“What kind of grappa, s-s-sir?”
“I don’t know. The regular kind.”
He sighed and scribbled something on a ticket.
“Give me a coffee,” said Mother. “I don’t want any of that grappa stuff.”
The cashier closed his eyes. “What kind of coffee, s-s-signora?”
“The regular kind.”
“Caffe Americano,” he said, dashing off another ticket.
I paid him and returned to the bar, where the barman took my tickets and threw them under the counter without even looking at them. Before I could speak, he spun around, filled two glasses with clear alcohol, and presented them to me with a flourish.
“Your grappas, sir. Enjoy!”
He seemed so pleased, and the line behind me was so long, that I couldn’t bear to tell him he’d made a mistake. I took the grappa to Mother and she said, “What the hell is that?”
“Your grappa, s-s-signora,” I said.
“Where’s my coffee?”
“The bartender screwed up. You’re actually getting a deal — grappa costs twice as much as coffee.”
“Yeah,” she said. “But I don’t want it.”
“C’mon. You know what Rick Steves says in these situations.”
“No, what does Rick Steves say?”
“Good travel means give it a go!”
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