Another Guest Writer

"Maman is far gone in this story, though she isn't in reality - I often see her,

on the opposite side of her husband at the picnic table, flicking ashes from her lit cigarettes into the Folgers' Coffee tin between them."

By Nicole Ritzer

TO START, & ON A FAIRLY UNNECESSARY NOTE : I am aware of the finer points of coffee-brewing, aware in the sense that I can tell how a cup will taste the same way someone more eminently French than I (fallacy, impossible, will not last -) will loudly suck in a gulp of wine (hint : sniffing the cork is Patrick Bateman-style bullshit devised as a way to impress and shame your table-guests, no matter what anyone says to try & convince you otherwise) : by holding it up to the light, clinking a spoon against the French press, smelling the spent & now-useless grounds. I no longer strive for perfection, & instead have started a slow clog on the fine mesh of the Ikea French press (finding the percolator untrustworthy) - reduced in price from $25 to $16 in the newest catalogue, of which two arrived in my mail - as it continues to accumulate stuck-on residue of the shit I have sprinkled in with the grounds which doesn't just rinse off the way fine-grind rinses off, with a splash of hot tap-water (it travels everywhere, up the sides of the stainless-steel sink like mud rocketed up by the tyres of a car to hop a kerb & soak bystanders). Nutmeg n' black pepper, or shavings of Godiva Easter chocolate truffles from my very own mother - ones that crossed the Michigan Border (undeclared-at-customs food products) & that were falling apart and oozing when I opened the package at the post office in the early & abnormal spring highs of 25 or 30, whatever-Fahrenheit, unusual even here, more becoming of Los Angeles which is, according to David Lynch's weather reports, becoming "ambitiously balmy". The chocolates went directly into the freezer and, since using the vegetable peeler & shaving strips of them to mix with the aromatic grounds, I have not checked to see if their remains - now-lopsided & freak-looking lumps - are still as-of-now uneaten, but my intuition says they're gone and I'll never know what happened. And finally, the best combination yet, with the black-black hot-wet grounds & Ottawa tap water : real truffles, or their shavings - aromatic like wet soil, freshly-shorn deep-green grass, a hike in the forest, subtle like the smell of tree-bark, natural and good.

THE POINT of all this is that tonight, this-night, is my third French press of coffee in the twenty hours of today's wakefulness. I am over-scooping the coffee grounds and dropping the heaping piles in fours and fives, covering them in an ounce of cold-cold water & then pouring the steaming-not-boiling stuff from very high up. (A coffee that isn't strong enough will appear translucent in front of a bright light : brown water, which funnily will also do well enough to describe its taste and texture. A coffee that is too strong will look opaque in front of a bright light : black paste. It will taste burnt & as close to carelessness as one is physically able to perceive with any one of the five senses, six if you count the tingling of yer "Mickey Rourke sense", but perhaps it's just the inborn instinct to find cover whenever cigarette-breath, unwashed hair & sweaty n' sour comes appearing. You are supposed to grimace when you drink a cup of too-strong coffee, but forget about pouring it down the sink - drink the whole thing up very, very quickly to ride out a body-buzz and speak like an amphetamine addict for the rest of the day. Coffee-drinking is a pissing contest between the purported strong coffee enjoyer (henceforth referred to as "The Pretender") and the true, strong coffee-drinking "the way I always do it at home is run this already-brewed coffee through these new coffee grounds with the percolator" line-stepping tester-of-boundaries (henceforth referred to as "I feel kind of wasted right now. Do you? I haven't been drinking. It must be the air. Maybe I snorted up too much salt-water at the beach today. Are you sure you're okay? Because I feel wasted."). The result of all this is that : my coffee has come out of the pot like the scene in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas in which Johnny Depp goes on the Gator ride with Lacerda - who doesn't even look Portuguese - thru the dunes of the Mint motorcycle circuit : before the elevator scene, "written-with-Benicio-in-mind", but after hallucinating The Film Tropic Thunder, Duke pours his sand-riddled beer out onto the ground & it makes the splattering noises of a not-quite liquid. Mud.

I REMEMBER all the bad habits of the country of France & microwave my favourite blue mug, over & over again, as it fills with my ever-cooling sludge. I feel kind of wasted right now. Do you? I haven't been drinking. It must be the air.

Join me in a cigarette?