Beef and Mushroom Pie

“Two Beef and Mushroom pies?” is announced as the waiter with the sleeve tattoo walked across to the cheap looking table.

“Yes!” Gestured a man with a black jacket (the type sold at one of those stores where they sell jackets for Dads at a low cost). He was at a totally different cheap looking table. Though this one was red cheap, the other a brown tinge cheap. Sleeve tattoo man ignored this as he placed the two pies on the brown table. The two customers at this table seemed willing receivers of these pies and silently accepted.

The jacket man casually yet more awkwardly placed his hand back down again, realizing the pie announcement was not for him. He looked around slightly, if he pretended he didn’t shout out, no one else would know. Maybe he had also ordered two pies that were the beef and mushroom variety, though he was sitting alone and to have two pies is greedy. Not like he cared about that I am sure. Back to the sports tips in the paper. The broadsheet newspaper took up all of the room on his part of the table, along with the space next to him. It is one of those unsaid rules of personal space at a café table, keep to your space, yet he had broken it. The paper was laying across the space of a young man who had flushed cheeks and a flushed red jumper to match. Red jumper guy looked at the paper then at the man, then back at the paper. It was half turned, ready for the next page of sport jargon, while he waited for his coffee. He was not staying.

The pie still hadn’t come, did he even order a pie or does he like to just accept any food coming his way? His wife Kathy was at home and so this café was brilliant for his whereabouts currently. Whether he had ordered a pie or not.

The smooth slide of a plate was heard, looking up, his pie arrived. One pie, beef and mushroom.

The little girl at the smaller cheap brown table swung her legs and grinned at jacket man. She was with Daddy and her Panini was bigger than her head and her forced pigtails. The kind of pigtails her mother was trying to encourage and tend to, like the mother’s garden hedge. They were quaint, cute and also open to other compliments by passers by, both the hedge and pigtails alike. Daddy had a pie. Pie’s are popular. Though the build up and drip of a chunk of corn and chicken that fell to the plate referred this pie to the non-beef and mushroom variety. Pies yes, though not all one variety. Though the word variety is still relevant. Daddy constantly kept his face down to his plate and ate, the girl averting her eyes back to Daddy, as Jacket man was not entertaining and nor did he smile back when she did. Looking up into her milkshake cup, metal and frosted, slight pink milk dribble down the side . She reached up to stir it casually, Daddy still staring at his pie, there seemed to be waves of concern over his face. Was it the pie causing this or the argument waiting for him later on?

Jacket man slid his chair, making a loud and attentive sound. The “I am leaving and paying” kind of sound, his chair was his instrument. Walking up to the counter, giving exact change then he left, headed back to his wife Kathy, Friday afternoons meant Sudoku and Kathy always needed help. Not the kind of help he enjoyed to give, but his duty that he had prolonged enough this afternoon.

The waitress smiled at me as she approached, “Wow, I love that sticker on your laptop!”

“Yeah, do you understand it? “

“Apple Juice!”

“Yep, you are one of the few to work that out!”

“Well its cool, where did you get it?”

“So you understand the sticker says ‘juice’ and has the shape of a juice box and then the apple symbol on my mac goes in the middle of the sticker overlay therefore combining the two and causing it to look like an ‘apple juice’ image?”

“Yeah, didn’t I confirm this before”

“I was checking.”

“Ok. So where did you get it?”

“I bought it online, I bought two as I was unsure which one to get. They were five bucks each, the other is ET interacting with the apple sign.”

“What store?? I am excited, I love it”

“Are you sure you don’t love me?”

“What?”

Awkward silence. Thankfully the other waiter, tattoo sleave walked up to the conversation, “Are you guys talking about the sticker on his mac?”

“Yep, sure are.”

Sleave waiter walks up futher, “It is really cool! Apple Juice!”

“Oh so you get it too??”

“Yeah! I used to watch the Game Show ‘Catch Phrase’ so I am good with things like that!”

“Well done, you guys are a rarity!”

Both waiters smiled, and headed back behind the counter. They then continued to chat, one making a blue milkshake, a very non-descript flavor might I add, the other pushing buttons on a microwave. The microwave was black.

Forced pigtail girl and Daddy stand up and go pay. A faint smile is made from Daddy to his daughter and change is handed over. She is allowed to buy a Mars Bar also and she grins, grabbing his hand as they walk out. The cool overcast air runs over them as they exit, turning left, not right.

OK, back to writing. I am not the type to go, “Right I need plotlines and characters, who, what, where, when, why and how.” Does that matter, or does that mean I wont ever compose a story. Do musicians just play what sounds good or do they plan what climaxes and what mellow areas of the song will exist, prior to listening. I think both musicians would exist. They do exist.

“How much is a square metre of coffee?” the guy wiped his glasses while asking.

“I don’t even know what that means? Said his friend, he also had glasses but was not cleaning his.

His wife sat next to him, her face shiny yet her face dull. So it was the shiny dull look that so often occurred with her, and her sister. She was totally not interested in her husband with glasses and his mate with glasses’ conversation. She was actually assessing the lady’s shoes that just walked in.

These shoes made no sound but yet they really did scream, “Hello, I was made far away from here”. The owner’s necklace said nothing. Though she (the owner, not the necklace, necklace’s do not have a sex in this story) was another middle aged woman with blonde streaked hair that lay flat and did not necessarily promote volume, informed the Apple Juice waitress she was waiting for “someone”.

