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.”