The morning was softly lit. The clouds lay low in a broken blanket, a contrasting white in the cracks. It was heavy, dim and cold. He glanced up through sunglasses, meekly asserting his gaze longer at the sun: a pinhole searing cold through the cloud cover. He rested them back on the road, broken grey with pothole rubble, swinging round the traffic circle, descending to the icy rich voice of Westside Gunn.
The black Whitey Bulger, I want my money now or I’m ‘a smoke ya.
He was in a lecture scribbling away, half-imagining holding his pen nib-side-up on the page and driving his eye into it. An ant had somehow found its way onto his page, crawling thoughtlessly from the bottom up. He didn’t kill bugs anymore, actually had become a bit of a benevolent deity in their existence, flicking them from drowning pools, accommodating them out through open windows, watching them with removed affection. But with the mechanic scribbles of his hand he had crushed the ant, and seeing it dead he brushed it off the page with a mild apology.
The coffee shop was once a jail and he sat writing and needing a shit inside one of the old cells, now converted chic with silver plastic linguine threads hanging on the back wall and a patterned rug on the floor. Out the small door was the tower, a tall cylindrical building painted a dying yellow. Grey and musty red smears ran from the small rectangular windows notched in two rows around the building, and from its aging cracks. Quite a beautiful building. There was a multi-directional cross black above its roof. Beyond the tower stood a magnificent tree. Its bark was like bone or antlers, tall and spreading into its leaves. Solemn, stony, its leaves only moved a little. It had grown peering into this grave place when it was still grave, and now it was a coffee shop, quite a good one; it imposed its gloomy presence lest we forget it.
Later: Clouds were large overhead but looked bigger over the small houses on the hill across. A landscape of blue-grey curves, separated from the little block orange roofs by a band of lighter, vaguer clouds in the distance.