The Art of reading coffee stains: Practice: Mar. 19, 2017

Prompt by Essi Park: “That was not a coffee stain.”

That was not a coffee stain, June decided. It was probably a drip from a leaky pipe, or a misdirected splotch of molasses. Cheap ink?. No no, dry wine. Earl grey. Ketchup? Soy sauce. Blood.

“June, the table isn’t going to clean itself.”

June looks down. The table was spotless, except for-

“You hear me?” Somebody raps on the side of booth. “We’re closing in ten minutes.”

Never mind that last one then. The point was that this is not a coffee stain. Clearly not. Most definitely not.  One-hundred percent surely not!

June bites her lip. Okay, seventy-five percent. Maybe she’s not completely bonkers.

This is an old table. There are dings, chips, mistakes, accidents. Every restaurant has their fair share of back stage nastiness. For example, June knew about the Barley Bean’s employee rec room byproducts. Not mention, she heard from Andy that Sherbet Island has a guy who likes to lick all the scoops and whisper to them during his closing shifts. All kinds of crazy happens in restaurants. Especially in restaurants, June affirms.

But it simply has to mean something when a man walks into a booth just thirty minutes ago and vanishes into thin air, and an unsuspecting waitress comes by to set a bucket onto the table only to suddenly hear a disconcerting squeak and crunch. It has to mean something when the coffee stain that is not a coffee stain spilled by a customer who distinctly did not purchase the drink is splattered specifically and unmistakably into the shape of a very small, very tiny man.

He had left a dollar tip, which June left and promptly went to trade tables with Cody.



7 thoughts on “The Art of reading coffee stains: Practice: Mar. 19, 2017

  1. Very fun. I don’t know why but I love the idea of a small-town girl who is so thirsty and derived of excitement and interest that she becomes obsessed over some tiny insignificant detail and tries to blow it up to extravagant and preposterous proportions. Like a waitress who’s maybe read way too many mystery novels or watched one too many crime dramas. And now she’s focused on this stain and the man and trying to figure it out and she starts seeing figures in the shadows and thinks the government, or maybe the mafia, are after her! Hilarious hijinks ensue as she tries to Nancy Drew her way out of Smallville. Well, thank you for today’s daydream. Thank you for feeding the imagination and giving me something to chew on when I’m bored.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As always the beginnings of something wonderful and magical here, Jessica. In particular, I like the way you’ve built a suspenseful narrative around a seemingly innocuous stain, and then revealing that it’s in fact shaped like a man. I also enjoyed the surreal part about a guy from Sherbert Island as an intimation to the kind of crazy things that happen in restaurants. And you have a nice noir style voice going here.

    Liked by 1 person

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