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the barista

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Lastly, today I wanna talk about something very serious.

 

My usual coffee place had to hire a new barista, and I am PISSED. Look, did the old one get busted for dealing drugs in the restrooms? Yes. Did he sometimes make questionable coffee? Well, also, yes.

 

But here’s the thing about the Old Barista. He was reliable. I knew what I was getting. I’d walk in and without fail he’d say ‘oh dude it’s the scary one’. I liked being the scary one. I liked instilling fear in the hearts of inferior men. But now? Now it’s a woman and she’s got dimples and she saw me spill half and half all over my new shirt, so she doesn’t think I’m scary at all. I mean, I made a complete and utter fool out of myself and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live it down. But I still have to go to this coffee shop because it’s been my regular joint for, what, like five years now? And I’m not about to go and cheat on it with some inferior place just because of a stupid smile and wavy brown hair envy.

 

I guess what I’m saying is, I like to be feared and also dimples make me nervous. Oh, and Darren, if you’re listening, thanks for all the mediocre coffee, buddy.

 

And to this new “barista”, I guess only time will tell if you manage to live up to the task.

 

This is Guns signing off, and remember, if you have a dog please give it a hug from me.

 

///

 

“Great show this week,” Kara called out as Alex walked through the front door.

 

“You say that every week,” Alex said as she rolled her eyes. She opened the fridge and pulled out two beers, offering one to her sister.

 

“Yeah, well it’s true every week.” Kara took the beer Alex offered. “You’re, like, really funny.”

 

“You have never once laughed at my jokes.”

 

“That’s not true!” Kara exclaimed, before quickly backtracking; Alex’s glare was terrifying. “Fine. You’re like, observationally funny. You just tell shitty jokes.”

 

“Whatever, I’m still just freaking out over all of these new listeners. I feel like there’s all this new pressure.”

 

Kara laid a hand on Alex’s knee. “Just do what you always do, it’s worked so far.”

 

She couldn’t remember how it started, but she supposed it didn’t really matter anymore.

 

What mattered is that somehow, seemingly overnight, her viewership almost doubled. And then it just kept going up. Some stupid Buzzfeed article about underrated podcasts had featured her and her ‘distinct voice’. She had never attached her name to it, well, not her real name, anyway. Online she went by the simple alias ‘Guns’. The anonymity had given it an extra flair of freedom, and added a layer of fun to it. People could only contact her on Soundcloud, just like she wanted. She could upload whenever she wanted (though she tended to stick to a weekly schedule) and her regular listeners always left great comments and questions that she answered the next week. It was cheaper than therapy, and a fun way to air out the little things that tended to build up before they became Actual Problems.

 

“So there’s a new barista at Noonan’s?” Kara asked.

 

“Yeah,” Alex replied. “She’s annoyingly competent. Now what am I supposed to complain about every morning? Stupid perfect coffee.”

 

Kara laughed, taking a sip of her beer. “I’m sure you’ll find something to complain about.”

 

“Yeah, well. Probably,” Alex admitted. “Is Supergirl gonna be on my next show?”

 

“Do I get to talk about food again?” she asked, her face lighting up.

 

“Of course.”

 

“Good! Because I have so many ideas about what I can talk about,” she said, talking faster than Alex could keep up with. “Let me go get my notebook!”

 

Kara disappeared from the couch almost instantaneously, leaving Alex alone with her beer. Her mind wandered, getting trapped on the new barista and her bright smile, the way her eyes twinkled as she spoke, unsure as to why exactly she bothered her so much. Maybe she’ll get used to her, Alex thought. Maybe.

 

///

 

Well, I just want to thank Supergirl for her incredible and very thorough report on the Top Ten Knockoff Cereals You Can Only Buy From That One Gas Station Just Outside of Maine. I’m sure all of my listeners will appreciate this highly relatable content.

 

But Guns, who says content must be relatable in order for one to be entertained? True entertainment is not defined by how many it pleases.

 

First of all, Socrates, calm the fuck down we’re talking about cereal. And second of all, I suppose you do have a point. But remember that time when you first started on here and it was supposed to be a restaurant review segment?

 

… In that case I hope the four listeners from Maine enjoy my cereal recommendations, you party pooper.

