The bell tower of the St. Eustache has just struck six. To my right, out the open side of the café, are steps leading up to a corner of Les Halles and some kind of apartment building. A man halfway up the the steps has set up a table and is selling...cherries? Something that he scoops into sacks in large quantities. Something dark and round. He has a line of customers so it must be something good, and someone has just shown up with two more crates of the mystery substance to replenish his supply.
Lots of pedestrian traffic through here, and the occasional car or bicycle. Angry skinheads in red sweatpants on crutches. Little poor-postured girls in purple dresses who have probably just recently learned to walk. Scampering dogs without leashes and non-scampering leashed dogs with their laguid tongues hanging out contentedly.
Sparrows and bugs fly in and out of the place. The waiter is a Tim Roth-type in an untucked blue hawaiian shirt. My table is square, brown fiery design-topped, my chair wooden. I was given a chocolate-covered almond with my coffee and a blue tube of powdered sugar as well. The ashtray is black plastic, with abstract horseshoe pictures.
Now motorcycles compete with baby carriages to get down the street. Four blue uniformed men with pointy hats strut by, looking at everything , deadly rubber bullet guns tucked into their holsters. A tourist stops them to ask for directions.
NOTE: I ended up buying a kilo of cherries from the man on the steps for only two euros. Not bad.
Metro: Les Halles
Price of an expresso: 1.90 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Bonus: chocolate-covered almond
Copyright © 2003 David Sadegh.
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