To Some of the Men I Buy Coffee from in the Mornings

by Emily LAWTON

Guy in the cart by the Rite Aid:

Hi there. Your little metal cart says “Best Coffee in Town!” I used to buy one small cup from you every day, for 75 cents. You always called me “dear” which I think is nice. It seems like I always interrupted you while you were stepping out of your pastry cart for a cigarette, and I’m sorry about that. You seem like a pleasant man, and not creepy. Then one day your coffee didn’t taste as good anymore. I gave it a few more chances, and it still remained below par. I started coming by less often. Later, they did that road construction so your cart was sometimes across the street, and sometimes not there at all. I never got back in the habit. Sorry about that.

Employees of Oren’s Daily Roast:

Sometimes your coffee of the day is good, and sometimes it isn’t. I accept that it’s bound to be that way. Why are you all so surly, though? I always tip you, and I’m unfailingly polite. Your work environment is generally clean and I’ve never seen you abused by a customer. Yet, always angry or indifferent. It seems to me that you have it pretty good. Also: guy who looks like Lavar Burton, you shortchanged me $5.

Guy in the cart by the Library:

Your coffee is not good, but it’s the cheapest. I admit that I do sometimes have only 50 cents on my person, and that’s when I come to you. The crap you serve is still better than what’s available free in the kitchen at work.

Fellow at Au Bon Pain this morning:

Sorry I only had a twenty dollar bill to give you. The eighteen singles I got back make my wallet bulge suggestively. The truth is I only bought it so I could have an excuse to use your restroom — I needed to change my clothes. PS: I like your little uniforms.

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