The life of Otto

This is Otto the Barbarian. A 16-year-old punk who wants to change the world.

Bucharest is filthy. Next year is going to be as hot as hell and this end of December feels more like April. Four kids are rocking a punk tune on the stage of the Suburbia club. They’re a bunch of nobodies, opening for Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kick, a German hardcore band, and they can’t believe it. Otto the Barbarian stands in the middle, moving frantically, striking three notes on his bass guitar. His black sweatshirt reads Misfits, and hangs on him like on a scarecrow. This is his band’s first concert, and the last punk concert of the year. With his blond hair turning green and red in the club lights, he approaches the mic and opens his jaws:

“For this world, do I maaaaatter?
There’s no other way ooouut, but…”

Arms wearing bracelets are raised in the air, and Otto clenches his fist and yells:

“For this world, do I maaaaatter?
There’s no other way ooouut, but…”

The instruments stop for a moment, and Otto greets the audience with a short “Good evening!” He signals the drummer and, just like Dee Dee Ramone, beats the rhythm by mouth:

“1, 2, 3, go!
Anarchy-equality, anarchy-equality! Eee, eee, eee, eee!
Anarchy-liberty, anarchy-liberty! Eee, eee, eee, eee!”

The bass and the guitar build up a wall of noise. Otto shouts:

“Anarchy!”

From his left and right, Tavi and Leo respond:

“Equality!”

“Anarchy!”

“Liberty!”

It all comes to an end with Ioniţă’s hollow break. Otto grabs the mic again: “Thank you. This was Alarma!”.


When I say music, the first thing that comes to mind is protest. It’s not necessarily about the sound or its quality. You know, I think music is meant to send a message. It’s not enough for you to hear it and say, wow, that sounds nice. If you want that kind of music, listen to classical music or something. But if you wanna listen to music with lyrics, I think that it must get a message across. It must express something. – Otto


Otto is 16 and this fall he will start his sophomore year. His real name is Octavian Albu, but nobody calls him that. Being born on January 17, his parents named him Anton as well, after St. Anthony of Padua. Nobody calls him that either. His folks and a few friends call him Otti, but he can’t stand it. Octavian is a Latin name, just like his father’s, Tiberiu, who used to teach Latin. He’s got this thing with foreign languages from his dad – he speaks English, French, Italian, German and a little Latin; which is not an extinct language, as he speaks it with his father.

Otto likes Italian because it’s easy and musical – he’s been going there, visiting his mom’s relatives for four years now. He liked German until 4th grade, when they changed his teacher. Otto likes tough teachers better: his history teach’, his French teach’ – even though everyone else hates her – and his Latin teach’.

He’s in a philology class with emphasis on English at the Elena Cuza high school in Drumul Taberei. He also lives there, which makes his route to school conveniently short. If he had really applied himself, he could have gotten into a better high school. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t give a fuck. In secondary school, he was the best in every class and got loads of diplomas (from school, from the British Council, most of them in foreign languages). At the same time, he did all sorts of stupid things, as he enjoyed playing the fool. The smart kind of fool, not the stupid one. 


For instance, history teaches us about the mistakes of the past. If we’re aware of them, we know what we shouldn’t do, get it? Even when it comes to Christianity, there have been so many examples of Catholics – the people they murdered, the crusades they started. And they killed a whole lotta people in the name of God, when in fact they were after territories and economical gain. – Otto


Otto the Barbarian stands up from the crowd of drunken kids crashed over the tables of Suburbia, puts down his beer, grabs his bass guitar and gets on stage. It’s February, but it doesn’t really feel like winter, so he decided to wear a T-shirt and a black leather jacket with a sketched skull on the back, the Misfits logo. They’re his favourites.

This is the second concert for Alarma, part of a charity event for Haiti organized by Anopsia, an online radio station. In the three months since the first concert, they have put together several other songs, including an opening meant to set the audience on fire. Otto has shaved his head on the sides, showing his growing mohawk. He has Leo on his left, Tavi on his right and Ioniţă behind him on the drums. With sparkling eyes, he approaches the mic and roars:

“It’s a night full of wackos and pogo. 
Who sounded Alarma? We are Alarma! “

The song is less than two minutes long, after which Tavi starts playing a simple, three-note riff, and Otto flames out almost possessed:

“2, 3, goooo!” 


