Photo of Filbert Street hill on Russian Hill in San Francisco with Coit Tower

7.  Coffee in Bed

By Andrew Nash

Episode 1: Vienna Woods    … Episode 2: Bunker Business   … Episode 3: Red Herring Keller   … Episode 4: The Physical Network   … Episode 5: Time and City Spaces … Episode 6: Platz Presse


Franz rolled over and said sleepily, “Hey, you’re up early.”

“Yeah. Work thing. Couldn’t sleep,” replied Pam.

There was an edge to her voice, but then she asked sweetly, “Would you like a coffee hun?”

Hard to say. Pam had to be the only person in San Francisco who drank instant. Honestly, he wondered where she could even find it. But you take the good with the bad in any relationship. “Sure!” he replied with an enthusiasm that surprised even him.

Pam worked for one of those companies handling stuff big Silicon Valley firms didn’t deal with like cleaning and catering. In Pam’s case it was less clear exactly what services her company provided, and Franz didn’t press it. They’d met at a club and her work hadn’t seemed important at the time.

Handing him a mug Pam said, “Gotta get into the office pronto. Just let yourself out.” They’d talked about his moving in but it hadn’t happened yet. To Franz Pam’s place on Russian Hill – with a view of the Bay, no less – was almost as attractive as Pam. He’d certainly learned the San Francisco apartment – relationship dance quickly.

After showering and dressing – he did have some closet space, that was a start – Franz headed out into the cool gray morning. Down the hill to Washington Square. First stop, Mario’s for a real coffee. Then, across the street to catch the company bus.

The bus part had shocked his parents. Of course, public transport for them was good – it was good everywhere in Vienna, but they couldn’t imagine their successful son now working for a famous computer company in California not driving a big American car! It didn’t matter how often he told them the company buses were much more luxurious than the 26A – and the traffic was even worse than the Tangent!Photo of bar with glasses and patrons.

“You again!” laughed Angela from behind the bar as he pushed open the door.

“Yeah, I need a double cappuccino bad!” he replied, “And could you toast some focaccia for me?” pushing his luck.

“Sure, lover boy” she teased. Last night Franz had stormed in, asked for quarters and hurried into the back looking nervously over his shoulder. Angela thought he was calling some girl on the pay phone because he didn’t want Pam to find out. Sandy had a bad feeling about Pam. Maybe Franz had mentioned the Nescafe?

But later she’d seen them walk by holding hands and laughing, so what did she know? She was just a bartender.

“Man, this coffee is good,” Franz said.

“Graffeo, nothing but the best here,” replied Angela, who, although she came from Trieste, had to admit it really was pretty good coffee.

She remembered when Franz first stopped-in, a year or so ago. He’d just found a room to share on Green Street and ordered coffee. Angela wasn’t happy with how the neighborhood had changed since tech took over San Francisco. But Franz was different from most of them. He really appreciated good food, spoke a little Italian from school and family vacations in San Marino, and knew Trieste, which he always referred to as “part of the empire.” OK, he was mostly fine.

“Mama mia! I need to run if I’m going to make the 8:30 bus,” said Franz as he plunked 13 quarters and a fiver on the bar. “Ciao Angela!”

Pazzi Bambino thought Angela.


Episode 8 … Bus-Ted