Starlight Terror and the Cappuccino Machine

She stands there, beautiful and captivating, the uncertain center of our universe. Her two black eyes, deep wells of mystery and terror, both enchant and endanger our lives. With orange hair, long legs, and an amazingly slender body, she sports a mini-skirt so mini its existence is questionable.

We who stand in proximity to her are three: me, your protagonist for the evening, aloof, yet also, slowly becoming a scientist with grand ideas on how to solve the puzzle of the girl’s existence in our particular point in space and time; there is Bill, the enigmatic used CD store owner who is slowly becoming more uneducated, and, errrrr, horny; and then there is Travis, the nonchalant, hippie, somehow found himself a reserve National Guardsman, 28, and working in a coffee shop and loving life—I find that slowly, his face is turning stern and that his standard-issue coffee shop uniform is starting to fill with general stars.

I could give you theories: I could give you science, strings, atoms, or the more plausible explanation about how the convergence of genres has brought about her existence. I could give you that, but it’s too early for insights of any kind of depth, and the short of it goes something like this: I brought her from the future into my coffee shop with a cappuccino machine.

I haven’t made any special modifications to it, either in a mad scientist way or in any kind of Han Solo way. It’s not my cappuccino machine; it belongs to the coffee shop where I work. You know the kind, one of those corporate jobs, not the big one whose name everyone knows, and whose copyright I’m sure I’ll be infringing on if I say their name, but one of those other ones that attempts to copy them: Call Me Ishmael Coffee.

Slowly though, her deep black eyes take me, my other coworker, and the patrons of our fine establishment back to a simpler time. Our mass-produced paper cups turn porcelain, our hairstyles more greasy, our Thank You for Not Smoking sign slowly turns into an Enjoy Joe’s Tobacco complete with smoking cowboy. My place of employment starts to fill with cigarette smoke. Our coffee shop is slowly becoming a 50’s diner.

She stands there, innocently tilting her head from side to side, silent, angelic. But it doesn’t take me long to figure out–because after all, in this particular genre, I’m usually the one who figures things out first–that all of our lives are in grave danger.

 

*If you would like to read more from “Starlight Terror and the Cappuccino Machine” feel free to request a free copy of my short story collection “The Lexical Funk” by emailing me at: ghostsofnagasaki [at] gmail [dot] com

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