In Line With The Coffee Girl


She wore a pink dress, the kind I imagined you would wear to a sorority recruitment party, or maybe a little soiree to a Connecticut country club. She had a pearl necklace, and smelled like lilacs. She was on the phone.

I was working customer support, restocking things, making whipped cream and caramel, and pre-closing the store, so I was walking by the register right when she said it.

“I’m sorry,” she said with that bitchy sort of lilt Emma Roberts would use in a Ryan Murphy show, “I’m with the coffee girl, one second.”

The coffee girl.

My manager is in her thirties, and she wears a special black apron that says Coffee Master. It’d be difficult to mistake her as the “coffee girl,” unless of course you weren’t even paying attention.

Which she clearly wasn’t. Which tickled me all the more.

Working the support role at Starbucks is kind of like being a ghost. You float around, doing things that people don’t really notice, and the troubles of the mortal realm (people on bar and at the registers) don’t really bother you.

They don’t just not bother me, though. They amuse me.

Here a fat woman complains about not getting her venti caramel frappacino fast. She flushes in anger. There, somebody spills their coffee after a pitching a huge fit that it didn’t taste right. Over there, a child screams in line, wanting more and more madeline cookies. If you were affected by these mini tragedies, they wouldn’t be funny. To me though, the friendly ghost, they are better than TV.

So I laughed. Out loud. My manager and the woman turned to me. My manager gave me a sort of motherly “what are you doing? Stop right now,” look, The woman looked at me like I was an unruly servant.

I looked back at her and tried not to laugh out loud. She wasn’t laughing. She still wasn’t even paying attention.

I wondered what her life was like.

She’d leave this land of the coffee people after she got her drink. Maybe she’d do some shopping at Bloomingdales, interacting with the clothes people, or maybe the makeup beings, in their natural habitat, before hopping in her Mercedes and heading over to the pet groomer, where she’d pick up her small, white dog from the dog person. On her way home, undoubtably, she’d stop off at another Starbucks to refuel with another trenta gren tea from the coffee girls, because a dry mouth is no mouth at all, as the cleaning monster used to say. She’d swing by whole foods on her way out of the valley, where the foodlngs and meat creatures would supply her with whatever she desired. On to the 101, where undoubtedly she would speed, a and a law thrall would pull her over and give her a ticket. It doesn’t matter, though. The number demons would have this sorted and paid for as soon as an assistant thing brought it to them.

Money was no issue.

Finally, back in Beverly Hills, where the civilized world lives, she would park in her driveway. Danny, the handsome actor, would wave at her from his yard. I bet his wife doesn’t have to interact with the northern beasts, she thinks to herself as her heels clack across the imported paving stones.

Inside, she passes off her dog to one of her many assistant things, and inspects the work of the cleaning monsters. Flawless, as usual, but creatures of their status excel at menial jobs.

She sits down on a perfect couch. After a hard day of shopping, who doesn’t need a rest?

She’d hear a squawk, and turns around. There, inside the gilded cage, would be the parrot her husband bought her last week. A cleaning monster finishes polishing the outside, and then bows to her and leaves.

She’d walk up to the cage, and gently pet the gold. The parrot would cock its head, look at her with one eye.

“I love you,” It’d say, and then she’d be sad.

She’d be sad because she didn’t know from whom it learned the word.

I clutched my mop to my chest. I was no longer laughing on the inside.

The woman was staring at me. My face just changed from comedy show to funeral in less than ten seconds, with no apparent stimulus. I must have looked incredibly insane. She ordered her drink and left.

“Coffee girl?” My manager laughed once the woman was out of shot. “Can you believe that?”

“This isn’t the 19th century,” Jac laughed.

I didn’t laugh. “She might not have meant it,” I sad. They both turned to me.


I searched my thoughts, and then I gave up.

“Never mind.”

I kept mopping, stealing glances at the woman in the pearl necklace, looking for something other than sadness behind her eyes.