Basketball… we’re kind of alright there. We also have volleyball, handball. As for individual sports, what’s the deal? We have that guy, Oncescu, who does arm wrestling. We mostly have football… That doesn’t excite me either, but it’s all I hear about. – Otto


Otto got the nickname the Barbarian from football. When he was in secondary school, he played a one-on-one with a colleague as part of a bet: the loser had to do 100 push-ups. They had asked another guy to be their goalkeeper, and the score was 2-2. He was determined to win, so he fouled his adversary, who received a penalty kick. Otto chose to defend the goal (himself too). He was a good goalie; he had even received a diploma for this, the best goalkeeper of Spiru Haret Cup.

So he went in front of the goal. Before defending, he took off all his clothes, (they were on school grounds, but it was late) and started shouting: “Otto the Barbarian, with the sword in his hand, slashes the dragon and kisses the bride!” His colleague kicked the ball towards the upper corner of the goal and Otto defended. The nickname Barbarian stuck even though eventually he lost the game and had to do the push-ups.


I think this will be the universal language. Almost everyone speaks English. I don’t think there’s someone out there who doesn’t know what’s English for yes or no. To say the least. – Otto


Otto started the band when he was 13, together with two friends. Back then it was called White Road. Otto played bass, Muky drums, and Alex guitar. Their first song was called Bitch, it was written in English, and had rather emo lyrics. (“Cut your fucking wrists / Throw your fucking heart away / But don’t let me cry for her / Cause I don’t wanna fall for a bitch.”). When he reads them now, he can’t help laughing – how the hell can you not? They even shot a video, but it’s no longer online.

Then, Tavi came to replace Alex, because Alex was more metal, while Tavi was more punk. Tavi is one of Otto’s childhood friends. When they were 10, they watched Boogie Nights together and loved it. Tavi’s mom wrote the lyrics for Umbra (The Shadow), the song they recorded in 2009. It’s on YouTube, but this one is even less punk:

“My shadow’s always on the ground / While yours lingers in my heart / I walked behind you from the start / Yet you can’t see the love.” In the footage, Otto has Leo to his left, a guitarist from Roşiori who temporarily replaced Tavi for the recordings because he broke his leg in a scooter accident.  

The line-up came together before the first concert: Otto played the bass, Tavi and Leo the guitar, and Ioniţă the drums. The name White Road seemed a bit Nazi, so they thought of changing it – they had about 80 alternatives, including Holy Hand Grenade (a weapon from the computer game Worms). But it’s better to have a Romanian name and sing in Romanian. Because you cannot change everything at once; you must make a change here, and then outside. First you set off Alarma around the country.


Message is information. A good message is a political message, a call for unity, meaning it should bring people together to fight for a common goal, in other words, for change. It must have a reason. – Otto


Otto has been listening to punk since he was in secondary school. The first song he remembers is Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends. After listening to them for a while, he ended up hating them and switched to more hardcore punk. Nobody can say for sure where punk started. Maybe it started in the US, with Velvet Underground and The Stooges, from where it developed and spread across the world. Otto doesn’t believe it really began there. England is where it all happened: Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash.

Besides Misfits, who play horror-punk, Otto listens to The Casualties, The Exploited, Oi Polloi, Abrasive Wheels, Circle Jerks, Resist and Exist, Black Flag, Toy Dolls, Dead Kennedys, Destroy and many others that he has listed on his MySpace profile (he doesn’t have a Facebook account for now, because he thinks it’s crap). Of the Romanian bands, he likes Protex, Scandal, Stuck in a Rut, Recycle Bin. When he thinks about punk, he doesn’t have only one band in mind. For him it’s not only music, it’s a movement.


I want to add a strange instrument to punk. Accordion!- Otto


Otto the Barbarian walks along a corridor with damaged walls and barred doors. The rehearsal room is in a former jail, close to the North Railway Station in Bucharest. It’s Recycle Bin’s studio, a band that’s been playing for about three years, and that took the kids under their wing. Alarma comes here every weekend for two hours (which costs them each 40 lei per month; aproximately 10 euro).

