The young guy behind the bar, in his white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, spends half his time as a DJ, switching cassette tapes in and out of the stereo, alternating them with the radio (or else they are tapes of the radio), and sometimes hitting upon a song he likes enough to turn up to a near-unbearable level. But there has been some good stuff so far: the Clash with "London Calling," Beck's "Where It's At," and even some Snoop Doggy Dogg.
A silver-haired man in a gray coat, jeans and penny loafers comes over to switch off the television that has been broadcasting silently over my head. A woman comes up the stairs from the bathrooms and greets a man at the bar who sports a neo-Elvis haircut. The woman is wearing a skirt and tall, high-heeled soft leather boots with fringe along the back.
I was served a little tumbler of water and a white tube of powdered sugar with my espresso. My table is round, fake mahogany; the couch I'm sitting on has dark mottled red cushions, as do the adjacent chairs. The other chairs in the room have wicker seats, and there are at least two other kinds of tables available. But it's a small place. I'm sitting next to the stairs leading down to the restrooms, and a green plastic-encased strand of christmas lights is draped along the rail and bannister. Every few minutes I am hypnotized by the cycle of various blinking patterns of the lights. Then I pull myself away and try to concentrate on what I am writing. What am I writing?
A man with long black hair that seems to all be of a uniform length has now sat in at least three different parts of the café. It seems he changes his seat every half hour or so -- he is reading the newspaper or some magazine most of the time but occasionally glances furtively around the room. A short dirty-white dog wanders around the floor looking rather timid and sad. It's probably a very happy little dog in reality, though, without a care in the world.
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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