The sun was beating dust into the bricks, the world snug inside its atmosphere. Young students typed away on tablets, phones and laptops inside one of Portland Oregon’s more popular coffeehouses. Within striking distance of an accredited local university favored for its substrata of adult summer coursework, all DIY-focused. If you wanted to learn how to build a computer from scratch or make a zoo from scrapped metals, this was the place to be, circa 2003.
The owners of the café were a man and woman from Pennsylvania and Alaska, respectively, and had established a friendship from their days past as bike couriers in Seattle. She wore her hair mohawk. He was recovering from an attempted reverse mohawk. Never let someone on acid near your head with a pair of shears, was the lesson-du-jour. Even if it’s your best friend in the whole wide world.
The barista girls were counting out change behind the steamship enterprise, and drawing maple leaves out of foam in each and ever latté. This particular morning saw well-spirited banter in between giggling laughter. The aforementioned victim of reverse mohawk had arrived, wearing pantyhose on his head, to conceal the crime.
At exactly five minutes after eleven am, pacific standard time, all fingers hovered motionless over virtual and physical keyboards, inside the café.
All eyes turned toward the long faux marble counter, behind which an irreverent prankster of a girl from Alaska, with blue and green spikes of frozen hair touching sky in a five-pointed inline star cutting through steam and coffee aromatics, was holding pantyhose just out of reach of the grasping tatted arms of her famed partner and co-pilot in the steamship enterprise.
A cheshire cat grin extended across her lips, as she shielded her prize with her body, shouting: LOOK EVERYBODY, IT’S MY BROTHER FRIM ANOTHER MOTHER!
The tragedy became complete, when our poor beloved Pennsylvania transplant turned to face the student body, with only the counter between him and them, and not tall enough to hide the DIY fail. His eyes tried to follow the path the others all took, and rose toward the sky. The sun set red hot on his face, then…
Murder. In broad daylight.