The room is packed with audio equipment: a sound amplifier, monitors, microphones, guitars, two sets of drums, and loads of cables. To the left, Leo is trying to learn some lyrics written on a piece of paper. He’s 17, wears a NoFX T-shirt on top of a longer shirt and a growing belly. He’s from Roşiori, Teleorman and met Otto in 2008, at a Cobe concert. To the right, Tavi is jamming on his guitar. He’s 18, has a neat mohawk, a black t-shirt, black jeans, grey sneakers, all clean. He’s a fashion victim. In the middle there’s Otto, with his Misfits jacket and brown sneakers and jeans. The one behind the drums is not Ioniţă, but Creţu, the newest member of the band. Otto met him this winter, on a music forum. He’s a 21-year-old lightheaded peaceful dude who likes both punk and drum and bass. He’s a good drummer and is good with lyrics (he wrote the opening song for the concerts).

There are also two girls in the studio, fidgeting about, taking pictures. Otto simply ignores them and starts playing the ska version of Pink Panther. Alarma is angry but also has a sense of humor, so in every concert they insert a funny piece. In the first concert, there was Santa Claus is Fucking Your Mom – quite festive, what the hell – and in their second, the main theme from Mortal Kombat

Then they move on to a new song. With a lowered voice Otto begins:

“The Internet is a disease!
It destroyed my social ease
With the national catchphrase:
Come into the digital age,
Come into the digital age!”

These were written by Creţu’ as well, but they all write – Otto is responsible for Made in Bucale and Berea (The Beer), Leo for Bătaie de joc (Mockery) and Stai în casă (Stay In), and Tavi for Anarhie-egalitate (Anarchy-equality). They work together on the instrumentals, but Tavi seems to be cut out for this.

They start playing, they push the rhythm and fuck it up at the fourth verse. “Look, I made us a structure,” says Tavi and hands them some sheets. Otto turns to one of the chicks: “Hold this,” and places the sheets in her hands, as if she were a stand. 

“Is there a new verse?” asks Leo. “Yeah,” says Otto. “But how do we play it?” he continues, a bit confused. They first try out the instrumentals, but they mess it up.

“For how long? A verse?” asks Tavi. Leo shows him, then plays a riff on his guitar. A ringtone echoes through the room. Tavi stops, drops the guitar and looks for his phone. “He’s got a message!” Otto says and starts laughing. Once he has finished texting, Tavi comes back and plays a short solo. They’re ready.

“1,2,3 gooooo!”


You can find a lot of things on the internet. But people have used it excessively. Creţu’ told me that the internet started off as an idea of a bunch of hippies who wanted to build their own network, to be connected to the same world and stuff like that. And they tried, they succeeded – I don’t know how – but the world found out about it and that’s how it all started: porn, games, all kinds of crap. Everything is connected virtually. – Otto


Otto took up guitar when he was about 12, encouraged by Tavi (who eventually quit the lessons and continued on his own). He was in the same class as other half-dozen kids who were taught by a 50-year-old teacher. During the first year, Otto didn’t hold the instrument much. The class was an excuse to leave home, drink and smoke. He made bongs out of beer cans. He didn’t smoke pot, just tobacco. He got so wasted that once he fell asleep on the teacher’s doormat. That’s why they started calling him Druggy Druggy.

Eventually he began taking music seriously. At first, he only practiced his vocals, then his old man bought him an Ibanez acoustic guitar. The first song he learned was 25 or 6 to 4 from Chicago. A piece of crap. The teacher understood that he’d like something else and taught him Some Kind of Hate from The Misfits. That’s all he needed. He moved on to bass guitar in White Road because he found no one else for the job. DIY. It was again his dad who bought him a Behringer guitar and Otto started studying. He realized that if you have a band, you must also practice on your own. 


Those hillbillies in front of my building were all sitting on a bench laughing at their own farts and that’s how their days went by. – Otto


Otto the Barbarian moves frantically in his Misfits sweatshirt in the middle of the stage in Fire, a dump in Bucharest with a big basement. It is far from crowded tonight. His hair has grown and stands up straight in a yellowish mohawk, a palm high. The few punkers in the audience are ecstatic. They throw themselves on top of each other and jump like cigarette burned fleas. Otto starts playing Berea with a musical bass intro, then they all jump in, yelling:

“As a kid I came across
a drink that really made me toss.
Made of just four ingredients:
Malt, hop, barley ‘n cold water 
Quite like it there is no other!”

They’re full of energy and totally wasted: Creţu’ hits the drums so hard that his hair flutters; Leo is fooling around in a low voice, then takes off his T-shirt and sings with his belly sticking out. Otto didn’t have that much to drink: only four beers and a bottle of wine. But he’s in the zone. They all shout out the chorus:

“Beer is better when it’s cold,
Better when it’s cold,
Better when it’s cold!”