The Parrot Cage



Songs are like magic.  Good ones capture the soul and take it on a journey.  A journey to places it had long forgotten.  As it travels, it remembers, and the memories bring forth long since dormant emotions that mix with the melodies and the rhythm   so that you almost cry.  Not in a sad way, but  out of joy, like you’ve found a long lost friend and learned that they’re alright.

Songs capture the soul, yes, but then set it free and send it soaring above the highest mountains and into the ether.  It can see the whole world up there.   It’s always beautiful, like late evening, when the light’s a mix of pink and orange, and the sun casts long shadows.

Sometimes if you’re very lucky you can see the stars, even if the sun is still barely casting light. The sky takes on a purple tinge then, and the stars hang languidly above our sphere, casting light down upon us that they created millennia ago.  They don’t care for music, but I’m sure that if we just shared it with them, they would find it as lovely as we do.  They’d only need a little push, like that which a parent gives to a child sitting nervously on top of a slide.

I think that’s the real beauty of music.  It, more than anything, is meant to be shared.  You should never create a song just for you.  Share it with the world, with the sky and the stars, the great planets and their moons, and comets that streak across the stratosphere.  They’ll thank you for it, I’m sure, in their own way.  You might not find out for a long time, but they’ll thank you, as will we all.

One day.

GREat expectations -or- How I defeated the GRE in single combat and generally felt like a more successful human being

A cold wind blew through the door of the prometric testing center as I kicked it open, swirling my long, unkempt mane of hair about my face, making me seem to be some sort of demented lion/demon in a kilt and combat boots.  A tarten of clan McCalpan was draped across my chest and a bastard sword rested comfortably in my hands.

Like this, only with less Mel Gibson.

“I…AM….READY!” I shouted to the room in general, frightening the poor fellow who was sitting behind the sign in desk.

“rerereready f f f f for which t t t t t test?” he stammered, trembling i.

“Which test?  WHICH TEST??? THE ONLY TEST, SONNY JIM!!! I AM READY…. FOR THE G R EEEEEEEE!” I yelled, triumphantly lifting my mighty blade into the air, impaling the roof of the building.  Thunder clapped and lightning shuddered down my blade, enveloping me a fearsome cocoon of electricity.  Somewhere above a choir was singing.  Epicly.

The manager of the testing center stormed out of his office, his lords robes swirling angrily in the mini cyclone my power had created in the lobby.  He and the receptionist shielded their eyes until the display subsided.

“What’s all this about, then?”  He bellowed, pointing at me.  “Who does this young pup think he is?  Coming in here, shooting lightning everywhere and messing up all of our files with that damn cyclone!”  He pointed to the thousands of papers strewn about the room.  “I didnt even know we had paper records!  I thought we had gone electronic!”

“But, my lord…” stammered the receptionist, looking around nervously, “we are electronic!”  The Lord of the Prometric testing center eyed him suspiciously.

“Well, what’s he doing here?”

“He says he’s ready to take… to take the gre!”

“Bah!  This young pup?” he said, gesturing to me with a thumb.  “Think you’re ready for the GRE, eh?  Well see about that!”  He strode towards me and drew his sword.   “Do you see this blade, young pup?  It’s been in me family for generations.  Soulcrusher is it’s name, and it’s fashioned of the finest Valerian steel!  You don’t stand a chance!  Ha!”  He swung at me, a clumsy overhand affar which I deftly avoided, moving to one side as if i were bored.

“Bah!  Well now, you’ve learned to move horizontally, I’ll give ye that, but can you move…” he whipped his sword around in a powerful back swing, aiming directly for my midsection “…VERTICALLY?”  The blade was coming so fast there wasn’t any time to think, let alone move horizontally!  I did the only thing I could, a last minute 720 triple back flip from a standing position, barely completely avoiding the weapon as it sailed under me.  I landed 10 feet away, sliding slightly backwards, like Goku from Dragon Ball Z.  I slowly stood and lifted my mighty bastard sword.

A visual aide. Imagine this, but with extra doom.

