Parler Des Livres Avec Le Barista

Hey, Zucker.

~ Hey, Mel, how’s it goin’?

Oh, it’s all good, you know. It’s sunny outside and we got a good breeze for 8am coming thru the door. What can I get you?

~ I’ll have the Breakfast Blend today please.

Sure thing. Small?

~ Yep.


~ And sugar, please.

There’s a quick smile of understanding between the two of us before she goes to make my cup. Her eyes look at me, searching for meaning, for a moment. It’s just a good day, I suppose, for both of us.

Here you go.

~ Thanks.

She notices the book in my hand, different from the one I was reading a few days ago, “Cosmicomics” by Italo Calvino.

What are you reading now?

~ Oh, I’m trying some Gertrude Stein. “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.”

I show her the book, she looks at and opens it, reading the personal note that was written from my mother to my brother. She smiles and quickly closes the book.

Cool. Is it any good?

~ Yeah… it’s a lot of talk right now, though.

A quick laugh, as I, nor her, apparently know nothing about Gertrude Stein’s writing style. I’m not thirty pages into the book, and the journey within has not yet begun.

Alice does talks a lot, but it’s enjoyable. Autobiographies in general are written to show no distinction between conversation and narrative, and that’s what makes this book so great. Whenever a character speaks, it is Miss Toklas’ interpretation of it (even though Gertrude Stein is writing everything). The conversations between Miss Toklas, Gertrude Stein and other characters in the story are ensconced in art and the procurement of art in Paris during the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Neither of us knew why we laughed… maybe it was the book… maybe it was us.

Well, I’ll see you around.

~ Yeah, I’ll see you Monday or something. Have a good weekend, Mel.

You too. Hi, can I help you?

Fat Cats and Hair Pieces

Two fat cats in corporate America plan to meet to discuss matters of personal importance. The lead-up and suspense to what the two talk about is hyper-sensitive, yet when they sit down in one of their plush offices, they discuss…

“So, Chuck, I need your help, as one rug-wearer to another.”

‘Sure, Frank, what can I do for you?’

“Well, I need your advice,” he takes off his hat, his hair hat, and places it on the table in front of him. Chuck does the same. The two men, balding, are sitting across from one another at a giant business meeting table, each with their hairpiece in front of them. One grey, one white.

They discuss matters of continuity, obscurity, and comfort, all relating to hairpieces and appearance. This conversation goes on for several minutes. Eventually, the receptionist knocks on the door as they discuss openly, and before the woman enters, the two men shuffle to get their hair pieces back on their head appropriately. They are flustered and slightly vulnerable at this moment, as the receptionist comes in the deliver some important information to Chuck. She doesn’t notice a thing.

‘Nancy, you’ve really got to buzz me or something before coming in.’

~ Sorry, Mr. Bampton. Here are those monthly revenue reports you asked for.

‘Thanks Nancy. You’ve met Frank Gimlen, have you?’

“Hi, Nancy, it’s nice to meet you.” Not as sincere as you would expect.

~ Hi, Mr. Gimlen. Can I get you anything?

“No thanks.”

~ Chuck?

‘No, this will do fine Nancy, thank you. Can you set up a phone conference for me with the Fidelity branch manager for 1:30pm? I want to go over these reports with him for a few minutes if he has the time.’

~ Of course.

“You’re a busy guy, Chuck.”

‘Eh, it comes with the job.’ And they both laugh as Nancy exits the room. They laugh to mask the underlying point they originally met for. Nancy doesn’t suspect a thing, but continues about her life assuming that Chuck is just a really quirky executive, and Frank is just another corporate fat cat.

Jonah the Teacher tells Hansel and Gretel

~ Alright everyone, today I’m gonna read Hansel and Gretel.
The children were playing and chatting amongst toys and paper.
Jonah the teacher sat in the center and waved them all in,
with blankets and pillows with colors all over –
~ Come around, everyone; let’s get together for storytime!
It was a protest; he knew there was no foul to be played.
~ We’ll go back to that stuff later; this won’t take long. It’s short but great.
*HaHa! He said “butt!”
Laughter covers the room with sound.
Jonah also thought it was funny, and laughed
*Hey, you don’t get to laugh!
~ Alright, you guys, come join us now, we’re all ready.
The two children joined the circle, but neither sat down.
Instead they stood face to face with Jonah.
Jonah was sitting like the others.
He knew that people were watching,
it was an attempt to trick him into losing his cool.
Nothing is real in intention, of course,
Jonah remains modest and nonviolent the whole time.
~ Sit, sit, the story has such a classical beginning –
*Shut up!
A hush and a giggle and a shift from the kids,
~ Why won’t you join us?
The two look at him and begin to speak loudly –
*You’re stupid.
~ I’m stupid, I know I’m stupid. And that’s okay.
All the other kids began to laugh, and one of the two became angry.
He’s going to throw a punch to my neck, Jonah thinks,
a two hander he foresaw from the one that came at him.
His hands raised high and caught the boy’s arms before landing the blow.
No intention to attack, but only to defend,
and preserve his position of power in class.
*Ahh! Let me go!
Jonah held the boy there for a moment with fear,
A glare from his eyes spoke words without sound.
His face was without a mark of hostility,
A force to match only by his care for the kids.
~ Are you finished? You can go back to your games after I tell you this story, I promise.
He asks and he says. Jonah is a crafty conman, a dazzler and an illusionist –
Not by fame, but by talent.
His charm on the kids is unsettling and magnificent.
He lets go of the one boy, much to the relief of the other,
His close friend and close ally.
He stands there silent and shocked and dazed,
~ Please, you two, sit with us now.
They back away slowly and proceed to some spaces,
not far away but not close
to the others who thought oddly of them.
Everyone could hear the proud voice of Jonah start
the great story of Hansel and Gretel.
~ Once upon a time…
And through time they did go,
Several hundreds of years to a time long ago,
when fantasy and fiction harmonized
with realistic implications – and fear.
But the fear of the witch was lost in the minds of the children.
Most were asleep before the witch welcomed them in,
Before she was nasty and bitter and evil to them both.
In the end the two live and they walk away unscathed,
And that’s when Jonah begins ending the story.
~ …And they lived happily together ever after. The End.
3:00pm. Jonah is saved the trouble of entertaining
these kids, good and bad, for another day, another round.
The kids yell and riot when the clock buzzer rings,
And make a dash in every direction in haste for their bags.
~ Now watch it, you guys!
The two rebels got up and moved casually to their bags,
talking back and forth about the fight they had with Jonah.
They looked back at him…
He looked back at them too…
his eyes never changing from the confident glare of understanding.

Sitcom at the Office – Money

This is dedicated to Lapre, possibly one of the most frugal spenders I know.

Lapre – So, I just got an email from HR here.

Zucker – Yeah…?

Lapre – Yeah.

Zucker – And?

Lapre – It looks like I’ll be here… continually.

Zucker – What you mean? You didn’t get the job?

Lapre – No, I didn’t get the job.

Zucker – Aww, man I’m sorry.

Lapre – Yeah, yeah. Twelve dollars on dry cleaning… a waste.

Zucker – Hahaha, I’m sorry man, but that’s funny.

Lapre – Yeah, I’ll drink twelve dollars of scotch tonight to celebrate.

Elliot – Isn’t that over your tolerance?

Zucker – What, you mean alcohol tolerance?

Lapre – No, like money tolerance.