The Kangaroo Chronicles - Marc-Uwe Kling - E-Book

The Kangaroo Chronicles E-Book

Marc-Uwe Kling

4,99 €


Marc-Uwe lives together with a kangaroo. The kangaroo is a communist and it is really into Nirvana. It's a classical Berlin flat-sharing community, where the deep questions of life are debated: Is lying in a hammock already a kind of passive resistance? Must the Kangaroo place its pouch onto the conveyor belt at the airport security check? Did the Kangaroo really fight for the Vietcong? And why is it addicted to champagne truffles?

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Seitenzahl: 224

Original title: “Die Känguru-Chroniken”, Ullstein Verlag, Berlin, 2009

Verlag Voland & Quist GmbH, Dresden and Leipzig, 2016

© by Marc-Uwe Kling and Verlag Voland & Quist GmbH

Copy editing: Boris Löbsack

Proof reading: Hannah Gregory

E-Book design: Fred Uhde

ISBN: 978-3-86391-154-6

About the book

Marc-Uwe lives together with a kangaroo. The Kangaroo is a communist and it is really into Nirvana. It’s a classical Berlin flat-sharing community, where the deep questions of life are debated: Is lying in a hammock already a kind of passive resistance? Must the Kangaroo place its pouch onto the conveyor belt at the airport security check? Did the Kangaroo really fight for the Vietcong? And why is it addicted to champagne truffles?

About the author

Marc-Uwe Kling writes funny songs and stories. His business model is to write books that fiercely criticize capitalism and sell incredibly well. A two-time German Poetry Slam Champion he has also won numerous awards for his stage shows. For his Kangaroo Chronicles he was awarded the German Radio Award, the German Cabaret Award and the German Audio Book Prize.

Marc-Uwe Kling

The Kangaroo Chronicles

Translated from German by

Sarah Cossaboon & Paul-Henri Campbell

“He who is friends with a kangaroo probably also has a giraffe living next door.

Or is it a penguin?

Wait a moment … How does that go again? Damn it.

I’m always so bad at remembering these sayings.”


Previously on The Kangaroo Chronicles…


The Kangaroo from Across the Hall

Ding dong. The doorbell rings. I go to the door, open it, and stand face to face with a kangaroo. I blink, look behind me, peer down the staircase, then up the staircase. I look straight ahead. The kangaroo is still there.

“Hello,” says the Kangaroo.

Without moving my head, I look to the left, then to the right, at the clock, and finally at the kangaroo.

“Hello,” I say.

“I just moved in across the hall and wanted to make some pancakes, and then I realized that I don’t have a pan…”

I nod, go to the kitchen, and return with a pan.

“Thank you so much,” says the Kangaroo, sticking the pan in its pouch.

I nod and the Kangaroo disappears behind the door of the apartment across the hall. With my left index finger I tap the tip of my nose several times, and then close the door.

Shortly thereafter, the doorbell rings again. I swing the door open right away, as I am still standing in front of it.

“Oh!” exclaims the Kangaroo. “That was quick. Um… I just noticed that I don’t have any salt, either…”

I nod, go to the kitchen, and return with the salt shaker.

“Thanks a lot! If you happen to also have a little milk and some flour…”

I nod and go to the kitchen. The Kangaroo takes everything, thanks me for it, and leaves. Two minutes later the bell rings again. I open the door, holding two eggs and some oil.

“Thanks,” says the Kangaroo, “good thinking! Now if you happen to have a whisk or a mixer…”

I nod and step away.

“And perhaps a mixing bowl?” the Kangaroo calls behind me.

Ten minutes later the doorbell rings again.

“I don’t have a stove,” says the Kangaroo simply.

I nod and step aside.

“On the right,” I say.

The Kangaroo goes into the kitchen. So do I. The Kangaroo handles the pan so clumsily that I take over.

“Would you happen to have something to fill the batter?” asks the marsupial. “Mixed vegetables or some ground beef?”

“I’d have to buy the ground beef,” I reply.

“No problem. I can wait,” says the Kangaroo. “It’s better when the mix has time to aerate anyway.”

I take my keys from the hook.

“But don’t go to Aldi!” the Kangaroo calls after me. “The working conditions there are more than questionable.”

