By: Wayne Brown
Those of you who are frequent readers here know that I am one who frequents the local 7-Eleven in the early hours before dawn to grab a cup of coffee on my way to the office. Though I have retired from the working world, I have pretty much kept my schedule starting early because I am already awake. If I do anything less, I will become apathetic, lazy, unshaven, drunken, and likely worthless in a matter of weeks thus the routine becomes my way of saving my own life. Regardless, that little acorn is neither here or there but only explains why I show up at the 7-Eleven early each day before the fools wake up and get in their murder-mobiles. Thus my habits of visiting this little “Mecca of Convenience” set me up for my first major disappointment of the current week.
I rolled into the store a bit earlier than usual thinking I would see the folks behind the counter who refer to me as that “semi-famous writer who lives here in town”. I was wrong…shift change had not yet occurred and the night crew was still on duty. Now, I know little of these folks and they know less of me or vice-versa. I ambled back to the area where I normally draw my fresh cup of Joe and could not believe my eyes. There was no coffee! There before me set at least half-dozen coffee urns on each end of the stainless steel counter and none of them had enough in them to create a spill. Meanwhile, young “Junior Sales-Clerk” is leaned over the front counter talking to a young lady I recognized from the day crew.
I mulled my situation taking note of the “coffee service monitor sheet” which hangs by the coffee bar. All of early morning regulars are familiar with this sheet and know that it provides a paper trail of information on when the last coffee was made, etc., etc. It is a very important document which allows management to track the coffee service, register the turnover, and determine if there was always fresh coffee available to the customer. This document is right in there behind the one you see on the door in the restrooms noting who cleaned what, how, and when…very telling.
There was nothing left to do. I decided to have a tantrum. I marched back toward the door eyeing “Junior Sales Clerk” as he engaged the young lady thinking, “Why don’t you disengage your dumbass from the attention of this vixen and make some damn coffee?” I didn’t have to say it…he could read it on my “semi-famous writer face”. As I marched by the couple I said, “You’re totally out of coffee, Dude! I refrained from adding that he was apparently also devoid of a brain of an awareness of customer needs. I had to smile a bit thinking that he probably had it in his head to be the CEO of 7-Eleven one of these days…that’s why he is too good to do his assigned job now…waiting for that big promotion.
As I headed through the door, the young lady from the day shift pulled at my sleeve and said, “Oh Sir, I am so sorry, come back in and I’ll make a fresh pot of coffee for you.” I looked at her in total disbelief and could not control my wicked tongue from speaking the words my enraged brain was processing. “Why you little no-good day-shift tramp…is this how you spend your off hours? I thought you had class but now that I see you enthralled in this tattooed, shaved-head, night-shifter, I withdraw my vote in that category. I assure you that he will never be CEO here, not as long as I have something to say about it. Now leave my path young vixen and let me be on my way. I am sure you are not aware but I am up against a big writing deadline and will not have my precious time wasted to any greater degree by a young woman bent on throwing her life away and a night clerk who really should be on Obama’s assistance program rather than creating misery and chaos in an otherwise flourishing American business.”
Leaving her at a loss for words…breathless and wide-mouthed, I climbed back into the trusty Suburban, which, by the way, was built here in America back before the government had a vested interest in GM. It is a symbol to all as to what can be accomplished when government keeps it nose out of your business. As I pulled from the curb, I lowered the driver window and yelled, “Hi Ho, Silver….Away!” Looking back in the rearview mirror, I could see the traumatized young vixen and clueless night clerk standing by the entry door. The look on their faces told me that they just realized that their fate in terms of employment was headed in the same direction as the “pocket comb” in the 7-Eleven store inventory…GONE! GONE FOREVER! I let out a loud, devious laugh akin to something one might hear out of the mouth of Newman on the Seinfeld Show. “You don’t mess around with a semi-famous writer who lives here in town…I’ll cut ya!”
