A Story About That Guy #3

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Which dumb-ass gives a guy a soup without a spoon? I knew engaging in any type of social interaction with That Guy would make me mess up.
“Just a moment please,” I told the new client at the till and picked up a bundle of utensils from the drawer. Should I lay the utensils down on the table in a proper table-setting position? That would put me way into his personal bubble. Unless I did it from the other side of the table. That should work, shouldn’t it?
As I headed toward him, That Guy stopped scanning his tray and looked up toward the counter. I thrust the utensils forward, almost disfiguring him with the fork. Holding my shame tight behind my teeth, I said, “There you go, Sir. Sorry for my mistake,” spun on my heel and returned behind the safety of the employee-only side of counter.
That Guy gave me a nod of thanks from his now-very-safe distance.
Throughout the lunch crowd and afternoon, I did my best to focus on the clients, and not let my eyes and mind wander towards That Guy. He typed away on his computer, interrupting the click-click of the keyboard for some munch-munch on his food or reading the Internet. I couldn’t think up a sound-turned-verb for that one. I missed the ruffle-ruffle of books sometimes.
What was he doing on his computer? Maybe he was indeed a student. Or a writer. Or a mad scientist plotting world domination on a chat of mad scientists. It could happen. He was That Guy, and we had free WiFi.
Four o’clock came around, and That Guy packed up his things. He brought his tray of dirty dishes to the end of my counter and piled it neatly amongst the other dishes. He then slid over to the till, which gave me no time to prepare myself since there were no other client waiting.
“I’d like another cappuccino to go, please.”
“Coming right up!” I replied maybe a tiny bit too cheerfully. Something had to compensate for my unease, and it wasn’t as if I was subtle enough to tap my foot or something as innocuous. I didn’t want this awkward situation to last, so I prepped the cappuccino as fast as the machine would allow. No fluffy foam design this time. I had to put a plastic lid over the thing so what would be the use of that.
“There you go!” I said and rang his order.
“Thanks…” He squinted to read the orange name tag on my cerulean vest. “Sam.” He handed me the cash for his coffee. “I’m—” Don’t say it! Don’t say it! “Craig, by the way.”
Damn it all to hell and back. Why did he have to introduce himself? All I wanted was to forget Craig’s name so he could be That Guy again. That Guy was safe, a simple nameless client. Craig… Craig was too real for my own good.
But I couldn’t forget Craig’s name because he would expect me to know it the next time he walked in and pretending otherwise would make me seem like I tried to avoid messaging my interest. I was trapped. Utterly trapped.
“You’re welcome, Craig. Have a wonderful evening.”
“You too!” At long last, he walked out.
I wished I could curl up in a corner and mourn the loss of That Guy. He had been here three times this week. We had exchanged first names. Obviously, he planned to be a regular and push the socialising. For good or nefarious purposes?
Why was I staring at the espresso machine? Who does that?

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

2 responses to “A Story About That Guy #3

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