Blogger Vanishes, No Ransom Demand Received


I’m in the Starbucks, avoiding writing what I should be writing because it results in a transference of funds from a corporate bank account into mine. That’s why I should be writing it, I mean, not why I’m avoiding it. If there’s one thing I love, it’s taking corporate money. Boy I love the sound of those nickels falling into my cup.


Nevertheless, I’m avoiding it so hard I’ve been driven to blog for the first time in over a month. Also, a thick fog has settled over my city and fog makes me feel bloggy. Anything could happen on a dark and foggy night, and as long as you don’t actually start the story that way, you are bound to discover something sinister crawling about your subconscious when you can’t see more than a meter in front of your face.


One table over, a job interview is going on. The woman is asking the young man questions about his background and he is earnestly answering them. He should’ve taken his knit cap off before she arrived, however. A knit cap on a young man at a job interview says “I don’t have enough sense to take my knit cap off before my interviewer arrives, and now I look like a dope.”


At another table, two middle-aged black men are speaking a language that is not English to each other. I can’t identify the language. Ethiopian? Over in the comfy chairs sit a white woman in her fifties and an Asian man about the same age. They are chatting but I don’t think they came in together. A heavy white woman in a stretchy polyester shirt is working on a computer, and a skinny white guy is engaged with what looks like a textbook. And then there’s me.


That’s the cast of characters.


A wall of cold air and tendrils of fog rushed in through the door when the tall, white-haired woman walked in. Without even a stop at the counter for a macchiato, she sat down at my table and shrugged off her wool coat (toggle buttons—very classy).


“You know why I’m here, right?” She tapped on the table with one perfectly oval fingernail.


I nodded.


“Has anyone left while you’ve been sitting here?”


“Uh, the guy getting interviewed is gone. And the interviewer,” I scanned the place but didn’t mention that the comfy chair couple had also departed.

“Knit cap?”


“That’s the one.” The guy with the textbook kept darting glances our way. The stretchy-shirt woman stared out the window. Or was she looking at our reflections in the glass? The maybe-Ethiopian guys ignored us. The music stopped.


“Let’s go.”


I closed my laptop and stuffed it into my pack. Standing up, I followed the white-haired woman out into the fog.


And disappeared.




10 thoughts on “Blogger Vanishes, No Ransom Demand Received

  1. I’d think someone would have to be in a very bad way to want a job that starts with an interview at a Starbucks. I could be wrong, but in my own world I use the coffee shop as a place where I can dump time wasters with nothing more than an excuse about having a pressing appointment and no worries about shuffling them out of my home office.One of my currently active clients is a collections attorney. I LOVE bleeding his credit card into my bank account, despite his being really a helluva nice guy. Everyone in his office is friendly and sounds genuinely happy, but the thought of taking money from a collections attorney is delicious just the same. Sometimes I wish he was a jerk so billing would feel even better, but it doesn’t take long to get past that silliness. I like genuinely friendly clients who pay exceedingly promptly best of all.I hope your mysterious disappearance in tow behind toggle button lady was more grand adventure than dangerously intriguing.

  2. @HappierHeathen – Hmm. In Seattle, everyone does everything in coffee shops. Having an interview at Starbucks doesn’t seem like a bad sign to me, but having an interview at 7 pm is a little suspicious. What do you do for the collections guy? I really shouldn’t be answering this. I’m not here.

  3. @transvestite_rabbit – For the collections guy I administer Unix and Linux systems upon which his business relies. Not because I like the idea of hosing folks who’ve got in over their heads through no faults of their own. I don’t suppose he does, either. His prior gig was juvenile law, which he says he hated with a passion. Which confirms my decision not to go into law. I thought about it, seriously enough, twice upon a time. It’s just not something I could put my heart into knowing how it works.Officially or not, I’m glad you’re here!

  4. I love how coffeeshops lend themselves to peoplewatching. I wrote my only peoplewatching poem at a Caribou Coffee in East Cleveland, actually.How are you liking the Hofstader book? It’s been on my to-read list for a while. I delved into it once, and I loved it, but it was due back to the library way before I dug in properly.

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