Denial of human nature cannot be promulgated by anyone other than the most desperately failed. Human nature is, and shall not be denied. Inasmuch as so many wish to believe otherwise, we are machines of deceit; we are liars, and the for the most part are lying only to ourselves. So be it, that is who we are.

In this universe of roasted beanness, there is ample opportunity to see people as they are and as they wish themselves to appear. Sitting in a comfortable chair reading and drinking a protein, non-coffee health drink that tasted like banana flavored chalk, I watched truth rear its perfectly ugly head.

A couple old enough to want less drama in their lives came in for their usual. A few times a week they came in for some coffee and pastries and the wife would flirt with the female interested men behind the counter. The husband, a hulking, gentle man, kept his head down and ignored her call for attention. Today, the routine was disturbed, thanks to Fred.

An area manager who liked working behind the counter, Fred was a greasy fat man with a big mouth who could get away with speaking to customers like no other because of his senior rank. Simply put: he was wanted as much as used toilet paper in a third world country. Fred knew little about the couple and saw the wife's flirt as a sincere invitation, an opportunity he was too fugly to forgo.

By the time the two were done ordering, Gentleman was about 6 feet from his wife, waiting to pay. Fred had already insulted his intelligence, his appearance and his manhood. The young men behind the counter with their boss laughed, uncomfortably, but it was clear Gentleman saw a gang of rude sports challenging him, eyeing his wife, his prize. He was using all of his self-restraint to not react, especially when his wife began to laugh, fueled by their desirous energy.

“How much?”

“Are you going to let us get away with this?” Fred taunted.

“How much?”

“Maybe you leave me that beautiful woman. We call it even.”

What!?”

“She deserves some men that aren't, you know...” Fred answered, making a “V” shape with his fingers and holding it over his crotch.

Gentleman prepared to snap. He knew it. His wife knew it. I knew it. Fred was clueless, emboldened by the mentality of mob rule protection.

Laughing hard, Fred and his men went and sat on a well padded bench in the corner. A man in a suit went up to her and whispered in the woman's ear. She laughed as her husband began to glow, his blood boiling.

“Come. Come sit with us,” Fred invited the wife, patting a 3” wide space between him and another worker.

The wife looked at her husband, gave an immature, little girl giggle and went and sat in the small space. She could not fit, so she slipped her body behind the two men who gave one another a high-five hand slap.

“Well, I guess she wants to be with us...unless you want to do something about that?”

Gentleman was ready to kill, rightfully so, but he did not need to ruin his life over her, even if they were man and wife (the worst will come when you promise yourself for “better or worse”).

Standing and moving quickly to head him off as he made a beeline toward Fred and the rude crew, I put my hand on his massive shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but...”

He turned, looking me in the eyes, prepared to engage in battle for the indiscretion of my ill timed touch of temerity. Before I could explain, the strange man in the suit came close to interrupt.

“Go, be a man. She wants you to claim her, to fight for her. Go, be a man.”

“Shouldn't you be wearing a bowler?” I asked the suit.

Gentleman now had too many targets and was too enraged to speak — a scrawny, effeminate man in a suit just told him to be a man.

“He's right. She wants you to fight, to claim her. She wants you to fight a group of men. She wants you to risk yourself not for justice, not for righteousness, not for good, but for her pleasurable, for the reassurance of her venal vanity. Are you prepared to lose it all for someone who cares so little about you?”

I felt his shoulders drop, relaxing. The rage was dissipating. He knew the words being offered were sincere, truthful. “No,” he answered in a heavy sigh of relief.

She laughed. Fred and the rude crew laughed. Their laughs were forced, not comfortable.

“You could kill them all, beat them to pulps, and tomorrow you will have been flagged by the government toadies for storage in a concrete building. Is that what she wants? You could fight them and slip, or one of them could get in a lucky punch and hurt you. Is that what she wants? You can't win.”

“I know.”

Gentleman had an epiphany. The rage was leaving, as was her ability to ruin him. When she saw him recognize the truth of who she was, a look of panic paled her smile. He noticed, looked me in the eyes and nodded an appreciation.

As he passed the suited man missing a bowler, he paused to glare at him dangerously, promising to remember. The last thing he did before exiting the bean squeeze was turn to look at his wife and whisper, “Whore,” ashamedly.

She was broken, but giggled in the hope her new friends would only notice her fun flirtiness and continue their pandering pursuit.

I wanted to follow the man out and help him excuse his pain, but he seemed like a capable man. I returned to my seat and watched the absurdity of life crashing in a coffee shop while I threw calories of sustenance into my wanting mouth of masticating madness.

I finished my shift without any real interaction with Fred or the members of the rude crew, but eventually Fred and I were the only ones left, and my mouth had nothing to chew.

“When do you think it's going to happen?”

“What?”

“The hussy's husband. He's gonna thrash you.”

“That fuckin' pussy? He's about as scary as you. He ain't gonna do shit.”

“Yeah, I'm pretty sure you're going to pay for that.”

“Fuck you! He's not gonna do shit. Guys like that never do.”

“If I hadn't stopped him, you'd have been dead hours ago.”

“Right. Sure, you saved the day.”

“Thank you for noticing, but I am suggesting you still watch out. We pay the price for the truth of our deeds. You'd better watch out.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“You're my boss.”

“Is that why you saved me?”

“Actually, in the name of full factual disclosure, I saved him.”

“See, even you know I'd make him my bitch.”

“No, he would have killed you. I was saving him from ruining his life over...you.”

“You're pussies. I'll fuck you all up!”

“What is it about wearing those mixed martial arts t-shirts that make guys like you think they can fight because they wear them?”

“Fuuuuck you.”

“Just askin'.”

“You're lucky we're at work and the security cameras are on.”

“Yeah, that's why they call me Captain Luckyhead. But, being a gentleman myself, if you would ever like to meet someplace quaint, more neutral, just let me know. It would be my honor. I'm sure you train somewhere.”

“What the... I haven't had time, lately. Come on, finish cleaning so we can get the fuck outta this dump.”

“Yeah. Still, be careful out there.”

“Just clean.”

And the conversation ended. We cleaned, randomly looking and glaring at one another in preparation for combat. He was sure it would never come. I just wanted to refrain until I was ready to leave my career as a bean presser behind. Still, justice must be served, and it is best served fresh.

I left the shop when done and headed on the path I knew Fred to take, preparing to lurk in the darkness. I followed, keeping in the shadows so he could not see my face or figure clearly. The man was afraid, and I was alive, excited at the possibility of justice.

I followed.

Opportunity did not arise.

But justice in the shadows of darkness again began to lurk.

Evil is everywhere, we must at least make it uncomfortable, shaming it whenever possible.

If you wait, you will be thrust upon by the good character of men who wish to make a difference, no matter how dashing you look with or without a bowler.

Feel alive, do the right thing.

Feel alive. do.