Espresso Daydreams

In the coffee shop on a Wednesday morning, the one on the corner of Main St. And Grant Ave, sat three people. Behind the counter was a barista named Lilly, today was her first day. The person who was supposed to be training Lilly, Mack, was in the back office sitting in the manager’s chair, he wasn’t the manager, with his feet up on the desk and his eyes lost somewhere in his phone, he’d been scrolling for almost an hour and hadn’t liked a single picture. Mack helped the first three customers as Lilly watched, then he retreated.

Lilly studied the screen in front of her. She’d worked at a fast-food restaurant the summer before, so she was somewhat familiar with the setup, but the coffee shop had a layout all their own. It was unlikely someone would want ketchup in their coffee. Everyone takes their coffee in a different way, however.

“Excuse me?”

Lilly looked up from her studies to notice the first man who’d walked in when the store opened. She remembered his name from having to write it on his cup, Dave. Dave was tall, with at least two days worth of stubble on his face. A pair of sunglasses rested atop his head and he had a white smear of something where his forehead met his hairline, most likely something for the pimples that were scattered about his thirty-something face.

“What can I help you with?” asked Lilly.

“Can I get another medium black coffee?” he asked. He fished his wallet out of his front pocket. His wallet was thin, probably only containing a few cards, and his money was under a clip. He slid out a five dollar bill and placed it on the counter.

“Sure thing.”

Lilly stared wide-eyed at the screen in front of her.

Medium black coffee. Medium black coffee. That’s easy enough, right? I can do this. I can do this. Medium black coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

“Oh, can I also get a shot of espresso in that? Sorry, forgot to mention that.”

“Sure thing,” she repeated.

Oh crap. Crap. Crap. Espresso. Espresso. Where are you espresso? Crap. Crap.

“Is everything okay?” asked Dave. “You’re looking a bit flustered.”

“Everything is fine. It’s my first day. I’m just trying to find the espresso option.”

“Oh, okay. No rush. Rushing is what the coffee is for.”

Dave laughed at his own joke. Lilly smiled with her mouth closed, it was the most effort she could muster, the rest of her attention still focused on the screen.

If I were espresso, where would I be? I’d probably have the energy to run far away from here. Or would I be a liquid? I could slither away from here. Or would I be dry grounds? I could roll out of here. Okay. I need to focus. Espresso. No. Not there either. Eh. Yikes, there is ketchup listed on this thing.

“If it’s causing trouble I don’t need the espresso,” interrupted Dave. “I think I can make it through the day without it. It won’t be easy. I have a meeting around noon. I have an idea for a website I want to show some college buddies. If they all invest I think it has some real potential. We’re meeting at…”

Lilly wasn’t listening.

Who is putting ketchup in their coffee? Do we sell sandwiches here?

Lilly turned and looked at the menu behind her.

No sandwiches were listed.

“…So if they all throw in a month’s worth of rent, that’s all I’m asking, I could get my website off the ground and start making some real money. Hey, do you think you’d be interested?”

“Is there any chance you want ketchup instead?” asked Lilly.

“Uh, no?”

“Just asking. Ah, here it is. That’ll be six dollars even.”

Dave pulled his wallet back out and went fishing for a dollar. He caught one and placed it atop his five on the counter.

“I’m getting pretty hungry,” said Dave. “Do you guys still sell sandwiches here?”

Fiction writer. Coffee enthusiast. Writer of romance, mystery, and humor. Discover more at Patreon.com/danleicht and DanLeicht.com

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