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Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 99 [+/-]
She keeps looking, staring, wanting some acknowledgment. I just want to escape.

“Super extra plus, Tom.”

Only 6 more hours of this and I can go and train. Perhaps a 4 hour session with a heavy bag will drain me of dread.

She stares, waiting. I begrudgingly capitulate in the throes of cappuccino boredom.

“Hello. How are you?”

The soft, saggy candy lights up, smiling like she has heard from an old friend. We have been friendly, when I have served her coffee previously. Nothing deep. Nothing real. I usually nod and imagine how attractive she was 10 years ago, before her large chestiness started heading down to compete with the lumps popping out in the mid of her physique. Clearly, there was an age when she was quite a sweet and succulent package of tasty delightness.

“It's been a tough weekend.”

Nooooooooooo! I don't care! It's your life, do whatever the hell you want with it. Please, just keep me out of your world. Please! Please. Please? But those are words not spoken. The kindness that is true and discouraging was all that escaped. “I am sorry to hear that.”

“Short, fat vanilla for Loud Linda.”

Oops. Linda was her name, Loud Linda was our nickname for her. She took her coffee, pouting.

“My husband was arrested. Did you see it on the news?”

“What are you waiting for?” God, let's move her drink to the front of the line.

“Don't worry, I'm in no hurry.”

I smile, becoming anxious like a trapped animal preparing to gnaw off a limb. I might have to kill to escape.

“He lost his job last year. Then he became addicted to the painkillers he was taking for his back. And then yesterday he threatened to kill himself. In front of the kids, can you believe that?”

It's got to be one of these.

“Tall, non-fat caramel, extra whip, double. Susan.”

This has to be hers. Come on...Yes!

“Thank you.”

She picks up her cup and steps closer to the counter to continue our insipid conversation.

“Noooooooooooooooooo!” my mind shouts, while I simply smile.

“Chai latte. Barry.”

Another friendly pick-up.

“I don't really know what to do. He's a good dad, he just seems to be having problems now. Pretty much ever since he lost his job he has been having problems. Then about a month ago he went crazy when he found out I was chatting with an old friend, an old boyfriend. He's just losing it.”

What?! The ears were focused. She wants sympathy? Just a couple of details to flesh out.

“What sent him over the edge yesterday?” I asked, trying to sound matter-of-factly calm.

“I don't know. Even though we are living together, I have been telling him it's over, but when I didn't come home one night, he went crazy.”

What?! She didn't come home? Just a few more details...

“Must be tough for the children. How old?”

“7 and 9. The boys adore him, but its not going to work.”

“So he knew you when you were in your prime?”

She blushed. “We met right after high school. I've only had one other boyfriend, that was my high school sweetheart.”

“The one you have been 'chatting' with?”

“Yeah.”

Evil. It is everywhere. When its form is physical in manifestation and presentation, battle is sweet and pure, but all too often evil is clothed in kindness, innocence and naivete. Apparently, this evil wanted absolution from the coffee guy...unfortunately for her, she encountered the wrong coffee guy.

“This is all soooo horrible,” I dripped with thick sarcasm. “Were you very good at math in school?”

“No, why?”

“Well, we've got a 1+1=2 problem here that is clearly beyond the rudimentary skills you acquired early on, so I am wondering how to approach my response.”

A glaze washed her aging face.

“It is interesting how both of these men knew you when you were in your prime. You know, us men being visual creatures, we love beauty we once captured, seeing it as it was forever, in our dreams and fantasies.”

She started to say, “Thank you,” but brought the cup to her mouth, not sure if she was being complimented. She needed to be disarmed.

“Would you like to hear a similar story about a cousin?”

“Yes,” she said too excitedly about the subject change.

“Soy, sugar-free, cocoa. Fred.”

“Well, the cousin had a rather large inheritance. She was married when she was rich, young and beautiful. She had a couple of kids; a bout of severe postpartum depression; gained weight; and, was swindled out of her inheritence by her mother.”

“That's horrible.”

“While she was going through all of that, her husband decided to take up with another woman, who was young, beautiful and well-off.”

“How horrible.”

“Really? You think so?” I was unable to stop myself from asking.

“Absolutely. Her husband didn't need to do that when she was going through all that.”

“Really?” I had to say again, shocked at evil's ignorance.

“Well, it gets worse. Her husband left her and took the kids. She loved those kids more than anything, the only thing. It surprised no one when she ODed and died.”

“How sad.”

