Well, when I picked up my newspaper I got the idea for this post. See in order to get the newspaper I walked down to the intersection where I usually get it from one of those self-service stands for free papers. The stand is near the University of Pittsburgh. And on opposite corners of the intersection are two coffee shops: a Starbucks and a Kiva Han.
Both were full of students. Pitt is right down the street and CMU is right up the street. I’ve been in both coffee shops. They’re nice but too pricey for me.
But seeing these two trendy coffee shops reminded me of a flash fiction story that I wrote, oh maybe two years ago, about another trendy, pricey coffee shop that I went to in Pittsburgh’s “Little Italy.”
So here is the story. Remember, a flash fiction story is about a significant event given closure. The event for the character in the story is that this is the first time he’s been in the place. And the story’s closure is a little, gentle twist.
It’s 2:45 p..m and I’m in the Crazy Mocha in Bloomfield. I tell the young woman behind the counter that this is my first time here and could she suggest something.
“I’ve sold a lot of Caramel Lattes today.”
“Okay, I’ll have that.”
I’m really not a coffee drinker but I’m trying something new. While she makes my latte I scan the board against the wall over her head that list what the place serves and the prices. Then I notice an advertisement for hot chocolate on the wall that I walked past as I entered but paid no attention to. I should have gotten that, I say to myself.
I take my Caramel Latte to one of the small tables in the back that lines each wall. I take off my windbreaker but leave on my hoodie with the hood down, long shoreman’s cloth cap still on my head. I put my package of bleach and mouth wash on the chair across from me at the little table, my windbreaker draped over the back of the chair.
There are three customers in the back with me and two customers at different tables up front next to the big window that looks out on Liberty Avenue, the sky overcast. All five of the other customers are working at their laptops, the three in back with me face toward the big window up front like I do but the two that sit next to the window face away. I’m the only person with a pencil and pad. I’m also the oldest person in the place. Several customers stand ordering at the counter. Soft alternative music comes from the PA system. The lights are medium low; but bright enough so that I don’t need to put on my glasses to write. The place is relaxing. I drink my latte and jot in my notepad. Finally, I check my bus schedule. Finish my latte. Bundle back up, get my package, take my cup and saucer up front, say goodbye to the young woman and leave.
I’ll definitely go back. It’s a good place to write but I won’t order a latte. Next time I’ll order the hot chocolate.
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