A car strikes the cafe.

A stern faced Teo Vaga sits almost sulking in leather chair while mulling over the paradoxes of American power, in a book called The Paradox of American Power. These weekdays & weekends, day breaks and day's ends, all seem to run together through the turn of each page, as what was homework becomes lifework.

Every minute equates to another paragraph, another page, that he could be reading, and what seems like an eternity passing is merely 5 turns of a book. So focused, face down, that he neglects all around him. At least, he tries to.

A beautiful woman sits to his left, only separated by a marble table and her glass of wine. So close that they could be together. However, if they were an item they wont be for long. While he is only occupied in his reading, she sips the night away longing for acceptance, searching for acknowledgement. A couple approaches from across the room and asks her to join their party because she seems lonely. She's gone.

"Why didn't they ask me?" ponders Teo in between paragraphs. Is it the stern demeanor?

Continuing with the paradox of power, he now wonders on the paradox of persons.

"Hey buddy," says a man stranger. "Can you save this spot for me and my lady?"

Teo places his bag on the couch, an act of good social propriety.

The couple returns with thanks, while Teo goes to the juke box to play the same song he always plays.

"Who's that?" asks the man stranger and his date, as smooth tunes roll out. "It's Seu Jorge, E Depois. He's Brazilian," replies Teo. As he sits down the man stranger inquires why he's reading about paradoxes of American power,  and Teo, half jokingly responds, "It's my date for tonight.....and several other nights."

The man stranger and his lady leave while offering a cigarette, but Teo politely rejects because he doesn't get along with carcinogens. As soon as they clear the front door a woman approaches asking if she and her mate can sit on the couch. Perhaps more paradoxical than American power, is why people continually ask him permission to sit at the public couch like he's a Lord of the Lounge.

"Yeah sure. Go ahead," he says, as they graciously thank him for his royal permission.

A car strikes the cafe. Water begins to spew upon the window. The owner rushes out, while the newly wet patrons rush in. A man stranger asks Teo to watch his copy of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita while he rushes to urinate. He returns and sits to Teo's left, only separated by a marble table and indifference. The beautiful woman sits 15 ft. away, fixing her hair and chatting with her new friends,.