe his parents are also not willing to pass the letter on.
The fact that he didn’t show up for military duty is in itself punishable, but I may be able to have that punishment lifted by emphasising the chaotic situation Christfried was in. But it may be more problematic to get him out of military service in general. The examining physician has the possibility to believe that the examined boy is lying about his sexual preferences. And then Christfried’s assent for military service is legitimate, even if Christfried emphasised that he is gay. In that case, Christfried cannot refuse to serve and use his homosexuality as the reason. The only thing he can do, is putting on that uniform and immediately request a re-examination.
My role in that will be to make sure that that request for a re-examination is not lost in the wheels of bureaucracy, and to monitor Christfried’s well-being, i.e. checking whether he is hazed or not. The latter will also be part of your role as well, together with writing an article when Christfried is hazed. That can immediately be the prequel of your main article on that,” he said.
“Is there no possibility to let Christfried avoid military service in general?” Alfred asked.
“Maybe there is, if the armed forces made a procedural mistake. Then he will be out of society service as a whole. I will be extremely keen on that, but don’t count on it,” Lambert said.
Alfred was silent for a moment. Then he said: “I see.”
After a short pause, he continued: “We have to go to Grevesmühlen first. We need to pick up Christfried’s boyfriend. He can explain to Christfried who we are.”
“Of course,” Lambert said.

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Eiffelland

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Barracks Lauenbrück, 26 September 1978

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Christfried was lucky in the sense that during the two months he served in the military he was not hazed. The people in his patrol ignored him and distrusted him, but he was not hazed. The papers regarding his request for a re-examination were passed through timely and correctly. He left the army in the last week of September. On a cloudy day.
When he left the barracks, Jörg was standing outside. Christfried walked towards him and regretted that they were in Bramsfeld. No embracings there, no possibility to exercise their love.
Jörg looked at Christfried’s head, and noticed that his hair had been cut short.
“Sorry, but they didn’t let me keep my hair,” Christfried said.
As if they were just friends, they just shook hands. Guys didn’t hug in the Rheinbund of 1978, unless they were a couple. And there was the prohibition on sexual intercourse in Bramsfeld, not to forget the very conservative views on homosexuality there.
“How was it?” Jörg asked.
“Straining,” Christfried said. “Lots of physical trainings, and the people clearly let me know that I wasn’t part of the group. The army wanted me out rather sooner than later, but a re-examination last Friday was the soonest opportunity. And then of course it took some days to release me.”
“I’m so glad it all worked out. I’m so glad that you’re back, especially that you’re back in one piece,” Jörg said.
“Me too,” Christfried smiled.
“And your hair, that will grow back,” Jörg said with a blink.
Lauenbrück was a small town, but it had a train station. The reason was that the barracks were connected to the rail grid as well. Christfried and Jörg had to walk there and take the train to the next train station on the line Grömitz-Templin-Stendal. Also here the railroads had not been electrified yet, so they traveled in diesel trains.
Jörg and Christfried didn’t dare to kiss, embrace each other or even hold hands until they arrived in Templin. There, on the train station platform, they gave their first kiss in two months. Then they went to the platform with the train to Grevesmühlen.
The railroad from Templin to Fehrbellin was electrified, because it was the international railroad to Fehrbellin. Here the Rheinische Bahn showed its best materials, including trains pulled by their most modern electric locomotive, which reached a top speed of 200 km/h already then.
It was indeed an international train that Jörg and Christfried took. The train from Pannonia arrived, pulled by a diesel loc. The loc was exchanged, as well as the personnel. Jörg and Christfried stepped into the last carriage, and immediately went into one of the toilets. There Jörg saw that Christfried had gained some muscles in the army. The “Nach Fehrbellin, einsteigen bitte … Nach Fehrbellin, zurückbleiben bitte” sounded. The conductor blew his wistle. The train doors closed. The train started to ride.
Jörg and Christfried were still in the toilet when the train slowed down for Grevesmühlen and the conductor started to announce the platform numbers of the trains departing from Grevesmühlen Hauptbahnhof. When the final “Meine Damen und Herren, Grevesmühlen Hauptbahnof” sounded, Jörg and Christfried stepped out of the toilet and prepared to leave the train in Grevesmühlen.

