think we’re ready for the coffee and pie
by Ran Scot
We find ourselves in a corner
cafe worthy of that overdone ‘50s painting. Now we are about
to square off like two prize fighters. To really find out what the
metal of the other really is. To see if there are weaknesses or
kinks in the armor.
“I’m surprised you haven’t asked me my sign,”
“If I actually believed in that shit I would have. I just
think it’s another excuse people use for not succeeding on
a daily basis.”
“Surely, you have to believe in something. Otherwise, when
you fall, you don’t have a cushion.”
“Let’s just say I might break my neck, but I survive.”
“Well, even Superman broke his neck.”
“And the tin man has no heart, big deal. I just think people
should buck up.”
“Oh, I was hoping I could blame all my problems on bad parenting
or a traumatic childhood experience, but I guess that’s not
going to work on you.”
“Richard Simmons has better chance of getting me in bed than
By this time we are mutually laughing at the antics of the other
monkey. Kick ass, a funny girl. She even made a handi-cap joke to
make a point. I am about to start the sparring again when the waitress
finally meanders to our booth.
“Whatcha want?” barks the waitress, who seems more interested
in the booth down the row which also housed what appears to be her
“How about service with a smile?” Angie counters, girls
gum literally almost fell out of the flo-prototype waitress’s
“Now I got your attention, I want coffee and chocolate pie,
what are you having?”
The waitress looks miffed in my direction.
“I’ll also be having service with a smile, with coffee
and banana creme pie on the side.”
“Okay,” she manages to get out before she storms toward
“Banana, huh? Very Freudian, you trying to make subliminal
messages about later?” she quizzes.
“Oh, like your chocolate pie wasn’t a single.”
“Heh, I could make a million bad jokes, but the Senator from
the great state of good taste abstains.”
We laugh, then she got a funny look on her face.
“I caught you in a lie.”
“You said you didn’t believe in anything, yet you site
“Yeah, but that’s based on facts and studies, not fantasy
thought up by a civilization that’s long since gone defunct.”
“Sorry, but I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that.”
“Why? It’s a proven school of thought.”
“Freud based his schlock on a group of sexually oppressed
Victorian housewives, and this is suppose to represent us all?”
She looks startled as I giggle at this.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, just oppressed Victorian house wife sex life pretty
much describes my current bedroom scene.”
“Join the club.”
Just as she says that, Flo the waitress (as she will be known),
slides, and I mean fucking slides, our pies across the table and
slams down the coffee and takes off. Nevermind, I get chocolate
and her the creme.
“You seem to have my chocolate,” she says leaning over
to get her plate.
“And you seem to be handling my banana.”
She looks my in the eyes and says, “better be careful what
you wish for, chief.”
“Heh, you said chief.”
“It’s okay, boss-man.”
“No sweat, jefe.”
“That’s good, tuff guy.”
“No worries, captain.”
“No skin off my teeth,....”, I pause, not knowing another
epitaph, “okay, you win.”
“I usually do.”
“Don’t get cocky, this was only round one, and you still
got my banana in your hands.”
She shakes her head playfully, and we trade prisoners. Luckily,
silverware is already on the table so we didn’t need to bother
princess over across the diner.
“So how do you eat your pie?” she asks.
What does she mean? Feeling a test I think for a second. I finally
arrive at the most obvious answer.
“Usually I just eat it. You know, the whole fork in the mouth
thing. Works best for me.”
“No you smart ass,” she says laughing. “Do you
eat layer by layer, or all three at once? You can tell a lot about
a person from that.”
“Well, later by layer you like to divide and enjoy things
on a singular level. All three at once, you like the mix life all
at once like a gestalt painting. That’s what makes you happy.”
“I think you’re putting to much into pie eating.”
“Or you don’t put in enough.”
“For the record I’m the type of guy who...”
“...Likes to eat all the layers at once,” she interrupts.
“How did you know that?”
“You would have thought about the pie-eating allegory if you
eat in layers,” she says smiling. “Wonder what Freud
would say about that.”
I stop in mid-bite and swallow.
“I’m down 2-0 aren’t I?” I ask.
“Oh yeah, pass the sugar.”
I give her the sugar dispenser and pause for a second.
