My shift starts everyday at 2:30, just after my photography and Law lecture finishes at college.
It latches onto the end of Spencers shift, one of my most treasured friends... I say friends, but he’s probably more like family. I’ve known him since I was a wee baby, we were born in the same hospital - not that special considering there’s only one in our town - and our mothers booths were next to each other. They got chatting, we got googooing.
I arrive at the coffee bar two minutes late, causing Spencer to glare at me menacingly.
“Why are you so late Anna? I was planning to sit down and relax but - oh, no - two minutes overtime! I think I might collapse!” he says jokingly, a smile creeping across his gentle face.
“I won’t catch you.” I reply, trying to do my best poker face but all to no avail. Within 3 seconds I bursting into peals of laughter while the customers stare at me like I’m stark-raving mad.
“Generator, generator, generator.” he mutters to himself. Now this, my friends, is a very important inside joke - listen closely. Back when we were tiny children, there was a song that was really popular in edinburgh. Seeing as that’s only a half hour drive from here, the song caught on quickly. The song was written by two comedians who were trying to do scottish accents - meaning the song consisted of two words only... ‘Generator’ and ‘Scooby Doo’. This made Spencer laugh so much that for almost a week all he could say was ‘generator’ and well... It caught on...
I pull on the brown apron hanging up under my spot on the coat rack. We each have our nicknames written on the front - mine being ‘Banana’, Spencers being ‘Generator’ and Kenna’s ‘Barbie boy’ after Ken, the male barbie doll. There are two empty spaces on the rail, supposedly for the new people who might actually notice the sign on the window asking for new baristas.
Spencer stays on with me, helping out with a few tricky customers asking for those annoying specific coffees or teas. Why can’t they just get a one off the menu? One particularly strange person comes in asking for a ‘Crushed Nut Latte’ which I have to decline because both me and Spencer are allergic to nuts and therefore, don’t sell them. As I turn away, I notice the girl who I served Peppermint Hot Chocolate to is looking intently at Spencer, making me a bit nervous. She comes here often, usually when I drop in to change my schedule or clean out lost property - not that anyone leaves anything here.
I decide she must need something and so, I walk over to her.
“Hello...Would you like another one?” I ask, noticing that her hot chocolate is almost finished.
“No, it’s okay.” she replies shortly.
“I noticed you’ve been looking at Spencer, eh?”
“Yeah... I met him yesterday, he seems nice enough.”
“Heck, he’s the nicest person I’ve ever met! Trust me, I’ve known Mr. Generator over there for my whole life!”
“Really? This really is a small town...”
“Ack, I never asked your name!”
“It’s Blaire, and you’re Anna, right?”
“Wait - how do you know my name?”
“Kenna told me when you were here yesterday...”
Oh yeah... Sorry if I was loud, it’s Marcus’ fault, he never ceases to tease me!”
“Can I take you up on that offer of another one?” she asks.
“Sure!” I reply, taking her money and returning to the bar to make her another drink.
I’m alone for the last hour of my shift. No customers, nothing. Spencer left early to meet his little sister Bree from school, leaving me behind just as it calmed down - nicely timed.