Gystilyn O’Brien – 06/15/2017

            “They say ‘write what you know’… what the hell do I know?” Her eyes left the blank page and quill before her to rest on the painting affixed to the brick wall opposite the small two-person table at which she sat. It was a mixed media piece of a woman’s torso from neck to mid-thigh. The background had been done in a neon cyclone of oil, with the torso as an expressed outline in a mixture of pastel acrylics, and gold and silver leaf. She found it both captivating, and stunning. The torso was at an angle, as though it had been captured at mid-fall backwards. Nothing about it described anything less than energy and passion. It was not the work of an inanimate object. She had been staring, off and on, at this piece for the better part of four months, though no title or author had yet to reveal itself, despite her ultimately superficial search. Some part of her knew that if she didn’t ask after it that the piece would be removed and gone from her forever. Some part of her couldn’t move past the energy and passion of it to ask. It was listed at 390 Klutz and she thought about buying it every day.

            Her attention wavered slightly as her left ear twitched to the sound of laughter from below. Someone had just made a joke at the counter, and the tender was having a bit of a chuckle while the customer squealed in delight. Sudden shocks of sound weren’t completely uncommon in the place, although they always came as a jolt, compared to the calm murmur which accompanied academic conversation, cribbage, and the leafing sounds of books. Her eyes lingered on the painting for moments longer before she took up her Steamer, a delightful concoction of warm cream, lavender, and a sweet nectar-like alcohol called Sapphire Inamorato, and turned eyes to the scene below.

            Bayonne, the tender, stood behind the emerald stone counter just below her, in front of the copper and bronze coffee machine, twisting crystal nobs and tactfully avoiding busts of steam as he artfully created caffeinated masterpiece after masterpiece. The machine itself looked more like an old steam boiler for a fire engine than a coffee machine. The thing roasted, ground, cooked, creamed, infused, and a few other things no one was quite sure about. It had been invited by a narcoleptic alchemist who was convinced that if he couldn’t make the philosophers stone then at least he could invent, through the alchemical magics, a way to cure narcolepsy. It hadn’t worked, but the machine did make some absolutely splendid concoctions.

            The emerald stone counter stood in a crescent moon shape, which butt up against the starboard side of the cafe; a wall composed entirely of the rear end of wooden barrels – the inventory of the tavern next door. The sound of drunkards murmuring their own glee not so occasionally lilted through the space between the barrels, although the liquid inside did marvels for dampening the sound. Against the barrels, towards the entrance, stood a rather overwhelming pipe organ, though even that description could hardly cover its full complexity. The instrument were called ‘The Orchestrata,” and were, in essence a whole orchestra compacted into an outrageously oversized piano.


Copper, gold, wood, crystal, and other precious stones wrapped the whole wonderful piece, spotted with an array of dragon bone keys, the use of which only seven people in all the worlds understood how to use. Bayonne, the tender, was one of those people. Also, the same narcoleptic alchemist who’d invented the coffee machine had been the inventor. He also happened to be Bayonne’s father.

            Port side, a red brick wall span the entire length and height of the cafe, all the way up to the cozy loft in which she sat, adorning the lovely and enticing torso painting. The red brick was often used as gallery space, and at present held the contents of an artist predominantly excited about body modification, specifically piercings which might turn a person into some sort of angel-like thing. Various sets of mock-up wings were framed high on the walls, with photos below of attempted people pincushions in various state of feathered piercing. The overall exhibit was both stunning and somewhat macabre. Over all, she liked it, but not as much as the painting. The painting was the only thing of its kind in this place, much like herself.