A couple sit opposite each other in a restaurant discussing didacticism and allegory too loudly. At the next table sits a guy alone just sitting kind of moochy there in the corner. You wouldn’t have known you could mooch without moving until you saw this guy. He’s drunk five cups of coffee since they sat down. The couple want to talk about him but they can’t while he’s there. He might hear them. He has no distractions to speak of except trying to stop himself from spilling coffee down his shirt, which at the angle he’s leaning back in that seat is actually a reasonable concern.
Surely, they’re thinking, he’s remaining awfully laid back for a guy whose drunk that much coffee that fast. And also they’re thinking that they must be about to get a chance to discuss this as after drinking that much coffee he’ll have to go to the bathroom.
Every time he nears the end of a cup he simply lifts his index finger off of the table slightly and the waitress nods at him and brings him another coffee. Or rather each of the previous five times. But not now, not this time. This time he raises his hand and uses that same finger to beckon over the waitress. She walks over and he gets her to move in really close to leave her ear very close to his mouth. The man in the couple looks on enviously as he realises that the guy’s managed to engineer the perfect angle to look down the waitress’ ample cleavage. The woman in the couple is concentrating on something else – she wants to hear what he says – but all she gets is an overpowering sense of a gravel deep voice. It’s her imagination but it almost feels like the bass in his voice is making the hairs on the back of her neck vibrate. The guy gets up and leaves the table moments after the waitress went back to her work station.
She turns to her boyfriend and says, “did you hear what he said”?
“No. Just assumed bathroom”.
“I don’t think so”.
“Man he can drink a lot of coffee”.
“He seems like an interesting guy”.
“You think so”? The man is asking like he feels threatened.
“Yeah, I mean he seems interesting”.
“Interesting how? He’s a guy sitting drinking coffee in a diner. I mean how interesting can you get – woah hold the front page Julie! ‘Man drinks coffee in Diner’ I can see the headlines now”.
“You know what I mean. You wanted to talk about him as well. I could tell”.
“You did. You gave me that look”.
“What look. Like you saw something about him. Probably something funny”.
“Yeah, well he had that joke on his shirt”.
“What joke? I didn’t see a joke”.
“His shirt said ‘Yes I’m alone and with stupid'”.
“No. He had a black button down shirt. No slogans. I was just going to mention the coffee thing. Just say something like I just said, like ‘man that guy drinks a lot of coffee’ I didn’t realise I was going to have to share my wife with him”.
“Michael we’re not married”.
“Yeah, but we’re engaged. And you don’t like me calling you my fiancée”.
“Yeah well it’s a horrible word”.
“Well, I just think you forget sometimes about me”.
“I do not, Michael. I just think you’re a bit of a protective jealous idiot sometimes”.
“Well, I need you. You know? I mean I need you to be around. And I can’t stand the idea of loosing you”.
“Yeah, I do understand that kind of. But I just… I just don’t like the way that you’re always doubting me. It undermines me you know. I mean I got engaged to you didn’t I, you know I didn’t want to at first but you talked me around, so why can’t you trust me”?
“Because you’re a woman. I know it’s not fair but that’s just the way I was brought up”.
“You’re a pig”.
Michael is laughing now.
“Don’t laugh Michael, take that back”.
“No,” he’s smiling kind of wildly, “I will not. Women have been betraying man since the garden of Eden. And you are no different, even if you haven’t got the brains to understand your own weakness”.
At that exact moment the guy comes back and instead of sitting at his table he sits down next to Julie. In his low rumble he says, “You’re a fucking idiot”.
Michael, stands up and says “who are you talking to”?
“Both of you. You for staying with this bastard and you… You for… well continuing to breathe”.
The guy holds out his hand to Julie and Julie puts her hand in it. “Come with me”. They get up and walk away from the table.
Michael sits back down, or perhaps slumps is more like it. He’s shell shocked. And he almost doesn’t notice when the waitress comes back a moment later with the bill and it has five coffees on it. Michael grabs the waitress’ wrist and holds her back. “I told her she’d leave me. I told her!”
“Then maybe that’s why she did”.