Friday, July 24, 2015
Tempest on Tenth Avenue.
The place was empty when I walked in. A couple of guys sitting on plastic milk-crates restocking the soda refrigerators in the back, one crooked-cigarette manning the grill and the counter man, a medium-sized middle-aged Puerto Rican who was born, like Scaramouche, with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
A young lady walked in, a winsome young lady.
Scaramouche immediately picked out a banana for her from the pile on the worn linoleum. He held it up to his ear like a phone.
"I have only 40 cents this morning," she apologized. "I owe you a time."
We watched her, carefully, as she sashayed out.
Before I knew it, about six or nine dark men walked in in their construction clothes. They were picking up their various breakfasts, shouting orders and getting their joe. Commotion.
A short Puerto Rican got ready to pay. He was staring into his phone, had headphones on and was playing a video game.
"$3.25," Scaramouche said.
"I owe you from yesterday," said the gamer.
The gamer made a back hand motion with his strong right hand as if, across the counter, to slap Scaramouche.
"I get the same thing everyday."
The gamer peeved but funny said, "Anyone have a dog collar so I can walk this mutt outside."
They exchanged toast and coffee for a five and a one.
"I'm 50 cents short," said the gamer.
Scaramouche was shoveling sugar into a coffee cup now, his back to the gamer.
"You pay me tomorrow. 55 cents."
I paid and left.
It was already a good day.
Posted by george tannenbaum at 8:29 AM