7.28.2004

So… want to hear something totally fucked up?

Well, yeah, of course you do. You’re here, right?

Ok, so i pull up to the starbucks i always write at, and there's this young african american kid with a half bored, half determined look on his face standing right outside the door to the establishment. He’s rocking back and forth on his feet and tapping out a beat on the front of his thighs, rapping a little when I walk up to enter the store. I nod hello, and in response, he begins… Well, mumbling.

“Hmm?” I say, stepping in a little.

He reaches down and picks up two boxes of brittle – one cashew, one peanut. Again, he mumbles, but this time I can make out a few words. “You*mumblemumblemumble*Buy*mumblemumblemumble*Brittle*mumblemumblemumble* School?”

“Nah, no thanks dude," I reply with a smile.

He shrugs his sholders, drops the brittle into the cardboard box at his feet and goes back to a-tappin’ and a-rappin. I nod and reach for the door. Just as I make contact with the handle, it slams forward and raps my knuckles pretty hard. Immediately, the head of the Starbucks’ manager, Kaitlin, pops out.

“Oh, GOD! Sorry, Joe!” She said, her face turning from angry to concerned and immediately back to angry as she turns to the youth selling his wares. “HEY!” she announces to him as he picks up his box hurriedly. “I’ve told you I don’t know HOW many times today, go sell your brittle somewhere else! You can’t do it here!”

“Fuh Yuh, BEIOTCH!” he replies, flipping her off and marching away, brittle tucked under his arm.

“YEAH, fuck you, too!” She said, drawing the attention of a few customers inside. She immediately turned to me and said “Sorry, sorry… God, I’m SO sorry. Come in, come in…”

“Hmm… Seems like you have a bit of a solicitation problem, Kaitlin,” I said with a smile, trying to alleviate her embarrassment.

“WOW!” shouted Mike, one of the workers behind the counter. “That was impressive!”

“Shut up, Mike,” Kaitlin said as she returned to the counter. “That guy’s been here like six times today. He just WON’T go away!” She reached out and took my travel mug and immediately began filling it with the darkest roast they have, then plunked it on the counter in front of me as I reached for my wallet. “No, no charge,” She said, holding the open face of her palm toward me. “Not after that little display.”

“Hmm… Well, you didn’t do anything wrong,” I replied, “But thanks!” And I took my piping hot mug o’ Joe to my usual table, pulled out my laptop, and got to work.

A few minutes goes by, and I’m happily tip-tap-typing away on the Dell from Hell, lost in the transcription of the next part of Romance.net. I take a quick break as I read over what I’d just written, reaching out for my mug and placing it to my lips. Just then, I see a bit of movement just above and beyond the screen of my machine. I look up and watch as the most intense scene I've witnessed in, like, weeks begins to unfold. 

I focus in on the movement which became a form, which became the youth from earlier who was running full-speed toward the bank of windows at the front of the shop. In his right hand is swinging back and forth half of a cinder block. The look on his face is not unlike that of an Olympic javelin thrower as they sprint toward the mark where they release the implement and fling it as far as they can.

Which is kinda what he did with this cinder block, only it was a half-underhand, half-sidearm type of affair. I just sat there with my coffee mug to my lips as I watched this lump of concrete arc through the air toward the window. It seemed to hang for just a moment at the peak of it’s climb before it began descending. Then, my field of view glowed white as the brick smashed into the safety glass of the Starbucks window, dividing it into tens of thousands of pieces clinging together with protective film.

But that’s not the most intense part.

In the time it took me to place my mug back on the table and look over at the counter to see the reactions of the employees present, Kaitlin had leapt the counter and bolted out the door. I twisted my head back to the bank of windows, leaning to the left to look through one of the more pristine sheets of glass and watched as this five foot eight inch woman in khakis, a black oxford and a green apron sprinted across the parking lot and landed the most beautiful open-field tackle I have ever seen, slamming headlong into the kid and bringing them both crashing down to the asphalt. She straddled him and began beating the ever-loving shit out of him as one of the employees called 9-1-1.

The kid was held at bay by 3 of us who went out at first to help Kaitlin, but soon switched over to saving this poor guy from having his ass handed to him by a girl. He didn’t resist or anything, he just sat there and cried as the cops arrived. The blue brigade and the concrete shot-putter just left a few minutes ago, as did Kaitlin.

I just returned to my table and began writing this.

It’s like I said. This place is a little well of eccentricity.