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A monologue from the play by Eric Coble
Alex tells us about the typical male denizens of coffee shops.
(to Audience) Okay, right? Yes. He’s cute. I know. Great. But that’s about as big a trap as staring at the T.V. all night.
They both encourage you to put down roots and stay and just . . . stare.
But especially boys, cute boys, intriguing cute boys, intriguing cute boys who are artists and can think on their feet . . .
they can be even more dangerous because if you get attached to them you can screw the whole delicate ecosystem we’ve set up here.
(Begins working as she talks.) See, the basic building blocks of life in a coffee house are the “In-and-Outs”,
the ones who know what they want, get it and go, constantly churning the air, the coffee, the baked goods.
“In-and-Outs” come in a variety of specimens: The Hard Hats, The Chilled Cops, The Starving Students.
It’s easy to take these organisms for granted, but without that constant turning over everything else dies.
And without them you wouldn’t get to the truly interesting species: For instance, the Recoverus Addicti—A.A., heroin, cigs, you name it.
You have the best chance of seeing them at dawn, they’ve already been up for hours and are just happy to have somewhere to go and someone to talk to. A lot.
And an off-shoot of this species is the Odiferous Coagulatoria, the five old guys camping out in the corner ordering nothing or next to nothing,
because they can subsist on talk about communism, poetry, and how they’d fix the universe, which they’d stand a better chance of doing if they’d take the occasional shower.
Your dilemma with them is, are you sympathetic and let them grow or business-like and weed’em out? ‘Cause they spread like kudzu. Communist philosopher kudzu.
And they come into conflict with the Laptopus Americanus, recognizable by their business wear, they come in and build nests,
setting out whole work-stations and commencing to create new worlds while ingesting upscale drinks and muffins.
They share the same markings as the Americanus Lonely, but the latter aren’t on company time—they just write letters,
do the crossword, read the newspaper—all things they could do at home, but at home they’d be alone. So they’re here.
And beside them are the Maternia Escapus, middle-aged females, the occasional male, who have dropped their offspring off . . . somewhere . . . and are now sharing news and mating rituals over lattes and teas.
And flying above all this are the Biker Boyum, the couriers who dart in, grab a drink, scan the newspaper and are out the door for a day of running words and objects to the larger world,
carrying your cup, your brand, your seed out with them like bees with pollen drifting from their legs. And then you have the midges and gnats of the world:
the Frat Boys and Sorority Sisters who tend to be visible only at night and on weekends, ordering French Vanilla Cappuccinos—
which don’t exist, French Vanilla is an ice cream, not a coffee—so you make them something lethal like a Chocolate Mocha or Caramel Cooler Machiatto, and they survive it because they haven’t eaten in a week.
But they all—the whole system—flows together, feeds on each other, builds and collapses a thousand times a day.
And you can’t start injecting new species or new relationships, now matter how cute the boy, because it really is . . . a perfectly balanced system . . .
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