The Best Part of Waking Up is Intrigue in Your Cup

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Best Part of Waking Up is Intrigue in Your Cup

It is surely easier to confess a murder over a cup of coffee than in front of a jury.” -Friedrich Durrenmatt

A tall man pulled open the glass door to the coffee shop and silently slid inside.  He quickly pressed himself against the wall and paused.  A few seconds later, his body angled towards the window without leaving his perch.  His neck craned for a better look.  He scanned the area for seconds and then darted back to his wall.  One could almost see him counting off the seconds before he moved.

The tall man glanced at his watch and waited a few more seconds.  He was dressed like many business people that bustled about the coffee shop.  While other men would change up their attire with polo shirts or a blue tie, the tall man had a uniform that he adhered to.  Every day that they baristas saw him, he always wore the same thing; black suit, white shirt, black tie, and black sunglasses.  These were no typical black sunglasses.  These were darkly tinted, motorcycle cop-dark glasses.  The lenses, much like the man himself, seemed impenetrable and determined.

Reaching inside his jacket, the tall man approached the register.  Although his head barely moved, one could sense that behind those shades he was taking in the scene.  His right hand remained near his inner left jacket pocket as he joined the line of coffee consumers.  The woman in front of him wished him good morning and he nodded to her.  He began to pull something from his pocket when he suddenly froze.  He cocked his head to one side.  The tall man placed his hand on the woman’s shoulder.

“Miss, did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”  She was immediately concerned.

“A noise”, he said as his voice trailed off.  A hint of suspicion crept into his tone.

“I don’t… that is, I don’t think so.”

“Hmm”, was all the tall man said.  His head scanned the room once more.  The arm hadn’t left his jacket pocket.  If anything, his right arm had tensed.  One got the impression that his senses were on full alert.  When the woman in front of him saw that it was her turn, she stuttered, and then nervously ordering her non-fat latte.  She hazarded one last look over her shoulder as she scurried to the other end of the store.

“Good morning, sir”, the barista said in her practiced-pleasant voice.  “What may I get for you today?”

ImageThe tall man took his hand from his pocket to reveal a manila envelope.  He slid the envelope across the tan countertop and looked straight at the woman.  The barista was certain that he was peering at her intently through his dark glasses.

“I was told you might be a source of… information.”  A great emphasis was placed on the last word.

“Well, I don’t know about that”, the woman responded.  “But I can tell you that nobody serves a product quite as fresh as we do.”

“Would you say that it is”, the tall man paused meaningfully.  “Bold?  Perhaps even, spicy?”

The barista nodded.  “Oh yes.  Why, there are certain men downtown; you may have heard of them?”

“I believe I have”, the tall man agreed.

“Right, I thought you had.  Well, the men downtown told us that our product was the finest they had ever tasted.  Even better than the product they had sampled in Nicaragua.”

“You don’t say…”  The tall man looked to the barista and saw her nod knowingly.  “Very well then, I’ll take what they usually get.”

“Right away, sir”, the barista said as she took the manila envelope from him.  “They’ll have it for you at the other end of the store.”

The tall man nodded, but stepped only a few feet to the right.  He lingered around the register, refusing to stand too close to the glass door.  He saw a group of three women come into the store, nodded to them, and changed his focus to the door that led to the staff-only area.  Customers, not even the tall man, never knew exactly who was lurking in the back room.  Really, at any time there could be any number of people mulling about back there, doing all manner of things.

“We have a non-fat latte”, the barista called from behind the bar.  “And here’s a bold coffee.”

That was the tall man’s cue.  He put one arm close to his jacket and tie, and then tumbled to the floor.  He rolled commando-style in front of the espresso machines and leapt up by the door.  He took the coffee, quickly jammed a stopper into the lid, and ran out the door full speed.

The woman customer stood there, her non-fat latte was momentarily forgotten as she felt her jaw go slack in astonishment.

“Don’t worry”, the barista from the register called out to her.  “He’s perfectly harmless.”

“Is he some sort of government agent?  Or a movie actor?  I mean, he could just be some crazy person.”

“We don’t really know”, replied the person behind the bar.  “We just figured that he likes his coffee bold and that he pays us in cash.  He puts the money in the envelope and treats the whole exchange like it is some film noir scene.”  The barista shrugged.  “He pays in full.”

“You don’t find it alarming?” the woman asked as she clutched her latte.  She wanted something to calm her nerves, and the warm drink in the paper cup was the closest she was going to get.

“We have all sorts of folks coming in here”, the barista said dismissively.  “At least he doesn’t hit on us.  If nothing else, it gives us a story to tell.”

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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