me and tupac shakur sat inside a donut shop, sharing a dozen and watching the coffee cream. one by one, the box slowly emptied. pac sidled out so i could hear him, "donuts are communism." i asked him why, he said, "better in theory." we laughed and scratched the sleep from our eyes. he said, "this is ridiculous; twelve is too much, half a dozen wastes our time. but every time, we order twelve, thinking we can handle it. and every time, we end up pissed because we made our stomachs sick." we both laugh a bit and gingerly sip our coffee. his fingers scrape the tabletop as he digs in softly. and i watch him there, carving, scraping, both sitting in silence, as he engraves his name with the words "west side" beside it. underneath the orange veneer of the coffee shop gear, there's an earthy brown flesh that excavation makes appear. year after year, pac and i return here to the table that he claimed with the matching bench chairs. we chug the last of our coffee and stand to leave, wave to the clerk, she says goodbye in chinese. clutching our sick stomachs, we both struggle to speak. we shake our hands, split our ways, and say, "see you next week."