Eugene’s lips tilted to the side with a juicy twitch, his teeth opening and chomping as if on an invisible cigar. The stale scent of tobacco, sweat, and moonshine hovered around the spot he stood. He rubbed his meaty hands together, stained slightly with yellow. Now Pete wondered if those stains were caused by nicotine or by Grey Poupon. Eugene lurched forward and moved past Pete, his malodorous cloud lingering a bit and finally dissipating as he swung open the large metal door and slammed it home behind him. Pete heard a collection of rattles and sliding metal as Eugene bolted and locked the door.
Pete sighed, knowing he should get back to his post behind the glass counter, but he took a moment longer to wonder what was going on behind that door. A small shimmer of light dimmed and came back again behind the little peephole that looked out into the hallway. Pete gathered up his self-consciousness and hurried back behind the counter, slipping on an apron that was a little cleaner than the last.
Now standing on the familiar spot of linoleum, scuffed black by Pete’s shoes in front of the Espresso machine, Pete could see Francisco through the front window with his notebook under arm, his notebook splayed with pages jutting out randomly. Francisco was looking down at a couple of pages in his hand, like he was rediscovering them in the aftermath of the Eugene. Usually when he got tossed out, Francisco looked up at Pete afterwards to get an extra dose of self-indulgent pity.
Francisco often told Pete it helped him write better in the afternoon.