So I go to the butcher and buy some ground beef. Upon re-entering my apartment building, I run into my downstairs neighbor.

“Have ya seen the new neighbor?” she asks me.

I nod.

“It ain’t from around here, ain’t it?” she asks, scratching at her Hitler moustache. Of course, she doesn’t actually have a moustache. It’s more like a fuzz – a Hitler-fuzz.

“Soon them damn Turks gonna be takin’ over the whole place.”

I look at her more closely. Hmm… perhaps it is indeed a moustache.

“Watcha gawkin’ at?” she asks.

“I think the kangaroo‘s from Australia.”

“Uh huh – Allstraleeya, ya say? Could be. But that don’t matter none. This Islam is givin’ me the heebie jeebies.”

Hobby Art

Knock knock. Someone’s at the door. Who could it be at this hour? I go to the door and open it.

“Ah, it’s you.”

“Hello,” says the Kangaroo. “May I come in?”

“Please do.”

He1 hops by me into the living room. “Do you like Nirvana?” it asks, sinking into the armchair.

“The band?” I ask and plop onto the sofa.

“No, the afterworld,” it says. “Of course the band! You really enjoy asking unnecessary questions, don’t you?”


“Yes what? You like Nirvana or you like to ask unnecessary questions?”

“Both,” I say. “I live by the motto: Better to ask five times than to think for yourself once. And Nevermind was the first LP that I bought myself.”


“No. Actually, it was Looking for Freedom by David Hasselhoff.”

“I‘ve been looking for freedom. I‘ve been looking so long?” asks the Kangaroo.

“Yes,” I reply. “But I wish it was Nevermind.”

“Look at what I just happen to have with me,” says the Kangaroo, pulling a bluish LP from its pouch. “Would you mind if I played it? I haven’t set my record player up yet in my place and…”

I nod and point to the record player.

Here we are now – entertain us…

“May I ask what you do?” says the Kangaroo, resuming our conversation.

“Why?” I ask.

“Well, you’re home all day and – don’t take this personally or anything – it’s 1:00 p.m. and you are still in your pajamas.”

“I’m – ah, well, um – sort of… an artist,” I respond. “I work nights.”

“A self-selling artist?”

“It’s called self-employed.”


“I write stories and songs and then I perform them.”

“Oh, so you’re a hobby artist!” exclaims the Kangaroo.

I cringe. “Ugh, that awful expression.”

“Hobby artist?”

I cringe again.

“Do you know that song by the rock band Tocotronic, ‘I resent you and your hobby art to the core!’?” the Kangaroo asks.

“Yep,” I reply. “Don’t like it.”

“I understand.”

“And you?” I ask. “What do you do?”

“I’m a Communist,” says the Kangaroo.


“You got a problem with that?”


The Kangaroo gives me a provoking glance.

“Trotzky?” I ask.

“Ho Chi Minh,” says the Kangaroo.

It points to a package on the coffee table.

“What’s that?”

“Champagne truffles,” I tell the Kangaroo.

“Do you mind if I…?”

“Please do. I don’t like them anyway.”

It tosses two candies into its mouth.

“Delicious!” it cries. “Want some?”

“Na, I don’t like ’em. Were you not listening?”

“Apparently not,” says the Kangaroo. “You could have figured that out yourself.”

“No,” I answer. “I live by the motto: Better to ask five times than to think for yourself once. Were you not listening?”

“Apparently not,” says the Kangaroo. “You could have figured that out yourself.”

“No,” I answer. “I live by the motto: Better to ask five times than to use your own brain once. Were you not listening?”

“Apparently not,” says the Kangaroo. “You could have figured that out yourself.”

“Now we’re stuck in an infinite loop,” I say.

“Yeah, whatever,” says the Kangaroo.

It takes another champagne truffle.

“So – hobby artist,” it says, bursting out laughing. “Here we are now – entertain us!”

“Do you do this often?” I ask.

“You mean quote things?”


“Shall we be on first-name terms?” asks the Kangaroo.

“Yeah, why not,” I say.

