Liquid Planet

Missoula, Montana

tableaux'd by: and


No one wants to be here. Neither tableauxist will be the first to step in line. “Are we getting coffee here?” “There’s not time in the schedule to find another place.” “The only other place I saw was that City Brew or what the fuck as we cruised into the Heart of Missoula. The Starbucks-looking place.” “I do not think we would be pleased to visit that.” At least this place sells crates of Gallo and Bud Ice, so is somewhat more remarkable than your typical Seattle-style coffee shop [see Full City Pearl — ed.]. “Can you wait until Butte?” “I would prefer to have coffee when I wake, like a normal person; some of us can’t lounge around all morning then go for a coffee stroll at 11am!” It’s settled; they order beverages, JHT’s 16oz and Thos’s 20oz.

Tables are interspersed amidst the labyrinth of beverage stacks. CT makes its way to the rear of the warehouse where a partial-height partition sets off a cafeteria-style seating area with track lighting and potted plants the size of VW Beetles taking up more space than many entire Eugenean cafe or vegan reuben buildings. It looks like a Drury Inn and Suites in Paducah, KY. Believe that. CT shares a love seat.

Liquid Planet, Missoula, MT

Thos: “I’ve never been in a place so relaxing. A man could really get some thinking done here.”
JHT: “You’re daft! This place sickens me.”
Thos: “It’s dark, cold, windowless, and silent. Isn’t this up your alley?”
JHT: “I require distractions to stay productive. These empty tables are no tonic for the flaneur. For instance, the child who throws a cup of cow’s milk to the floor and demands chocolate? He may be the slave boy in my text who realizes that he can manipulate his pederast master to unwittingly provide him with a means of escape. The mom who shouts into her bluetooth receiver? She is the neglected wife of Gaius Manticrustius who seizes control by spreading gossip about the Proconsul of Tukur (or Tvkvr if you will). Perhaps the boy is actually HER son; perhaps she grooms him to rise up against Manticrustius!? Taking real people and adapting them around the style and voice of an author you admire, that’s how you become the next Kenneth G. Allen Jr. That’s what inspires me, not some navel gazing about some empty chairs and the quality of light.”

As if on cue, a Sunday-suited he-urchin screeches, “Mooooom, i waaaant a hot chooooooklit!”

JHT: “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout; that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘boooout!”

The urchin’s wise-beyond-her-few-years sister tells him to shut his mouth.

Thos: “Bass. Tear him up, baby!”
JHT: “Relax, brother!”

Liquid Planet, Missoula, MT

In order to fill the silence JHT asks Thos to explain to him again, as sort of a continuation of Thos’s previous Summer Lecture Series on women who are objectively unattractive, something he said about beautiful women who become mutant freaks the longer you look at them.

Thos: “Where was I going with that? Oh, have you noticed some celebrities who are universally accepted as ‘beautiful’ in fact look like monsters?”
JHT: “Example.”
Thos: “Jessica Pare. She looks like a muppet. But everyone agrees that she is beautiful, so I ‘understand’ that she is.”
JHT: “Who is that?”
Thos: “Okay, that Emily girl from the last Spider-Man movie. She was in Zombieland.”
JHT: “Emma Stone? She is beautiful.”
Thos: “I’m sure you think so. Look at her long enough; she looks like a manga character. Michelle Obama, too.”
JHT: “Her again? Now you are just being racist.”
Thos: “Lana Kane is attractive. Boom, not racist.”
JHT: “Ummm…”
Thos: “Maybe you just have to have an exaggerated, cartoonish face to appear conventionally attractive on teevee or movie screens, similar to how the Greeks employed entasis with their otherwise hideous temples.”

Liquid Planet, Missoula, MT

Thos: “Let’s be fair, the same is true for men. Do you think that Adrien Brody or Jeremy Renner would be considered hot if they were not famous?”
JHT: “JRenn was attractive in Dahmer, but just because he was playing someone who wasn’t supposed to be. So you are saying that you want to pork Adrien Brody?”
Thos: “No! Not particularly. I’ve never thought about it, but now that you’ve mentioned him, I have to consider the possibility. I am curious about how his nose relates to the size of his johnson.”
JHT: “Curious, eh? Like your ‘curiosity’ about Colin Farrell? Because I would like to enter that into this tableaux.”
Thos: “I don’t daydream about sleeping with him. I’m saying that if he propositioned me in a bar, or in the bathroom of a coffeeshop-cum-wine store, I would accept. What a great story to tell. Also, I bet he is a champion at it. Or David Duchovny? I would wear him like scuba gear.” Thos states this almost directly to the mother of the two children sulking in a rear booth as she shuffles by with a cardboard drink caddy, “assuming Gillian Anderson was part of this ménage.”

“Nyah, nyah! I got a hot chocklit!”



The first signs of the Sturgis 2012 motorcycle rally begin to appear near Butte. A digitized alert sign over I-90 flashes something like “…WEEKEND WARRIORS…DO NOT SPLIT LANES…” CT cruises through Sheridan, WY, in search of a place to stop for the night. As dozens of motorbikes coalesce along Sheridan’s main drag, Thos feels his blood chill as JHT’s truck inches closer to a collision with a group of them creeping along the median. He grips the wheel in anticipation of pulling a U-turn at breakneck speed and gunning it out of town as JHT is dragged from the cab and thrashed with motor chains. The bikes pass the Penske safely, but being turned off by a motel advertising ‘FREE PARKING LOT CAMPING FOR BIKERS WITH BLUE OYSTER CULT AND FOGHAT TIX’ our travelers continue on to Buffalo, WY, where they find their first bedrest of the voyage at the Crossroads Inn on picturesque North Bypass.

Dinner is purchased at Reese and Ray’s IGA. No Goya beans are found. Neither tableauxist will shell out $.99 for a can opener, and the only vegan food in pull-top cans is soup. These are eaten cold whilst watching Breaking Bad s05e04 live on teevee and being creeped out by Walt spooning with Skyler. “Man! Has she gotten fat! It looks like a hive of bees attacked her face.” Thos sleeps on a rollaway cot.


Breakfast is eaten amongst western outliers of the Sturgis rally. These characters seem soft compared to the popularly-imagined biker character as they discuss information technology, the overabundance of carbs and sugar in a continental breakfast, and the taking care of a sick uncle. The bikers gossip like hens, complaining about how one guy in their club always rides too fast, while another one is always left behind. “Whenever Lance is ride captain, if he says the ride begins at 7:30, he doesn’t mean you rally at 7:30; he means that he has already ridden off at 7:30 on the dot!”

JHT joins the table with a mold-injected bagel and a teenth of orange drink. “You got the Buffalo Bulletin there? Does it say if Curiosity made it to the surface of Mars?”
Thos: “This organ is only published once a week, so it is behind; there is more coverage on the latest open-carry debates than on Curiosity. Ask one of these IT bikers to look it up on their smartphone.”

At 8:30 on the dot CT heads off on foot across Buffalo’s uniform asphalt landscape to The Fix: an espresso shop, laundry mat [sic], and Basque gift store.

Liquid Planet, Missoula, MT

Picture is unrelated.

Cafe Tableaux. On The Road. Summer 2012
« Chapter 3: Zootown Brew | Chapter 5: The Fix »

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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Liquid Planet

223 N Higgins Ave
Missoula, Montana 59802

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