I haven’t ever written for the Nassau Weekly. But I have wanted to get this story off of my chest for quite some time, and it has somehow managed not to find a way into any of the other campus newspapers and magazines. I thought that Troubadour would have enjoyed it because, after all, it takes place in Vienna, so it’s sort of a travel story. But it was politely turned-down… even though I am in St. A’s and all of my “secret” friends are on the editorial staff. Actually, I meant to say that I am in . Even my best friend Jess, who is the editor-in-chief, and who is also in , was completely unreceptive to my cause. I asked her what the fuck her problem was, and she told me that Troubadour’s purpose was to end all forms of globalization, and “to encourage worldly love and understanding,” not to encourage “messages of hate and mistrust”. Wonderful. Good for them. But I don’t see this as a message of hate – I see it as more of a public safety warning. And not the kind of public safety that masquerades to be police officers, but the general safety of tourists traveling to Austria. I decided to drop the issue and single her out as a bitch in some other forum. A forum like the Nassau Weekly. But what am I talking about? Not about Troubadour or . No. This is about a Cake Nazi.
I was horribly reminded of this story a few weeks ago, when my friend Ryan Rossitto ’02 told me that he was taking a trip to Vienna. Suddenly, my palms started sweating and the nightmare came flooding back to me. There is a café in Vienna called Café Schwartzenburger. Or Café Schwartzenbomber. I can’t actually remember the name, so I just think of it as Café Schwarzenegger. Well anyway, back in the summer of ’98, my brother and I found ourselves a Cake Nazi at Schwarzenegger. He was our waiter. All we know about his personal information is that his name was Heinrich. (In itself, this tells us nothing except for that Heinrich and Hitler both start with the letter H. Also, the first syllable of the name represents a ketchup brand if you add a Z. If you add an E to the second syllable, it suspiciously reads “Reich.” And finally, said quickly, Heinrich could sound like Heineken.) Heinrich had moppy brown hair and very thick round glasses, which did, however, look like the glasses worn by Dr. Strangelove. That is all of the information we can conclude.
When the Cake Nazi came to take our order, he said, “Und may I suggest the Sacher Torte?” My brother and I thanked him for his suggestion, but of course we wouldn’t take it. We smiled smugly at each other— we may have been Americans, but we had been in Vienna a bit too long to be tricked into ordering Sacher Torte. Everyone knows that Sacher Torte is horribly dry and is the biggest let-down cake in the world. In fact, it’s amazing they still produce that crap. Anyway, my brother is a musician, so he naturally wanted the Mozart Torte, which had little chocolate Mozart heads on the top of each piece. I politely asked for the Imperial Torte. Upon hearing my choice, the Cake Nazi snorted, “Und who do you think you are?! British?” A bit taken aback, I laughed nervously. I immediately stopped because the Cake Nazi was not laughing at all. Before I could come up with something to break the silence, the Cake Nazi demanded, “So neither of you is having the Sacher Torte?” My brother started to explain that we didn’t really like the Sacher Torte, but the Cake Nazi glared at him until he shut up. “I see,” the Cake Nazi said, clearly fuming, and he brushed off to the kitchen.
When it came time to pay our bill, we noticed that the Cake Nazi had charged us for an extra piece of cake… the very piece of cake we had declined to order! Sure enough, the bill read: 1 Mozart Torte, 1 Imperial Torte, and 1 Sacher Torte. Seeing our shocked faces, the Cake Nazi came to our table and demanded, “Is there a problem?” We reminded him that we had not actually ordered the Sacher Torte. “Yes you did!” he barked. The Cake Nazi would not budge; he insisted that we had eaten a piece of Sacher Torte. My brother pointed to the two finished plates in front of us and logically argued that there wasn’t even a third plate on the table. “Then you must have stolen it,” said the Cake Nazi, and he offered to add the plate to our bill. My brother became furious. He was certain that the Cake Nazi could sense the Jewish blood in us from grandpa. I told him that was ridiculous. How did he know that the waiter was a Nazi regarding more than Cake anyway? My brother stared at me in disbelief. “Haven’t you ever seen Seinfeld?!,” my brother yelled at me. “Yes,” I answered confused.
“Well, haven’t you ever seen a Woody Allen movie?? HAVEN’T YOU EVER READ PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT????” I still didn’t see the connection. “THIS IS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION, BARB! USE YOUR GODDAMN HEAD!!!!!”
“I’m sorry,” I offered, still confused. “I thought you were into Buddhism or something. I didn’t even know you thought you were Jewish!”
“WELL, I DO NOW,” my brother roared and he stood up to face the Cake Nazi. “We will not pay that bill,” my brother said firmly. “What’s more”, he added, “IT’S AGAINST MY RELIGION!” The Cake Nazi stared at him. We were at a standstill. I knew that I needed to negotiate peace, so I tried to speak to the Cake Nazi in his own language. “Wiener schnitzel, Heineken,” I began. Then I remembered that I didn’t know any Austrian. And it wasn’t clear why I had even thought for a moment that I knew some. The only words I knew were “Wiener schnitzel” and “Heineken”. The Cake Nazi looked at me as if I were retarded. Suddenly, he reached into his artillery belt and threw a knife onto the table. True, it was only a dull butter-knife, but the effect was the same. I froze. What transpired next, I can’t even believed I lived through it. Suddenly my brother yelled, “L’CHAIM!!!!!,” whipped a keepah out of his pocket, and thrust it onto his head. The Cake Nazi yelled “ACHTUNG BABY!”, and threw off his apron. In a second, from all corners of the café, dozens of Cake Nazi waiters turned around and tore off their aprons to reveal “S.S. CAKE” uniforms. Each took a hand-grenade out of his pocket, labeled “SACHER TORTE – HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE.” They grabbed their cake-knife bayonets and marched towards my brother, chanting “SACHER TORTE. SACHER TORTE. YOU WILL ORDER SACHER TORTE.” My brother let out a bloodcurdling war cry and dove into the glass display case, smashing Sacher Tortes galore….!
Just kidding. That didn’t really happen. I lied about everything after line 86 when the knife dropped on the table. What really happened next was a little bit of panicking on my part. I didn’t want to see my brother’s head in the display case with the Sacher Tortes, so I told him to just shut up and pay the Nazi. Just then, the café door opened and two policemen walked in. The Cake Nazi looked at them and then squinted back at us. “Do you want to pay the bill now,” he asked quietly. “Or do we need to involve these customers?” Undoubtedly fearing being sent off to labor camp, my brother took a fistful of change and threw it onto the table, while muttering under his breath about being persecuted for the last 2000 years. The Cake Nazi snatched up the change, and hissed, “Nobody contradicts the Sacher Torte!” Then, with a sharp pivot of his black boots, he exited our lives.
That is the story of the Cake Nazi. Be warned and beware.