 

Finally, before we wrap up this week, I thought I’d answer a couple of questions. To those of you who, for some reason, wanted to know if the new barista is cute: like, yeah. She’s objectively a gorgeous human being with perfect hair, and I look like a bedraggled hairy octopus most mornings so it’s safe to say she’s probably from a different, godly realm. And to those of you asking if I’d ever ask her out, I’m sorry to disappoint you all but: one, I’m not gay, two, she’s a bit too perfect and it’s borderline annoying, and three, this isn’t going to be the meet cute you were all hoping for.

 

Until next time, this has been Guns

 

And Supergirl! I’ve been here, too!

 

This has been Guns and Supergirl. If you have a dog, give it a hug from me.

 

///

 

Alex was running ten minutes late. She hated running late, it went against everything she stood for: punctuality, work ethic, and contributing to her intimidation. It also meant that she was seeing the morning rush hour at Noonan’s in full swing, a line that extended from the counter all the way to the back of the restaurant.

 

As she slowly moved closer and closer to the front, her scowl grew more and more pronounced on her face. She could feel her patience running out at a pace too quick to maintain, thoroughly enabled by the man tapping his foot and sighing behind her. Alex wanted to turn around and tell him that they were all waiting and that his time wasn’t any more important than anybody else’s, but instead she bit her tongue and prayed that the line would move faster.

 

She finally approached the front of the counter, spotting with annoyance (and a small, frustrated smile) the new barista.

 

“Hey,” she said as Alex approached. “Alex, right?”

 

“Uh, yeah.”

The man behind Alex made a huffing sound, loudly sighing at the small talk.

 

“I remember the names that come attached to pretty faces,” the barista said with a wink, ignoring the man.

 

“Can I get, uh-” Alex paused, only slightly flustered by the comment from the barista.

 

“Some of us have work to get to,” said the man behind her. “Do you mind hurrying up?”

 

The barista’s smile stayed on her face, though her eyes lost the sparkle that Alex was accustomed to. The effect, she thought, was quite terrifying.

 

“I’ll be with you in a second, sir,” the barista said, to which the man replied,

 

“Bitch.”

 

The smile slid right off her face, and Alex felt her own blood boiling. She whipped around to face the gentleman, putting on what Winn called her most terrifying glare. The man took a step back.

 

“Sir, as I find your language offensive, and quite frankly threatening in tone, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” the barista said calmly.

 

“You can’t do that,” he replied, “I’ve been waiting for ten minutes!”

 

She shrugged. “We have the right to refuse service.”

 

“This is bullshit. Let me speak to your manager.” Alex’s eyes rolled so far back, for a moment she thought she could see the inside of her own head.

 

“How about the owner?” she offered. “Would you like to speak to the owner instead?”

 

“Whoever the fuck can help me get you fired,” came the reply.

 

“In that case,” she said. “I’m afraid you’re fresh out of luck. You see, I own the place.”

 

The colour drained from the man’s face.

 

“So again, please leave my establishment before I’m forced to call the police. Oh, and you’re not welcome back here.”

 

The man retreated, pushing past customers to get to the door. Alex turned back around, watching as the barista - no, the owner - sighed deeply.

 

“Sorry about that, folks!” she called out. “Everybody’s coffee’s on the house this morning.”

 

A small cheer rang out, and she and Alex both smiled.

 

“I’m sorry,” she said again, this time to Alex alone.

 

“No, you really don’t need to apologise. And you don’t need to give all these people free coffee.”

 

The barista shrugged. “I won’t go broke from one morning of free coffees.”

 

Alex pulled out her wallet, and took out a twenty dollar note. She shoved it into the tip jar, ignoring the barista’s protests.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow…?”

 

“Maggie,” she supplied.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Maggie,” Alex said with a smile as she took her coffee.

 

///

 

… So it turns out the barista is an absolute badass, oh my god. The way she totally handled this asshole today was incredible. She gave the entire line of people free coffee, too. Oh, and it turns out she’s the owner of the place. Anyway, M the Owner, thank you for the free coffee and great service. But I’m still gonna complain about your annoying perfect smile and stupid dimples.

 

Like, yeah, she’s really cool and wears a leather jacket even when she’s serving coffee but good god, it’s like stop being so perfect, y’know? We get it, you’re better than literally everybody else on earth and also your coffee is the best I’ve ever had. Enough is enough. Stop being like this.

 

Anyway, I think that’s enough for today. As always, this is Guns signing off, and if you have a dog, give it a hug from me.

