Vincent van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace At Night

This is a story written in favor. And perhaps, because this was written in favor, of questionable quality and process. Regardless, the sentiment and sincerity might be doubled than that written out of personal interest and curiosity, as I am subject to do so. On I go, as I have before, but now with another.

In Medias Res; so it went and here we are.

And there they were, Laz and Jen. They sat at a tin table for two on the sidewalk of a café. It was a cool spring night with the sky neatly stared, but the moon was nowhere to be seen. Their table, along with the rest of the tables along the sidewalk, was lit by gas lamps attached to the walls of the café. And unlike our own means, these gas lamps gave out a slow hazy light that would make us nostalgic. With streets of cobblestone and crowds of people walking about with funny hats and coats, it was a charming 19th century Europe.

And there they were, Laz and Jen.

They were still a bit young, indecisive, and naïve. Not in love, but not unwilling to venture that far into life.


They talked, it went like this:

Jen – Hush already, it wasn’t that bad.

(She sat upright and proper on her chair, hands on her lap.)

Laz – I just don’t enjoy big crowds, you know that.

(He sat hunched over the table, his left elbow propped up on the table and his hand on the side of his head, as though comforting a headache. His right hand rested on his right knee.)

Jen – Well, it’s passed, so everything’s fine now.

Laz – It’s the shock of it all, I suppose.

Jen – You’re being too dramatic, it’s hardly fitting or charming.

Laz – I’m being truthful.

Jen – That isn’t fitting or charming either.

Laz – You’ll be the end of me, you know that?

Jen – No I won’t.

Laz – Then I’ll be the end of you, one or the other.

Jen – It might be mutual.

Laz – We’ll find out, god-willing.

Jen – That’s far too cynical, even for you.

Laz – Hmm? I don’t follow.

Jen – You, asking for the end by god’s will.

Laz – I don’t know of any other way by which the end will come. Do you?

Jen – Subject.

Laz – Then one of us should change it. Ah! Coffee’s here!

(The coffee arrived in a tray being carried by a thin waiter whose proper white shirt was too big for his frame. And with a service-sector-smile, he placed the cups on the table and then stood straight up, almost at attention.)

Laz – That’ll be all, thank you.

(The waiter walked away)

Jen – What a strange fellow.

Laz – Was he?

Jen – You didn’t see that?

Laz – See what? (he then sipped the his coffe.)

Jen – At the end there, when he just stood straight up and all, almost at attention.

Laz – How’s that strange?

Jen – It was unexpected, he could’ve said something, asked if we would’ve liked something else.

Laz – Perhaps he’s more a man of action than words.

Jen – A man’s actions may be in vain without his words.

Laz – Maybe, but his words are worthless without action.

Jen – Subject.

Laz – And I was doing so well, fine.

Jen – All the more reason to change it. Does your mind still plague?

Laz – That’s a better subject?

Jen – In one way or another, yes.

Laz – It’s getting better, it’ll pass.

Jen – As always. You should get used to large crowds.

Laz – I’ve no incentive or will.

Jen – You’d enjoy the parties a lot more.

Laz – I don’t want to enjoy them.

Jen – Then do it for me.

Laz – Ah, I forget how well you set traps for me.

Jen – My specialty, really.

Laz – One of many.

Jen – So? (She then sipped her coffee)

Laz – Hmm?

Jen – Will you try?

Laz – I did already, just a while ago, it didn’t work out; remember?

Jen – You won’t try again?

Laz – Of course I will, anything for you, no matter how futile the efforts or agonizing the results.

Jen – Subject.

Laz – I just don’t like it, I feel caged in and small among the big crowds. My mind, it seems, –

Jen – Subject.

Laz – is going in hundreds of different directions. And I don’t know how to control that, it’s very overwhelming. I could try to explain.

Jen – Subject!

Laz – Fine, fine.

Jen – I don’t want to hear about your troubles.

Laz – I know, but troubles are my profession. (He took another sip of coffee.)

Jen – Yes they are, but you deal with those that can’t be fixed, those that can’t be solved.

Laz – I’m sorry.

Jen – No you’re not.

Laz – I am, to an extent.

Jen – The sort that won’t reach me.

Laz – Because you refuse to get closer.

Jen – I tried once and found myself farther than before.

Laz – And you say I’m the dramatic one.