Christfried was not lucky in the sense that Lambert did not find a procedural mistake by the armed forces, so he had to do civil service. Per the 1st of October, he started at the municipal services of the Community of Grevesmühlen. But he continued his work at the stripclub, although only on Friday and Saturday evening. He had to, because his salary from civil service was not high enough.

Alfred Stengel’s article about the abuses of gays by the Bramsfelder units in the army was in principle ready in the beginning of August, but Alfred waited with publishing it until October, after Christfried left the army. This to prevent that people in the army would take revenge on him.
The article’s impact was enormous. The first result consisted of protest marches and severe discussions in talkshows. Questions were asked in the Bundesversammlung. The Minister of Defence ordered an investigation. But the intention of the armed forces differed from the Minister’s intention. Where the armed forces wanted to hush the situation up and conducted the investigation halfheartedly, the Minister wanted justice to be done. When Alfred Stengel’s sequel-articles revealed that the armed forces in Heilbach, Spessart and Tirolstein handled gay conscripts in the same way as the armed forces in Bramsfeld, there was no way to hush this up any more. The armed forces were forced to take action. Direct culprits were punished when possible, some high-ranking officers were degraded and a general lost his job.
 

Eiffelland

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Grevesmühlen, 24 December 1978

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Christfried was not lucky in another sense, either. October and November 1978 were relatively warm with good weather, but November ended with freezing temperatures even during the day. December 1978 was a mixture of cold and warm temperatures (sometimes even above 15 degrees Celsius, but also daytime temperatures below zero), with some snow, some sleet and much rain. During all those months, Christfried had to work outside to maintain all the green sites in the municipality.

3 December was the first Advent Day. The Advent is an important thing in the Rheinbund. It is the time of the big Christmas Markets in the larger cities, and also the time of Christmas decorations and Christmas lights in the streets. Something that Christfried had seen in Tirolstein or Spessart when the family went skiing there during the Christmas holidays, but not in Bramsfeld itself. Christmas is celebrated there, but Christmas decorations are rejected for being of non-Christian origin. This includes the Christmas Tree and the Advent Wreath.
Building up the stands of the Christmas Market and decorating the city was the task of the municipality. So in the last week of November and the first week of December, Christfried was building up the Christmas Market in Grevesmühlen and decorating shopping streets, shopping malls and entertainment areas all over the municipality.

Christmas 1978 was the first Christmas that Christfried would celebrate alone. Without the conviviality of a family. He felt very sad about it, and it made him extra mad at his family for throwing him out. But then there was Jörg.
“Why bother about the stance of the Refos on Christmas decorations?” he said on a day in December. “They don’t want you around anyway for being gay, and the last time you had an encounter with them they prepared to beat you up. They rejected you, so you’re not bound by their rules any more. Come, let’s go to the Christmas market and go shopping for some Christmas garlands.”
And so they went. Shopping for a Chistmas star and some Christmas garlands. They also bought some Christmas cookies and Würseler Printen, and ended with a glass of Glühwein in their hands.
“Now you can enjoy what you built up,” Jörg said with a wink.

