“So where were you guys last Wednesday?” Alice tried to look Ash, Dominique, Eric and Pastor Walter Mitty in the eyes as she filled their cups with Superior coffee. But the eyes of the Wednesday morning men’s fellowship remained fixed on their now full cups.
“We…we decided to meet at that new Starbucks, Alice,” Pastor Mitty confessed without looking up.
“You all look like you are confessing to having an affair or
something,” Alice replied, holding the coffee pot with the orange pouring lip in her right hand and the one with the green lip in her left.
Still not meeting his waitress’s gaze, Ash mumbled, “Well, we do sort of feel like we cheated on you.”
“Hey, Ash, don’t feel bad. I went there myself to check it out later that same day.” Eight eyes looked up in unison.
“You did? What did you think?”
“I had me one of those caramel frappucinos. Venti. Mmmmm, good.
Better than anything we’ve got at the main.”
“And then I bought one of those chocolate, pecan, caramel things they have to eat on the way home.”
“So, didn’t you feel a little disloyal, giving business to a competitor?” asked Dominique.
“You know why I went? I went, first, because I was
curious. I mean, I paid four dollars and ten cents for that glass of coffee! Four dollars and ten cents! That’s more than I get from you cheap skates in tips after waiting on you for an hour and a half. I had to find out if coffee could taste that good.”
“So, was it that good?”
“Welll…good enough, maybe, to pay that much once a month.”
Alice set her coffee pots down on the empty table next to the booth. “But, you know the main reason I went? I wanted to feel sexy.”
“Yeah. You know that suburb that’s north of us a ways…oh, what’s its name. It has the word ‘park’ in it, like Poplar Park.”
“I know what you mean, Alice,” said Mitty. “Something Park. A name of a tree, I think.”
“It’s on the tip of my tongue,” Alice continued. “I’ll think of it later. Well, anyway, on that TV talk show, The View, they described this suburb as being sexy. And they have a Starbucks there, and lot of other places like it. So…I decided to try to get into that kind of thing and see if it worked.”
“So, did it?”
“Umm, kind of. I mean…the frappucino was goooood. And that brownie, or whatever was, heavenly. But…” Alice looked around the cafe.
“But what?” The men’s fellowship had completely forgotten their discussion topic about the poor inheriting the earth.
“But, four dollars and ten cents for coffee!”
“But, Alice, that’s progress,” declared Dominique. “Starbucks means Poplar Park has arrived.”
“So, why did you come back here? We don’t do double shots of espresso with your blueberry scone.”
Dominique looked down at his untouched coffee and then looked up. “Because Starbucks doesn’t have you, Alice.”
For the first time in eight years the Wednesday morning men’s Fellowship saw their waitress blush.
“See, Alice,” Pastor Mitty began, “it’s like you said”maybe once a month. But the Main Street Cafe and you were here when this town wasn’t doing very well. And you have treated people the same…”
“What Pastor means is that you’re nasty to everyone,” interrupted Ash with a grin, bringing another blush to Alice’s cheeks.
“Like I was saying,” Mitty continued, “you’ve treated everyone the same. I mean, you don’t fall all over yourself if a guy drives up in a beamer or a woman who comes in has published a book. And you weren’t too proud to work in a town that wasn’t…that wasn’t…”
“Sexy?” Alice suggested.
“Oh, Alice, I didn’t mean…”
“I know what you mean, Rev, and…thanks. I appreciate that.”
Alice looked around the Main, noticed a man in a booth on the other side of the room trying to get her attention, and started off with her coffee pots saying “gotta run.”
As Pastor watched Alice hustle across the dining room he noticed that the name printed on the coffee pots was SUPERIOR.