Not all dramas play out on stage


A Woman stands in line, purse out seemingly ready to pay. The door opens and one customer comes in. He checks his watch and then stands behind the Woman fidgeting slightly.

Woman: This just doesn’t seem right.

Barista: That is what the computer says.

Woman: I feel like it’s too much.

The door opens again and another customer takes his place behind the fidgeting man.

Woman: It just doesn’t seem right.

Barista: Let me get the manager.

The Manager appears putting on her glasses, and then glances at the computer screen.

Manager: Everything looks right.

Woman: I just feel like it’s too expensive.

Manager: Two pounds of coffee. $36. That is correct.

The front door opens again, two more people dutifully queue up behind the two already standing.

Woman: Can you double check?

Manager: Sure. Meanwhile would you like your free coffee that accompanies the purchase?

Woman: Sure. I’ll have a venti tuxedo with nonfat milk.

Barista: We don’t do tuxedos here. Or ventis.

There are now eight people in line behind the Woman. The door opens and a young couple takes one look at the line closes the door and leaves. Meanwhile the people in line start to smile knowingly at each other.

Woman: I’ve had one here before.

Manager: If you tell us what is in it maybe we can make one?

Woman: I feel it has coffee, and steamed milk.

Barista: Anything else?

The door opens and closes again, this time with nobody entering. The third person in line behind the Woman now looks at his watch and then exits out another door.

Woman: Chocolate. I think.

The Manager looks at the first person in line while still engaged with the Woman’s transaction.

Manager: It will just be a second. Sorry for the wait.

After double checking, the Manager looks back at the Woman.

Manager: How would you like to pay for this?

Woman: I have a gift card in here somewhere.

The Woman begins to rifle through her purse. The line now extends out the open door, with several new people joining it, and several previous people leaving it. Meanwhile the Manager tries to engage the first man in line behind the Woman.

Manager: What can I get started for you?

The Woman recoils in indignation.

Woman: I thought you were helping me?

This new development is cut short by the Woman finding her gift card. The Manager swipes it. “No balance” appears on the screen.

Manager: There’s nothing on this card.

Woman: Are you sure?

The Manager swipes it again. “No balance” clearly appears.

Woman: Can you double check?

Manager: I’ve already checked twice.

Meanwhile the Barista appears with a drink.

Woman: What’s this?

Barista: It’s a medium tuxedo with nonfat milk. I looked it up on my phone.

Woman: Can I get it light foam?

Manager: Do you have another form of payment?

Woman: I have another credit card here somewhere.

She begins to rifle through her purse again. Two other people in line now leave. The Woman finally produces a credit card. It is declined. She rifles through her purse again for another card. It is declined as well. The Barista returns with the now remade drink. The Woman takes a sip and wrinkles her nose.

Woman: Can you double check?

Manager: Ma’am we really need to take care of these other people.

The Woman looks at the people behind her, noticing them for the first time. After double-checking both cards twice, the Manager hands everything back to the Woman.

Manager: You need to pay cash. Now, ma’am.

Woman: I don’t have cash.

The Woman takes a sip of her tuxedo coffee. The Manager looks at her, the beans, the coffee and then the line of people.

Manager: Just take the tuxedo and go.

The Woman looks at the Manager and then slowly, rearranges her purse, clearly muttering to herself. Two other customers are attended to by reaching over her shoulders. She makes no effort to move out of the way. When she finally does leave, the coffee shop erupts in applause.

CAPTION: [Not all dramatic performances take place in a theater.]