Coffee Sensibility – Part III

Coffee Sensibility: Part III

A thousand tortured thoughts flew through my mind as I waited in the vacant chatroom. Where was my beloved duckwrangler508? What if my reply had been lost in cyberspace? What if the address were wrong and he waited elsewhere, convinced I had spurned his attentions? What if a customer wanted coffee before he arrived? What if Mr. Purvis noticed that I was not working?

Before my fears could spiral beyond control, a familiar handle entered the room.

duckwrangler508

I smiled to see him there and blushed as I realized he had arranged for a private room.

hi” appeared upon my screen in deep blue Times New Roman. Bold, of course, suggesting classic masculinity and yet, the font itself gave the impression of subtle restraint.

I hesitated; no girlish exuberance of pink or purple would do. I pulled on a forest green Garamond, then in a coquettish whim, added italic for a feminine slant.

hi,” I typed back.

duckwrangler508> were u waiting long?

exitreal297> no I jst got here

duckwrangler508> thnx 4 meetn me

exitreal297> happy 2 ive enjoyed yr emails

duckwrangler508> im glad

The immediacy of real time paralyzed me with sudden awkwardness. Gone was the leisure to review each sentence, to consider and ponder possible misinterpretations. What could I say to express my raptures of delight?

exitreal297> cool

I hit enter and instantly wished I could call the letters back, even as they appeared on the screen. I hoped he would not think me too forward.

duckwrangler508> my name is Keith

His name! My hand rose unbidden to press against my chest as if in an effort to keep my heart within.

A new line appeared. duckwrangler508> can i ask yrs plz?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! My fingers shook upon the keys and I accidentally hit the caps lock key. Thankfully I caught my error and backspaced, before sending, “Sophia.

duckwrangler508> Sophia 🙂 thts a pretty name

exitreal297> thnx

duckwrangler508> yr msgs hv meant a grt deal 2 me

exitreal297> rlly?

duckwrangler508> yeah

exitreal297> u dont need much, do u

duckwrangler508> just u

How tempting it was to read deeper meaning into those five simple letters.

duckwrangler508> r u set up 4 vc chat?

Voice Chat? I swallowed nervously. Things were going so fast and yet I had little time before the lunchtime rush of customers arrived. To hear Ducky’s voice meant more to me than I could say, but did I dare risk it? I glanced at my manager. He was staring at me, as if daring me to step outside the lines.

Why had I not waited until I was at home before responding? Oh, the woe, the heartache, the sharp pangs of remorse I suffered as I stared at his invitation.

I dropped my eyes, and stared at the cursor blinking accusingly on the screen.

exitreal297> sorry

duckwrangler508> 2 bd

At the same moment, I heard, “Too bad.” As I frantically reached for the volume control, I realized the voice came from across the café.

My manager stood and faced me. “You have a lovely voice.”

Beyond him, I could see his computer screen with a chat room glowing upon it–the same chat room I had shared with my beloved Ducky. There could be but one answer.

A rushing grew in my ears louder than the hissing steam of a latte, the room swam with black specks like Indonesia Toraja Sulawesi grounds spilled upon the floor and I swooned from my seat.


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting installment.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

4 Responses

  1. Mike F

    Uh oh. He’s he known all along? Was he afraid to talk to her in real life? Or, is she going to get in trouble for being on the internet at work? I’m going to need to wait, aren’t I?

  2. Todd

    Oooohh. Nice saga. You simply must add an intro song snippet. Perhaps an amalgam of 5 – 6 soap themes, with a few seconds sampled from each? Not a peep to the RIAA, I promise.