8.4 The Vienna Cafe

The Danube waters stroked the tender senses of the street-side passers-by and cafe patrons. Sigmund said the study on the fear of horses and their penises would be called ‘Little Hans’.  Max told him and Alfred he was grateful for the diagnosis of his son’s neurosis. It would help others, though he had misgivings.

“Thank you for introducing me to Vienna, Mr. Goschen. I have been to Berlin, you know. Munich too.  You will enjoy your new post in Berlin though we’ll be sad to lose you!”

Sigmund rolled his eyes towards the next table. “Analyse,” he whispered.

“I’m too hung over to do a spot reading,” said Alfred.

Max laughed.

“Alright, alright. The Hungarian is self-explaining: an extrovert, dominant ego, he’s unrestrained.”

Sigmund agreed. “Too keen to assert himself; definite infantile inadequacy.”

“What can we tell of the older man?” whispered Max.

Goschen told Trebitsch he’d written to the Crown Prince, and in course mentioned his love of the violin.

“Zeitung! Paper!”

Alfred waved the street seller off.

Trebitsch slapped his table twice. “Wonderful news, you can practice together!”

Adolf was sat behind Alfred, alone. He took a paper and set it on top of Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals. Heavy drinking and waltzing the night before had not shifted his gloom. It was less a storm cloud than a sensation of intense burning: his mother was dying.

“A diplomat and a musician,” said Alfred. “Not the man’s father, but a potential substitute?”


Adolf raised his head: same name, not him. It was one small black bearded foreigner welcoming another, clattering behind table.  Something turned in Adolf’s stomach and he fought the sweat breaking out. He flapped through Deutsche Zeitung to the news of Mahler’s departure from the Viennese opera. Good riddance to the Jew.

“I would like to meet the Crown Prince, if you would mention me to him,” said Trebitsch. “Yes, I am a hundred per cent certain you will miss Vienna’s theatres and waltzes as shall I!”

Adolf wondered how the old man could be putting up with the noisy one? Did he have some hold over him? And the other Jews beside them! Where the new arrivals Jews too? Deutsche Zeitung is full of tales of those oligarch’s plots.

The newcomers were speaking in Russian. “So yes, Adolph, my trip to London was reasonable enough.”

“You mentioned wishing to set up a magazine, Leon. I would like to be involved.”

“You know Mr. Goschen, I have trodden the boards myself, at the Budapest School of Drama…”

Adolf seethed. It was only months since he was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts.

“…and the Academy of Fine Arts!” said Trebitsch.

Adolf glared at the grinning buffoon. “SETTLE DOWN,” he said, the smell of beer and carrots thick on his breath.

Trebitsch grunted and returned his attention to Goschen. “Of course there are a lot of anti-semites here in Vienna, but they will learn.”

The Russians heard this and cast scornful eyes on the sick-looking loner. Leon said, “I do not want to interfere with your studies…medicine?” asked Leon.

“I hope to add psycho-analysis next term. However, I can find the time,” said Adolph.

“I thank you Mr. Goschen, and the British embassy staff, for the kindness you have shown me in my most important mission!”

“Very well,” said Leon. “I am thinking of a paper aimed at the Russian worker, considering social democracy: Truth.”

Adolph repeated the title. “Pravda.

“You never know who you might meet here!” boasted Trebitsch.

The smell of a sickly fart drifted across the tables and they looked at the sour loner, noses turned up.

“Say Leon,” whispered Adolph. “I think that’s Alfred Adler over there!”


“He lectures at the university. Yes, it is, and Sigmund Freud and Max Graf with him.”

“I am in love with Vienna, I think I might stay a while, and in Berlin,” said Trebitsch.

“Shush a moment Leon, so we can hear what they’re saying,” said Adolph.

The other Adolf got to his feet, nearly tipping his table. He barked at the three groups around him. “NOISE, EVERYWHERE! JEW NOISE! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE QUIET? I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF…”

His stomach shunted and churned. Then, his bowels exploded. Faeces rained down his camel trouser legs. Goschen, Freud and Adler instinctively scraped their chairs back. In shock and silence, the stench permeated the cafe front. It burned Adolf’s nose hair and tonsils, pulling on the fever of too much drink the night before. Then the man’s mouth widened and spewed soured carrot and potato soup upon the pavement. He sank to the ground until he was done. Then his lips widened too much and another vomit fall crashed. He scowled  at them, chin dripping.

Trebitsch led Goschen away. As he passed by the far table, he looked at Leon whose dropped jaw mirrored his own. Then, slowly, each mouth curled into a smile, and Trebitsch, began a giggling fit. The psychoanalysts had joined them and they were laughing too. Adolf swore and waved his arm about, then disappeared quickly inside.

“Yes, there is much work ahead of us,” said Sigmund.

The various parties settled up and scattered.


Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.


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