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Chapter 1 – BB

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Lewis.summr@gmail.com
Bikini Barista
By Lewis Summer

When Jo came to work today, her biggest worry was whether her baby blue thong bikini was going to be a little too chilly. There was a slight breeze in the air, and that often swirled into the shack at the most inopportune times. She’d gotten used to her nipples frequently showing up to say “hi”, but she just didn’t want to be too cold for 6 hours. She eventually chose the denim style boy shorts with the cute halter “cowgirl style” top, and a Kenny Chesney corona brand cowgirl hat.
That would be what she eventually was arrested and booked into county lockup in, 3 hours later. Which was also inconvenient, because they didn’t let her change the whole time she was dragged and cuffed in the dirty back of the squad car (she did not want her special bits anywhere close to the seat of that filthy thing. Who knew what kind of germs were partying on it?) She was still rocking her sexy cowgirl look when she was forced to wait in a drafty hallway while they booked her, and fingerprinted her, and she still hadn’t seen a comfy orange jumpsuit at all when they tossed her in the holding tank with four other ladies.
It took all of 3 seconds for her to end up with a bloody nose and a split lip.

####

Let’s rewind.
Esther Johanssen (Jo to her friends and customers) woke up at a cool 6:00 am that Thursday morning. It was a nice enough day in July – still breezy and the dew was still on from the night before, but you could tell there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun would be in full force in no time at all. She made herself some herbal tea.
No coffee thank you – that’d give me the shits all day she thought.
Putting on some Bob Marley – appropriately “No Woman no Cry” – she sat in her window seat and enjoyed watching the squirrels scrounge for nuts and the morning come alive. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
How much like those squirrels are we? She thought. Two of them were fighting over a chestnut that had fallen from the neighbor’s tree, and they went back and forth, one of them dropping it, the other sneaking up and taking it, then the other making them drop it and give it back. It’s like working a shift with Mandy.
The passion flower and mint tea was great – the mint was fresh from a cool herb “one pot garden” she had on the back porch, the passion flower from the herb shop downtown (which she had heard sold other, not so legal herbs).
Those two herbs were supposed to relieve stress. That’s why she got them in the first place. It took a little agave nectar to mellow them out, but it was good and soothing. They were also supposed to, consequently, calm the stomach and relieve PMS symptoms. Not that she was PMS-ing, but maybe she would be without the passionflower?! 🙂
The current drama was with her (ex?) best friend. The Bob Marley was appropriate because it seemed like the women in her life were constantly toxic. Jo and Quinn (she’d called her “Q” since they were 9) were best friends from way back. Jo’s dad moved them to Walla Walla Washington when he got a job at the prison. Her father was a corrections officer for 12 years, and this was a big step up in pay and prestige. Walla Walla was a big one – maximum security. So the family moved there from his previous job – Connell (what a hellhole that was) and things were looking up. At least Walla Walla had a couple good parks and a bookstore or two.
They met in fourth grade and became fast friends. Q came from a family with some money and influence – way back landowners who ran a vineyard and winery in town. This part of Washington, the old money was in land and fruit or grains. The royalty was rodeo and county fair. If you didn’t fit into that mold, you were out of luck.
This was 1999, and Britney and N’sync were all over the place. Even in cowboy country, the girls were emulating the pop Lolita, and Jo didn’t fit in. She was still a little gangsta for their taste – boxers popping out of low jeans and a Kobe Bryant Jersey or wife beater. She loved Biggie and Tupac and Kid Rock. You wouldn’t think fourth grade was clique-ish and fashion conscious, but it’s surprising. The girls were vicious. So was Q.
