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Empty shell.Slow and silent steps through the wooden house, as if making sure not to disrupt the peaceful noise of morning. Theres no one there but him and his dog he found one day below the house, by the creek. The dog is also silent, resembling his master who rarely spoke. The man followed his morning habit: a cup of strong coffee in one hand limping with a stick he used as a cane in the other.
He gave up on the outside world, a long time ago. He had a chair on the porch of his house looking down on the creek and valley. He would sit there until it was time for lunch, and his dog would lie beside him. Both in their own thoughts. Every now and then he would ask the dog a question, not waiting for an answer.
There was a time when he was always among people. Now, he couldnt stand them nor the way they looked at him. Two fingers were missing on his right hand. He never noticed it, or was simply at peace with it. The only thing that hurt was the deep scar across his face. Since the
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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