Chapter 6 - Avery
I tied my apron to my waist and relieved her from the register. It was Friday morning, one of our busiest days, as people were just trying to drink motivation in to finish their last day of the work week.
I dwindled the line down quickly.
The last customer was a heavier set guy. Older, bald with glasses that sat at the tip of his nose. He was short and bitter and of course, a regular. I always dreaded waiting on John. He was a prick. And noticing his demeanor, today was gonna be a bad day for me.
"Well it's about time!" he huffed, "I've been standing in line for twenty minutes now!"
It was actually four but whose counting, John...
"I'm so sorry John, you know how Fridays get around here. Your coffee is on me today," I smiled apologetically and slid the cup across the counter to him, "for the inconvience." Maybe I could smooth it over. I was a cute girl. Most men didnt want to hurt a girl's feelings and I had charmed many of them in my days here as a barista--John was just a tougher case. One day, maybe, I would crack it.
But today, was apparently not that day...
His face turned red, "Free coffee will not make up for the money you just cost me! YOU made me late for work!" His voice was slowly raising as he started to yell at me. The whole cafe was now quiet, all eyes on us. Tension was thick in the air as I felt my heart sink and my stomach knotted up now very aware of the impending violent storm.
"If Julie would hire competent staff, I wouldn't have these issues every God damn morning!" I winced at his vile words. That was hurtful. Personal attacks crossed a line. I was good at my job--very good--he was just an asshole and I had to sit and take the abuse because I needed this job.
I had rent to make.
I felt my cheeks flush. I didnt like men yelling. As embarrassing as it was to admit, it terrified me. "I'm really very sorr--"
"I dont need your fucking apologies!" He cut me off, screaming in my face. I could feel his spittle land on my arm and I tried to ignore it, wanting this to be over as fast as possible. If I just stayed frozen and took it, he would leave... I sure as hell wasnt about to add more fuel to the fire by even blinking. He stared at me for a second, his eyes bulging from their sockets and his face ablaze with anger. He grabbed his coffee cup and chucked it across my shoulder. I stood there, shocked. This was a definite first for me... I wasnt sure how to react here. Had he been aiming for my face?! I wasnt certain but wasnt going to put it past him. I felt sorry for his wife and kids as they had to live with this dickhead. If he had any, of course.
I turned and looked at the wall behind me, hot coffee flowing down it and onto the counter. The temperature differential caused steam to waft through the air, dancing up and away from the brown liquid now pooling on the bar surface. That could have been my face! And instantly, I was annoyed. I probably should have been more angry... maybe even scared. I'm sure that's what John wanted. But, no... I was just annoyed. I would be responsible for cleaning that mess up after he left.
Tears started to well in my eyes, threatening to escape down my cheeks. I was frustrated, I couldnt help it. I had to contain my annoyance and it wasnt fair. I had to eat the shit he was serving me and then bend over and ask for more because that's what they call "customer service."
He noticed my tears and smirked, satisfied. I stared at him as he turned to walk away, feeling quite proud of himself. However, before he reached the door, out of nowhere a chair violently slid into his path.
There was no one near it to move it. It went sailing by itself, as if it had a mind of it's own. Im not sure how many customers saw that chair come to life, but if they had they were probably just as confused as me.
However, confusion quickly turned to laughter as he fell over it, his head smacking into the glass door. The weight of the impact made the door open so his top half was now outside, face to the concrete and his bottom half still over the knocked down chair, feet kicking at the legs of it trying to get it to move. He struggled to get up, his hefty body not allowing any flexability. It was like watching a turtle trying to roll over off his back only John wasnt on his back. He was on his big, fat belly.
The whole restaurant erupted into fits of laughter. Everytime John tried to get up, he fell back down and the laughs and snickers started back up again.
And no one dared to try and help him.
It was the highlight of my day.
And that became my new favorite chair.