When they weren’t skating they were cultivating their espresso connoisseurship. Among the many cafes in downtown Manhattan, Gimme! Coffee in quiet SoHo attracted him with its red banner. The two boys entered the slender espresso bar, placed their orders, and waited patiently at the end of the granite counter in front of the beautiful red Marzocco espresso machine. They balanced their skateboards with index fingers, watching the hipsters and the pretty girls, and the artistic photographs over the black wainscoting. The baristas were red haired girls and mustachioed young men with bicycle caps and tight t shirts and chains that held their wallets snugly in the pockets of their tight pants.
The first espresso was delivered on a plate with a spoon and a glass of water. It was always his ever since the first time he lunged on it as soon as it was offered. If you don’t drink the espresso within the first ten seconds it’s made, it will spoil and bitter. You can prevent this by adding sugar or milk, but he was a purist. The shot landed on the plate and he hurried it into his mouth eagerly savoring the flavors, eyes-shut, consciously feeling people watching him. He closed his eyes tighter and lolled the chocolate-sweet piquancy on his tongue back and forth, over the divots in his molars, feeling the hints of cinnamon, burgundy, ochre, all so good and the perfect temperature so his tongue didn’t burn and he swallowed it. And it was over. The last brown pearl he poured onto the espresso spoon and touched it to his palate, complimenting the barista afterwards.