There is a place down in New Farm, they call ‘the café on the edge of reason’. The coffee is really good, but it is the clientele that defines this moniker. There is a Greek lady with a very hirsute top lip and a facial mole that sprouts a single thick black hair. She sits apart from the busy trade at the back of the establishment. They say she reads the future in the black sludge at the bottom of your coffee cup. Her perfume is heady with hints of ambergris and Spanish sage. It is difficult to determine her approximate age.
The Café on the Edge of Reason
Do you know that feeling, when you sit and watch, waiting for your opportunity, and hoping that your courage will not desert you? You feel slightly ridiculous, covertly spying on the goings on at another café table. The lapis lazuli jewellery that she is wearing, sits brightly against the sunflower yellow dress that stretches manfully across her ample breast. Her laugh is guttural and shakes her olive flesh. The sounds of the café blend in with the beating of your heart within your chest. You have drunk your own cappuccino far too quickly.
Why do they call this the café on the edge of reason? She is just another phoney fortune teller, a coffee grounds clairvoyant, fleecing the unsuspecting. You twirl the coffee spoon in your fingers and play with the sugar free sachets. Glancing again down at your phone, you decide for the third time to get up and leave this café. Your legs do not obey. She is looking over at you, as her now departed client walks away. Will you bite the bullet and spin the wheel of fortune? Such tawdry metaphors for such a glorious Brisbane day. The taste of tasseomancy is almost on your lips. Could she be Turkish, after all?
You meet her eyes and smile uneasily. She beckons you over with thick fingers adorned with gold and silver rings. The emaciated café attendant, with multiple piercings through her exposed flesh, brings over a fresh brew of coffee in a metal pot. You make your way unsteadily to her rear table. She grins and reveals large yellow stained teeth with one solid gold crown at the front. Momentarily flummoxed you collapse in the waiting seat.
“Do you have a question for me, Dearie?” Her vowels are strangulated in that Mediterranean new Australian way. Your sweaty palms are slippery. Thoughts about things that really matter flood your brain and body. In such a public place, you have put yourself in real danger of revealing your soft white suburban underbelly. Who is this woman? This evil crone, can you trust her? She smiles like a hungry tiger looking your way.
“The coffee grounds never lie, Dearie.”