Tales of a future backpacker – Series 1- Episode 4 By C.J. Quince

‘What are you nuts?’ The young German woman cried in protest.  ‘That’s just stupid.’  Her comments left little ambiguity as to her feelings. The French man, clean cut and easily offended, objected to his companion’s comments with gusto.  The English woman, several years their senior, cut in. 
‘You’re both wrong-‘ and on it went.  It seemed to be a whirlpool of discontent that fed itself in perpetuity.  Stephen stood up from the table and walked to the bar to get another drink.  An act that was of course outdated and unnecessary given the automation of service to one’s table, but it gave him an excuse to step away from the conversation. The pub smelled of dank carpet and beer.  It seemed no matter how advanced service had become, there was no changing the inability of some to get their vessel to their mouths.
It had begun, like many arguments, about something seemingly innocuous. What to have for dinner.  National pride began to stoke up enthusiasm about what to have and then it branched off to which type of cheese was superior.  Stephen had made a rudimentary attempt to study European history before his travels began, and as any student of this noble discipline knows, nationalism is for twats.  Borders change, people move, they interbreed, attack one group then ally with them. Sometimes all within the same year.  This incredible mix of circumstances contrives to create borders and flags which exist in such a fluid state, that even this table of 20 somethings has seen many morph into new forms. This merely outlines how ridiculous it is to attach one’s self to a mythical idea wrapped around a geographical location.
Stephen sighed wearily and returned to the table.  He sipped his fragrant beer and tried to dodge the question that was suddenly hurled at him.
‘Well? Which cheese do you prefer?’  The three nations sat staring at him, generations of cheese makers reputation’s were on the line. It all came down to this one backpacker in a bar in Prague, where the beer is served like water yet somehow cheaper.  The medieval architecture towered over him, the icy central European winds battered against the pub’s windows; the world held its breath.
‘Well,’ he took another sip of beer, elongating the dramatic pause.  ‘It probably doesn’t matter anymore, not since cows have been extinct for so long.’
‘Hmm, yeah,’ they quietly agreed.
‘You’re really just comparing science, who creates better whatevers in a lab.’ He paused as he took a sip, realising his mistake.
‘Well,’ said the German woman, ‘we are the best at science, and Engineering.’
‘We invented the lightbulb,’ the English woman said.
‘Wasn’t that an American?’
‘Well he was probably British at the time.’
‘What is a cow anyway-‘.  Stephen sighed again and took his pleasant and easy to drink Czech beer for a walk.  He looked out the window as the cool Autumn took over the city.  As long as he kept looking up, there was plenty to see.

Published by twnorrich

I am a fiction writer. I write fiction. One follows the other.

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