For Kalvin, I don’t think I know you, but I like the cut of your word-based jib.
We are all reasonable men, all. But for all reason there is an edge, and I am at mine.
And, of all the things to push me there, it’s the thing that—perhaps—at the end of the day, I always knew would be my trigger. And that is caffeine. Sweet, sweet coffee and caffeine.
And the edge is the barista.
And, though she would not know it, her words, in this moment, I’m sure, will make her a historical figure. Songs will mention her by name—if only because she bothered to wear a name tag this fateful day.
“Here’s your drink,” she says to me and smiles with a soft smile. She has this reddish-brown hair, and this freckle dusting on her nose, which I love.
But, I put the drink up to my mouth, and in a second I do not love her anymore. Not in the littlest bit. Through the faint slit in the cap, the liquid inside sloshes into my throat and spirals down.
The acrid taste of the lack of cream is on my tongue and I die inside. I just…die. I cannot. As I said, this is my edge. I’ve dealt with enough shit, enough scorn. I failed a test, not an hour before this—and I think my girlfriend is fucking my English teacher. Which means she’s bi, if not flat-out gay, and this will not stand any moment longer.
They said having a pocket knife in class was enough to get arrested. I do not doubt it, but I still pull out the sucker I’m always carrying, and before she can say anything to defend herself, I plunge the blade into her throat with a war cry of the ages.
“I asked for milk!”
She gasps and looks at me in what I hope is pure shame. I pray she understands what she did to me in her final moments as her blood trickles down over the counter and she falls with rolling-back eyes.
I turn on my retracting motion, throwing my coffee over the counter into one of the other baristas and finish rotating to stare at the line behind me.
Standing there, as expected, is many other twenty-somethings: my people. And they have the glazed over expressions of people still in shock. My shirt is sticking down with blood, and I’m still gripping the offending knife.
I drop the knife and hold up both hands to curtail the incoming screams. I could just tell from the air they were coming.
“Okay,” I say, and my confidence surprisingly rises, “I know what you must think, but I have something to say.”
A pause and the woman in front of me has her mouth shrink back from a gasp to a neutral expression and cocks her head. The other people pause, looking confused.
“Well, okay then: explain,” she says.
I breathe out, nice and slow. “Alright, she gave me the wrong coffee, I asked for cream because straight black coffee is disgusting.”
“So, you killed her?” came another person’s response. “That seems like an overreaction.”
I narrow my eyes as all these things I’ve always wanted to say bubble to the surface. The cops will be here, no doubt, in the next minute. But I need to get this all off my chest.
“Yes, I did kill her. And you want to know why? Because that’s what the response should be! How many annoying people are there? Have you seen the people trickling into the newest classes at schools? It’s a fucking zoo! I say, that we, as millennials, have the right to murder those who offend us, even when it’s only a little bit.”
“What about safe spaces?” asks a familiar voice, coming from the back. Kallie, my literature sucking girlfriend, walked in during my speech and now she stood with her overalls and fedora.
I sigh and nod my head. “Yeah, obviously, we honor safe spaces. That just makes sense, but what I mean is…”
“Should we kill, like, equally?” Kallie chimes back into the conversation I’m having with my mob. “Like, we should honor women by murdering them more, or less? And what about, like debates…?”
With a skill, a skill I did not know I knew, I flick the blade through the crowd, nearly hitting a random dude with dreadlocks, before it plunges into Kallie’s forehead and sinks deep. She shudders and falls over, and the others clear to give her body some space.
Another long silence, and I hold out my arms, before looking back to step into the now empty—but full of the blood from the other girl I killed—main coffee-making space.
And I spread my arms out even further and smile. “Do you see what I mean! Is that not liberating? This is awesome!”
Another pause, and during it, I turn and add some cream to a straight black coffee, just like I like it. I add caramel sauce, since I can, and drain it in one gulp.
“This is the future. Am I right or am I right?”
One guy answers with a question. “Do we get to have free coffee too?”
I place my hands together and nod. Looking like I’m praying. “Oh yes. All you can drink. Let’s raid this place!”
The front girl smiles and bops her head. “Yeah, okay, yeah! This is perfect! Let’s do this!”
I pump my fist above my head and laugh. “Yeah, this is a perfect idea! Let’s go, let’s go! Coffee!”
The entire crowd cheers so damn loud. They make me almost deaf with the din of them, and I step back, taking with me another cup of coffee, as they stream into the space, fighting for the caramel.
I keep stepping back, going outside, and I feel impressed as my phone vibrates with more and more updates. Apparently, someone in the coffee shop recorded my revolutionary speech and posted it online.
The video went viral already, and my accounts are lit.
I slurp down my coffee and realize what this could all mean. What I could now do, as the world saw all I’d done, all I’d showed as the truth. Anything was possible now.
So, I figure I’ll go kill my English teacher before finals. And make sure not to piss off anyone in the process. After all, they had the right to plug me in the face same as I’d do to them.
I may now be a wanted criminal, and somewhat soon, probably, a starter of a murder horde and genocide, but that did not mean I was a hypocrite. No, never that.
I have my standards.