Ballad of the Mad Café

They dim the lights on a Sat night, unseating aspiring regulars who wish to sip their cups of Joe. Vile votives extinguish the invisible feeling flames. They serve no juice: plugging up AC outlets, limiting laptops, decrying inlets for seeing. If you wish to whisper to your peer or you hope to nestle with a deranged stranger, steel yourself up for conversational theft. Pumpkins smash a decade past their prime, with a glum thirtysomething killing current, shifting the volume clockwise in time to the remaining open hours. Get your drink, get out, go somewhere else. No din after dinner. No crosstalk, even if your spirit remains secular.

It’s a two dollar con from a hustler who lacks confidence. We serve drinks, son, not words. If you want full service, why don’t you find a gas station? The flattest flatulence. Can a mad café afford so many autos-da-fé in this tanking economy? It looks as if other spirits will be driven to chase whiskey sours in a few hours. But if the sad keep in charge keeps this up, his credit will seep. And his stock in trade will bail out. The café’s name translates out to “without death” in Sanskrit. The term has specific connections with nectar. But the antisocial nectar this numbskull serves up is swill. I’m not asking for pulp-free, but nectar both literal and impalpable is best imbibed elsewhere.

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