EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**

Flip's Internet Cafe

by Robert J. BAUMANN

 

Flip was in rare form. He was shouting at Lori, which is nothing new if you have read about this father/daughter relationship before. Lori, being her father's daughter, wore a matching shade of apoplectic red. It was no contest really. Lori's voice was of the soft, female variety. In a shouting match with her dad, she did not have the lung power or the octaves.


Tears are usually a woman's ultimate weapon, but Lori was far too liberated to ever admit to her wounded feelings publicly. Instead she would save it all up for our pillow talk. I would arrive in bed, ready for a good night's sleep. Lori would arrive ready to pour out her soul. She did not want my opinion, really. What she did want was a way to listen to herself and I provided a convenient method just by a few well placed "Uhs", "Umms" and "Ohs". It was good policy not to let Lori know that I was
half-listening to her. I suspect this is how Flip had learned to deal with her mother, the formidable Marie DeGaetano.


Marie adored me. She was wild about me from day one. Lori brought me home to meet her because we had been talking about getting engaged. I greeted my future
mother-in-law with a bemused "Hi, Mom". She looked at me. She looked at Lori. She turned her attention back to me and let loose with the longest string of pure hate I had ever heard. It ended with something like "...and if I ever hear you call me 'Mom' again, I will rip off your arm from your shoulder and beat you to death with it!". The rest of our evening was peppered with an occasional "Drop dead" or a quickly posed "Get cancer". What was my reply? Lori clued me in on the method. Say nothing. If I survived my first ''date'' with her mother, Marie would accept me. She did.


I was the pitiful substitute her prize daughter chose instead of a real man. Marie was convinced I was an Anglo-Saxon version of Flip DeGaetano. Her own discontent
with Flip led her to feel that her daughter had learned nothing from her own suffering. Marie loved me about as much as the hairballs her pet cat left on the dining table.


I was thinking of Marie's neurotic cat [whose name was Bonnie] when Lori piped in with a "...and don't you think so, too?". In instances when I was not sure what side
of a problem Lori was on I'd find a neutral answer.


"Logic must prevail in things like this," I said. I was not at all sure when illogic would be useful,but this sounded nice.


"You said it, Bart. You said it," Lori agreed, nodding her head. Her little lips were pursed closed and she had that DeGaetano face about her that said far more than words
ever could. I only wish the hell I knew what I had said. "Logic is the key here. I'm going to talk to Dad again and just use logic. You can't argue with logic! Good idea, Boo-boo."        Don't laugh. Boo-boo is Lori's pet name for me, just as surely as my name for her is Bunchy. Forget I told you that.


Lori turned over and our little chat had ended.She was ready for sleep. Nine hours and one very logical exchange later and both father and daughter were shouting to the
high heavens.


"Listen to reason, " Lori was saying. "A computer on that table in the back and you are not a cheap, little coffee shop... you are an internet cafe!".


 
"No." Flip did not respond to logic. He had a standard all his own. Lori was the same darned way.


"Those filthy cartons make this place look like a dump. No one uses that table. Why not clean it up and make some money?" Lori had taken some business classes. She
knew more about profit than her dad. What she did not know was that you cannot spend your way to wealth. Her incessant ideas for Flip's store were lavish and outrageous.

Only she saw profit where none existed. Flip's capitalist sensibilities are best described as "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"  or "When in doubt, do nothing".

"Big deal, so it looks like a dump. Hell, it is a dump. The cartons are antiques. I put 'em there on opening day so no one would be dumb enough to try and sit there. Why should I move 'em? After all these years the dirt has to be an inch thick. When I die you can move 'em, not before."

 

Flip insisted on serving customers only at the counter. When celebrities arrived looking for a table, Flip would merely ask "And do you have a reservation?".  He would sit them at the counter ... or not at all.

Barbara Streisand once ate a meat loaf sandwich at Flip's Hole. Given her singing voice, the meat loaf must have been a bit boney. She sang from that time on like she was trying to dislodge a bone in her throat. It made her famous.

Lori did not accept death as a reasonable or logical reply. "If I have to have my way over your dead body, so be it... but it will be over my dead body, too!" I was lost. It seemed like an opera where everybody dies at the end. Pharoh was given seven plagues to make him release the enslaved children of Israel. Lori had but one plague to use.

She was determined.

"I am bringing Mommy tomorrow. Let's see what she thinks!".

Flip paused. "You would do that to me? Your own father?"

  "I would. It's for your own good."

"Listen carefully to me. Read my lips. Number 1, no cafe. Number 2, your mother stays home. Number 3, you are banned from this store effective immediately!

Leave!".

"Make me," threatened Lori. Flip turned to me and yelled "Can't you control your woman?".

"Do you control yours?", I asked. This started a brand new round of yelling and screaming. Nothing was resolved, but I knew one thing for sure. I would get no sleep tonight. No Justice? No peace. Amen.

This issue dedicated to such distinguished poet & composer as (alphabetical order):
Nazim HIKMET & Ilhan MIMAROGLU

We have been celebrating our 2nd Anniversary.
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