And it starts.
First sip of coffee and the door to Starbucks opens and Mr. Wonderful stumbles in.
Two things stand out. One, he is not a regular customer. He doesn’t even mess with the line, he just makes a beeline for the bathroom. The kind of line a bee makes when it has been up for two days on a nasty cocktail of meth, weed, and Jack straight out of the bottle.
Two, he looks like shit. His clothes were nice once. Now, they need a wash and a good pressing by someone who knows how.
The manager spies him like a hawk the first second. His job is not an easy one. He has a Starbucks in a really nice section of town so he gets a higher class of people.
But he is about a block from the beach, so he gets the best the beach has to offer. Mostly, its just the homeless, harmless for the most part, right up until they aren’t.
Back to Mr. Wonderful.
He bypasses the bathroom and goes right thru the door to the back room. As that door has a security keypad on it, I am not sure how that works.
The manager sees it too. He bolts for the back, just as Mr. Wonderful exits the back and goes into the bathroom.
The door to the back room opens and the manager steps out.
He looks at me with his hands held halfway up in a WTF gesture.
I point at the bathroom. I view my job as mainly self entertainment, but I can be helpful on occassion.
The door is ajar.
Now, I view barging in on a meth head while he shits as a potentially bad idea. You get cut that way.
The manager, however, views that as job one.
What ensues is a little tension-bomb dream-come-true.
Its going to be a good day.
In the following exchange, the manager is speaking loud, not yelling, but using his “Authority” voice. Its in the Starbucks manual, look it up.
Mr. Wonderful is yelling.
“What are you doing in my back room?”
“You aren’t allowed in there.”
“Don’t go in there again.”
“I’M TAKING A SHIT!”
The door closes and the manager goes in the back.
I am no longer pretending to mind my own and I am just openly watching.
The tension in the Starbucks has an interesting effect. Those at the tables that have had their fix clean up and leave. The caffeine addicts in line, are uneasy, but need their fix, so they are staying. Addiction trumps fear.
As for my fix? I’m getting it right now, leave me alone. An Alabama tick would be easier to dig out of here than me.
Act two, the bathroom door opens.
Mr. Wonderful comes out of the bathroom, bloodshot eyes casting about, looking for the point of ignition, whoever interrupted his crap.
Hunter S. Thompson once said, you can turn your back on a man, but don’t ever turn your back on a drug. I hold still and wait for the manager to make an appearance.
But he doesn’t. The manager is currently hiding out in the back room.
Mr. Wonderful appears to be a little disoriented and can’t remember who accosted him in the bathroom.
One of the helpers on the low end of the totem pole comes out to sweep. Mr. Wonderful turns on him and takes an aggressive step.
“Was that you?”
“Were you the one who stuck his head in the door?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
This dialogue is repeated as Mr. Wonderful makes his way thru the staff. The cashier, the runner, the barrista. (You do not fuck with the barrista as a general rule.)
Finally, he wanders over to the corner table near the front door, muttering to himself.
Mr. Wonderful is not done being special for us. He begins to talk to people randomly, making odd comments.
“You look just like the governor of South Carolina.”
“Organic milk rocks!”
“That’s funny!” (Along with giggling, however, without anyone he is talking to.)
Finally, and I am certain it would have shocked him if it could, he dozed off. Probably the first time in days.
And then the police arrive.
The black and white prowl car rolls past, nice and slow. Almost on cue, manager walks by the front of the Starbucks, going in the same direction. How did he get out there? More on that later.
A few minute later, the police come in. All police wear bullet proof vests now, which I approve of. They get shot at, fairs fair.
One of the cops, a shaved head bull of a man, sits down at the table across from Mr. Wonderful.
The motion jars him awake.
The biggest fear a meth head has is of the police, who will “Jack them up for no reason”.
They all chit chat quietly for a few minutes, with Mr. Wonderful trying hard not to tweak, which only makes him tweak harder.
Finally, the cops are done with the preliminaries. The stand and invite Mr. Wonderful to take the air with them.
He went without a whimper.
Smart move. You don’t mess with people who train for this situation and do it for a living.
Out the door they go.
And a few minutes later, I see them all driving off together. The cops in the front, and Mr. Wonderful in the back.
Maybe going to the movies.