Paul Thomas Griffin



Paul, Paul.

Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul.

Paul, Paul — Paul Paul Paul Paul.

Paul Paul Paul Paul — PaulPaulPaulPaul.

Paul sat and waited and watched the door of the diner. Paul drummed his fingers on the wooden table’s polished surface. Paul added creamer and stirred his coffee and watched the brown swirling liquid turn tan. Paul crossed and uncrossed and recrossed his legs and wiggled his penny loafers to the sixteenth note frenzy of a recorded jazz trumpet. Paul liked how the leather shoe tassel clicked as he shook it but did not like how the sound never came at the same time his foot shook, always arriving just before or just after. Paul stirred and watched. Paul tapped and listened. Paul waited and thought. Paul stared at his watch and frowned and could not believe how long Edward was taking. Paul ____ed and ____ed and ____ed and decided that he was getting tired of doing different things in various combinations to pass the time while waiting for Edward.Paul would not be consoled by the pep and cheer of his teenage waitress. Paul noted her smile — how it remained on the girl’s face even as she spoke quickly — and her ponytail — how it whipped as the waitress turned from one customer to another — and thought of her as a human blur. Paul felt himself become walled in by her questions as he sat and stirred coffee and waited for Edward. “How are you doin today, hon?” “Some weather we’re having, huh?”

“Want some more coffee?” Paul. “Can I interest you in our daily special?”

“You ready to order?” “Would you like to start with an appetizer?”“The soups we offer today are lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and chicken noodle.

“Sir?” Paul. “Are you feeling alright?”

“Ohhh, OK. That’s good . . . I was worried there for a second. Heh. I’ll go get you more coffee.”Paul tried to keep his eyes to his drink and his menu, but he could not. Paul marveled at the waitress’s fluid motion and her refusal to do one thing and then another but instead doing everything at once in a single movement without beginning or end. Paul felt alienated by this aproned ball of kinetic energy but also felt attracted to its pull. Paul remembered that where there is an electric field there is also a magnetic field. Paul drank and tapped and drank and waited for three quarters of an hour but did not eat, and Edward did not come. Paul decided after some time that he did not mind and at the same moment realized his lunch with Edward was not scheduled for that day but in fact the following Wednesday.