The man behind the bar ignored me me a good fifteen minutes so I went up and asked for a coffee. He brought the espresso out to me, but I guess it wasn't worth the extra trip that would have been required of him to come take my order as well.
I'm at a four-person table, next to the window, and a metro train has just passed into the elevated station across the street. My table has an orange plastic Rapido ashtray and an empty sugar cube packet (emptied it myself) that says "Café Brasilia" on it. The chairs here are all wooden, and there are also a couple of long couches with black vinyl cushions, repaired in spots with electrical tape. The radio has been switched on to a news station. The Rapido monitor has not been on at all.
A very loud, dice-rolling group was sitting in the back of the place when I came in. There seemed no end to the raucus laughter and exclamations coming from that part of the room -- it was as though the sound had been amplified for the appreciation of all within a kilometer radius. They are gone now, and the lights in that section of the café have been put out in memorium, as if to say, "there won't be another group like that again, nope." At least, not until they come back, no doubt tomorrow afternoon, to continue their fun and games.
The lights look like upside-down orange lit-up kettles without the tops, but with small handles hanging down from within the white interior. The window next to me has been shoe-polished with the words "Couscous: Every day." It's up to you to determine if that's a threat or a promise. For me, couscous once a year is more than sufficient.
Metro: Quai de la Gare
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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