- Berlin Coffee Shop – A six-part digital novel / The Author
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Berlin Coffee Shop – A six-part digital novel
Follow Sandra and friends as they navigate life, love, and their late-twenties in Germany’s hip Berlin.
The best office in the world is in the Coffee Shop – a cozy cafe in Berlin. From here, Sandra plies her trade as a thing-finder. Her customers are people who have lost or want to find something which will make their life happier. But on her quest for other people’s desires, Sandra suddenly finds herself in search of her own happiness – and of herself. And a dead goose further aggravates her emotional turmoil …
Gerlis Zillgens lives and works as a freelance writer in Cologne, Germany. Throughout the years she has written many successful novels and screenplays, as well as developed television series and toured as a cabaret artist. She also enjoys organizing readings, enjoying the view from her office, salsa dancing, and Berlin
Sandra is a professional “seeker of things.” She serves customers who are looking for something they themselves can’t find. Sandra’s “office” is a table in the Coffee Shop – a cozy cafe in central Berlin, run by her friend Captain.
Captain owns a cafe, the Coffee Shop, which is the hub of Sandra and her friends’ lives. Captain is always looking for new male waiters who by no coincidence just happen to be stunningly attractive. For the sake of simplifying things, he calls them all “Sweetie,” since he replaces them as quickly as he does the daily special at the Coffee Shop.
Nils studies veterinary medicine, but he is actually occupied full-time as Sandra’s seeker assistant. On Sandra’s missions, the two end up in situations that bring them closer together. But they are really just best friends … Really …
Claudi is Sandra’s best girlfriend. In addition to Sandra, Claudi has about 7,112 friends – on Facebook – who get to hear about everything that happens in her life, as well as those of her friends Sandra, Captain, and Nils.
Episode 3: Ariel’s Crew
Translated by Sharmila Cohen
“I seek, therefore I am …”
(loosely adapted from a French philosopher)
“I am a jelly doughnut …”
(loosely adapted from an American president)
“You had ash on your face?” Captain asks, stunned, as he puts the daily special down in front of us.
3 1/4 cups flour
1 packet of yeast
1 tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup water
4 tbsp oil
Mix everything together, knead into a dough, let sit for half an hour, then roll flat.
3 apples (sweet/aromatic)
4 tbsp sugar
1 package mozzarella
Wash, peel, and core the apples; then cut them into thin rings. Place apple rings on pizza dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Spread raisins, almonds, and mozzarella on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F / 175 ° C until mozzarella is lightly browned.
“A lot of it,” Nils explains. “And on the Persian cat.”
“Nils looked like a poorly made-up Othello in a country rendition of the play.”
“And Sandra like his Desdemona after too much canoodling on the stage.”
Captain plops down on a chair and grabs my arm almost painfully. “And Schöneberg? How did she react?”
“She stared at us as if we came straight from Mars.”
“Or from Venus. Like aliens that invaded her living room and wanted to conquer the world.”
“It was terrible.”
“Horrifying,” Nils agrees.
“All of this only happened because you weren’t capable of keeping her long enough.”
“What?” Captain says, scandalized. “We agreed on five minutes. I kept her busy for exactly five minutes. And that was hard enough. I had to bring out the really big guns. After I barely managed to get her outside by honking, I asked her to marry me.”
“Then you were really hustling. What did she say?” Nils asks, giggling.
“She was flattered, but considered the small age difference a problem. And she also doesn’t like mustaches.” Captain grins. “I told her that I could remove it very quickly.”
“It’s good that she didn’t see just how fast.”
“So, now tell me how you guys got away with it – I’m dying to know.” Of course, this doesn’t keep Captain from trying a big piece of his sweet pizza.
“Sandra was fantastic. She really could have been a professional actress.”
“No, I never could have come up with that. Can you even imagine, Captain? Sandra claimed that we were running a bit late and were preparing to meet with the next customer. A special customer with a rare mental illness.” Nils furrows his brow. “What was it called again?”
“Proso … what?”
“Prosopagnosia. Face blindness. People with prosopagnosia can’t recognize other people by their faces.”
“Sandra explained to Schöneberg that she had an arrangement with the customer: That she always paints her face in this special way so that the customer can recognize her. And if she has an assistant with her, then she also paints his face.”
“Unbelievable,” Captain says, shaking his head.
“The recipe of the day tastes great, by the way!” I exclaim. “Captain Cook has done it again.”
“Sweet pizza boy at his best,” Nils agrees and continues reporting on our visit with Mrs. von Schöneberg. “Then, after the initial shock, she was really impressed. She thought it was great that Sandra is so sensitive to her customers’ needs.”
“On top of that, she was clearly impressed with you, Captain. She probably already regrets turning down your proposal.”
“If I were a breeder, I might actually think about it. She’s pretty easy on the eyes.”
“And that house, too,” I add.
“How did you come up with that? You can’t just come up with something like that prosopa-thing off the top of your head.”
“When I was little, we had a neighbor who had it. My mother was always hugely offended when he didn’t recognize her for the hundredth time.”
“Are you done with that?” Nils greedily eyes the leftover slice of pizza on my plate.
“Yes, my little glutton.” Smiling, I put my plate on the next table. “But we aren’t eating in my office any more – I have to work.” I point out the window.
“Oh, the handsome Tassilo.” Captain hurries ecstatically behind the counter. “I’ll make the espresso.”
Tassilo von Schöneberg is very moved. “You’ve made me so happy, Ms. Holle.” He discreetly wipes his cheeks with the back of his hand. “It means the world to me to finally be able to fulfill Falko’s greatest wish.”
I briefly consider if I should tell him that the other half of his brother’s remains is in a vacuum bag, but decide against it. Essentially, it doesn’t matter – I think the main thing is that it’s on his beloved widow’s mantelpiece.