Coffee Shop

Frank Holloway walked into the coffee shop. The antique bell on the back of the door rang out, signaling his arrival to the other three patrons nursing their morning caffeine. He sat down, opened his satchel, and pulled out his ancient laptop. As it whirled and clicked, going thru its laborious boot process, he grabbed a bundle of folders from the bag and smacked them onto the stone tabletop.

“Professor?” an unfamiliar voice came from the table behind him, which he ignored as a comment unrelated to himself.

“Writer then?” The voice persisted, louder this time.
 
“Huh? No. I- were you talking to me?” Frank responded, covering his papers as he turned to see a twenty-something brunette addressing him.
 
“Yeah. Sorry. Just- I talk a lot when I’m nervous,” she said, a momentary uneasy smile crossing her lips before she tucked her hair behind her hair with her hand.
 
He smiled, accentuating the perpetual bags underneath his eyes. “No. It’s fine,” he replied, turning slightly toward her table. “What made you think I was a professor?”
 
“I figured either a professor or a writer. Your shoes are way too,” she paused, choosing her words carefully before continuing, “comfortable . . . for you to be much other than an intellectual type.”
 
He looked over his square-lensed glasses at the girl. “I could be a hipster. These glasses-“ 
“No. Not with those slacks,” she chuckled, “and a hipster wouldn’t be seen in public with that antique of a laptop.”

The server uttered an exasperated “ahem” drawing his attention for a moment. “What can I get for you, Frank?”
 
“Green tea, please.” When the server dropped her notepad into her waist apron and shuffled off behind the counter, his attention returned to the topic at hand. “Do you make a habit of analyzing strangers in coffee shops? . . .” 

“Beth, and like I said. I get chatty when I’m nervous.” She took a sip of coffee from her styro-plastic cup. “Don’t read anything into it.”
 
“Fair enough,” he replied. The server returned with a cup of hot tea; he thanked her and she disappeared once again. “What are you nervous about, Beth?”
 
“This could be my last cup of coffee as a free woman.”
 
“Getting married?” he asked; his eyes shifting downward. 

Bethany laughed. “No. I’ve got a date with the public defender in about an hour.” 

“What did you do?” he asked, his interest piqued.  

“Kneed an asshole in his balls.” 

“Did he deserve it?”  

Her eyes flared wide, “Of course he deserved it.” 

“It shouldn’t be you worrying about going to jail then,” he quickly added. 

“You don’t know much about how these things work then, Frank,” she replied, heavily accentuating his name as she spoke. “Justice is blind, unless you have an expensive lawyer.” 

“There are a few good lawyers that aren’t that expensive,” he paused, sipped his tea and then continued, “I know of one at least.” 

She cocked her head and squinted at Frank. “You’re a lawyer. Like, a real lawyer.” 

“Yes. I am.”