“You look like you’ve been to a Trump rally.”
Smith’s left eye was swollen. “Very funny and topical. I ran into a 2×4 in my garage.”
Smith was fourth in line at a Starbucks. Her friend from high school was third.
“Other than being on the wrong end of a piece of lumber, what are you doing these days?”
“Looking for work, but my eye will scare employers, so I’m on sabbatical.”
“Hey, do you still write?”
“Well, we could use some help at the paper.”
“I’m not a reporter. And what paper?”
“The Edge—it’s for downtowners—kind of a vibe publication.“
The friend turned to the barista before Smith could respond—that’s how her life had been lately—people turning their back on her without warning.
“What’d ya say?” asked the friend.
“Nothing really.” Smith put her hand palms down on the counter while her friend stepped to the side.
“Nothing really?” asked the barista.
Smith blinked, lost momentarily in the blur of her thoughts. She coughed out the words: “Grande, Italian roast.”
“Let’s sit over there,” said the friend, pointing to an unoccupied sofa in the far corner.
Smith wanted to go outside—too much static inside. But in robot style, she trudged over to the sofa, coffee in hand while her friend waited by the pick-up station.
Her eye started to pulsate with a slight ache. The coffee burned her tongue. She closed her eyes and silently recited her mantra: peace and love. When she opened them, her friend was seated next to her with a giant container.
“What’s that? asked Smith.
“Six shot venti espresso con panna on ice.” Her friend’s hand quivered as she took a gulp.
“Should be illegal, especially after 4 pm,” said Smith.
“You want ‘illegal’? Who belted you?”
Smith’s face dropped. “I did go to a Trump rally.”
“Where was it?”
Smith peered down at her coffee–time for another lie.