Sunday Storytelling is where I post a piece of fiction on Sunday. It might be a complete short story, a snippet of a work in progress, a character sketch, a response to one of the thousands of creative writing prompts I’ve collected through the years. Most of them won’t be polished or “final,” so feedback and criticism is welcome, but please be constructive in your comments. Read other Sunday Storytelling pieces here.
“Magic? Please.” Kelsey snorted to herself as she dropped her laptop bag and purse on the bench before scooting in herself. The barista had given her a knowing grin when Kelsey ordered her vanilla latte and pumpkin scone, and the guy on the end of the counter winked when he handed her the latte. Who did they think they were kidding?
Okay, maybe normally she would’ve just gotten an espresso. In fact, normally she definitely would’ve gotten an espresso. And a muffin, not a scone. She wasn’t a fan of pastries that were so dry and crumbly. But Don Myrtle, her new neighbor, had kept insisting. As soon as he found out she was a writer. Aspiring writer, at least. Every freaking time he saw her coming home – “Did you go yet? Did you get your scone and latte?”
A magic portal. Seriously? Is this what she’d gotten into, moving to Lakeport? Maybe this is what they did for fun. Make fun of the newbies. Or maybe it was some bizarre initiation. Maybe once she went through this little ritual she could officially call herself a Lakeporter, and the woman at the grocery store would stop giving her suspicious looks and the man at the post office would give her proper change without her raising a fuss. Magic or not, if ordering a latte and a scone and sitting in the far left corner would make life here easier, she would do it.
Kelsey opened her laptop and waited patiently for the ancient machine – “vintage,” by Apple Genius standards – to find the Wi-Fi signal. She broke off a crumbly corner of the scone and popped it in her mouth. Looked around. Lakeport Original Coffeehouse was surprisingly empty for a Saturday afternoon. A young woman sat next to a small fold-up stroller, reading a magazine and sipping a cappuccino while her child (thankfully) napped peacefully. A younger guy, probably home from college for break, hunched over his computer, giant headphones over his ears. He rocked back and forth in a weird rhythm and bobbed his head to whatever music he was playing. Kelsey blew on her latte and took a small test sip and allowed herself to wonder what that was. Probably something indie, something that hadn’t yet reached Lakeport or its 3 radio stations. Or maybe something unexpected, some arena rock. Or a singer-songwriter from the 70s. Grateful Dead? Unlikely. She settled on The Air Machines, a random local band from across the state she’d seen a couple times before she moved. They only played acoustic and unplugged, similar to Dave Matthews or Mumford and Sons.
Maybe this is the wrong order. Maybe it was supposed to be a regular latte and a blueberry scone. Kelsey took another bite and opened her email. Another “update” from her mom, a few Facebook notifications, a note from an editor, the usual assortment of marketing messages from various stores and businesses – Amazon, Groupon (hah! Like she’d ever find one to use in Lakeport), LOFT, a yoga newsletter. She skimmed the one from her mom and took a few more small sips. She was about to close the window when a new message popped up. The sender was “Lakeport Original Coffeehouse.” The subject line simply read: “Welcome.”
Weird. Maybe an auto-message from the Wi-Fi? Except it was an unprotected network; she hadn’t entered her email address to log in. And she’d used this network before, almost daily since moving. She lifted the whole scone her mouth and nibbled at it, trying not to let crumbs get on her keyboard. She looked around the small coffeehouse again. The woman and her baby still there; the guy still rocking out. The baristas talked to each other quietly behind the counter as they went through the usual motions of cleaning and re-stocking and looking busy despite not having any customers to wait on.
She opened the email. And Lakeport Original Coffeehouse disappeared.
Comments, feedback, and constructive criticism welcome…