Friday, April 4, 2008

FSW: Barista Blues

Barista Blues
(Meg and Dex stand behind the counter of an upscale coffee house. He: late 20s, detached and jaded hipster. She: 18, fresh-faced, straight from the farmland. Dex is showing Meg how the brewing equipment works.)

MEG
It's not a lot different from the one back at the Starbucks in Grover's Corners. I should be able to run it. Thanks, Dex. I'm so excited!

DEX
It's not that exciting. You brew, you steam, you move them along.

MEG
I don't mean that! I mean I've only been in LA three days and I've already got a great job! My parents said I'd end up broke and have to come home and become a dental hygienist, but now I won't have to.

DEX
I wouldn't call this a great job.

MEG
But it is! Six days from six to two leaves me plenty of time to audition, and find a place to perform. Plus when Sol hired me he said I'd get to sing on the stage here, too!

DEX
(Laughing to himself) I remember that. By the time you get out of here, you won't have the energy left to do much of anything. Besides, with what Sol pays you, you'll end up taking extra shifts just to afford Ramen. And singing on that little stage over there...it's just more scut work.

MEG
You're a gloomy gus, aren't you!

DEX
I'm opening up. Get ready.

(Dex goes to the door and opens it up. A small line of movers and shakers has already formed. Each and everyone tapping furiously on his Blackberry or talking fervently on her Bluetooth. First in line is a smarmy, slimy man. Pretty much like everyone in line who isn't a smarmy, slimy woman.)

MEG
Good Morning! What can I get for you today?

ARI
(Looking up and seeing fresh meat) Well, good morning princess. I'm Ari. Here's my card. Call me sometime. I'd love to represent you.

(Meg takes the card and beams broadly. She holds it up and glances at Dex who shakes his head in bemusement.)

MEG
I will call you, thank you! I'm an actress, and a singer-songwriter, and a --

ARI
-- that's great, babe. Tell it to my assistant when you call, okay?

MEG
Yes, sir! What can I get for you today?

ARI
I'll have the usual, babe.

(Ari smiles to himself at his unoriginal and unclever joke. Meg starts cackling in earnest.)

MEG
Wow! You're funny!

ARI
Just make it a large coffee.

(Meg pours and hands the coffee over to Ari, who then moves to the register to pay. Slimeball steps up.)

SLIMEBALL
I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf...with a twist of lemon.

(Slimeball waits expectantly...and Meg laughs.)

MEG
Oh, I love that movie! That's great!

SLIMEBALL
Maybe you'd like to watch it with me sometime. Here's my card. Call me. I'm an agent.

MEG
Thanks! Oh, I've got to go in back to get a lemon. I'll just be one --

SLIMEBALL
-- Actually, I'll just have a large coffee.

(Meg pours his coffee and hands it over. Sleazebag steps up.)

SLEAZEBAG
(Smiling to himself) I'll have the usual.

BLACKOUT

LIGHTS UP
(It's later the same day, Meg's hair is messed and there are coffee stains on her shirt. She looks harried. D-Bag steps up to the counter.)

D-BAG
I'll have the usual.

(Meg shows teeth, but it's not a smile. Dex comes over to Meg.)

DEX
I'll take this one. Sol wants some music.

MEG
(Cheered up immediately) That's great! To tell you the truth, I could use the break. I have some great new songs I've been working on, too.

DEX
Didn't Sol tell you? You're just supposed to play that song "Bad Day". Maybe some John Mayer when he's in the mood, but that rarely happens.

BLACKOUT

LIGHTS UP
(Some time has passed. Meg's hair is spiky and parti-colored and she's got a tattoo showing on her upper arm. She's sleeveless now, and in general looks a bit skankier. She's showing the tat to Dex.)

MEG
It hurt a lot. They don't tell you that. But it's pretty cool, don't you think?

DEX
It's nice.

MEG
I can't wait till my friends back home see this! They'll flip!

DEX
How was your audition on Friday?

MEG
I didn't get the part. I don't get it. There are movies and plays and TV shows all over, but there aren't that many auditions.

(Dex smiles to himself.)

MEG
Oh, I've gotta tell you! Last night at the club --

DEX
-- that karaoke bar out in the valley?

MEG
Yeah. So anyway, I was DJ-ing and this group of really hot girls and guys came in and sang. One of the girls had this amazing voice and I asked her if she sang professionally. She just laughed and said it didn't pay enough. (Stage whispers to Dex) She told me she did porn! Can you believe it?

(Slimeball walks up with a few people behind him.)

SLIMEBALL
Hey, babe! How ya doing? You're looking good today.

MEG
Oh, hey. Large coffee?

SLIMEBALL
Nah. I think I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf --

MEG
-- with a twist of lemon?

SLIMEBALL
Heh! You caught me. Actually, how about I get you something? Dinner?

MEG
Oh, I don't know. I really shouldn't. We're not supposed to date the customers.

(The people in line begin to grumble. Their very busy, very important lives are being put on hold with this inane chatter. Meg goes ahead and pours him a large coffee.)

SLIMEBALL
Well, I'll keep asking anyway.

DEX
Meg, Sol wants another set.

(Meg sighs deeply, grabs her guitar and heads for the stage. As the lights fade, we hear the opening bars of "Bad Day".)

BLACKOUT

LIGHTS UP
(Meg's now got a full sleeve tat, a lip and two eye piercings, and a tat around her navel. She's sleeveless and cropped. Slimeball is at the front of the line.)

SLIMEBALL
(Quietly, looking down) Large coffee please.

MEG
(Glaring...then finally exploding) You could have at least called me the next day! You said you'd call! Jesus. Damn it, you could at least look me in the eyes when you order your coffee!

(Meg pours his coffee and slams it down on the counter. Slimeball slinks away to pay and the next customer steps up.)

MEGADOUCHE
Hello! I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf...with a twist of lemon!

(Meg screams, reaches below the counter, comes up with a shotgun and shoots him. Silence and stillness for a few seconds.)

DEX
I'll clean that up. Sol wants you to do a set.

BLACKOUT

6 comments:

Michael Brownlee said...

interesting. we seem to working off of the same vibe.

sme said...

heh.


....and that's why I don't own a gun.

R.A. Porter said...

Was that a pretty typical work experience for you, Sme? I mean, other than the preponderance of agents, and all. :)

And, more importantly...when is the return of Sme's blog?

NotNits said...

Excellent. I take it you have enjoyed a front-row seat of this lifestyle?

R.A. Porter said...

If by front row seat you mean one of the jackholes hitting on a pretty barista, sure. I've done *that*. :)

sme said...

Getting hit on by men who are old enough to be my dad is definitely an experience I've had as a barista. Although, it didn't take me long to get to know all the skeezy guys drinks so that I didn't even need to ask them what they wanted - there's less need for conversation that way.

On a side note, I had a crazy dream last night that I was shopping at a grocery store and I told the lady behind me in line to go fuck herself. Repeatedly. That's how much I hate customers - it affects my subconscious.

As far as a blog goes....maybe soon. I just haven't felt like writing lately or something.