Customer told stories of his experience as cab driver (inappropriate requests from the ladies of local wealthy neighborhood were laughed about). Customer spoke of partner’s interest in grasses. Customer spoke of discount wines and the lengths he would go to procure discount wines. Customer spoke of absence of rain, of presence of drought. Customer laughed raucously with girlfriends, who laughed raucously in reply.(Attendant made to recall his rejected college essay involving The Bacchae of Euripedes, “such was the raucous laughter of these female customers.”) Couple that had been talking very quietly began talking very loudly as the store’s ambient noise increased. Customer said that, when his tomato sauce grew too acidic, he would sometimes add cream or yogurt to it; he would first mix the yogurt in a bowl with a small amount of sauce, introduce it gradually to the heat, to prevent curdling; what was curdling? when it curdled there were these small little balls of it […]. Customer not yet finished with Blood Meridian (“this is a hard read for me”). Holding door open with his back, the attendant hefts the stack of chairs in, and the folded metal tables..

Customer gathered his wide beard in a hand as he considered an issue. Customer took off his shoes and in his bare feet and shorts sat “Indian Style” on the couch, computer in lap. Customer opened Word document. Customer had location in Axum as his “wallpaper” and the “astronomy picture of the day” as his home page. Passerby inquired as to location of nearest mailbox. Customer asked if he might bring his guitar on a Friday evening to play a set (no.) Neckline of customer’s attire; Shapely calf of customer by chair leg with wheel. Paunch of customer tucked under front bar. Beautiful ring of customer. (Having seen many ringed and ringless hands, attendant has come to feel that, as symbols, they have retained their clear meaning.)

Customer stepped up to register, but, becoming distracted by a text, stepped away. Customer, in dress with floral print, requested cafe au lait. Customer pronounced au lait oh lot and, another, breve as brev, yet were perfectly well understood. Customer got up from chair, walked to the counter with heels ringing out, plucked with two fingers a paper napkin from the dispenser. [The pluck of the napkin, the two fingers that plucked, seemed somehow related to the resonance of the heels, like running to a running leap.] Customer requested tray for drinks then decided he didn’t need one. Customer asked if she might like a tray for her drinks said that would be wonderful thank you… A WHAT? said a third customer, asked if he’d like a tray, a WHAT?, his tone offended or perhaps just surprised.


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