Then they switch to ska. They still have six songs left; among them a cover of Time Bomb by Rancid. They play a cover at every show, but never the same one. Otto grabs the mic and hands it to the audience to sing. Behe, his girl, who came all the way from Buzău, is somewhere in the back. She’s petite, blonde, with black fingernails and is straight edged: she doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex. 

His mother is also present, wearing a fur coat and high heel boots. She works for the Authority for State Assets Recovery. Later that night, she’ll help him find his bass guitar slip case. She doesn’t like his music that much, but when she went to his first concert, she cried. Since he was young, she tried to push him forward: at the age of ten she even sent him to a modeling agency.

His father sits on a chair and watches peacefully, even though the music is insane. He studies historical documents for the National Archives. When he was young, he too went on stage, not just anywhere, but in Sulmona, Italy, where he acted in a play. For about 10 years, he organized disco nights at a summer camp by the sea. Thousands of kids would come there, so he knows how it is.  

This time Alarma opens for Recycle Bin, and the concert is titled Welcome to Retardia. On the poster, a chimp running for president makes the victory sign. Alarma, too, will make their own poster when they go touring the country in Tavi’s wagon. On the poster they’ll have a retarded fish with bulging eyes and a mohawk painted in the national flag colors. But Tavi has to get his driver’s license first.


I’d rather go with the scientific truth. There are a lot of people who sat and thought about stuff and they’re not just a bunch of fools. If you bother to look them up, you’ll see that they’re not idiots. They graduated from university, they have no reason whatsoever to lie. They demonstrate things that actually make sense. – Otto


The walls in Otto’s room are white, decorated with a tapestry of Venice, in pale colors. He put it there to make the walls seem less empty. He only has three posters, all glued on the back of his wardrobe door: one with a crossed out swastika – the anti-fascist symbol –, one with Alarma, written with A from Anarchy, and one with The Addicts. 

Otto’s computer is black; all the electronics on the desk are black, except an old beige phone. He has an iPod with 60GB of punk music, but he hardly takes it with him, fearing he will lose it. The desk lamp is dressed in the coat of a teddy bear, a souvenir from his cousin in Italy. On the cupboard there are two bags with stuff that belonged to one of his granddads: some old watches and a military cap. He wasn’t his real granddad, because his grandma remarried, but Otto was his favourite. 

On the wall next to the door, Otto has three stands where he hangs his instruments: his Ibanez acoustic guitar, a red Fender Strat, the Squier electric bass – red, black and white, with a skull; plus some other musical equipment, some of it belonging to his dad. An expander with only two springs left hangs by a nail on the wall; he removed the other springs because he found it too difficult to pull, but even so he hardly ever touches it. However he has a pair of white rollerblades that he takes out for a spin from time to time. In that box he also has two basketballs – one’s deflated –, a soccer ball and two weights, hollow on the inside. His father got screwed over with these: there’s no use filling them up with water, they won’t get heavy enough. You must fill them up with sand or something. 

He can even smoke in his room if he desires, cause it’s his room; he puts the ashes in a cigarette holder. When he goes out, he asks his mother for a cigarette to go.


Lies breed stupidity and there’s no escape from stupidity. You can’t rise above it. You end up at 40, stupid, what can you do about it? Education is the most important thing, but many people don’t realize it. Far too many people… That’s the problem of our generation: most people don’t realize that without education you’ll end up as their slave. The State’s slave. – Otto


Otto wants anarchy in Alarma. There should be no leader and everyone should feel free to say whatever they want. That’s why they write songs together. They all sing, but in certain concerts they don’t have enough microphones to go around. And if Otto stands out, it’s because he’s the youngest, blondest of them all, with the highest Mohawk, even if he doesn’t style it with soap and hairspray for every concert. He doesn’t wear it to school.

He wants everyone to be equal, even within our country’s politics. But not like during the communist era – when all were forced to be equal – but differently. Communism was a perfect system; too bad people are not perfect. Those who have more should help those who have less. A supportive community should be created, based on respect and reciprocity. If people would respect this, there would be no need for police to keep things in order. But people are the source of all things.

As long as Nazis and extreme-right sympathizers exist in Romania, Otto will remain anti-fa. He’ll fight racism and discrimination of all types. He knows that not all skinheads are Nazis and that not all Nazis are skinheads, but it doesn’t matter what they look like. The problem is that they go and beat up punkers. They beat up gypsies for stealing. We should integrate them somehow; you can’t blame them for not being accepted by others.

