The Shuffler scrapes his feet along the mottled carpet, every shade of red and brown and blue. The perfect hue to hide the grit from our Midwestern boots. The perfect shade to catch errant drops from the cups of coffee poured into 8-ounce squeaky styrofoam cups flavored with a double shake of desert dry creamer.
It's what you'd expect, public coffee in the public library -- samovar'd all day long until it's burnt old and thick like oil: just how the Shuffler likes it.
I come here to write because often it's just me and Ruby the Red Dell holed up in the Reading Room. Here, the "Quiet Please" signs taped north and south on the cool blue walls are my sentries, deflecting noisy riff-raff like the zombie fence in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
I wonder if he knows what I'm writing while he sips and reads. What he'd think of my stories about world-building and impossible beings that negate the very true National Geographic articles he folds out in his corrugated hands.
We're a silent odd team, the man who shuffles and me.
Snapping up Ruby, I stow my gear into the bag, ready to pick up and shuttle kids and dogs and other breathing things to wherever. With a polite wave, I signal my departure and he winks, rising to walk coffee bar to magazine rack and back again, making sure his fence line of familiarity is secure.
I need a quiet place to write, even the sparky static of soles against carpet is almost too much noise for me to concentrate, so I'm curious: Where do you like to write?