Tag: fictionlet

Fictionlet

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One of the unexpected things I’ve learned over the course of being That Guy at Starbucks, is how much there is to learn about being That Guy at Starbucks. For instance, you discover that there’s a whole shadow-economy of That Guys, many of whom are actually women, making That Guy a terrible moniker but alas the one that has stuck in my head and therefore I shall employ henceforth.

Another thing you discover is that paradoxically, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” becomes the most un-soothing song in the world when blasting too loudly in your ear. In short, there are times when having earphones is absolutely vital. I mean, the whole point of being That Guy at Starbucks is you’re working somewhere that has noise and bustle and activity, in order to get something that feels vaguely like human interaction without any of the attendant unpleasantness of going to an actual job– but when the shady character at the next table over pitches a ponzi scheme to his mark in a voice made to rattle windows, or worst of all, some harried suburban mother brings in her five year old, her toddler, and her infant, and shoves them all at a table in the corner while she goes to grab her triple venti caramel macchiatto before she murders someone, the calm bubble of humanity suddenly becomes a loud and intrusive bubble of humanity designed to keep you from getting anything done. Your choices therefore are to take your chances with the next Starbucks over, or to put on headphones and listen to, well, sound clips recorded inside coffeeshops. Because that’s the most effective background ambience for getting work done.

You also quickly learn the importance of scouting out the power plugs, grabbing the seat by the window in the brief moments when it becomes available, knowing which cashiers actually know what they’re doing and will give your drink to the barista correctly, and by extension which baristas actually give a damn when it comes to making the drinks. A mocha made without the proper amount of syrup is much worse than no mocha at all.

Once you get the hang of these things, however, you come to discover that having offices in every city of the world is worth its weight in gold, and as I mentioned, you can’t beat the rent. The only real downside is terminally slippery insides, but even that can be managed with an occasional lemonade and judicious selection of decaf.

-The Gneech

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Fictionlet

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“Oh, I found an answer to that question,” Brigid said.

“And good day to you, Captain Out-of-Context,” Greg replied. “Which question?”

“You remember a while back, I was wondering what the male equivalent of a ‘fag hag’ was?”

Greg winced. “I was hoping that had been merely a bad dream.”

“Turns out the answer is ‘lesbro,'” said Brigid.

“Don’t tell me these things,” said Greg.

“What’s wrong with ‘lesbro’?” she demanded. “It’s a perfectly good slang term. Way better than ‘fag hag.'” Greg merely gave a sort of soft whimper, and Brigid continued, “Typical, tho. The guys get a neutral or even guy-positive term, and the women get abuse.”

“Excuse me,” said Greg, “but I would very much like to be excused from the rest of this conversation now, please.”

-The Gneech

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Fictionlet

“You can’t trust a thing kids say any more,” said Greg. “A bunch of girls outside just spend fifteen minutes telling me that London Bridge was falling down, falling down, falling down. But I checked the news, there’s nothing about it.”

“Uh huh,” said Brigid.

“Of course they might have just been confused,” he added. “They seemed to have mistaken me for an attractive woman.”

“I hope you realize,” said Brigid, “that this kind of malarkey is why you don’t have any friends except for that cat.”

“Harumph,” said Greg. “Ozymandias and I share a bond of true friendship, and tuna fish.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” said Brigid. “If Ozzie had opposable thumbs, you would be so evicted.”

-The Gneech

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Fictionlet

“I don’t know why, but I was thinking about Blame It on Rio last night,” said Alex.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Greg.

“You were thinking of what?” said Brigid.

Blame It on Rio,” said Alex. “Cheesy rom-com from the ’80s, had Michael Caine and Brooke Shields doing this May-to-September romance–”

“Not Brooke Shields,” said Greg. “It was Demi Moore.”

“Oh, wait, I remember that now,” said Brigid. “You’re thinking of Bo Derek.”

“No,” said Alex, “I’m pretty sure it was Brooke Shields. Anyway, her father and Michael Caine were like best friends, and Michael Caine’s wife was having an affair with Brooke Shields’s father while Michael Caine was having an affair with Brooke Shields.”

“Demi Moore,” said Greg.

“That movie did crazy things to my hormones when I was a kid,” said Alex.

“It certainly didn’t improve your long-term memory,” said Greg.

“Wait, I thought Blame It on Rio was the one where the guy spills Pepsi on his keyboard and suddenly his computer comes to life and starts fixing his love problems,” said Brigid.

“That was Electric Dreams,” said Greg.

“Then what was Woman In Red?”

“You mean who was the Woman in Red?” said Alex.

“Kelly LeBrock,” said Greg.

“Sigourney Weaver,” said Brigid.

“Kim Cattrall!” said Alex.

“Pam Dawber?” said Greg.

“Clara Peller,” said Brigid.

“Shields and Yarnell,” said Alex.

“Joe Isuzu!” said Greg.

“The Dunkin Donuts guy!” said Brigid.

There was a long pause.

“What were we talking about, again?” said Greg.

“Your long term memory’s not the greatest either, it seems,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

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Fictionlet

When driving a car on such a gorgeous day, there was no recourse but to roll all the windows down and sing at the top of one’s lungs, and Greg did so. “Non te deseram, non fraudabo te! Non infidelem, et non te deserant! Non te calamus, nolo dicere vale! Et ego nolo fallere laedere…”

Brigid, curled up in the far corner of the passenger seat looking vaguely like a long-dead spider, said, “Did you really just rick-roll me in Latin?”

“What’s ‘rick-roll’?” said Greg.

“You know,” said Brigid, “I could yank that wheel and run us into oncoming traffic. It would be easy. EASY! And no jury would ever convict me!”

“How can you be so cranky on a day like this?” said Greg.

-The Gneech

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Fictionlet

“Halloween, Halloween, the most wonderful time of the year!” Greg said in a happy sing-song as he swooped in with the mail. “Check it out, a retro-style actual paper catalog of Halloween costumes!”

“Wow, there’s a blast from the past,” said Brigid. “Lemme see.”

“I thought you hated Halloween,” said Greg, dropping the catalog into her lap.

“I do,” said Brigid. “I just like catalogs.” She opened it up and started flipping through it. “Ugh. No. Gah! Jeeze, this is awful. This isn’t Halloween at all!”

“Hmm?” said Greg. “What is it?”

“Halloween is supposed to be spooky. This crap is all just stupid! Gory rubber body parts, prop roadkill, yuck. And what’s with these costumes? ‘Sexy nurse.’ ‘Sexy devil girl.’ ‘Sexy vampire girl.'”

Greg sighed. “Ah. Yes, I do hate that.”

“‘Sexy witch,'” Brigid continued. “‘Sexy pirate girl.’ ‘Sexy maid.’ ‘Sexy prison inmate.’ ‘Sexy nun.'”

“Too bad they don’t have ‘sexy celibate monk,'” said Greg.

“Think again, buster,” said Brigid, and showed Greg a page.

“I hate what our culture has become,” Greg replied.

-The Gneech

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