All I Wanted Was Coffee, but Van Gogh Had to Play His Little Game by David S. Atkinson

All I Wanted Was Coffee, but Van Gogh Had to Play His Little Game

Van Gogh humiliated me in front of both my wife and the French. Granted, law school had something to do with it. Perhaps my own failings played some part as well. However, I will choose to blame Van Gogh, or the French.

The problem started back during the mandatory moot court completion. There was this imaginary case involving some guy whose ancestor had a Van Gogh painting stolen by the Nazis. It had purportedly gotten to an American museum before he found it, and we all had to argue an appeals case over and over of whether it went back. They made up the name Cathédrale à la nuit or some such thing for the painting, though I think they used a picture of The Church at Auvers. I had to say it so often that it got stuck in my brain, say Cathédrale à la nuit over and over while having to assert ideas I didn’t believe, such as the Nazis having had a valid public policy in trying to assemble art museums.

When I finally went to France it all came bubbling out. Well, in a weird sort of way.

I kept trying to find coffee in France. Café noir. Simple, right? Well, I kept mixing it with the painting somehow and asking for “Café la nuit.” Servers were confused. My wife, who knew at least a little French by that point, laughed every time.

So I blamed Van Gogh. I know he didn’t really paint that painting, but his omission didn’t help me at all. It was just as bad as if he did, and it’s not as if he did anything to help me, neither him nor the French.


All I Wanted was coffee.jpg


David S. Atkinson is the author of “Apocalypse All the Time,” “Not Quite so Stories” (2016 Best Book Awards Finalist Fiction: Short Story), “The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes” (2015 National Indie Excellence Awards finalist in humor), and “Bones Buried in the Dirt” (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K). He is a Staff Reader for Digging Through The Fat and his writing appears in “Bartleby Snopes”, “Literary Orphans”, “Atticus Review”, and others. His writing website is


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Image derived from art by Vincent Van Gogh