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A Bad Idea 124

Night: the time when you really shouldn’t be in a coffee store, the time when caffeine should be the furthest thing from your mind.

It was about 3 am, and FAU’s Starbucks was still chugging along. People had been a little frazzled by Melixxandra’s encounter with the police, sure. But a little frazzle wasn’t enough to really drive people away. It sure wasn’t going to slow the wheels of capitalism all that much.

David shambled into the store, no longer wondering whether or not to kill Shade. He’d asked himself over and over again, but realized he didn’t have the answer. He didn’t even know how to get the answer. So he tried to do something else. He wanted a bit of caffeine, just so he could really think for a minute.

Not too many people there at the Starbucks at this hour, but there were a few: a few college students desperate to get their work done (three worked on papers, two studied for tests), as well as the barista, who really, truly needed the money.

Before he had a chance to ask for coffee, she asked him, “You alright?”

He certainly wasn’t, but he put on that smile. It was a useful smile, one that’d served him well when the press asked him about his Dad.

“Yeah,” he said. “Why?”

She looked down at the hospital gown. He did, too.

“I’m doing a play with the school,” he said, laughing as well as he could fake it. She laughed too, so he figured it must be good enough.

“What play?”

Death of a Salesman.”

“Oh, so you’re the salesman,” she said, “dying in a hospital.”

“You’re smart,” he said. He didn’t really know anything about the play — he only knew the title. But if she bought it, that was enough. “Could I have a small coffee?”

“Sure, what’s your name?”

He took a moment, then said, “Call me Sal.”

“‘Cause salesman? You’re cute.”

Things felt right with the world, so he smiled. “I get cuter, the more you know me.”

She smiled, too.

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