The Start of Something New

(This is my first attempt at writing in the Gonzo style. How did I do?)

I walked up the crumbling sidewalk outside a wall-less cafe on a busy corner of bright shops by a St. Maarten beach. Sprigs of grass jumping between the cracks of the sidewalk mimicked skinny black trees jutting through the clay roof of the cafe. I sat as a small white metal table. A distracted waitress with a Dutch accent brought “a coffe,” and calamari, hot and oily, and wrapped in wax paper in an orange waffle basket. I squirted thick dollop of peppery tomato sauce to one side.

There’s an old woman sitting alone. Her eye make-up is heavy and smudged, and she doesn’t look very nice, like she dares anyone to approach her.  The orange polish on her nails was starting to chip, and one of them was fingering the ropes of pearls around her neck.

The music is French, and two women in aprons are behind the counter dancing to it and chatting. Two men walk in and sit down. One is tall and red-haired the other is short. I come to the end of my calamari and unfolded a paper.

Dude, it sucked.” The skinny Ginger had a deep voice that could be heard over the music. Shorty must have responded, because Ginger continued. “Maaaan, I said, you know, I didn’t want to see her anymore, you know, and she started to cry, like sobbing.”

Shorty’s answer was lost in the giggles from behind the short counter, and I waved my hand at the flies that started to congregate on my discarded calamari basket. Shorty unwrapped a black straw by his water glass and started to chew on it. Ginger put milk into his fresh coffee and began to slowly writ with a silver and yellow enameled spoon.

Between their reclining bodies, I could see the old woman listening, not even trying to hide it. She had a large pile of shrimp on her table and was peeling it and then slurping it from between her fingers. There was a hole under the armpit of her blue and black button down.

“You know, bra,” I heard Ginger say, “I felt like shit, you know, with her sobbing like that. But, you know, there wasn’t anything I could do. I’ve fallen for someone else.”

Shorty’s leg, which had been crossed over the other, fell to the floor. There was a lull in the music and I could hear Shorty’s higher-pitched voice. “Seriously? You told her that?” Ginger’s hand reach out and trapped Shorty’s thick fingers. “Like you don’t know.” The men kissed, Ginger’s other hand on Shorty’s face. The old woman sprayed coffee through her nose and across the littered table.  Little spots of it glistened on the floor.

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