A heavenly gift from Columbia in a brown paper bag
Too early on a Saturday morning found me hidden in my hooded jacket, lurking at the back of a dank shelter shed in Kensington Park and sneaking furtive glances at the man and two women sniggering in the opposite corner.
The swarthy man was all dressed in black and handed them both two small brown paper bags. Both women thanked him profusely and were quick to shove them away in their pockets. None of them seemed too concerned at my presence, instead choosing to huddle up together, heads almost touching. "Oh maaaan, this stuff is great..." sighed one of the women. "Yeah Rocky, it's better than even last week's effort. We've gotta get more of this from you!"
Then all three of them took some very long - and distinctly audible - sniffs.
This was too much for my nose which, for those of you readers who have seen me in person, is one that could quite easily be rented out as a warehouse. "Excuse me," I coughed nervously, "....but is everything all OK over there?"
All of them quickly swapped wary glances before giving me a good look up and down. It was easy for me to mentally acknowledge their concern: there I was, in my Saturday morning finest of dog-hair-covered trakkie daks, ratty old hoodie with tiny fabric balls all over it and still clutching an empty 'On the Run' large cappuccino cup from McDonalds.
Clearly the pity within them won over the contempt.
"Sure - why don't you join us over here? My name's Rocky, by the way," said the man in black, offering me his free hand. It was then I saw what they were sniffing in such ecstasy - the purest, blackest most delicious smelling coffee beans this side of the equator.
"Rocky brings us a cup of his latest brew every Saturday morning," Trish explained. "Today it's some kind of Columbian...um, what is it exactly?"
"Columbian Mountain Mist," he interrupted, proudly. "Grown only on the south side of the slope, tended by seventh-generation peasants and roasted only by the village virgins."
Or something like that - my eyes, nose and tastebuds were transfixed by his thermos - the largest I'd ever seen (oh, put your Benny Hill evil twin cousins away, there are no double entendres in this entry). "Let me fill that---" Rocky struggled to find a descriptor insulting enough for my junk food cup "----receptacle."
Trish and Jen studied me intently as I took the first sip. To say it was divine is like trying to describe a night with John Cusack followed by Jude Law on a bed stuffed with Lindt balls and sprinkled with fresh scented rose petals as 'OK I guess, but nothing special'...but I digress; it was bloody nice coffee and it immediately helped to clear my eyes and unfold my aged, too-early-in-the-morning-for-this-kind-of-shit face. "Oooooh yes," I moaned, lost in my own moment of bliss. "Oooh man, Sapphire can do another hour of tennis lessons today if it means having a mugful of this magnificent mixture...."
And so it came to pass that the following hour we passed notes on favourite coffees, good local cafes, the machines we owned at home (Me = Love Chunks + Gaggia + anything free trade from the Kent Town Coffee Cave) and whose turn it was to bring what next week.
An hour later, Sapphire came running over to me, "Did you see my volley Mum? Did you see it? Did you hear Michael saying that I was good at listening and trying?"
"Oh yeah yeah, you were great, yeah yeah," I muttered absently, patronising patting her on the head and hustling her away from the shelter shed. "See you next week, Rocky and you'd better bring along another one of those paper bags of yours or you'll be hearing from me."