short

Coffee trip (short?)

Every Sunday for the past several months, my sister Theresa has driven an hour and a half to the café she used to work at in Madison, WI, and works the day – in what would normally be the job for three separate baristas. It’s a sweet little coffee shop, connected to a bicycle company and storefront. It’s very similar to the café she worked at and managed for years in Chicago, called Heritage. I think she’s hoping to work at every coffee + bike partnership in the Midwest before she dies.

This past Sunday morning, I woke up early enough to feel more accomplished than usual, and found myself wanting to leave the apartment. In the middle of winter, during a pandemic, working from home, ventures out the front door are a rare and exciting occurrence. It had been a high of 10 degrees for the last week, often hitting negative 10 or 15 in the nights – but this morning the sun was shining merrily and the icicles dripping feverously outside the kitchen windows confirmed that it now gotten to the mid twenties.

I decided a drive would be nice, and, having run out of beans a few days before, I decided coffee was the perfect excuse. I donned my favorite leather boots, black gloves and a scarf and locked the front door behind me on my housemate still fast asleep. The birds seemed to be chirping louder than usual, just as excited by the sun as I was. When I got to my car, I found the accumulation of five days snow and ice that took many minutes to scrape away.

Once the engine had been started, the ice had been scraped and the car rocked from snow ruts it had been stuck in, I got on my way. I had intended to drive just a few minutes to my favorite local shop, Interval Coffee, just a half mile or so from my apartment. But with music playing and the cold morning still a little exhilarating, I decided I was up for a little more of a trek. Go over to Canary Coffee? Maybe even something down south of the city a little bit? Or out towards the suburbs?

As I kept driving, option after option slipped by – not unnoticed, just uninteresting. I kept driving, quickly finding myself driving onto the ramp leading to 94 west. Driving and driving and driving. Until snow covered buildings turned to snow covered houses, which then turned into vast snow covered plains of grass and farmland.

After an hour and a half, I pulled up in front of Café Domestique, the small shop my sister Theresa works at every Sunday. As I walked in, the bell above the door was drowned out as Theresa gave a scream in delightful fashion, and burst out from behind the counter. We chatted and laughed as she made me a latte.

“Well,” I said, “I’d just wanted a drive this morning my gal.”

“That is wonderful news!” She said back, beaming underneath her mask.

Just then, the bell above the door tinkled again, and another one of my sisters, Kim, walked in.

“You’re joking.” I practically yelled, starting to cackle with laughter.

“Oh my god!” Kim yelled back, “I guess we just had the same idea this morning! I just felt like driving this morning.”

“I’M SO GLAD WE ARE ALL HERE!” Theresa absolutely screamed behind the counter, throwing her hands in the air.

Kim and Theresa live together. I live half a mile away, a three minute car drive – yet there we were, meeting accidentally an hour and a half away. I half expected to look out the window to see Lauren and Ryan, the two siblings missing from our faux family get together, strolling up the street and into the café.

The three of us looked at each other chummily for a few moments once me and Kim had gotten our drinks. The sun was shining and the coffee was warm. Then Theresa said, “So… we actually don’t allow anyone to stay in the store right now. It’s carryout only.”

The image is not mine, and was found here. Also, this story isn’t real.

Space Race (short)

“The red light flashed more insistently, begging for her attention. Ignoring it, she changed gears, pressing down on the throttle – a shutter coursing through her seat.
“Come on now,” she cooed through gritted teeth. “One more lap.”
Her engine shook again, the port repulsor sputtering as an orange light flared on to join the red warnings and indicators decorating the panel in front of her. As she glanced down at the monitor showing two ships closing in behind her, static flashed in her ear, the radio com bursting to life.
“Jenson’s coming up quick, Ferro’s team not far behind. It’s almost yours, but you’ve just gotta widen the gap on the cruiseway.” The static clipped out with one more burst, leaving a pounding in her ears.
Her breath quickened.
Hand on the gear, shift to 7th.
She pulled hard on the throttle, making the last turn and shooting through the giant flashing checkpoint before the Polaris Cruiseway, a straight shot for 5,300 kilometers.
Shift, shift.
She felt the blood rushing to her head, one hand on the throttle, one on the gears. The engine tore with a push of her hand, blue light exploding behind her as she accelerated up to 200 kph, her ship rocketing through the checkpoints rings floating in space like a bullet spiraling through the barrel of a gun.
Roaring faster, she saw the 2 blinking lights on her screen, the ships close on her tail, but starting to gain on the straightaway.”

I wrote this back in April (with a few edits tonight), and just found it again tonight while looking for something else in Google Docs. I think it’s fun!