Normally, I don’t go to Starbucks, but sometimes I have to pry open my wallet open for a cup off something strong in the legal wakey-wakey department. Trying to unglue my eyelids from each other, I staggered into the local Starbucks. At this time of day, the only person at the store was a way too perky barista and myself.
“May I help you?”
“Small coffee, please.”
She stared at me for a second with a look on her face that imitated a cow chewing its cud . . . without the chewing, which left her with a blank, passive stare. “We don’t have small cups.”
It was my turn to blink. “What do you have?”
She gestured to the sign with the cup sizes listed: short, tall, grande, and venti. Ri-ight. I got this. “I’d like a short coffee.”
Again with the cow look. “I don’t know if I can do that.”
“It’s just coffee. You mean to tell me that if I ordered a grande Frappa-lappa-dingdong you could make that, but not a plain cup old cup of coffee?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
Okay, fine. I could play her game. I might not be 75% awake, but for a cup of coffee, I’d take the risk. “What’s the frappe made out of? I’m lactose intolerant and if there’s any dairy in it then I’ll have to eighty-six it.”
I inhale deeply and called on the powers that be to keep me from lunging over the counter to grip the perky barista’s neck between my fingers. I spoke very slowly to make sure she understood. “Eighty-six meant to leave out. If there are milk products in it, then I can’t have it.”
“Oh, there’s whole milk in it, but I can make it with soy milk.”
I close my eyes and count to three. I didn’t want milk in my coffee, soy or otherwise. I just wanted a cup of black coffee. “Never mind, let’s just skip the frappe part. How about the lappa? Is it fat-free?”
“Can I get it fat-free?”
“No, but I have 50% lappa.”
“Well, let’s skip the lappa. How about the dingdong? Does it have real sugar or can I have it made sugar-free.”
“Oh, you can have it sugar-free. So want a grande frappa-lappa-dingdong without the frappa and the lappa, but with sugar-free dingdong.”
“Not quite. What’s the sugar-free substitute made of?”
The cow look returned.
“Is the sugar substitute made from saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, or Stevia products?” Patience was never my strong suit, but I’m almost to the goal--a wonderful cup of joe, black with no other crap in it. I had to try.
“I’m sorry. What did you ask? I blanked out for a moment.”
“Never mind the dingdong.”
“Eighty-six the dingdong?” She grinned at the new term she learned.
“Yep, eighty-six it. So what does that leave us with?”
“You want a grande frappa-lappa-dingdong without the frappa, lappa, or the dingdong, right?”
I nod my head.
It took her a few seconds to think it over. “You just want coffee?”
I grinned. “Yes, please.”
She rings it up on the computer. “That will be $8.64.”
I would have given her a ten, but I was afraid I’d miss the rest of my life if she had to count change, so I handed her a credit card. A minute later, I took my coffee and left.
What a person has to go through these days just for one cup of black coffee. No wonder the world is falling apart. Everyone thinks Amazon is trying to take over the world, but they would be wrong--it’s all Starbucks fault with their $9.00 grande frappa-lappa-dingdongs.
*Not a real tale. This is called writing fiction, people!
This short story first came to me during one of my daily walks. I thought about it for a while, but then forget it by the time I came back home. As the only coffee drinker in the family, my family has a tendency to make fun of everyone who drinks the fancy schmancy frappa-lappa-dingdong cups of coffee, since that isn’t ‘real’ coffee.
Another tiny aspect of this story is the willingness of people to fork out hard earned cash for a frou-frou drink on a daily basis.
· They wonder where their money goes
· They wonder why they keep gaining weight
· And they complain over the price of a $7.99 book--and many indy books aren’t priced this much!
The drink will only provide a small jolt of stimulation until it’s finished. While the book will provide hours of stimulation during the reading process and for hours afterword as you think about the characters and the plot.
It takes a barista only minutes to make your coffee, while it can take an author months or even years to write a book.
Food for thought.