You sit straight up in a quaint little diner. A few other patrons sit around you poking at their food expecting it to attack them. Their reactions worry you a little as you prepare your first sip of coffee from this establishment. The black liquid sits in its container staining the cup’s insides. You look around one more time: many tables are still dirty, many customers are still waiting to be waited, and you notice a slight bit of harden food on the upper inside of your cup. Why is that even there? It’s a cup. This bit of old food looks like it used to be part of a greasy hamburger. Did some ignoramus spit this on the cup?
You’re staling again; an issue you experience too many times in a day. Your ‘dear’ friend told you to experiment this place saying it was “the best fucking place you can put your sweet ass in,” you believe that he was being ironic again.
But going back to your coffee, its black contents taunts you, it mocks you. It believes that you cannot overcome this challenge. You’ll prove it wrong. You lift the cup to your mouth slowly; its bitter smells make you want to gag. You shift the cup around so the food bit is on the side away from your mouth. You take a deep breath and bring the cup towards your mouth.
You gag on the first taste.
Your waiter walks towards you, “Is something wrong sis?”
You look up at your waiter not amused for once at his service. Before his damaged IQ entertained you with its light humor and vocabulary; which is why you think your friend suggest this location. But serving you unsavory coffee is going too far, “This was poorly produced. I think my tongue is going numb.” You shove the cup towards him.
The waiter looks at you trying to concentrate on your face in his daze, “Whoa, sorry sis. I didn’t motherfucking know this shit was bad.” Dear God, he’s calling his shit bad. “Do you want another cup? Maybe I’ll get it fucking right this time sis.”
You wave your hand in protest, “No, no, no that’s not necessary. I think I’ll just take the bill and leave.” Your waiter looks hurt.
“Ahh fuck sis, I don’t want you to leave unhappy.” He leans a little closer to you giving you a whole new experience of smells. You think some of his makeup will start to smear on you. “If you motherfucking want, I can give your coffee some miracles for no extra motherfucking charge.” It takes you less than a second to understand what he means; giving you another idea why your friend enjoys this place.
You’re a little tempted, wait no, you have to work today and get some school work done, “I’d rather just take the check, thank you.” He frowns but backs away scratching behind his horns. Your waiter gets out his notepad, tears a page out, and gives you the bill. One dollar, well it isn’t going to kill you to pay.
Opening your wallet you realize that you need to make a stop at the bank for a withdraw in order to eat later. You pay your bill while leaving a generous tip to pay for whatever repairs are desperately needed. It’s not his fault that you a little addicted to coffee and need it for your ‘happy self.’ You check your phone; hmm if you want to go to the bank then you can’t buy a cup of coffee later, not if you want to arrive to work on time. You’ll have to ask if your friend can pick you up a coffee.
You quickly walk out of the diner towards the bank; it’s about five blocks away. Lining the streets are the homeless begging for a little spare change. For a little bit of practice in your psychology course, you try to decipher what led them there. You see one woman lost to drugs based on her blood shot eyes and wilting hair, not to mention how she covers herself in shame. A troll recently lost his position as a CEO, and his money to gambling seeing as parts of his body are still well pampered and he’s also betting rocks with a pigeon. Finally you see a man begging with pitiful eyes, you see he is hungry despite the money already given to him; it appears that he is saving it for his family. You give him the rest of your small amount of money.
A short line greets you inside the bank causing three minutes of waiting. After the wait, you ask the bank teller for thirty dollars in withdraw. She prepares the money and has you sign a receipt; you quickly sign your name.
Your name is Rose Lalonde and you are going to be late if you don’t leave now.
Your high heels clink across the pavement as you walk on the street towards your work environment. It is nearing eight o’clock and you need to be there on time to open the doors. While you are always the first one there, your boss somehow finds out that you were late. The one time you were fucking late he finds out. He scares you like that; especially since you don’t see any cameras.
Upon reaching your destination, you unlock the double doors and step inside the store. Empty as expected, but you enjoy it the most this way.
