Fremont Cafe

Seattle, Washington

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The coffeeshop has a different function for the tourist, the dériver, and any transient functionary than it does for the local, or the inhabitant of the city the shop is in. It is less receptacle and more passage. In the home environment, the coffeeshop is a wall, or chamber, against which the imbiber is bounced, from their home to their home. Even with intermediate stops, the shop maintains a fixed relationship to the home, unless the transient is intentionally fragmenting his route in order to alienate hisself from the familiar distances and sequences that tie him to his home. Lost in an unfamiliar city, we have no need to willfully corrupt our sequence, for submission to this loss is itself the presage to surprise and disorientation.

Fremont Cafe

If we decide, after watching the sun drop across the fishnet ceiling of the public library downtown, that we need a chocolate and some fresh air, then we discover it. What lies beyond this node of the voyage, and what sequence will be necessary to satisfy the resulting whim, is of no consequence. So we construct a plan to travel by bus back across the Aurora Bridge and walk back through the neighbourhoods to the Fremont Cafe, which we had passed the day before during a failed attempt to watch Goonies in a parking lot teeming with rabble. Suddenly, we were snapped back into space, the fluidity of unfamiliar roads, dingbats, and cats fell away, and there was a point, the cafe, that we could surround ourselves with. Not knowing where you are in relation to your home somehow has the effect of making a Xocolatl chocolate bar seem like a comestible wrap-around porch, upon which the sun, falling in some direction, lets its final rays ignite the foil wrapper with a shade of gold that vapourizes the French tourists in pointy boots who keep shouting ‘allo!’ at each other, the ‘spiritual’ girl, who, on a lark, wandered herself downtown, ending up in a place where people had tattoos, and, feeling a communing with their ‘otherness’, went home to paint (it felt so good!), into the dusk, leaving us to watch the sky turn grainy.

In the darkness we claimed a new space that trailed us, a shell, detached from the facades we traced, which deposited us at busstop after busstop whose service had terminated for the night. This was a space that clung tight to us, true alienation, a scuttling introversion in which we encountered disappointments and monsters.

We had been doomed to find ourselves in Fremont Cafe that night. Shortly before we had passed the cafe, the previous evening, we had seen our deaths, in symmetry about the dawn, prophesied in the figure of a genderless creature in a broadbrimmed straw hat on the street corner opposite us. As a van carrying two llamas drove between us, the creature pointed, tracing in the air the direction of the van, until it disappeared, presumably in a representation of our ‘disappearance’ the following night, at the hand of this creature.

As we walked close against a stone wall, illuminated in the next streetlamp, was the creature. It stepped toward us with a parodical gait, raising its feet high above the ground with each step, mocking our fear, until we had passed it and were ourselves standing in the streetlamp. Why had the buses into this hell gone out of service? Why had we not confirmed our route on paper that morning? Where was our home, in which direction from this residential labyrinth? Looking over my shoulder, the androgenous golem raised both of its palms against the stone, then hopped, with both feet, onto the low coping at the base of the wall where it clung maniacally. Its steely eyes froze us as it crouched. We had chosen this fate, in our desire to find pleasure in loss, in the augury of our last experiences of stasis in the warm embrace of the cafe; we dutifully submitted to the open ending the creature provided the evening.

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Fremont Cafe

459 North 36th Street
Seattle, Washington 98103

One Response to “Fremont Cafe”

  1. Izzy’s Coffee Den, Asheville | anecdotal reviews from cafe tableaux

    […] made up and in costume, but who could say whether it was for Halloween or if he had in fact seen ‘the creature’ and its horde. In Asheville, the revelers were almost certainly of the seasonal ilk, and their […]

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