hunger and counting
He’s sitting at an outside table at the Doma cafe with about six friends. He’s square-shouldered and maybe under thirty, the girls at the table too lovely to look at. I’m inside waiting for lunch, their car is out the front with about eight boards on the roof. I’m watching him because he’s sitting at the head of the table waving his arms about as he draws his friends’ attention to what he’s saying.
Big laugher. Nice teeth. Showboat.
Food comes and he begins to eat, forgoing further conversation with the lovely at his side, the long brown legged lovely. If only she were a painting.
Showboat consumed his lunch over seven innings.
Total time at the plate: eight minutes and thirty seconds.
These innings were a count of the number of loaded forks the Showboat’s mouth accepted whilst still being occupied with the previous load.
Loading and eating. Loading and eating. Loading and eating. When he stopped to chat or wipe his mouth, I stopped counting, committed his score to memory and waited for the next innings.
Innings 1: 10
Innings 2: 10
Before leaving, I asked one of the girls if I could have a scrap of paper.
One Japanese style burger with a side dish of red chili downed in fifty-eight hits. Consecutive innings of ten, then a fourteen, two sixes, an eight and finishing with a four.
Showboat sits back, wipes his mouth on his T-shirt collar and raises a hand to his lips to deal with the rising gastronomical consequences. A sheen of perspiration has appeared on his brow. His forehead is knuckling.
Later on I told Al.
‘What?’ he says, ‘you’ve got nothing better to do?’
I shrug, open my hands.
‘I was waiting for a take-away, what else is there?’