“And now, fool of a took, let me introduce you to my blade, forged from the rarest/strongest/most magical/deadliest of all metals, Satan-Metal, in the heart of soviet russia by master sword-smith Aegar the Bold, I give you The Fucking Death Sword! ” I bellowed as I pointed the tip of Fucking Death Sword at my foe, and a brilliant bolt of lightning blasted forth, hitting Soulcrousher at the crosspiece and shattering the weapon into a million-squidillion pieces in the lord’s hand.

“No!  Thats impossible!  THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!” he shouted as he was thrown backwards by the force of the blast, impacting a wall, which crumbled away while small explosion began to blast the room apart for no reason whatsoever.  2 Miles away a semi truck transporting raw gasoline suddenly flipped over, landing on top of a guy who was smoking a cigarrete.  KABLOOSH! The explosion rocked the entire intersection.   Suddenly cars were flipping through the air like crazy frogs due to all the explosions and stuff and people were screaming and running for cover.



The dust settled in the testing center as the Lord of Prometric stood up and brushed chunks of brick and sheet rock off his robes.

“By the gods,” he said, awestruck, “This young pup might be the one! Fetch father O’Leery, it’s time that the Door of 1000 Sorrows was opened once again.”

This is what i found when i googled door of 1000 sorrows. Lol

“At once, my lord!” cried the receptionist as he ran down a stone covered hallway that I could have sworn wasnt there when I entered.  In fact, the whole place was starting to look a-lot more like a castle than anything in Birmingham had a right to.  Well, except for that Hotel that looks like a castle.

The receptionist returned presently holding a torch and leading an elderly old man, bent over almost at a right angle and shuffling along with help of a cane.  He had a thick white beard that went down to the floor and then some, continuing for several feet behind him.

“My Lord,” he said, sounding like crumply old paper as he attempted to bow.  He was unable to adjust the angle of his upper body whatsoever, and after a few minutes of struggling merely smiled and waved his hand out wide as he ever so slightly inclined his spotted head.  “How may I be of service?”

“This young pup is the one!  I have… sensed it…” he said, rubbing his back where he had struck the wall, “You must take him to the door of 1000 sorrows and use your priestly magic to open the gateway to the realm of fire…”  The priest politely coughed.

“My lord, i dont see…there’s no way that…”

“My gods, out with it man!”

“How can we be sure he is the one?  The prophecies of Balor have been lost in the crypts of night for nearly 10,000 years, and none have found a copy since the great library of Amon-Hotep burned in 3000 BCE!”  The lord merely gestured to my sword, which was currently spewing forth copious amounts of blood at an alarming rate, like a fire hydrant.  Except with blood instead of water.  A blood hydrant.

“My lord…is that…could it be?”  He stammered, pulling out a pair of ancient spectacles and balancing them on his nose, “It is!  The Fucking Death Sword of Amon-Ra, forged from the rarest Satan-Stone and reforged in the heart of Soviet Russia by the master sword-smith Aegar the Bold!  Surely this is the man the prophecies would have spoken of if anyone knew where they were!”

“Bah!” said the lord,” The man?  He’s just a young pup!  But he’ll do, he’ll do.  Take him then… to the door of 1000 sorrows!”

“At once, your grace!  This way, young man!”

The priest led me down yet another stone hallway, different from the one he had come from.  This one led to stairs that traveled ominously downwards into darkness.  The priest grabbed a torch form a sconce in the wall and, muttering an incantation of some-sort, lit it aflame.

“Jesus take the wheel!” I exclaimed, stepping backwards and shielding my face, “What manner of sorcery is this?”  The old priest laughed lightly and turned towards me with a knowing look on his face.

“There is much you’ve yet to learn, herp,” he said, in a voice as old as the stars.  His face suddenly darkened as he turned away.  “And much hardship you’ve yet to face…”

We walked for what seemed like hours, down endless tunnels in a labyrinthine labyrinth of doom, through ancient archways covered in eldritch runes, past timeworn statues of long forgotten heroes.  At long last we came upon a large stone chamber, hewn from the living rock itself.  At the far end of the hall was a normal looking door, like one you might find in a business.  A sign was hanging on it that said “Quiet!  Testing in progress”

“From this point forward, my lord, I can no longer accompany you.  I must ask that you do not bring your cell phone into the testing room.  For your connivence there are some lockers by the door where you can store your personal belongings.  Testing time might take up to 5 hours, so be prepared to stay the full length of time.  There is a 10 minute break halfway through should you wish to take it.  I’ll take your cell phone now, if you would be so kind.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, handing it to him before I strode confidentially toward the door.