The bookstore, with its contents ranging from old to new, fantasy to self-learn, with no flashy merchandise that children make their parents buy that end up being forgotten in a week.
You take your place behind the cash register and assume the position of grabbing your textbook out and studying for tomorrow’s course. As a student in Skaia University, you take it upon yourself to excel against whatever your mother says otherwise. Oh, a chapter on Freud, how delightful.
After an hour of reading and no customers, your friend arrives shoving the double doors open and standing in the middle, coolness is at maximum levels. “Yo Rose, how’s life? Got any comics?”
Sighing you put down your textbook, “Strider you know that we don’t carry that type of literature in here.”
He walks over to the counter and jabs a figure towards your nose, “And that’s one reason why I hate your boss.” He backs off, “Got something to eat in this dump?”
“You know there’s nothing, but would you mind getting me a quick cup of coffee?” you hand him a few dollars that he quickly accepts.
“You want anything good in it? Or do you like having black sludge running inside you to keep awake?” You frown, he’s always like this.
“I’m fine with black, not everyone enjoys the unique taste of putting alcohol in their morning coffee, or for whatever reason apple juice.” You shiver at the memory of that experiment.
He is offended, “Hey, I told you not to diss my flavors if you haven’t tried them Lalonde.”
You frown that he is still talking and not getting you any coffee, “I don’t drink alcoholic beverages as you well know, and putting apple juice in is ridiculous.” He starts to object but you interrupt him, “Now go get me my coffee!” You are upset that your behavior is dissolving to this; you are so grim and dark . . . not to mention short-tempered.
Strider backs away out of the store but not before muttering loud enough for your ears, “Someone is pms-ing.”
You open your textbook and continue reading. It takes fifteen minutes for Strider to return with your cup, “Here is the royal cup of filth for my majesty,” he hands you the coffee which you drink immediately.
Its warmth rolls down your throat awakening your senses, “Thank you Dave.” You reach out your hand faced opened.
He stares at it behind his sunglasses, “What?”
“The change Dave, I would like my change back . . with the receipt this time.”
Dave grumbles as he hands you a few coins along with a thin piece of paper. You count the change and look at the receipt, “You are keeping a dollar from me.”
He is shocked, “Who me? I’m ashamed that you think so low of me. Am I not your friend?”
You know better, “Cut the bullshit Dave, you know that I’m low on cash and that I have given you money in the past.” You both enter in a competitive stare down, neither wanting to lose and the risks are too high. You know without searching around that there is a sharp letter opener around in case the match goes too far, and you are sure that he brought some sort of small ninja weapon-
He hands you the dollar. “Thank you Dave, such a gentleman,” you say with a smile.
“So I guess you didn’t stop by that diner like I told you?”
You turn to him annoyed, “It was horrible, the atmosphere, the coffee, the waiter-“
He laughs, “Calm your tits Rose, that guy is the best. I thought you would love him.”
“Dave, he offered me drugs.”
“I know, I told him I was a cop one time, and he asked me if I knew his best friend on the force. He’s fucking hilarious. I would give him the fucking Oscar in comedy, and then watch him smash it down to dust and smoke it.”
“I was hoping for a decent breakfast.” He looks at you confused.
“You call a crappy cup of coffee breakfast? Where are the Doritos and Twinkies?” You ignore him turning back to your textbook and sipping your coffee.
Your friend looks around bored, “Turn the tv on.”
“Dave this is a bookstore; it’s not intended for-“ he has already reached over your counter for the remote. Strider flips around and turns on the television that hangs on the ceiling facing you.
“In today’s news, the mayor attended a benefit last night for the good children of Skaia elementary for a new cafeteria. He also mentioned a banquet coming up in a month. Many reporters have tried to figure out-“ Dave mutes the television.
“Dang trash,” he tries to change the channel with no success, “Rose what’s with the tv?”