“I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”

1 Actually I have no idea if the Kangaroo is a he or a she. They never talk about it. In German the Kangaroo, like all animals, is always addressed as “it”. But in English that sounded too rude. (Translator’s note)

I refuse to be categorized! He, she … those are merely categories of the bourgeoisie. (Kangaroo’s note to the note)

The Kangaroo itself is also often kind of rude. (Chronicler‘s note to the note)

Whatever. Just wanted to be polite. I’ll use “it” then. By the way, in general I like working with authors who don’t speak English. (Translator’s note to the notes to the note.)

Soup Packet Totalitarianism

The Kangaroo invited me over for dinner at 9:00 p.m. Perhaps it wants to pay me back for having plundered my refrigerator, or maybe it expects to earn a badge for an Exemplary Socialist Household. By the time I arrive at five after nine, the Kangaroo has already started eating.

“You’re late,” it says with its mouth full.

“I eat everything but fish,” I had said when it invited me.

There are fish sticks for dinner.

“I don’t eat fish,” I say.

“Don’t worry, just eat it,” says the Kangaroo, “it’s chicken anyway.”


“It’s all chicken,” says the Kangaroo, “Fish patties, pork schnitzel, beef goulash: everything’s chicken.”

“Everything’s chicken?”

“Yeah, except for chicken nuggets.”

“Chicken nuggets?”

I really have to stop stupidly repeating the Kangaroo’s last words.

“Chicken nuggets are breaded tofu,” says the Kangaroo.

“Breaded tofu?” I ask. Damn it.

“Now sit down and eat your poultry, son,” says the Kangaroo.

“Who did you vote for?” I ask while eating. An election for something had just taken place.

“I didn’t vote,” says the Kangaroo.

“Are you not allowed?”

“I am not allowed and I don’t want to.”

“You don’t want to?”

“No, because it’s not an election,” says the Kangaroo. “It’s just the illusion of democracy, a mock poll, the Fata Morgana of popular government. In short, it’s only the appearance of an election, or, to use the official terminology: a dummy ballot.

“A dummy ballot?”

“It’s as if you go into a supermarket and can choose between soup packets by Maggi or soup packets by Knorr, but in reality, it’s all Nestlé. The dummy ballot suggests freedom, but in reality, I tell you: it’s all capitalism, it’s all Nestlé, it’s all chicken. But because I generally do not wish to consume packaged soup, I don’t really give a hoot about brand options at the supermarket.”

“You don’t give a hoot?” I ask. “What do you mean by that?”

“Just what is your major malfunction?” exclaims the Kangaroo. “Do you always have to babble back everything? Even the proclamations from the heralds of soup packet totalitarianism heard on every channel? ‘There’s no alternative to soup packets! Eat more packaged soups! There’s no alternative to soup packets!’ That is so disgusting.”

“Hmm… Do you know what’s really disgusting?” I ask, holding up a mushy fish stick. “This.”

“Bullshit!” says the Kangaroo stroppily. “Back in Viet Cong we ate these every day! Without breading of course!”

I look at it puzzled.

“And without filling!”

“Viet Cong?” I ask.

“Well…” the Kangaroo responds tellingly, or rather, not so tellingly. It basically says everything and nothing at the same time, although it has a propensity towards the latter.

I listlessly poke at my fish stick with my fork.

“If you don’t like it, you can cook again next time,” says the Kangaroo.

“Next time?” I ask. “I think I’d prefer to cook every time.”

And as I utter these words and see how a fleeting smile flashes over the Kangaroo’s face, it dawns on me that this might have been exactly the intention of its maneuver.

69 Cents per Minute

“Sometimes I wonder if there are still any organizations or corporations out there that do not yet have my address,” I tell the Kangaroo, shaking my head, as we fill out a form for a sweepstake from a laser eye clinic. “I have the impression that I have written my address on a slip of paper for every company on this planet.”

“Yeah, yeah…” says the Kangaroo as it fills in a box with its telephone number, adding in parentheses next to it: (69 cents per minute.)

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I ask.

“I got a new number for myself,” the Kangaroo answers. “I just recently listened to some guy from a bank for half an hour on the phone. He said I have to start thinking about my pension plan – that time is precious – and so I thought: that man is absolutely right. My time is way too precious to be listening to such bullshit for free.”

“And so you got yourself a toll number?”


