Black Sheep

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

tableaux'd by: and


Black Sheep is more like it. Despite being located in a fading commercial strip near a divided highway, Black Sheep has managed to carve out the kind of space that drives CT to go On The Road in the first place: artisanal coffee roasting, pour overs, hip playlists, and even eclectic seating for JHT. The tableauxists enter grandly and make a spectacle of themselves by studying the bilingual signage on the walls, inspecting everything on the counter with their hands, staring at patrons until they return gaze, and photographing the sink, trash can, and ATM.


“What looks good?!” JHT bellows.
“Do you guys like coffee?” asks the barista.
“Yes we do!” -JHT
The barista rattles off something about the day’s roast that CT didn’t write down, then finally offers, “…or I could do a pour over.”
Some of your tableauxists have been infatuated with pour overs since they were introduced to them a month ago at Sightglass [tableauxing 9/17/12], so the reader can imagine the glee with which two of those were ordered. “Oh wow, let’s have that!” JHT squeals.

Black Sheep

As the barista settles his gear over a couple of paper cups, a hot trick sitting at the counter flirts with Thos by asking “Are you guys staying?”
Thos: “Yes.”
Trick: “Hey, Johnny, these boys are staying, give them mugs!”
Johnny: “You bet!”

JHT selects a bagel that looks like a pebble wrapped in cellophane.
Johnny: “Do you want a spread on that? Cream cheese. Peanut Butter.”
JHT: “Man I would lick a jar out of the garbage for some peanut butter right now.”
Thos: “Dude, that bagel looks like a petrified dinosaur egg.”
JHT: “Do you see anything else here I can eat?!”
Thos: “Forget it, J. It’s Sioux Falls.”

Black Sheep

A tête-à-tête begins on the two most degraded upholstered seats in the place. CT discusses how it can become self-sufficient as a fiscal entity. CT has flirted with this idea since the site was founded seven years ago, and it has gathered some steam recently. “It should be easy to hustle up some cash online. The internet is stupid; we are like the only decent thing on the there. I am almost ashamed to be there,” JHT announces.
This head of steam quickly hits the usual roadblock.
Thos: “Do you realize that even sites with as much traffic as the New York Times can’t pay for themselves? They have to charge subscribers in advance.”
JHT: “I doubt we need as much money as those dudes. They have a lot more expenses and higher salaries.”
Thos: “It’s all relative to the traffic; they also have visitors.”
JHT: “What do we get?”
Thos: “Apart from our own hits, just the people you email and instruct to read the site. So maybe 5 or 6 hits a day.”
JHT: “Bummer! Well, how can we put more asses in the seats?”
Thos: “We could start posting on broader topics. Or perhaps publish leaked Scarlett Johansson cell phone photos.”
JHT: “Are you just saying that to link bait?”
Thos takes a swig.

JHT: “Can we just place ads on the site?”
Thos: “I’m no accountant, but my guess is that even if our five visitors a month clicked a hundred ads apiece, we will not earn enough to cover a single month’s hosting bill, let alone pay for whatever ‘recent changes’ in your life.”
JHT: “Shitfire. I guess we just need to write more interesting stuff?”

“What could be more interesting than this?!” Thos gestures at the nearly empty coffeeshop. “Who wouldn’t want to read a stilted dialogue manufactured from tirades by a couple of go-hards?” Just then one of the guys from a crew of about a dozen huddled around a single cup outside enters Black Sheep chattering on a cell phone and approaches the counter. After a few minutes of silence a bell rings.
“Did he just ring a hand bell?” Thos is shocked, envisioning one of those desk apparatuses from hotel lobbies in 1980’s films.
“Yeah, one of those.”


The bell rings a few more times, then comes the high point of the trip.

“You want me to drop everything I’m doing and get you a free ice water while you won’t even get off your cell phone?” asks the barista. “Why don’t you just slap me in the face?”
The ‘customer’ replies with something indecipherable, but what he said clearly intends to justify his behaviour.
“It’s just common courtesy.”
The pseudo-customer mumbles again.
“It should be common courtesy all over the world.”

The fuck carries his free ice water outside to to join his crew at a table next to the automobiles; JHT raises his fist in a demonstration of solidarity with Black Sheep. Thos licks a teenth of peanut butter from JHT’s soup spoon.

Black Sheep

On their way out they cross paths with a girl in the livery of a nearby wireless store. She is forced to endure the stares of several gangs of men sitting along the ‘sidewalk’ as she walks from her shop to Black Sheep. CT slips out the door, and Thos expresses his sympathy for her whilst his eyes are glued squarely to her chest. As they climb back into the truck, they agree that they should have knocked that cell phone douche’s free ice water from his table as they left. “I was totally prepared to do that!” Thos notes, “I was just about to, but I knew we have tarried in Sioux Falls too long.”
“If that bagman, Silas, from Yankton can hold his shit in on a mule train all the way to Deadwood,” JHT qualifies the great distance between the cities, “I reckon we can circle the block a few times that we may photograph extensively the Gaslight Saloon before rolling on to Lawrence.”

Black Sheep

After a Herculean and successful effort to force a king-sized box spring through a 6′ attic door, our laborers hit the road in search of a late night grocery. They find a Dillons — a pale cousin of Kroger — within several minutes driving distance. “This is just like home!” screams Thos as he points out all the Kroger price labels and signage. “I wonder if they have Manager’s Specials here, too!” Thos purchases hummus, salad, and peach-flavored soymilk. JHT probably gets salsa and chips. The two return to the cabin and watch Workaholics s03e06 and two episodes of Party Down which JT confides to Thos, “are not as funny when you’re not around.”

Wandering Goat. Eugene, OR Perk Coffee and Espresso. Eugene, OR Java Break.  Lawrence, KS Aimees Coffeehouse.  Lawrence, KS Black Sheep. Sioux Falls, SD The Fix. Buffalo, WY Coffea.  Sioux Falls, SD Liquid Planet. Missoula, MT Zootown Brew.  Missoula, MT

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Black Sheep

1007 W 11th St,
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104

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