“Yes. But it is going to get worse.”

“How, she's dead?”

“I am going to see that he pays the price for his deeds, that he suffers.” This was not a response she anticipated, and became appropriately uncomfortable.

“Your husband is down on his luck, struggling with his worth as a man with his job and his worth as a human with his pained body. He is down. And a woman he sees as beautiful and the world sees as long past—unlike that woman over there who has 10 years on you and somehow has the perfect figure of a 27 year old—has decided to kick him aside and find the only other man who remembers her as a young beauty, and who has not had to put up with the day-to-day living with a retard.”

Finally, she is willing to leave, silently taking a step back. But the honorable words of helpful wisdom were not complete.

“If you would like my help, if you truly care about your husband in any way, send him my way for advice. I will guide his choice and let him know of the beauty that exists, of the loving women who are beautiful inside and out and that he does not have to destroy himself because you want to play games and have men fight over an archaic vision of yourself. He has seen the ugly, now I can teach him he and your children deserve more than a needy whore. Of course, only if you are interested in helping him.”

She turned, quietly walking away with her head down.

“You really are just like my cousin's husband, so I don't understand why you felt bad for her, though I could understand why you would say you feel bad for her.”

But she was out the door.

“Dude, that was rude, calling her a whore.”

“Did you hear the whole story?” I asked before deciding whether or not to jump over the counter and vent my frustration with evil by pummeling this carrier of a timid voice with paper cups and swizzle sticks.

“No, but...”

“Then shut-the-f...heck-up,” I whispered forcefully, in less than fashionable goodness. The ignorance of a citizenry so unwilling to see their reflection was soiling the good side of my darkening soul. “Shut-the-fuck-up,” I whispered to myself.

Taking my pain, the agony of dreams destroyed, a gentle voice of generous candy whispered in the kindest way, “Take a break.”

I turned and looked into her soft, fresh young face. “You are good. Thanks.”

She smiled, warmly, generously. “Sometimes, love breaks my heart.”

“There is no other kind,” I replied.

We looked at each other, absorbed in the moment, leaving the rest of the world as an audience to our connection.

“You don't belong here.”

“I know. But for now, apparently, this is where I am supposed to be.”

She wrapped her arms around me, calming my with her sweet, chewy goodness.

“Hey, isn't this a coffee shop? Where is my damn coffee?”

The calm disappeared.

I took off my apron as she prepared Mr. Impatient's coffee, and headed toward the exit for a break, but I could not let it go.

“Be patient, it's a virtue.”

“Fuck off!”

I closed my eyes, forcing myself to calm.

“Back off!” he shouted, shoving me.

His shove made me feel better.

“Thank you. I'll be outside and I can tell you about the perfect girl for you...and we can discuss things, like your shove...and beauty...and feeling alive, and doing the right thing, or the wrong thing. It is going to be a beautiful conversation.”

Mouthing something from behind the counter, she of kind calmness caused me to focus on her luscious moving lips.

“Let it go,” she mouthed respectfully, calmly, releasing the claims of the world.

She was right. I do not care about Mr. Impatient. I would rather save that ignorantly evil woman's husband from letting himself be destroyed by her, and there is one way of doing that: I have to let him know that sometimes life is really, really hard and it feels like you are drowning in the urine and feces filled bowels of an outhouse, but tomorrow is not yet written. Survive today, giving life the best of what you have, even if it taunts you to find the worst in yourself and become that which are were never meant to be. Choose to smile at the absurdity of the wounds inflicted by a stupid old whore, even though you bleed. Choose to feel the pain, and survive, because then you are open to the joy. Choose to be better than your circumstance, no matter what it may be.

Life is hard.

Life is beautiful.

Life is.

You are.

I am.

Life is hard.

Oh well, how boring it would be if it were easy, and boring is truly for the dullards.

Life is.

Why expect more?

Live.

To hell with circumstance.

Live.

I can taste tomorrow. There is a tinge of bitterness, but there is more...a flavor I long for...yes...something more...
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 129 [+/-]
How am I going to do this?

I can't do this.

Pretending is so fake...no, insane.

I do not fit as a bit actor in this polite play.

What is the point?

This is life?

This is not life.

“Large mocha, extra shot, Irene.”

Such purpose.

Rude people.

Nasty people.

Nice people.

Damaged people.

Honest people.

True people.

Evil people.

All people pretending to be just like the fake posture of one another. Everyone wanting to be the same in their insincerity.

