Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try. So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's. Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place. The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.

Bonjour! Mesherfin! Hasta la vista! Your barista.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fister Mishy

The costume reindeer antlers resting on the cash register this morning was the first thing to catch the barista’s eye this mild mid-November dawn, though bigger surprises would be in store…or dare I say, in café… in le Harbor Bungalow Café.

Mildly disappointed no paint fumes remained from artistry practiced by Jennifer the night prior, the barista was grinding the first beans of the day when he glanced toward the back of the shop.  The single-floor narrow row home of a café, receives a fresh coat of color somewhere on nearly a monthly basis.  The lemon-bar-yellow walls provide a nice backdrop for local artists' paintings and photographs, the steel tables recently morphed into a glossy, Smurf blue and the sugar and cream station now proudly sports an Oscar-the-Grouch green.  But it was the scuffed up, painted, tile floor in the back room that Jennifer touched up overnight in the same tan beach sand shade used months prior.  The barista didn’t notice the floors until hours later.  His attention was focused on Fister Mishy.

A cichlid is a type of  fish that can exude the color of a goldfish and the body of a sumo wrestler—at least that is the look of the double-fist sized cichlid living in the back of le Harbor Bungalow Café for the past few of years.  The H.B.C. acquired the slippery gill-equipped fellow from a loyal, hefty, bearded patron who at the time could not provide the pet a home.  Jennifer adopted the creature and her young daughter named him Mister Fishy.  (The barista finds this name lame—but who is to rationally expect an elaborate or clever name from a two-year old?  Hence the intentionally dyslectic variation, Fister Mishy.)

 Before this morning Fister Mishy had a problem.  The problem resulted in a red flesh wound between Fister Mishy’s eyes, visible to patrons relaxing on the plush couches as they sipped their cappuccinos or licked the apple cider frosting of Jennifer’s new pumpkin donuts from their upper lips.  The problem resulted in complaints from members of PETA (People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals) who on a random visit from Washington D.C. one day, popped into the cafe.  The group of three, after complementing Jennifer on her wonderfully tasty homemade pastries, retreated to the back room to enjoy their mixed berry scones or pumpkin truffles or whatever they ordered, when their lower jaws nearly hit the coffee table in horror because of the size of this fish relative to its tank.  Now the barista is no expert on fish-to-tank water ratios, but let’s just say when a fish and its tank is relative in size to a gallon of ice cream in your standard refrigerator’s freezer, something’s amiss.  And the freezer in this analogy is not empty.  A cute log and unnecessary fake vegetation also prevented this tortured behemoth from really spreading its fins.  How it grew to be this large in that tank was puzzling.  It didn’t take a member of PETA to draw these conclusions, the scene just rubbed salt in Fister Mishy’s open wound.

Speculation spread amongst patrons that Fister Mishy was attempting suicide, pushing his nose out of the water and knocking the plastic door open, which is how the wound formed.  If the feeding door was not there, Fister Mishy may have got his wish—unless his wish was something else, like sneaking a taste of Jennifer’s spicy chicken soup.  If that were the case—and if he could jump that far—the barista wouldn’t blame him. But as the comments regarding Fister Mishy’s living conditions multiplied, (I feel so bad for him... The tank's so small... The way he bangs his head on the top of the tank it's a miracle he can still see straight.) the barista did not want to bear the blame for the cichlid's physical and mental health, nor did  his boss, Jennifer.  Leon—the Santa Claus-looking patron who generously gifted the creature in the first place--wanted to care for his spiny-rayed buddy himself.  Leon is the one who changes out Fister Mishy’s water along with the required aquarium maintenance.  His heart is bigger than his wallet.  When the small table under the aquarium was buckling earlier this year, Leon helped to build a fifth, brick leg to keep Fister Mishy's habitat from violently shattering on the floor, flooding the back room.  He strategically placed coffee cup sleeves between the table and the bricks to more evenly distribute the heavy weight.  Leon provides the food, but it is mainly Jennifer and her baristas who feed the monster.  Our barista is amused when he gives the eetsy beetsy pieces of TetraCichlid Cichlid Sticks to children of patrons to drop into Fister Mishy's tank.  Why?  Because the kids jump in shock as Fister chomps violently enough to splash water out of the tank when he’s hungry.  The kids generally jump in delight after the fact, knowing they are safe.  (To date, no child has cried from the experience, let alone been injured on our barista’s watch at le Harbor Bungalow Café.  Though Squeaky did get his finger bit once--but he is a 70-year old man who should know better.)

So Leon, after months—if not years—of promises about getting a new tank for his slimy friend, came through yesterday with a tank twice the size of the former.  It was this five-foot long tank raised on a sturdy, wrought iron stand that blew the sleep out of our barista's eyes this morning.  "Fister Mishy must think he has died and gone to the ocean," the barista proudly exclaimed.  Now if the red, open wound on his scaly forehead heals, the barista, his boss and their sympathetic patrons can rest easy believing Fister Mishy is at peace with his new container and his new life.  If the wound does not heal, maybe the barista will lobby for a Fisses Mishy.

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