Open, close, open, open, slam, drawers upon drawers upon cabinets. No luck. Cynthia was sweating in her Hanros when she finally discovered a black machine with sleek lines; could this be a coffeemaker? It bore no resemblance to the dented aluminum percolator her mother had used back in Aurora, Missouri. She squinted, trying to make sense of the buttons and the timers and the vents. Cynthia refused to acknowledge the slow submerging of the printed word into a gray blur. Reading glasses? Forget it. Next, people would be whispering: "She was a real beauty in her twenties."
Even if Cynthia could bring Darth Vader to life, where was the coffee? She set the machine down.
And where were her Gitanes?
Caffeine and cigarettes, the breakfast of champions for ballerinas, even long-retired ones. What started out decades ago as a six-packa-day Diet Coke habit had morphed into almost a case a day of highoctane diet Red Bull as her metabolism slowed. Cynthia was Sleeping Beauty without her fix. And to make matters worse, Esme, her personal maid, had hidden the cigs from her, instructed to ration five a day -- 7:30, 10:30, 2:30, 6:30, 10:30 -- unless otherwise notified in times of crisis. Cynthia knew better than to bother anyone about her blessed unfiltereds at this hour.