Around the same time as I left to come to the States, he got himself transferred to Munich. We stayed in touch on and off which had trickled down to once a year Christmas cards. Who knew that within short five years I would be knocking at his door? Not only we would end up living and working in the same city but that he worked for the repro house Weissenberger, who did lots of reproduction for Playboy and other Munich based magazines of our partners Bauer Verlag. And within the matter of months, his company moved from their original Leopoldstrasse location several block away to Augustenstrasse 10, right across the courtyard from Playboy offices in the front. Small world?

It took me a while, but when I finally located Dieter a couple of months after I had already been living in Munich, he realized how lonely I must have felt during the Christmas holidays. Suddenly he was there for me. Dieter took me along with him, his girlfriend Monika (Kunfalvi) and his Indian friend Kamal (Chanana) to everywhere they went over the weekends. Sometimes I found myself being picked up for breakfast and came home just to sleep.

My Buick arrived separately a couple of days earlier. When Dieter sets his eyes on it for the first time, he goes in his typical wry humor pout: Jetzt Du hast von zwei autos Park Platz we genommen. Now you have taken away two parking spots. In consideration of living in a big city, Dieter had gotten rid of his Opel Sports and bought himself a Volkswagen Bug. And when my stuff from Chicago arrived and he was helping me unpack, his eyes lit up like fireflies when he saw coming out of a couple of boxes half gallon bottles of the premium booze only partially consumed. All left overs from the going away party I had thrown for my Chicago friends just two days before the movers showed up.

In theory, the movers weren’t even supposed to pack them, it is illegal to transport alcohol across the ocean as a part of your household stuff. I had no time to give it all away to my Chicago friends, so I offered the four of them to take those bottles home with them. They politely declined. Considering that there was so much of it, they took pity on me. If someone asks, we don’t know about it. And let’s hope that the German customs isn’t as witless. Lo and behold, they didn’t even attempt to open the container, let alone any of the boxes inside. Seeing that I could practically open a small bar with all that liquor that was piling up on the counter, his face lights up.

‘I got an idea. Let’s throw a party. Moni, Kamal and I will invite all our good friends. You can invite some people from your work. We will have some beer and wine just in case, but I am sure they would all want to drink American cocktails – because they are “in” right now, but they are so very expensive here and you can order them only in exclusive places like Harry’s Bar. It will be a big hit.’

But the problem is, cocktails need ice. In Germany, not something you can run down to a nearby gas station or convenience store and pick up a bag or two. Dieter scratches his head and then snaps his fingers: “Jim”. His friend who once worked for the restaurant chain Mövenpick. Jim comes with a big bag of ice acquired from his bartender buddies.

Voila! It costs me ire of my landlady and the dirty looks from my ehrenwertes – honorable neighbors. Thus hastening my looking for another apartment, which landed me at Johanclanzestrasse 49. And suddenly I acquired all the friends I possibly could.

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