Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Man

     The man swings open the glass door with one fluid motion and steps inside, glancing around the room. For a brief, virtually imperceptible period of time, the whole rooms seems to freeze in place, the man's presence encapsulating the entire attention of the shop. Had it been any other place, the man's spot-on bad boy image, from his worn, black steel-toed boots to his frayed leather jacket, shoulder length silky black hair and 5 o'clock stubble, people might have been frightened, to say the least--but this was Vegas. No one questioned anyone's appearance in Sin City.
     After spanning his coal-coloured eyes across the room, the man ran his calloused right hand through his black hair and slowly made his way over the counter. One of the baristas working behind the counter, a young pretty brunette of about 17 was startled when her eyes suddenly met his. She blushed beet red, smiled at him and then quickly went back to frothing the cappucino she had been working on.
     The man made his way to the counter, which, with his long bulging legs and 6'5 frame, took him about two steps. He walked behind the sole person in line, a rather short, balding man of about 43, who took an instinctual, unsubtle step forward. The man paid him no mind, gazing at the menu behind the counter, one muscly arm clutched around his black tinted biker's helmet, his right hand scratching at his stubbly chin, deep in thought. "Venti Mocha Cappucino for Stewart?!" the brunnette called out from behind the register. The balding man quickly paid, grabbed his drink, and made his way rather quickly out the door, glancing timidly back at in the man's general direction, shaking his head indistinctly, and then subsequently hurrying away. The man remained stationary, still gazing at the selections, shaking his head, his right hand still scratching at his chin. The brunette stood their patiently, opened her mouth to speak, closed it again, opened it once more and mumbled, "Next please". The man jolted out of his trance, embarrassed, stepping quickly up to the counter, not hiding his perfect white teeth as he smiled shyly, glancing at the brunette and then quickly at the ground, now scratching his head. "Hey" he said softly. The barista smiled shyly, blushing. "That's quite alright. What would you like?" She was briefly taken aback by how soothing, how inviting his voice was, how warm his smile was, directly juxtaposing his rough biker look. She tried looking away but her eyes remain fixed on his, paying close attention to the man's every movement, her lips slightly parted. "Umm..hmmm... you see, I don't really come to coffee shops often, ermmm..." She giggled, covering her mouth, her eyes still glued to him. He chuckled as well, clearly out of his comfort zone. "Umm..what's your strongest thing? I've been riding now for about 3 hours, been making my way to Nashville. I really just need something dark and strong to fuel me up." The brunette averted her gaze from the man's face, staring at his bulging pectorals, then at his massive arms, thinking to herself, 'Yes, I bet you would like something dark and strong,' giggling at her own girlish fantasies. "A double Macchiato normally has 2 shots of espresso, but I'll add an extra couple just for you because it seems like you could really use it. The man flashed his pearly whites again, running his right hand through his black mane once again, chuckling in relief. "Thank you, Jenna, that sounds wonderful." The girl was briefly started, quickly looking down at her own nametag which read "J-E-N-N-A", seeming to forget her own name for a brief moment. "That...that'll be 4.95 sir", she mumbles, her face red. The man takes out his wallet from his jacket pocket and hands her a 10. He hands it to her, smiling warmly. "Keep the change for yourself, Jenna. You're working hard and doing a fine job." Completely taken aback, she reaches for it slowly. "Wait...are you sure?" she mutters softly. Grinning back at her he says, "Absolutely". She cups her hands over eyes, trying in vain to hide her delighted surprise. "Thank you sooo much! I'll have the coffee ready for you in a couple minutes". She hurries over to another barista, a tall lanky blonde girl of about 19, speaking quickly to her, giggling. She points over at the man, pointing to the 10 in her hand. The blonde giggles with her, trying to hide her jealousy. The man walks over to the confectionary section, now eyeing the pastries, his left arm still clutching his helmet as he scratches his scruffy chin with his right hand. "Double Macchiato!" the brunette chirps happily the blonde now closer to her, pretending to be working at something else, but clearly just their to gaze upon this mysterious masculine specimen. The man walks up,taking the coffee from the girls outstretched hand, his index finger just touching hers. "Thank you so much, Jenna. Have a wonderful day." Gasping quietly, she rushes off somewhere else, covering her mouth, trying to hold back more unnecessary giggles.
