Just a little something I cooked up to stay productive. Started off as something I didn't have to struggle with so much, then I ending up completeting it. Oh well. It's my first attempt at a satire-ish story, so hopefully I didn't botch it too badly. Feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Gdoc link for anyone's reading convience: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cXzt1w2WF3maQoaZoZ9eZRVj19K1B71AF59ib6jHgWI/edit?usp=sharing
All we wanted was coffee...
My dad used to tell me that you can tell a lot about a person from the inside of their car, whether they’re neat and tidy or just a straight up slob. Well, I wonder what cracked leather seats, crumpled up coffee cups, and the stale scent of body odor and deodorant say about three particular young men. Yes, I have the guts to admit that I was one of those young men.
Pressing my face to the window, I watched the urban jungle that was -and still is- Paradise City roll by. The other two young men droned on in idle conversation, but I was much more interested in the icy touch of the glass. It provided a comforting contrast to the air vents spewing out a torrent of hot air.
“And then, Stacy’s mom just o.d.s, right there in front of her!” This was Tyler, the driver and stylish de facto leader of our ragtag group of losers. The collar of his jacket was popped up high so that from the side I could only see the upper part of his face. Very stylish, or so he thought.
“Wow, that’s got to be a hard dick to swallow.” That was Nile. He’s… Nile. Sitting in the back, he peered over my seat and stared at Tyler through the curtain of blonde hair that framed his face. I will admit though, he was a pretty handsome man. Tyler’s knuckle turned white as he gripped the steering wheel and threw a hard look at Nile. Clearly the comment had not earned the response my backseat bound friend had hoped for.
“Nile, just shut the fuck up. You always ask why I give you so much shit, but then you spit out a stupid analogy like that. That is exactly the reason why I give you so much shit.”
Batting back his bangs, Nile rolled his eyes and continued on as if Tyler’s words had passed over him like rain water. “Are we almost there? It feels like we should be there by now.”
This stirred me from delirium and brought me back into their conversation -if you can really call it that. I shifted in my seat so I could better see my sexy driver.
“Yeah, the drive doesn’t usually take this long. Something wrong?”
From the sigh and the shake of his head, I could tell that there had been a tidbit of information that Nile and I had missed. That didn’t surprise me in the slightest. If I had a dollar every time that the two of us missed something, then we would have enough money to move out of our shitty apartment and away from our even shittier neighborhood. The difference between us, though, is that I miss things because my mind wanders off to the far reaches of my imagination, searching for a more tolerable realm of existence than the one I’m currently trapped in. Nile is just stupid.
Tyler gave me that sour look too. “Did either of you assholes hear me when I said that we wouldn’t be able to go down third avenue?”
I thought for a second, then chirped, “Sure, Tyler! I just chose to forget!”
“Fuck you, Rez. Don’t make me hate you as much as I do Nile.” That brought a pout to Nile’s face. “We can’t go the usual way because there was a wreck up in front of the Seven Eleven. Said on the news that the whole road is closed.”
“Why do you hate me the most?”
“Shut the fuck up, Nile, that’s why.”
I bit back a laugh and turned my attention to the window before Tyler could see my smile. In the side mirror, I could see Nile echoing the same expression beneath his golden locks.
Minutes struggled to pass by. The morning traffic was more congested than an Italian's bowels. Eventually, much to all of our relief, we found the ever famous neon sign overlooking the street like a gaurdian angel. “Cafe McBuck’s” it read. It was a morning tradition that our party swing by the beloved cafe before getting into the full swing of the day. In fact, almost all of the cups on the floorboard were emblazoned with the cafe’s flamboyish logo. Looks like we’d be adding more to the collection soon enough.
Pulling into the cafe’s pitiful excuse for a parking lot, I heard my friend mutter obscenities most foul to his steering wheel. Cars were sitting side by side in tight uniformity, leaving not even a gap that a motorcycle could squeeze into. After a minute or two of driving in line on the ground. Tyler leaned on the car, watching impassively as I wiggled and pried myself through a gopher sized slit.
“See, this is why I wanted to leave early, guys. Six o’clock, this place is ghosted, but come seven? It’s fucking packed.”
Finally I slammed the door shut, free from my steel entrapment. Tyler arched an eyebrow. “You done?”
I gave him a beaming smile that he only shrugged at. With that we made our way to the glass doors of Cafe McBuck’s, falling in single file like the three stooges, Tyler leading the way and Nile bringing up the rear. There was a bit of pep in our step as the early December air nipped at our heels. Little did we know the trouble that was soon to come. Just remember, we only wanted coffee, not trouble. You can’t take trouble with cream and sugar.
If the buttload of cars sandwiched into the parking lot weren’t any indication that Cafe McBuck’s was up to its chin with customers, then the buttload of customers sandwiched into booths and tables were. The noisy bebob of the city -blaring sirens and screeching car horns mainly- were drowned out over the drone of mindless chatter held within the cafe like canned laughter.
