INVOCATI - Extract One

If my life is to be nothing but waiting, I can at least wait in comfort.  A cinema would be perfect, but with only loose change in my in pocket there will be no cinema, no hotel room, no dinner at the Ritz. Economy class comfort is all I can afford. So I glance at the crowds, glance at the sky, pull up my hood against the rain and follow the clink of coffee cups.
A few minutes later I am standing outside of the Excelsior Cafe. An awful place. A tedious replica of every illuminated grill that hunger or boredom had ever persuaded me to enter. But if I have to choose between tedium and the  rain,  I will avoid the rain.
Once inside, I begin to regret my decision.  The stark, fluorescent glare from the overhead lights bounce off the vulgar orange and lime plastic and paint, hurting my eyes and imparting a garish sheen to the wax-like pallor of the three men and two women eating  silently at separate tables.  The piped noise is as irrelevant as the menu and the cash register seems the most potent human inhabitant.
A man in a green hat rises from a table on my right and brushes past my arm. He pauses for a moment to adjust the collar of his coat, casts a malevolent glare in my direction, dismisses me as unworthy of further attention,  then kicks open the door and hurries out into the rain. I watch him disappear from view, weaving in and out of the traffic, casting a final glance at the sky before turning the corner in the direction of Trafalgar Square.
It will begin again.  Soon, it will begin again.
I allow my eyes to linger on the window, gazing at the tiny drops of moisture as they pitter-patter on the glass, seeking reassurance that the rain is still only rain. Watching for tell-tale hints of crimson. Waiting for the rain to change. But everything is normal.  The rain is still only rain... clear and translucent. The sky is not yet weeping blood.
I select a table by the window, take off my coat, and after carefully checking the contents of my pockets, drape it over the back of the chair and wait to be served.  I think about the man in the green hat, the way he stared at my face as he brushed past,  the
BACK
NEXT