Doors of Tunis

6.03: The Java. Nick likes cafes, takeaways and coffee bars. He even treats McDonald’s like the Ritz. The board offers cappuccino, espresso, latte, Americano, mocha. ‘What do you recommend?’ he asks the girl behind the counter, ‘is it good?’ She answers diffidently; after all, it’s only coffee. He turns to me: ‘Sure you don’t want a bun or something? You don’t eat enough.’

I know I’ll never walk in here again without remembering. Whenever I hear Gershwin playing in the background my heart will start to bleed. The espresso machine splutters, and Louis Armstrong hisses, ‘Besssss, you is my woman now…’ And the music slowly gathers strength behind him, waiting for Ella’s gracious reply.

The Spanish-looking guy in the corner’s reading his El Pais. He’s always in here – probably thinks I am too; in fact he looks up, almost nods, as we sit down.

Nick finds his fags. I wonder if she smokes – she, that whisper snaking through my brain. Bet she smokes grass like Nick – some rolling, braying hippy who he can get stoned with, and reminisce about the Sixties. I tell him, ‘Your cough’s getting worse.’

‘Just the standard old man’s hack.’

‘You sound like the Lady of the Camellias. You want to get some central heating at your place.’

‘Don’t need to. I’m a stoic. I’ve been to boarding school.’

At the next table, a man and woman are facing each other. A little crucifix swings from his ear. ‘I would not let anyone talk to me in that loose way from a funding body,’ he announces. ‘The only person I’ve let do that is what’s-her-name from combined arts.’

‘I know what you’re saying.’

‘Here’s the space, we know the rules, this as much money as I need, de da, de da – that’s all you need to put across.’

‘I know.’

‘It’s simple.’

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One Response to “Doors of Tunis”

  1. October 31, 2008 at 2:05 pm, rob said:

    good read!
    im just like nick – mayb all blokes r!


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