• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 08


There’s a guy sitting in the window, between the tropical leaves and the coffee tables. He’s gold-dipped where light has wrestled from the sun, crossed through space for eight minutes, then passed through a break in the clouds to the fjord of a Manhattan street. He’s oblivious to being a deity, just squints a bit as he reads The New York Times.
I’m at the counter, out for coffee, jet-lagged and bemused by the reality of yellow taxis, brownstone buildings, the proximity of The Met. I’ve just woken to birds in Central Park and, so far, have only spoken to the red-jacketed man who pressed the lift buttons for me: ‘Ground floor, please.’
The deity doesn’t look up when a waiter brings him eggs, salmon and sourdough toast. He eats. Reads. He’s an unrelational god, then; up and beyond the realm of men. I should’ve known from the neatness of his cuffs.
My turn: ‘Just coffee, please.’ I wave green notes.
I think there are two options for his type of goddom:
1) brutal, uncaring, Zeus et al, or
2) distant and vast, beyond morality, physics and philosophy, both lurking beyond the edges of the observable universe and hiding in the orbits of atoms, pulling on the strings of dark matter, in everything, but somehow older and wiser, like a conscious coating overlaying all we see, do, touch, and vaguely caring about the almost-conscious creatures on a blue bit of dust, in the same way an author might vaguely care about characters created to fill up a crowd scene in the proper narrative of the universe.
Coffee, in a too-thin paper cup, is handed to me.
He’s a Greek god, then. If I walk across the café, sit in the seat opposite him, stretch across the table to press my atoms against his atoms, gold-leaf my fingertips, I’ll find concrete resistance, I’m sure.
I soften the heat with as much milk as with fit.
And anyway, I like Greek gods better, their theatrical turbulence makes me feel better about the state of my own life.