A Currywurst Christmas Story

December 24, 2011


Earlier in the week I wrote about a story writing competition that the Deutsches Currywurst Museum here in Berlin had been running, where they were inviting people to submit a Christmas story featuring a selection of certain words related to the museum. I’ve translated my winning story in to English, and since its set on Christmas Eve I thought today would be the perfect day to post it. I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Christmas!


A Currywurst Christmas Story: What A Mess

They had only recently moved to Berlin. Really, they should have moved in to their new flat at the beginning of December but there had been a problem with the renovation – due to the damp and wet weather of the last few weeks, the new floor could not be put down in time so they had had to hold out in their apartment hotel, originally only meant to have been a short stop over. Now they would be spending Christmas not as planned in their nice newly furnished flat, but between stacks of removal boxes. They should probably be making better use of their time by starting to unpack some of those boxes, but if nothing else was going as planned, then they at least wanted to get a Christmas tree. That’s why they had been spending most of Christmas Eve running around town for hours to find a tree at last minute, so far, without any success. This was turning out to be the most un-Christmassy Christmas they had ever celebrated. Instead of snow there was just slush everywhere which slowly seeped through your shoes and froze your toes. At least they had been able to get a fridge delivered for their new flat at such short notice, and it had already been filled with the ingredients for a scrumptious feast. This year they were going to have fish – a carp. And, as side dishes, brussels sprouts with bacon – which they’d seen on a TV cooking programme – although, due to the chaos around them they’d be cheating a bit and using frozen vegetables. Dessert was already sorted too – a very inviting looking chocolate ice-cream gateau.

Their search amounted to nothing. There would be no Christmas tree. Disappointed they returned to their new flat and their boxes. As they unlocked the door and stepped into the dark hallway, they felt something sticky beneath their shoes. In the light of the naked lightbulb (they also hadn’t got around yet to putting up proper light fittings) they realised that it was a sticky brown puddle which seemed to be coming from the kitchen. Aghast they stood in front of their new fridge, which apparently had already bitten the dust in their absence. The sticky brown puddle was all that remained of their gateau, which had melted and run out of the freezer compartment all the way into the hallway. The vegetables sat next to it their soggy cardboard packaging looking very sorry for themselves. The fish also looked the worse for wear and smelled a bit funny – or were they just imagining that? The only thing that seemed unscathed was the unopened bottle of ketchup, which didn’t really need to be in the fridge but it was always useful to have on hand if needed. What a mess!

So what now? All the shops were already closed. No Christmas tree. No snow. No feast. Was Christmas going to be cancelled this year? Then they remembered that they had seen a take-out place near their flat when they’d been running around earlier in the day. Surely they would be able to find it again, and if they were lucky – something just had to go right today – it might still be open.

Father Christmas seemed to mean them well after all. The owner of the take-out place was just about to shut up shop as they came running round the corner out of breath having, of course, gotten lost along the way. When he saw their downcast faces he took pity on them and threw a couple more sausages on the grill. After they’d told him about their bad luck, he even gave them the decorations and candles he’d used to decorate the take-out in the run up to Christmas. He’d be closed now until after the holidays and wouldn’t need them any more. Now they were sitting by candle light among their unopened boxes, munching their way through their double portions of currywurst with chips – currywurst without skin. They’d never heard of this before, apparently it was a Berlin speciality, but whatever, at this moment in time, with or without skin, it was the best currywurst they had ever eaten.

Merry Christmas!


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