My stomach dropped as I got a better look at the major demographic of the people I was entrapped with. Iced coffees were clutched in hands and bookbags sat beside each chair like a neglected child. Every face I looked was at least about my age, twenty-two or twenty three, but the heavily smeared makeup on the women and the thick beards on the men gave everyone the facade of being about a decade older.
“College students,” I shuddered, Nile echoing the sentiment. It felt as if a spot light had fallen on us. There was no way we would stand out in this crowd anymore than we did. To better paint the picture, these guys wore skinny jeans and flannel shirts while we wore baggy pants and hoodies. We might as well have been a cup of oil dumped into a bucket of water.
Tyler glanced back, giving us the classic ‘told you so, mate’ look he did so well. “Like I said, this is why we always get here early.”
Well, standing around like a couple of sedated trees wasn’t making the monster go away, so we jumped in line and tried to ignore the horrors glaring daggers at us as they sipped their frappuccinos.
Unfortunately though, the line moved about as fast as a snail with hemorrhoids. One step at a time, the counter was slowly getting closer. Or was it? Occasionally I’d peer over Tyler’s shoulder to try and judge our ETA, and I swear every time I checked there were more of those self-entitled sweat rags between us and the counter. I began to ask Tyler and Nile if these hellspawn could replicate being asexual if they drank too much coffee, but I knew what kind of look that would earn. Besides, I don’t think I would like the answer. Instead I hugged my ratty, brown jacket closer to me and tried to be thankful that the bitter breeze outside couldn’t touch me in the cafe. That brief bit of joy fell flat on its face pretty quickly.
Behind Nile, a trio of girls had joined us in line. They each wore thick rimmed sunglasses that covered half their face and their silky hair was woven into thick braids. My ears burned at the strange language they spoke.
“Blah blah blah,” one said.
Another nodded her head vigorously, sending her braids flailing all round and almost striking the face of the one next to her.
“Blah blah blaaaah!” She responded. “Blah blah blah blah!”
That’s when the three of them turned their heads, in unison, in my direction. Though I couldn't see their eyes, I could practically feel the scorching intensity of their gaze. Of course, I averted my eyes as quickly as possible.
To try to take my mind off the strange aliens surrounding us at all fronts, I tried making small talk with my friends. “So Tyler, what are you planning on getting your loved ones for the holidays?” I asked him with a grin.
“The hell are you talking about, Rez?” He looked at me as if I had just dropped manure on his sneakers and called it spaghetti. With a nod of my head, I motion to the sign plastered against the store’s windows.
“What are you planning on getting your loved ones for the holidays?” it read. “Can’t think of anything? Well, then get them a gift card to Cafe McBucks and be sure to save them some bucks!”
Tyler chewed on the sign’s words with a sneer. “Depends on what it means by ‘loved ones’. If it’s my family, I’ll probably just cut my own head off and ship it to them in box, gift wrapped and everything. My drunk uncle would sure get a kick out of that. If it was my friends? Some air fresheners for their smelly ass rooms.”
I felt Nile press up to my back as he rested his chin on my shoulder, trying to get a better view of Tyler. “Our rooms aren’t that bad, are they? They can’t be any worse than yours!”
“Yeah, but you know, Nile,” Tyler said, the line lurching forward as we progressed another step. “Dirty clothes left spewing out of a full hamper is the most you’ll find in my room. Not nasty, fly eaten, rotting fruit.”
“That happened one time! Those damn flies swooped in when I blacked from all that-”
“Nile!” I couldn't help but interrupt. Shrugging my newfound parrot off, I cupped a hand over my ringing ear. Damn he can get loud!
“Sorry.” Nile shrunk back from me like a sad sack I had left in the rain. We didn’t pursue any more conversations after, and instead decided to spent the rest of our agonizing wait in silence.
It felt by the grace of God that we finally made it to the counter. The clerk, a watery eyed man with hair that frizzled up into an almost afro, gave us a practised smile as he asked for our order.
Tyler scanned over the menu hanging above the clerk’s head, though I’m not sure why. We always get the same thing. Always. After a tapping his chin for nearly two minutes, Tyler finally nodded.
“Okay, I’m ready now. I’ll have a-”
None of us noticed the man walking the length of the line as he approached the counter. We also didn’t notice the gun brandished in his hand until he stopped next to Tyler and pointed the barrel level to the cashier’s eyes. Of course, all this would explain the chorus of screams scraping at my ears as the college students around us flipped their shit as they bolted for the exit. There, now it’s started to look more like six o’clock.
In truth, I could smell the man yards before he ever reached the counter. The only reason why I didn’t think a thing about the absolutely repugnant odor was because our drunken Nile had eaten WAY too many brockworst the night before, and those things tend to give him gas something fierce. It sounds odd, but I’m telling you that Nile farts are the worst. They usually smell like dead animals.
I could tell at a glance that this would be robber meant business. The grime and muck painted along his tattered clothes and wind beaten skin looked as if they were a part of his being, as if no amount of soap and water in the world could save this guy’s soul. His greasy hair was matted and thinning in some places. It seriously looked as if he could have played a baddie in Road Warrior.
