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Thursday, December 14, 2006

 

Coffee

Philip awoke with a purpose: he would be the best salesman FAO Swartz had ever seen! He had only held the job thus far for a week and a half, but he knew that selling a product to the children of rich managers' and executives' wives would springboard him to the heights of ladders he had only admired from afar. To him there existed no ceilings, only up and up. But first things first, he would perform his sacred routine: left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe, seven minutes in the bathroom. There was no need to take a shower, not in the morning. To only take one shower a day meant either going to bed with wet hair or dirtying the bed with a day's squalor. He chose wet hair, because at least it was clean wet hair.
At the door of the coffee shop everything was still flowing smoothly, but upon entering he came face to face with a brown great dane standing wobbly on hind legs and wearing a pinstripe suit. In one paw he held a briefcase down by his thigh, and in the other a cell phone he was actively searching through.
Of course, thought Philip, this must be a dream. "Well, might as well get in line," he concluded. He shoved past the great dane, and took his place behind a poodle. She wore a leopard-print dress and flirted obnoxiously with the basset hound in front of her, making every bit of her sex life uncomfortably public. No one seemed to mind however. What would have been icy stares normally were in this dog-run world warm smiling gazes.
"Oh to be her age again," he thought he heard an elderly shitsu who chain-smoked near the back of the shop. All kinds of dogs, smiling to each other, laughing and tossing their purses their hats their files all around and barking with merriment. He didn't know what to do, where to turn from all this excitement. Finally he fixed his eyes on the menu, but the words at first were all misspelled, all jumbled and incoherent, and then they cleared up instantly. "Espresso, Americano, Cafe con Leche," he read aloud, one after another, and began to feel normal again. Even the noise had quieted, for now when he turned back to them the dogs were sitting sedately in caps and bonnets, skirts and corduroys.
Now it was his time to order. "I'll have an Americano with an extra shot of espresso," he said to the cute greyhound behind the counter. Her slender neck turned back to the menu, as if to verify, then turned back to Philip.
"We don't serve coffee here, I'm sorry."
"What are you talking about? I come in here every morning!" he exclaimed, then seeing the menus distorted and spinning like a fan he checked himself and began again. "What then do you serve?"
"Water," she replied flatly.
"Fine, I'll have a water," he decided in quiet frustration.
"Oh, we don't serve the water up here, there's a fountain in the back."
"If you don't serve anything up here, then what did I stand in line for!"
"I guess only you know that, sir." Too drained to reply he walked toward the back. Three young stone angels stood in the middle of the fountain, pouring water from miniature buckets. Feeling defeated, Philip bent down onto his hands and knees and moved to lick from the fountain, but he felt himself pulled back from the water then by a firm paw. It was the great dane from earlier, holding a teacup in his other outstretched paw. Philip nodded, taking the cup and dipping it in the water.
"Why are you dressed up like that? Why a tie and everything?" he asked the great dane.
"Why are you?" came the reply. They both shrugged their shoulders and sipped from their tea cups. "Does it taste funny to you?" he asked Philip. After reflecting he took another sip and nodded, affirming the suspicion. "That's because it's a kind of weak tea that makes the world whirl around you."
"Dammit," muttered Philip, who had been gazing at the angels, watching them turn softer and softer, filling with pinks and tans until they came to look like ripe peaches, but now the picture took on too fierce of a change and the water twirled away the stone until everything mixed and streaked.
Inside was not much better; the spinning did not take everything over, though the ceiling shook in waves and the counter shifted back and forth like a rocking ship in a terrible storm. What stuck him though was the massive canine orgy that took place there before him. Boxer and pointer, terrier and pincher, it mattered not, what mattered only was the love of all for all. They all howled and sung their howls in a harmony, no more than that, in a unifying voice, a singular essence bellowing eternity. Now they were separating from the center, now they were giving him a path and chanting that he should take her, a beagle lying on her back in the center. He approached slowly, admiring the soft white between her hind legs. He would have gone down with her but a rush of conscience gripped him and he ran out the front door.
There at his feet was a flowery basket with what looked like a baby inside. He lifted the figure out to discover it was not a baby human but a miniature pink elephant with a card wrapped around her neck. "So this is life," he said after he read it. Those were his last words that morning, for the day had already thoroughly started.

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Comments:
This is thoroughly strange and entertaining, of course. I like the ideas and the end reminded me of that long story where the guy gets raped by a female bear (do you remember this?).

The language needs a little attention. Just some tidying up. For instance, '"Oh to be her age again," he thought he heard an elderly shitsu who chain-smoked near the back of the shop.' is not a sentence.

Also, I wish this one and the last were a little longer, at a slower pace. They're both too strange to end so abrubtly.
 
i sort of like the way it just rushes you along... it makes everything just feel crazier. this story is great fun.
i also noticed that unsentence. woops. it happens.
 
I especially enjoyed the 4th paragraph when he talks to the dogs. The dialogue is nice. Definitely "thoroughly strange and entertaining."
 
I wub you Steeeeeeve! I think the pace makes it seem all the more dream like because he thinks it is a dream and it feels like a dream, may I point out the dogs. I love that they are dogs and the way they behave. Minor editting poo and you're complete. I am so tired.
 
The fastpace does indeed lend to craziness.. I'm as confused as Phillip.. and this phrase is haunting "a singular essence bellowing eternity"
 
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