Those Who Eat

Edible the Hungry
His hands linger on the leather satchel resting on his long coat. He looks for an open table, or counter, or stretch of bar. “There must be someplace good to eat around here,” he mutters, eyes darting from restaurant to food stall to store front. “There’s always something to eat hiding away from casual eyes. Let’s try to find it.”


(In alphabetic order)

The Alabaster Witch
White-blond hair falls in waves over a black corset. She sticks the tip of her tongue out the corner of her mouth. Somewhere on her—under the folds of her Victorian skirt, over her shoulder, along her waist—somewhere a snake slithers in quiet comfort as she points an imposing fingernail at you and asks in a sickly sweet voice if you have a cookie for her.

The Ardent Fashionista
She sits with a poise and openness that belies the jumping enthusiasm waiting to dance with her words with eager abandon. You would expect her conserved smile and shining eyes to be a facade, one more article of clothing added to her meticulously assembled and presented ensemble, but her earnest joy and curiosity is the one accessory others can never replicate, though many try.

The Bearded Butcher
A hearty laugh booms from the sinewy tangles of his hair. His fingers drum an endless heartbeat. His words are minced, his jokes hearty as mead, twice as sour, thrice as sweet. He shifts down his glasses on his nose and fixes you with a look like a honeyed fillet knife: the meal to follow should be memorable indeed.

The Cackling Barmaid
At first, her eyes roll like a jungle cat’s. Then, her smile slips into the guise of marble, transfixing your gage as you drink. You may beg, or ask, or attempt innumerable ploys, but she has heard them all and rebuffed twice more than you can imagine. Her laughing scorn bounces like spilled wine, deep and sweet and utterly out of your grasp.

The Cheery Milliner
Her needle dives and leaps, her laugh as bright as a sunlit-salmon bounding upstream. Certainly, she has no difficulty with pins and needles. But her wide smile very much dislikes misrepresentation of the classics. Her nimble fingers linger along a brim much wider than expected, wondering which hat shall next dance in public, or else join its peers upon her wall.

The Human Engineer
What good is exacting specificity without the precise measurement of compassion? How many microns must a blush illicit, or a laugh, or a tear? What benefit does our technical prowess exact without our lives to colour the results? These questions and more he muses over a bone-white cup of coffee or polished glass of wine, fragrant smoke drifting up from his table.

The Judicial Minx
Her eyes gleam behind her glasses. Her wits are sharp, as are the barbs hidden in her words. She brushes errant strands of her long, tumbling hair behind her ear. You weren’t planning on lying, were you? Best if you tell the truth, and maybe move in slow, deliberate ways. Her smile is white and neat, eager to catch, eager to play, eager to eat.

The Lanky Linguist
She pulls back her long hair over her shoulder or behind an ear before speaking, always weighing with care which words to use before tossing them to tumble into a jumble in her listener’s ear. She would be equally imposing and intimidating to you, were her adorable idiosyncrasies not worn like so many pins on her school bag.

The Opaque Dancer
She spins and swirls, nearly toppling into a heap of laughter. Where have you seen her face before? No, it couldn’t be there, not with those layers of fabric lifted high with each twist. Such activities, she reminds you with a translucent wink, always breed the most particular appetites.

The Pillow Thief
She waves upon arrival, resplendent with smiles and hugs. Eager and gracious as ever, you do detect a certain reserve on her part, and an uncanny twinkling in her dark eyes whenever the subject of beds and napping arise. But she feasts with you and others in delight, and dessert never comes soon enough in her company.

The Sassy Lass
Blue eyes and steepled eyebrows stare back at you, evaluating and assessing before a word’s been said. Is there something you could say that wouldn’t earn you a scathing rebuttal of sarcasm or hat look of hers that fixes you the spot sharp than a mirror shined enough to cut? Unlikely, but say something anyway: she enjoys the banter.

The Silly Vogelfänger
What desperate desire drives such a giggly woman to the opera? Her voice resonates beyond the walls of her venues, plucking your thoughts as they settle. Was her aria in French? Maybe her sonorous tones were German or English? It matters not; her trap has sprung and your memories ensnared.

The Strange Baker
At the end of the concrete walls, you can hear them hum and mumble as they toil over their decorations. Their preps, packagers, and interns all share nervous glances and shrouded whispers: what impossible skill or alchemy is being employed at the far table hidden at the kitchen’s back? But the cupcakes and cookies produced are simply ecstatic.

The Unadvised Scallion
She polished her glasses with an absence air, perching the black, thick-rimmed spectacles back onto the bridge of her broads nose with rehearsed grace. Between the pearls at her throat and the casual toss of her chestnut hair, you wonder if there wasn’t something you’ve forgotten, just at the tip of your tongue.