Le Balto

December 17, 2002 - 4:00 p.m.

A woman in a black sweater with red sleeves stands behind the bar, arms crossed. Two men sit in front of me, drinking beers and deep in discussion, one of them with a cell phone next to his beer as if waiting for a call. The bumpers and flippers of an unseen pinball game click and clatter. A woman reads and smokes; another woman farther away talks on her cell phone. The woman sitting to my left just sits looking out the window, her right hand on the handle of her cup of café crême.

A Christmas tree is wedged in between two columns near the tabac counter. The receipt for my espresso is pinned beneath a heavy black ashtray, and two blue tubes of powdered sugar form a "V" on the saucer upon which my cup sits.

Giant silver and gold ornaments hang above the bar, along with furry black and white garlands that look like long, thin skunk tails. The chairs here have tan cushions, and the cushion on the back is fitted with a rectangular hole through it. For those customers who have something protruding out of their lower back, I guess.

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Le Balto
1, rue d'Avron
75020 Paris
Metro: Avron
Phone: 01 43 73 08 53

Price of an espresso: 1.83 euros
Sugar: two tubes of powdered sugar

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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