Ar Lain Ta tapped his shoulder. Moshe Dean’s head snapped up and he opened his eyes.
“I was paying attention,” was what he said. “I was just thinking about something else,” he said as he wiped the soup casually from his forehead and ground a soft potato into his thinning hair.
Suddenly a car alarm was blaring. A bevy of horns screeched through the open front door. Again Ar Lain Ta said,
The sound of engines. The smell of exhaust. Seven cell-phones start ringing simultaneously. No one besides the trio seems to notice. The music is blaring. It is a song sung by Jimi Hendrix called All Along The Watchtower. Moshe Dean’s head drops slowly back into the potato-leek soup.
Someone screams into their cell-phone. They have a computer on the other end. It says, “Your call is very important to us. We thank you for your patience.” He has heard it say this for over 19 minutes now. Four others get up from their tables and start pacing wildly about. Everyone is colliding with each other, spilling coffee all over the rug.
Outside, all the traffic lights are malfunctioning now. Seven SUV’s are blocking the Prospect Street intersection. No one will give up the right of way. Trucks and cars are double-parked in the bicycle lanes. One man pulls a large Jeep into the handicapped parking space in front of the Fleet Bank. He exits his vehicle and runs into the bank. The line inside circles around seven times.
Everything is gridlocked now. People are fighting in the streets. Two police run from their car, blue lights flashing and shoot a homeless man to death as he pulls a deposit bottle from a trash can. They shoot him fourteen times. One of the officers turns to the crowd that is gathering and says, “Did you see that? He was pulling a gun out of the barrel.”
People barricade themselves behind the metal tables at the Au Bon Pain as the gunfire intensifies. Sirens are heard in the distance. They are fading away.
President Bush is speaking at U Mass Boston and thousands of police converge on the University Grounds. Any student that moves is immediately shot. The buildings hermetically seal themselves and it is only at this point that the President begins to speak.
“Oil.” he says. “Nuclear power.” he says. He turns to the students in the crowd. “Drink this and forget.” he says as he hoists a bottle of Southern Comfort high into the air. Some of the students turn their backs on him. He looks over at a line of riot police, masked with Kevlar shields, electric batons, and shotguns loaded with toxically-coated pellets.
“Shoot them in the back,” he says. “You’ll be acquitted later.” There is a fusillade of gunfire. Then silence.
There is the sound of fingers snapping. Time flickers and everything is undone. Rogue is holding her hand high in the air. The coffee shop has returned to “normal.”
“You see what we can do,” Ar Lain Ta says but his face is grim.
“You see what we can do,” says the Rogue. She is smiling but there is sweat staining her forehead.
Frankenstein smacks Ar Lain Ta with his massive hand. The eye patch falls off and a swarm of flies disperse out of his eye socket, change in mid-air into maggots and fall writhing to the floor of the coffee shop. Rogue snaps her fingers softly and they turn to miniature Monarch butterflies and disappear out the back door of the 1369.
“You’ll be back,” snarls Ar Lain Ta to the Frankenstein. “The monkey is never dead. It just sleeps and waits.”
Then he disappears. The smell of ancient opium dens lingers in the shop for a moment.
The bathroom door opens and the Troll rolls out. He looks around. Moshe Dean’s head is still in the soup.
“Did I miss anything?” the Troll asks.
Moshe Dean slowly lifts his head and says, “Nah. Nothing happened.”
The Rogue and Frankenstein smile at each other.
Rogue asks a question. “Did you guys ever think of quitting heroin?”
Moshe Dean and the Troll look at each other.
In unison they reply. “Oh yeah. How about tomorrow?”
Frankenstein turns to the Rogue. “I understand. They’re just not ready yet.” And then he starts to laugh. His laughter fills the coffee house and Rogue snaps her fingers once more. A flash of light.
Moshe Dean slowly drops his head into his soup. The Troll turns to him and says, “You know, nothing ever happens around here.”