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Mari At The Cafe

          Mari is flighty and giggles. Her voice is high-pitched and she talks too fast about absolutely nothing. Clothes. Shoes. Boys.
          But——the way she looks! Tall and pale, with wild dark curls and a pink, pouting mouth. She looks like you’d imagine Collette looked. That is, if you’d never seen a picture of Collette.
          So, we hired Mari. Her job is to sit at one of the tables near the sidewalk, with a small white cup of espresso and a leather sketchbook. Also, an ashtray, but we have to keep it filled ourselves, since Mari doesn’t smoke.
          We tell her to dress only in black. Tap pants. Skinny jeans. Little velvet flats. Or stilettos. Black cashmere turtlenecks, with a Hermes scarf and a Mont Blanc pen and her pink lips painted bright red.
          Her job is to look pensive. Intense. Artistic. Setting the tone for all the harried customers in suits, late for meetings on sales projections. Giving them some hope, a glimpse of another kind of life.
          She practices in the mirror every morning. Mari is a good girl, who takes her job seriously.

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