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2005-03-01 - 3:17 p.m.

It's eight o'clock at night and seeing as the previous evening I'd spent five hours building my way back up to even after a decimating series of duces and sixes, any element that might keep me from much need sleep is extremely undesirable.

Still, the call of a good cup of coffee wouldn't quit the lazy boy outside my ear drum.

"I napped this afternoon," rang out my rationalization. "Whatever ill effects all that gambling had on me last night, I'm sure my power nap under the lights of TBS healed the wounds. A little Columbian sounds too good to pass up."

The waitress brought by a large pot with a stem extending eight inches out the top.

"You know how to use this?"

"Tip me over and pour me out?"

"The coffee beans are in there. When you push the lever down the water runs down to the bottom of the pot. Longer you let it sit, stronger it is."

An Irish band struck up a lash against the fiddle downstairs, so I stood to watch, figuring one song's worth of brewing was enough.

The English gents in front of me stood and leaned over the railing to watch the woman in clogs and a rhinestoned bodice slam the percussion of the tune. At one point the light flashes off her chest right over their grins.

The waitress smiled eagerly at each passing table, tugging on her uniform - a purposely too short, too tight shirt, and a skirt that had to be bobby pinned to maintain decency. The girl could not have been an ounce overweight, but thanks to a pair of paralell garments contstraining her skin, a ring of flesh circled her waist like a hula hoop. Her fingers run past it occationally, then into the seam of the skirt, hoping it will losen.

The woman at the bar who had not moved since I walked in hours back, delights that someone is sitting next to her. She begins grinning even before they decide to sit down. She just knows they're coming, and she'll have someone to talk to other than the bartender. She can see it in their eyes, since she's been looking for it in every pair that's mounted the stairs.

Amidst the crowd bending, leaning, and scooting to see the band, a couple two tables down, ducks into a huddle over their food. Discussing either an assasination plot, or defensive measures when they have to see their coworkers, or possibly a strategy for the tables outside this little bistro, they stare blankly forward, not even aware of what they're looking at, listening to each other's voices.

The song ends and I fold myself evenly into my seat, waiting a moment to reach for the stem of the coffee pot and press down.

Black hits mug, and the smell expands. A sugar packet, and a quick stir later, it's at my lips. My head tilts, and immediately my eyes close. They way they close in a kiss. Attention focused on one singular sensation. Without distraction.

This is what I want to feel.

I have five cups of coffee and stay up until two in the morning. In the shower at seven, a mass of steam trying to coax me back into the world, I close my eyes, and think about that coffee without regret.

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