 

///

 

She was excited when she woke up in the mornings.

 

She had never been a morning person and now she got out of bed almost as soon as her alarm sounded. Not because of work, hell no. It was filled with meetings and training and other boring director bullshit.

 

But she was excited - and not sure exactly why - but because she got to go to Noonan’s for coffee. And she was going to get to see Maggie.

 

There was a certain bounce in her step as she got out of the car and headed into the cafe. It was too early for the morning rush, so she got to go straight to the counter.

 

Only Maggie wasn’t there. Some other person took Alex’s order and made it and dear god it was horrible.

 

Winn noticed when Alex was in a worse mood than usual, but she couldn’t tell him that the reason was because she didn’t get to see Maggie. Because there was no reason she should be so attached to a damn barista. Unless, of course, the internet had been right. But that was impossible because the internet is always so consistently wrong.

 

(But it didn’t stop her from googling ‘How do I know if I’m gay’ on private mode in the bathroom during her lunch break.)

 

(The results were inconclusive.)

 

Instead she told Winn that she slept badly and she cancelled dinner with Lena and Kara because she couldn’t think of anything worse than watch her sister and her sister’s girlfriend make out in front of her for an entire evening.

 

And when she went to bed, still unsure why she couldn’t think of anything other than Maggie.

 

///

 

So it turns out, dear friends, that the only thing worse than my new barista is her replacement.

 

I mean I’ve just gotten used to her and then she just up and leaves for an entire week? Without any warning? I mean, I know I’m just a customer but I see her literally every day. We chat. We have banter. Why do I feel, like, sort of let down? I don’t know your guys. There’s something with this girl. She’s just… I feel like we could be really fast friends? I don’t know.

 

As always, I’m Guns and if you have a dog, give it a hug from me and ask them what the fuck is up with this barista.

 

///

 

Maggie was back a few mornings later, Alex noticed with a grateful sigh. Her hair was a bit shorter and she wasn’t wearing the usual leather jacket but she was wearing a button up shirt with the sleeves rolled to her elbow. The sight alone made Alex’s throat go dry.

 

“Hey,” Alex said as she approached the counter, “you’re back.”

 

“I am,” Maggie smiled. “Did you miss me?”

 

“Pfft. Not at all.”

 

“Oh, come on.”

 

Yeah, a tiny bit,” Alex admitted, hoping that the blush in her cheeks wasn’t too obvious.

 

“I’ll tell you what then,” Maggie said. “I’ll give you a free pump of that hazelnut syrup I know you like as an apology for being gone for so long.”

 

“I’m not sure if that’s gonna cut it.”

 

Maggie raised an eyebrow, cocking her head to one side. Suddenly, Alex’s throat was once again incredibly dry.

 

“Well in that case, how bout I also give you this.”

 

Maggie put her hands on the counter, and hopped up, leaning over to the other side of the counter. She pressed a kiss to Alex’s cheek and Alex’s blushed even harder.

 

“I’ll also give you this,” Maggie continued, handing over a business card. “My number. Give me a call, maybe we can hang out sometime?”

 

“Uhh…. sounds like a plan,” Alex managed to say. She waited as Maggie made the coffee. “I’ll give you a call.”

 

She left in a daze, the feeling of Maggie’s lips still on her cheek.

 

///

 

Okay. So, uh. This is a short episode today. But. I have an update for you all, I guess. Because you’ve seemed oddly interested in my interactions with the barista at my regular cafe, so here goes nothing I guess?

 

First she gave me free hazelnut syrup. She kissed me. It was on the cheek, yeah, nothing too hectic. And her phone number. I’m supposed to call her. But it felt… It felt great. And I’ve been having these, uh, I guess feelings for her? Like more than just wanting to be friends with her? Like maybe, uh, maybe I have romantic feelings for this barista.

 

WHAT?????

 

Oh. I forgot to mention Supergirl is here. Whoops. I thought it would be easier to break the news this way.

 

With thousands of other people tuning into it? Great idea.

 

It’s not my worst idea, honestly. But yeah, I think I might be gay? In the very least, gay for M the Owner?

 

I did not see this coming.

 

Neither did I, believe me. But apparently everybody else on the internet did.

 

Wow. Are you gonna tell Mom - uh, I mean your mom?

 

I guess? I mean, she listens to this semi-regularly so maybe she’s heard this. Oh fuck.

