Listless at Espresso Roma

Writing Challenge Countdown ‘Tis the season for suspense-building lists.

Sorry. I don’t make lists at all. Ever. I don’t see the point. If there are things I have to do, I think the best thing is to get started, not fuss around with a list. But there are a couple of lists in this story.


Ann sat looking at her coffee through the side of her glass. The barista — barist-O — took great care with Ann’s caffe Latte, and it really was beautiful to see the layers of coffee and foam. “Pretty, isn’t it?” Trevor said from behind the espresso machine.


“A lot of people don’t even notice that about a latte. They just order a ‘latte’ thinking it’s cool or something to get a latte, but I think you…”

“Yeah. I suppose I’m just ordering a latte for the sake of being cool, too, but the difference is I AM cool. This doesn’t add to my coolness. It illustrates it.”

Ann’s friend, Leo, arrived, and she went with him to the counter to order his coffee; she was going to treat him. It was some special day or another, who knows what at this point, as after time these special days all run together in a list of small commemorations. Trish, the barista, was switching aprons with Trevor whose shift was done. Leo’s crush on Trish was as big as Brazil, and when he saw her he turned uncool and jittery.

“Hey,” he said, like a sixth grader might to his first or second crush.

“Hey,” she answered in a flat voice, rolling her eyes. Then she saw Ann. “Hey,” she said, like a sixth grader might to her first or second crush.

Leo blushed, thinking the warmly inflected “Hey” was directed at him.

“Not you. Her.” Trish pointed her well tattooed and ringed finger at Ann. “She’s the hottee.”

“What can I say, Leo? You got it or you don’t.” Ann laughed, trying to diffuse the awkwardness of the moment.

“I didn’t know you were…” Leo stopped, staring at Trish.

“Well, now you do so you can quit foaming at the mouth whenever you come in here. What would you like?” Trish leaned forward on the counter. Ann jumped back.

“I don’t know any more. I don’t think I want anything.” Leo was crushed, still, he stared at the list of offerings written in colored chalk on the blackboard on the wall above Trish’ head. “I’ll have a Coke and baked brie.”

“Okie-dokie. That’ll be $6.50.”

“Don’t I get the employee discount any more?” Leo asked, feeling that insult and been laid upon insult already and he did work here. The discount, at least, should still be good.

“My bad,” said Trish. “We’re never on the same shift. I forgot. When are you working next?”

“Tomorrow. I’m opening.”

“Hangover city.” Trish accurately described the coffee house on Saturday mornings


Ann paid for Leo’s lunch, both forgetting why.

“Do you want something to eat?” Trish turned to Ann. “It’s on me.”

Ann shook her head. Nothing in this life was simple.

“So would you go out with me?” asked Trish, clearly nervous.

“Wow. Like, here’s the deal. I’m twice your age — at least — and straight.”

“I like older women.”

“Yeah, but, I don’t, you know. No. It’s just not my thing.”

“Have you tried it?” A line was building up behind them at about the same rate as Ann’s embarrassment.

Ann nodded. “It’s not you, Trish. Like I said. I just like men.” She turned to Leo and said, “C’mon. Let’s sit down. There’s a bunch of people behind us.”

“I can’t believe it,” said Leo, once they were seated. “She’s a…”

“Shhh. I don’t want to talk about it. Why doesn’t anything normal ever happen to me?”

“I don’t know,” said Leo. “Seems that was pretty normal for you. Bitch.”

6 thoughts on “Listless at Espresso Roma

  1. I make lists. When I go grocery shopping, I make a list. So I don’t forget that jar of mayo. I never though of list making as writing. Is this a writing challenge?

    Your story is good (I expect nothing less), but I cannot see this prompt as having anything at all to do with writing. Not as I understand it.

    Maybe we can go back to the good old days of last year when they insisted we do photo challenges on a cell phone and writing challenges had to include sound and video …

    • I’m just not paying any attention to any prompt unless I like it.

      I think I worked the word “list” into this story a couple of times.

      I think a list could be a writing challenge — you could have a guy planning out a cold blooded murder making lists for the equipment he needs or the process he plans to follow — “The Tell-Tale Heart” doesn’t exactly have lists, but it does, kind of, and the madness of the narrator and his fastidiousness in making “if” statements like “If the eye is closed, I’ll leave him alone.”

      I think I’m experiencing (with the daily prompt and those who run WP) some of the disaffection some students feel in their English classes. I’ve accept that is my problem, really, no one else’s. Anyway, I’m going to post a funny cartoon that uses lists to tell a story. You will laugh. 😉

  2. I always intend to make a list, have in my head what I want to list about, but when I actually sit down to write my list I forget what I wanted to write. Or there is the case when I make a shopping list and leave it at home, but we now have an app from the local supermarket, but I always forget to use it to write my list. No I am not a list person either.

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