At school, Otto met a guy who plays the trumpet and is a gypsy. He’d like to add him to the band.


When I went to Italy, all I saw on the news was: Romanian rapists, burglars, etc. This is all you see all day, Nazis getting together and shouting merda, cazzo, va fa’n culo Rumania… There was this rapper and three or four of his songs were about how stupid Romanians are, nothing but a nation of thugs. That’s all they show on TV. That’s all they get on us. – Otto 


Otto the Barbarian is passionate about DIY. In April, for his fourth concert, he no longer counted on outsiders. He and Creţu’ spoke to the guys from Obey, a rotten basement with a low ceiling and anti-system slogans on the walls (“Capitalism is Crisis”, “Buy, buy, buy or die, die, die”), which used to be a crematory for dogs and has a toilet reeking of doughnuts. The guys searched the forums for new bands; they didn’t want it to be just them. They found I Change the System (ICS), three punkers from Aiud who sing in both English and Romanian. “Nobody’s ever fucking heard of them. We did them good,” says Otto. Stoned Addams should have also come, but didn’t make it.  Nor did his girlfriend from Buzău. 

Everything could have ended badly before the concert even began when two huge Nazis showed up among the punkers and metal heads. Eventually they left bored. ICS gathered the kids in a pogo mob in a mixed concert of punk and stand-up. (“What’s the difference between Ciulă and a drunken man?” the vocalist asked between two songs. “None! Ciulă here is our driver, and he’s wasted!”) Otto was in the middle, with his Misfits sweatshirt, careful not to hit people at random and tempering those who jumped too hard.

An hour later, Leo, Tavi and Creţu’ got on stage, crammed in the tight space, tangled in cables. “We’re gonna torture you with 16 songs.” Otto announces proudly, even if later he’ll swear never to do that again; it is way too exhausting. They begin, as always, with Alarma and continue with De ce ţara-i amărâtă (Why’s the Country So Miserable). The audience mobs into a claustrophobic pogo dance, but it’s not like they have any other option. 

“These are no longer the teens of the stolen revolution. 
They must’ve woken up, c’mon people, it there a solution!?”

In the end he earns a bit over 150 lei (about 30 euros), enough to pay ICS, but he counts it again just to make sure. He doesn’t handle that much money on a daily basis. 

He’d like to get a job somewhere, but still hasn’t found anything. Once, in Italy, he worked for one day gathering and loading melons. He had muscle pains for two days. He wants to do something else, not this kind of hard work, but he doesn’t know what just yet. 


Money is the best form of slavery that they’ve come up with so far. I don’t think there’s anything quite like it. If you don’t work, they can’t pay you, you don’t eat, drink, nothing. The world without money? I thought a lot about it. There must be a solution to this. – Otto


Otto broke up with Behe after an argument on instant messager. She was kind of dumb anyway. That night in Fire, there was this guy with a glass eye and he kept taking it out and putting it back in and she asked him if he could see with it. He liked her though and wouldn’t have wanted to break up with her. She said they were too far apart. Is Buzău really that far? It’s just two hours away by train. 

There were other girls as well. When he was 14, he fell in love with a 21-year-old accountant. They listened to the same kind of music and they met a couple of times but it didn’t work out. One day, his dad came back from work and found him hiding three girls on the balcony. He said nothing. He went straight to the bathroom, so that the girls could leave. He had come too early, anyway. And there was this Anca, a girl who used to come along when the guitar instructor organized days out. She liked him, but he didn’t like her. When he began falling for her, she didn’t care anymore. That happens to him all the time. 

He’d like to have a girlfriend, not a fuck-buddy. One that dresses up nicely, but they’re way out of his league. It’s like all good chicks go out with rednecks for money, they’re all gold diggers.


It’s genetic, as well, ‘cause we’re mammals and we have to reproduce that way. But it also has to do with society and the fact that there’s that pleasure of doing it. And then we tell our buddies: dude you won’t believe what I did with that blonde last night. – Otto


Otto rarely watches movies. He likes the smart ones, which you have to watch twice or three times to understand. Like Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. He knows it’s an old one, but he saw it recently and he loved it. It is brutal and sad, but it depicts the truth as it is – what’s great about it is that it shows exactly what junkies see when they inject or snort drugs.