 

What?

 

What if she listens to this? What if she knows it’s me?

 

Well then I guess you better give her a call.

 

Yeah, maybe. M, if you’re listening to this, sorry I’m so fucking awkward. And if you have a dog, give it a hug from me.

 

///

 

She texted Maggie. It took about an hour to draft and panic about, but finally, she sent it.

 

Maggie replied, only minutes later, with the name of a bar and a time.

 

So naturally, Alex arrived half an hour early.

 

She felt her heart stop for just a moment as Maggie slid into the booth right next to her.

 

“Have you been waiting long?” she asked, slightly out of breath.

 

“Nope, just got here a few minutes ago,” Alex said. She paused. “Actually. That’s not true. I got here early. I was nervous.”

 

Maggie frowned. “Nervous? Why?”

 

“You, uh. You make me nervous.”

 

Maggie chuckled. “Is it my intimidating height? The leather jacket?”

 

“I think maybe it’s that I want to kiss you?”

 

Maggie stopped laughing. “I didn’t think you’d cave so quickly.”

 

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything,” Alex said. “I’m so stupid, I-”

 

“No, Alex,” Maggie interrupted. “No, you’re not stupid. I just have something I should tell you.”

 

Alex felt her heart sink as possibilities ran through her head. Maybe Maggie was married, maybe she wasn’t gay. Maybe she just wasn’t interested in Alex and Alex would have to find a new coffee shop to go to so she wouldn’t have to see Maggie ever again.

 

“Okay?”

 

“I know about your podcast.”

 

Alex wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry at the revelation.

 

“Look, I’m sorry for talking shit about you--”

 

“Alex, you gotta stop apologising,” Maggie replied. “Because you’re stopping me from doing this.”

 

Maggie leaned forward. Her hand hovered just over Alex’s cheek, barely touching it. And then she closed the distance between them, kissing her softly. Alex put one of her hands over Maggie’s, the other resting on Maggie’s thigh. She leant into the kiss, revelling at the feeling of Maggie’s lips on hers, a hint of mint as she slips her tongue into her mouth. And then - way too soon - they pulled apart.

 

“Wow,” Alex breathed.

 

“Yeah,” Maggie echoed.

 

“So how did you know it was me on the podcast?”

 

Maggie shrugged. “I could recognise your voice. You have a nice voice.”

 

“Thanks,” Alex smiled. “So do you. You also make the best coffee I’ve ever had.”

 

“Part of the reason my aunt let me buy Noonan’s from her. She’s also the person who told me to listen to you.”

 

“She was?”

 

“She was an avid fan, told me that she thought I was the one you were talking about.”

 

“But I didn’t use your name?”

 

Maggie laughed. “You mentioned my dimples and leather jacket in pretty much every episode. Dead giveaway.”

 

Alex sighed. “It’s not my fault. Those are both very distracting. It was too much for me to handle.”

 

Maggie leaned in again, pressing her lips to Alex’s once more.

 

“Sorry,” she said, “I couldn’t help myse-”

 

But Alex kissed her again, cutting her off, eager to kiss Maggie as much as humanly possible. It was as though she needed to be as close to Maggie as she possibly could, that she needed her touch to function. It was scary, how natural and perfect kissing Maggie was.

 

They drank and kissed more, and some point, Maggie led Alex back to her apartment.

 

The next morning, Alex made Maggie coffee.

 

Maggie pretended to like it.

 

///

 

Okay, so you’ve all been freaking out and leaving a hundred questions since I last spoke about the barista and I have good news for you all.

 

Hi everyone, I’m the Barista.

 

We’ve been dating for a few weeks. Things are going well. She’s my girlfriend.

 

I can’t believe you thought you were straight. I had you pegged as soon as you walked into my cafe.

 

…. This is a family friendly show, no pegging talk.

 

tHAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!

 

Anyway that’s all the time we have.

 

Let me defend myself.

 

No. Next week Supergirl will be back and talking about soup. Why? No idea, she just loves soup. If you wanna leave some questions, I’ll answer them with the Barista as well. OH! She also has a dog. Her name is Gertrude. She’s the best.

 

Better than me?

 

Better cuddler that’s for sure.

 

It’s like you want me to break up with you.

 

ANYWAY, this is Guns signing off with The Barista and as always, if you have a dog, give it a hug from us.