Medium Cappuccino with an Extra Shot of Awkward Please

My roommate once described me as “Stephen King trapped inside a Disney princess” and I think that sums up my personality nicely, though I would prefer to substitute Bradbury for King as I am not quite that dark… I am, however, a strange combination of intensity and flowery joy. I enjoy spending dark nights practicing pipe organ in a church and sunshiney days playing my ukulele. I am equally at home in concert black and colorful sweaters.

Now, if you’ve read my blog at all, you know that I have a deep, undying affection for coffee shops. You also probably know that I love making small talk with baristas, mostly to be friendly but also in the secret hopes that I can charm my way to an extra shot of espresso or double whipped cream. My Disney princess side comes out in full force the minute I enter a coffee shop. Enormous eyes and friendly smile? Check. Voice slightly higher than normal? Check. Kindly questions and well-rehearsed coffee jokes? Double-check.

Well, a few weeks ago, my Stephen-King-Ray-Bradbury side took over. I crossed the threshold of my beloved Costa Coffee and, as I re-imagine the scene, I am pretty sure that lightning flashed behind me.

Still, I ordered my usual and prepared to banter.

“Chocolate on top of your cappuccino?” asked the barista.

“Of course!” I reply cheerily. “Does anyone ever say no?”

“You’d be surprised.”

“Huh,” I said. And at this point, I think my King-Bradbury side smothered my Disney side and held her at knifepoint. I said nothing for a moment as the two natures battled it out.

King-Bradbury won.

“You know,” I said as the barista reached for the chocolate sprinkles. “In prison…”

(Internally, my Disney side was begging my dark half to stop: “NEVER START SMALL TALK WITH PRISON WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she sang, accompanied by a chorus of horrified woodland creatures.)

“In prison,” I continued. “That’s how they determine who is and is not a psychopath.”

(King-Bradbury chuckled as the Disney princess gave up and covered her sidekicks’ ears to keep them from hearing what came next.)

“And if they say no,” I went on. “If they don’t want chocolate on top of their coffees, well…it’s the chair.”

Silence.

Two shocked baristas gaped at me for a moment.

Stephen King and Ray Bradbury enjoyed a hearty chuckle and high-fived each other.

Finally, one of the baristas laughed nervously.

I took my coffee and left.

And, logically, I know that the baristas thought nothing of it after I was gone. I mean, I can’t be the only person to mention the electric chair while ordering a coffee, can I? But every time I step into that café, a little tiny nagging voice chants and mocks me as I order my cappuccino and my Disney side tries with all her overly-chatty might to compensate for the slip.

Progressive Peasant Comes out as “Royal We”

 

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Norwich, England
Bleak Midwinter, 1275

Breaking news as progressive peasant, Eustace of Norwich, has bravely come out as the “Royal We.” Eustace is long since deceased, but crews from the BBC just arrived on the scene because they got caught up trying to say “progressive peasant” five times fast. Fortunately, they were able to secure an interview with one of Eustace’s living descendants.

When asked to explain her ancestor’s choice to identify by the pluralis maiestatis rather than traditional commoner pronouns such as “him” or “her,” Tynnifer of Norwich explained, “We did not wish to reduce Ourselves to one gender or one singular person. We felt that ‘We’ better-communicated Our nobility. ”

When informed that her ancestor was a single male peasant, Tynnifer rolled her eyes and replied, “No, We were not. We were royals.”

Historians from the BBC were able to unearth genealogies proving Eustace of Norwich’s short life as one of drudgery and homespun wool (the typical life of a peasant) but Tynnifer of Norwich shook her head in disappointment and remarked, “How very old-fashioned. No, that’s not true at all. We were born a peasant, but We were brave enough to identify as Royal in the face of repression.”

“We always felt that We were more,” she added.

Or rather, We added? They added? Her Majesty added? The reporter, trying very hard to recall the proper grammar, began to quake nervously and asked Tynnifer if she was talking about her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent Eustace or herself or whether, perhaps, there might be anyone else with her.

“We are not amused,” said Tynnifer seriously. “We are talking about Us. We are alone. We do not see how that is confusing at all. We think that you need to be more open-minded.”

To avoid accusations of discrimination, the BBC reporter hastily thanked Tynnifer for the interview and hurried home to breathe into a paper bag and recite the rules of grammar over a nonjudgemental cup of tea.

First Frost

The Scottish people may not have been big fans, but this Arizona girl found the first frost enchanting. (Until she almost slipped on ice during her run, that is.)

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“First Frost”

His kiss was cold, pinking my pale face
As he sucked my breath away in steaming plumes;
But smooth and crystalline as spider’s lace,
Beneath my feet, he gently decks my way—
A bridal train toward some white winter’s groom
Summoned by the late-light of new day.

As sheets of mirrors crack beneath my weight
And break apart that swiftly-slipping dream—
Though frozen-fast, not solid as it seemed—
My chilled hands grasp at shrinking shards and hold
Them up as though through them to glimpse again
(Ignoring as my fingers burn with cold)
That frost-transfigured globe contained within.

Taylor Swift Fan, 23, Continues to Identify as 22

14 November 2019
Los Angeles, California

A local young woman’s birthday party took a shocking turn as she announced, in reply to well-wishers’ shouts of “Surprise!” that she was not turning 23 at all, but would rather continue to live her best life as a 22-year-old.

“I just couldn’t see myself as a 23-year-old,” said local artist and birthday-revolutionary Kale McBirkenstock. “You see, I just don’t think I accomplished everything I was meant to do this past year and think maybe continuing on as a 22-year-old is best.”

When asked what exactly she meant to accomplish, Kale replied, “Well, I obviously did a lot of the things on my list… I dressed up like a hipster almost every day and made fun of my ex once or twice, but never once did I have breakfast at midnight or fall in love with a stranger! I mean, what was I doing with all my time?”

Kale later admitted that she’d spent a good deal of summer 2019 binging “Stranger Things” on Netflix and that art school has been taking up most of her time this semester. Still, she was apparently shocked that she had not made the time to also “ditch the whole scene” and “end up dreaming instead of sleeping.”

“It’s just so sad,” said Kale’s best friend, Tynnifer. “She’s such a determined person and still didn’t manage to achieve all her goals…but I think it’ll be alright if she keeps on dancing like she’s 22.”

Another party attendee was not nearly so affirming, stating somberly, “It looks like bad news…” The attendee refused further comment.

When asked whether she was maybe taking her Taylor Swift obsession too far in trying to actually live the lyrics to hit song, “22,” Kale replied seriously, “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway?” and returned to her party of cool kids.