Lifeless Latte & A Side Of Flesh

Coffee shop, just before closing time.



“You know, I once killed a bear with one hand,” Drunken Steve slurred as he fed the waitress some ludicrous tale as he sat enjoying his hot chocolate at the Coffee bar. Not that the waitress ever minded, it amused her as she prepared for closing time. Loading the small dishwasher with mugs, she pressed a few buttons and leaned on the counter while nodding along.

Steve tipped the mug back so far the last few drops missed his mouth and splashed his nose instead. “That’s when I broke my nose; its huge paws pushed me back into a tree.”

The waitress laughed at the tale. Joy knew for a fact that Steve had actually broken his nose from falling into a table only a few months ago, drunk obviously, amusing none of the less.

“Got to hurry up, Steve, closing time in ten minutes. I’m locking up tonight.”

He sits back but nearly falls off the seat. “Aw, Joy! Just give me another half an hour; I gotta meet someone here tonight.”

Joy raises an eyebrow, she snaps her gum, and pretends she’d interested. “Oh yeah, who?” Joy would be very surprised if anyone actually shown up. It wasn’t the first time he claimed someone was meeting him.

He waves his hand in dismissal. Dropping his head to the hard granite surface, he moans. “Just got some business to deal with.”

Joy hastily mops about, soapy bubbles coating the floor as she places the chairs on the tables as she went. “I would be forever thankful, babe.”

In all truthfulness, Joy thought, all she wanted to do was go home and catch up on all the TV shows she’d missed over her long weekend. Not wait around in a dead coffee shop with a drunkard for a man who would never show up.

Steve didn’t give up. Not even when Joy stood by the door waving the keys around her finger with one hand on her hip. “Steve, you really should go home now.” Joy didn’t want to call the police on Steve - he wasn’t in any shape or form a bad person.

He stumbles over the door as he belches and peers at her through one eye. “Honey, five more minutes. He just called; he says he’s on his way.” But no one had called him, why should Joy put up with his silly games?

I need to grow a backbone, Joy thought as she sighed and gave in.

Steve giggles with the dignity any drunken man could giggle with and points. “Here he comes now.”

Sure enough under the street lamp a dark shadow of a hunched man emerges as he swiftly walks in this direction.

All Joy could think about was her television and what she’d watch first, she wasn’t concentrating on the man walking towards the shop doors.

Joy could see Steve from the corner of her eye. “Everything alright over there?” she asks. It was unlike him to ever show any expression other than happiness when he came in here.

He screws his eyebrows together like a child and says, “He looks angry.”

Joy looks over her shoulder and sees the hunched man now standing by the door, peering in under his hood.

The door slowly opens.

Walking in, he pushes his hood back to reveal what little greying hair he had and his wrinkled face. Instead of walking over to Steve, he walks to virtually the same seat Steve had previously sat in, and pulls it from the bar to sit.

“Can I get a Latte, please?” his wavering voice calls out.

Steve is even more confused, but Joy doesn’t know why. Isn’t this the man he was waiting on?

Joy stutters out of shock. “Em, sir? We’re closing up for the night...”

Slowly turning around to look at Joy, the man stares her in the eye. “I said, can I get a latte, please?”

Joy turns unamused to Steve and asks, “Can you please explain to your friend that we’re closed?”

Steve’s frown gets deeper as his eyes droop and his stance wobbles. “That’s not my friend.”

Joy narrows her eyes at the suspicious man as Steve cautiously moves towards the door with small steps. “Ugh, I gotta get going now.”

“Oh-,” the man mumbles. “-You’re not going anywhere!” Standing sharply, the seat is flung from under the man and knocks Steve backwards onto another stood, which was hanging upside-down on a table to give leeway for tomorrow mornings cleaners.

A sickening crack pierces the near silence as Steve falls and slumps to the ground. Joy watches his eyes roll back in his skull and nearly sprints to the door.

The other man stand eyes closed, seething with unprovoked anger with a face red like fire. Joy quickly dials 999, for Steve’s sake and to remove the man from the shop. “999, what’s your emergency?”

“Police and-.” Joy is cut off by the sound of heavy footsteps. She looks on and sees the angered man coming straight for her.

“Oh no, you don’t.” Joy couldn’t put up much of a fight; the man was far stronger than herself and overpowered her easily. “Now we can do this the easy or the hard way, which is it?”

“What do you want?” Joy chokes out, as his hand shoots from his side and grabs her by the hair.

The man yanks her hair as he walks back into the centre of the coffee shop. “Some fun,” he whispers.

A small whimper is all Joy can muster at this point as every bone in her body shakes with fear. Being dragged by the man, she can still see Steve... His condition doesn’t look good. “Please let me help him!”

Joy is dropped the ground as the man proceeds through to the main kitchen. “Why should you help him when he won’t be around to help you?”

No, Joy thinks, I can’t let anything happen, this isn’t happening.

He returns with a large metal bowl filled with a liquid, steaming from the top.

“Burn,” he mumbles as he tips the steaming liquid over an unprotected Steve. 

Joy jumps to her feet as she feels the wave of heat hit her face. “What the fuck are you doing?” She screams.

That wasn’t just any hot water - that was frying oil – the fryer had been off for half an hour and no more, the oil still hot enough to kill. Joy watched in horror as Steve’s face began to sag and turn a disgusting shade of red from the burn.

Joy didn’t have time to protect herself as the man’s wrath hits her full on. “Shut the fuck up, bitch! Get down!” His hand raises and plunges one of the regular forks into the space just below her shoulder and pushes on the handle until Joy can stand no longer.

“Stop it!” She screams as blood oozes onto her cotton apron.

A sharp kick is delivered several times all over her body, again and again. The pain eventually fades, though, like she’s going numb, and the only thing she hears are her own cries.

She finds herself whimpering please as he finally steps back. He doesn’t look her in the eye.

He ignores Joy completely, like she’s so weak that she’d not a threat to him. Joy, through her agony, tried to crawl.

Walking backwards, he heads for the coffee bar and fiddles with some of the buttons before smashing a mug to the ground in rage. Storming over, Joy quivers on the ground.

“Bye, bye.” He raised his foot and stamps on her head.






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