Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Latte that Broke the World

The Latte that Broke the World

I was at a coffee house downtown. I wanted a latte. the barista didn’t know how to make lattes. I watched her apishly pantomime movements. fumbling with the leavers and dials of the magical barista machine. steam locomotived from the polished ibrik. finally. after seven and a half painful minutes. she turned and shrugged indifferently. simultaneously the world began to end. a shadow fell over the once golden streets outside. all the inhabitants, including the ones in the café, looked up. visages dejected. disappointed. And a little bored.

As we waited for the world to end, I leaned against a gunmetal refrigeration unit. it had black plastic handles. standing besides me was a man in his late forties with sandy hair combed harmlessly over his forehead. his plaid shirt was tucked into the Celtic style belt which was wrapped around his bulging waist. his pants were fabric but made to look like jeans. they stopped an inch above his ankles. I asked him his name. the name of the man I was standing next to when we all died. he paused and then as a joke he replied. “I am Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise. I am from the future.” but there was going to be no future. he was trying to be funny. but his words were lame. the silence seemed to condemn him. he blushed. but the silence was merciless. the silence held and it said. “Really, that is the best you can do at the end of the world. Don’t you have anything better for the end of the world than that.” a seal upon the inevitable.

Just then, a mad man burst in though the front door. he was naked and he had long hair and a unkempt beard. and I think he might have been Jesus. he declared loudly but in a matter-of-fact voice.

“Woooooobaaaa-doooobaaaa-dooooobaaaaa! The World! BAM!!!”

All the customers seemed to agree with this sentiment. ripe for the last hour of the new age’s final hour. endnote of measured time.

As the final second went out. I saw for only a moment, an old man. it was T.S. Eliot. he was wearing a tweed smoking jacket. he sat confidently at a table for two. the other chair was empty. and our eyes met. and he was smoking a pipe. and a threadbare wisp of silver smoke rose from his lips.

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