Christmas 1978 had warm, dark and rainy weather. The kind of weather that would make a Christmas alone even sadder. But Christfried didn’t have to be alone. He celebrated Christmas with Jörg.
In those days, it was still tradition in the Rheinbund that the mother of the family set up the Christmas Tree on 24 December. Meaning: Father placed the tree in the living room, then everybody except Mother left the living room, and then Mother decorated the tree. Nobody was allowed in the living room until Mother was ready with the tree. In Catholic families, she also set up the scenery. Nowadays the whole family helps on that, but it was solely the mother’s task back then.
Jörg took up the duty to set and decorate the Christmas Tree, while Christfried stood in the kitchen to prepare the dinner. They had decided to keep everything traditional, so Christfried prepared the traditional Rheinian Christmas Eve dish (potato salad and sausages), and for the next day he started to marinate the goose.
After dinner, Jörg asked: “What about going to a Christmas Eve Service? Christmas is not really Christmas without it, I think.”
“To be very honest, I have just struggled myself out of the shackles of the Church. I don’t feel like returning to Church now,” Christfried said.
“The Refo church is not the only Church in the Rheinbund,” Jörg said. “My idea was to go to a Lutheran church. First of all, the services are much more lively there. Furthermore, the Lutheran Church does not have a problem with homosexuality. And that can’t be different when one of Luther’s most famous quotes is ‘Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ’… And maybe also important to know: When you want to quit from the Refos, you have to go to a pastor first, unless you switch religions, then you can spare yourself the travel to a Refo pastor. The quickest way to get rid of the Refos is by joining the Lutheran Church.”
Jörg managed to convince Christfried to attend the Christmas Eve Service in a Lutheran Church, and Christfried discovered that Lutheran Churches were furnished in a far less Spartan way in general, and really let loose with the Christmas decorations.
 
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Eiffelland

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Grevesmühlen, 31 December 1978

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After Christmas, the temperatures went down. It was the start of the 4th coldest and most snowy Winter of the 20th century. On the 29th, it started to freeze in Grevesmühlen. One day later, the frost reached Ruppertswald. In the early morning of the 31st, a blizzard rolled over the Rheinbund and pushed the frost to the South, even into Casparringen, even south of Lörrach. 1978 ended with calm weather but very heavy frost.

In that weather, Christfried celebrated his first big New Year’s Party. The stripclub was closed, because the main part of its guests consisted of closeted gays who couldn’t stay away from their families at New Year’s Eve. Chrisfried, Jörg and their friends went out in Grevesmühlen. They didn’t have families to go to. Most of the young gays in Grevesmühlen didn’t have families to go to. They all had left their families out of necessity, or had been outcast. Christfried’s story was not unique. But Christfried also started to understand that friends can replace family.
The only cities in the Rheinbund that organised its own majestic fireworks shows at Midnight were the Ruhrgebiet and the “Fette Acht” (the eight biggest cities of the Rheinbund (Fehrbellin, Scharmbeck, Würzwald, Cöllen, Grefrath, Engelsheim, Dinslaken and Weissenfels)). There were no fireworks shows organised by the municipalities in the rest of the country. But the people ignited fireworks or shot carbide themselves. That was a tradition that was honoured in Bramsfeld as well, with the exception that, if New Year’s Day was on a Sunday, the fireworks were not lit at Midnight but 15 minutes earlier, and if New Year’s Day was on a Monday, the carbide shooting that would normally take place during the day of 31 December took place the day before. This to honour the Sunday.
But no Sunday Rest in the rest of the Rheinbund. No matter if it was a Sunday or not, on 31 December, the flares went into the air at Midnight, and the first carbide shots took place already in the morning. Even in the most mundane cities of the Fette Acht. In the early afternoon, people gathered together at the squares, milk cans or other kinds of long narrow tubes (but mostly milk cans) were put on a row, carbide was put in the cans, water was poored into the cans, the cans were closed, and after some time a long torch with a flame was moved towards a small hole in the lower part of the milk can. A loud bang was the result.

Jörg and Christfried had worked the night before. They slept through the carbide shooting, but woke up around 4pm. They were in Jörg’s room. Jörg was spooning Christfried when they woke up. He placed a sweet little kiss on Christfried’s neck when he felt that Christfried was awake as well.
Christfried turned around and gave Jörg a sweet kiss on the nose.
“Morning,” he said with a smile.
“Morning,” Jörg replied.
They stood up, took a shower, took a small breakfast and prepared themselves for the new year’s party. They would go out with some of the dancers and bartenders of the stripclub. First a dinner at the place of one of the dancers, then watching the fireworks and then to one of the danceclubs.

