Could vs did

A man, spending the night in his daughter’s apartment while she is off in Norway doing handstands on Trolltunga or whatever (he tries not to think about it too much, watching her rush to the edge of the Cliffs of Moher one windy day when she was 8 was enough for one lifetime) wakes, and showers, and dresses, and trots over to the bakery with wet hair (the man, not the bakery) to get some breakfast.

On the way there he sees a man a few years older and thinks, I have to lose weight. He thinks, It’s not too late.

Then he sees a woman with awesome pants and considers saying, Your pants, they’re awesome but doesn’t.

Then he gets to the bakery and through the glass display windows (or, rather, through the windows, because glass window is generally redundant, isn’t it?) sees the manager rummaging around in shelves of baked goods and the male assistant standing there, staring into space and deeply probing his ear with a finger.

And he thinks, Christ, if this wasn’t the only bakery in the neighborhood.

And he could say, (and thinks about saying) when he gets in, “give me one of those and one of those and one of them there with the fruit BUT FIRST WASH YOUR HANDS pal why is it what is it about the male body that makes their owners so interested in their orifices I have known but one female equally obsessed with her orifices and their examination but she was a girl in choir class in junior high, with developmental disabilities (the girl) and a savante-level obsession with telling stories about masturbation so you can’t count her, really, and have you never heard of Ignaz Semmelweis?”

But all he really does is say, “give me one of those and one of those and one of them there with the fruit,” and closely observe which hand the fellow uses to retrieve the goods from the case.

And take them back to the apartment and share them with his other daughter, and have coffee, which she judges to be of poor quality, now that she is training to be a barista this summer.

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