write a cafe story
hopping online looking for coffee cards when i stumbled on this page:

Write a Cafe Story.
Win $250 if you're #1.
Runners up will get their stories in print and get a copy of the book.

You must keep your tales under 1000 words. Be sure to note, or incorporate into the story, the name of the cafe and place where your story is set. By entering the contest, you give Caffeine Society the right to publish your story in our anthologies, and electronically, and you become eligible for the $250 prize to be paid on publication in a globally distributed book.

i clicked on the first name on a list of 85: "'A Mind-Brewing Experience' by Judi Silva."

After scratching his chin for the fifth time, he came to a decision.

"Finally," I thought.

"I'll have a brambleberry-filled muffin and a medium Caramel Blizzard Latte, dark with three sugars and extra shots of caramel and whipped cream. Oh, and can you put one of those chocolate covered maraschino cherries on it too please?"

I did a double take. He ordered his coffee the exact same way I did, along with my favorite muffin. "Make that two," I blurted out loud, not wanting the barista to waste anymore time.

The man turned around to see who shared his creative taste of gourmet brew and bakery delight. He smiled and said, "I don't think I've ever met anyone else who drinks their coffee this way and with the same muffin. Amazing."

"Maximum doses of caffeine and sugar," I replied, smiling back. "Sorry about jumping in and ordering mine at the same time but I'm kind of in a hurry."

"There's no need to apologize. Actually, I'm running late for an interview myself."

"An interview? You too?"

The barista broke into the conversation. "Is this all together?"

We both answered simultaneously. "Yes." "No."

"Ok, which is it folks? Do you see this line out the door," the barista asked in frustration.

As he handed a ten-dollar bill to the barista, he adamantly said "yes" and told him to keep the change for his troubles. Turning back to face me, he said, "I insist. Now, we should get to our interviews and allow some of these other people to get their 'cuppa joe' too, before they stampede us for taking so long."

We moved out of the ever-growing line with our carefully guarded items of sustenance. Precariously holding his in one hand, he held out the other in an introductory manner. By the way, my name is Rahul and yours?"

I stood there dumbfounded. How was it that I didn't recognize him earlier? I slowly reached out for his hand, still in a daze. "Rahul," I repeated. "Rahul Malhotra?"

"What a coincidence, that's my name too," he laughed. [ more ]

i imagined an east coast cafe, sunny outside but warm and cozy inside. they took a corner table and commenced chatting - the heroine was a writer late for an interview. interviews in cafes are highly trendy, but also highly intimidating. fools you into relaxing, ahaha, but truth is, the prospective employer might not have an office they can invite and show off to you, or they really just want to see how you behave out of the office. they want to work with a real person, ahaha, not a stiff, scared colleague.

The girl stood. He left a ten-dollar bill on the table for the check and a large tip. Immediately a young couple, smelling of the bars, sat down and called to the waiter to clean the table. Jonah walked away quickly. At the edge of the awning, he tried to give her his coat but she didn't take it. They began walking towards the river and passed Jackson Park. Jonah looked at the statue raised in the courtyard. The black horseman, the general with his sword drawn, the horse's front legs raised as to charge, stood silhouetted against the white cathedral. Jonah lamented that they closed the courtyard at night to keep out the bums. From a distance it looked only like a postcard in the rain. He wished he could address it to Ashley and send it first class. He thought that the cafe would not have been so crowded in France. The coffee would have been better there too. They actually knew how to brew coffee there. Nothing ever changed there. The girl began walking faster but Jonah wanted to sit awhile. He picked up his pace to keep up with her and they crossed the rail tracks, then walked up onto the path by the river. Jonah wished he had brought an umbrella for her. He wished she would take his coat. [ more ]

france! :swoon: need we say more? he didn't flush out descriptions of the rain, but rain is entirely how i imagine france in springtime would be. *sigh!* sunshine most of the time, but i imagine the rain to come in serious waves. the tone reminds me of americans trapped in france for writing lessons, ahahahaha. oh, but to follow hemingway and "trading spaces" designer hildi santo-tomas to paris, where english is considered crass in both language and manners... what a great adventure! :-D

When she'd finished half the beverage, she began to type her essay. In her research, she'd discovered that according to legend, the ghost of one of the murdured politicians, James Humphrey Carlton, haunted the old estate which had been preserved as an historic site. She rubbed her eyes and rolled her neck. Only 45 minutes had passed. She picked up the coffee and again was startled. There was only a quarter of it left.

"Something wrong?"

Jeanine looked up and saw the kind face of an elderly woman. She wore an old fashioned apron and a cap on her head. For some inexplicable reason, the woman seemed faded. Blinking, Jeanine shook her head.

"Enjoying your coffee?" The woman's face crinkled into a smile.

"Yes, I come here a couple of times a week." said Jeanine.

"So do I." confessed the woman. "Sometimes it seems like forever before I can enjoy a cup of coffee."

Jeanine didn't know what to say.

"What are you working on?" The woman was very chatty.

Jeanine quickly explained her history essay, hoping the woman would leave her alone so she could get back to work.

"Now that was a tragedy." Ignoring the surprise on Jeanine's face, the woman sat down and began to talk. "You know, James Carlton was the only honest one of the bunch. Unfortunately, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time." She waggled a finger. "He was a fine upstanding man. Good ideas. Good morals. He left behind a wife and 4 children."

This was new information to Jeanine but she made a mental note to 'google' it further. After a few minutes, the woman finally stood up.

"Nice chatting with you, dear." She inclined her head and in the blink of an eye had disappeared.

Jeanine cried out and again drew the attention of the same attendant.

"Can I help you?" asked the attendant politely.

What could Jeanine say? Silently she shook her head, packed up her belongings and decided to leave.

Later that night, she researched the info the woman had given her only to find it totally accurate. [ more ]

now, who doesn't like a really good ghost story?! :pleased: purty neat. i chose to read this one coz of the writer's unique last name, ahaha. and i think of all the three, and without having read all 85, 1000-word short stories, this is my favorite.

there is a similar chicago starbucks to the one mentioned in this story, in the old irving park neighborhood, on irving park and kostner roads. it's in front of an old church, i think a methodist church. in summer, there is hardly a free seat outdoors on the sidewalk tables. neighborhood kids play around their parents talking over cups of coffee. teenagers scream laughing at each other inside. couples talk, friends stand against the walls or sit on the sidewalk pavement until a table frees up.

the location gives the cafe an old world feel, but it is old irving park - even if the district wanted to gentrify, they can't. the neighborhood is crowded, the historic mansions off-limits to realtors. if a family moves out from there, no new one can afford to take their place because developers will tear down the house and build condo units in their stead.

curiously, across irving park road, the neighborhood faces row upon row of used car dealerships. the only apparitions to further haunt the neighborhood will be realtors looking to tear down more old houses to build condos. ghosts might become further agitated because they can't recognize cold steel and clear glass.

and unfortunately, the contest ended may 1. :-)
Thanks for reading, quoting and commenting on my story in your blog!
Hope you enjoyed reading it.
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