Counter Seen

Jerry sitting. Wipe the sweat from his brow. Maria in her colorform apron wipes some sticky residue from the worn formica countertop. Steam rises as the Bunn-O-Matic steeps its 60,000th cup of joe and its frayed cord will not catch fire yet.

Jerry watches. Maria bends. Lean haunch, bovine demeanor. Insider her somewhere—perhaps in the heart-shaped locket that bears no picture—lies a dormant corpus of wants like larva. She’s a good girl.

Jerry is a stranger. Though he’s been in this town before. Maria’s seen him before, many times; looking sometimes the same, other times entirely different. And he knows her just the same, although they’ve never met. But he knows the coffee always tastes the same and just exactly how she’ll sweep the cup through space without a spill.

And she knows that he’ll never awaken that germ in her, ‘cos you can’t tell with strangers and she’ll not go home with him even if he does ask. But she knows he’ll tip generously, and wishes it all could be somehow different.

mb3-5 Counter Seen accent