Trouble comes in threes.
|The coffee machine was fritzed. It squirted out a thick liquid resembing sump sludge before an oil change. The steamer merely made mournful bubbles.|
'So long as there's caffeine,' Marco gave a Gallic shrug, accepted the cappuccino that had become a flat not-quite-white, adding, 'and it's hot.' A sip. A down turned mouth. A barely touched coffee abandoned on the counter. He was not the last. Tom put a notice on the machine. 'Sorry. Out of order.'
Next was the Victoria sponge. It decided to be a U.F.O. Obviously, not Unidentified, it was a cake. And it did not Fly. It slid off the platter and gravity took over. When it hit the floor it became several Objects, sticky, jammy things. Totally inedible. Sweeping it up covered the brush's bristles in blobs of buttercream that smeared themselves everywhere. Tom sighed and hoped that the chocolate cake and the lemon drizzle would last the day. They did not.
He stayed late, dismembering the coffee machine and swabbing the tiles. The third trouble was the dishwasher. It emptied its dirty water over the newly cleaned floor and refused to unlock the door for an hour. Inside, the crockery and cutlery had grime needing to be hand scraped away.
'We have had a few complaints.' Mr Clegg squeezed his flab into his chair and stared at Tom, who stared back. 'Julia M said that the coffee was foul and was grateful the replacement you bought from across the road.' Was that a glower? 'Apparently, our award winning Victoria sponge was replaced out of your own pocket.' He fingered a sheet of paper. 'As a barista, you are rubbish.' He ignored Tom's slump. 'So I'm getting a new one.' He waved the paper. 'New contract for you. Manager. Sign here.' Tom sat down.