They sat in the new coffee shop sipping at the mystery autumn drink that had come out this morning. Laughter came from the table as one of the women told about a prank that she had played on her loving husband. The women had always met at the different shops while their children were in after school activities, it was either meet once a week to enjoy each other’s company or to sit in the car to fall promptly asleep.
The contest that was running at the coffee shop was to guess what the flavor of the mystery coffee was and the ideas were coming fast from the women as they took a sip of their flavored drink. One of the women sat there rolling the coffee around in her mouth before she replied, “I think the flavor is sweet and I know that I have had this flavor before. I would guess caramel or fudge, something you would put on ice cream. I like this flavor.” She smiled as she took another sip and lick the remains off of her lips.
“No, June I think you are wrong with your guess. I think it is pumpkin flavored and I don’t like the taste. You can have mine since you like it and I don’t.” She passed the coffee-flavored mixture over to her friend and watch as she took a sip of her new drink. Watching as a puzzled look came over her friend’s face and she sat there comparing the two drinks. Taking the top off the glasses, she started to compare how the two drinks tasted and she invited her friend to taste her old drink.
The poster for the drinking contest was sitting over in the corner and they re-read the poster hoping for some type of hint of what the flavor was that they were trying to put their finger on. On the poster were these words: Figure out the holiday drink and win a $500 gift card. That gift card would mean free coffee for the threesome for a year. They just had to figure it out, but the problem was as they compare their drinks, they were tasted all different. How could that be, were they running a fixed contest were they all got different tasting drinks. One of the women reminded the group that they had watched the woman making the drinks. She had got the mixture out of the same container, how could that be? Maybe the flavor wasn’t different, but someone had given them the idea that the flavor wasn’t the same. , So now that is what they were thinking about. Were they going crazy? How could the drinks be different to different people if they came out of the same container?
The afternoon went fast while they were trying to figure out the flavor and it was time to pick up their children from their activities. As the women went through the week with the family, all of them were still trying to figure out what the mystery flavor was. One of the women wanted to call it the “Magic Pumpkin” flavored because she swore up and down that the flavor was a pumpkin flavored. It was starting to drive the women crazy that they couldn’t put their finger on the flavor. Norma thought the flavor was pumpkin, June thought it was caramel, and Susie thought it tasted like popcorn. They had to agree on one flavor, so they would have to give them all a gift card which would be super sweet. The end of the contest was next Tuesday, six days away and they would know the answer to the question that was bothering them all.
The next Tuesday, they dropped off their children at their activities and heard about how good their children were doing. The women expressed to their children how much they loved them and how proud they were of them. It took longer to get out that day because their children loved hearing their mother telling them how proud they were of them. They were finally on their way to the new coffee shop to find out what the flavor was which had been driving them crazy for the last week. They felt like screaming at each stoplight that they had to stop for because it felt like they had to sit there for hours.
They rounded the corner to be on the same street as the coffee shop is on and noticed the crowd that was standing outside. Fire trucks were standing at the curb with men rolling their hose up as if they were there to put out a fire. Asking the nearest person, the women found out that someone had reported that the coffee shop was on fire and the dispatcher had sent out the fire trucks screaming with all sirens going. What the women couldn’t figure out was why the crowd was standing, so close to the store if it was on fire. As they got close to the store, they noticed that the store had the deserted look. Where were all the tables and chairs they had used? Where was the staff that had waited on them? Why did the coffee shop look deserted?
As they look into the store through one of the windows, they noticed how the tables and chairs were overturned like someone had been destructive in their actions. Chairs looked like they were tossed around and tables’ leg was broken off to be put through the glass cases that had held some of the product that the coffee shop had sold. Windows in the door and the front windows were broken from some invisible force coming from inside the store. No staff members had been hurt in the destruction which was a good thing, but their favorite place to meet was not there for the women to enjoy.
Where was the staff that had been working in the store? What had happened to their favorite place to meet? No one seemed to know. It was like a mystery was unfolding in front of them because several rumors were going around which no one knew which one to believe. One of the rumors was that some teenagers had come to town to cause trouble and burnt down the coffee shop before leaving town. Another of the rumors going around was aliens was living in their town which no one believed. Every mystery had a rumor about aliens and not being alone on Earth.
The women walked away knowing that they would never stop in for a cup of coffee there again which saddened them. The coffee shop had only been there for a week and they had enjoyed their one-time meeting there. They all stop walking at the same time, turning to face each other, and saying as one voice, “What is the flavor of the drink?” Something they all wanted to know because they each thought they were right and everyone else was wrong.