Apple Juice waitress then smiled and filled up the China Jasmine tea I ordered with hot water. She knows I do not like it strong, because the tea seems to choke your tongue, make it thick and gritty. Why do I order it? Habit, and also the way it looks when you first pour it out. There is something clean about it, happily filling up into the white ceramic. Also makes me feel grown up and mature. It does not make me grown up though, because if tea did that, life would be less complicated. Because how awkward if a four year old makes a cup of China Jasmine tea for herself (what kind of mother lets a four year old play with boiling water? Terrible mothers no doubt) and then the four year old suddenly knows how to discuss and reflect on the human experience. If this is what maturity means, awareness and knowledge of mankind’s experience. Her discussions and would not be appreciated by her peers as she enters Kindergarten in 12 months. They are all talking about who is better at jumping on the logs that are spaced out (not so evenly) in the playground. She rolls her eyes and goes down to their level.

So let us all be thankful that tea does not create maturity. The worst thing that will occur with 4 year olds, boiling water and some smuggled China Jasmine tea is soggy cake and a spilled plastic pink cup, maybe a disgruntled teddy bear. No child is hurt in this scenario, other than his/her pride. Pride to them though is also cut down when they hug a stranger’s leg, mistaking it for their dad’s leg. Mortifying, as the adults around giggle at how cute that was.

The mother with the loud bangles at the grey table is a mother that will be treasured by her twin daughters, now and in the future. She does not dress them in the same clothes, or matching clothes. One is looking like an edgey hippy child and the other, skater girl. They may be six but they know the difference between each other. One sips a Chocolate milkshake, the other a blue milkshake that Apple Juice waitress made earlier. Their mum and her friend (who is wearing an identical jacket to black jacket man earlier), chat about potted plants, and how amazing herbs are. They make dinners taste so much better. Oh and also renovations. Is there an age where this becomes interesting? I also blame those renovation shows.

The owner of the talking shoes still waits for her “someone”. She looks across at the grey table where the twins sip their milkshakes, listening to the renovation conversation. She looks as bored as her necklace is. The newspaper in front of her is invisible, only pretend focus is made. She may as well be staring at the yellow table underneath, the Booth style. Shuffling the paper and turning a page, once again, looking through the paper, words and images meaningless, her elbow slides across. She looks into her handbag, locates keys and her shoes once again silently talk the same talk as she exits. Table, newspaper and renovation talk are reasons to leave the café it seems, whether her someone was coming or not. One of the twins waves to her as she leaves, hippy twin of course.

Chef, has a chef costume on. Well, chef uniform but hey, it’s a costume if you are not a chef. It is debatable that he is a chef, Panini’s and heated up pies being the specialty, and I am pretty sure Apple Juice waitress helps. He looks happy though, Dan is at Chef’s house and has already driven to the Bottle shop, boozy night ahead. Sarah may just be a little easier this time, and Chef may not be sleeping alone tonight.

The “someone”, that the owner of the shoes was waiting for, has arrived. They have passed like ships in the night as they discuss their ship’s movements on the phone. They laugh at the analogy, well he does, as her laugh is not audible through a mobile. I so carelessly assume the laugh was there. He hangs up, his gold chain necklace would have gone so well with her lifeless one. Unsure about the shoes, he is dressed to advertise himself, his watch glinting like the golden chain. He looks safe in himself though. He sits at the same place she did, and he has adopted the newspaper she flicked through earlier with as little purpose as her attempt.

One twin (hippy twin) has gone and the other twin stays with the friend of the mother. A dumbed down conversation occurs, discussing how hard it is to focus on swimming lessons and that skater twin is a better swimmer than hippy twin. Though really, we all know that she can get away with saying this as hippy twin is not there. This would not be mutually agreed on if hippy twin was there. They also apparently only swim at one pool, they are not multi pool adapted. This is such a better discussion than the renovation one with the mums and the girl looks pleased. Renovations suck.

The owner of the shoes enters again, greets the gold chain man, her “someone” and they discuss that their ships have docked into the same harbor.

Such a beautiful analogy that they chuckle at. The newspaper is pushed aside and folded and they confirm they are both busy people. Like me, I am busy. And that they dislike lateness, he shrugs his shoulders and apologizes once again.

Scissor paper rock is played out aggressively between a child licking his icecream and his Dad, the red table welcoming another set of visitors. This game is so much fun. I wonder if another element will be added to this game ever, whether stapler could be added? Or knife? Stapler would beat paper, have a discussion about being stationery items with scissors and be smashed by rock. Stapler could then return to scissors and discuss how much it sucks to be smashed by rock but how they can crumple paper. No, they would be allies, it would not work. The original trio are different personality types with different strengths and weaknesses. I dare not meddle with a classic game passed down through the ages. So lets not even start with knife, too violent. Though scissors are banned on aircraft these days, unless they are those child safe scissors.

Gold chain man, continued to interrupt their business-like meeting by answering his constant ringing phone. His insincere apologies are answered with “its fine” style remarks with a fake laugh from the owner of the shoes. She looks across to the humming fridge, the juice she ordered from this fridge half full and half green. Green juice is going down well it seems. He just finished the call and is back into his waving hands and talking routine. He has lessened the use of hand gestures these days. His presentation about developing nations in grade 10 geography class involved a heavy inclusion of his flying around arms, and was marked down for how distracting they were.

The famous afternoon sun entered without announcement and the peeling image of Greece on the wall lights up. It looks a tad more enticing but not enticing enough to dive into, too flat and flakey. Though the sun was just giving a sneaky preview, as it fades through the overcast afternoon again and leaves the store, no goodbye is necessary. It’s presence, even though brief, was missed straight away. The older lady in the corner with the mauve glasses (her optometrist told her they were hip, and hip they are) pays for her carton of milk, smiles and shuffles out, the door ringing gently behind her. Billy is waiting on the milk.

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