Le Macabre – 23 Meard Street, London W1. A popular cafe during the 60s which used coffins as tables, bakelite skulls for ashtrays, skull-shaped milk jugs, murals of skeletons and graveyards, and a jukebox that featured the Funeral March. (source)
I am eating the oxygen of the 30-something man sitting next to me. One day he’ll be dead. I do not know his name, I have never seen him before, I will probably never see him again. I imagine him decomposing under the soil. When he smiles at me I see that he has worms in his teeth and grit on his gums. I think he may outlive me.
The sleeping baby, the Brazilian barista, the old boys smoking in the doorway, the schoolgirls in the corner, the young lady on crutches, the suits discussing business, the man washing the windows: you are all going to be dead one day. Nothing but dead.
I wonder who will die first, I wonder how soon it will be.
I wonder who will be buried, I wonder who will be cremated.
I wonder who will die surrounded by family and friends, I wonder who will die alone.
I wonder who will die happy and content, I wonder who will die sad, angry, bitter, unfulfilled.
I wonder if anyone in this cafe will die by their own hand, I wonder if anyone in this cafe will be murdered.
I wonder who will be next, I wonder who will be last.
Out of all the twenty-odd people in this cafe, I don’t want to be the first to die. I don’t want to be the last to die either. Someone in this room will outlive every human who was in this cafe, in this town, on this day, at this time. I look around. It will not be me. It will not be me.