I’m hanging out at the Starbucks part of Barnes and Nobles, reading comics (this was my version of going out on Friday nights for quite some time), sipping a cup of coffee. Starbucks, you can keep your corporatized mochachinofrappelatte essence-of-unicorn-anus dusted sugar-swill, thank you very much. I take it straight up black—like Batman, or some grumpy noir detective that likes to fuck people up with a .38 revolver and calls women “dames.”
(Sorry for the rant—when I look at the travesty that passes for a coffee menu nowadays, I experience confusion and require an adult)
I’m flipping through stacks of Snyder, Ennis, Bendis, and Morrison. Yep—I reference comics writers like a lit nerd referencing big-name authors such as Conrad, Hemingway, or Tolstoy. Spandex-clad face-beaters have played a crucial role in forming my personality and now inform my writing (which is unsurprisingly rife with face-beatings).
Anyways, I’m deep in the throes of comics nirvana, when I look up from my coffee and rest my eyes on some raggedy old dude, murmuring to himself in the corner like a burnt-out Patches O’Houlihan. He’s peeling an apple with a pair of hook-hands, one of which is screwed into the base of a small paring knife.
“The only way to tell if it’s a boy or a girl,” he rasps, “is to kick it in the groin with all your might, then listen closely to the pitch of its screams.”
Um…right. I bury my nose in the latest offering of the hit-or-miss J. Michael Straczynski, and studiously avoid CrazeFace McCrazeHole.
It doesn’t work. He scoots his chair up to my table, and taps the cover of my comic with the tip of his hook.
I keep my eyes on my comic. In a neutral voice, I ask, “Yes?”
“Have you ever noticed,” he grates, “that if two people on opposite sides of the world drop a slice of bread at the same time, the Earth becomes a sandwich?”
Curiosity gets the better of me. I put my comic down and meet his gaze. “Man…what HAPPENED to you?”
His eyes flash with terror. “I told them to leave out the angel sperm. No Care Bear hearts! No Elf hairs!” He covers his face with his hook-hands and begins sobbing.
I can’t help but feel sorry for this codger…but what the eff is he talking about?? Angel sperm? Care Bear hearts? None of this makes any—
The windows implode and everyone screams. People scrabble out of the cafe or duck under tables, but they’re quickly rounded up by gun-toting hipsters with no muscle tone, and the annoying ability to make every statement into a question, even though they’re like thirty fucking years old and it’s been well over a decade since they graduated high school.
The lead one screams, “We’re coffee snobs? Everyone on the floor?”
(Why do they DO that? SO annoying!)
They begin checking peoples’ drinks, checking to see that they’re no more than 10% coffee, 90% horseshit. They explain what’s going to happen: if your drink passes the test, you’ll be allowed to leave. If not, you’ll be summarily executed.
Hook-hands begins gabbling in terror, and suddenly it all becomes clear: coffee snobs took his hands. For the asinine reason of not ordering his coffee with a devilish additive of chai-soy-double-shot-whatever-the-fuck.
A coffee snob strides over to me and looks in my cup. He lifts it up to his nose, gives it a sniff, then wrinkles his face in utter disgust.
“This is straight black; no Light of Elendil, no diamond shavings, no—”
FUCK YOU Coffee Snob! I leap up from my seat and smack the bottom of the cup, sending a slug o’ mud right into his eyes. He screams in horror and begins shooting blindly with his assault rifle, tearing up chairs and tabletops. The other coffee snobs join in, filling the cafe with a jagged storm of rifle and submachine gun fire. I drop to the floor and crawl behind the counter, covering my head as glass explodes and liquid flies.
I’m done for. There’s no way out. Not unless…
I reach into my pocket and open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
All-That-Is-Man—a three-headed hulk-thing sporting the visages of Hemingway, Batman, and Chuck Norris—bursts through the ceiling, landing in a clatter of drywall and wiring. ATIM beats his chest, roaring in fury as bullets plink off his invulnerable hide, and begins mowing through coffee snobs like a hot knife through butter. He punches one in the face, and as his arm continues through the skull and out the scalp, he reaches into a fleeing snob’s anus and pulls their guts out through their butthole. Then he uses the guts like a garrote, strangling another snob to death, after which he rips off the corpse’s arms and employs them as impromptu war-clubs.
Lesson learned: don’t be a coffee snob.
Unless you want to go head to head with All-That-Is-Man. 😀
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