The story that he toyed with in his mind concerned two battered survivors of a trans Pacific passenger plane crash. Washed up badly burned and barely alive they eventually recover from their infirmity unrecognizable from the horrible scarring of the ordeal. Removed both physically and psychologically by the pathetic state of their appearance they eventually grow accustomed to each other and have an extraordinary love affair based upon their default personalities that begin to slowly bloom once again over time.
He had stayed up till 4 AM. This was extraordinary by the fact of the previous three days, each of which he had retired early at 7 PM and had slept on and off for eleven hours. Sharp pains emanating from his hernia distended apron had summoned him from Morpheus’ kingdom to sit before the ‘boob tube’ trying to massage the noisy gas through to his rectum which seem closed for the night. George Steven’s slow moving epic in 70MM, The Greatest Story Ever Told, had his eyes pinned open. The sounding brass of late night sponsors posed betwixt each episodic parable had him going through the motions of resurrecting his ability to recite along with each. Though by the end of the extended period of this exercise he had been unable to resist its inherent moral authority to nudge him to reevaluate his own life, he could not claim any significant change in his outlook beyond a little deeper awareness of his own shortcomings. The holidays in general when the atheistic broadcast media would grudgingly loose such moral epics at odd hours of the early AM in order to be able to boast that they were open minded. Sleep came fast and waking more strenuous in light of the rise of the Sun.
The coffee shop had changed hands. Gone was the middle aged Persian whose Bohemian desires to participate in the neighborhood intelligentsia had simply lead to a slow form of financial disappointment. Two robust Mexican dudes now claimed ownership having transferred deeds and moved about the mismatch of furnishings to accommodate a Deli style cooler. The small pile of glass covered cheap sugary donuts and long john’s had replaced the chic of specialty cinnamon rolls and faux European pastries. These new ‘bolillo’ boys had plastered the walls with the rough hewn scrawl announcing sandwiches as only as exotic as ‘paninis’ and Italian subs. The emptiness of the tables spoke volumes of a hard start to their franchised empire dreams. Perhaps they knew something about the local demographics as the sidewalk covered along the way from the parking spot now sported a new Taqueria? Their universe seemed more functionally orderly than the rustic charm of the previous owner’s mercantile chaos. At least to that eye viewing the file fiche of mental recollection nested within!
An awkward mismatch in the form of a young couple sitting at right angles to each other padlocked in the usual jaded sense of dis-interest that was in vogue for their kind. Small snippets and overgenerous slices of conversation were insubstantial to settle the matter for the benefit of a strange ear as to whether or not they had an ongoing intimate connection? She was tall straight and skinny sitting vertically alert in an old worn easy chair beside her companion’s abundantly empty settee. The heavy plastic eyeglass frames perched upon her nose proclaimed the emptiness of intelligence. But they vied for attention with a perky paired very evident rack pointing out barely suppressed beneath a shiny white diaphanous satin blouse. An accompanying honey thick voice droned on washing over her male companion who sat back empty headed rubbing the thick dark whiskers of his beard feeling the follicles push a centimeter at least past a length that would have been in keeping with the iconic presence of a Fidel Castro or the ensemble of the Smith Bros. His lack of reaction seemed to suggest an adherence to the current asceticism of rightful female dominance to hog any conversation. As they left the boyfriend invoked his rights to push a heartbeat ahead of her leaving his hand barely trailing behind him to keep the return of the front door from closing in upon her. “So much for the ancient art of Chivalry”, the solitary man whistled to himself from his vantage point afar as the couple departed mutually oblivious of the gravity of this slight?
The nagging of his bladder once again revived the approach of another round of sharp pains. A delayed reaction this time to his downing two rounds of coffee in too close a proximity upon the same morning. The combination providing a ‘whipstock’ to motivate the tenuous feeling of constant urgency into that next step to blissful active elimination. The WC was uncharacteristically configured in an interior architecture of suburban residential swank. A clue no doubt to its former life as a residence for a would be privileged artistic ‘wanta-be’ who had also treasured reliving their grand daddy’s ‘beat generation’ panache. As if summoned somehow by the fact of his mental observation, a blonde-haired black Spandax legged Feminist auteur suddenly entered the establishment subsequently offering the same coded question of its transitional ownership. Somewhat disappointed by the response she aborted her order for a Cappuccino deferring to a small simple cup of ‘Joe’ with a splash of crème. The abrupt change in regime deposed to a lesser more available form of foreign cuisine making her think twice of ever returning. The random chatter of Spanish in her wake from the two street level-headed owners no doubt chasing away her fit illusions. As if timed by a runway fashion producer, yet another couple of mixed pedigree arrived a few instants later. The orphan cup of coffee tall that he had noticed in abandon some minutes before that had appeared seemingly unclaimed had now just as mysteriously vanished.
She wore the uniform of close fitting Spandax but filled it out with a less lithe ethnic framework that more emphasized the durability of a border barrio rather then the sleek endomorphic tyranny of Hollywood. They took up unknowing residence in the exact same spot as the previous couple, her machine gun pace of topics covering a normal week’s worth of topics within a short span of minutes. Her young white boy sat quietly zipped up entombed in Smart phone attentiveness. His ears cocked like a Spaniel dormant before his master’s whim waiting for a major shift in the volume or tone of her words to respond in some immediate physical way. She too had a voice that was both irritating and cloying at the same time. The heavy icing of Hispanic street hard lingo masking an underlying innocence and sincerity that seemed to well up within her face during infrequent pauses. He was beginning to feel too over observant though his lead position overlooking the two of them left him little alternative. A sense of unease come of this unavoidable voyeurism uncovered a sense of helplessness in being unable to resist being filled by the public outpourings of strangers? He too sat dog-like waiting to start from apparent laziness at the occasion of the next unexpected entrance or conversational seismic shift occurring within the room. A counterpoint to the couple in the foreground was not forming like a gathering wind from occasional flare-ups by another couple located by the front entrance at the room’s far end. One that he had conspicuously avoided posing any attention towards do to the fact of its coffee and crème pairing in the usual deferential politeness of not offering undue attention to the fact of them. Like clockwork again the couple before him beat a hasty retreat to the exterior swiftly replaced by a gadget happy technocrat taking possession of the table in between to spread his case of toys across the available areas of the table surface.
The distant Negro’s ‘baleboste’ was making her way to the counter once again with the determination of a steel belted light cruiser at full steam ahead. His white trophy wife was all to obviously costing him dearly not only in Shekels but in constant salvos to his shaky male ego! Perhaps she had gotten married out of her faith far below her suburban station to someone she could count on in terms of being ever well in hand under her thumb? A balm perhaps to a previous contentious marital struggle with a well-heeled ‘yiddisher kop’ who turned out to be a ‘schlemiel’? The front door opened again and the gregarious atmosphere was sucked out of the room by another rapid departure. The dim echo of the previous nights motivational epic seemed to fill the empty space around him. The mental semblance of the parables wafted about way above his pay grade. An insistence beat suddenly took hold of the room drubbing banal lyrics over a mentally challenging mind numbing beat. The technocrat now encased in Mickey Mouse sized headphones sat indifferent and engrossed in the screen of the laptop just before him. The coffee had run out and his edgy nervousness to absorb the patterns of other lives was not longer being serviced by the room’s empty indifference. The flash of a woman rapidly passing outside the window with what appeared the be a large vacuum cleaner rolling past at top speed just before the misanthrope seated within snapped to attention. The absurdity of this all was far past further comment.