Funny Contemporary

I didn’t start out the day intending to break someone’s nose. I just wanted to get some errands done. Grab a coffee, get some stamps and pick up my prescription. That’s it. But here I am, sitting in this jail cell waiting for my husband to come pick me up and bail me out, trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

This wouldn’t have happened a year ago. I would have just done my errands and been back sitting on my couch in time to watch Jerry Springer. Everything is just so complicated now. Wear your mask, stand six feet apart, sanitize your hands. I’m so sick of it. I feel like it’s never going to end.

Today started off just like every other day, at Dunkin Donuts. I used to go inside because I like to say hi to the girls behind the counter. They know me, they know my order. We got a whole thing going on. Now with the damn masks, they don’t even recognize me. So why bother going in? Plus, we need to avoid contact with other people, right? So I’ve been using the drive up window and just get a generic, “Have a good one!” instead of, “Hey Sue! How are you today? Here’s your usual.” 

But this morning, the line is all the way around the building so I decide to go in to get my coffee. I think to myself. maybe I’ll say, “Hey, it’s me Sue, How ya been? Remember me?” And they will say, “Sure! We’ve missed you Sue!” That would be nice.

I park my car and get all the way to the door and some woman is giving me the stink eye. At first I’m ready to give it right back to her and then I realize I forgot my mask and I have to go back to my car to get it. It’s been a year now and I still forget to put the stupid thing on sometimes. For a few seconds I’m annoyed, thinking I left it at home, but I find one under the seat.

I go into the store and the stink eye lady says to me, “You have to wait outside. There are too many people in here.” Fine. I go back outside and wait until this guy comes out. He has his hands full so I hold the door open for him. Not even a thank you. I hate that. Although who knows, maybe he said it and I didn’t hear him. I can’t hear anyone anymore.

I go in and the stink eye lady turns to me again. “You need to move back behind the line. Six feet apart.” She waves me away with her hand. Ok, so I step back. I don’t know what this lady’s problem is but it’s all good cuz I almost have my coffee. That’s all I need to put a smile on my face. 

Ms. Stink Eye orders her coffee and then spends what feels like an hour picking out a muffin. It’s not brain surgery, it’s a muffin. She finally decides on Blueberry, Hallelujah and I’m finally up. I order my usual - large iced, extra skim, one splenda. Then I pay and move aside to pick it up at the other counter. Stink Eye looks at me and points as if to say, stay over there or else. I roll my eyes and I’m glad the mask doesn’t cover my whole face. I want her to see it.

They put both our coffees out at the same time and she grabs the wrong one. I can see extra skim, one splenda written right on the side. I don’t want to drink her stupid cream, no sugar. No sugar? Yuck. And she could use some sugar.

 I say, “You grabbed mine by mistake.” and reach over to take it from her. 

You would have thought I pulled a .38 revolver on her. She starts screaming, “Back up, back up! Don’t touch me! Help!” Good lord. I just want my drink.

“What’s going on?” The manager looks over at us from behind his plexiglass.

“She is not social distancing. She got right in my face! She needs to stay back six feet!” she yells.

“She took my coffee. I just want the right one.” I say.

“She accosted me!” Stink Eye yells. 

“Bite me!” I say and lean in towards her. 

She backs up against the wall.”See? She’s coming too close! She’s crazy!”

“I’m afraid I’m going to ask you to leave ma’am.” Mr Manager says to me.

“Ok, I just want my coffee. Just make me a new one and I’ll be on my way.”

“I’m sorry, but you need to leave now.” he says.

“Hey! It’s me, Sue! You can’t kick me out! I come in here every day! Come on, I need my coffee man.” I practically beg. He just points to the door. Stink Eye is now Smug Face as I leave the shop empty handed. 

I go back to my car, furious. I rip off my mask and throw it on the seat. I’m so mad, I’m going to go to Honey Dew Donuts for coffee on the way home. Screw you Mr. Manager, you won’t be seeing Sue anymore.

I drive to the post office and park my car and sit for a minute. I need to take some deep breaths and calm down, no easy feat without my iced coffee. I gather up all my mail and get out. I get all the way to the door and realize I forgot the mask yet again and go back and get it and run inside.

There is a long line. Of course there is. I make sure I’m six feet away from the person in front of me. I don’t want any problems, I just need to buy some stamps. I pull out my phone and check Facebook. Then I feel something poking me in the back. I turn around and who do you think it is? Yup, Ms.Stink Eye Smug Face. She’s poking me with an umbrella. It’s not even raining out. Why the hell does she even have an umbrella? Does she carry it around just to poke people?

“You again,” I say. “What now?”

“Move up. You’re not paying attention. Plus, there’s no cell phone usage while at the counter.” She points her umbrella at the sign. 

“Well, I’m not at the counter, am I?” I say, and lean towards her just to piss her off. “And don’t poke me again or I’ll stick that umbrella where the sun don’t shine.” 

She squints at me and I turn around. People are starting to stare but I don’t care. The line moves up and I go as slow as possible. I’m sure she’s seething behind me. I’m about to look at my phone again when there is another poke at my shoulder. I slowly turn around and say, “You did not just poke me again.” 

“Your mask is slipping down. Pull it up over your nose.” She sticks her chin in the air like some hoity toity debutante. I lean over, grab her mask and pull it as far as I can and snap! I let it hit her in the face. 

“That’s for my coffee.” I say. 

At first she’s so angry, she can’t even move. If she was a cartoon, she would have steam coming out of her ears. You can hear a pin drop as everyone stops what they are doing and gapes at us. I’m standing there with my hands on my hips, daring her to poke me again with that damn thing.

She bangs the tip of the umbrella on the floor. “Did you all see that?” She shrieks. “That’s assault and battery! She could have broken my nose! You’re all witnesses.” She points her umbrella around the room. 

“Look lady, “ I say, “These people would probably cheer if I broke your nose. Just leave me alone and we can both just get on with our day.” A little kid gives a cheer of approval and his mom shushes him.

“You couldn’t break my nose. You don’t have the guts.” she says. I would have just turned around and let it go, but then she says, “By the way, your coffee was delicious.”

I barely remember punching her.

March 12, 2021 18:12

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Kim Lemieux
23:34 Sep 15, 2023

I love everything about this.


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Palak Shah
21:25 Mar 17, 2021

Great story Barbi; I loved the way that you have crafted this story and the way you have written it is phenomenal. I am so happy that I got paired with you in this weeks critique circle and I hope you will also check out my story. Have a good day ~Palak


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Zelda C. Thorne
18:10 Mar 14, 2021

Great first line! I enjoyed this. I felt her frustration building throughout. The Stink Eye woman turning up at the same place immediately behind her felt a bit too convenient (especially since she already had her coffee) but it was still funny. Nice work. 👍


Barbi Calusdian
19:19 Mar 14, 2021

thank you!


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