Each morning for breakfast Flick orders a cup of black coffee with a piece of sweet egg-toast. Today, for the first time, the two sisters in the cafe were friendly. Their eyes crinkled with joy, and they asked him if he was enjoying his morning. ‘What’s wrong with you two?’ he said. ‘Every day I come in here and you’re both as miserable as hell. I gave up trying to make conversation long ago. Today I hate the world and you want to talk.’ The sisters looked at each other.
Flick sipped his coffee thoughtfully. It was difficult to figure people out sometimes. Those sisters were contrary. But their coffee was undeniably the best in town. Consistently to his taste: thin and weak. And so cheap. He didn’t touch his toast. He hadn’t the stomach for it.
Another customer was staring at him over the top of a newspaper. Flick stared back. He told the other man that this was a terrible cafe. The worst. The customer didn’t flinch. Flick wanted to rip the newspaper out of the other man’s hands. ‘Do you understand what I’m saying?’ said Flick. ‘About this place? The service is lousy. The coffee stinks, but it just happens to be how I like it. Do you understand?’ The customer nodded. He was wearing tinted spectacles. He hadn’t moved his newspaper at all. Flick finished the coffee and ran his finger round the inside of the cup. He sucked his fingertip. He licked his spoon suggestively while looking levelly at the other man. He was feeling very destructive today. He walked out, taking his toast with him.