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The BeginningIt was the noise that had woken her up. It had to be almost midnight, but she had heard her name yelled from down the hall, and so groggily toddled along to find out what was going on. The muffled shouting stopped before she reached the door. She pushed it open to see her mother on the floor, her father standing over her… and there was red everywhere. Almost as red as her father's hair… almost as red as her own, but strangely shiny… spilling all over the ground. Her mother wasn't moving.
Her father turned and saw her… stood up and grabbed her roughly by the arm. She continued to stare at her mother lying on the floor. "What's wrong with mommy?"
Ignoring her, her father started to pull her along behind him. Steely gray eyes with just a hint of violet stared coldly ahead. The child's mother couldn't see past her own sentiment. Couldn't see the usefulness their daughter could bring. She had gotten in the way, and anyone who got in his way was useless.
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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