“1978 was hell. I’m glad when it’s over,” Christfried said, with a beer bottle in his hand. They were watching Dinner for One, a sketch about a 90 year old lady who traditionally celebrates her birthday with a dinner with her four best friends, but these friends died long ago, so the butler does not only have to serve dinner but also has to step in for all the four guests, especially drinking their toasts. In the end, the butler is drunk as hell. Watching Dinner for one is a New Year’s tradition in the Rheinbund; the 15 minutes sketch is broadcasted on all the Rheinian television nets.
“A lot happened to you, that’s true,” Joschka, one of the bartenders, said. “But it had a positive outcome. Now you can finally be yourself. In the end, that was what 1978 brought you. And Jörg of course. You would never had met Jörg when your family would not have thrown you out. The two of you should really become the first gay couple to marry.”
“Haha, when that will finally be possible, we will be toothless in the elderly home!” Mirko, a dancer, laughed.
“You never can tell. Maybe it comes sooner,” Joschka said. “But we may be able to do something to let it happen sooner. I heard that a group of Fehrbelliner gays is going to organise a gay demo in June. Maybe we should go there and make some noise. It’s really a shame that we can’t marry. Let’s try to do something about it.”
“Yeah, let’s show up in Fehrbellin then!” Benjamin, another bartender, said.
Agreeing yells sounded, and then the clinging of beer bottles being ticked against each other when everyone toasted to that.
Dinner for One ended, and the clock appeared on the screen. It was 23:55. The clock shown was the Cöllener Domuhr inside the Cöllener Dom. As per Rheinian tradition. Joschka walked into the kitchen, took the bottle of champaign out of the fridge and came back. Benjamin took the flutes out of the closet. Joschka opened the bottle and filled the glasses. The clock sounded twelve times. The whole country yelled “Frohes neues Jahr!!”, glasses were ticked against each other and the fireworks began. The television began to show the big fireworks above the Wetterauer Tor in Fehrbellin, where the biggest new year’s party of the Rheinbund took place. But Christfried and his friends didn’t stay inside to watch that; they went outside to meet the neighbours and watch the amateur fireworks above Grevesmühlen.

When the fireworks went down, the friends went to one of the gay clubs. It had a novelty: A dance floor consisting of glass plates with lights under them. Like in that disco musical from Westernesse: Saturday Night Fever. There they met some more friends, drank, danced, drank and danced. During a slow number, Mirko, Christfried and Jörg joined in an erotic dance, and later on in some more erotic dances with Benjamin and Joschka.
The sun had already risen when the disco closed. Together with some more people, Christfried and his friends left the disco. It was a classic winter morning, the air covered with strands of clouds against a white translucent background, and -10 degrees celsius frost.
Meine Fresse, ich erfriere,” Christfried said. [My goodness, I’m freezing to death.]
Nach solch erhitzenden Tänzen? Dann brauchst du Body Heat,” a deep voice from behind sounded. [After such heating dances? Then you need Body Heat.]
Christfried and his friends turned around, and saw a 1.85 meters tall man, around 30 years old, wearing a very expensive long coat with fur along the lapels, flanked by two 1.75 meters tall 18 year old guys. The man had slung his arms over the two guys’ shoulders. The two guys clearly appeared as his minions. The long coat did not hide that the man had an athletic body.
“I invite you all five to an afterparty at my place,” the man said.
“We’d love to, but how do we get there?” Joschka asked.
“Come to my car,” the man said. Christfried and his friends joined the man and his minions to the latter’s car, and were stunned. . At least gigantic in the eyes of a Rheinian. Christfried and his friends were even more stunned when the car appeared to have a car phone. The man used it to order a taxi.

Fifteen minutes later, they arrived at one of the new apartment buildings at the edge of the city centre. The man parked his car in one of the garages at the street level of the building. Then they went to the top floor, where the man lived in a penthouse with a breathtaking view over the city and a very luxurious interior. The man had a very big collection of ingredients needed to make cocktails. He and his minions immediately started to make an enormous bunch of all kinds of cocktails. The afterparty began. The man increased the temperature on the thermostat. It started to become warm, and everybody started to take their clothes off.
At a certain moment, the man approached Christfried, started to play with his nipples, and whispered in his ear: “Are you still freezing? What if I heat you up in private?”
Despite the fact that sleeping with the guests of the stripclub was part of his job, and despite the fact that he and Jörg had an open relationship, Christfried felt a bit uneasy under the idea that he would go private under Jörg’s presence.
Then the man said: “What if I offer you 1000 Goldmark if we go private in my bedroom?”
Jörg had heard the last sentence. He nodded towards Christfried, indicating that it would be fine with him. So Christfried and the man went to the man’s opulently decorated bedroom, while Jörg joined in the orgy that Mirko, Joschka, Benjamin and the two minions had started.

