4:12pm.  Starbucks, 12 & Farmers.  Not sure what I’m hoping to get from this offsite sitting, but I’m already in appreciation of surrounding characters.  At my 12, an older man–gray hair, white dress shirt, dark blue tie, sport coat hanging between back and chair’s support–and a much younger woman, blonde, also adorned in not-at-all casual attire.  Didn’t have a chance to eavesdrop, but I’m imagining them talking about if they should let someone go from their firm.  They deal with divorce and custody, mostly.  He says they need to get rid of their office manager, while she offers a second chance with stiff stipulations.  They go back, forth, till both their coffees no longer occupy their cups.  They defer to water, both with the largest size available at the shop.


A man sat, aside Mike.  Distracting him, making his whole session uneasy.  Only 30 pages away from FINALLY finishing his novel, something he’d wanted since he started writing fiction with any degree of invariability, staidness, in graduate school.

“…three hours of presentations,” Mike heard the man say, between songs flooding from his almond-size phones.

“I think we should get some pizzas, and maybe some other bites,” the lady said, sipping her water till it had left.  Mike wanted to know what they’re saying, but he saw the distraction, the unfruitful lure.  And the man to his right, that just sat down with his laptop, looking under the long communal cushion seat, or at its base, for outlets, his black lint-littered beret, copious wires, power block…

“Why did he have to bring so much clutter?” Mike thought.  Then, realizing all around, infringing, violating, stood with whistling insignificance.  He typed on.  27 pages.  26.  20.  He halted.  Thought of Kelly, how her trip was treating her, how much she must have sold.  What was the time in New Orleans, he thought.  “4:29 here.. so 6:29.” Another spot on his travel list.  Those animated streets; the crowds, characters, walking compositions.  This coffee shop offered nothing.  He closed the document.  He didn’t want to write anymore.  At least not in “that novel,” he heard himself saying.  Sounded derogatory, he intended.

That guy across the room, typing faster than me.  Can’t have that.  Is he a writer, too?  Do I have competition as an Artist?  I must.  It’s like anything else, even though it’s not.  Sense?  He looks Literary.  And his eyes aren’t leaving the screen.  IS he more committed to his project than me?  Or, is he just a different scribe shape?  Only allowing Self till 5:30p, here.  57 minutes left.  And the ideas begin their dive-bombing magnanimity.  Lucky me.  All of it, about her, what she must be doing over there.

He reopened his project, typed about a wine that he was drinking the other night, somehow working it into the thematic and character progressions.  He knew that this novel would have to be Self-published, and that’s what he always intended.  No choice buffet in matter.  But how would he do it, he just thought.  He’d forbidden himSelf from broaching this topic for the last three weeks, when he officially began collection and composition of his book.  “Money ruins everything,” he wrote in his Composition Book, open right his keyboard.  But he had to, now, now that he was near shore.