2004.2.4 – no coffee for you!

Aria had been serving these yuppie scum for years now and not one could remember her name. It was apparent that they didn’t give a damn about the low wages of the barista or how the beans that made their concoctions were picked by migrant farmers being paid next to nothing. None of this mattered, ofcourse, because yuppies don’t care about the little inconsistencies in life.

All for me and none for you and I don’t care!

That was the moniker that Aria had attached to each dreadful one of them. The whole lot made her nauseous, but she had to keep pulling shots or she would be on the streets.

Unbelievably, this was a good day. For each nasty customer there were two or three cool people that walked in that morning for a cuppa joe and so she was feeling melancholy. More than that would strain her, so melancholy it was.

As she sat behind the register, reading the latest Janowitz book and dreaming of being someplace else, she nearly missed the hipster that entered her space.

“Hey Aria. Can you get me one of those death mixture things?”

It was Harley

“Aria? Are you awake? C’mon chicky, I need to get back to work.”
“You don’t work Harley.”
“Well, I need to get back to life then. Can I please get the death mix?”
“I’m a little busy right now.”
“Are you not working today Aria? I mean, you look like you are working. You have that lame apron on and you are sitting behind the counter, so I just assumed…”
“You know you should never assume Harley.”
“Yeah, yeah. Get me the damn coffee.”
“Well, now I definitely won’t be getting it for you. I don’t serve scummy artboys.”
“So you would rather just deal with the lame yuppies and not the deck people?”

A line had begun to form behind Harley and the people waiting glared at this last remark.

“Deck? Oh, you are so hip dude. I can’t stand it. Tell me more oh holy hipster one.”

The customers began to look more and more impatient.

“Fine, Aria. Be that way. Just don’t come crawling to me next week when The Walkmen are in town and you want to mooch a cover charge off me.”
“Later Harley.”

Aria motions to the next person in line and begins making a latte. Harley, seeing Aria alone at the other end of the counter, stands behind the espresso machine and continues to talk to her.

“Aria, why are you acting like this? What the hell did I do to you?”
“You really don’t know, do you Harley?”
“Um, no. All I wanted was a coffee. The special kind you always make me.”
“Well, maybe now you can cop the special kind off that bitch whore of a girlfriend that you have been seen around town with.”
“What? I don’t know what you are talking about. You are my only bitch whore Aria.”
“Nice Harley, real nice.”
“You know I am just joking. I really don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Yeah, sure, whatever. I have to get back to work, some of us actually work for a living.”
“Hey, don’t act like that. Trying to squeeze those dollars out of my parents is hard work. Besides, you could quit if you really wanted to.”
“How would I pay bills if I quit? How would I live? How would I eat or smoke?”
“You could talk to your parents about it. Just tell them that you are trying to find yourself and they will front you some cash.”
“It isn’t that easy Harley. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone has naive parents that will…hey…you totally changed the conversation. Why don’t you just leave me alone and go find that slutgirl.”

The milk that Aria is steaming is beginning to make that high pitched “it is time to turn off the wand” noise, yet she continues steaming. A customer yells for her to hurry up and she shoots him the finger. He proceeds to leave, but not before asking for her name, rank and serial number.

“See what you made me do Harley? Now that guy is gonna call my boss and I’ll be fired.”
“Who gives a shit. This job is so beneath you.”
“Fine, whatever, leave.”
“Alright, but I swear there is no other girl and I’ll prove it. Meet me back here after your shift and we’ll go get coffee.”
“Yeah, that is just what I want to do after a six hour shift at a coffeehouse.”
“Fine, dinner then. ?Somewhere that we can sit and talk this out.”
“Alright. Be back at nine o’clock and I’ll be waiting for you.”

As she is saying this to him Harley notices a girl in his peripheral vision. His goodbye trails off slightly as he leaves the shop and walks down the street towards the other girl.

“Hey Andi! Wait up, it’s me, Harley!”
“Hey Harley. What’s goin’ on?”
“Nothing, just a little tiff with the girlfriend. No big deal. Are you on your way to meet me?”
“Yeah. I am running late, but I’m here.”
“Well, I thought we could just hang out at my place anyway if that is deck with you.”
“That’s deck Harley. Anywhere you are…”

Back at the coffeehouse Aria continues to read her book and thinks that perhaps Harley is being truthful. After all, they are living together and Chara gets things wrong a lot of the time. Maybe she just thought she saw Harley, but it was someone else with that girl. Her reading is again interrupted, this time by Chara, her friend from art school.

