Talkin’ Barnes and Noble Blues


When the elderly man pushed a door into my face I knew that I was doomed.

To the left: a walkway to the cafe. To the right: a walkway to the cafe. A young gal stood before me with a smile, and the character beside her gave me a menacing look. Short man blues, I thought, and I was on my way.

A gentleman stopped me and inquired if I was looking for a specific book. Well, I’m going to the cafe for a Venti Macchiato and some WiFi, but I do need a fresh copy of The Catcher in the Rye.

“Ahh. Classic. Classic Salinger. A must-read for everybody.”

“Yeah, I just saw the new documentary on ol’ JD. Netflix Instant. Streaming.”

“Sure…sure,” he says to me. “I have heard about that book. Salinger is not exactly my taste, but I might seek it out when I have time. Let me find The Catcher in the Rye for you. One moment.”

I feel my forehead and remember the old-man door slam. No blood.

“Ahh. The Catcher in the Rye. Classic Salinger. Sadly, I’ve never been able to read it, but I might seek it out when I have time. It is most certainly essential reading. Classic Salinger.”

“You know what? I think I’ll get it another time.”

I approached the steps to the cafe, and noticed Lady Starbuck behind the counter looking at me. She’s on to me, I thought. I’ve been known to hang out in the cafe for hours and drink Monster energy drinks. The green kind. The best kind.

I looked around. It would be a nice gesture to order something, but I was already stocked up. Where should I sit? To the left: a full house. To the right: an old guy staring at me. To the left I go.

There’s nowhere to sit except one table by the entrance to the kitchen, which is the worst spot in the cafe. Lady S is looking at me, and just a-waitin’ to hear the crack of the Green Monster. Headphones.

To my right: a beautiful blonde girl. She’s smiling at me. In front of her is a guy of approximately the same age, and his leg starts to shake. Relax, friend. I don’t want any distractions, but I see that leg just shakin’ and shakin’. Headphones.

I pop the cap of the Green Monster, and Lady Starbuck is staring at me with a coffee in her hand. I can’t focus. Why is it so cold here? The leg is still shakin’, and I can see it in my periph.

“Excuse me, sir?”

Here we go.

“Do you know what time it is?”

To my right: the beautiful blonde is speaking to me, and she’s alone.

“What time is it? It’s 5:55.”

The guy returns and I get the stink-eye.

“Excuse me, sir?”

To my left: Lady S and she is not happy.

“I’m sorry. You can’t bring foreign drinks in here. I’ve told you before.”

“This isn’t foreign, this is a Monster!”

“It’s foreign, sir.”

“Well, I’m done. It’s really cold in here.”

“Do you need something warm to drink?”

“No…I just…in a little bit.”

I put my headphones on and tried to focus. The leg was still shakin’. The blonde girl kept glancing at me. Leg shakin’ continues. Ok, I’ll write in a few minutes. The Internet is down and why wouldn’t it be? I pulled on my Newsie cap down and attempted to collect my thoughts. After a few minutes I could see someone approaching, and they sat down in front of me.

I look up and there is an elderly man. He doesn’t look at me, and starts reading a newspaper.

“Excuse me?”

I can hear laughter erupt across the cafe, and the man looks at me horror.

“Oh. Oh!”

The laughter was coming from my doppelgänger in a Newsie cap.

“I’m so sorry.”

“It’s’s ok.”

I stood up and decided to get in line for a warm coffee. The leg shaker and the girl passed by on their way out, and I get the same looks from each. The Newsie doppelgänger is still laughing with gramps.

I approach the counter and look at Lady Starbuck.

“Well, hello. We don’t have any Monster energy drinks here. Can I interest you in anything else?

“Do you know what time it is?”

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