Of course, they were too smart, or too unwilling to engage in an all-out confrontation, to actually say anything to her. They’d probably get into trouble that way. But no, it was that they had nothing to do with her. They’d walk away from her in droves like a mass of oil avoiding a drop of soap.
And there was the giggling. You know that feeling when you walk into a room and people start laughing, and you think that they’re laughing at you? Usually it’s not the case – you’re just being paranoid.
But they were laughing at Jo. She could hear them barely whisper when she walked by.
“What is she, late for a drive-by?”
“Someone should hit her baby, one more time.”
“She doesn’t dress cool.” (that girl was less creative than the rest)
She took it of course. She held her head high, would walk the lunch room looking for a spot until finally she’d just sit on the floor. She’d always need the teacher to get a partner for her if they were working in pairs, and would always have to hear the imminent “Awww, man!” from whomever was chosen to be with her.
That went on for most of the year, until one day at recess, Jo went to the bathroom and found Q crying. Same old story, one of the other friends decided she wasn’t cool anymore, and now Q was getting the bitchy treatment. It had something to do with a boy she liked, but now no one can even remember the specifics. Jo saw her, and knew what was up.
“Those friends of yours really are bitches, huh?” she said.
“They aren’t my friends.”
“Cool.”
And it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Until now, when a boy once again came between Q and her friend. Jo was dating him. Q slept with him. But somehow Q was the one who was mad at Jo. Go figure.
She finished her tea, grabbed her bag, and jumped in her little red Volkswagen bug. “Slug Bug” she said to herself, punching her arm as she started her up. Double check for cell phone, wallet, gum, pepper spray…okay. Good to go.
The “shack” was only a few miles away, and it took less than 15 minutes to get there with traffic. She had to park in a lot two blocks away though, as there was no real “parking” next to the shack. It was all drive-through lanes.
She did her normal morning routines – open the shack, grind the beans, prep the mini fridge with milk, soy, chai…Set out the muffins and brownies…it didn’t take long until the first customer of the day came along.
Perky Cups was a Bikini Barista drive through coffee “shack”. Good espresso, done great, served by the best. It was a simple concept – you could get served your morning coffee by a bitter misanthrope, or a cute girl in her beachwear. It was like taking a trip to the beach, but only for a few minutes.
As would be expected, this attracted two types of customers: regular people, and dicks.
Most guys and gals who drove through were nice, friendly, and complimentary. Her first customer was along this vein. Cindy was a regular, always coming through around this time. Her law office was 6 blocks down, and Perky Cups was a convenient stop along the way. She always looked great in a tailored suit, and even though she was in her 50’s and had put on a little weight, Jo admired her style.
“Morning Jo!” she smiled.
“Morning Cindy. The usual?”
“You know it honey. Nice outfit today.”
“Thanks! You too! Any good cases on the docket?”
“Paperwork mostly today, but I have a few client meetings. Let me give you some advice – don’t ever try credit card fraud. Judges take that shit seriously.”
“Thanks for the advice. That’ll be ready in a second.”
Cindy was a great customer. Dale was not. He was about half an hour later than Cindy, and Jo dreaded having to deal with him.
His 1978 black Pinto cruised up to the shack slowly, and he rolled down the window. He was a good looking guy. Blonde, blue eyes, maybe a little heavy – but good looking nonetheless. Someone she could see dating. He was a little older than her – about 29 or so. He dressed okay. Jeans and a T-shirt. Nothing sleazy or Cheesy (except maybe the car). But he was kindof a dick.
“Hey. What do you got that will taste sweet in my mouth?”
Honestly, where did he think that was going to lead? But her boss, Dante, wanted them to play along with this little charade. It would be fun if the pricks weren’t so obvious about it. She liked a little flirty talk, or even dirty talk, just as much as the next guy. But this was just sad.
