Le Metro

November 20, 2002 - 3:30 p.m.

Strange how empty this place is now, compared to an hour ago. The only other person sitting down is a woman eating over in the restaurant section -- she looks straight ahead, as if meditating upon something as she chews her food. The lack of people has transformed this place from a commercial business to a comfortable hang-out, where the people who work here have time to relax and stand around or sit and chat with each other and the occasional regular at the bar.

One guy is doing well on the Monster Bash pinball game -- from the sound of it he has already gotten an extra ball, a replay, and the Monsters of Rock Mega Multiball, where all the monsters featured in the game (the Mummy, Wolfman, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and Dracula) put on a big rock concert as five silver balls ricochet around the interior of the machine. Now the big multiball phase is over, but the game continues, and the sounds of the game break through the relative quiet of the café as the machine is repetitively triggered to say things like "Jackpot!", "It's alive!" and "Extra ball!" A loud popping sound signifies the guy has achieved another free game.

Two people have since ("Shoot again!") come and sat down at separate tables, though it looks like the sandwiches they ordered could be fit together to form part of the same baguette. One is a gray-haired woman who wears an olive green scarf, drinks white wine and sits leisurely, legs crossed, across the couch seat as she reads the paper. The balding man two tables down has a small glass of beer in front of him, and he has kept his leather jacket on as he devours his sandwich quickly, having nothing ("It's alive!") to read himself.

I didn't realize it, but the woman seated in the dining section actually works here. After eating, she gets up and moves behind the bar, where she leans against the counter and lights up a cigarette.

The Wolfman howls. The tables in my section are a nice size, square with a granite-looking surface and a brass edge. Now the Wolfman (apparently the game has entered a Wolfman Goes On A Date phase) is being rebuffed, and I hear "Put a leash on it, Wolfy!" Then the game ends and another one begins. ("Nasty stuff!") ("It's alive!") The noises of ("Jackpot!") the game completely fill the place ("Jackpot!"). There is no radio on ("Jackpot! Jackpot!" -- this guy is good) and the place would be very quiet if someone were to take the pinball game outside and throw ("It's alive!" "Jackpot!") it down the steps of the metro entrance. I probably wouldn't be saying such things if I had the time and money to play pinball ("Extra ball!"), but I have to say this guy is having too much fun at everyone else's expense. Luckily I have ("I'm scared of the moon!" "You wouldn't like me if I changed!") already finished my serious writing for the day ("Go away, you animal!").

There are flowers on my espresso cup and saucer, and a blue vase in the center of the café holds a large colorful bouquet. ("Love that minty formaldehyde flavor!" "Oh please, not the moon! The moon brings out the worst in me!") I'm grateful I was provided with sugar cubes for my coffee ("It's alive!"), but I had better get out of here before ("Jackpot! Jackpot!") I am ("Jackpot! Jackpot! Jackpot! Jackpot! Jackpot!") turned into ("Jackpot!") a monster myself.

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Le Metro
Metro: Pyrénées

Price of an espresso: 1.70 euros
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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