At the pie shop down the street, the guy at the counter always wears a knit hat with a pom pom, regardless of the season. His script does not vary much; he asks me how my work is going, what I’ve been up to, if I have any weekend plans. He stretches his words out in a way that makes him always seem high.

Today, I came in later than usual. Half a pecan pie, a quarter loaf of bread, and a few muffins were all that was left.

“Almost everything’s gone,” he says, watching me look sadly at the near empty display case. “But we do have tons and tons of coffee.”

“How’s the apple-walnut cake?”

“I wouldn’t know, I’m allergic to nuts,” He says. “And sesame seeds, too.” He goes on. “I’m arab, and I can’t even eat sesame seeds,”

I order the apple-walnut cake, feeling bad he had to come into contact with the nuts at the end of his metal tongs.

“It’s okay,” he says, “it’s totally fine.” “If I was that allergic, I’d have been dead within a week of working here.”


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