Just something I started writing on one of those "Can't sleep nights":
He worked at the local deli on the corner of 4th Place and Court Street in Carrol Gardens, Brooklyn. Situated between a greasy pizza spot and a new yuppie Thai restaurant, Spunnani Deli was the oldest commercial building on the block. Walking through the front door, the faint smell of home made soppresetta and mozzarella sank into your mouth and gently stung your nostrils. Great orbs of cheese hung motionless in the air among the movements and vibrations of customers zooming in and out. Occasionally the older customers would linger, proudly announcing the accomplishments of family members while noting their personal ailments and failing health. 30 year old Italian women with bad hair and worse wardrobes stood with sarcastic impatience waiting for their orders, one or two children dangling from their legs, arms. Faux Hipsters with high paying jobs would patiently wait on line for what was described as "The best fresh and smoked mozzarella in New York City."
Thurber liked the food there but didn't distinguish much flavor difference from Spunnai's mozzarella and any other he had tasted in his 23 years of life. He would go home each evening around 8pm after closing the store, reeking of cured meat and cigarette smoke. The arrangement with the owner allowed him several breaks during the day in lieu of a single lunch break like the rest of the staff. One of these 10-15 minute breaks would usually include a Marlboro red, sucked down to the filter not allowing a morsel of tobacco to go wasted. Other times he would sit on a milk crate in front of the store with a hunk of fresh baked semolina and an old Ceramic dish partially filled with fine extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and some coarsely chopped fresh garlic. He ate quickly but with grace, effortlessly tearing the bread with his thin long pencil like fingers and timing the last piece to clean the bowl perfectly.