Later on, Christfried, Jörg, Joschka, Mirko and Benjamin would discover the man’s name: Gerald Ruhl.
 

Eiffelland

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Grevesmühlen, January - May 1979

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After New Year 1978/1979, the winter continued. The temperatures dropped further, but then suddenly raised again accompanied by snow, sleet and black ice, turning all the roads, streets, bicycle lanes and sidewalks into ice rinks. The line between cold and warm air slinged over the Rheinbunds for days, creating a cascade of snow, sleet and black ice showers. Then, mid-January, there was a blizzard. An enormous one, leaving snow dunes of one to two meters high behind. In the North of the Rheinbund, the roads were flanked by two meters high snow walls after they had been cleaned up. A view common to Tirolstein, but not to the rest of the Rheinbund. As part of his society service, Christfried had to help cleaning up the streets in Grevesmühlen, and once was sent to Bramsfeld with a group of people to dig a small village out of the snow. Something he didn’t like at all; he had hoped that he would never have to be in Bramsfeld again.
After that snow storm, the weather became a bit calmer and the temperatures dropped again. But the calm didn’t last for long. The snow, sleet and black ice showers returned. The pattern of temperatures going down with calm weather and then going up again with snow, sleet and black ice. Then the second big blizzard of 1979 blew over the Rheinbund, again isolating small villages in the North. Cities like Fehrbellin, Scharmbeck and Cöllen ran out of road salt and started to use bath salt instead. The snow dunes and snow walls of the first blizzard were still there, and grew in size. When Christfried celebrated his 19th birthday (which he celebrated heavily as his “first birthday in freedom”) on the 10th of March, it was still freezing, snowy and slippery. April brought some nice days, but also some not so nice days still with snow ans sleet, although now it melted away quicker. Winter showed its teeth one last time on the 2nd of May, with a couple of snow and sleet showers in the north of the Rheinbund.

Grevesmühlen was a city of leisure, and a city of sex. But it was also a city of repressed memories. Many, like Christfried and Jörg, fled for those memories in sex. But many others fled in drugs. Grevesmühlen didn’t want to see this dark side, but it had a drug problem. Something that didn’t go unnoticed to Gereon Kehrer, the owner of the club where Jörg and Christfried worked. He took care of the well-being of his personnel, and had lost quite some employees on drug overdoses. He became extra worried when he came to know that Gerald Ruhl had arrived in Grevesmühlen. He knew the man.
Gerald Ruhl had earned his money in the drugs scene of Scharmbeck. First he trafficked the drugs himself, then he organised the trafficking. Then he switched over to human traficking. He lured girls from poorer families abroad to the Rheinbund for easy jobs, but then made them drug-addicted and forced them into prostitution. A practice Gereon Kehrer despised. He owned a sex club, but wanted his sex workers to do the work voluntarily and did not force them into the job.
But that was not everything. He also knew the history behind Gerald Ruhl’s minions. Also those were victims of human trafficking. They had been kidnapped abroad when they were children, and then also made drug-addicted and forced into prostitution. As children. Such children would usually switch to adult prostitution after having grown up, and then, like the girls, be kicked on the street when they were not beautiful enough any more. But instead of going into adult prostitution, Gerald Ruhl had taken them up for his own pleasures. Given what Jörg, Christfried, Joschka, Mirko and Benjamin told, the minions did at least understand German, but they hadn’t spoken during the whole encounter. So Jörg, Christfried, Joschka, Mirko and Benjamin could not describe the accent, although they did understand that the minions were not from the Rheinbund.
“Guys, girls, this man is dangerous,” Gereon Kehrer said to all his employees. “Don’t interact with him. Now he may be nice to you, but he will do everything to make you dependent on him, including making you drug-addicted, and he will be ruthless when he doesn’t need you any more. Gerald Ruhl has a house ban, as well as his minions.” Gereon Kehrer had contacts with the local police, which were still at strength in those days. He made the police aware of the fact that Gerald Ruhl had landed in Grevesmühlen.
 

