“The last time I saw Howard was at my store in Oak Park. I was the manager then. He was with the new Regional Manager- Stu. Yes, Stu Fields. God no. I give Stu hell in Tripio. Not really. But, the whole incident with the spilled mocha on the door and Stu talking into his tape recorder make him look like a dick. That was about twenty five years ago. They can’t be still in touch. But, I call Starbucks the Cosmodemonic Coffee Company in Tripio. Howard must know that. I counted it once. I call Starbucks the Cosmodemonic 199 times in Tripio. But it is purely a literary reference. Henry Miller called Western Union the Cosmodemonic. I looked the word up and it has no meaning. Plus, it shows how personal the story is. How it is the story of Jay the Barista, not of Howard Schultz, Pike Place Market, the Siren logo and all that other crap…now Howard’s next in line….”
“No matter, I don’t have the time. Gotta get back to my room, get dressed and head out. Need my coffee. It’s my third morning getting a grande of the day to go. If I were a barista I would have remembered a new customer’s drink on their third trip in. Never could remember their names. The drinks yea. Unless they were famous….
Tripio Excerpt– Over at Mike and Sarah’s station the trash was overflowing and they needed drip. Paula had to refill the creamer and sugar at the stations. Money needed to be dropped. No cakes for the upcoming evening shift in the case. Onward the customers came. None of this mattered to them. Why should it? I glance at the line and see two guys in roller blades are in line without shirts. Two rules being broken at once. Damn, if that isn’t Gene Siskel in front of them. No time to care about either. I
knew Gene’s drink and some others so that brings a second of calm. I feel a touch of relief to know what to expect before Mikey or Sarah yell them at us. I know Dennis has to leave soon. He will stay for another 30 minutes if I ask. It’s been two hours since I stepped on the bar. The only one of us working this rush to have moved at more than a step or two off their station is Paula. But this was it, this was the bar at rush time and if you were up here you had earned your stripes. I remember my first morning rush at 206. I had butterflies in my stomach but knew I had to get on that espresso bar and get through the line. To me it is the heart of the store, the beating heart of the growing Cosmodemonic Empire, and here is where you earned the respect of everyone you worked with. As this rush wears on, Dennis and I reached that point when we know it just couldn’t get any busier but we had established control. He had held higher ground. We had won.
“I’ll stick with a grande to go. Not that blonde crap either. Never would have seen that if Starbucks didn’t go public. And Howard was always nice. I never saw him without a sweater on. Then again it was Chicago. Maybe I can just say Hi. I wouldn’t even get into Tripio. Just tell him thanks for the blurb in person. That would work…that’ all I have time for anyway…”
“Damn, my phone…what do they want?”
Jay - Your first two stops cancelled. Closed due to the Pandemic. Sleep in a bit. Thanks again for helping out this week - Jason"