“Alright, mother fucker!” the robber said, clearly not looking for any kind of civil conversation. “You so much as drop your hands below the counter, I’m decorating this place with your fucking brains!”
Our no longer bleary eyed server took exception to the gentleman’s demand, and decided to comply.
“P-please, don’t s-shoot!” the words practically tripped over themselves as the guy stuttered along.
“Then you better empty that register right now!”
You’d think that the server would follow the orders of the armed delinquent holding him gunpoint, however he only continued to stare at the man, horror stricken eyes bulging like they were about to be evicted from their sockets. His hands did try to go to the register, but it was as if the muscles in his arms had seized up in place. I wonder if the same thing happens to a doe who freezes when they realize they’re about to kiss the grill of a Buick.
“Hey, Tyler?” I whispered into my friend’s ear, my voice masked as the gunman continued to shout blood promises. “Maybe we should just leave too.” I motioned to the tables and booths that now stood unoccupied. “We can always just leave and come back later.”
Tyler considered that for a moment with a stoic expression, but then gave me a firm shake of his head. “Naw, man, not after waiting in this long ass line for five hours. We’re getting our coffee.”
Though I wanted to protest, I only offered a shrug and shrunk back a step. This really wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday morning. The endless waiting was bad enough.
“Hey,” it was now Nile who was whispered. “What’d he say, Rez?”
“Says we’re getting our coffee.”
“Oh…” The tone of his voice echoed my own sentiment.
When a minute or so had passed, and the deer was still staring down the Buick, Tyler leaned, resting an elbow on the counter.
“Hey, dude,” he said to the cashier. “You might want to do what this guy says and give him the money. He looks like he’s in a hurry, and I don’t think you want to keep him waiting for too much longer.”
The gunman turned his bloodshot gaze on my friend, his chapped lips forming a giant O before he found the words his manic mind were reaching for.
“I don’t need any help, fuck face,” he spat, literally. Tyler had to wipe away a few, tiny globs of spittle with the back of his hand. “Now back up before I fuck you up!”
Tyler glared at him in a way that an angry mother would’ve if her child had just said the same thing to her. “I’m just trying to speed things along, asshole. Some of us have things to do.” The man flinched as if the words had been a physical slap to the face.
“What!? Do you realize what I’m holding?” The unblinking eyehole of the gun then turned on Tyler, much to the relief of the cashier.
Tyler’s expression remained deadpan as he stared the man down. “Do you? Do you even know what you’re doing? This whole time you’ve been trying to get this guy to open the register, I’ve been wondering who the hell would rob a place that’s only been open for a few hours.”
“That is true,” I mused, not even realizing my thoughts were escaping through my lips. “Wouldn’t you get more money if you held this place up later in the day?”
The gunman gritted his yellowing teeth as he turned that snarl on me. “Think I don’t know that? Of course I do! But I have to be at my son’s birthday party this afternoon and I need some money to buy a present for him!”
No one said a word for a time, only staring stupidly at one another like a bunch of cows.
“So,” I said, not sure how things were going to proceed from there. “How old is your son?”
Apparently, I have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the time. Something inside the gunman’s strained mind snapped and his eyes flashed with the crimson light of murder. His arm swung wide, and I suddenly found myself staring down the end of the piece of steel.
“I’m getting so fucking tired of you assholes- ARGH!”
A wet squelch cut the man off. Imagine the sound of tearing a big, juicy steak into pieces, only amplified ten times, and you’d get close to the sound the man’s arm made as it was amputated at the elbow. Rage turned to confusion, then to horror within a heart’s beat. The now “unarmed” man’s eyes went wide as a curtain of blood sprouted from his stump, sounding almost like wet spaghetti as it splatter to the tile below. Nile and I had to make a hasty retreat, lest we be painted with the guy’s life-water. The arm, still clutching its glock, fell limply to the floor with a smack!
“WHAT THE FUCK!” was the only intelligible phrase he could spit out between the mindless and agonizing screaming. He flailed the stump around, spraying red all along the counter, advertising signs, and even my tennis shoes. After what felt like minutes of watching the guy dance around, screaming his head and clutching at his blood half-arm, he fell to his knees for a moment before slumping to the ground. Though there were already lines of blood zigzagging around him in uneven circles, that stop more from pooling under his limp body.
Tyler, the smooth criminal he was, only disregarded the soon to be corpse with a cool glance. With the tap of a button, the bloodied tip of the switchblade receded back and he pocketed it once more. He adjusted his jacket, as if it had suddenly been chaffing him, then gave a glance over to where we stood.
“You guys okay?” I nodded, but quickly tilted my head.
“Why didn’t you just do that from the start, Tyler? We could have sped this right along.”
As per his nonchalant nature, he simply shrugged. “Didn’t really feel convicted to kill the guy till he turned the gun on you guys, I guess. Doesn’t matter now, though, let’s just get our coffee and-” As we all turned our attention back to the counter, we found the post vacant.
“What the-” Tyler paused, his features pulling taut with rage. “THAT MOTHER FUCKER BAILED!”