“My boss reprogramed the remote to prevent channel flipping. He likes this channel, and you should be happy that he lets you loaf about here.”
Dave gives up trying to change the channel, “I hate that guy.”
You sigh, this song has been sung before, “I know Dave, you tell me that every time you see me.”
“He’s an asshole! He thinks he’s so much fucking better than us. I think he got implants for his head to make it look bigger just to prove it, or it’s natural.”
You pat his hand, “There there little lady, everything is going to be alright.” He pulls his hand away annoyed as usual. “I don’t know what you expect me to do, he’s my boss and professor.”
Dave continues to frown, he really gives up his usual chill attitude for this guy. “He’s fucked up. That guy hired you here as an intern for more attention-“
“Paid internship; which I was all too happy to accept for the reasonable pay.”
“-He also has you under his control too much. I don’t like it.”
You give him a small smile, “I didn’t know you cared so much for me Dave.”
“Well it’s not just that, he’s a pervert or something.”
You roll your eyes, “Not this again Dave.”
He of course ignores you, “He doesn’t like me but he likes you and all the other girls in his stupid class.”
“You piss off a lot of people Dave, so yes they wouldn’t like you either,” you respond, “not to mention he’s a professor with a class mostly consuming of girls. So yeah he platonically likes girls that just happen to be his students, as a professor should.” You look at your friend sarcastically shocked, “Dear God Dave, you are right! You must take me out of Skaia before he tries to kiss me! Only you can save me Dave. Only you,” you finish with a sultry whisper. Dave is not impressed.
“He’s still creepy to me.”
You back off sighing, “Well he’s my psychology professor and my boss, so I can’t call him a creep.”
Dave backs down from the argument and turns to the tv again unmuting it, “-So let’s give our little trooper a big smile as she returns to the station. Aradia?” A female troll comes on screen to sit next to the anchortroll.
“Thank you Trawel, I’m glad to be back.” The maroon troll has bandages over parts of her body and her left arm in a sling.
“Well it’s nice to have you back from the hospital after a week of recovery, what a trooper!” Trawel says. “And I’m sure the makeup crew will make you look all better again.”
Aradia looks away from him, probably to keep from a televised murder, “Thank Trawel, I’m sure your right.”
Dave slightly turns to you, “O fuck she is going to kill him later,” he gives a light laugh and turns back to the television.
The other anchortroll says another half-hearted joke and Aradia leaves the stage. The bell on your desk rings surprising you. You jump in your seat awake and turn to the customer while sipping your coffee.
“Ah Mr. Stitch, what a pleasant and usual surprise.”
“Just hurry up and give me this damn book Lalonde,” he grumbles handing you a book entitled, ‘The Proper and Simple Tips of Surgery for Beginners.’
You give a slight smirk, “Why Mr. Stitch, I would have hoped that one of the head doctors in Skaia’s hospital would be well prepared for simple surgery.” You have the book ringed up and Mr. Stitch slams down the money.
“It’s for a student of mine you damn broad,” he grabs the book away from you and exits the bookstore.
As you know, Mr. Stitch is a rumored-he totally is no doubt about it-member of the Felt, as indicated by his special button on his jacket. Except unlike most members he’s a head division in the group; making his button bigger. His mother must be so proud. And like other head divisions of the Felt, he is also a white. It is so strange to see him without the green neon lights to color him, it must make him feel exposed.
You turn back to Dave who is engrossed on doodling a piece of paper. He quickly finishes to show you crudely drawn circles with words on them. You hold up the paper closer to read the words better, “Gave me the boook. You and I moke sweet sex. NOW I will fuck u in the butt,” one circle seems to say. The other circle seems to agree you think? It doesn’t say anything. Then they bang . . in the butt?
“Well Strider, I must admit that your style is improving.”
He grabs the paper back, “Shut up Rose, this is just a piece for my new comic, you know I would never waste my precious art skills over a doodle.”
