Café After Dark

The lights snapped off. Darkness blanketed everything. Footsteps moved about the darkened room as beeps from the alarm system were set, followed by more footsteps echoing towards the doors. The creak of the doors opening and closing could be heard just before the sound of the lock clicked into place. The humans had left the café for the night.

“Thank goodness. I didn’t think they’d ever leave.”

“What are you complaining about? You just sit there trying to look pretty while they use us constantly.” The cash register blinked its lights in response to the bag of coffee beans that had broken the silence. Other slight noises began to emerge from various corners of the large room.

Several of the tables shifted where they had been placed. The two large chairs set around the empty fireplace groaned as they relaxed. The stools at the long internet bar did a few stiff dances.

“You think I don’t go through a lot during the day? Every few minutes someone has to pick me up and squeeze me like I’m a n orange or something. Then they shove me against their face and sniff me. Like they can smell my beans through the vacuum-sealed pouch! What are they thinking?” The bag gave a huff as it shuffled from side to side in irritation.

“Well, I never get any peace and quiet around here until they all go home.” The register’s lights blinked rapidly. “Punching on me every second they can, and sometimes it hurts. Push the button once, and don’t hit me like a hammer.”

The grinder gave a short spurt of energy. “Whiners! I am so exhausted at the end of the day. Hours and hours I’m grinding away allt those beans, and trust me, they do not taste good. Yuck! My blades get dull with their bitterness.”

“You only grind when they need to brew. I have to constantly generate shots of espresso. Sweaty hands are on me all the time pulling down levers and taking my brew,” the bar rumbled in response.

The blender rattled, “Come off it. You are only used when they need you as well. That is true for all of us.”

The bar shot steam from its wand. The grinder made a screeching noise. Grumbling arose from most items that began to move about.

“What is wrong with you guys?”

Attention turned to the brewer. Its lights lit up, yet it remained still.

“Every night it is the same thing. You complain and complain. You can’t see how wonderful it can be here.”

“Wonderful? What is so wonderful about being poked on all the time?” the register blinked.

“All the time, Reg? Really? Okay, there are a few of these baristas who can be a little rough at times, but most of them start after you get an attitude.”

Lights flickered on the register as the cash drawer opened slightly. “Attitude? Me? I never get an attitude.”

“Really?” A pen chimed in who sat in the clear container next to the register.

The register’s lights near the pen blinked quickly. “What are you trying to say?”

“No attitude? I am right here by you most of the day, and you give more attitude than anyone around here.”

The lights blinked faster. “How?”

“You wait until there is a line of people to the door looking for lattes and then you decide to hesitate between every punch the register person does.”

“I do not!”

“Oh, yes you do. They touch the latte button, and you sit there. They touch it again, and you might let it show up. If not, they push on the screen harder. What do you expect? They have customers grumbling at their slowness, and you are the reason.”

“I get tired. All they do is havinge me flipping screens and totaling orders.”

“That is what you are supposed to do, for goodness sakes. You’re a register to ring up coffee orders.”

In response, the register generated a series of bell sounds and went silent. The café remained quiet for several moments.

Eventually it was the brewer that spoke up, “At least we have tonight to rest.”

“But it all starts again tomorrow morning. And so early!” The grinder rattled.

“Makes you enjoy the night time all the better,” a cup spoke up.

“Today was rather crazy, wasn’t it?” This time the register spoke in more subdued tones.

The straws shuffled about in their containers. “Yes, it started out slow but then everyone came in at once.”

The bag of coffee beans shuddered. “What do they do? Call each other ahead of time and show up?”

“I think so. Then they all gripe because they have to wait so long.”

The register lit up. “I never saw those baristas work so hard today than when that large crowd came in at once. “

Two mugs clattered against each other. “And when that display fell over…” Laughter filled the store.

“Most of the customers are really nice.” The bar hummed. “They smile most of the time.”

“Then you have that one dude who thinks he is royalty or something.”

The pen giggled. “He is something.”

The register flashed the red lights again. “What’s so funny about a man who has to be first in line and doesn’t want to tell you his order? You just have to read his mind. I mean he never wants to tell his order. Yes, it’s always the same, but not everyone on the register knows it. And the new people…”

“He is funny. Everyone knows he is just a man, but he struts around like he is a king.”

The bar shook. “Well, you don’t get the brunt of his temper like those baristas do. He yells at them all the time, especially if they don’t hop to making his drink when he first walks in.”

“He should direct it to the register,” the blender added.

The cash drawer popped open. “Why are you all picking on me?”

The brewer interjected, “But then you have the sweet ones like the one woman who tells everyone how beautiful the day is, even though it is pouring down rain and thundering.”

Even the register couldn’t argue that one. “She is a doll. Makes everyone so happy when she comes in.”

A cup piped up, “What about that one who hits on the red-headed barista? He is so funny.”

“I think he is cute,” a pen added.

The tip jar replied, “You would.”

“I really love the cute kids who come in. That one is going to be a heartthrob,” the bar hummed.

“Yes. And what about that old lady? She is so sweet when she drops a large tip in. She tries to do it without being seen, but it is so obvious.”

One of the lids spoke up. “I wish I could be around to see most of that. We aren’t always around like you guys are. As soon as someone places an order for a drink, one of us has to leave.”

“Then do something about it,” the register mumbled.

The bar laughed. “Remember that time a lid tried to make a break for it? That was funny. Didn’t make it five feet.”

Everyone laughed.

Silence descended on the café again. A pitcher shook a little before laughter could be heard.

“Now what is funny?” the blender asked.

The pitcher accidently bumped another one next to him, making a loud noise. “Sorry. I was just thinking of the guy today who ordered the caramel macaroni.”

The rest of the cafe joined in. “There are some funny ones.”

“They make up for the trying ones,” the brewer wisely added.

The items in the cafe all moved around and blinked in agreement. Silence descended for a few moments before the blender spoke up, “Should we do it again?”

Knowing what he meant, the other items let their agreement be known. The activity in the cafe increased as each piece of furniture and equipment stopped talking and focused on enjoying their freedom. The register spit out a line of paper. The brewer turned on one burner. The straws traded places so the sizes were mixed up. Complete chaos descended on the place.

Laughter came from all the items as they enjoyed their time of rebellion. It was their way to unwind after a hard day of constantly serving the customers and helping the baristas.

A mug sitting on a display case near the front door yelled, “They’re here!”

The brewer looked at the time. “Oh, no! Everyone back to their places.”

The register pulled the tape back in. The straws jumped around to get back in place. Everyone was busy trying to get where they needed to be as the two baristas opening the store made their way to the door. The cafe was still getting back in order as the key turned in the lock.

A soft sigh filled the cafe as the door opened and things were in order. Well…

The barista turned on the lights and walked around the corner. “What is this?” He leaned down and picked up the stray lid that was too slow.

The other barista laughed. “You’d think they have a party here every night the way we find things.”

“Yep. You’d think that for sure. Who knows what goes on in the cafe after dark?”