Eiffelland

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Grevesmühlen, 20 February 1979

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The second big blizzard of the Winter of 1979 had blown over the Rheinbund, isolating lots of villages in the North again. Christfried had been sent to the woods of Lotharingen to help cleaning up the roads. Of course the big work was done by snow cleaning vehicles, but the more precise work, like digging out houses, had to be done manually. This was done by soldiers and people doing civil service.
Late in the evening, he arrived at the train and bus station of Grevesmühlen. There he saw an enormous Federation car that he knew. It was the car of Gerald Ruhl. Why was he here? Did he have to pick up someone?
Christfried walked to the bus platform where his bus would depart from, when he heard his name. He turned around. It was Gerald Ruhl.
Finally back from shoveling snow?” Ruhl asked.
If you don’t mind, I am extremely tired, and I have to get up early tomorrow,” Christfried said.
Why the haste, Christfried? I have an offer to you,” Ruhl said.
An offer?” Christfried asked, not really showing interest.
How much do you earn at the moment? As a Zivi, you probably get something like 500 Mark a month. Then you work at the Rosa Stern twice a week, for 150 Mark per night, and 100 Mark extra when you have a lover. Let’s say that you earn 2500 Mark a month at the Rosa Stern. That added up to the Zivi salary is 3000 Mark a month. I can offer you 10,000 Mark a month, and you won’t have to shovel snow any more,” Ruhl said.
Oh?
You have an enormous potential, Christfried. More than you realise. More than you can imagine. Blonde, slim, boyish. That is what people fall for. That is your potential. But you won’t be able to use your potential at the Rosa Stern. Gereon Kehrer doesn’t have the connections for that. I do,” Ruhl said.
Apparently you also have the connections to let me skip civil service,” Christfried said.
I do,” Ruhl said.
Christfried remembered what Lambert Werthner, the lawyer who helped him out of military service, had said about the civil service. He also remembered what those two officers of the military police had said about the civil service. There was no way that he could skip it. So IF Ruhl really knew a way, it would definitely be a shady one at least. He knew what Gereon Kehrer had said about Ruhl, but he also had this feeling inside him that made him distrust Ruhl.
I can’t decide here on the spot,” Christfried said. “Let me think about it.
OK, but don’t think too long,” Ruhl said. “Windows are not open for ever.

The next day, Ruhl was at the rail and bus station again. One day later, again, The next day, again. Because it was a Friday, Christfried had to work at the Rosa Stern. He decided to take a taxi straight to the club and talk with Gereon.

Let it be clear: My loyalty is with you, Gereon. I don’t trust Gerald Ruhl, either. But I have the feeling that he takes by force what he cannot get by being nice, and that makes me squared,” Christfried said.
What if you move in with Jörg? The two of you are in a relationship anyway, and you are hardly seen without each other. One more advantage: Jörg lives in a busier area than you, so Ruhl will have less possibility to do you harm,” Gereon said.

And Christfried moved in with Jörg.

But that was not the end of the story.

Christfried didn’t see Ruhl’s big Arrow any more, but still he had the feeling that he was followed. Later, he would come to know that he was.


Grevesmühlen, 2 March 1979

This day he saw Ruhl’s big Arrow again. In front of the Rosa Stern. He immediately walked to the bouncer to ask what was happening.
“Ruhl came to the door, and I told him that he has Hausverbot. But then he insisted on talking to Gereon. Now they are discussing in the scullery,” the bouncer said.
Then the door to the scullery went open. Christfried immediately went into hiding. Ruhl came out.
“Kehrer, Kehrer, Kehrer,” Ruhl said. “Look at you. Struggling day and night to keep your head above the water. Driving a dilapidated , because you don’t get more out of your business. I’ll get your club anyway, you obstinate mule. Wait and see.”
 
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