Front Page
About us

Metro Mensch in Baghdad
Metro Mensch in Berlin
Metro Mensch in Folkestone
Metro Mensch in India
Metro Mensch in London
Metro Mensch in Madrid
Metro Mensch in Mexico
Metro Mensch in São Paulo
Metro Mensch in Strasbourg
Metro Mensch in Zurich


City Mayors presents Metro Mensch
Short stories about people in cities

A refugee
at Christmas

And they praised the English Queen and they wished her Merry Christmas and they shouted “we are safe, we are in England.” It was the tall bearded Uzbekistani who broke the silence the group had kept since leaving Calais hidden in a truck. All started clapping, some laughed, more cried. Thirteen refugees, from across Asia, hugged, kissed and shook hands. In three hours they would be in London, some with addresses to go to, others with a little money and a great deal of hope. Ahmed wanted to teach. But the joy of the group was to be short-lived because among them was a man who made his living by delivering refugees to the authorities. Already a helicopter swooped low over the truck and two-dozen police cars set a roadblock five miles ahead. Full story

A refugee on
the Northern Line

The other fat woman is probably from a circus. My dad often took me to a circus. There were many fat women in colourful costumes. My father pointed them out to me and laughed. He loved my mother but also liked other women. When I was thirteen I found a magazine with English women in his tool cupboard. I think he wanted to love an English woman too. He is dead now. Full story

Dear Mom
Children fear us here. By the time they are ten, they hate us. Old people ignore us. When we are out on patrol, we feel like aliens from another planet, look it too in our combat gear, helmets and shades. Sometimes boys come up to us, touch our M4s, beg for candy. I gave one kid my shades to put on, he run off with them. Mom, the next day I saw him on top of a wrecked car, burning our flag, wearing my shades. Full story

Father and Son
Erika waited almost two weeks before she went to the police. Michael had explained how he flew to Cologne, stayed in a cheap hotel near the Cathedral. In some bar he started to talk to a young guy who was about to be drafted into the army. They met again the next day and the day after over beer and shish kebab. The guy told Michael about his 16-year old girlfriend, the squat they lived in and his baby boy. Michael met the mother, a skinny girl, who found it hard to focus. The baby needed feeding and changing. Michael took care of both. The girl wanted to be paid in dollars. German notes can be traced, she said. Michael offered five thousand and eventually gave her eight. Two days later he was back in Berlin. Full story

Maria and Luis
We lived for all our lives on the same road in the outskirts of São Paulo. Mother was a shopkeeper, as our house was on the busy road of the school, where I studied from the start to the end of school days, and then from there to college. Father worked at the Mercedes Benz plant, so we had a normal working class home, with the usual working class expectations. But I was lucky as I never had to work and could dedicate all my time to my studies, a luck that I don't share with many of my contemporaries at school. Full story

Juan chooses
order then chaos

Maria, Juan’s mother, was not told about the accident until after the match, which ended in a nil-nil draw. She took the call at Barajas Airport where she worked as a cleaner. David was already dead by the time the ambulance arrived more than an hour after the driver of a yellow Fiat had hurled him against a 100-year old plane tree. Full story

The porcelain

François and Claudine had become lovers in September. He bought a hamper for late-summer picnics on the banks of the River Rhine, she booked ten dance lessons. They rode through the hills of the Voges on a hired Harley Davidson and got drunk on new wine in October. Their lovemaking caused neighbours to complain, which only excited them more. In November, he asked her to marry him and she set a date for December. Full story

The train leaving
platform 17

There is a woman under the writer’s skin. She is often at Zurich station. Today, she pretends to be waiting for a train, an intercity leaving from platform 17 and going south to Geneva, with stops at Lenzburg, Aarau, Olten, Biel, Neuenburg and Lausanne. She looks at her reflection in the windows of a local train on the opposite platform. She is extremely young, barely out of her teens. But her blue eyes are those of an older woman. Full story

Maria and
her animals

There lives in my city an 82-year-old lady who loves animals. Her name is Maria. She has two canaries, about 10 cats and a dog.  As a girl, she recalls, she would make plastic shoes for the cats, enjoying herself as she watched them walking around and shaking their paws. Full story

The Life of a Dog
His name was Toiffel. He was a German shepherd dog that my father brought home one winter’s day around 40 years ago. He knew I was eager to have a pet dog, so when Mrs Henkel telephoned, asking if he wanted to have Toiffel, my father's immediate answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!” Full story

The Silent Quest
The brown eyes of the black horse were staring at me in that lighted darkness. He must have desired for me for a ride! On that melodious night we tied the nuptial knot. The knot was woven with silken threads dreams and desires. Desires of the soul! What was my soul singing and musing at that moment…? Never I knew! Full story

World Mayor 2023