Friday, July 29, 2016

Spy Stories In The Little Cafe Of Awesome

Today in the cafe... there's a regular I've been curious about for a while. What does he do? He seems like a stay at home person but he wears good casual clothes. He seems casually successful. What does he do?

I suggested to Kafka Woman the idea that we somehow follow him back after he has collected his large latte with one sugar.

Mystery Large Latte With One Sugar enters. Kafka Woman's eyes widen as I start to make his coffee.

"Can I follow him? I've always wanted to be a spy. I think I'd make a good spy."

"A good spy needs a good disguise," I advise her sagely.

"Okay. Where's my disguise?"

I point to the curly little moustache stuck to the mirror, a remnant of Moustache Mondays (yes, we are that kind of cafe). Kafka Woman is onto it. She dons her disguise and her jacket and Grumpy is immediately all "whoa - where is Kafka Woman? Who is this person with the little curly moustache who I've never seen before?"

With that, Kafka Woman is in pursuit of our mystery guy.

Upon Kafka Woman's return, we debrief. Mystery guy went left down Gertrude, right into Fitzroy Street, then left down a little cul de sac. As Kafka Woman started to cross Fitzroy, Mystery Guy started walking back toward her, whereupon she drew upon all her spy skills and sneakily hid behind a tree, much to the bemusement of the people in the parked car next to the tree... why is that moustached woman in a fluffy jacket hiding spy-like behind that tree? Is she an actual spy? She sure looks like an actual spy. We think she must be an actual spy.

Kafka Woman took off her little curly moustache (Oh shit THERE you are, said Grumpy) and hung it back on the mirror.

"It was like he entered some kind of time-space portal... I lost him. But I am a professional. Trust me, Grumpy, I WILL get to the bottom of this."

I am happy to say that this is a true story with mostly actual dialogue. I laughed about this almost as much as I did about the weirdly broken thermometer... but that's a whole other story.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weary Of This World


Tonight, I am broken.
I am broken by the struggle,
I am broken by the imbalance
And the injustice.

I am broken
By the ruthless ones
Who break the broken ones
For reasons I will never understand.

I am broken
Because a broken one
Crushed so many innocents
On Promenade des Anglais.

I am broken because today I saw
A broken boy tear the wings
Off the most beautiful butterfly,
I'm broken because I saw
Her beautiful heart, broken.

Right now, I'm broken,
But I've been broken before.
I'm broken,
But I'll mend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Drinking From The Tips Glass

Today in the cafe... there's a customer who has a quietly, endearing theatricality about her communication. The previous time she visited I remember wondering if she was a TV personality I should recognise, but I think it's just her way.

She placed her lunch order today in her unique way, wide eyes and breathy enthusiasm. As she bustled away I asked her to remember the butterfly (her table identification creature). “Oh of course!” she replied in her Thespian way.

I took her order to The Dreaded One and hung about in the kitchen for a few minutes. When I returned to the cafe... two things absorbed in a nanosecond. The first was that the butterfly customer was standing at the counter with the fizzy orange juice drink she had purchased. The second was that Kafka Woman, in my left peripheral vision, was doubled over in fits of uncontrollable laughter, one hand on the counter to steady herself. Kafka Woman, for me, has the most infectious laughter I have ever encountered. I don't need to know what she is laughing at to start laughing, so I started laughing.

But I knew something was up so – being the professional I am – I focused on the customer and what might have gone wrong.

“I'm a bit put off,” she told me. I assume there must be something wrong with the drink. I look at the glass. There was something that is not fizzy orange drink in the bottom of the fizzy orange drink.

“Yes,” The customer goes on, looking a bit disturbed by the whole affair. “There are an awful lot of coins in the bottom of my glass...”

The pieces fall into place. She had picked up our tips glass, taken it all the way back to her table, somehow not noticing that the glass was quite heavy due to the coins it contained, and she had poured her orange fizzy drink into it and taken a sip or two before realising that for some reason, there are coins in her drink.

I couldn't help myself. I started to laugh more as I told her what she had done, wondering how someone could do such a thing. My increased laughter fuelled Kafka Woman's laughter and she doubled over and laughe even harder, if that is humanly possible.

If Kafka Woman had not been present when I first walked back outside, I might have been able to act concerned and empathetic and treat the situation with some kind of false sensitivity. The fact that KW was already wiping tears of laughter away meant I never stood a chance. Now, needless to say, we were both fucked. Absolutely fucked with laughter.

The customer was not fucked with laughter. She wanted a refund for the ruined orange fizzy drink and although it was entirely her fault for putting the drink in the tips glass, I gave her the refund because by now I was feeling a bit guilty about all the laughter.

Later, after more laughter in the kitchen, Kafka Woman went over to check that the rest of Butterfly Customer's lunch was all right. Everything, it seemed, was fine. Except...

When I asked about the murmured conversation between Kafka Woman and Butterfly Customer, Kafka Woman told me that Butterfly Customer didn't want to appear humourless, it's just that she is a clinical germaphobe. She opened her bag and showed Kafka Woman some of her medication.

“Fuck,” I said to Kafka Woman. “Why couldn't that have happened to a normal person?”

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Silver Lining

Bad day in the cafe. Look at how many people are not there.

But Kafka Woman was there. This was a fun day in spite of things.

I am big hugs grateful.

If explanation is needed, this is a photo of Grumpy taking a photo of Kafka Woman dancing behind Lucky Cat with a Woo Hoo Cup balanced on its head, obviously. Many months ago Kafka Woman was a stranger who wandered into the cafe and sat in that blue chair on the left of your screen and read my short story Remembering Argos, and a connection was made. It was a very random encounter that like all such rare, random encounters has lead to beautiful things.