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Coffee, Badgers, Lunacy, And A Spear

I was sitting on a stool at the counter, coffee smoke, mixed with cinnamon and hazelnut, drifting to my nose when the bell rang on the door, and Perdue Raft and his wife Gia walked in. Approaching the front counter, Perdue glanced to his left and spied me. I offered a lazy smile and a nod. A smile and a nod would not do for the large, outgoing Serb; he moved toward me and grasped me in a bear hug,

“It’s good to see you, my badger, my friend,” he bellowed. “I heard you were in the hospital.”

“I was,” I said.

“Well, you look good. Was it your heart? Cancer? Prostate problem?”

I laughed. “No Perdue, my inner lunatic escaped again and rather than drive down the freeway on a tractor in the nude, I thought I ought to go in for an oil change and a lube.”

Perdue roared. “You are a funny guy,” he said in a heavy Slavic accent. “Come on man, you can tell me. You had some kind of operation, right? I had my spleen rebuilt two years ago after I fought a badger.”

“Sorry Perdue, no operation. I was in a mental facility, a nut farm, a bat-shit weasel ranch.”

‘But I know you my friend, and you are not crazy. You are shit bulling me.”

“Nope,” I said. “Crazy covers a lot of ground Perdue.”

The aroma of my coffee was calling me back to my solitude and morning newspaper, but Perdue didn’t want to let me go.

“Why haven’t you told me you are crazy before now.? You are my friend, and I find out just now. This is not a thing I should just find out.” His voice was becoming a little too accusatory.

“Perdue,” called Gia, “leave Em alone, he just wants to drink his coffee.”

“But Gia, this man is crazy and, he did not tell me. Is this something a friend would do? I think not.”

I was tired and becoming irritated. “Look, Perdue, I’m going to drink my coffee and read my newspaper; maybe we’ll talk about this later.”

“But I want to talk about it now,” he insisted.

To my left, resting against the counter, was an item I purchased earlier that morning–A native American Indian spear I found at a garage sale. I grabbed the spear and walked to the back of the shop, turned and chucked it at Perdue. It penetrated his throat, and he fell heavily on one of the tables.

“That’s for the badger Perdue. Now, shut the fuck up.

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Pathetic Bob and the Coffee People

Today, Bill the Cat was channeling my dead dog. “Hey Em, what’s new?”

“First, let me ask you about Bill the Cat. Are you doing something new to him? He seems really mellow, and he’s making soothing sounds. Plus, I can hear you more clearly.”

“Well, I did rearrange a few little bits of his mind, not his brain, but his mind. I’m glad to know it’s working out OK.”

“You can’t be doing that kinda thing Bob; you might damage him, and I like him pretty well as he is. So no more mind meddling with Bill. None.”

“Fine, fine, but I think there’s some real scientific progress you could be throwing away..”

“I’ll live with it. Listen, I wanted to talk about how my life is going to be disrupted, and it makes me sad.”

“You came to the right guy, I can change sadness into madness at the flick of my tail. Lay it out for me.”

“OK. You remember La Taza (the Cup inSpanish) the coffee shop I go to every day at 7:00 a.m. and sit around with my friends and try to fix the world?”

“Yeah, it’s a weird place.”

“OK, it’s a little weird, but it’s comfortable. Anyway, Judy, the owner, is gonna close the shop on April 30th unless she finds a buyer. She wants to travel around the country and visit cattle orphanages with her husband, John.”

“It sounds like a good deal for her. I mean wouldn’t you like to travel around with Ms. Em?”

“Of course I would, but who’d take care of the other dogs? We couldn’t leave them here on their own.”

I could hear him thinking. “Why don’t you rent them out to people who are thinking about getting a dog?”

“No, out of the question”

,”Well then.why don’t you buy the coffee shop?”

“If only I could Bob, but my cash flow is a little nonexistent right now. Anyway, I don’t think I could run the place by myself, even if Ms. Em helped out.”

“Then hire elves, you idiot. What you need to do is gather all those weirdos that hang out there and you all go in together.Then you’d have your own zoo.”

“I’ll tell you what, let me run down this thing for you, then tell me what you think”

“Sure, whatever.”

“Well, we’ve got about 10 early morning regulars. Some are irregular regulars. Some are only there for a short time because they have jobs. And, a few days a week, the golfers come in for a few minutes before their golf game. We all sit up front, in kind of a Circle of Honor, except Kevin, the engineering professor, He sits way in the back and designs electric food on his computer.”

“Sounds like a perfect fit.”