“How come you use the dispenser instead of sugar packets?
Seems like you’d like to ponder the life story of each parcel
before it smelted with the coffee and milk.”
She looks at me and then the sugar packets, then the dispenser.
she sighs and laughs.
“Why are two good-looking intelligent people like us alone?”
“I think it’s cuz we expect to much. We’ve grown
up seeing the prefect love, or date, or chance meeting on television,
movies, and books for years. Everyday love isn’t good enough
anymore. It has to be a Speilbergian explosion of lust, romance,
and desire. A bowling game of 300.”
“Oh, you know.”
“Why? What is your explanation?”
“Easy, we’re simply in touch to much, that’s why
we’re alone. The better technology gets for us to communicate,
the more isolated we become on a personal level.”
This nearly causes her to snort the pie out her nose. She smirks
and drinks some of her coffee.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh, it’s just so silly.
How could that possibly be true?”
“Again, quite easy,” I counter, “technology has
become the medium for communication right?”
“Okay the more advanced the technology becomes the more of
a filter it became on an interpersonal level.”
“Keep going Unabomber.”
“Anyway, take the phone for example. They let you hear the
voice of the other person. You can tell a lot about the inclination
and tone of voice they use, but you lose all body gestures.”
“Yes, poor people. Now take email. You lose the voice, too.
And beepers, you get a short cryptic message. The more advanced
it becomes, the more distorted from the true essence it becomes.”
“2-2, but that was some serious soapboxing.”
“Well, you’re the one who backed me into a corner. I
am an intellectual coy-badger, had to get out.”
“From the soapbox to the cross.”
“Are you my Judius Pious?”
“You’re just a fountain of pop references aren’t
“Like one long Beasties Boys’ song.”She glows,
but nearly as brightly as I do inside. We have cometed from the
beginning and Captian, my Captain how smooth the sailing is. Love
is like shit, one day you just sort of step in it. I’d better
check my shoe.
She is coyly looking at my while eating her pie. We both know. What
it is we have no idea. But we both know it like we know our names.
We are the secret sharers.
There are few times when all things seem right in world. It is if
you are kicking it with Yoda on the good side of the force. Where
you feel like this person you have just met has always been across
the table from you. I see her in deep thought, toying with her pie.
I almost drop my fork as I realize she is thinking the same thing
as I am. She took another stab at the pie, leaving some on her chin.
I reach across the table and wipe it clean. She catches my fingers
and sucks off the filling.
“So I don’t get to taste your pie?”
She laughs and pushes my hand across the table.
“What is it for guys, like every 15 seconds you think of sex?”
“Three actually, it’s like having a porno playing constantly
in the background.”
“Oh really? what porno usually runs through your mind?”
“Oh you know the classics. Anything with Ron Jeremy or Dixie
Dynamite in it. Preferably 70s film porn as opposed to video.”
“That’s good, as long as it’s the classics.”
“Actually, I’d prefer a good Russ Meyer film over porn
“Like the tough girls?”
“Even my feminie side is a lesbian.”
“I guess that makes 2-3?”
“No,” I reply in a quiet voice, “I believe we’re
playing for the same team now.”
She leans over and grabs my hand.
“About time,” she says, sipping her coffee.
“Time is your crime and it’s 18 and life to go.”
She snorts the coffee through her nose in true elementary school
lunch fashion. After gaining control, she has to clear the tears
from her eyes. God, what great eyes. I can stare at them forever.
Just sit there and stare.
“You know, secretly, I’m all about the metal,”
I offer her when I think she can handle it without scorching her
“The foot on the monitor guitar power solo?”
“Only if they have a fan blowing their hair around.”
“How do you feel about catwalks at stadium shows?”
“You kidding me? You ain’t no real rock star unless
you are out on one pointing at a topless groupie during your ballads.”
We mutually almost lose our coffees that time.
I regain my posture and say, “Ballads are all about the ladies.
Of course, everything I do, I do for the ladies.”
“So I noticed, “she says pointing out the dribbles of
coffee I have managed to get on my shirt.
“Yeah, I got a drinking problem.”
the laughter of a newly from couple escapes us at the same time.
