This didn’t quite happen: I was the café’s only customer, sat at the counter seducing a bacon sandwich looking out the window and reading a book while the waitress sat beside me tutting at the Times quick crossword. My book was an old Russian novel and I was hoping the waitress would notice the fuss I wasn’t making about my impeccable taste, so I could then tell her it only cost fifty pence and establish that along with my heroic lack of look-at-me I also know about how far money can go. She exhaled through her nostrils and looked up from the crossword and said I’m not good at these things. I smiled and said sometimes they’re a bastard. I didn’t ask her whereabouts in Australia she was from.
We stared out the window and I conquered the sandwich and watched legs and shoulderblades go past outside and time stand still in the cold and cockroachy prison in the book. She said moustaches in the summer must be bothersome. I thought about telling her how I used to have a moustache but it was joined to a beard because everyone had a hairy face because we were in the mountains near enough and if you shave in the mountains your priorities are reckless, you’re not going to be able to wrestle any goats or worry any snakes with a soft bald mouth, are you, mate, but I just said yeah.
Something two foot tall fell from above the window and shattered on the pavement. It was a potted house plant. Soil rolled into the gutter. The waitress tsked and said it’s the flat upstairs, they’re really spacey. It probably frightened one of them and they kicked it out. We watched legs avoid tripping over it. Or maybe, she said, it just got sick of its owners.