Saturday, October 16, 2004

Coffee Shop of Horrors

by Skald

Winter was approaching and the money gone. No more good life as a disciplined hedonist. No more Hobopoet reverie. Hardship and destitution had arrived.

I had shelter... my Toyota Van... and a place to park it. I had clothes. I had friends.

But I needed food. I had no money for food. Yet, despite a full 10 months of unemployment, I couldn't bear the thought of getting a job. Better to starve I thought... and for a while I believed it. My first solution was to hit up friends at restaurants. Todd was working at a pizza place at the time... and would sneak me leftovers after hours. He kept me going with a steady diet of pizza, breadsticks, and salad every night.

I found another solution for the daylight hours: Coffee Shop of Horrors. This was a cafe on the square in Gainesville.... run by an eclectic group of goth-freaks: a strange business idea for redneck G-ville but a godsend for me. I'd been a regular since they opened-- and had helped a bit by passing out fliers. When the money ran out and hunger set in... I approached the manager and offered a deal, "You're always complaining about taking the recycling to the solid-waste center.... if you give me free coffee, I'll take it for you". She agreed and I became a caffeine junky by day.... a bloated pizza-pig by night.

Coffee didn't help the hunger pangs, but it did counter the lethargic effects of not eating-- kept me juiced enough to write and continue functioning.

A few days later, I noticed the manager was throwing away a plate of "expired" muffins... and asked if I could have them: from then on I added a steady supply of bread, muffins, cake, and cookies to my diet. It was a diabetic nightmare's... but kept me stocked with calories until that sad and fateful day when I once again succumbed to employment.

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