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Knee Guy

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The last Wednesday of musical rehearsals arrives – the sun pouring on a brisk spring day. To celebrate our success, Celine, Alex, and I concur to congregate outside of the nearest Starbucks to purchase a couple cups of steaming coffee. While patiently anticipating paying for our order, the squeal of the front door resounds, revealing a gray-haired man who looks like he just stepped out of Donald Trump’s office. Carrying an unwieldy briefcase, he strolls in to place his order, his black leather shoes tapping across the linoleum floor. Click, clack. Click, clack.

“The usual. Tall vanilla latte, kid,” his raspy booming voice instructs the beverage concoctor. With a pair of dark semicircles engulfing his eyes, he briefly scans his wallet for a couple of ones. He smells like a burnt marshmallow, ready to smush its way between a crunchy graham cracker and dripping rich chocolate into a s’more. With every movement, his musky aroma permeates the room. “Thanks kid,” his velvet raspy voice again echoes. With cup in one hand, briefcase in the other, and newspaper under one arm, he busily ambles towards the door to lounge outside.



Immediately, he slumps into a dainty steel-framed chair that pierces like a bed of needles when sat upon. He nonchalantly relaxes on the patio furniture like he’s absorbing the sun at the beach, allowing the beating sun’s rays to strike his tan scaly body. Outside, Alex, Celine, and I cautiously wander to a table in the center of the man’s view. He snaps open his newspaper while alternating between sips of his sugary sweet latte and puffs from a cigarette, releasing smoggy light clouds like an active volcano. While conferring about catholic schools, Alex declares, “I never went to a catholic school, and I don’t think I would have survived there anyway.” Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the man peering over his newspaper, revealing only his bony nose and sleepy eyes pointed right towards us. “Catholic schools?” he gasps, “I went to a catholic school all my life. I didn’t see a girl’s knee until I was in college!” We freeze, remaining motionless like a couple of ancient Roman sculptures. Speechless, we are three big-mouthed basses, openly gawking at this man. With one glance at us, he bursts with a soulful cackle and picks up his possessions. “Have a nice day, girls,” he adds as he congenially departs.

With wide eyes and chins down to the ground, we try not to erupt with giggles and chuckles. Knee guy, we call him. Knee guy, with the same clean-cut business attire and briefcase that could hold a herd of elephants. Knee guy, who buries his worn sun-kissed face and raccoon eyes into the local newspaper. Knee guy, who parades into Starbucks every Wednesday with the same raspy voice that proclaims, “The usual. Tall vanilla latte, kid.”





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