With Sugar

ClubThe smell of coffee was intoxicating. Providing more comfort than the impending taste. It wasn’t about sipping the cup through the afternoon. I was dying for the comfort of holding a warm mug. I could picture it so clearly in my mind’s eye. The solace provided by holding that cup. . . my God. I could feel the productivity returning to my finger tips.

–Long day?

The barista brought my attention back to reality. He’d caught me day dreaming, much to my embarrassment. He was tall and had the slender build of a long distance runner. He smiled at me, as I wiped away the memory of my morning from my brow. His smile was wicked; knowing. Chuckling as he poured me my afternoon-pick-me-up cup of coffee, he said.

–Don’t worry, you’re almost through right? You can make it.

I gratefully accepted my travel cup. Wrapping my hands around the warmed cardboard sleeve, I thought; this is what perfection feels like.

–Thank you. Really, I appreciate it. It’s been a long week, man. A really long week. Although, I shouldn’t be complaining to you. I mean, Christ. People and their food; it’s crazy. But people and their coffee. Now that’s a whole new nightmare.

He wiped his hands on his green apron, smiling his devilish smile.

–You’ve done food industry before. You should know better. Don’t feel sorry for me.

I raised my eyebrows. I wasn’t feeling sorry for him, we all choose our lives.

–For real. Under caffeinated people are terrifying! Like a rabid animal foaming at the mouth.

He rubbed the back of his head. Brown eyes flicking to the left and right of him, checking to make sure no one was near enough to hear us. He leaned over the counter, whispering.

–Ma’am. If you’re mean to us, we find our ways. You yell, and we’ll mess with you. Not just messing up your name on the cup. That’s just kicks n’ giggles. I’m sayin’, you order non-fat. We’ll give you cream. You ask for a double shot of espresso, we’ll make sure its not caffeinated.

I started laughing from the shock of it. It was a ballsy way to get revenge.  A high risk en devour.

–Aren’t you nervous that you’ll get caught?

He shrugged.

–Naw. People like that, they don’t come here for the coffee. They come in here because they need to feel power. They need to feel like they are in control.

–It’s clearly working for them.

His laughter had a maniacal ring to it. He winked.

–Aw, you bet it is.


SpadeI pulled as they pushed. We were both so involved in our own little worlds we almost ran into each other. I let the door go, stepping back with a tipsy giggle as they rushed past me.

It happened so fast.

The sound cracked out like snap of a B.B. Gun.

She stumbled past me onto the sidewalk, gasping for freedom. Something felt wrong about her movement. It was as if her surreal moment leached into reality. Everything slowed around her. Her unease seeped into the air. She started to step away from the restaurant. Hand to her temple; you could see she was wrestling with herself.

Her hair was cropped short in excellent taste that even the most polished hipster would be jealous of. Fashioned after a man from the 20’s, her hair was long on the flat top of her head and buzzed with marine precision elsewhere. The back of her T-shirt had the same logo as the restaurant.

She turned back to the door at the sound.

I stood deer-in-head-lights, trying to figure out what caused the sound and her pain.

Her eyes were edged in charcoal, and her delicate features lined with make up detailing her femininity. She was beautiful. Fairly-like as she looked up at the hand she had to her temple.

–Oh, it was my bracelet.

I looked at the ground. I couldn’t see anything anywhere. The beads had dispersed themselves too well to be found.

–I. I’m. Um.

I stuttered. I would help her look if she wanted. She felt upset to me. She felt like everything had gone wrong and if that bracelet was going to make her feel better, I was okay trying to gather all the tigers eye beads.

She sighed, noticing me for the first time. Her worry relaxed into a smile. She placed the hand with the missing bracelet into a pocket. She nodded, easing back into life.

–You know what? It’s okay. This is fated to be.

She then turned and walked away, more at peace then I ever think I could feel when walking out of a job.