(This story first appeared in the ‘Berlin’ Flash Fiction Anthology Nov 2019, and was nominated for three awards, including Best small fiction 2020)
The day the Berlin Wall came down was a personal triumph for my father; a war waged and won.
Living in suburban New Zealand, conflicts tended to be small, which only served to magnify the significance of the Great War between my father and Mr Berlin.
It started when the Berlins moved in next door. My father, being neighborly, lit the BBQ, put a beer in the fridge, cut steaks from the carcass hanging in the garden, then jumped the fence to invite the Berlins for tea. Mr Berlin, eyeing the half-naked, bearded and tattooed piece of humanity that was my father, politely refused. He also had the cheek to ask my father to clean up our backyard because all our stuff was an eyesore. My father was so furious he invited the whole neighborhood over, turned up the stereo, and partied all night.
Days later, an army of tradies arrived next door. The Berlin Wall rose along our boundary; a concrete monolith that blocked my father’s treasured mountain views. We kids decorated our side with clever slogans about Mr Berlin, but my father said it wasn’t the same.
So the campaign began. The wall mysteriously developed holes. An explosion late one night left a cavern underneath. Eventually the wall developed a lean.
My father complained to Council that the wall was dangerous, and they agreed.
The day the Berlin Wall came down, my father lit the BBQ, put a beer in the fridge, and invited the Berlins for tea.
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