Jen – Well, at least my dramatics have taste.

Laz – Indeed, poor taste, but taste regardless.

Jen – Miscreant.

Laz – Jezebel.

Jen – Drunken reprobate.

Laz – Only on a good day.

Jen – To think, I was warned about getting involved with you. And I went ahead anyway.

Laz – You must be the adventurous type.

Jen – Of course, I carry a dagger wherever I go.

Laz – I’ll be wary then.

Jen – Oh, I wouldn’t stab you.

Laz – Such is love.

(They both paused and took sips from their coffees.)

Jen – How much did you drink?

Laz – The cup is almost done.

Jen – I meant at the party.

Laz – Oh, that, hardly enough. It’s a shame really. (He then finished his cup of coffee.)

Jen – How do you manage to write anything down?

Laz – Its fiction, it doesn’t matter. History is left to those who are sober, and fiction to the drunks.

Jen – Those who write history have a greater reason to drink than those who write fiction.

Laz – This is true, the writers of history drink after the fact and after their work, while the writers of fiction drink before, during, and after.

Jen – What a respectable field.

Laz – Ah, but a field isn’t judged by its respect, but by its success.

Jen – Be glad I’m judging by respect then.

Laz – How did I ever suffer without you?

Jen – Whiskey and harlots, probably.

Laz – Ah, of course, my golden days.

Jen – And now here you are, a man outside of his element as well as his head.

Laz – That’s because they’re the same thing.

Jen – I wonder, do you get more clever as you get drunker?

Laz – The hypothesis is under review, more experimentation will be needed.

Jen – Tell me the results when they come in.

Laz – You’ll be the first to know.

Jen – Wouldn’t the first to know be you?

Laz – Should the experimentation go without a problem, I should be unconscious.

Jen – How charming.

Laz – Apt.

Jen – Will the experiment begin tomorrow?

Laz – Didn’t you want to go see my sister?

Jen – Oh, that’s right, in Alicante.

Laz – Do you still want to go?

Jen – Of course, I’ve always wanted my palm read.

Laz – Then we’ll go.

Jen – A real live mystic.

Laz – Every other person in my family believes they’re a mystic, endowed with some sixth sense that lets them see beyond this or that.

Jen – It’s a shame that characteristic skipped you.

Laz – I’ve better things to do anyway.

Jen – Drink and write.

Laz – At times in reverse order.

Jen – Maybe you do have a mystic ability, you just need to try.

Laz – (After laughing) Stop.

Jen – Please? Go on, give me my fortune, read my palm.

Laz – Subject.

Jen – It doesn’t work that way.

Laz – A damn shame.

Jen – Go on.

Laz – I never could read palms, there isn’t much to say about a person’s hand. A person’s life, all their mistakes and possibilities should be kept in their eyes, the bearers of light and shadow.

Jen – Then do that, read my eyes.

Laz – What makes you think I can?

Jen – You can try.

Laz – I can also fail.

Jen – So you won’t read my eyes?

Laz – When I was younger, I thought I could see a person’s fortune by reading their eyes. But that wasn’t the case, my imagination ran wild and all the thoughts that came to me were not fortunes, but fictions. That’s how I became a writer, I would look into peoples’ eyes and see stories unfold, then I would write them down.

Jen – Very well then, tell a story from my eyes.

Laz – I already have.

Jen – Is that so? Can I read it?

Laz – You already have.

Jen – Which one was it? Did I like it?

Laz – You said you liked it, but you could have been lying. It was called The Exile at the Window.

Jen – Oh! I remember that one, it was good, probably my favorite.

Laz – Liar.

Jen – I mean it. Though the ending was a bit grim, don’t you think? Not sad, or tragic, but slightly grim.

Laz – I suppose, many liked it for that reason.

Jen – So did I. But knowing my story has a grim ending, well, you know.

Laz – Relax, like I said, it’s not a fortune, it’s just a story.

Jen – Still.

Laz – I’ll change the ending, would that make it better?

Jen – No-no, leave it as it is. If my story ends grimly, then so be it; that is what you saw.

Laz – I can’t win.

(After a pause)

Jen – We should go.

Laz – We should, this weather is making me sober.

Jen – And you speak more nonsense when you’re sober.

Laz – You know me too well.

Jen – Oh please, we both only know each other as much as we’d like to.

Laz – It’ll have to do for now.


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