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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Mystery · #2199904
Order a beverage here might not be easy

Rain in the Pacific Northwest is expected. One is just prepared for it. I wore a light rain jacket as I walked along the sidewalk across from Depot Bay. Sightseers lined the rock wall watching for any sight of whales passing by. Boats trolled the area filled with whale watchers who pay for a close encounter.

The wind picked up and blew my hood off and I struggled to get it back in place. I hate scrunching the hood around my already round face and tying the laces. I get that ET look. All eyes and cheeks. When the wind wrapped a windsock flying outside an establishment around my head, I'd had enough. I spied a doorway that led to a small hall. Shop doors opened to the tourists and l saw a sign with arrows pointing to PUBLIC RESTROOMS. I headed right for it.

Upon returning to the hallway entrance, I looked through the window of a coffee/tea shop. I needed some quiet time and an inner warm up.

The shop had been decorated in Sea motif. Tuck and groove paneled the walls and floor. Previous owner I guessed. Tables sprouted glass jars of sand, shells and starfish. Matching sets adorned shelves for sale. Most looked hand crafted. Tye dyed, shirts, coverups and muumuu style dresses hung along one wall.

"Can I help you find something?" A cheery voice vied for attention. The woman behind the counter represented the epitome of a free spirit. Wearing the same muumuu style hanging from the display rack I saw the creator. Her long dreadlocks adorned with beads in the same sea green/blue color palette.

"Yes." I took the standard stance of the customer. Feet slightly apart, arms folded, chin at an upward angle and the slight frown of perusing the menu. Really, there aren't that many different kinds of coffee drinks. We all know them, latte, americano, au lait and so on. "What flavors do you have?" Adding time to make a decision. She laughed and I lowered my eyes to hers.

She flung her arm to her right and there sat a display that rivaled the Restaurant Supply store isle of syrups. Oh Lord, was I in trouble.
"What do you like?"
"Something different?" I shrugged.
"Different than what?" She leaned on the counter and continued to smile.
She was good. "OK I'm not into fruity coffee. I'm tired of the standard, hazelnut, vanilla, toffee nut, Irish Cream. blah blah. I know that doesn't help."
She cocked her head first to one side then the other as she sized me up. "Trust me?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Sure, but if you wanted one you'd have already made your selection."
"True. I'll trust you."
"Find a seat that will make you feel comfortable. Try walking around that wall, you'll find something more suitable there."
"Do you want me to pay now?"
"No, you pay me if you like what I bring you."

My eyebrows raised at her answer. "Okay." I turned and followed the short wall at the back of the shop to a bead covered doorway. Not surprising there. What I found on the other side took my breath. A full plate glass window with a sliding glass door to one side filled the entire wall. I froze in place trying to take in the whole of what lay before me.

The area behind this oasis had been skillfully changed from a hill to a garden of color and fantasy. My feet shuffled forward and I bumped a table. I jogged but not before I heard. "I love watching guests Sarina sends back here. You are a special one, my dear."

I turned to see a woman seated in a wing back chair, her feet firmly on a small footstool, balancing a cup and saucer in her hand. Her thick glasses, turn of the century style, and unidentifiable accent all gave the impression she was from another place and another time. Perhaps she was. A time traveler and I'd had just stepped into another dimension.

"Find your seat." Her motion included the whole room, what there was of it. The room itself wasn't square. Chairs, tables, stools sat in what I might call conversation settings. Where one or more might be close enough to speak yet not bother their neighbor. The focal point of the room was the view, all seats faced, in part, the glass wall.

One chair seemed to be calling my name, of course it was close to the older woman. I sat my bag on the floor and sagged into the comfort of the chair. It felt as if it enfolded me.

"There's a blanket to your right. It can get a bit chilly in here at times when the wind blows." She gave a dry cackle or laugh.

I nodded, but was more interested in the view. Fuchsia and blues turned to purple and then gold and yellows. Flowers, blooming ground cover wound around narrow stone and colored gravel walkways. I closed my eyes not knowing where to look first.

"Did you notice the children playing in the village near the top of the hill?" The sweet voice spoke from my left.

My eyes searched the top of the hill and discovered a fairy village built into the ground. Coming from the main cobblestone road were children playing. Bronzed statues so lifelike I could swear I heard laughing. I began to look at everything from side to side discovering similar vignettes tucked into valleys of rock and trees.

The proprietor arrived and set a tray on a stand. She transferred a cup and plate to the table beside me. "Here you are. I added a fresh orange cinnamon scone straight from the oven. Just relax and enjoy yourself. Soon the stress of the week will disappear and you'll be ready to tackle anything." She stepped back, her dress tinkled from the beads and bells sewn onto the hem. I looked up and smiled my thanks.

"I really hope so. I'm a writer and I've hit a block. Not a writers block, but a creative block. I've run out of interesting plots. Its never happened before. I've tried all the suggestions, but they're for breaking a block while your writing. I just can't find a story I NEED to write."

She smiled and patted my shoulder. "Drink your coffee while its hot and take a bite of that nice warm scone. While you relax let you mind focus on the scene and see if a story unfolds."

"I hope so." I reached for the cup and the aroma swirled, I breathed again before I tasted. I couldn't place the scent. I was almost thinking of a table in Turkey where men sit and sip from small cups. No, there was cinnamon and I thought of a Victorian India or Africa. Maybe a bit of Bogie and Bacall? I sipped. The coffee tasted so smooth. The deep rich flavor without the bitter taste. I almost shivered in ecstasy.

"Have you thought about writing a story about a treasure?" The soft voice to my side spoke again.

"I'm not an Indiana Jones type writer."

"Not that kind of treasure. Here let me show you. She stood and I could see the heavy Victorian dress with all its lace, now faded and torn. She handed me a brooch, her hands wrinkled and covered with lace finger less gloves. "This was given to me by a lover. The only man I ever loved. Would you like to hear this story?"

Again I didn't have a choice, but it could be a nice way to waste a day at the Oregon coast. "Sure."

"I was one of Queen Mary's Ladies in waiting...."



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