“So now every time some bank or a market research institute or the Jehovah’s Witnesses call you, you beef up your retirement plan?”

“Call me,” says the Kangaroo.

“Nah,” I say, laughingly, “that’s way too expensive.”

“Come on, just do it. I want to show you something.”

“Yeah, right! You want to show me how two bucks from my bank account magically make their way into yours, just so that I can talk to you.”

“No – something else. Young Pioneer’s2 honor! Just call me.”

Beep. Beep. Tick. Please hold the line. Tick.

“Can you hear anything?” asks the Kangaroo.

“Yeah,” I reply, “a midi-pop version of ‘Wasted Time’ by the Eagles. The original was already bad enough. Is that what you wanted to show me?”

“Nah, hold on a second.”

Tick. The next available kangaroo will be happy to speak with you. Tick.

“See?” asks the Kangaroo as it looks at the clock, “I’ve already earned three bucks from you and I haven’t even spoken to you yet.”

“I want them back,” I say, annoyed as I hang up.

The Kangaroo’s cell phone rings again almost immediately.

“Yeah, hello? Do I have five minutes for a survey? Five minutes? Try five hours, honey!” it says, and disappears in the direction of the door.

“Hey! What about my three bucks?” I ask.

“If you’d like to raise a complaint,” says the Kangaroo while leaving, “just give me call.”

2 The Young Pioneers were an East German youth organization. Some kind of socialist Scouts. (Translator’s note)

The Food Noises of Others

I won some things at the sweepstake from the laser eye clinic: two gift certificates for a meal in a Dark Restaurant. The nearly blind waiter leads the Kangaroo and me to our table in a completely darkened dining room.

We sit down.

“You can’t see anything!” says the Kangaroo.

“That’s the point,” I say.


“You still there?” the Kangaroo asks. A moment later, a paw swipes across my face.

“Hey, stop it!” I scold the Kangaroo. “How about I do that to you?”

I reach across the table into the darkness.

“Ow, my eye!” the Kangaroo screams. “I can’t see anymore! I’m blind! You’ve blinded me!”

“I can’t see anything, either!” I exclaim. “That’s the point!”

I hear the Kangaroo rummage through its pouch. Suddenly the sun bursts before my eyes.

“Aaaaaaah!” I scream. “I’m blind.”

The waiter furiously snatches the high-energy flashlight from the Kangaroo that it shined directly into my eyes.

“I can’t see anything!” I cry. “Only flickering, shiny spots.”

“That’s the point,” says the Kangaroo.

A short while later the food is served. While I am still trying to coordinate my knife and fork, the Kangaroo munches away.

“Mine tastes rather dry,” it grumbles.

“That’s probably because you are eating the table decorations,” I say.

“Puh!” the Kangaroo spits out. “You’re right! But how stupid is that then? Table decorations in a Dark Restaurant!”

I push the first forkful into my nose.

“Can I try yours?” the Kangaroo asks.

“Yeah,” I say, “go for it.”

“Hmm…” says the Kangaroo, “kind of slimy. And that there feels like salad.”

“Hey!” I cry. “Are you rubbing your paw around in my food?”

“Uh… no,” says the Kangaroo.

Silently, we listen to the food noises of others.

“The Food Noises of Others,” I murmur. “That would be an awesome title for an arthouse film.”

“If you had to give up one,” says the Kangaroo, changing the topic, “speaking, hearing, or seeing, which would you go without?”

“That’s easy,” I say. “Hearing.”


“Then I wouldn’t have to put up with your blabbing anymore.”

“Oh, yeah?” says the Kangaroo. “And I would be all too happy to forego seeing so that I wouldn’t have to stand your shit face anymore.”

“You’d better give up speaking,” I reply. “Then I wouldn’t have to relinquish my hearing.”

“Well I think you should give up seeing so that I wouldn’t… No, wait a minute. No, you should also give up your speaking or hearing…”

“You know what?” I say. “I’m not giving up anything.”

“You have to,” says the Kangaroo, thrashing its paw in the general direction from which it thinks it hears my voice.

“No, I don’t,” I reply, and punch wildly into the darkness. Somebody actually does get punched. For obvious reasons I cannot say with absolute certainty if it is the Kangaroo.

