Sunday morning. Mouth feeling like the bottom of a cockatiel’s cage. Skin too tight. Burning in my abdomen. A sign of a good night. Or a bad one. I don’t remember which. But I woke up in my own bed and that is a good enough start.
What to do with the burning and the spinning head and the aching when I try to lift my arms? I lie still, trying to ignore the pain that the weight of the doona inflicts on my hypersensitive skin. I know the cure. It’s not that far away, but far enough that in this moment, in this body, it feels further away than Everest’s elusive summit.
Unlike Hillary, I won’t be going ‘because it was (sic) there’, but because I must. Reparation, Repentance and Rejuvenation lie within its lurid walls. It’s cushioned booths will beckon me with their stop-sign red cushions, but I will choose the position of shame. The seat of the Sunday morning uncoupled. The stool at the bar.
Strangely, the bar seating, although not revered by those in the throes of love, or Saturday-Night-Becoming-Sunday lust, are the best seats in the house. They are where you receive not only eerily prompt and cheeky service, you don’t need to entertain yourself with the drivel of the Sunday papers, you can be entertained by the staff, watch their frenetic activity and become almost one of them, for a time.
Somehow, by some superhuman feat of endurance I’ve managed to get weekend presentable, find a park (albeit two kilometres away, it would have been easier and perhaps almost closer to have walked) and drag my haglike countenance to a stool.
Jimbo is behind the bar. Good. He knows what I am going through and he has the elixir at his disposal. I just nod my head. Not too much or my brain will hit my frontal bone and bounce back to my occiput, pinging and ponging until I am completely still again. Jimbo is a good egg. He starts proceedings.
One: Bloody Mary with extra tabasco and don’t even think about adding a celery stick.
Two: One double-shot cappuccino with as much froth as you can muster. For Jimbo that is a lot. He is a master. I know, people say they are supposed to be milky, but I don’t drink capps for the milk, I drink them because they are a coffee and a dessert in one. And Jimbo doesn’t fuck around with stupid coffee pictures, the art is in the beans. And these beans will blow my hangover further than any beanstalk.
Three: Eggs Benny. It goes without saying that the eggs will be runny. They will not be on toast. They will not have salmon, bacon, rocket, spinach, or any other bullshit the chef dreamed up when he wanted to get rid of shit left over from last night. They will be on muffins and the muffins will be buttered and soft. There will be ham off the bone. The sauce will be bright yellow, not some insipid, poor, pale, vinegar-tasting imposter.
After, and only after I have eaten more than 63% of my meal will Jimbo nod in my direction, eyebrows like Macca’s arches, and perhaps, if the coffee is performing it’s healing, I will push my sunglasses up on top of my head, and say, “Think so. Think I’m still alive. I’m never drinking again.” And Jimbo will laugh, like he does, and bring me another capp, this time saying, “Here’s one on the house, for resuss purposes. As long as you never drink again.”
I will nod, and we will smile at each other, full of knowing that I’ll be back next Sunday to do it all again.
I can’t believe you’re gone Dr Greasy Joe’s. Such a sad thing for St.Kilda.
Do you have a place you lament the passing of? Is there some shit Coffee Club there?
…From The Ashers xx