Now I am quite sure that if word ever got back to this young man’s boss that he had run slam out of coffee just before the semi-famous writer showed up for his morning cup, a firing would be in order. Knowing the power of my pen, the deed could be easily accomplished with simply a few strokes of ink. Bam! You’re out here! I could do that but, as they say down south, “I got bigger fish to fry”. A successful writing career like mine requires all my faculties and focus thus I cannot allow myself the distraction of burning this “self-described stud” and robbing him of his employment on the basis of a cup of coffee. But, I am quite sure that he will be looking over his shoulder and wondering when the hammer will fall. That, for me, is a fitting torture for the ineptitude which I witnessed on that fateful morning at my beloved 7-Eleven.
I put the incident behind totally unaware that the situation had not yet fully extricated from my future. I went about my routine which included showing up at the 7-Eleven at my regular time and securing my morning cup of Joe. Then things went downhill quite unexpectedly catching me total by surprise as I ambled into the local 7-Eleven in my normal “semi-famous writer” persona fully expecting to sip my coffee and enjoy the challenge of another day of writing. How could I be so careless as to relax my guard that much…I keep running the incident over and over in my mind trying to find just that answer. So far it has not been forthcoming.
On this morning, I whistled a tune as I walked into the store and there behind the counter was the “semi-stud” from the night-shift. I could not believe it. Was this buffoon’s career on a rising roll so quickly after he had made a major fumble and cost us the first down? Surely not! Surely there must be some mistake. Now I found myself wishing I had taken the time out of my valuable day and penned that letter exposing this over-employed jackass and sending him to the ranks of the unemployed. Our decisions have consequences as I was finding out. No coffee for me today…I was sure of that fact.
Young “Stud-ly Hot-pants” recognized me immediately and gave me the standard line company greeting as I entered and walked past the counter to the coffee bar. To my surprise, there was coffee there and I quickly concocted a large cup complete with a lid and a cup wrap and headed to the counter to pay. I no sooner had set the coffee on the counter and reached for my wallet when the young man said, “There’s no charge…it’s free for you today.” “Not on your life” I replied continuing to pull my wallet from my back pocket. Stud-ly broke down and began pleading. “Please mister, I beg you, please don’t call or write the main office and tell them about my mistake with the coffee on the nightshift. I beg you…they’ll call me in. I’ll have to go before the investigating board…they’ll fire me. Please, just take the coffee and keep quiet he begged as tears rolled down his cheeks. He dropped to his knees behind the counter and wept openly like a young girl who had just broken her new Barbie doll. I lost it!
I immediately pulled my riding crop from my belt and issue some stern licks across this incompetent’s shaven head. He wailed in pain as the leather braids of the crop bite into his tender shaven scalp. “Why you snibbling, little coward! I’ve fired men from my command who were just as incompetent as you are but they stood up, looked me in the eye and took their punishment like a man. You, you cry baby, lying here at my feet begging for mercy. I’ll not have you soil the courage of those brave men’s memories with the stain of your cowardly emotions…I’ll not stand for it another minute. Now get up and get me my change!” My mind raged as I thought how this skirt-chaser did not deserve to be on the day shift for another minute. I looked at him lying cowardly there the floor. “You ought to be fired right now,” I said, “But I won’t do, no I won’t do! The hell I won’t!” I grabbed him by the seat of his baggy pants and shoved him through the front door and into the street. “You’re fired you little coward; fired you hear! Now run from my sight so your mommy can get you a tissue! Now!”
What a stressful, stressful, morning that was. I must say that things have been rather normal since that time and my coffee has been fine. The young vixen is back on the day-shift and working hard to get back into my good graces. The coffee is fresh as always and the world is at peace for the moment, at least right here in my little corner right down by the local 7-Eleven.
Now I know that former store clerk will one day get ahold of himself and look back on this event as the day his life changed. I am confident that he will be thankful for the fact that he encountered such a disciplined semi-famous writer who, with great patience, helped him find the courage to face life, be accountable for his mistakes, and stop crying like a wimp with a broken tricycle. Yeah, I am thinking that will be just how he remembers it.
©Copyright WBrown2013. All Rights Reserved.
19 March 2013.