- Berlin Coffee Shop – A six-part digital novel / The Author
- Main Characters
- Episode 6 · Highway Robberye
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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 café 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 café, 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 6: Highway Robbery
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)
Claudi holds me tight in her arms while I cry my eyes out and almost don’t breathe. “He’s marrying … he’s marrying her. I saw it with my own two eyes … they’re at the civil records office … they’re getting their marriage paperwork … she’ll be his wife … it’s all my fault … I’ve lost him forever …”
Captain creeps up on tiptoe, puts a strawberry margarita with fresh fruit on the table in front of the corner couch where we’ve made camp, and creeps away.
Claudi takes the glass and holds the straw up to my lips. “A little sip for little Sanni,” she says affectionately.
I take a sip.
“A little sip for little Sanni’s best friend.”
I take a sip.
“A little sip for little Sanni’s other best friend.”
I wail away. “Which one do you mean?”
“Captain, of course, I mean Captain,” Claudi hurries to assure me, “Nils probably won’t be your best friend if he’s married.”
I swallow. “He’s not married yet …”
Captain brings us a roll of paper towels without a word. Claudi puts down the cocktail, rips a sheet from the roll, and holds it in front of my nose. “A nice clean blow!”
I blow my nose hard.
“Good,” Claudi says as if I’m a little girl. “That was good.” She holds the cocktail up for me again. “Another little sip for mommy and just another one for daddy.”
Captain creeps over for the third time, this time with a coffee. He sits quietly on my other side and puts my head on his shoulder.
“I ruined everything, I’ve ruined everything, and I just wanted him to be happy … and now he’s so happy that he’s even getting married and I am sooooooo unhappy … I couldn’t imagine that I … we already touched thousands of times … and nothing ever happened.”
“Well,” Captain mentions, “in my storage room … something probably happened there …”
I howl like a kicked dog. “The one time that I was with Nils … I don’t even have the slightest memory of it … he’s getting married, and I will never know what it’s like to sleep with Nils … it’s terrible … it’s almost as bad as what happened to Nils’s goose … actually it’s much worse … But this isn’t about geese,” I say, swallowing, “it’s about my dream man marrying someone else and I can’t go on living. It would be best if I just kill myself. I could jump into the Landwehr Canal and …”
Claudi pushes the straw back between my lips. “Who was it again that drowned in the Landwehr Canal? Someone famous or something?”
“Rosa,” Captain answers.
“I mean, what was the woman’s name?”
“I ask for the name of the woman who drowned in the Landwehr Canal and you babble on about flowers and countries.” Claudi sighs. “Sometimes I wonder why all of my friends are a bit crooked in the head.”
“Oh, Claudi.” Captain gives me the mug. “Drink, Sandra, coffee is good for the soul.”
“I dreamt about it.” I continue sobbing. “I dreamt that they were getting married, my subconscious already knew it, they got married and in my dream, my parents adopted Simone … she had a beautiful dress and Nils was happy and I was sooooo unhappy, and my mother wanted to strangle me to death.”
“Why?” Claudi asks, aghast.
“Because I tore the veil from the bride’s head, and then the priest got involved, and the alter boys pounced on us, and then there was a fire, and then she had her hands around my throat and squeezed.”
“Wow!” Claudi unsuccessfully tries to suppress a giggle. “But that’s what’s happening. You obviously have prophetic dreams, so we can brace ourselves for the wedding. I’m looking forward to it.”
“I hate you!”
“What’s her problem?” She turns to Captain, astonished.
“She thinks you shouldn’t look forward to Nils’s and Simone’s wedding!”
“Oh, sure. Well, I didn’t mean it. Of course I’m not looking forward to the wedding, but only to everyone throwing punches in the process.” She giggles again. “It’ll be fun.”
“What’ll be fun?” a familiar voice asks me.
All of the heads look up. Nils is standing in front of the corner couch and looking at us curiously.
Captain and I preventatively step on Claudi’s feet from both sides.
“Hey!” Claudi complains. “It’s already clear that I have to keep my mouth shut.”
Nils considers Claudi for a moment, then he grins and sits down with us. When he looks at me, his grin dies away. “Were you crying, Sandra? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Captain and I say at the same time.
“But it doesn’t look like nothing.”
“I’m practicing my acting skills. You can’t have enough of them with my job, as you know. Today ‘crying on the spot’ was on the program.”
“She was great at it!” Captain pats my shoulder approvingly. “She really just needs a few seconds to get going.”
“Was all of that faked?” Claudi asks. “You didn’t actually …”
Captain and I step on her feet in unison.
“What is going on?” Nils asks. “Something is up that I don’t know about, isn’t it?”
“Surprise!” I say quickly. “We are planning something … um … for your birthday.”
“And you can’t know anything about it.” Captain smiles and looks Claudi dead in the eye.
“My birthday isn’t until February,” Nils says surprised.
“Sometimes the preparations take a bit longer.” I blow my nose again and smile at him. “And now don’t ask anymore questions, otherwise you’ll make us ruin the great surprise.”
“Okay,” Nils says and smiles back. “And now I also have a surprise for you.”
He triumphantly pulls out a piece of paper.
“What is that?”