Morning at the Cafe

The Asian woman was neatly dressed and had a stylish short hair cut. Her lap top’s screen showed Chinese script, Beside it were an Anita Shreve trade paperback and a lurid 50-cent copy of “Murder, Inc.”

I would have bet money I was the only person in the cafĂ© to have read that in hard cover a half-century ago. I would have bet my house I was the only one to have learned about Abe (“Kid Twist”) Reles in “Crime Does Not Pay.”

“Excuse me,” I said. “But I was curious…”

She was not an English major.

Nor in Comp Lit.

Semiotics had nothing to do with it.

She was a micro-biologist.

She had not heard of “Kid Twist” or Burton Turkus.

She had not eve known it was a true story.

“I like to read book,” she said, “and it looked interesting.”

I thought, When she uses the rest room, she will walk past my table and see my “Buy Bob’s Books!” sign.

But she was still at her computer when I left.