100 Thank you, Gangaji

The pause refreshed the entire Plip Plop Coffe Shop, notwithstanding the twenty-nine corpses. Nervous Nellies of Boomerdom relaxed, the epithet a propos for tolls taken concommitant to hair/color loss. Perhaps they relaxed too much, because they began to overcompensate, free with jokes that no longer had meaning.
The roundtable facilitated by the Patron of the Arts couldn’t help overhear, and felt sorry for the fifty-and-sixty-somethings meant for pickle jars.
The baldy with the ponytail broke the ice; anger and vituperation were now dust. But he broke wind involuntarily and without a dog in the room to blame, he pretended nothing had occurred; his bile would rise again.
He turned to a few whitehairs and graybeards in the corner of his eye, and attempted a merry mien, “How can you tell if a Rice Krispy is illegitimate?” Because he did not trust his contemporaries’ memories, he solved the riddle for them, and supplied an explosive laugh: “No pop!” Was the laughter worth it, he would ask himself, vis-a-vis further clandestine leakage? Fie! Fie! he raged royally, an angry old fart evanescently dominating an airy California cafe.
After a few seconds, the other Boomers screamed. Aunt Kar, who heard both riddle and solution clearly, hadn’t any idea what the commotion was about. The Patron of the Arts, though closer in age than Kar to the Now Generation has-beens, shrugged perplexed.
A German tourist who was amazed by everything he’d seen over just one cup of coffee, tried to put his decent command of English to work.
“Ve haf vays . . .” he began. In short, he thought the chain reaction laughter through the cafe elderly was a tic, not mirth. The illegitimacy of a Rice Krispy without a pop, clearly, was because of a promise made by the brand’s advertising that went unfulfilled.
“Yah, dot iss de’ reason.” He added, “Yah.”
Swami Skinrash smelled a mark, but hesitated to act because the German probably outweighed him by a hundred pounds. Yet courage would have to be a discovered quality, now that he was newly off Ross Valley’s payroll. If he could approach in the quiet and explain the joke, then follow with another as out of date, perhaps the one about why the Indian chief called his daughter “Ninety-eight Cents” . . .
“Heil,” the swami called across the distance of three tables, with the only German word he knew. Try to speak to people in a way they will understand, as best you can, Gangaji had lectured. It is the beginning of love. That babe singing kind of looked like Gangaji, the swami mused; the hair, anyway.
“Heil,” he called again, raising his arm to wave. Out with Ross Valley, but in with an expensively dressed German.
Thank you, Gangaji.


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