Literary Corner: The Barista

“I’d like a triple grande mocha Frappuccino with extra whip, please,” said the girl wearing track pants and a fitted t-shirt with the words “No Probllama” stamped over a picture of a llama with sunglasses.

“I like your shirt,” said the barista as he typed in her order.

“Thanks,” she said, smiling brightly at him. “I’ve had it for ages. Are you new here?”

“I am, actually. Just started last week.”

“I thought so,” she said. “I know everybody because I need my Frappuccino fix at least twice a day. Three times on Mondays.”

“Mondays are rough,” the barista agreed, scooping ice into the blender.

They chatted for three minutes while the blender worked its magic. Then the barista added the whip with a chocolate drizzle finish. Perfection.

“That’ll be four-fifty.”

“Oh, no,” the girl said as she dug through her bag. “I must have left my wallet in my backpack. I’m so sorry. I guess I’ll have to cancel the frap.” She stared longingly at the mocha-flavored masterpiece.

With a shrug the barista handed her the drink. “We’d just have to toss it anyway.”

“That’s so sweet! Thank you!” Then sipping her freebie, she headed toward the door. She met up with her friend at the other end of the bar and snickered behind her hand, rolling her eyes at the easy mark behind the espresso machine.

“Amateur…” the barista muttered under his breath, watching her as she pushed open the door to leave.

Suddenly, she collapsed on the floor, spilling her Frappuccino all over the spotless tile. Her friend screamed as the manager hurried over to discover an undeniably dead girl on his doorstep.

Meanwhile, the faux-barista took off his apron, and waltzed out the back door.

All in a day’s work.

Mary Elizabeth Summer is the author of the young-adult Trust Me mystery series. She lives in Beaverton with her wife, their daughter, their dog, and their evil overlor—er, cats.