300 Words Day Sixty Nine: Espress-Oh!

The coffee shop was a warm sanctuary to the harsh winter chill outside. Martin peeled off his drenched jacket and hung it up on a hook, slipping into his apron and pinning on his name tag. He stuffed the rest of his gear into a cubby and took a few deep breaths, noticing the Christmas music playing softly through the speakers. He let out one final exhale, patted his pocket and pushed through the door into the main room.

“Nice to finally see you Martin. Only ten minutes late today.” Sabrina spoke in a constant monotone voice that Martin had never heard any change in. “It’s nasty out this morning. Good think I have a car to keep me dry. I can’t imagine having to ride a dinky bike into work all day, especially when it’s dumping rain.” She never looked him, she focused on wiping down a single spot on the counter, the same spot she tried to clean everyday but never could.

Martin just grunted in reply, thinking to himself how much her face reminded him of Pee Wee Herman and laughing at the thought. He checked the time and mumbled something about another fifteen minutes. Only one customer had come in so far, the usual early bird, working on the first of two triple shot something-or-others.

He positioned himself by the cash register and made himself look busy by tidying up the display of sugar-free chocolates and smooth jazz CD’s. It felt like an eternity before he spotted headlights piercing through the rain, turning into the parking lot of Espress-Oh! and taking up two parking spaces. Martin turned to Sabrina and whispered, “The storm is about to come inside now,” with a smirk. Sabrina chuckled, but Martin could never tell if it was at him or his jokes.

A man in his late twenties flung open the door of a bright yellow Hummer, struggling to push out an umbrella he had opened before stepping out. Low bangs brushed his eyebrows and a bald spot offered the perfect target for spit wads. He waded through the flooding parking lot, swearing at all the water. He wrapped his leather coat tighter around himself with a big frown.

Martin’s hand reached down to his pocket again. The Storm pulled, for the hundredth time, on the door clearly labeled push, and swore again before pushing his way inside. He shook out the dripping umbrella and soaked the floor and wall. Sabrina groaned and grabbed another towel.

“Good morning, sir, welcome to Espress-Oh!, what I can get you?” Martin tried to up his “charm and cheer,” just like the handbook says.

The Storm replied, “The usual, and quit being so cheery.”

Martin nodded and rung up the Storm’s bill, handing him four cookies and grabbing the smallest cup size he had. He set to making the Storm’s hot chocolate. He glanced around to make sure no one was looking, then slipped a small vial out of his pocket and poured it into the Storm’s drink. Martin smiled.

“Hot chocolate!” He yelled from the behind the counter and set it out, watching the Storm strut over and grab it. He took a small sip and his eyes opened wide. Taking a step back, he looked over at Martin and took another sip. “This is… This…” Before he could finish he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. He ran his fingers through his hair and felt thick black hair in a spot where none had been for years.

The Storm smiled, for what Martin assumed, was the first time in his life. He stuffed the cookies into his pocket and ran out the door, forgetting his umbrella. He splashed all the way to his Hummer and left, laughing.

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Haiku-A-Day #258

Underwater cave
Skeleton draped over chest
Skull and cross bone flag

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300 Words (Revisited) Day Sixty Eight: Finding it Again

He took off his glasses and rubbed his nose, massaging the spot where they had been sitting all day. Yesterday he had picked them up, the first glasses he’d ever worn in his twenty two years. His eyes were now shut tightly. A low groan worked its way out of his mouth. One eye popped open and peered out the window again, spotting the old woman who was hobbling her way around the car lot. Phillip’s chest tightened and he looked around the office, wondering if anyone else had noticed the woman yet. He made eye contact with his grandfather, who was clearly waiting for Phillip to go out and sell the woman a car.

Phillip stood slowly, pushing in his seat and zipping up his jacket. He looked outside again and his shoulders slumped when he saw the woman had popped the hood on the worst car on the lot. He forced his feet to move toward the door, gripping the door knob as steadily as he could manage. He opened it and stepped through, slamming the door behind him. He put on the most sincere smile he could and shuffled over to the customer.

“Good morning,” he projected as confidently as he could, “Is there anything I can help you with? Or would you just like to take a look around?” He waited for a moment, and just when he was about to repeat himself she looked at him and squinted, then shook her head.

“Yes, boy, can you tell me why on Earth anyone would pay two thousand for this heap of garbage? Do you honestly expect anyone to be dumb enough to buy this vehicle at this price? I mean, take a look at the motor for starters…”

Phillip’s eyes glazed over as her dissection of the vehicle started. He hated this part of his job. Salesmen have such a bad reputation as being sleazy jerks, and he certainly wasn’t a salesmen. Phillip couldn’t care less about selling cars, but the responsibility had somehow fallen on him, and it threw his anxiety into a fitful storm sometimes.

So he nodded every time she pointed out a problem, agreed that the car wasn’t in any shape to be on the road, and yes, somehow it was all the president’s fault. And he wasn’t the slightest bit surprised when, after all off this she turned and said, “I’ll give y’all five hundred bucks for it. Not a cent more.” Phillip sighed, trying his best to hide it, and shook his head, insisting that his boss wouldn’t take the offer. So the woman hobbled away and left.

When he got back to his desk, Phillip couldn’t help but feel that a part of him was slowly dying away with the every day monotonous grind at his job. So he opened up a text editor on his computer, remembering what his passions were, his love of writing. He dared to dream again, to wonder how life could be so much better if he remembered he were in charge of it. He typed the first sentence of a story, and he took the first step.

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Haiku-A-Day #257

Crumpled up papers
Covered in wild scribbles
Filling waste basket

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Haiku-A-Day #256


Fighting off a cold
Wrapped up tight in a blanket
Sniffles all day long

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Haiku–A-Day #255

Beckoning yellow
Long streaks of brilliant pink
Shifting sky colors

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Haiku-A-Day #254

Big footprints in sand
Little footprints inside them
Wind carries laughter

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