Ringtone of customer’s phone antiphonal to other customer’s Windows starting up. Operating system sound itself a response to the door chime (departure). Recurring counterpoint of our involuntary sounds above a bass line of classical music (WETA). Customer mentioned Frank Howard. Another customer told of a play he had seen him make. Who was Frank Howard? asked another customer. (A senator) Customer did not understand why they served chicken curry on French fries (chicken curry should be on rice.) They said, well, we serve it on French fries. Well, alright. Customer had volunteered with his church in Somalia the same year another customer had fled Somalia, it was discovered. Server-attendant asked colleague F. how many t.v channels there were in her country. She replied, “One.” She laughed — how many were there? She would tell her friends she had been asked this question: “how many” channels were there in her country. She said: only one. (Must be a big deal to be on T.V there said stupid attendant-server.)

Yellow smudged wainscotting, hardened drops of coffee on them, where they dried months or years ago — the rag upon this.

The tan scuffed finished floor, marked with the movement of the chairs and the tables, but not the feet — broom upon this.

Fossils, crumbs, memories, actions.

Light from stars… the light got into the atmosphere but why couldn’t the heat get out?
Greenhouse effect… you said you didn’t believe in climate change but did you believe in the greenhouse effect?

Crumbs leaping up “like sparks” behind the broom edge as it crosses the carpet, Perth or the Village Blacksmith (“I’m a blacksmith who forges clean-ness,” confides the attendant to his diary, “with the cleanliness of admantine steel, only dwarves make cleanliness so strong… with the limp hammer of the rag, with the taught hammer and tongs of the broom, with the iron forge of the floor”) and with, of course, These Great Bare Arms, wrote the attendant.

Question: how did the attendant get such outstanding pectoral muscles? “By picking up thousands upon thousands of muffins individually over time. A feat like the creation of the grand canyon.”

Question: and his forearms, powerful as lions’ calves? How did they come to be? “His substantial forearms owe themselves to two factors: his unique and fierce style of spreading cream cheese over bagels; and his constant raising and lowering (as well as opening and closing) of Plato’s Complete Works.”

Question posed to customer: who was the Greek blacksmith of the gods and who was his Roman proxy?

Customer said he had rosacea and couldn’t eat tomatoes. (Attendant said Melville had had that too.) Customer said he was from Western Massachusettes. (Hadn’t Melville live out there for a period, replied Attendant. Why yes replies the customer, “in fact not far at all from…”) How was business after Starbucks had come in across the street, asked the customer? A challenge, replied the attendant, but say, did he know from what classic of American literature the name Starbuck was derived?…

Outside for quick break. Three trees at different distances along the same line of sight: leaves of the farthest, tallest tree move most quickly in the wind; leaves on the bottom part of the second tallest tree move at a speed between that of the first tallest and that of the leaves and branches on the top part of the second tallest tree; leaves of the nearest tree are still.These difference he to some degree apprehends having distilled or separated them from all the other differences there were (of car and pedestrian traffic, most notably) near the new Starbucks then opened the door for the person who’s just come, having heard her approaching from the wood steps behind.


%d bloggers like this: