JJ tried to go to AA but the thought of those determined desperate happy people turned him away before he could get out of the car. He sat in the lot watching the smokers talking and laughing. “Fuck that,” he said and went to get a cup of coffee. “Better than the liquor store,” he said. “I gotta stop talking to myself,” he said.
White-knuckling it in a coffee shop turned out to be a bad idea.
There was this guy in the cafe, a typical 21st century guy, not really a man, but not physically a child. But, he did have toys like a child. iphone5s on display (for communicating), MacBook Pro with Retina display (for stylish and smug computing), and Bose headphones (QuietComfort™, $300). This guy stared at the screen of his MacBook Pro with Retina Display with great intensity, talking to someone about Haiti.
“The weather? Not what you’d think. Not as hot. The whole place…what’s that?” He listened. “It’s not like you’d think. The earthquake was…what’s that, I can’t hear you…”
The guy-child got louder and louder, headphones on, talking to the screen, and nobody seemed to mind. This was typical 21st century behavior and everyone nearby was also self-consumed and oblivious, bored eager faces stuffed in their laptops or phones. Except for righteous JJ, with his twitchy booze-withdrawal too-tight skin. He was ready to stab this shithead on first impressions alone, before he even started speaking.
“They’re poor but it’s not like the shanties you see…What? Yes, shanties. Like plywood huts. Sometimes cardboard. Yes, it’s terrible, but not…”
JJ pulled one padded Bose disc away from the guy’s ear. “Excuse me, but you gotta shut the fuck up,” he said. A shift in the room. Maybe they were listening after all.
“Excuse me? It’s a free country.” Guy-child turned back to the screen. “No, Sage, not you. There’s a person here, being rude.”
“Actually, it’s not a free country. It’s an expensive country.” JJ grabbed the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, ignored the guy’s squeal and feeble wrist grab as the Bose plug popped out, and took the computer to the door where he frisbeed it across the sidewalk, right into the gutter. There it lay, Apple logo still glowing, in a puddle of gray slush.
The 21st century guy-child, all red in the face, pushed past and ran to the curb, kneeled in the slush, and, moaning, took the laptop into his arms. The Apple light went dark.
JJ felt the swamp of dread rising inside. But physically, on the outside, he felt much better. Might as well finish this. He took out a wad of $100s, more of his dreadful lottery winnings, and tossed it into the slush. “Buy yourself something nice,” he yelled and stalked away to the liquor store.