“Hey Aria. How are you doing? Sorry about Harley.”
“You know Chara, I think you may have that situation wrong. Maybe that wasn’t Harley that you saw the other night.”
“No, it definitely was. I wasn’t gonna say anything, but I actually just saw him again outside.”
“Yeah, he just left. He is coming back later to pick me up for dinner so we can talk.”
“But Aria, I think that is just an awful idea. He is definitely cheating on you and you need to get out now while you can.”
“You can’t be sure of that. I trust him completely and you are planting seeds of doubt in my head. Sometimes I think that maybe you have an ulteriour motive of your own Chara.”
“I don’t have any motive. Only that you are my friend and I don’t want to see you hurt.”
“He couldn’t do that to me. We have been together for 3 years now and he seems content with me. Not ecstatic, but who really is anymore?”
“Well, I think that he is content, but maybe because of this other person.”
“I can’t listen to you anymore Chara. You are doing this on purpose. You just want Harley and that is why you are trying to make us split up.”
“Why would I want Harley?”
“Well you are always around and you talk about him all the time and you are giving me these ideas about him. Plus, last week you offered to let me stay with you if we broke up. It was as if you knew it was going to happen and you would just love that wouldn’t you?”
“No, because it would hurt you and I don’t want that for you. There are better people out there for you Aria. I know that for a fact.”
“Oh yeah, who? All my other male friends are gay. Who could I possibly find?”
“Well what Chara?”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be looking in that department.”
“Yes, I know, I should cut out the fag hag stuff and start looking for straight guys, right?”
“That isn’t EXACTLY what I meant Aria.”
“What then, be celibate? Be alone? Join a convent? What?”
“What about me?”
“What about you Chara?”
“I mean…”
“Um. I never thought of that. Well, that would kind of make sense I guess. Why you have been telling me all this horrible stuff about Harley.”
“Aria, I was doing that because it is true.”
“You are gay? Wow…that is a shocker. Not that I’m opposed to…I mean…oh, I don’t know.”
“It’s okay Aria. No pressure. No worries. I just want you to be happy.”
“I guess I really have to think about this now.”
“By the way, I know you still don’t believe me, but I saw Harley walking down the street with that girl before I came in here. I wasn’t going to tell you, but…”

Aria takes off her apron, locks the register, calls to the manager that she needs to leave for a little while and bolts out the door. After running for a few blocks she decides to hail a cab. She doesn’t want to be totally winded when she confronts Harley. In the cab she tries to get her head together and think of what she will say to him when she enters the apartment. Their apartment. The apartment they have shared for 3 years. The apartment she has decorated and made into a nice home for the two of them. A sick feeling begins to form in her stomach and her eyes begin to tear up. The cabbie asks her if she is okay and she can only murmur out a weak yes. She tells him to pull over and pays him for the fare. One more block and she will be at the building. Climbing the stairs she finds her courage and as she opens the door all her hopes of Harley’s faithfulness fall to the floor.

“What the hell is going on?”
“Aria. What are you doing here?”
“I live here Harley. What is that bitch whore doing here?”
“I can explain.”
“I don’t want you to. I would leave, but I have nowhere to go, so just pack up your shit and get out of here. NOW!”
“You don’t understand Aria! Let me explain.”
“How can you explain this? Chara was at the shoppe. She told me. She has been telling me, but do I listen? No. Why would I…”
“Chara? What the fuck Aria? Why would you listen to that chick. She is so hot for you it isn’t even funny. She has been looking for something for years. Ever since art school.”
“Well now she has found it Harley. Did you not hear me before? Please leave now.”
“Aria. Please please calm down and listen.”

She sits down on the couch and then moves to the chair before finally standing up and pacing the floor.

“Aria, this is my sister Andi. She is in town this week and we were going to surprise you at dinner tonight. If I had known that you were talking about her before at the coffeehouse I would have said something, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. She just got in a couple days ago and has been staying with our cousin Pez at the complex on Fifth Street.”
“You are kidding right? Do you actually think I believe that crap Harley?”

Andi takes her wallet out and shows her id card to Aria. Aria is visually embarassed and slumps onto the couch. After a few moments she hugs Andi and attempts an apology.

“You know that I didn’t mean to call you a bitch whore, right?”
“Yes, Aria. Don’t worry about it. I would have done the same thing.”
“Oh God! I just completely ran out of work to come over here. I have to get back. Can we talk this out over dinner. I’m really sorry again.”
“Sure. I’ll still be here. You can’t scare me away that easily.”

Aria decides to walk back to the coffeehouse so that she has time to think up a good excuse for her quick exit. She returns to the screams of her manager and the continuing acts of cruelty from her customers.

Back at the apartment Harley and Andi continue the movie that was interrupted by Aria’s entrance.

“That is quite a girl you got there Har.”
“Yeah, she is pretty great. I just wish that I could stop cheating on her.”
“What? You really are a pig then. So that little scene was warranted really.”
“Yeah, yeah. When did you ever know me to be faithful Andi?”
“Well, I had rather hoped you had grown up, but I guess for someone who is still living off the parents, this is just par for the course.”
“Whatever, just don’t tell her okay. I’m getting around to it, I swear.”
“I don’t get involved in your life and you don’t get involved in mine. Besides, there is a bigger and better bomb to drop at dinner when Chara shows up.”
“Yeah. She is my girlfriend. We are getting ready to tie the knot, as it were.”
“Wow! I didn’t realize that you knew Chara.”
“Yeah. She is crazy about me. Not sure why she would tell Aria that you were with me, as if she thought you were cheating with me, unless…”
“God. Chara really did see me with the other girl, not you.”
“Yeah, but why would she say that she saw you with that girl tonight then?”
“Well. Before I went in to see Aria, I kinda met up with Lola.”
“You are kidding, her name is Lola?”
“Yeah, whatever, anyway Chara must have seen us walking down Pier Ave.”
“I’ll talk to Chara. Everything will work out brother. If she is into Aria then we have a way to keep her quiet, right?”
“Deck, sis! You are truly the best.”

And so it goes…

copyright 2004 – CLOnesi-Gonzalez


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