the man with shaking hands
He ordered a bowl of hot chips, a dipdish of tomato sauce and the the pie of the day. For this he got a gadget that flashed and vibrated when his lunch was on the bar-top, ready.
He was a man about sixty plus wearing sneakers, socks, shorts and a clean white singlet. Narrow-shouldered, pot-bellied, nearly bald. Alone. He took the food back to his table outside, laid it down and came back for a drink as a magpie glided down from a tree across the road for a bit of a looksee.
I got up, went outside and waved the bird off, met the man as he was coming back out.
‘Thanks mate.’ He said.
His table was on the other side of the barroom window. I’m sitting two feet away drinking beer with nothing to do but watch a younger old man wearing a white singlet eating alone. Just there. Like we’re sharing the same table.
There must have been about twenty chips in the bowl, and watching his stuttering, tap-dancing fingers as he extracted them, one by one, then aimed and dipped them into the tomato sauce before bringing them up to his open mouth was a lesson in dealing with personal disorder.
He ate the hot pie with fingers that shook and shivered and when his mobile burbled he picked it up and impossibly, began texting like he was squashing letter-bugs living inside the screen.
That done he resumed eating.
The two fingers that picked up his food were betrayed by the third that dislodged it. The hand that held his drink delayed its approach to his lips then swayed away. The order to his hand to tip the drink into his mouth turned traitor and splashed some down his singlet.
His body, his enemy, didn’t want to feed him.