“Then we have Judd, one of the founding members of the circle. He’s not there all the time (with the right medications we could probably fix that). When he’s not at the shop, he’s out flying jets around for rich people and celebrities. He’s also the funny one. Judd used to play steel guitar with Ray Price,so he could be the entertainment on the weekends. He’d have to work a double shift once in a while though.”

“A jet pilot high on caffeine, now you’re getting somewhere.”

“Next there’s Pam, one of the two women in the group and also a founding member. Pam raises mice in her backyard. Most of the mice are either white or brown. She must have more than 200 of them in the mouse house that covers her yard. The mice are sold to a garment manufacturer in Surinam that makes fur coats for chickens. I didn’t know there was a market for mice coats, but she does very well. And, she drinks her coffee black. She’s also a very good cook, so we could add more foodto the menu.”

‘”Hey Em, this story is getting a tad weird, but move it along, it’s your bread and butter.”

“Next, there’s Tom. Tom’s been around since beginning, and he’s the voice of reason when we pull out the knives. He’s a retired insurance guy. He was a honcho at Burgess & Baumfaulk, the leading insurance company for legs. Actually, you could only get a policy for a left leg. The premiums were stiff, but if you ever lost your left leg, you’d be rolling in dough. Tom is also somewhat of a ladies man. At last count, he had seven girlfriends ranging in age from 27 to 93. He would be the one who brought in the lady customers. What do you think?”

“I think Tom ought to run the place, I mean, seven girlfriends?.”

“The next investor would be Jose. He’s the handsome one and works in the medical field. From what I understand, his company buys and sells placentas. They are in big demand by start-up food companies in emerging nations. Jose is also a highly ranked cross-country bowler and stays in shape. He could be the coffee shop concierge; he knows every restaurant in San Antonio, Dallas, and Chicago. And, he’s got a dog. I’m not sure why that’s important, but it is”

“Jeremy is the next possible investor. He is a Renaissance man, insurance guy, home brewer, an author and my co-author for a thriller/mystery nove we are writing.l. But mostly, he is absolutely crazy about beer. When it comes to brewing, Jeremy thinks outside the box, which is really thinking inside the box.  His plan is to make chocolate-chutney and marinara.mushroom beers and sell them in paper boxes. Did I mention Jeremy is Italian…at least that is what he would have us believe.. Perhaps setting up a small brewery in the back would add to the bottom line. By the way, his insurance company will insure two legs.”

“Gary would be next. He is a retired military cop with a passion for cars, He owns 17 cars but only drives one. He just sits in the rest with one of those cardboard cutouts of famous celebrities and has his wife take his picture. Maybe he could work as the bouncer.”

“Em, how much more of this am I gonna have to endure?”

“Almost finished. Quinn would be the next guy to lose his money in this venture. Quinn is a four or five-year veteran of the coffee shop. He started coming in while he was in high school. He is also Jeremy’s son, but he’s not allowed to drink beer. He got his pilot’s license at 16, and he’d love to fly jets and find girls…a lot of girls. He’ll probably have to work as the dishwasher first, but when he finds some girls, we’d promote him to maitre de.

“Toni is the other woman in the group. She works at a bank, which could be helpful if we need more money. Toni is Pam’s roommate and on her days off, she wrestles ferrets at the Alamodome. Another odd thing about Toni is she likes to jump out of trees. It’s a mystery to all of us, but she does have left-leg leg insurance.

“Finally, there’s Big Joe. Joe is a snowbird, he spends half the year here and the other two halves in Colorado and Wisconsin. He is a retired Zumba instructor and spent several years as the road manager for Run-DMC. Also, Joe is the only one who smokes besides me. When he is in Colorado, he’s known as Carlito Nine and sings show tunes in a gay bar. On the Wisconsin leg of his summer, Joe works as an escort for women with one leg. He’d be great to have around…at least in the winter.

“Last, there’s Marv or Melvin (we don’t know his real name) the former airline captain. We’d have to do some real convincing with Marv, two weeks ago, he and his wife moved to Arizona to raise pygmy buffalo. If that doesn’t pan out, we could probably lure him back with a promise that he could be the guy who talks to customers.

“I’m sure I’m missing someone, but this story is going on forever. So, Bob, what do you think? Should we go all in and save our caffeine connection?”

“What? Were you talking to me? I kinda dozed off a few paragraphs ago.”

“You heard me, do you think I’d be wise to throw my lot in with my friends and buy the coffee shop?”

“Uh…I think you’re completely batshit. Instead of pissing your money away, you might  want tp think about changing your meds and taking out one of those left-leg insurance policies.”