He is quiet, almost sullen, but there is also a coiled tension there, as if he’s ready to react – possibly more strongly than expected, possibly violently. Talk to him the wrong way, touch him perhaps, and he might lash out. His new colleagues have their suspicions about him: a young man his age, practically still a boy, who has been in juvenile detention for the past five years? There’s almost only one kind of crime that could account for that.
So perhaps it’s the best thing for everyone involved if the work he applies for, in order to appeal for early parole, has him dealing with those who are already dead.
There is a strange beauty to it all: the geometry of the almost deserted aisles, the precarious stacks of beer crates, the discrete whoosh of electric pallet carriers zooming to and fro (to “The Blue Danube”, no less!), and all of it during the graveyard shift. In the half-dark, the superstore is less of an abomination that is part supermarket, part warehouse: it is a refuge for the assorted sad sacks and losers that work there, most likely because they wouldn’t find anything else. These are the outskirts of East Germany almost thirty years after Reunification, and the reality is drab and depressing – but at night, in the aisles, you may just find something you don’t have anywhere else: a home.