“But Mr. Strider, I thought you didn’t use ‘real art skills.’ Besides I don’t think you were really listening to what me and Mr. Stitch were saying.”
He stuffs his doodle into his bag probably crinkling it, “Well what you said was boring, so I made it awesome. But who gives a fuck? That guy is a piece of dumb shit.”
“Is there anyone who isn’t?” you ask.
“Nope, I’m a piece of shit, you’re a piece of shit, we’re all fucking piece of shit. Congratulations!”
“Feeling down today, Mr. Strider?” You quickly take out a pad and pencil.
He looks up at you, “You know I hate you analyzing me. Can’t I just talk with you giving me shit?” You sadly put down the paper and pencil. “I’m having issues with my movie, the actors have no fucking taste!”
You try to hold back a laugh, “For pornography? Maybe you should just stick with your job as a DJ.”
Dave scoffs, “That’s like telling you to forget college and just work here forever. I want to do more. Besides, the porn is just till I make enough for my comics to turn to movies.”
“Maybe so, but I want to write literature of the highest class, not pornography or your comics which are pretty pornographic these days.”
“I’m in a slight rut, and you’re taking psychology in college to-“ he brings up air quotes, “-understand the human behavior better.-“ he removes air quotes. “Bunch of shit if you ask me. What are you even reading?” he grabs your book, “Freud? This is totally pornography, the guy thinks anything cylinder looking is a penis!”
You steal your book back, “You are underestimating Freud and your own talents. You have hundreds of thousands of hits on your comic and God knows how many people jerk off to your videos.” You quickly look around and find someone in the store, “Look, just ask Andrew.” You nod your head in the direction of a peculiar man who is holding himself rocking on the floor.
Dave smiles looking at the man, “My biggest fan. Yo Huss!” he shouts, “How’s the wife?” You smack him down for yelling in a bookstore.
Andrew sits between two rows of books. He lights up seeing Dave, “Ms Paint is doing well Dave. I warned her about the stairs yesterday, but she didn’t listen.” He goes back to coddling himself.
Dave turns away chuckling, “We raised him well Rose.”
You smile nostalgically, “Indeed dear, he’s married to a beautiful wife. And he didn’t even knock her up.”
“Oh Rose darling,” he makes a grab for your hands. He looks at you intensely behind his sunglasses, “I must make a movie of us fucking, and have you pop out our adult son. The grandchildren will be so proud when they see it.”
“Dave I would love to make that movie,” you take your hands away from him and act serious, “but I told you that I wouldn’t do porn.”
“Not even with me?” You shake your head. “I’ll give you the leading role.”
“Dave, the last time I tried to be in one of your films all I said was, ‘I like this book’ before the other guy tore off his clothes.”
“You didn’t give it time to play through,” he argues.
“That’s because I walked out. Face it Dave, I’m not doing porn.”
“I’ll let you write the script.”
“No, you’ll just end anything I write with fucking. For example, ‘The honorable apprentice cried over his fallen teacher of the magical arts after the mighty battle. And then they fucked.’”
“Like you wouldn’t do that anyways,” he counters, “You are an even big pornoholic than me.”
“Why would you say that?”
“Besides Freud, I found your stash.” You were about to ask what stash but you remember when he came over to your apartment.
You rise out of your seat, “You went through my stuff?”
“Details Rose, but I must say that you have fine taste.” Your face reds up a little. “So want to be in my movie?”
He frowns but sighs backing away, “Fine but I got to go and teach some idiots how to put on a condom all sexy like.” And with that, Dave Strider walks out of the store. You give a little swoon to make him happy.
Hours past till it gets close to your lunch break. You abandon you post to see if anyone remains in the bookstore to kick them out. A wide variety of humans and trolls entered and left the bookstore in the past hours. None of which you gave much attention towards unless they wanted something from you.
When you reach the back of the building, you find something very disgusting. You cover your mouth with your hand to keep from puking. “Well,” you think, “I guess I’m going to have to call the police, and that is going to stain the carpets.”