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I Know You Are

So Nuff’s been around for a few days. He’s gotten the lay of the land rather well. It wasn’t easy though, showing him around. He’s always asking silly questions,

“Why are there so many fountains around here?”
“Why on earth do you have closing times on this gigantic library? It’s cruel to make students come all the way here to refer to archaic material they can’t check out and can’t finish using in one sitting, only to haul themselves back home every morning at 1 am.”
“There were more fruit trees around the last time I was here. They probably want you to buy your fruits now. No free lunches, eh?”
“Center of Silicon Valley, and insufficient street lighting… I guess no one wants to mug all these rich kids? Give me one week in this place…”
“Is that a skunk on the children’s playground? Talk about animal cruelty…”

His mind works in mysterious ways.

Well anyway, Nuff is a coffee nut. So he’s always looking out for that next great brew. I showed him the places that sold coffee around, and in a couple of days he’d been to all of them already.

“The cafes around the campus all sell coffee at ridiculously high prices. Come to think of it, they must all have joint ownership, or be part of the same parent holding. They’ve jacked the rates up in tandem.”

That was true.

“The bookstore, however, sells coffee at 50 cents a cup.”

I already knew that, but I asked him how they managed that.

“Well, its probably run by the University. So they aren’t particular about the quality of the coffee, or anything else there, for that matter”.

I asked him what he thought about the coffee.

“The bookstore coffee was terrible. So terrible, that I think you’re paying 50 cents just for the take-away cup. If you took your own cup there, they’d probably pay you to drink in it”.

So much for that. I asked him which place had the best coffee.

“I’m going to stick to the bookstore cafe.”

I didn’t quite ask why, but I found out soon enough.

We went up to the bookstore cafe one morning, and it was during classes so there weren’t many people about. The girl at the counter seemed rather bored, but she stood up as soon as we stepped in. She was rather pretty.

“I got this”.

Boy, did he.

“Hey, what would you like?”
“I want your best coffee. What can you get me?”


He gave her a wide smile. I didn’t really see him do that very often, and I still can’t place what happened next.

“You were here yesterday as well, weren’t you? I still wouldn’t recommend anything here, honey.”
“If I brought you here, what would you have?”

I was a bit taken aback. That seemed rather blunt, and before I could step in and say anything…

“Oh, you would’t be bringing me here for the best coffee now, would you?”
“You’re right, I wouldn’t.”
“You’d be taking me someplace far nicer.”
“I would, wouldn’t I? This wouldn’t do you any justice.”
“Yea, you would.”

This was absurd. She was blushing, and he’d done nothing at all.

“Why don’t I take you to a place where there’s really good coffee?”
“I’m fine, thanks.”
“I know you are.”

Now this was just ridiculous. Nuff was grinning like a nutter elf.

“I still want coffee now.”
“I’m off in an hour.”
“Hmm, sounds reasonable. That better be good coffee, if I’m going to have to wait for it.”
“I brew it myself, in my dorm room.”
“I’ll see you in an hour then.”
“Meet me outside. I’m Erica.”
“To good times and great coffee, Erica.”

He gave her another smile, and simply strolled out.

I was left standing there, holding 50 cents in my hand for the coffee.
“Erm, I’ll take a medium coffee, please…”

Nuff didn’t come back till late that evening. I asked him if the coffee kept him awake.

“Spicy coffee does that to me, yeah.”

Nuff makes new friends really well. He was settling in.

Nuff said – “I’m bringing the ‘cool’ back to ‘masculine’.”

What a nutter…

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Enter: Nuff – Stage Left

We have been tracked down by strange days
They are here to destroy those casual joys
The hostess is grinning, her guest list is sinning
Back to the madness, a game of two boys

Nuff was finally visiting. I was genuinely surprised that he’d actually made it here. He always made wild promises.
“I like to surprise people”.

He liked to surprise people, he said. So much for that being true. I still wouldn’t bet on him, though. Consistency isn’t a natural trait as far as he’s concerned. But then again, defying this and becoming uncharacteristically dependable (and therefore, more consistent) JUST to surprise me isn’t beyond him either.
Nuff was in-between assignments. He had about a month to spare, and in his own words: “I was in this hemisphere anyway, so it seemed like a good idea to drop by”. I didn’t want to remind him that he’d always be “a hemisphere” away, but I think that’s what he meant anyway.

So I went to the airport to pick him up. I didn’t have to wait long. He wasn’t flying first class, but I knew what he was like. He’d have charmed the pants off (many times, quite literally) the air hostess (and once, quite literally, the air steward – that’s another story), so he would have been amongst the first few to get off the plane. Also, he never checked his bags in. 

“Waiting for your own bags to come to you on some antiquated delivery chain is a redundant and blasphemously stupid indulgence in self-flaggelation. Shame on you”

That’s what he told me the last time we travelled together, anyway.

So there he was, on the lower parking level of the airport. Sunglasses, a smile and a cigarette – quintessential Nuff. “You’ve lost weight – Stanford’s been kind to you, you chump”, he said, throwing his backpack into the backseat. “It’s been a while man, good to see you too”, I said, handing the aux cable of the car stereo over to him. He was extremely particular about the music playing while he was around, so I knew better than to play something he wouldn’t like. It was always easier to avoid the arguments, and to simply give him the controls. He had impeccable taste in music anyway; the control freak in him made sure of that. Very soon, we were off, with my favorite Stoned Daffodils song fueling our drive forward. It seemed like we hadn’t been apart for the last seven months at all. I was glad he was back.

“So Nuff, why’re you here? I wasn’t expecting you to write anytime soon, much less visit”.  He put his cigarette out. I recognized that look on him. Something had clearly brought him here, and when he knew that I knew something, he’d always look me straight in the eye like he was daring me to push on through. “It’s her, isn’t it? She’s finally bent you sideways. I told you this would happen”.

Nuff clearly didn’t like what I’d just said. “I’m going to get into the minds of your children one day, and I’ll make them make you sorry you said that”. He was joking, of course, but he was clearly upset.

“Oh don’t start with that now. I’m onto something, aren’t I? She called me two weeks ago, explained that she’d landed that nice internship here. Frankly, I didn’t expect you to tail her down here so soon”.

“I’ve just got here and I’d prefer to pretend to listen to what you’ve been up to, rather than talk about this right now. So spare me the analysis, Puff Daddy”.

“Is that what she told you?”

“Well well well – looks who’s finally dropped a pair into a sack!”

“That’s definitely something she told you”.

He laughed, and he really seemed like he meant it that time. I hadn’t seen that smile for a while. “It’s good to see you again man. It really has been a while”.

He sat back, and his OCD-inspired music kept us in good spirits for the whole drive. I was glad he was visiting. This was going to be really good fun.





Nuff said – “You’ve been talking trash to the garbage around you long enough anyway”.