There's a juke box here, with some cd's in it apparently. Next to the jukebox is a table where a very sick woman was sitting for a while. She was sneezing a lot -- horrendous, angry sneezes that must have blanketed the table and surrounding area with sickly wetness. She coughed a great deal too, at one point coughing up a lung and -- for lack of any alternative -- spitting it onto the floor beside her (she got some napkins and cleaned up the mess herself, bless her soul). The man behind the counter chided her endless coughing and told her to stop smoking. I'm not sure it was just her smoking that was causing the problem. She ran off eventually to join some friends standing outside, and now there's a man sitting in the same chair (the woman who works here tried to clean the table off as best she could), and he's coughing too, but he smokes as well. All I know is I'm not going anywhere near that side of the room.
The man who works here turned on the jukebox a little while ago and picked out a Middle Eastern tune. He left a credit for the sick woman, and she picked out a duet between someone who sounded like Eddy Mitchell and someone who sounded like Celine Dion (to me, anyone who sings in French sounds either like Eddie Mitchell or Celine Dion). Now the sick woman is gone, and the jukebox has no more songs to play.
When I got here I snagged a largish, four chair table next to the window but this is not a crowded place, at least not in the middle of the afternoon. It got even less crowded after a particularly revolting cough from the sick woman. I'm so glad she's not here anymore. At another table a little old hunchbacked lady with a kerchief on her head sits with a rather large glass of beer in front of her. I'm sitting with a white coffee cup and saucer and an empty sugar packet that once held three sugar cubes. Also, there's a blue ashtray that says "Collection PM" on it. The table is tan with dirty smudges all over it as if it was once a darker color that has mostly worn away. I'm not sure what the table top is made out of -- some kind of heavy plastic or ceramic or something. It's a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining on the bizarre architectural structure across the street where apparently many hundreds of people live.
There is pink and white neon on the ceiling in this place. At the moment no one is coughing, but I can feel a little tickle in my throat...
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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