Coffee is the Best Medicine…
October 13, 2005
…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop
In Review: I had writer's block and hit the streets looking for inspiration. Stumbling upon a coffee shop and being a lover of coffees, fine and rare as well as not so hot, I went through the doors to find a bunch of folks who could keep my muse giggling for a long time to come. Rose, the owner and chief waitress; Butch, her tough-skinned friend; Alfred, the nerd who recently went through an extreme make-over to morph into a handsome Romeo; Brenda, his up-to-now lady; and don't forget me, JO–the writer of this story. In recent episodes we fed the Health Inspector pancakes and let his lady Supervisor hang around the new and improved Alfred, which made her very happy, saving this filthy restaurant (yeah, it's pretty bad) from being shut down for sanitation reasons. There, that puts you up to date.
Things settled in. The Supervisor lady came back every day to see Alfred, cuddling up next to him at the counter each morning, wrapping her body around him in curves you wouldn't think such a stiff spine could achieve. And the Inspector gained more and more weight as he gobbled up Rose's pancakes day in and day out, perched on his usual seat at the counter. I'd say we had the County Health Department completely neutralized thanks to our pancakes and sex appeal, I'm not certain in which order.
Speaking of sex appeal, I remembered how Alfred used to flirt with me back in the days when he was still a geek. Now, he flirted with the Supervisor, and I felt left out. I should make the point that I am happily married and simply missed his attention. One day, I pulled him aside before he could reach the Supervisor.
"Alfred, your extreme make-over is simply fabulous," I said.
He smiled back with one of those cat-ate-the canary grins. "Yeah, it gets me to first base fast with all the ladies," he said.
"You seem to be enjoying it."
"You bet I am." There was that smile again.
"Don't you love me anymore, Alfred?" Brenda had crept up beside us and warbled in her little voice. I wanted his attention, but I knew for Brenda, the need for his devotion was more profound than mine.
Alfred gave her a sidelong glance. "It isn't that I don't love you. It's just that things are rather…dull with you, Brenda."
"Dull! Well, I never." The tiny girl stomped off, heading for the kitchen. I followed.
"Brenda, honey. Take it easy. It's only, you know, Alfred! There are other fish in the sea, as they say."
Brenda shuddered at my words. "But I love him," she replied in a shaky whisper.
I studied her. The tiny woman was the epitome of neatness with a perky little blouse all pressed, slacks with a pleat properly set in each leg and well-shined shoes you could see your face in. After a moment's consideration I realized it was no wonder Alfred found her dull.
"Brenda," I said. "If you love Alfred, then I'll help you get him back. Come on over to my place."
And so, Brenda and I got to work on making her anything but dull.
Later, at my place I attacked her hair first, which was well-combed, parted in the middle, and each side of straight brown hair held in place with an equally dull brown barrette. I ripped out the barrettes and swirled it around with my hands, teased it, then finger-combed and settled it down, producing a disheveled. sultry look. As a final touch, I sprayed hair spray on in a suffocating mist of cheap fragrance. Next, rummaging through my cosmetics, I found a dark purplish lipstick and some light eye shadow along with a handful of other magic fixes for homely little Brenda. I applied a new face on her despite protests as she wiggled and squirmed. The resulting "look" could make a good living on Liberty Avenue, if the truth be told.
Then I found a form-fitting black dress we squeezed her into, not because it was too small, but because it was made like a tube–one size fits all and you simply had to wiggle into it like a caterpillar trying to writhe his way up in a cocoon.
"I can't breathe!" Brenda squeaked.
"You don't need to. Just look sexy."
"Are you nuts?"
I stared back at her. "Not me. I'm not nuts. Blame the designers of this stuff, not me."
When I produced a pair of black stiletto heels from my closet, a look of outrage passed over Brenda's face. "I'm not wearing those!"
"You have to. That dress will not go with your sneakers."
"Then maybe I won't wear the dress either."
I felt like screaming, but instead took her hand in mine and spoke in the softest voice I could manage. "Brenda, do you want to get Alfred back?"
"Yes," she replied with a tremor.
"Put the shoes on."
She obeyed, sitting down to push her feet into the tight shoes. Finally, she stood and announced, "I'm ready. I'm ready to go and win back Alfred, my Love."
"Let's go," I said, as I watched her wobbling back and forth in the stiletto's.
To be Continued
Copyright 2005 JO Janoski