Jo Janoski\’s Blog

Writings, Observations, Poetry, Stories

Coffee is the Best Medicine October 23, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 11:11 am

Coffee is the Best Medicine…

October 23, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop…

Last episode: Brenda, jealous of the Health Inspector Supervisor flirting with her love, Alfred, came to my place and I fitted her out with a sexy make-over to go back and win her man.


Brenda and I arrived at the coffee shop to find the Supervisor whispering what were probably especially sweet nothings in Alfred's ear while he sipped on a large mug of the shop's primo Colombian blend. His face wore a grin of satisfaction so huge it could only come from two methods of simultaneous happiness attacking him at the same time merging in sweet harmony. Coffee and sweet nothings can do that to a man. Spying this, Brenda's expression of mortification tore at my heart. She truly did love him; it was obvious.

"How can I get his attention with all that going on?" she asked.

"Yeah, I see what you mean," I responded. Gazing around looking for inspiration, I took note of Rose doling out coffee from one of her big glass pots. "I've got it!" I said. "You've just become Alfred's personal waitress!"

Rose who was very proud of her waitressing skills, agreed to Brenda, an amateur, working her counter — but only barely. She didn't cotton to the idea of someone else dishing out java in her place, but with some arm-twisting and pleas to save Brenda's romance, she agreed. We put a saucy little white apron on Brenda and touched up her make-up. Standing back, I surveyed her. Yes, she was ready.

"Okay, you go girl!" I said.

"I will!" she replied triumphantly.

I took a seat at the counter to watch. Brenda slithered up with all the sultry steamy air she could muster, an equally simmering pot of the best java clutched in her right hand.

"Refill on your coffee, honey?" she asked.

Alfred looked up and his face transformed with an expression that can only be described as a combination of curiosity, hungry, and the odd way a person appears trying to cipher long division in his head. I could tell she looked familiar to him, but he had no clue how to place her. My make-over of Brenda was that good. Her own mother would not know her; but if she did, she'd be embarrassed by her young one's lack of modesty.

Pouring his coffee in a long lingering flow while leaning close, she almost touched poor Alfred, making lots of heat between them. "There you go, sweetie!" she mouthed in a murmur from deep in her throat. Her eyes remained riveted to his in a hypnotic connection until she finally turned and walked away. Alfred's eyes followed her with longing.

The Supervisor watched all of this with dismay. She leaned closer to Alfred and blew in his ear, but he pushed her aside as he latched his gaze on Brenda.

"I don't think I like where this is going," Rose said from the sidelines. "If he rejects the Supervisor, she'll get back to doing her job and then for sure she'll issue me a health violation…maybe even shut my coffee shop down."

I looked at Rose in dismay. She was right. In panic, I gazed at the Super, then at Brenda, swinging next around to Alfred. Gee, I'd made a mess of things.

There is something to be said about having a filthy mind. It didn't take long for true inspiration to hit me with a wallop. I called Brenda over and whispered in her ear, taking delight in how her face lit up as I spoke. Giving her a healthy thumbs up, I sent her back in.

The Super was back at it, luring Alfred into her grasp, having unbuttoned her blouse and starting a lap dance. I nodded to Brenda, and with an oomph, she jumped up on the counter in front of Alfred. Looking at me first for reassurance, she danced — swaying slowly back and forth, then faster. Stiletto heels and vibrating hips were all Alfred could see, but it was enough. He couldn't take his eyes off her. With a wink, she jumped down and took a seat next to him, making Alfred the happy middle of a doll sandwich. Brenda had just become part of a new, interesting threesome. Each lady had half of Alfred, and everyone was happy!

And I was a happy woman, reveling in my success at making over people to be attractive, wanted, and sensual. I never would have thought I could be successful at such a thing, I mean I'm sort of school-marmish looking myself. But hey, obviously I'm an artist at heart!

Loud voices broke into my egotistical thoughts as I looked over to see Butch, Rose's favorite big guy, bawling like a baby at the other end of the counter. Now, what would make such a manly man cry like that? I grabbed my coffee and headed over to see…


I'll be taking the month of November off to participate in National Novel Writing Month. This story will resume in the beginning of December.

