It’s the day before Labor Day: I am headed back to my shabby little hovel; hands buried in my pockets, wondering what the little fuzzy sharp scratchy thing is, unable to separate it from the rebellious seam. Enjoying the walk, wondering what to do with myself.
Appreciating the clear grey sky, the acrid smell of burning leaves. Wait, snow… nobody’s burning leaves. Curiously, like a guy with no plans (largely because I had no plans and I’m a guy)… I follow my nose, craning my neck, wondering where the smell is coming from.
No smoke, but I see the glint of dancing orange devils taunting me from an unusually reflective car window. I look for the source – a small, run-down building, humbly crouched at a self-conscious distance from the street. Before I can process my own actions, I find myself crashing through the front window, tearing at my shoulder; shards of glass ringing like sleigh bells around my feet, cheeks instantly flushed from a solid wall of heat. Ethereally, I am 10′ 4.74″ above my own body (give or take a yard), looking down with somewhat abject interest.
I see them now. Quiet, scared, staring at me hopefully, pessimistically, yet whimsically, and other random, unrelated adverbs ending in -lly.
I dive over a stretching, yawning, lazily weaving wall of flames, landing in the best Karate Kid ninja stance ever, admiring my own form; unwavering focus, the way my socks rakishly accesorize with my belt and wallet. I gather the occupants in both arms, wriggling, fighting, not sure they want to be saved.
A group of unborn, orphaned, hygienically-challenged, indigent and starving, illegally immigrated minority baby seals – and I pull them from their burning edifice; mindless of the searing flames that consume me.
Here I lie in traction, tubes a thick, tangled jungle around my hospital bed, hands and legs throbbing; now just kinda gross-looking appendages in white bandages, oozing unfamiliar fluid. Endlessly beeping machines, sucking oxygen, bright lights… and the steely glint of a waiting bedpan, complimenting the room with contemporary brushed stainless in its art deco-esque roundness.
I have no hands, no feet. I try to shout- but my throat is too burned from gulping smoke as I rescued the nervous little splay-legged puppy dogs or seals or endangered Costa Rican penguins or cookie-free girl scouts or whatever they were. (No Do-Si-Dos or Thin Mints for sale; guess I’m going with the puppies. Yeah, that’s what they were.)
I am currently typing with the one tooth I have left. I also use it as a can opener, a corkscrew, and for zesting citrus fruits to make filling for the tarts I send to starving lost tribes in developing countries each year, along with penicillin, a double-wall insulated french press for that true coffee taste, and licensed copies of TurboTax software (backwards compatible with last year’s operating system; sensitively avoiding straining their WiFi with non-critical upgrades).
And it comes to me: Must. Have. Local coffee shop. And here, folks – here we are. Nervous Dog Coffee Bar is born.