by Jeremy Warach
The air conditioning in the coffee shop was perfect. I sat at the small table, the plastic chair creaking and bouncing slightly underneath me, while my cup of coffee slowly cooled. The weather outside was oppressively hot and muggy. The sweat on my forehead still had not completely dried, even though I had been in the shop almost ten minutes.
The coffee shop was a little off the beaten path, on a side street. Locals knew it, and it had enough of a crowd of regulars to keep it in business. It was a small place and could get pretty cozy when it got busy, but it wasn't too busy just now. I had enough elbow room to be comfortable. Even though I still hadn't cooled off.
I turned to check the entrance. Anya still had not come in. I looked at my watch. I was on time, as usual, and she was late. As usual. But I was in no hurry. I looked around the shop at the familiar decor. Some of the tables had been rearranged. On a shelf stood a few colorful, eclectic pieces of what the owner must have considered artwork. Abstract ceramic sculptures. Maybe his niece made them for him in her middle school art class. I chuckled at the thought.