Cormac McCarthy Orders a Venti Latte

The logo and the image of the logo caught in the storefront glass twisted and righted and played feral games with my mind when I entered the Starbucks and again when I shut the door. Her hands thrown in the air and her wavy ringlets of hair caught in a circular haze screaming Cormac. Inside the Starbucks it was dark and green and brown and seemed too sunny for this corner of the world. The sun sat blood red under the dying dusk of this hour and the hot breaths of customers fogging windows like time and the passing of time and the need to stay awake shared and exchanged and encouraged by paper cups and low chants and that damned green logo and the image of the damned green logo a nightmare clutching my soul.

Cold it wasnt and I tapped three times on my skull and I became miserable. Not a time to laugh but a time to cry and a a time to order a latte.

The barista said, What size?

I said, large.

The barista said, You mean venti.

I turned and I looked for the horses and I hoped I could find a sign of what made men who they are and what this argot might mean. What others called large in that Starbucks had been carried across a chasm. The chasm real men knew. Twenty years ago I had walked into this selfsame cafe and there was no logo nor image of logo. Only a smiling girl long since gone who called it large and who hurt me many years ago when she gave me too much cream.

The barista called me sir. She took my order and told the other barista it was a venti. She told him to make the latte, venti large or just latte.

I watched them and said good afternoon.

They didnt answer.

The line was cold and clear and getting longer. Cold faces standing behind me and the whirs of percolating pain from behind the counter and the logo and the face on the logo. The Starbucks was cold and getting darker as the red sun started to set. I put my hand on the counter to see if it was a counter and a paper cup came and the pain of ordering tumbled my heart.

I set down my change and I picked up the paper cup. I stood sipping it and told a boy standing behind me that there was no longer any hope for the future. And then I realized I read Faulkner too much because I want to be like Faulkner. But Oprah said I was good so its okay.


  1. And then there was a flash and series of low concussive booms as copies of books were unloaded from trucks across that chasm the street and I saw on the TV in a shop window that Oprah was on and I realized the goodness of being called good was good or at least highly marketable.

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