Ceramic cups clink in trays and eggs are scraped off sizzling griddles. Dishonesty disguised as humility slips through false smiles and seeps into the shiny white subway tiles on the walls like coffee stains on teeth. Men in white, starched linens lean back in mahogany chairs, reading through wine-stain spectacles forbidden books on the science of charm. Two men in construction uniforms enter and disrupt the steady rhythm of cuff buttons on tables and clipped sentences in the air. Their broad, built shoulders cast shadows on marble countertops as they ask for iced coffees, their accents pulled and stretched like guitar strings, plucked at just the right vowel and consonant, tuned to the chaotic cacophony of the city just outside. They stand and wait, their casual conversation filled with words that roll and creak like the wood of salt-aged ship decks, worn by the timeless pounding of waves and black boots. They come from generations of blue collars that stiffen in the presence of conflict, that have grown pale under the the promise of the sun. The sounds of the café weave together into a harmonious hum, casting a quilt over the room and over once-shared memories of growth and revolution. Coffees in hand, the two men leave, one throwing on his cap and the other adjusting the cross on his neck, both remarking on the heat of the day and the sweat on their backs. The room exhales, the mask of ingenuity made ingenuine once again.