Saturday, November 12, 2016

Caffeine Deprived

Scarlett stormed down 114th Avenue, muttering to herself.  “The audacity of him….ooh, I can’t believe it!” In her hand, she flung a battered copy of Southern Living around.  “Busts my doorknob and my wall, patronizes me, and then dares to put my frickin picture in the damn magazine! As a –” She sneers, “’Fiery redhead helping bring back the town’s spark.’ He’ll see exactly what kind of spark I ‘bring back’ when his editor lights a fire under his ass after that letter I sent her.” 

            Suddenly deflated, Scarlett pushed open the door to Connie’s Coffee.  It jingled merrily, alerting the one other woman inside to her presence.  Being angry makes me tired, Scarlett mused.  “I need a coffee,” she said aloud.

“Well, you’re flat out of luck,” the woman remarked.  “The water shortage means there’s not even enough to brew a pot.  Found that out the hard way when I came in here looking for a bit of peace and quiet, myself.”

Scarlett groaned.  “Aw man, when are they gonna get this fixed? It’s like there’s nobody in the world who’s competent at their job anymore,” she grumbled.  She stalked up to the bakery case, stood beside the woman, and skeptically eyed the stale-looking pastries. 

“Oh, I totally understand that,” the woman confided. “I get loads dumped on me at work. All stress and no appreciation.”

Scarlett grunted in commiseration. “I’m a teacher.  English. At that Catholic girl’s school down the road- you know the one? We have off since we can’t teach the little buggers without working toilets, but I swear the younger generation doesn’t know anything about respect and gratitude these days."
She paused.  “…Anything at all good here?”

“I’d say the coconut cake is the best of the worst,” the woman remarked.

“Two slices,” Scarlett pointed at the yellowing, dumpy, half-eaten cake.  The owner, a greying, wrinkled woman who was presumably Connie, raised her eyebrows at the dubious praise but plated two large slices anyway. Scarlett slid money across the counter, then turned to the woman.  “Sorry, um –”

“Candice,” the woman said.  “I’m Candice Arnett.” 

“Well, Candice, I’m Scarlett.  The second piece of cake is yours, if you want it.  And there’s a park across the road where we could sit on a bench, observe the chaos, and bitch to our hearts’ content.  Whaddya say?" Scarlett cocked an auburn eyebrow and smirked. 

“Sounds perfect,” Candice replied. 
And just like that, Scarlett had her first friend.

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