The Home Drop Cafe - Green Tea
Saint Nicholas was 'home'.Â Although he actually wasn't.Â But because he thought he was, he was.Â This wasn't a Zen observation but could have been, if he'd thought about it, which he didn't.Â In reality he was in Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown's three-storey boarding house.Â In his room in the basement.Â Not that he'd fallen from grace or sunk to new depths.Â After all, he'd resided there for many years.Â There he dwelt still, despite being the only lodger.
In terms of space, his room was very large, occupying as it did over half of the whole basement.Â Thus it was really a spacious apartment, with its own kitchen and bathroom.Â The only larger room was the loft, which ran the length and breadth of the boarding house and had sweeping views of an identical building across the ghetto street.Â Nicholas could have relocated himself into the penthouse but having to daily clamber up and down the long stairs prevented him from doing so.
Despite the lack of sweeping views, the cellar did have a casement window near the ceiling.Â Through it the saint could watch the feet walking by along the footpath hugging the skirts of the boarding house.Â At the back of his crypt was a small plain window, frozen shut by coats of paint in the distant past.Â Through years of grime he could see the backyard shed which housed his black motorcycle during winter rains.Â And when he was away, traveling.Â It was all very reassuringly familiar.
The saint liked living in the boarding house on Hell Street.Â For it was but a stone's throw from an old subway railway station which adjoined the terminus for bus route 999.Â After many years of neglect, the old subway station had been converted into a youth club to serve the adolescents living in the ghetto community known as Hades.Â Its real name had been lost to living memory.Â But few youths came to the club, and it was closed down.Â Yet it was soon reincarnated as a distribution centre for drugs of choice; and its popularity soared until it was busted by the drug squad.
Reincarnation struck again via the God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club â€“ the outlaw gang using it as both their headquarters and as a venue for activities unbeknown to the saint.Â Yet not to the blind officers of the vice squad, whose affliction was alleviated by the generosity of the ladies of the night.Â Whose profession was also unknown to Saint Nicholas; for he assumed them to be visitors addicted to joy rides obtainable at the motorcycle club.Â Thereby the current status quo of the old station was a win-win situation for all those in the know.
Thus the saint was 'home' once more in familiar surroundings.Â Now he could add the University of Hard Knock's award - the Overseas Travel Diploma - behind his name.Â He was also eligible to add the prestigious Porridge degree.Â For he'd done his time in prison with the speed of a child prodigy â€“ half an hour of it without protest of any kind.Â Being innocent, he'd walked out with head held high to Sergeant Bull Mastiff's saffron coloured car.Â This Buddhist devotee had driven the saint all the way home.Â The karma he earned by the good deed would manifest in his guru, Ms Wannabe Karmasutra, teaching him a new yoga position.Â Thus such was yet another win-win situation.
And Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown's warm welcome home for her lodger was a third win-win event.Â She had been smitten with guilt at slipping a one-way jet flight ticket to India under his door, without warning him of the perils of Delhi Belly.Â Oddly, her generosity had commissioned a fourth win-win situation.Â On a train journey Saint Nicholas had met Lord Buddha, who sagely advised him not to eat curry and to go home.
Now he was in what he erroneously thought of as home.Â His real home was beyond the stars.Â But he thought he was home, and thus he was.Â With Miss Smyth-Brown about to present a 'Welcome home surprise' in what so easily could have been The Home Drop Cafe.Â But it wasn't!Â And it didn't matter in the least.
Miss Priscilla would make amends.Â She'd forgotten all about her lodger's absent-minded ways â€“ which had previously driven her to distraction and desperation.Â In his absence she had remembered how fond she was of him, and of their totally meaningless conversations.Â One-way conversations flowing from her to him.Â Now she was showing her appreciation.
Saint Nicholas blinked in dismay at the cup Miss Smyth-Brown set before him.Â Like his infuriating ways, she'd forgotten his skinny flat white coffee fixation.
"Drink up, dear!" she said, her eyes shining.Â "Green tea!Â There's plenty more."
There was nothing the saint could graciously do save make a mental note to retrain the landlady to his point of view regarding beverages.Â In the meantime, he couldn't hurt her feelings.Â He'd just have to grin and bear it with clenched teeth.Â Therefore, he gingerly raised the foul brew to his lips and sipped the green tea.Â Thereby he once more kick started karma â€“ of the type totally unknown to Sergeant Bull Mastiff and Swami Wannabe Karmasutra, even when engaging in new yoga positions.
Such is the way of karma.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes