A little while ago shouting could be heard and a crazed looking bearded man appeared at the top of the steps of Les Halles. He then disappeared from view, but the shouting went on for a few moments longer. He had lost his dog, I think, though I couldn't make out exactly what the dog's name was. Earlier, a tiny dog on spidery legs went to the bathroom next to the base of the same steps and then wandered off down the street. I don't know if it was the dog in question or not, but it seemed too tiny and insignificant a dog to be generating all that anguish.
A bit up the steps are some white sculptures of thick, squat people. One of them is skating very determinedly, though he's not getting anywhere. A white plastered family stands nearby: mother, father, dog, and an uncle (?) supporting a thick little boy who is leaning back too far as he points up the steps. All helplessly frozen while people come by and get their picture taken with them. A real little girl gives the sculpted skater a kiss and then tugs on his hand, but his wheels seem to be stuck to the ground.
I'm sitting outside with fifty empty tables all around me, all with small round marbled pink tops and brass rims. I was given a little glass of water with my espresso and a white tube of powdered sugar imprinted with the name of the café and its logo: a smiling, eyeless half-head holding a glass. My coffee cup, too, is imprinted the same way. The umbrellas for the tables that aren't covered by the awning are white-topped with maroon flaps that alternate between saying the name of the café and the name of the café's umbrella sponsor, "Coca-Cola."
16 rue Pierre Lescot
Metro: Les Halles
Price of an expresso: 2.40 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Bonus: glass of water
Copyright © 2003 David Sadegh.
Please send your questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org