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


Coffee is the Best Medicine October 13, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 7:45 pm

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


Coffee is the Best Medicine September 18, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 7:42 pm

Coffee is the Best Medicine…

September 18, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop

(A serial. You may start reading at any point in the story.

Why not start with this episode?)

"Oh my Gawd! There goes my inspector, fired just when I got him the way I want him," Rose murmured.

"Oh, no!" I replied. "We can't let that happen." I spoke with defiance, although I had no idea how to stop it.

Our friend, the Inspector, stared at the lady supervisor, his jaw gaping in surprise. "Huh?" appeared to be all he could manage.

"You're fired, mister! I'm giving your route to someone else."

"Please, no! The pancakes here are so good!"

Glaring back at him, the supervisor spoke. "That's the problem, mister! You are too busy eating to tend to your responsibilities as a health inspector. Good Lord, man! We have standards!"

"He is doing a marvelous job!" The clear deep voice coming from the front, resonated through the room. All heads turned to see an imposing figure in the doorway. The tall man filled the frame, or at least it seemed so with the morning light glaring behind him, casting his bold figure in silhouette. "That man is the hardest-working health inspector I've ever seen. He personally tests every pancake for goodness and nutrition."

Yikes! Where did this guy come from? Then I noticed a curious thing happening. As the fellow came closer, his face, shadowed before, now came into the light. "Oh my Gawd!" I murmured. He was the most handsome man I'd ever seen–a broad ready smile, sparkling eyes, high cheekbones, and handsome brown hair neatly combed behind his ears, but long enough to be worn more free and relaxed. I noticed the supervisor staring at the fellow in much the same way as I. A quick glance around the room revealed all the ladies' eyes were riveted on the fellow. The guy was a real dreamboat.

He walked in with bold steps, moving quickly and with importance. The supervisor watched, looking wilted and swaying as she stood.

"Please leave that good fellow alone." he said, walking straight up to the lady. "Don't fire him."

"Okay," she answered in a voice as limp as a wet rag.

"And you, my sweet, will sit now and have a cup of coffee with me."

"Okay." She followed. I'm not certain her feet ever touched the floor.

"Yay! I don't know who that man is, but I'm sure glad he happened by," Rose said over my shoulder.

"Yes," I replied. I studied the fellow. Something about his movement was familiar — a movement of confidence, but the gait…I'd seen that gait before.

"Oh my Gawd!" I whispered. A blinding epiphany about knocked me off my feet. "It's Alfred!"

"What did you say?" Rose asked.

"That's Alfred!"

Rose stared at the fellow. I watched as her eyes widened in recognition. "JO, I think you're right."

We watched Alfred lead the supervisor to a table in the back. He pulled out a chair for her, and next he sat and took her hand in his. The fellow was absolutely debonair!

"I guess that supervisor won't be any trouble from now on." Rose said. Then she added, "Well, you know, two health inspectors in the hand is worth three in the bush."

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


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Coffee is the Best Medicine September 11, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 11:27 am

Coffee is the Best Medicine…

September 11, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop

(A serial. You may start reading at any point in the story.

Why not start with this episode?)


I pulled back away from the inspector, taken aback by his words. He was in love with Rose and serious about it.

Considering the situation, I pondered how, as long as he felt that way, the shop was guaranteed a good rating, whether it deserved it or not. Guilt lurked over my shoulder; if I were an honest person, I would report the Inspector for not penalizing such a dirty restaurant. But I wanted the coffee shop to stay in business more than personal integrity.

Thinking about it for most of the week, finally on Friday, I spied Rose taking a smoking break in the back. I slipped there to speak with her.

"Rose? Could I talk to you for a minute?"

"Look, I'll clean the restroom. Now quit bugging me about it!"

"No, not that! This is something more important."

"I didn't think you considered anything more important than a clean restroom." Rose grinned at me with her elfish smile.

"No. It's about the Inspector."

"Is he out of pancakes again? I'd better go fill him up." She rose to make a dash for the kitchen. I stopped her.

