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GUNS Magazine October 2010 - Page 78
gARcon! There is something in my coffee. hat last Odd Angry Shot was pretty somber,” the Memsaab “T said, sipping her coffee and sniffin’ the morning breeze. “Maybe you should try something light, like….” But my attention was on the big, brought his mug to his lips for his ugly bug flying our way, lookin’ like a first sip, Splash!—the feathered filthfat, dusty roach. His stubby, too-small missile impacted—a bull’s-eye in his wings flailing, he pitched and yawed like cup. a shot-up Swordfish biplane torpedo The troops froze. Silence fell, bomber coming in for a carrier-deck broken only by heavy breathing. landing. As he approached, he buzzed Bruno’s purple passion for coffee was like a tiny, two-stroke engine running as well known as his temper—and his outta gas, pulled nose-up at the last strength. instant, and—Plop!—landed smack “Garcon,” he stage-whispered, in my coffee cup…. “There is something in my coffee.” “Bruno!” Helena laughed, and I He winked conspiratorially. Relieved, laughed with her. And the memories one kid extended a tentative, faltering came like a warm wave. hand to retrieve the dirty birdie from Sitting on the bank of a muddy Bruno’s cup. stream in French Guyana, home of “No!” He shouted, as he rummaged the Foreign Legion’s jungle training in his blouse and came up with a facility, I was listening to “Bruno mini-Minox camera. “Get away,” the Belgian” wax eloquently about he commanded, and they eagerly his favorite subject: coffee. I had to complied. He carefully lined up his admit, he knew more about “The shot, grabbing a legionnaire who, for Blessed Bean” and loved its essence an instant thought Bruno was gonna more than anyone I’d ever known. snap his neck, to hold a tree branch I’m a coffee nut; he’s a coffee freak; back out of the light. He took several a guy who actually went on “coffee shots, at one point subtly adjusting the vacations” the way some people go position of the nose-down shuttlecock, on wine-tasting tours. And there amid and finally seemed satisfied. the muck, he proved that even under “Now,” he muttered. “I must…” jungle conditions he could produce two consummate cups of magnificent mojojuice; one for him, one for his new Americain pal. Somewhere in the riverbank debris, the younger legionnaires had found a vintage badminton shuttlecock; one made with real feathers and a leather nose. It was old, filthy, foul and reeking. Lacking rackets and net, the boys slapped it back and forth with their hands as they ran and shoved, slipping in the mud, playing their game more like Australianrules rugby, complete with tripping, elbow-pokin’ and body-slamming. As Bruno Have a sip? Uhh… No thanks. 78 —and he lifted the cup, grimaced, sipped—and swallowed. “Phah! Foo! Blucchh!” he spluttered, spitting out bits of who-knows-what as his eyes watered. “C’est fini,” he pronounced. “One more for the book.” Bruno’s Book— The Other One I knew Bruno was writing a book on coffee—history, varieties, roasting processes, grinds, methods of preparation, and the art and science of presentation and savoring. But I didn’t understand how slurping contaminated coffee fit that format. “Non different book. This one,” he said as he struggled for words. “Big! Un grand livre. A… a coffee-table book. All big photos. The subject is, things which have fallen into coffee, yet I drink regardless. I have many photos, many very strange bad things; many different places. It will be chefd’oeuvre—a masterpiece! Peut-etre, perhaps, title will be Garcon, There Is Something In My Coffee.” Keys, pens, pencils, map-markers, which created kaleidoscopic swirls; a solvent-soaked bore brush, a tree leech, insects of all kinds; a nasty bowelbomb by a seagull, festooned with shards of fish-bones; notes, nail clippers, cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, a pachinko ball, a bloody bandage, even a partially-consumed lizard dropped by a passing bird; all had bathed in Bruno’s coffee. “The lizard, dat falls in anodder guy’s coffee, but me, I drank from it, as he would not,” he admitted. Bruno was certain such a book would sell briskly to “Germans, Brits and French. They love such strange sickness. Not so the Italians. Those odders, they drink coffee—in Italy, they reverence fine coffee. My book would be burned there. I would be… savaged.” WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • OCTOBER 2010