Faery Godlover(6)

By: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Suppressing a sigh, Jasmine forced herself to give him a half-smile and tilt her head ever so slightly to the side in mock apology. “Oh, so sorry, but we don’t offer Frappuccinos. You see, this is not a Starbucks. But we can make you a blended iced coffee with whipped cream, if you’d like,” she suggested, crossing her fingers under the counter out of sight. God, she hoped he would just nod and say “yes, please” like a normal person.

But nope. No such luck.

“So, is that like a Frappuccino, then?” he continued, his blank stare boring a hole in Jasmine’s forehead. She felt her eye twitch.

“Sure. Yes. Pretty much,” she conceded with an overly enthusiastic shrug. She wanted to scream, “NO, IT’S A BLENDED ICED COFFEE WITH WHIPPED CREAM, AS DESCRIBED ON OUR MENU, AND WRITTEN IN PLAIN ENGLISH RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE.” But instead she resisted, knowing that her manager was probably hovering somewhere behind her, just waiting to swoop in at any moment and write her up for displaying subpar customer service skills. It had only happened once before, which was really quite a tremendous feat considering the stupidity and ridiculousness of some of Jasmine’s customers. In her manager Cynthia’s eyes, Jasmine was a sweet girl who sometimes let her emotions take charge of situations.

But for Jasmine, this job meant tolerating some of the dumbest questions she’d ever heard uttered in her life. And the stupid questions were nothing compared to the weird, too forward, sometimes straight-up creepy advances she received from male customers.

The fateful incident for which she had been written up for misbehavior was one such example. It was a typical Sunday, the after-church crowd comprised of well-dressed families and Bible-toting seniors was just starting to file out back toward home. The morning had passed with surprising regularity. That should have been her first clue. Not a single day at this cafe went by without some altercation or foolishness of some kind or another. So when the drunk guy in cargo shorts and a tank top came stumbling in smelling like cheap vodka and cow manure, she knew that she really, really should have gone on break. She should have ducked out. Hid in the bathroom. Something.

But no, she just had to be working the cafe counter when he tripped into her life looking like a raving, homeless Yosemite Sam. Jasmine, in a rare bright mood as a result of her smooth morning, had greeted him with a big smile. And he stopped in his tracks for a long moment, swaying on his flip-flopped feet while he gawked at her.

And that’s when the little voice in Jasmine’s head whispered oh no.

The man proceeded to stumble over, all but collapsing on the newly-polished wooden counter, and fling his arms out to grab at her breasts. Stunned, Jasmine let out a shriek and fell backward, knocking into her coworker Enzo, who happened to be holding a tea kettle of boiling water. In a split second, the tea kettle went flying, sending a spray of boiling water sizzling down the aisle that was thankfully empty of customers; the kettle itself soared through the air and crashed against the drive-thru window; and then the drunk man vomited all over the glass pastry case. The other customers in the cafe immediately ran out in disgust.

To top it all off, when the guy finished ruining the entire display case, he stood up with his hands on his hips and slurred, “Hoo boy, that apron sure looks good on you, but I bet it’d look way better on my bedroom floor!”

Before she even got a chance to really, truly assess the damage already caused by this whole outrageous scene and get a grip on her emotions, Jasmine bellowed back at him, “SCREW YOU, DICKWAD!”

Now, everyone else at the scene believed Jasmine to be fully entitled to that unsavory outburst. Her coworkers, especially the ones who had narrowly missed being hit with boiling water, backed her up at the following employee meeting. Even the drunk appeared to sober up a little bit at her outburst, turning around and ashamedly dragging himself back out of the cafe without another word.

But there was one customer, one middle-aged blonde woman with an asymmetrical haircut, carrying a knock-off designer bag, who complained to the manager that Jasmine had “indulged in obscenities which offended her deeply” and that the woman “would not be returning to this establishment ever again” as a result.

So, Cynthia did what she had to do, she wrote Jasmine up for telling off the drunken creep who tried to grope her over the cafe counter.

Ever since then, Jasmine had been extra careful about her interactions with patrons, trying to restrain the annoyance constantly simmering just under her smiling surface. It wasn’t even that she was a particularly angry person by nature—it was just the stress of having a degrading, dead-end job and no better prospects that worked her over.

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