[Bear with me. The webcam should be working in a moment]
[Italics are overheard, results of interactions, requests from you good people]
He drinks as though he needs a drink. He really does need a drink. She watches as he sucks on his glass. Lemonade. And it's not even 9am. Lemonade for breakfast, might be the most unearthly thing. He is other-wordly.
He didn't seem all that thirsty when she walked up to the counter. But now, he swallows and gulps, finding a way to breathe between. Still drinking, he asks her what she'll have.
"Latte. Extra hot. Extra foam. Extra chocolately."
"Like a mocha?" he asks.
"Like a latte."
He puts down his glass, empty, and says it's rude to ask a barista for a drink that's not on the menu.
She pulls out her wallet, and slaps it on the counter. "For the extra hot latte." Her name is Harriet Bardo.
A woman nearby says, "If I pay for anything in Euros, it feels like it's free. It's not real money."
A man nearby says, "I don't do anything alone anymore. I'm never along anymore. And I love it."
There's a dog in the cafe. It barks.
Barista has glasses, large specs of the overtaking-your-face kind. "If you say it's hot enough, I'll give you it on the house."
A woman nearby says, "When the children were young, I had a library trolley when I used to wheel into the lounge. They were allowed two books at a time. What a treat. Here come the shelves, brimming with books for the kiddies."
Somewhere, a jukebox plays.
Our character takes the coffee and says, "It's hot, but it's not foamy enough."
Barista picks up the cup, made. Offers it to her.
Staff that throw drinks at customers are usually sacked. Customers that complain, touch or make lewd comments? They're the ones who can't pay in full and hope to use friendliness or aggression to make up the difference.
Harriet Bardo can see what is happening. Says, "Don't."
The barista says, "I want to see if it's hot enough for you."
Someone in cafe asks for mineral water and their partner says, "She'll have a beer."
Four people order an approximation of what everyone always orders for a brunch-time-of-the-day. Pasta, sandwiches, salad. That's what we eat. A man called Petie has dreadlocks and wants a child's portion, which causes some embarrassment from an older woman. It's resolved when the man agrees to take the full-sized dish and pile what he can't eat into a napkin and save it for later.
Harriet places her hands flat on the counter. She reaches for the cup. It is no longer steaming. But it might still be chocolately. There is a spillage by her little finger, the shape of a speech mark.
Harriet will do something now. [Thanks!] Harriet picks up the cup, takes the coffee, swills it in her mouth and bursts the liquid in the direction of the lemonade-drinking, too-early-in-the-morning, strange barista. And he talked too loudly. And he was smug. The coffee is a rainbow stream of brown and orange and darker brown bits, that travels from her mouth and flops in a puddle on the counter. It drips down her chin a little.
Eyes squeezed closed, our heroine wipes her mouth and says, "That was more like a cappuccino."