‘I think you may have found just the right place. Perhaps even better.’ Tim informs me soon as I have returned.

‘Tell me!’

‘A lady called. Frau von Liebe. She owns a brand new apartment – two bedrooms, balcony all around, spacious 100 + square meters. And they have Olympic size swimming pool and full sauna. The rent is DM 900.-. Hope it’s within your budget?’ At the exchange rate of DM 3.50 to a dollar, it is a steal.

‘Sounds really good. Let’s call her back.’

‘No. Let’s wait until she calls back. I told her that Herr Doktor Shah ist bei mittags essen. Rufen sie mal bitte an  in etwa eine stunde — and then he winks at me — you don’t want to seem too eager!’

‘Okay. But What’s that Herr Doktor shit?’

‘That would put to rest the question of why a single man needs two bedroom place. You know how it is?  In this country, titles mean a lot!’

So we wait. When the phone rings, Tim picks it up. Guten tag. Leitung von Herr Doktor Shah!

I hear a muffled female voice escaping from the receiver.

‚Ja, er ist schon wieder da. Eine kleine moment bitte.

Herr Doktor Shah?‘

‚Am aparat. Guten tag frau von Liebe!‘

And we talk. I answer her questions and give her pertinent information about myself and me working for an American company in partnership with one of the top German publishing groups, Bauer Verlag —  the publishers of Quick and Neue Revue. I skip mentioning Playboy, just in case. Tim must have done a good PR job of building me up, for she doesn’t ask me any offensive questions about my single status. We agree to meet the next morning.

It’s a gorgeous late winter early spring day in Munich. I pull up in front of Johannclanzestrasse 49, in my shining like a newly minted penny, white Buick Skylark. Since the building is on my left hand side, I just cross the street sideways and park the car right near the front door, facing wrong way.

Frau von Liebe, a mild-mannered  elderly lady with short curly blonde hair emerges from behind the glass door. Before greeting me with Herr Doktor Shah, her giving my Buick up and down  doesn’t  escape me. I could just hear her saying to herself, alles klar!!

Its a spacious glass covered corner unit with a wrap around balcony in which the bedroom, kitchen, living room and the second bedrooms all open. With the floors heated, no radiators to block placing of the furniture. The place is doused in abundance of natural light. It is a couple of neighborhoods removed from the city center, nearer to the outer Mittlererring – but has everything I would  have wished for, including underground garage parking space . I could just imagine the fun I would have living there.

© Haresh Shah 2012

Illustration:Jordan Rutherford

 Next Friday, January 4, 2013

TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN…

Silly as silly can be is how I think of all the legal battles and censorship and restrictions on books, movies and all other art forms. How can Playboy be an exception?  I share with you some outlandish, bizarre but funny episodes from around the world.

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