The Coffee Painter
The Coffee Painter
B Y THE end of September, autumn felt like it was skipping by and we were going to have an early winter. The soggy grass was freezing into a crispy frost, the birds' squeaks were scarce, and the cars' dirty trailing clouds were visible.
My two bosses, Sharon and Kenny McCormack, were putting up a crazy cat clock.
"I don't know. You think it goes, Ken?"
"I think it's fine," Kenny reassured her.
"Yeah," Sharon said as she scrunched up her nose. "Vivian, what do you think?"
"Yeah, it's good. It's cool."
"Yeah, I think so too. Like a cool alley cat."
"Yep. Exactly," I told her.
"You see, honey. It's cool," responded Kenny.
"Yeah, hun. I really like it."
For the rest of my shift that crazy cat clock tick-tock to a snail's pace and I couldn't wait for Jeanie to show up for her short nightshift.
The bells above the door banged hard as a gush of wind pushed Jeanie into the empty café.
"Ugh. It's so cold," Jeanie said. "It's so dead for a Saturday. It's gotta be the weather."
"Nobody's out. It's like winter is already here."
"I bet you we'll get snow on Halloween."
"I heard somebody say on Thanksgiving," Colin told her with a big grin.
"Oh, Colin, please don't say that."
"I'm sorry." Colin shrugged his pointy shoulders.
"We have a new clock."
Jeanie looked at it. "Oh my God. I loved those when I was kid."
"Well, your dreams have come true. Sharon named it Sylvester."
"That's so crazy. Hey, you two, I have a surprise," Jeanie told us as she unwrapped her red sparkly scarf.
"Are you guys ready?"
"What is it, Jeanie?" asked Colin.
Jeanie took off her old Blue Jays baseball cap and two red, red braids fell onto her shoulders. Jeanie, who had dark brown hair, had bleached and coloured her hair to a punk red.
"Candy apple red."
"Jeanie, you look great." Colin picked up a braid.
"Yeah, you look like Pippi Longstocking."
"Thanks, guys." She pulled off her coat. "Ugh, I can't believe I gotta work tonight. Viv, why don't you come out? It'll be fun."
"I can't. I have to get these paintings done." The real reason was I didn't like her other friends.
"You are such a dork. Painting on a Saturday night?"
"I gotta get them done."
"No wonder you never meet anybody."
"What are you doing?" Colin asked.
Jeanie grinned. "Going to a rave." Her grin grew wider. "You wanna come?"
Colin's lanky body leaned over the dessert case as Jeanie convinced him to come out to the rave. I was starting to believe that she liked him because she hung around him and grinned more than necessary.
"I'll get you a mocha."
The espresso machine shrieked behind me as I flipped through an old newspaper. Ten more minutes and I would be done for the day.
My body irked at the tinny bell followed by the obnoxious laughter of a group of young guys.
"Aw, shit," I said to myself.
They seemed high on something. Nothing was that funny. The leader, who looked the oldest, dressed like a slimy salesman who liked to flash his chunky male jewelry. Then there was a squirrelly one who couldn't sit still. The squirrelly one picked on the scra