silence, frowns, fumbling with cutlery. a glass clinked. silence. i cleared my throat. glanced round. nearby, the machine sat in the corner, winking quietly to itself. i smiled. exuded calm and positivity. He coughed once, picked up His wine glass, drained it off, set it down. a little loudly. i smiled with bared teeth, tried to indicate everything was good. but it was not good. He spoke aramaic. i spoke english. the others german, french, greek. in the corner, the machine winked and whirred and none of us knew what the hell was going on.