"No, Rose! He likes you."

"I should think so. I make the best pancakes in all of Pittsburgh."

"Yes, yes! You do, Rose. The best. But he likes you more than that."

"More than that? Humph! It must be my home fries. They're pretty good, too."

I reached over and turned her face toward me. "Rose, he loves you."

"He what?"

"He loves you. And it seems to me if you want to keep your rating, you'd better make sure he keeps loving you, if you know what I mean."

"Oh my Gawd!" She stared at me, aghast, then continued. "You know, the last inspector was happy just getting free food. Now this guy wants love, too!"

"Rose," I said. "I think he is a basic guy, meaning all you have to do to keep him happy is keep his belly filled with your pancakes. I don't think he'll leave that chair except to go home and sleep."

"Oh, I see." Rose stroked her chin in contemplation. "It'll be just like the old inspector, really."

"Right! He'll never get past your pancakes. So he likely won't bother you romantically at all. I just wanted you to know the whole story."

"Thanks, JO. You're a good friend," Rose said.

Suddenly, voices yelling out in the shop startled the bejesus out of Rose and me. We dashed out in time to see a prim, straight-faced woman standing over the Inspector. With clipboard in position, she pointed her pen at him and bellowed, "YOU'RE FIRED! You haven't been to a single restaurant in your territory all week. Turn in your clipboard today."

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


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Coffee is the Best Medicine September 2, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 2:10 pm

Coffee is the Best Medicine…

September 2, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop

(A serial. You may start reading at any point in the story.

Why not start with this episode?)

The next morning I arrived at the coffee shop, notebook in hand and ready for work. I took my place at the counter and studied the faces of this colorful crew–Rose, Brenda, Butch, and the health inspector.

I was surprised to find the health inspector at the shop again, Surely he must have a job to do somewhere else. I watched him dive into a stack of Rose's pancakes. Was I nuts or had he gained weight from the day before?

The appearance of his long pointy nose had softened, thanks to a bad case of rapidly expanding cheeks. If he kept eating like that, gulping down Rose's creations nonstop, he soon wouldn't fit on any of the tiny chairs in the coffee shop.

I took a seat next to him, spreading out my notebook, pens, and a tiny recorder. I made certain the recorder was off rather than on auto, because I feared his chewing and gobbling would accidentally activate it.

"Nice to see you again," I said.

"Yeah, I guess," he replied stopping in mid-chew to study me. "Who are you anyway?" he asked.

"I'm JO…just another customer."

"What's that recorder about then?"

"Oh, I'm a freelance writer. Thought I'd do a report on this place."

"Mmmph. Well, the food's good." He plunged another forkful of pancakes in his mouth as if to prove the point.

Curiosity took over. What was he doing here again today? "You're the health inspector, right?" I asked.

He stopped chewing and looked at me. "What's it to you?" he asked.

"Well, I mean. You were here yesterday and now you're back again. Are you supposed to be here today again?"

"Are you trying to tell me my business?"

"No, no! I'm just curious."

At that moment, Rose appeared with a pot of hot coffee. She filled his cup as he watched. A small smile curved his lips in a dumb expression of utter fascination. I came close to choking on my coffee.

"Oh my Gawd! You're in love with Rose!" I blurted out.

"Ssssh! I don't want her to know!"

"Is that why you're here all the time, because you can't stand to be away from her?"

His face transformed to a bright red all the way to the tip of his pointy nose. He leaned close and whispered in halting phrases.

"I don't want her to know. She probably doesn't like me. If she would reject me, I don't know what I'd do." He looked down to his scruffy brown shoes and murmured. "I've been hurt before."

My heart went out to him. You might find this surprising, but I was a geek when I was young. I was even president of the Latin club. How well I remember being the oddball in the crowd. There and then, I felt his pain.

"Okay. Against my better judgment, I won't say anything to anybody," I said.

"Thank you!" he replied. "It was love at first sight, you know."

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


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Coffee is the Best Medicine August 26, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 8:00 pm

#14 Coffee is the Best Medicine…

August 26, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop

(A serial. You may start reading at any point in the story.