Otto knows what it’s like, ‘cause he had tried some stuff as well, besides alcohol and weed: nepra (butapren glue), correction fluid, Tussin Forte, Tantum Rosa and others. When he did those, his mind would wander off and he thought he knew everything. A brilliant idea would come to his mind but he wouldn’t hold on to it – he would instantly forget it. Then another idea – just as easily forgotten. And so on.

More than watching movies, he reads a lot on Internet. That’s how he found out about the adverse effects of that glue and he was terrified. To die instantly choked by your own vomit? Horrible. (He also plays games on the computer, especially strategy and history games, like Medieval: Total War but also FIFA.) He reads encyclopaedias to discover new things. 

He knows that people don’t read that much, though in his class, things aren’t that bad (he’s studying foreign languges). He thinks it’s a pity they don’t study more of the urban literature, he’s had enough of the life in the countryside, and love. That’s all they study from the first grade to the eleventh: love and life in the countryside. It’s not that he has something against peasants, but there are many other things to write about. 


It happened to me many times… being stopped by the police for no apparent reason, and having my pockets searched. I also met nice cops who gave me some shawarma and cigarettes. They were very nice. But there are many stupid policemen in this country. I’m surprised they weren’t put into a special needs school, that’s how dumb they are. No, really. It’s unbelievable. – Otto


Otto the Barbarian first ran away from home when he was 15. He stole about 2,000 euros his folks had saved for the holidays, hidden in an envelope under a flower pot, and went with Leo to Sibiu. He didn’t take anything to drink or eat with him, just a hair dryer. The idea was: “Who needs eating or drinking when you can style your own mohawk?”

After three nights in a guesthouse with a Jacuzzi tub, and after spending all his money on alcohol and ethno-botanical plants, he was left with nothing to eat. His dad alerted the police, but Otto came back home before he was found, just in time for going on holidays. Yet, his dad took him to the station just to set things straight; there, a cop pulled out with the pliers the three piercings a punk had made him. Now he doesn’t dare leave home like that, without saying a word.

Once he fell asleep in an abandoned warehouse on some lounge chairs which he took from a terrace. Last fall, he had a fight with his parents and lived for about a month at a friend’s place. His parents have stopped trying to control him ‘cause they know they just can’t do that. Once, Otto broke a window just to start a fight with his dad. His dad didn’t hit him, and told him that it was time he took his life seriously. That he had done everything he could for him. If he wants to be a loser, then so be it.


Punk is a form of art, too. It creates something, it conveys an idea. It’s more of a philosophical art. It’s not that peaceful, though. There’s no one to be peaceful with. There’s no one. Who am I supposed to be peaceful with? All the assholes in the Parliament? Cops that make all kinds of abuses, they come after you for nothing and stop you in the streets? There’s no one. – Otto


Bucharest is filthy. As July approaches, the weather gets even hotter. Otto the Barbarian stops at a street food joint for a cheap shawarma.

He queues with Bianca and Alexandra, a 24-year-old chick who plays the guitar and with whom he already had some rehearsals. (She lent him Capital by Marx and Engels, but Otto didn’t manage to figure it out. He has to learn some economics and he had begun reading the 10th grade textbook – but lost it at the beach) He couldn’t get hold of Tavi lately, and punk guitarists don’t just grow on trees. He met Cosmin, a 20-year-old, long-haired, lean guy at a Rammstein concert. He’s going to try to sound the alarm again with them. 

Fifteen minutes later he’s wolfing down the mix of meat, potatoes and sauces. “I don’t eat vegetables at all.” he says disgusted. “Except for carrots and maybe celery. Or parsnip. But no tomatoes, or bell peppers, or any of those. If I eat tomatoes, I throw up.”

He leans against a dirty metal table and eats. It’s dark already, and it’s gotten cooler. He bites into his pita as if it were the last bit of food in the world and when he finishes it, he licks the plastic bag clean. He throws it into a bin and runs to take a leak. He goes around the corner, looks to his left and right and pees on the sidewalk. 

He returns relieved and asks Bianca for a cigarette. “After a cancerous meal…” he says with a nervous grin. He smokes his cigarette like he gobbled his shawarma. Anyway, he’ll be going to Alexandra’s in just a few minutes to rehearse some tunes, but first has to wait for Cosmin. When he sees him, Otto takes one last puff and chucks the butt. It’s time to go and play some punk. 

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