Anyhow, a few moments later the entire dining room is in uproar. Thus ensues the biggest brawl in darkness since the Orcs raided Moria. The Kangaroo and I stealthily slip away.

As we reach the outdoors, the Kangaroo falls to its knees, kisses the ground, and wails, “I can see again!”

I sigh. “And unfortunately I can still hear you.”

Eeny Meeny Miny Mo

“That’s not even your bicycle!” I tell the Kangaroo.

“How would you know?” it asks.

“Because you just took a bolt cutter out of your pouch instead of a key,” I say.

“I lost the key,” the Kangaroo says, looking at me in challenge.

“Ah, okay,” I reply.

“The question is just…” says the Kangaroo, eyeing the bicycles in the stand. “Which bike’s key have I lost?”

It taps each of the rear tires lightly with the bolt cutter, all the while uttering, “Eeny meeny miny mo…”


New Rules

“Oh man, capitalism sucks!” cries the Kangaroo as it flips the Monopoly board.

“Only because you are losing,” I say and attempt to repair the havoc wreaked upon the board.

“I have 99 percent of the people on my side,” responds the Kangaroo.

“Are you going to calm down again, or was that the end of the game?” I ask, refusing to enter the hundredth repetition of the debate on the effects of globalization. The Kangaroo seems indecisive as to whether it wants to calm down or whether that was indeed the end of the game.

“True greatness rises from the rubble,” I declare. “That’s what my mom always said.”

“Whatever,” says the Kangaroo. “And my father always said it is better to be a sore winner than a good loser.”

In the meantime I complete the reconstruction of the game board. The cityscape suffered a bit, but that seems to be an inevitable part of reconstruction everywhere.

“So, sit down now,” I say.

“But I’m not paying you just because I landed on your stupid train station.”


“We will now establish,” says the Kangaroo, “that train stations no longer cost anything. I think public transportation should be free.”

“Okay,” I say, for the sake of peace, although of course all four train stations belong to me. I think back to the evening on which we played Risk and had a major fallout because the Kangaroo tenaciously refused to attack anyone.

I roll the dice, take a Community Chest and receive the 7 percent dividend for my stocks. “For he that hath, to him shall be given,” snorts the Kangaroo precociously. It rolls the dice and lands on my street.

“Let’s see…” I mutter. “Boardwalk with three houses. That will be $1400.”

“Nope,” says the Kangaroo. “This is a squat and squatters do not pay rent.”

On top of that, it takes the five hundred dollar bill that I just earned for my stocks away from me and says, “Capital returns tax.”

“That’s only supposed to be 20 percent!” I complain.

“Not anymore,” says the Kangaroo. “The rate just went up.”

Then it rips the five hundred dollar bill in two and writes on the non-printed back side: Free living space for everyone – right here, right now. It sticks the shred of paper between my houses.

“What is that?” I ask.

“A banner!” the Kangaroo exclaims.

I shake my head and sigh.

“What do you want to do now?” the Kangaroo asks me. “Do you want to call the police? Do you want them to schlep me away?”

I say nothing.

“Do you want your money?” asks the Kangaroo. “Do you want MONEY? Here, take the money!” it cries and then reaches into the bank and throws the paper bills at me.

“You’re not allowed to do that,” I say.

“Why not?”

“It’s against the rules.”

“Someone just made them up,” says the Kangaroo. “And I’ve just made up some new rules.”

I take the Kangaroo’s playing piece and place it in jail.

“Ah-ha!” cries the Kangaroo. “Now your true colors are shining through. Whoever doesn’t follow your rules gets locked up.”

“Okay,” I say. “How would you like to play the game?”

“We’re starting over,” says the Kangaroo. “No more rent. And jail is going to be shut down. That police officer over there in the corner has nothing to say. The doctor’s fee card from the Community Chest is as of now officially gone and so is the tuition payment card.”

“What about the ‘You’ve won the second prize in a beauty contest’ card?” I ask.

“You can keep that one,” replies the Kangaroo, “even though one has to ask oneself what kind of competition there had to be for that to happen.”

“What’s with the Water Works?” I ask.

“It’s free. So is the electricity.”

“So we’re just going to continue rolling the dice, and whoever passes Go will get their two hundred bucks?” I ask.