“Non-fat vanilla latte for Theresa.”

“Thank you.”

“You're welcome.”

Sincere. Sweet. Beautiful. A look into her vibrant eyes and there is a passion, controlled to fit in and be like the rest, but she's clearly something more.

“Black. Jim.”

The brown stain on a 6 day old pair of tighty-whitey underwear, but I am polite, pretending he is just another guy like all of the rest.

I am going to snap.

What's the point?

I know it's my fault. If I were to sit on the sofa and eat chips and drink beer like a good little fat, ignorant consuming machine, I could more easily play my bit part in life's boring drama. When I return to my home and spend hours training myself for unpromised physical combat and spend the down time preparing my mind for competition that is nature, I am refining the tools gifted by nature, and nature yearns that they be used to test and improve skills. If I were to spend my time watching uberhomoerotic musicals while eating ice cream sandwiched between rich, chocolate, fudgy brownies, I could be happy spectating...but “ifs” are such a waste of time. We cannot be other than who we are.

“Fat double. Oshi.”

Pretend.

I must pretend.

Pretend!

Stop asking why.

Just play your part.

The lines are simple.

They're all the same.

We're all the same.

You can be one of them.

Pretend.

Just pretend!

“Don't be an idiot, just order!” the edgy guy at the counter told the pretty young woman looking at the board detailing the coffees that are supposed to have exotic stories about their journeys from warm, moist parts of the globe and their various roasts — marketing for the masses...if they only knew, but who wants the curtain pulled back.

“I don't know what to get,” she answered innocently, meekly.

“You're so fuckin' stupid! I'll order.”

“K.”

“Did you want tea of coffee?” I said loudly to the sweet candy from my distant side of the bar, catching a glare of disapproval from my effeminate co-worker transacting the order at the register.

The man and woman both looked my way, him scowling, she smiling.

“I got it,” he said firmly, paying for their order.

“Tea, actually,” she sang.

“Well...” I began before being so rudely interrupted.

“I said I got it,” he told her sternly, cutting me a mad dog, back off look.

“Excuse me, sir, but I was speaking to the nice woman.”

She began to glow.

“I feel like tea, actually. I do. Do you have any suggestions?”

“We have a blueberry tea I enjoy.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

“You have to really like blueberries?”

“I do.” She turned toward her friend, looking him in the eyes.

“Change that. She'll have the tea Mr. Friendly over there is talking about.”

“Mr. Friendly,” heshe chuckled.

The man thought heshe was laughing at him and that he was the butt of an inside joke. You could see him tense up and his eyes begin to twitch.

As they finished the transaction at the register, the sweet candy made her way to my processing station, where her tea had been bumped to the top of the list.

“Thank you for your suggestion,” she whispered, trying to conceal she was talking to me from her partner.

“What are you two talking about?” he asked, scurrying up behind her.

She did not reply, but looked at me with a personalized smile.

“And for you,” I passed the tea over the counter to her waiting, frail hands.

“Thank you.”

I waited for her to taste the blueberry tea.

“That's wonderful. Thank you.”

“Anytime. If you ever have any other questions, please feel free to ask.”

“Come on, dude, back off. Where's my drink?”

“It's coming.”

I went about taking up the queue.

“Mona, skinny latte.”

“Thank you.”

Nice smile. Sincerely friendly.

The toilet paper coloring crayon was getting angry.

“Christine. Tea and a black.”

“Dude!? Where's my coffee?” he snapped.

“Don't be an idiot,” I quickly replied, smirking at him.

“What did you say?” he challenged.

“Just repeating what you said to her a few minutes ago.”

“Dude, mind your own fucking business and get me my coffee, and if she has any questions about your coffee, she'll ask the coffee man.” His voice dripped with condescension.

“Um, dude, she can ask me anything she wants, I know something more than the grounded desires of coffee.”

“Right. Just give me my drink so I can get out of this place before I kick your ass.”

“Are you promising that if I don't give you your coffee you are going to kick my ass?”

“Dude, just give me my fuckin' coffee!!!”

“Here you go, sir,” the generous and kind voice of a young female co-worker politely offered.

“Thank you. You need to do something about this dick.”

“Sorry, sir.”

Though she was friendly to thee, her expression made it clear she was exasperated by my clearly appropriate actions. “Take a break,” she ordered.

A break? Yes. A bit player in a drama where the lead actors are overtly impressed with their pompous ignorance.

“Thank you, again,” the sweet candy purred.

