Jake and Aaron Go for Coffee
©2022 R.G. Ryan
“Did you watch the Oscars Sunday night?” asked Aaron Perry—world famous jazz artist and my best friend.
We stood in line for coffee at the shrine of the Green Mermaid, each of us scanning the vastly reduced seating area in hopes of something opening up by the time we had our coffee.
It wasn’t looking good.
I said, “No, I didn’t, and I’m probably none the poorer for it.”
“Well, I did,” he replied in a long-suffering tone of voice.
“That bad, huh?”
“Oh, most definitely,” he said, shaking his head slowly. “Just a bunch of self-absorbed, spoiled rotten millionaires who think that just because they up on the silver screen they got something important to say about the world.”
“And that we should humbly bow in obeisance, grateful for their munificent oration?”
Raising one eyebrow he said, “Something like that.”
“Good thing you’re not like them,” I added with a smile.
“Yeah, well, I got my opinions just like everyone else, but I learned a long time ago that it’s best to keep them to my own self. It’s like that thing I saw on the face book a while back. Said something like, ‘Ten steps to lose all your friends. Number one, express an opinion. Number two…nope, that should take care of it.’”
I spied a well-dressed young couple toward the back whose body language seemed to indicate that their departure was imminent.
“Get my coffee,” I said while moving in their direction. “I’m going into hover mode.”
Sidling nonchalantly up to their table I attempted to be inconspicuous while at the same time closely scrutinizing their every facial expression.
Being inconspicuous, that is.
“You waiting for us to leave?” said the business-suited man with the oh-so stylish designer frames perched atop his not insubstantial nose.
I said lightly, “Hey, tables are hard to come by in here these days,” adding a winning smile to my pronouncement.
Let me hasten to add that it wasn’t THE smile, for I felt him unworthy to be so graced.
I would have gladly given THE smile to his companion had she spoken, for in addition to being indisputably lovely, she seemed a gentle soul.
“Well, you can relax, pal because we’re not leaving any time soon,” he said in a quite cranky voice.
Quite cranky, indeed, if you wish to know the truth.
Aaron chose that moment to appear at my right hand with our coffees.
“These folks leaving?” he inquired, more to them than to me.
“No/Yes!” said the man and woman in unison before turning puzzled glances on each other.
“Well, which is it?” Aaron said smoothly.
The man stared at Aaron, saying, “Anyone ever tell you that you’re a dead ringer for Aaron Perry?”
“You the first one today. Next thing you’ll be saying is that my friend here looks like Jake Moriarity.”
He eyeballed me. “Nah. I’ve seen him on TV. He’s much taller.”
The woman, waving away her companion’s comment said, “It’s a shame the way they’ve taken out seating to encourage more pickup orders, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, man,” Aaron said, elongating the first word. “Getting so you can’t find a seat anymore.”
Cranky-man said, “Gee, that’s a real shame, now if you’ll ex—“
“He and I are pals, Aaron,” said I, the non sequitur troubling me not at all.
“That a fact? And you loving to be called ‘pal’ the way you do.”
“What?” the man said as if completely befuddled by our conversation.
“Well, you can just have our seats,” said the woman sweetly.
Cranky-man looked at the woman, at us, at the woman, and then back at us.
Standing quickly, he spat, “Fine!” his head reaching no higher than Aaron’s chest. “But don’t think we’re leaving because you guys intimidated us into it!”
Sensing a needless confrontation brewing I leaned in toward his shirt and said, “I’m not sure that’ll come out,” while pointing to a coffee stain the size of New Hampshire on his high thread count dress shirt.
Following my gaze he said desperately, “Oh, man! How did that happen?”
“Probably be when you was actin’ so jovial and all,” Aaron said in a complete deadpan.
The woman tried in vain to hide a smile.
I said, “You can probably get most of that out with club soda.”
“Club soda?” he said in disbelief.
“Yeah. It’s amazing what that stuff can do.” I paused before adding, “Or is it Windex?”
“I think you confusing it with WD-40,” Aaron said.
Turning my attention back to the man I said, “Now that I think about it, I’m not sure what it was…maybe even duct tape.”
“We gotta’ go! I can’t go into that meeting looking like this,” he said to the woman before turning and hurrying toward the exit.
“Looks like the table is all yours,” the woman said with a big smile.
Aaron frowned after the man. “He always disgustingly pleasant like that?”
She laughed. “He has a big interview this morning, but truthfully he does tend toward the cranky side.”
I said, “What position is he interviewing for?”
She tried to hold a straight face but couldn’t do it and burst into laughter along with Aaron and me.
After we had all calmed down she glanced toward the door where her impatient companion stood gesturing wildly for her to hurry along.
“Well,” she said. “I’ve got to run. Don’t want to keep Mr. Happy-pants waiting.”
We watched her go.
“Why would a pretty, sweet girl like that take up with a dude like him?” Aaron said.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore, is winged Cupid painted blind.”
“Shakespeare,” Aaron said rhetorically, before we finished together, “But what does he know?”
Check out the Jake Moriarity series of thrillers available exclusively on Amazon.