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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Inspirational · #2264807
Good words & good coffee help a bad day get better [Poetry Contest/Inspiration, Jan. '22]
Caffeinated smiles

It has been an all-round cruddy day, Warren thought as he sat in traffic. Dreary. Wet. Depressing. The sun hadn't done much to fight its way through the overcast, and whatever shadows might have given additional evidence of the sun having risen were easily washed away by the steady drizzle. The office had been its usual high-energy refuge from the knuckleheads he had to share the road with on his daily commute. Unfortunately, the upbeat feeling he had just been starting to enjoy had lasted all of thirty minutes.

Right at the outset of the team meeting, Mark had announced a new initiative that would kick off the following Monday, and had provided a fair amount of detail on how current workflows would be impacted. When Warren had pointed out the chaos the reorientation of team efforts and goals this would cause, to say nothing of a substantial hit to productivity, half the team had turned on him, calling him an obstructionist stuck in the past. As it turned out, these particular team members were in line to be given increased responsibilities with pay raises to match - something fairly unusual for the company. It almost explained why they'd gotten so angry, but it had still ruined his mood for the rest of the day.

Now he was stuck with the afternoon drive-time knucklehead crowd, many of whom not only couldn't decide which lane they wanted, but didn't feel obligated to tell other drivers they were changing lanes ahead of the fact. I should open a turn signal repair business, he thought sourly. I'd be rich in no time. At long, long last, he reached the last major intersection before his apartment complex and signaled his move into the right turn lane. As he waited his turn, his phone chimed. What the...oh, yeah. It was 5:15pm and inhale_and_exhale.com had just delivered the day's inspirational quote. I hope it's a good one, he thought as he made the right, then turned into a small shopping center's parking lot, 'cuz I could sure use a lift.

"Some days you just have to create your own sunshine." - Unknown

Warren stared at his phone for a few seconds. Wow. It's just spooky how they sent that one today. It did the trick, though. He chose to put the day's drama out of his mind, and his mood started to improve. Deciding that a cup of coffee from his favorite place was just what he needed to get the evening started off right, he crossed the parking lot, parked in front of the Full O' Beans Coffee Shop, and went in.

He took his place in line behind a young mother who had her hands full with two toddlers doing their best to stay just out of her reach, while not actually running away. A thought occurred to him, and he smiled to himself. Yeah - perfect. He tapped the woman gently on the shoulder just as she finished placing her order.


"Sorry to bother you, ma'am, but I've made a little bet with myself and I need your help."

"What kind of bet?"

"Well, I have a nephew about their size, so I thought I'd guess their age - they are twins, right?"

"Yes, they are. What's the bet?"

"If I guess their age within 6 months - I win; if I don't, I lose. Oh, and you wouldn't lose anything, ma'am - just me."

"I suppose it's okay. What's your guess?"

Warren pretended to eye the boys closely, although he'd long since made up his mind.

"I'll say...they're three years old. Close enough?"

"Almost," the mom replied with a smile. "They turn 2 1/2 next month. So - what did you lose?"

"Not a thing," Warren replied with a smile of his own. "In fact, you're the winner here." He turned to the barista, who was starting to smile herself as she guessed what was coming. "I'd like to pay for this lady's order, please."

"Oh, no, I couldn't let you do that!"

"Please, ma'am - I insist. I hope your day just got a little better; I know mine sure did. Have a nice evening!"

[WC: 699]

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