“One more thing, good serrah.  The GRE is mighty foe and should not be taken lightly!  None who have ever faced him have come back!  Take this!” He cried dramatically, tossing a parcel into my hands.

“What is it?” I inquired, turning the package over as I inspected it.

“A mighty weapon.  They say the GRE knows fabled words of power, words able to bring the strongest warrior crashing to his knees in mere seconds!  This will help turn the tide, should the GRE call upon such foul witchcraft!  But only open it when your need is greatest!  Farewell!”  He called as he faded from sight.

“Wait, what about my phone?” I called back.  There was no answer.  I was alone now.  I opened the door and stepped through.

The room on the other side was not actually a room at all, but was a mighty forest.  Trees towered hundreds of feet, reaching toward the sky with greedy branches.  The air had a tint of green about it and there was a light mist upon the forest floor.  The woods were unnaturally quiet, as if nothing lived here.  Nothing alive, that is.  I slowly drew my terrible blade from it’s orphan-bone sheath across my back and waited.

“HA HA HA HA!” boomed a mighty voice, resonding throughout the woods like Pavoratti singing in the shower.  “WHO DARES ENTER THE REALM OF THE DREADED GRE?”

“It is I!”  I boomed back “Sir William!  Conqueror of the SAT!  Slayer of the ACT!  Destroyer of AP stats and World history!”

“PATHETIC.  I WILL END THIS QUICKLY.”  No sooner the words been said when a shadow darted up to me with preternatural speed, swinging a blade sheathed in flame directly at my forehead.  I hurled myself to the left, spinning and taking only a glancing blow on my shoulder.  Blood began to drip down my arm.

“AH!  I SEE YOU HAVE MASTERED THE ART OF MOVING HORIZONTALLY!  BUT CAN YOU MOVE…. VERTICALLY??” The voice boomed, as the shadow appeared again and struck hard at my bellybutton, faster than the eye could follow.  I however had anticipated the attack and was already in the process of doing a 12980 degree quadruple backflip mega spin that propelled me 123 feet in the air.  Simple, really, once you get down to it.  I landed 500 feet away, blasting a crater in the ground that was approximately 10,000 miles in diameter, leveling the forest.

“ENOUGH! Show yourself, GRE!!!!” I howled.

“VERY WELL.”  The voice resounded.  And suddenly a hobbit like creature standing in front of me, wearing heavy rimmed glasses frames with no lenses and a scarf, even though it wasn’t cold.

Like this, but with a scarf. And no gun

“I thought you’d be…well…”




“Unwise,” I stated matter of factly as I leveled Fucking Death Sword and unleased a torrent of electrical doom energy powerful enough to be seen all the way to Alpha Centauri.  The Alpha Centaurians mistook the terrible display for a sign from their god and immediately stopped construction of their mighty Space Armada, scrapping their plans to destroy earth once and for all, and adopted a peaceful and environmentally friendly lifestyle that would be the envy of the Space Hippie Planet for years to come.

“GAHHHHHHH!” I screamed untill the flood of destruction subsided.  The GRE was still there, if not slightly worse for the wear.

“AH,” it said, “I SEE YOU HAVE THE FABLED FUCKING DEATH SWORD.  IMPRESSIVE.  BUT IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN SWORDS TO SAVE YOU NOW. BEHOLD, ONE OF THE THAUMATURGIC WORDS OF POWER:  BELLICOSE!”  The last word resounded as if it were shouted by god in a large cave.  My sword began to shake violently as the earth rumbled.

