• Grace Trautwein

Starbucks Barista, Girl Studying at Starbucks, and Floral Swim Shorts

Starbucks Barista

It was a busy day at Starbucks. The barista hadn’t had a free moment since her shift started, yet she still greeted everyone with a smile.

“Brittany? I have your iced macchiato,” she said. Then, recognizing Brittany from her calculus class, she let out a squeal, exclaiming, “It’s so good to see you!” The barista maintained this energy for the next twenty customers, handing out drinks with a smile and wishing everyone a great day.

Then, it was finally time for her break. Wanting to soak in the early spring sunshine, the woman decided to take a walk. After hanging her apron and hat on their designated hook, she departed.

The street was alive, with chatting friends, hurried bikers, and ABBA blasting from a nearby car. The woman stopped to say hi to everyone she knew (and even some people she didn’t know) as she headed to her favorite spot: the beach. Her destination was not far, and cutting through the park would by no means be a shortcut, but the woman was eager to see the first flowers of the year. She turned off her typical route, then stopped dead in her tracks.

“What the hell…” she murmured. Sitting on a stump and the ground were two mannequin heads.

ONLY the heads.

After a beat of silence, she let out a giggle. “Shailey would love this,” she said to herself, scrambling to get her phone out for a picture.

Girl Studying at Starbucks

Why was it such a busy day at Starbucks? She had come here to finish her essay, and she normally enjoyed the soothing white noise of chatter in the background. Today it was too much; she was only getting distracted.

“How can two people talk about housing for forty-five minutes!” she thought to herself. Taking a deep breath, she attempted to re-center herself. Unfortunately, the damage was done, and writer’s block had set in. With a groan, the woman stood up and started packing her books. “I think I need a change of scenery,” she decided.

Her walk wasn’t helping. There was noise everywhere (and were those high schoolers staring at her?). She needed to find a quiet, secluded corner to just be. It was too loud, too bright, and she had too much to do. As her thoughts spiraled, she finally found a haven: an empty park.

She made a beeline for the grass, threw her bag to the side, and practically fell to the ground. The warm sun and sweet scent of the earth instantly calmed her.

With her head finally clear, she sat up to look at her surroundings. About a foot from her left shoe was a decapitated mannequin head. Another was staring right at her, perched atop a stump.

With an absentminded shrug, she laid down again. It turns out this was exactly the break she needed.

Floral Swim Shorts

It was the perfect weather for a day at the beach. Surely his teachers would understand why he had skipped class. How could he be expected to stay locked inside doing logarithms on such a day? No, this was a carpe diem type day, and he was going to enjoy it.

That’s how he found himself walking back from the beach midday on a Monday, perfectly relaxed and feeling very accomplished. Then, from behind him, he heard a muffled laugh. Turning to look for the source, he saw three young people hurriedly look away from him. The two girls had journals in their hands and they were… writing? As they walked? That seemed like a bad idea, but he brushed it off and kept walking.

A few minutes later, he heard the group whispering, “Why does he swing his arms so much?” And then, “Forget that; why is he playing with a lighter?”

He looked at his right hand, and, sure enough, he had reverted to his nervous habit of fiddling with his lighter. He subtly glanced over his shoulder and watched the two girls look up at him, then back to their paper. The boy looked at him apologetically. Oh my God, were they drawing him?

More than a little freaked out, the man picked up his pace. He could barely hear the boy remark, “He definitely saw you guys.”

At this point, the man with the floral shorts was nearly running to get away from his judgemental stalkers. He even cut through a park for good measure and didn’t slow his speed until he was sure he had lost them. In his haste, the man had missed an inexplicable phenomenon that had captured the minds of many that day. He had walked straight past the mannequin heads. They were not happy about it.

The End