Blue Line Coffee

Omaha, Nebraska

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What’s hotter than hot? Drinking black coffee in Omaha in August. With little else to do but bounce from shop to shop a 2PM, post-lunch, cup was inevitable. The shops so far under my belt were bleak, businesslike affairs with none of the desperate stranded youthfulness I had mythologized for Omaha after blindly pointing my finger to the map in preparation for my summer holiday. On the coma-end of a gastronomical daytrip to Athens, shuffling around the city, we were approached by a youth in youth costume who halted us in the street. “Where is the in place, hey? What goes on in this city? Where are the kids? What’s the secret handshake?” He was asking the wrong ‘kids.’ I’m sure he eventually found what he was looking for. I’ve never been on the inside track with the kids even when I was one. No wonder Omaha looked as sad and baked as any other summer place that unfolds around me.

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Blue Line is the dirtiest place that I have ever consumed foodstuffs. To keep from being sweat-welded to the vinyl chair or driven insane by the fly who loved me I eavesdropped. This was the place. I didn’t know the handshake of course. Three kids with nothing to do, miraculously not sweating, in thin cardigans worn with shorts, ruffled their hair like a dance and made plans for dusk, post-nap. A group of kids were heading to the river, to the woods next to a park. Everyone would be there. Kids from out of town that had linked up the night before and slept on Josiah and Casey’s floor would be there, from whence and hence they were less important than now, tonight, and however long. They packed up their Macbooks. I was stuck to the dried filth on the chair.

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Summer freedom running across melting highways from grass to grass, gravel to gravel, in bare feet hard now though young and soft beneath. Summer darkness, deepest night darkness, loudest night darkness, alive night darkness. Summer sun still hides so much. We hid in it organized together a group of friends happening to pass by this one summer in this summer city only trying to find things to keep us together all the time from the tugs of time and geography. Summer heat in the shadows where a few of us hid together from the catcher whose footsteps we heard and few of us knew each other’s names but why would we bother. Some of us swam and some lost each other for the rest of the day until dark they resurfaced in small groups at a party with hoses, little pools, and guys starting to wear short shorts again. Summers later barely the shaded edge of a face would remain in the sparks of our brains, much less the names of some kids we played hide and go seek with at Two Rivers.

I drove through Council Bluffs in late afternoon. I got stuck in rush hour traffic looking for somewhere to do a u-turn.

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Blue Line Coffee

4924 Underwood Ave
Omaha, Nebraska 68132

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