You know the laugh, the kind that grates you when you are alone.
A position to many of our generation find themselves in today. Super
jaded, super isolated.
But not me, not tonight. I feel like the feeling a Mazzy Star song
gives you. Of love that could be, but may never be. She is gazing
back at me in a way I have forgotten people look at each other.
A look I’ve seen my grandparents give to each other when the
family is gleefully encamped around them on Christmas. A content
look like no other.
I have forgotten I am even holding her hand it feels so natural.
It hits me then how sweaty both our hands are. Yet, her hand fits
so perfectly like an ergonomic masterpiece. A predestined hand shape
to one day be hold in mine, at this moment, at this place. Right
here, right now.
“I know,” she says as she presses her hand into mine.
“They’re like puzzle piece. Kinda freaky, huh? You know,
when I stepped out tonight, I had no idea. No idea, of you. Of the
way you make me feel. You are the monkey wrench, but one that confuses
me. I thought I could be happy alone. No games. No nothing. I guess
I always just needed to love myself before I could love anyone else.”
“I always feel guilty when I make love to myself and don’t
take myself to a dinner and movie first. If it’s Saturday
and I know I’m dating Rosey and her four crazy sisters, I
like to maybe even get a manicure and hand massage, but that’s
on special occasions.”
“Do you take anything seriously?”
“No, unless you count computer games, but then I discovered
cheat codes. Now I feel dirty when I play. Especially when I put
in the code to get the girl from tomb raider get naked, then I feel
both dirty and lame.”
“Phear my ereetness.”
“You don’t have that evil star trek or comic book sickness
“I did, but I went to Schik, they made me watch NFL and grunt
a lot until my machismo reached the appropriate level.”
“No loin clothes and drums?”
“Naw, just pork rinds and cheap beer.”
“So, quit skirting the question, why do you never take anything
I sit looking at her like she is an oracle, only I forgot my black
ram and Macedonians. This is the question I didn’t have an
answer to, mostly due to I am afraid to ask myself. Our generation
is built to scoff at any sense of tangibility or tradition. Can
I actually be the end product of the society I long thought I am
Would she laugh if I tell her this? That sometimes I wake up in
the middle of the night sweating, consumed by the fear I am truly
alone. How I look out my window to the skyline and cry. I cry like
a fucking baby because I am afraid.
I decided all systems go with this girl. Ground control to Major
Tom, count down started, mission on.
“I’m afraid of my singularity in this society of obsessive
“Huh, I think I’m losing something in the translation.
Perhaps a symbolic allegory involving the condiments will help.”
I look at her and I know she truly wants to know. If we can bridge
the last river Kwai and both realize the essence of our refusal
to adhere to any organized organization, then we can form our own
together. A dyad for the ages.
I look at the table for acceptable materials to distill the jinx
of our generation. If there is ever been a point for all my reading,
studying, observing, and corresponding, all my thinking, it is for
this precise pinnacle, this zenith of fabricating a new quilt of
I take the sugar dispenser and pour out a pile of sugar.
“See this is everybody. We’re each a grain of sugar.
To the untrained eye we look like a pile of sugar, but upon closer
inspection you realize it is actually a pile of individual pieces.
The only way we ever seem combined fully is if we’re dissolved
by a common medium.”
I take the coffee and pour it onto the pile till it all dissolves.
“Society melts into one, if you take it seriously. I guess
what I’m afraid of most is losing myself in the coffee. Losing
what makes me, me, when society makes it’s demand on me to
be part of it. I am afraid of being alone in a crowd, only I am
more afraid of being changed, manipulated and alone more. I’m
afraid of the coffee.”
She looks at me then at the mess I have made on the table, then
back up to me. She sighs and slowly shakes her head.
“I am sorry, but I just can’t buy that. It’s just,
She stands up and throws a couple of bucks on the table and goes
out of the door. No good-bye, no explanation of what is right to
the wrong. She just leaves me there wondering.
I looked out the window of the diner at the skyline, which is clone
of the view from my own window. I feel the fear whelp and creep
throughout me as I see her taillights bounce out of the parking
lot, leaving me, at the diner, alone. I slowly feel myself begin
to cry, not for myself, but for barely surviving another night in