“Aaaaughhh!” Christine's foot had slipped on something slick and now she attempted to recover by flailing her arms, much like Snoopy doing his happy dance. The tray she’d been carrying flew end over end with napkins flying everywhere and condiments splattering on the freshly-mopped café floor.
Down she went with a thud, hurting not only her body, but her pride. Always wanting to be a lady, she quickly smoothed her skirt down past her knees.
Big, burly Bob jumped up from his seat at the counter to help Christine. “Well now, Christine, ain’t ya gettin’ ‘nough attention?” He squatted down and gave her a clean napkin to wipe off the ketchup that had made its way to her left cheek. “All kiddin’ aside, are ya okay?”
Christine felt a warm blush come over her face; she had to get up. Her right knee throbbed and a big bruise was beginning to form on her forearm, but Christine didn’t like being the center of attention and wasn’t going to start now. She had work to do.
“Here, try to be useful.” She pushed the tray that now lay on the floor in disarray, over to Bob. Christine took Bob’s hand as he offered to help her up. She pushed her long auburn hair out of her eyes and as she stood up, everyone in the café applauded. “Get back to eatin’, you fools. The entertainment’s over.” Christine hobbled back to the kitchen where she grabbed a clean apron and wrapped it around her svelte figure.
“Want a break? Why don’t ya sit down a bit?” The owner of the café offered Christine a chair.
He took her elbow to guide her into the chair, but with the wave of her hand, Christine brushed off the offer. “I’m fine, John; really I am.”
Christine picked up the coffee carafe and headed down the string of booths. “Can I warm up that cup for ya, Carl?”
By the time Christine reached home that evening, her body felt a whole lot older than the twenty-eight years she claimed. She grabbed a bag of frozen peas and pampered her knee until they thawed into a pile of mush.
Surprisingly, Christine was feeling much better the next morning, and other than the bruise on her arm, she was good to go. As Christine entered the café, she threw the old wooden screen door open with gusto.
“Well, ya must be feelin’ better.” Her boss handed Christine her apron as she slipped out of her red cardigan.
Before she knew it, the café was buzzing with customers, chattering between themselves like a bunch of hens.
“Would ya warm up my cup, Christine?” Carl was his usual self, slamming his coffee cup onto the dinged-up table.
She no sooner had taken care of Carl when she heard, “Hey, Christine, my cup’s gettin’ low.” She turned to see Sam holding his cup in the air.
Next it was Tom; but it didn’t stop there. Jim started slamming his coffee cup up and down on the counter. Christine felt like silly putty, being pulled in every direction. It was a good thing she was feeling better because the locals had her hopping.
Christine sat down a moment to catch her breath, when Sam demanded, yet, another refill. She wondered what had gotten into the customers as she made her way to get the coffee carafe.
For the next hour, Christine moved from booth to booth, back to the counter and then back to the booths again. Along about ten o’clock, she heard a burst of laughter from all of her regulars.
“Hey Christine,” Carl twanged with his deep-throated voice, “We’re just havin’ some fun with ya this mornin’. We decided to keep ya hoppin’ all over the cafe, fillin’ up our coffee cups. Ya sure did pass the test.”
Christine was a good sport and laughed right along with the rest of them. As she sauntered back to the kitchen, she stopped at Carl’s table. “Warm up, Carl?” Carl nodded. Christine poured his coffee as she stood talking to Tom at the next booth.
“Hey, hey, Christine, stop!” Carl hit his knee on the table as he jumped up from the booth. He grabbed a bunch of napkins, dabbing his jeans. As Christine stopped pouring, she started to laugh. “Oh dear, looks like your cup runneth over, Carl. Just havin’ a little fun with ya this mornin’.”
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