Susan hurried into her usual coffee shop for her double shot of espresso. The coffee place, called Snead’s Caffeine Corner, was one of the few local coffee places that survived the Starbucks and Caribou invasion. It had somehow battled the major corporate machines that rolled through downtown with only minor injuries and came out with a strong and severely loyal customer base.
“Good morning Sue”, said the bright eyed barista whose name Susan just couldn’t remember. The name was something strange like Moonbeam or Sunflower or Moonflower. Susan just couldn’t think of it.
Moonflower, or whatever her name was, seemed like a hard core hold over from the 1990’s grunge era. She only wore sundresses and combat boots. She had a facial piecing in her lower lip long before all the current hipster kids thought they thought of it. She had a few very interesting Japanese looking Yakuza tattoos on her shoulders. They sort of unnerved Susan, but she guessed that was the point.
“Good morning to you”, said Susan, “double espresso please”.
“No problem. Coming up”, said Moonbloom/Flowermoon.
Susan put her two fifty on the counter and stepped to her right near the pick-up ledge. Susan was glad the prices never changed. It was comforting in this economy. Susan checked the time on her phone, 7:52 a.m. She still had some time to get to the office, run that report for her boss, Mr. Asspants, and make her conference call at 8:30. It seemed like it might be a pretty productive day.
A coffee mug shattered behind the counter and Susan looked up from the schedule in her mind. A woman with a knife was standing at the order window. She was dressed in a tan business suit, had a nice work bag slung across her chest and excellent looking high heel shoes. Susan had to take another second to really verify she was the source of the shattered mug.
“Give me the God damned coffee of I’ll slit you wide open and drink your piss”, the knife wielding woman screamed.
The woman’s knife hand was jutting about wildly as she spoke, actively slashing and jabbing at the air in front of Moonblossom or Moonpuddle. Susan froze with fear. She really didn’t want to get stabbed today; or any day for that matter.
Moonflower went to the coffee pot and poured a fresh cup of coffee and slid it on the counter toward the twitching hand of the knife wielding woman. She reached down with her free hand and lifted the coffee mug and seemed to smell the coffee. Susan felt urgency in her bladder.
The woman continued to smell the coffee. She seemed to relax, which brought the tension down a little. Susan remembered to breath. It was something she had stopped doing since seeing this crazy lady.
“Is… everything… okay”, asked Moonflower.
The woman’s eyes changed. Her calm face wrinkled into a road map of hell. She thrust the knife at Moonflower and stabbed her in the face, severing the side of her cheek to the back of her jaw. Moonflower, ‘her name was Jane’, thought Susan, fell backwards and blood exploded onto the counter. Jane screamed and slipped backwards onto the floor. Susan felt the urgency in her bladder release.
The knife woman sipped the coffee in her mug, decided it needed something else. She took a napkin from the counter and sopped up some of the blood by the register and then wrung the napkin into her coffee.
“Ah, now that’s good coffee”, she said to Susan.
The woman put the knife in her nice bag and then pulled out a five dollar bill and placed it on the bloody counter. She took another sip of the coffee, smiled a little and walked out the door. Susan shivered and collapsed to the floor as siren’s bellowed in the distance.