     The man makes his way to the exit and starts putting his helmet on, but suddenly stops. He spots a young woman sipping on a latte, her long black hair dangling over the book she has open, The Tempest, her eyes glued to its pages. The man hesitates, looks out the window at his jet black Ducati, then down at his analog wrist watch that barely fits around his large, veiny wrist. He cautiously makes his way over to the woman. *Coughs* towards the vacant seat next to her. "Is..umm...that seat taken?" He says, staring at the ground, blushing. The woman jumps from her book, almost dropping her latte, startled. "Umm....erm..." She gazes at the mans protruding chest, then slowly up into his eyes of coal. "No, not at all." She smiles up at him, flashing her own pearly whites. The mans return the warm smile with one of his own and takes the seat adjacent to her. People sitting about the coffee shop began whispering to her, exchanging glances with each other, motioning to the man and woman. The two baristas, now with no customers, are huddled over the counter, heads resting on their hands, the young girls both staring transfixed at the man now talking to the woman in the corner. The dialogue between the man and the woman is inaudible, but you see the man point is finger at the cover of the woman's book, smiling. The woman nods quickly, smiling, easily matching the man's strange enthusiasm for a book so old yet timeless.They talk for what seems like hours, laughing now and again, neither one breaking each other's gaze or warm smile. The coffee shop has been emptying out slowly, now with only an elderly couple in the back, reading the day's newspaper, oblivious to their surroundings. The man then takes out his phone, looking over at the setting sun and back to his watch. He says something, hands the woman his phone. She grins widely and nods, taking out her own phone, handing it to him. He takes back his phone, staring at the screen---"Stacy". He thanks the woman multiple times, her shrugging and smiling back at him, staring deep into his eyes. He gets up, clutches her delicate left hand softly in his two strong hands, thanking her once more. The woman stares down at his two hands holding her own, her lips parted, her blushing face impossible to miss through her porcelain skin. The man then gets up, puts on his helmet, thanks the two baristas and staff once more while disposing of his empty coffee cup. He waves to the young woman as he exits the shop, making his way over to his bike, The biker starts up his machine, the engine roaring to life. After revving the engine a couple times, the biker speeds off into the distance, the two baristas and the young woman both staring longingly after him. As the two baristas then reluctantly start adding up tips and wiping down the coffee counters, the young woman stares at her own phone. On the contact page there is no name, only a phone number and a quote. She gasps, clutching her mouth, looking quickly back out of the window after the man, who has since disappeared into the sunset.

Smiling, she slowly collects her things, giggling intermittently. Still staring transfixed at her phone screen, she thanks the staff kindly and walks out the glass door.


“O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!” 
― William ShakespeareThe Tempest



9 comments:

  1. Thanks scott. Very creative and good use of the shakepeare.

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  2. Well done! Time to publish!...uncle Kevin

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  3. I think you could keep this"in-work"and develops onto a full fledged short story...what's the names of the baristas? Where do they come from and what are their proclivities? Where is the man going? What does he dream of, while he waits and watches the ladies perform? Where did they come from? (Each has their own history.)
    You have the seeds of a sorry story-the likes of which I recall studying in my freshman comp class. With your imagination and articulation, I don't doubt other freshman, in another time, may be studying YOU.

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    1. Well said noon!. That was a great typo.. it is a sorry story in that many of the characters are left sorry at its end. ;)

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  4. Brilliantly written, Scott. Love the way you describe the man........Dark stranger and the Tempest, oh what a combination !!!!.....Raven

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