>Swallow Cafe


The beloved Archive closed, I saw a glow of activity behind the mesh-grilled windows. Can it be, I thought? It has reopened? Yes, it had indeed. A rather tall, baby-faced, dark eyed man with curly pomaded hair – the owner – told me that it is called the Swallow. “Now, don’t be dirty,” he cautioned. “No way, I love to swallow a big shot of espresso,” I said, noting the rise in my voice’s volume. Everyone paused, unsure of my sanity. “Alright, well I look forward to seeing you.” We shook hands and I walked next door to have a chicken shawarma.

I went to this party where a cat sat on the bed, and I, loving cats joined it. It sat up, its legs spread-eagled, and bobbing it’s head, began to peck at my hand to smell me. what the fuck is wrong with this cat. Its black fur was thick and soft and silky and he was affectionate, letting me stroke his thick neck. I asked a dude named Orion who had funky braids what was wrong with the cat. “He has cerebral palsy.” I looked at the cat, its limbs tucked underneath itself. “See how he’s doing that? We say that he’s baking a loaf.”

Tonight is Halloween. I’m going to be a lion. I am sitting at the Swallow, after being satisfied with their macchiato. The decor is more spartan, rustic, European. I am sitting at the back of the cafe in an old movie theatre seat next to an exposed bulb floor lamp. Hanging light bulbs provide industrial light. It is a better fit for us than the Archive, which was old and dirty with worn seats and cushions and baristas who were of a more underground ilk. These baristas are better at making coffee and the red Marzocco machine has white ovular lights that glow like a spaceship. Yes, Daniel Adler likes the Swallow.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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