“Come on! Stop talking to that idiot!”

I shook my head in disapproval, while making myself a coffee from beans voluntarily ending their lives before boarding first class flight halfway around the world. After removing my apron, I took my coffee and went outside to vacuum up the fresh air and clear my anguished mind. I refrained from saying anything to either of the perfect couple as I walked past them.

Standing in front of the store, I had to make a decision. I could position myself to antagonize him as he left the shop or I could stop wasting energy on the Stus of the universe. I chose the illusion of peace and went off to the side and purposefully placed the chiseled mass of the back of good shouldering to the door.

Sipping the coffee, I cringed at the bitterness. “Appropriate,” I thought, laughing to myself.

“Asshole,” I heard a voice whisper behind me in a whine.

“Come on, let's go,” sweet candy told her mate.

I wanted to turn around, but why. I do not want to get fired...not yet, at least. I hate my life, but I tell myself I am working toward something, toward stability. I don't know, but physical confrontation with such a fool is a waste of time and goodness...and a good time. Yet, I cannot stop myself from saying something, from stirring the stew a couple rounds. “Have a great day!” I said aloud, raising my cup to the voices behind.

The voices began to bicker in a hushed tone. There would be no confrontation, but always be prepared. I placed my cup on the table, closed my eyes and listened for footsteps or some other sign of an assault headed my way. Nothing.

It began to quiet. I noticed a bird singing. I picked up my cap and enjoyed the bitterness. Just like life, it may be bitter but it's mine and can still be enjoyed.

I cannot help but ponder what has happened in the life of the sweet and tasty that made her think that such a “man”, a toilet tool, was the appropriate companion. It is not my desire to rescue ones from themselves, but the candy looked so tasty sweet...but it would have undoubtedly been sour once completely unwrapped.

Damn, this coffee is bitter crap...cream and sugar will give it a whole different experience, and that is the choice.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 91 [+/-]
A couple of days after Fred's rude behavior, fortune noticed our schedules collided and that I would be closing with him. Justice was knocking and expected me to let it in...and who am I to deny justice.

As fate of manipulation would have it, a few minutes before closing the gentleman Fred had so rudely disrespected and defiled publicly appeared in the coffee cafe with Fred and myself. While Fred stood askew, mouth open, aghast, I turned off the security system and locked the front door.

Fred's mouth began spewing insult upon insult at Gentleman, but the target was unflatteringly unfazed. Gentleman walked up to Fred and slapped him across the face.

“Bitch,” he said calmly, taunting in a near whisper.

Fred was startled, then went insane, and though he was wearing another one of his t-shirts proclaiming his tough, bad-ass affiliation, Gentleman beat the rudeness out of him. He beat him so badly, Fred was crying. He was pummeled in such a way — beaten about the kidneys, ribs, stomach — that there was little outward physical evidence, aside from the inevitable bloody urine.

“Stop!” I shouted. Fred, in his eternal confusion, thought I was looking out for him, but it was actually a code word worked out with Gentleman previously.

Upon hearing the code word, Gentleman rolled over and pulled Fred on top of him. Excited at his sudden dominance, Fred began swinging away at his foe, completely unaware that his co-worker was recording a video of his pummeling of a customer for more than posterity's sake.

Having a sufficiently damaging video record, recording was stopped and another code was shouted. “Come on!”

Again, Gentleman heard the cue. He effortlessly tossed Fred aside and began beating him until he was crying again, then began begging Gentleman to stop. (Actually, there was a dash of recording of this exchange for purely private consumption.)

It is amazing how fast a video goes viral when a manager at a coffee shop is seen beating a customer. As much as Fred tried to tell corporate otherwise, in the name of just rightedness I had to confirm Gentleman's story that he came in for a cup of coffee and was assaulted, completely innocent, and in actuality, when one strings the events together, there was plenty of evidence of Fred's abusive behavior toward a loyal and kind customer, of whom it was said was an innocent gentleman. Fred is now without a job, which does not explain why he had one for so long, but that is something for which the uppers will have to suffer the consequences. Gentleman is receiving a large cash settlement, of which he has promised the nurturing hand of justice a chunk. (Enough to buy the a compound?)

Good will find a way and if you employ evil, you are evil, and the price for your collaboration will be paid. Justice is busy, as the sheet is long, but patience...evil is always visited...eventually.

For whatever the reason, sleep is much better...the suffering of evil in the balancing of scales is truly quite relaxing.

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