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LinesThe clean lines of his spotless leather briefcase clashed against the creases of his slightly ruffled shirt, his equally ruffled hair, not quite faded into the dull, uniform brown of a London businessman. Designer spectacles framed his tired weary eyes, as he clutched his briefcase with more attended care than he gave to his faintly scuffed shoes, or the loosened navy tie that had only narrowly avoided the untidy treachery of rushed coffee and a leaking ballpoint.
He walked with a disciplined gait, but with the type of wistfulness that was startling in a man so young. It wasn't characterised by indolence, and certainly not disinterest. It was the quiet disappointment of a man who had gone to the party but all the best people had already left. The sentimentality of his features broke the monotony of his appearance like a cream carnation amongst a bed of pure white roses. He was the kind of man whose head was always full of ideas on the bus to work, but never on the way home.
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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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