Why not start with this episode?)

I went home that night feeling content. I had left in the morning looking for a solution to my writer's block and had filled my day with colorful characters and intrigue. Butch, Brenda, Rose, and Alfred (in whatever form he returned)–they all stole my heart away. Even the geeky inspector transformed to a happy fellow once Rose stuffed him full of her good food. When I left the shop, he was still there with a smile on his face. Rose's pancakes can do that to a person, I reckon.

That night I dreamt of pancakes, pancakes soaked in butter and syrup, and coffee. In my dreams I guzzled coffee. I also chased hobgoblins out of my way…hobgoblins that resembled Alfred. When I woke, I assured myself Alfred would return looking far from a hobgoblin. At least I hoped so.

I needed to get to work…writing; but the next day a restlessness overtook me. First, I couldn't feel comfortable at the office computer; then I decided to use my portable keyboard. I like to go outside and work under the trees while birds chirp and the sun shines. I wasn't there long before my mind wandered to the coffee shop.

There was something about that place…it was like a playroom. As soon as I walked in, it seemed about as ordinary as sugar plum fairies. Let's face it! Not one person there was what I would call "normal." Each one was a caricature.

So I abandoned my writing bench and picked up the keyboard and started walking. Who knows what I might be missing? When I reached the end of the block, it hit me.

The coffee shop was a form of escapism for me, a vacation away from it all. Well, that didn't seem right. I couldn't afford to waste time on a vacation. That's when I decided to make it into something valuable. I would do an article about the place. And I would begin by interviewing each of my new friends. Yes, it was time to get to work

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


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Coffee is the Best Medicine August 22, 2005

Filed under: Serial — jojanoski @ 3:53 pm

#13 Coffee is the Best Medicine…

August 22, 2005

…The Strange Happenings in a Coffee Shop

(You may start reading at any point in the story.

It isn't complicated! This is Part 13.)

"Oh no! Another one to break in…" Rose murmured over my shoulder.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"The last one just retired. He didn't give us any trouble. Now I've got this new guy to contend with."

"I see," I replied. Although I really didn't. The coffee shop was filthy, a health violation waiting to happen. How in the heck could Rose neutralize the actions of this inspector?

I'd been to many crappy restaurants in my day. Some I would never return to; some I ignored the dirt because the food was excellent. A person will make sacrifices for an excellent medium rare steak or a perfectly done baked potato; but the coffee shop…well, the java was perfect; but otherwise there wasn't much good I could say about the place. Except for the people–I'd become truly fond of the people–Rose, Brenda, Butch, and Alfred. I supposed my loyalty to them would make me work hard to keep this cafe open.

To my surprise, I spied Brenda already getting to work. She was wrapping her arm around the inspector's and walking him to a table,

"Now what would a handsome man like yourself be looking to have at our place today?" she asked. Butch dashed over and pulled out a chair for the man.

That fellow seated himself like a man considered royalty. "You'll not flatter me or distract my attentions from the violations in this place," he stated.

"This one is going to require the big guns," Rose murmured from her perch next to me. I watched as she reached under the counter for a special can of coffee. A fragrant cinnamon aroma woke up my olfactory senses as I watched her open the can, measure the coffee, and start the pot dripping. With one hand she undid her top two buttons while with the other she reached in the refrigerator to the back, bringing out a package of bacon. I recognized the wrapper as some of the best stuff, not the usual daily fare with lots of fat and little meat. The kitchen transformed to a whirlwind of bacon cooking, coffee brewing, eggs being scrambled next to a griddle full of pancakes and home fries.

I felt jealous of the inspector, breakfast being my favorite meal which I find enjoyable any time of day. But this food was not being cooked up for me. It was being prepared for the health inspector. Before long, Rose appeared at his table carrying a huge tray with the magnificent food.

She smiled at the fellow making eye contact while laying the array of dishes before him. When the tray was empty, she sat at his table, crossing her hands and smiling.

"I hope you like the food," she said. "Eat hardy. There's plenty more where that came from."

To be Continued

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski


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