He climbed the stairs to the cafe,
Struggled free from an overcoat,
Scraped chair legs across the wood floor,
Ugly sounds emerged from his throat.
Long-suffering spouse soon followed,
Dejected, rejected, despaired.
Obliged to sit opposite him,
While he’d never shown if he cared.
The waitress approached and did ask,
Of their morning shopping in town.
Three words she got “He’s been awful.”
Despatched with a deep furrowed frown.
“I came to buy a new sun dress,
All he’s done is whine and complain.
Perhaps you can poison his tea?
Please save me from going insane.”
H’re satteth tabl’d in Oxf’rd’s heart,
Covet’d tav’rn from yesteryear.
Present to hark on what folks doth sayeth,
Trap their w’rds inside mine own weir.
Hoyday! Nearby, a sir did request,
A bombard of brown sauce to borrow.
By sight, his wrinkly, bact’ria’d fing’rs,
Hath brought unto me deepened sorrow.
“Withdraw!” I demanded, “Wend hence with thee!
Th’re did lie plenty m’re at the counter!”
That gent did reply “Thou art c’rrect,
I’ll troubleth thee with nay furth’r bant’r!”
“On thy way fusty fart”, I hath said out aloud
As yond p’or gent but soft hobbl’d hence.
“Dareth toucheth this condiment with so filthy hands,
I holidam to nail thee to a fence!”
“Look!” Janine says, “I’m sure it’s her.” Maria glances across the café over the heads of the seated and towards those seeking free tables, trays balanced in their hands. “I wonder what she’s doing in here.”
“Who? Where are you looking,” inconspicuously, Maria scans each female face, “who am I supposed to recognise?”
“Over there – she’s got her back to us now.”
“All I see are people getting breakfast and coffee.”
“Wait, you’ll see who I mean when she turns around.”
Located in my usual cafe, I’m sat at a table to the rear of the dining area, feeling hungover, waiting for my English fried breakfast to be served. In this fogged state of mind, I am unable to maintain the necessary chemical synaptic connection between thought and action. With the signals blinking on and off, my eyelids drawn half-down works best for now. Continue reading “vapid escalation”
“Basically,” Sue said to Hannah, “computer simulation theory is split into three separate suppositions.”
Hannah, sitting opposite Sue, stared into a space, her attention drifting. A gingham patterned tablecloth, wooden chair and contrasting coloured floor tiles blurred together, swirling in a clockwise direction. Taking hold of the teaspoon in her coffee cup, she stirred the brown milky liquid in an anticlockwise direction, hoping to counteract the effect. When this failed she blinked a few times, restoring focus and easing the sensation of soreness in the corners of her eyes.
Continue reading “more than two”
“You’re a tall one!” The man said, catching my attention as I weaved my way through the crowded cafe dining area, busy with the lunch time rush hour. Acknowledging his comment, I smiled and sat down in a vacant seat at a small table next to his. Although struck by the broadness of his midriff, pronounced by the grubby tee-shirt stretched over his stomach, I noted he wasn’t so short himself. He beamed a smile over to me, before filling his mouth with a forkful of sausage and beans squashed together.
I made myself as comfortable as I could in a chair, which moved and creaked at each joint in the frame, challenged by my own eighty-two and a half kilograms. The queue at the front of the cafe extending from the service counter, had grown in the few minutes since my arrival. It’s August, the month when the locals who can afford to, move out as the visitors move in. I identified a high proportion of diners populating the cafe as tourists. While confounded in thought, wondering why they came here instead one of the popular high street establishments, my fellow diner delivered his second comment in my direction.
“I’d kill myself if I was short.” A simple statement delivered with nonchalance, but not one I’d ever heard said before, word-for-word.
“Really? You’d kill yourself?” I said.
“If I was short I would.” Without looking up from his plate, more English breakfast was eagerly consumed. “It’s the women, they all want a tall bloke, don’t they? Taller than themselves.” Juice from the baked beans ran down the knife he held and in a reflex action he licked his fingers, drying them on a tissue-paper serviette laid on the table next to his plate. He gave me another large smile. “It’s true, don’t you reckon? Just look around.”
“Why do you think that is?” I replied, undecided if I wanted responsibility for extending the conversation.
“Well…” leaning forward and lowering the volume of his voice a little, he said “It’s protection, they like to feel protected by their man.” His voice shrank to a whisper, “When I see a good-looking chap walking down the street who’s shorter than average, I think, poor bloke! He’s got it right in one department and badly wrong in the other.”
“But plenty of women are around five feet two, three, or four inches.” I said, feeling myself drawn deeper into an ill-prepared-for analysis. “A shortish man would still be taller than many women.”
Taking a break from his main task the man wiped his mouth using his forearm, finished chewing a mouthful of food, swallowed and hit a clenched fist hard against his chest releasing a loud belch.
“No, even small women want tall men, believe-you-me.”
The waitress arrived with my coffee, I thanked her, she gave a modest smile and returned to the kitchen. As she walked away, I estimated her as no more than five feet two inches.
“Her man works here too,” my dining companion continued, “sometimes takes your order at the counter, other times brings out the food. He’s taller than either one of us. Short and tall goes together, proves it, see?”
With half-closed eyes and open hands held in a ‘voila!’ gesture, his look of satisfaction brought to mind a Disney character. I stirred the hot liquid inside my cup, forming a small maelstrom.