“Yep, exactly.”

The Kangaroo rolls the dice and advances five spaces. I roll the dice: double sixes.

“No. That’s not fair either,” the Kangaroo says and pushes the pawns back. “From now on this is how it’s going to be done: we will both simultaneously roll one die each and advance both of our game pieces based on the sum of the two dice.”

“Okay,” I say.

The game resulted in a tie.

Ta daa! Ta daa! Ta daa!

Someone’s knocking on the door. I open it. Ah, the police, I think.

“We’re the police,” say the police.

“Thought so,” I reply.

“Does a kangaroo live here?” the police ask.

“No,” I respond automatically.

“May we come in?”


“Do you know any kangaroos?”


“Ever made acquaintance or befriended one; ever had one marry into your family?”


The Kangaroo already had me memorize the answers to this type of question prophylactically. It was quite simple.

The police officer tries to peek into the apartment.

“May we come in?”


“Has a kangaroo ever resided here?”


“Were you in the Viet Cong?”


“Are you hiding a kangaroo here?”


“May we come in?”

“Yes, of course!”



“Are you a kangaroo?”

“Do I have a pouch?”

“May we come in?”

I sigh.

“Should we let ‘em in?” I holler into the apartment.

A “Ta daa! Ta daa! Ta daa!” followed by a loud “No!” resonate back.

“Who was that?” the police ask.

“The kangaroo,” I answer.

“No,” say the police. “You’re just joshing us now.”


“May we come in?”

“I’m closing the door now,” I say with a smile. “Okay?”

“Will you give us a call if you happen to see a kangaroo?” the police ask.

“But of course!” I say. “Here’s a hot tip for you: Australia!”

Then I shut the door gently.

“What have you gotten yourself into?” I ask the Kangaroo, which is lounging upside down on the easy chair.

“Oh…” says the Kangaroo and waves me off as if it were bored by my question. I don’t push the subject. Some things are better left unknown. The Kangaroo sweeps a glance across the living room.

“How often do you actually use this room?” it asks.

“Huh? Why?”

“You don’t really need this room, right?”

“Why? What are you up to?”

“Nothing, nothing,” responds the Kangaroo, “I was just curious.”

The Language of Dummies

The Kangaroo moved in with me not long ago. It simply dragged all its stuff over and afterwards said, “It’s okay with you, right?”

I didn’t say anything. It’s here all the time anyway.

“It’s closer to the fridge,” it added. In the meantime, it managed to take over the entire living room. It installed a punching bag in the center of the room and hung a hammock as its bed in one corner. Now it’s sitting at the kitchen table and hammering around with its knife and fork, all the while chanting, “I’m so hungry, hungry, hungry, very hungry, hungry, hungry, very hungry, hungry, hungry, thirsty too!”

“Ah, look at that,” I say. “And now I’m supposed to jump to my feet and prepare some food.”

“Yes, or else I’ll give you a wallop,” says the Kangaroo.

“Don’t you dare!”

The Kangaroo punches me in the upper arm.

“Ouch!” I protest. “That’s just not right.”

“Oh right, wrong…” says the Kangaroo, “those are merely categories of the bourgeoisie.”

It punches me again.

“Hey! Violence is the language of dummies,” I cry.

“Nope,” says the Kangaroo and ponders a moment. “That would be Corporate English.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, have you already briefed your human resources on the fact that they will be outsourced and later dumped due to the shareholders’ executive decisions? Oh, and by the way: the Senior Assistant Managing Director should inform the Head of Custodial Maintenance that – during our brainstorming assembly – I vomited in the main office.”3 “You and your bland anti-Americanism,” I say, shaking my head.

“It’s not bland,” says the Kangaroo. “It’s been brewing a long while.”

“Even so, I think it’s wrong.”

“Right, wrong – those are merely categories of the bourgeo…”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Will you just get to cooking already, or else your committee leader will report your efforts to be at an all-time low at the next task force meeting,” says the Kangaroo. “And take note: lumps of flour in the dough are an absolute no-go! So if you see something, say something.” Then it punches me again.

“I’ve had it!” I say as I prepare to swing at it with a ladle.

“Hey!” cries the Kangaroo. “Violence is the language of dummies!”