“CONTUMACIOUS!  DENOUEMENT, DESULTORY, DIDACTIC!”  The ground itself was being rent asunder and split by the arcane words.  Fissures began to appear, bursting forth copious amounts of lava,magma, and hate.  This is it, I thought, the end.  A wall of magma rose in the air, towering over me like an insidious wave.  I shut my eyes and braced myself.

Nothing happened, apart from a faint bell sounding somewhere far off.

“DAMN.  YOU MAY NOW TAKE A 10 MINUTE BREAK, IF YOU SO DESIRE.” Sighed the GRE.  The fire and lava was suspended in the air, unmoving.

“Um yes, i would like that.  Thanks.”

“OK FINE.  YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES STARTING… NOW.  IF YOU DO NOT RETURN WITHIN THE TIME ALLOTTED YOUR TEST SCORES WILL BE MARKED AS INVALID.”  A door shimmered into existence  a few feet away and i stepped through it.  I stepped into a pleasant break room, complete with a snack machine, water fountain, bathroom and some furniture.  I sat dow, reaching into my belt pouch and pulling out the package the old priest had given me.  Gingerly, I removed the brown paper that wrapped it and gasped in surprise at the book contained within.

The Dictionary of Fucking Useless Words: Magic Edition!,” I exclaimed.  I opened up to a page at random and began to read.  All the words the GRE had been screaming at me during the fight were there!  A wicked grin spread across my face and I heard the old priest’s wispy voice quietly say ” turn the tide”  I made for the door.

The GRE had been sitting on the ground looking completely bored, and jumped excitedly to his feet when I stepped through the door.

“AH YOU’RE BACK.  GOOD, GOOD.  NOW, WHERE WERE WE?  AH YES.”  He said, and then raised his hands powerfully, cackling maniacally as the fire and lava swept down towards me.

“Bellicose!” I shouted as as my doom quickly approached, ” adj. inclined or eager to fight!”   The fire and lava halted immediately, and began to slowly recede.  The GRE stopped it’s maniacal laughter and slowly lowered it’s hands.  It looked…confused.


“CONTUMACIOUS!” I screamed, “ADJ. STUBBORNLY PERVERSE OR REBELLIOUS!”  The fire and lava were completely gone now.

“NO!!” It wailed, “IT CANNOT BE!”

“YES!” I roared, brandishing The Dictionary of Fucking Useless Words: Magic Edition! “DENOUEMENT!


“DE-NOUE-MENT!” I enunciated wickedly, each syllable wracking the GRE’s tiny frame with painful spasms of doom, “NOUN!  THE FINAL RESOLUTION OF THE INTRICACIES OF THE PLOT!”  The definition rang out across the wasteland like an angelic trumpet,  repairing the rent soil and restoring the forest in one mighty sounding.  The GRE was thrown off it’s feet and hit the ground with an unholy crack, defeated.

“How…?” It asked weakly, struggling to rise.

“No.” I said, striding toward its broken form.  “The question is not how.”  I thrust The Fucking Death Sword into it’s foul heart.  The GRE let out a death rattle terrible to hear, and burst into a dark, insubstantial mist, that slowly receded into the soil, as if it were never anything more substantial or fearsome than vaporized water droplets.

“The question… is why.  Why test people on such stupid vocabulary that no one would ever use?”  Moments later, a shimmering archway appeared in the air that was an exact replica of the door of 1000 sorrows.  I stepped through and returned to the lobby of the Prometric testing center.

“You did it!” shouted the receptionist gleefully.

“I knew you had it in you, young pup!” said the lord, bobbing his head happily.  The wizened old priest stepped forward and presented me with my phone.

“Masterfully done, my lord.  I must now take this time to remind you that you may not repeat an confidential specifics of the test to anyone else, dead or alive, by penalty of death.”

I nodded.  And then I left, just as mysteriously as I arrived.  Only with less lightening and cyclones


And the sky shall bleed planking

Sorry for not having been on for a while, not that i actually have any dedicated readers….

anyway, here is n awesome video my friends and i made

If you don’t know what planking is, here you go

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