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Down by the CrikDown By The Crik
Great Grandpappy Quentenmire called me on the phone yesterday. It surprised me to find that it was him on the other side of the receiver. The reason for the surprise was because for all my life, since I was just a wee tot, he had never to my knowledge used a telephone. I suppose I assumed that he didn't even know how to use one. Anytime the phone would ring in the house, or someone would say -- "Hey Quent, give me a call." -- My Grandpappy's face would contort to a scowl and he'd shout out something like -- "Don't you dare presume I'll ever give in to using one of those new fandangled contraptions!!" He'd wave his stick in the air and resort to muttering under his breath indiscernibly. Obviously upset by the 'young persons' presumptions that their uppity way of life and radical views of the world were worth any salt. So as you can imagine it took me a moment to realize that it was indeed him on the other end of that call. Maybe I should have felt privileg
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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