The Hot Drop Cafe - Espresso
It was not my habit to frequent The Hot Drop CafÃ© for it was always crowded with big egos and wannabe posers.Â The establishment’s attempts at concocting skinny flat white coffee defies description, but suffice to say that if Satan tasted the brew he’d cast the lot of them into the deepest pit of hell as just payment for adding one more misery to the world.Â But to be fair, The Hot Drop CafÃ©’s abysmal attempts negated any need for me joining Skinny Flat White Anonymous.
This particular lunchtime the cafÃ© was buzzing with those vomited out from high-rise offices, as I stuck my nose through the doorway.Â I barely smelled the aroma of coffee in the thick after shave of success of the stock exchange movers and shakers; and mingling with the cloying perfume of bankers and high flying public servants.Â There was even a whiff of luxury car salesmen and a hint of mega real estate agents.Â Not my cup of The Evil Addiction at all, though I must confess I never drink the stuff.
Just as I was about to slink away, I spied a couple rising from a two-chair table just beside the doorway.Â In a moment of stark insanity â€“ not that I’m given to such more than twice per blue moon â€“ I sank down into the nearest of the vacant chairs.Â And almost immediately regretted it!Â For a guy in a burgundy shirt, with flaming red tie that flashed, I’m a self-made success and champion of bad taste hurried over and asked to share the table.
What was one to do?Â Though I knew the question, the answer momentarily escaped me.Â Should I join all the other humbugs there and say that I was waiting for a client to close a stupendous deal?Â Or hint that I was expecting a svelte diva with whom I was having a torrid affair?Â Or perhaps suggest that I was a whistle-blower waiting to spill all to a sleuth from the Taxation Department?Â I was about to mention the latter, with such being a sure fire guarantee to spook any clientele of this cafÃ© â€“ but it was too late.Â The guy interpreted my momentary silence as being from an awe-struck acolyte overwhelmed by a guru’s offer for me to sip from his font of divine knowledge. Â And he sat down at my table.
He stuck a hand across the table, and I instinctively flinched, as if about to be struck in the face â€“ as one does on such occasions, when confronted by a rampant ego in a herd of egos.Â Nevertheless, I rose to the occasion and shook his limp-wristed hand.
“I’m Beelzebub,” he saidÂ by way of introduction.Â “Diablo to my friends, Mephistopheles to the opposition.”
I sighed.Â Here I was stuck with an ethnic â€“ a politician at that. Was it a capitalist punishment for venturing into this establishment with the intention of slurping some foul brew, in order to help the down-trodden Brazilian coffee bean pickers?
“I’m St Nicholas,” I said, hinting that all his Christmases had come via the only vacant chair in The Hot Drop CafÃ©.
It went over his head.
“Oh, Nick for short,” he replied with a laugh.Â “What a co-incidence!”
That oblique reference went over my head â€“ as such tendÂ mostly to do.Â Not that I am obtuse, but merely selective as to what is meaningful.Â Naturally!
“I recommend the espresso,” he said.Â “The cappuccino is lacking in chocolate.”
“What about the skinny flat white?” I asked.
He looked at me as one does at a Philistine.Â Not that I know many of that persuasion.
“Go for the full cream milk!” he said as one would to a child.Â “Espresso is the go!Â Like an express â€“ fast and furious!”
“Not so good for the heart!” I countered.
He shrugged.Â “What the hell!”Â Then he looked at me curiously.Â “Are you concerned about your mortality?”
I was horrified.Â Such a question is simply not asked in polite society.Â It’s far too delicate an issue, and most certainly not discussed with strangers, unless they be doctors or lawyers.Â Thus I looked somewhat askance at him, wondering whether this Mr Beelzebub was a medical man perpetually diagnosing the health of his bank account.Â More likely he was a lawyer who owned the bank.Â Either way, he was no friend of mine, and thus I couldn’t think of him as ‘Diablo’.Â Nor as ‘Mephistopheles,’ though we were in opposition about the respective merits of various coffee brews.Â Probably everything as well, come to think of it.Â So I instantaneously revised my position, as one does in fluid situations.
“No, Mephistopheles!” I said firmly, “I’m not worried about my mortality!Â Are you?”
“Yours or mine?” he countered.
“Yours!” said I, somewhat peeved by his insufferable questioning.
He shook his head.Â “My mortality is an oxymoron!Â But yours â€¦.”
“Is beyond question!” I said, to take the wind out of his sails.Â “A contradiction in terms!” I added for good measure, though I had no idea of what on earth I was talking about.Â But it sounded convincing.Â “I can hear the fat lady singing!” I said, throwing in an oblique reference of my own.Â “She’s stopped stuffing herself full of doughnuts!” I continued, to confuse him further.
He blinked in astonishment.
I roseÂ to leave.
“What about your espresso?” he asked.
“It’s with your skinny flat white!” I replied.
As I walked out, I resolved never ever to patronize The Hot Drop CafÃ© again â€“ given the clientele who frequented the establishment.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes