Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Looking for Decaf Coffee
#29. Did you just see a ghost out of the corner of your eye when you
were bustling around behind the counter, making coffee??
It figures, the one morning I wake up late and have to rush around before the breakfast crowd comes in, the coffee isn't cooperating. Where are those damn filters and why aren't the decaffeinated packets where they're supposed to be?
As I search for the elusive unleaded java a sudden chill stands the hair on the back of my neck. I swing around and notice something move from behind the counter into the back storeroom.
Perhaps Talia had come to see what I was doing?
I hurry to the kitchen to find our baker elbow-deep in flour, kneading the morning biscuit dough.
Huh. Maybe Debralee had come in early?
I make my way to the owner's office. The knob turns easily in my hand. I ease open the door and peer into the dark room, the light from the hallway offering little visibility. As my eyes adjust I walk over to Debralee's desk, searching for the lamp.
Two fluorescent-green orbs fly toward me. My heart pounds in my ears.I shriek, frozen. I wait for the cold and the sound of howling, but instead I feel something soft rub against my arm and hear loud purring.
I laugh at my silliness as I bury my hands in Debralee's cat's fur. "Daisy, you scared ten years off my life."
Suddenly, loud banging comes from the storeroom. I run from the office and duck as a can of peaches flies past my head. I scan the room and gasp when I see an apparition of an angry man floating through the air and hurling baked goods.
A ghost! Is he lost? Is he dangerous?
Does he want coffee?
"What are you doing?" I ask. "Why are you destroying our pantry?"
In a flash, the spirit soars across the room to bring itself almost nose-to-nose with me. Fierce cold wraps itself around me and the incredible energy emanating from the ghost makes me nauseas. I dare to look at the being and gasp at the rage on its face.
"Why do I do this?" he howls. "Because the craw fish you served me ended my life!"
My heart jumps to my throat as does my hand. "Oh, my--wait a minute. We don't serve craw fish."
The tight ire from his face melts into a frown of confusion. "You don't?" He scratches behind his ear, then reaches into his back pocket and produces a transparent piece of paper. "This isn't 896 Main Street?"
I shake my head and then smile as a thought occurs to me. "This is The Otherworld Diner. I think what you're looking for is Another Dimension Cafe."
"Ah." He folds the paper and replaces it. "Well, then, I guess there's been a mistake. Sorry about that."
I wave away his apology. "Happens all the time."
"I guess I should be going." He turns toward the back door.
"Hey! Who's going to clean up this mess?"
He stops and lingers in midair. "Oh, yes, sorry."
The spirit quickly cleans up the scattered cans and baking goods.
"Can I go now?" he asks, checking his watch.
"Yes, have fun haunting the cafe."
With a salute, he vanishes through the wall.
Talia emerges from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. "Who were you just talking to?"
I study her for a minute, then smile and shrug. "Myself."
"Ah," she said, looking rather bored.
I make my way to the front counter and just as I reach the coffee makers, packets of decaffeinated coffee rain down on my head.