Photo: Karley Sciortino

It’s been a week now since Johannes, Mavi’s Austrian punk house guest, stumbled angrily into our lives. I’ve spent the past seven days trying to figure this elusive, blue-haired, beaten-faced kid out. He just doesn’t make sense to me. There’s something off about him. Something freakish. Not in the way that my other friends are freaks. This is a different, more desperate, more lurking form of freakdom. Let me explain.

Upon Johannes’ arrival, I’m instantly curious to find out more about him. He’s so evasive, so secretive. This only fuels my intrigue. He tells us he’s come to London from Vienna to look at art schools—Central St. Martins and Goldsmiths in particular—but little else. He rarely acknowledges any of us, other than to ask where he can score drugs or to comment on how “magnificent” or “sexy” Mavi’s apartment is. Honestly, the apartment is the only thing he ever talks about with any passion or interest. I kind of hate him, but I also kind of want to fuck him. I want to hate fuck him, basically.

On Thursday night Johannes, Bunny and I stay in drinking wine. Our mild drunkenness softens the mood, and I finally work up the courage to ask Johannes some of the personal questions I’ve been pondering for the past days.

“So Johannes,” I start, “are you gay or straight?”

“Why you want to know?” he asks, wearily.

“Just making conversation,” I say. “You know, trying to get to know you better. This is what people do.”

“People too soft,” he spits back in his broken English. “I have never fancy humans. I like hard, rock, building, architecture. No people.”

I stare at him, confused. “That’s not true,” I say in disbelief. “You must have been sexually attracted to someone, somewhere, at least once.”

“Never,” he says. “I once was into a statue of person. Although I liked more the statue base than actual human figure.”

“Bullshit,” I press.

He looks at me with a knowing glance. “I once had sex with bridge.”

Later that evening, out of curiosity, I Google “sexual attraction to objects.” I discover a condition known as objectophelia. Also called objectum sexuality, objectophelia is a pronounced emotional desire towards particular inanimate objects. I stay up all night reading stories about people all over the world falling in love with their laptops, fucking their cars, having intimate moments with their side tables. I watch a documentary about a woman who is married the Eiffel Tower. I learn that most objectophiles believe that all things are living and have a soul, and that some find emotional relationships with humans incomprehensible. Is he telling the truth? I wonder. Does Johannes really want to fuck Mavi’s apartment? I find this idea both far fetched and oddly attractive. I sort of hope it’s true.

Photo: Karley Sciortino

The following day Bunny and I decide to search Johannes’ stuff for clues. I feel slightly bad about it at first, but Bunny assurs me we only have to feel guilty if we get caught. This puts me at ease. While Johannes is out we search his laptop, spotlighting words like ‘porn’, ‘sex’ and ‘naked’. Low and behold we find his porn stash—videos of girls fucking girls, pictures of hot blondes covered in cum, naked chicks on motorcycles. No buildings, statues or sexy night tables in sight.

“Looks like he was lying,” I say, trying to hide my disappointment.

“I could have told you that,” says Bunny.

But we don’t stop there. We need to know more about this strange, misleading person. We open his recent documents. We find an admissions essay, written in perfect English.

“Someone else could have written that,” I say. “You write Mavi’s school papers all the time.”

We open more documents, searching for truth. They’re all the same—essays, poems, short stories, what appears to be a love letter to an ex-girlfriend, a to-do list—all written in perfect English. It doesn’t make sense. We search his luggage. There’s no stopping us now. We unfold his clothes, flip through the pages of his magazines, smell his cologne. We find a British passport. We find a payslip from HMV addressed to somewhere in Surrey.

“He probably just has a British parent,” I say, not sure if I even believed my own words.

Bunny shakes his head, bemused. “This shit is too fucking weird.”

Eventually we give up, making sure to return all of Johannes’ possessions to their original positions. When he arrives home that evening we say nothing. What is there to say?

We know Johannes is hiding something. Is he not who he says he is? Is he lying? We could confront him about it, but in a way it’s almost more interesting to play along.



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