The daughter is asking me how I met her mother. She knows, of course, but mine is always the more interesting recollection...

“remember how I told you I went to Hogwarts…?”

- “With Harry Potter?”

“yes, yes… and remember Voldemort? How he was trying to kill the Potter boy? Well...Voldemort was your Mother’s Puppet...She came from Mordor, having finished with Sauron, and rode her broom through time and space, no, it's not really relevant, I just thought you'd wanna know ... it was in the Jedi Academy...no, after I helped Pharaoh to build the pyramids...don’t be funny, The Vampire Wars were much later, do they not teach history in school? ...Stop rolling your eyes, I know you’re a bit skeptical but I have proof, let me show you...This ring...can you see me? Still? ahh, that’s your wizard blood...if you were a muggle you couldn't … anyways, it seems that Lord Vader, or Anakin as we called him then, had benefited greatly from your Mother’s assistance…"

I washed up the dinosaur bones from my daughters vacation and put them outside to look at closer later. And later in the day I'm woken by the landlord and his brother, Italians, out mowing the lawn. I go out to say hi.

G, the landlord, and his bro S, his bro, shirt off and chest bristling, freshly shaven, are chatting, S is apologizing about a bit of row they had the other morning that woke me early and continued throughout the day, loud conversations that managed to use more permutations of the word "FUCK" than I had realized were possible, but they've made up now it seems. They enquire about the rocks strewn about the deck, I explain, S gets excited....

"You mean these are from a dinosaur...? You some kind of archaeologist or something?"

And I explain that they're from a dinosaur, and show him how I knew, how to tell, and explain that the word is paleontologist, ....He's getting excited.

"What kind of dinosaur? Archaeology, that's cool..."

Duckbill, probably, I explain, and don't bother to correct him further...

"Like a giant duck. How big..., do you think, as big as this house?"

And I hazard a guess as to it's size, probably 12 feet....

"A giant duck..." he repeats, and tells his brother G.

"Do you ever go to youtube and look at those videos?" he asks, and now he's on a roll... "The ones about where they find those skeletons of giant people, 30 feet tall, some even 25 feet or 10 feet even..." He's curiously reversed the order of size, dramatically reversing the order of maximum effect, but he's into the subject now, I hum-haw noncommittally...."Aliens" he continues..."You see that video where the UFO comes out of nowhere and zaps the nuclear missile test to the ground?" and he begins to dance around, playing the part of both the nuclear missile and the peace loving UFO "pu...it fires it's lazers, and then goes over here, and pu it fires it's lazers again, and then it disappears off into the sky.....they'll never allow us to have a nuclear war...or the videos with all the aliens they've got in the bunkers?"They got wormholes from the Germans in the second world war, you know how our universe is next to another universe..."  and he's explaining with his hands, making bubbles..."And there's a big wormhole ..." and he illustrates a circle, "Like Stargate" I say ironically, and he immediately agrees..."Yeah, just like that, and you just step through and you're in this other universe....what's your email, I'll send you some links, will blow your mind...."

I make my excuses, have to go back inside, resume my work...he stares thoughtfully for a minute over the suburbs in the distance, the infinitely growing and sprawling city....

"You know, a lot of people, they just go to work and come home and eat and go to sleep. They're not curious like us...."

 

It starts as he fills me in on the background of one of our new regulars, a 97 year old that shuffles in for lunch, late, always late, 10 minutes before close, that 10 minutes and another 5 he spends finding a seat in the restaurant. He's bonded with the Nephew, the reason being that apparently in the second world war he was a Nazi, met Hitler, has photos, shown them to the nephew, brought him books, told stories.

And from this the nephew fills me in on his point of view:

"I mean, think about it, The Egyptians, the Russians, The Germans, I can understand that everyone doesn't like you, but if nobody likes you maybe the problem is with you...Look at the banks....the US...it's caused by the Jews....Hitler, he saw it coming...he was an angel sent by God to save us....he was the Messiah, and we, we killed the son of god, and then we killed Hitler...he invented recycling, shoes over here, shirts over there...."

His conversations, invariably inappropriate and always at a volume several times what a sane person would use, but he's using the time-honored Italian technique of raising his voice to persuade me, we would easily lose half of our customers if they could read his mind, but he's on a tear now, justifying his admiration for this old and tottering relic...it doesn't matter, it's his day to stay late and he can while away the long afternoon hours looking through black and white war photos....

Later in the evening, when most of the running around is done and tables are finishing up and leaving, I find myself engaged in a conversation with a table.

I never engage my tables in conversation.

It's a rule, my views and opinions are generally so contrary to the norm here that to even slightly allow them voice is to open a world of trouble. Don't argue with the customers. But they're young and they've had some wine and are looking for the distraction of someone elses conversation and they open up to me that it's the first night out for them since returning from abroad.

"Really? Where?" I inquire. It's expected.

He, from Dublin where he celebrated St. Patrick's day. A good party I presume, he confirms it.

She, from Africa, where she worked at an Orphanage.

He introduces her as his girlfriend, I'm not interested but note his slight possessiveness.

I'm interrupted. There are no tables, so to speak of, but I'm called upon again and again to run errands, sort out bills, the things all of us should be able to do as equals, but some of us are more equal than others...

Back at the table, their names. I hate names, I have no memory for names, I only remember those I dislike. Z, he gets everybody's name, the name of their children, grandchildren, parents, he loves that stuff. I hate it.

I remark upon the diverse destinations they've been to - incongruent, his adventures are light, hers more interesting, emotionally engaging. I ask why not together, why this separation, odd, he defends himself, feels, though he's in his early thirties, that he's not ready to see that sort of suffering...maybe when he's in his forties...

Pleasant, but a child. And while I have no interest I have to wonder how she ended up with him.