“Oh, I’ve got lots of things. What are you looking for?”
“Something yummy.”
“Something decadent?” For the love of God, couldn’t he please stop beating around the bush? (it occurred to Jo that particular saying might be dirtier than she used to imagine. She wondered if some guy was reluctant to go all the way with his lady, and was stalling by just “beating around her bush.” Or maybe not.)
“Can I have anything on the menu?”
“Of course.” She knew where this was going.
“Why don’t you stand on the menu then?”
Cue fake laugh. He seemed pleased, so she must have sounded convincing. Two more cars rolled up behind him, so she needed to get him going.
“Why don’t you try Carmen’s Carmel? It’s sweet and decadent.”
“Nah. I want something even sweeter.”
“What would you like?”
“Something that makes my mouth water.”
“Help me out. Espresso. Cappuccino. Latte? Something hot, something cold?”
“Definitely hot.”
Okay, this was ridiculous.
“Hot huh? Something Hot and Wet maybe?”
“Oh yea.”
Now she was on a roll. Honestly. She loved her job, but this was too much. Prick.
“You want something wet and juicy and sweet like honey?” She squeezed her arms together, pushing her breasts up. He started to look a little sweaty.
“Yes. That’s what I want.”
“All right! Double D Candy’s Cider with a shot of Honey! Coming right up!”
“What, wait! What? No, I…” But she was gone, and pretended she didn’t hear. He paid for the drink, but grumbled the whole time. She handed him the change.
“Aren’t you supposed to say something now?”
Perky Cups was a hotbed of innuendo. The drink sizes were bra cup sizes. 32A. 34B. 36C. And the Bra Busting Double D. A lot of customers bought a large just so they could say it. The drinks often had women’s names, like Crissy’s Creamy Cocoa or Fredrica’s Foamy Fun. And when they handed back any change, they were supposed to say:
“Here’s your change and your receipt. Now all that’s left is for you to give me just the tip.”
He leered.
“You know I will.” He put 50 cents in the cup and drove off. At least he was gone. Douche.
The rest of the morning was mostly uneventful, besides having to deal with a carload of fratboys, and Dante stopping by. Dante came through about 7:00, a little frantic. He was looking for his wallet.
“You sure you didn’t see it?”
“Sorry Dante.” Jo said. “Haven’t seen it. Check the back room.” He was already checking the back room.
“Shit! Listen, if you find it, give me a call, okay? How’s business been so far?”
“Okay. Nothing big, but steady.”
“Make sure you’re pushing the Millie’s Muffins. Ask them ‘do you want a bite of Millie’s Muffin today?’ Okay?”
Dante was all class. “You got it boss.”
The fratboys were a pain, but she got lucky. Lacey had stopped by to check the schedule, and she helped out a little.
“Would you grab me a brownie and a Blueberry Muffin?” Jo asked as she handed the boys two blended drinks.
“Okay.” Lacey was heating the milk for their last drink. She handed the snacks to Jo, and she passed them to the college kids as she took their credit card.
“Thanks Mark. I’ll be right back.”
“Do you know me?” The kid asked.
“I just looked at your card, Mark. But I know you now.” She smiled and went to run his card. The guys hooted and punched each other in their red convertible. Nice car Jo thought.
“How’s it goin’?” Lacey asked.
“It’s okay. Thanks for the help. What’re you up to today?”
“Oh, I havta go to a Doctor’s visit for the baby soon. Then I work tonight. You should totally come by!”
Lacey was a single mother (Jo never asked what happened to the guy – probably same old story) who worked part time at the shack in the mornings, and nights at Classy Cassie’s – an all nude bar on the east side. Jo had visited her a few times at work, but she just kept getting hit on. She didn’t care THAT much, but she wasn’t in the mood tonight.
“Oh, not tonight. I have a test tomorrow in Anthropology. Sorry.”
“Okay. Well, I better go. See ya!” Merlot – her baby boy – was in a stroller outside the shack. He hadn’t made a peep the whole time Lacey was there.
“Bye Baby!” Joe waved as he strolled away. Lacy’s Juicy sweatpants read ASS on the ass as she shimmied down the sidewalk. Obvious advertising was sometimes the most effective.
An hour later, the police cars pulled up.

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