Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Handlebar

The baristo sported a handlebar moustache. He had used wax to elegantly curl the ends of the thick brush. It was lovely. He might have been a barber or shopkeeper from the early 20th century. This throw-back decoration was masterfully chosen to accompany his short wavy hair, red adidas shirt, and worn-out jeans. He took orders and slung coffee, the lone male amid a bevy of pretty girls who worked there as well.

Funk music beat out of the speakers and filled in the holes where there were no speaking voices. It encircled the line waiting for service. It bumped my feet in their flip-flops and worked its way into my hands to my fingers where it tapped out onto Jay's back. It carried through his arms and fingers back to my shoulder. It was in me and said to me: "yeah, here I am with my best guy."

I smiled and briefly saw Jay with a handlebar moustache. We appeared together in silence with the colors of the world slipping off of our bodies and surroundings like a silken veil. Jay smiled down at me. He wore the striped shirt and armbands of a shopkeeper. He held me and looked up to smile into the light of day.

Then ... a moment of transformation. He smiled back down at me. He smirked, in fact, and I saw his eyes shift craftily from side to side. He twisted the end of the moustache and the corner of his mouth twitched upward underneath it.

I wore horrible dark lipstick and false eyelashes which I batted furiously from where I lay tied to a railroad track. He knelt before me and described his plan with large gestures. The words he spoke appeared as intertitles. But in the midst of his most profound statement, an oncoming train blasted through the intertitle. It was one of many paper banners spread across the track at timed points. The train continued bursting through them and robbed us of speech. Jay looked alarmed as he looked from the oncoming train and back down to me.

Lying on the opposite side of the track from him was a smoldering meteorite. Jay gestured to it frantically and I saw his face flicker between two characters - the noble protagonist and the crafty villain. Two tamarind monkeys came out from behind the meteorite. They flanked it and peered quietly at me. They carried small spears. I shut my eyes as I felt the train approaching, a deep fear shuddering through my body with its approach. I felt Jay untying me and he wrenched me from the tracks as the train rushed through.

I felt the rush of air against my legs as the door to the cafe opened and closed, and I leaned into Jay's embrace. I put my hand into his jacket pocket. We ordered some bread pudding to go.