‘On Killing’ by Markus Orths


From Words Without Borders:

Carola Johansson’s invitation to spend a weekend in her villa in Andalusia arrived on April 7. I smiled wearily because it could only have been a bad joke on the part of one of my friends. Just days before, we had been speaking in the pub about Carola Johansson; new photos, taken by cleverly disguised paparazzi, had appeared in the papers. My friends had brought me the photos because they knew of my weakness for Carola Johansson, and now they had forged, as I believed, this invitation: I threw it into the garbage can. All I knew about Carola, all anybody knew about her, was based on rumors that were flashed in huge headlines across the world by questionable reporters and usually retracted again weeks later in a tiny column in the back section of the newspaper. It almost seemed as if no one knew her personally and hardly anyone had ever seen her. How she had acquired her evidently huge fortune remained in the dark. Carola Johansson avoided the public, and the few secret photos had often been taken from a considerable distance, so that one could merely surmise her beauty, which the media portrayed in a mysterious light.

As I sat in the pub that evening I didn’t mention anything at first about the invitation and waited until I thought my friends would broach the topic of Carola. But that didn’t happen, and eventually I lost my patience. We had been drinking for some time before I finally asked my friends which of them had sent me the fake invitation.

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