Starting up a cafe had seemed like a good idea at the time. Brian had had whimsical fantasies of half the village coming in on a daily basis to discuss the issues of the day, to make new friendships and to strengthen old ones. In any other city, this idea might have worked, but Brian had reckoned without the astounding asocial abilities of Polis residents. Instead, people simply ordered whatever on the menu sounded like it had the most caffiene in it, spending the rest of their visit wordlessly nursing it in their hands. Brian had tried starting up conversations in those happy, innocent first few weeks, but the most he would get from the majority of them was a few noncommittal grunts before his victim fled to some faraway table to consume whatever they had ordered in sweet asocial silence.
After about a month, Brian gave up trying to inject any life into the place, as by then it had become immensely clear that his initial dreams of integration in the society just wouldn't work. His role had been reduced from custodian of the village's social hub to something bordering on the local drug dealer and crackhouse owner. The majority of his days were spent in hellish silence, broken only by the sips of coffee, mediocre pop music playing on a radio turned down to the furthest reaches of audiability, and the occasional tourist who, in blissful innocence, tried to begin some kind of conversation with his depressed nine-to-five caffiene addict customers. Brian was strangely grateful for the tourists, as without their far too infrequent chatter with him, Brian would probably have gone out of his mind long ago.
There was only other diversion from the constant coffehouse monotony of Brian's life - the one regular who ever hazarded to say more than a mumbled order. Brian didn't actually know his name; it had not come up in their first conversation and now that they had known each other for a few weeks he did not want to admit his ignorance. In place of a real description, he had begun to mentally label him as The Boy With The Donkey. There were two reasons for this: first, he was a boy, and secondly, he had a donkey. It seemed to work. Brian had initially been reluctant to let it inside, thinking his customers would feel uncomfortable with an animal in the same room as the food they were ingesting, but he eventually conceded that even if he had a preforming elephant in there the most anyone would do would be to lift their head slightly, think about saying something, and then decide against it. So, the donkey stayed. And, as a result, so did the boy.