Save Me, I’m Suffocating

La Flor, AKA, the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, and Little Carmen walked into Starbucks ahead of me. Little Carmen held the door for La Flor, then stepped inside and let the door close before I could squeeze in.

It was two in the afternoon. The drinks of choice in San Antonio on a hot July afternoon rank in the following order: Margarita – not offered by Starbucks. Beer or cerveza – not offered by Starbucks. Real Texas iced tea in a real Texas sized iced-tea glass not one of the plastic Starbucks things with high priced names – not offered by Starbucks. Then there is the fifty-two-ounce drink offered at all the gas stations for ninety-nine cents. Somewhere between uppity and I’ll donate my first born to Starbucks is their sugary, frosty, coffee concoction that costs the same as a good meal at a decent restaurant. A large line waits, everyone has their iPhone out, ready to collect stars.

La Flor turned to me and said, “Ray, give your iPhone to LC so he can order our drinks.”

“I don’t want anything. I’m only the driver,” I said.

“Don’t be so cheap. Live a little,” she said.

“Yah, Ray-mo, lives a little, like the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI says,” said Little Carmen sticking his paw out to take my iPhone.

La Flor said, “Pay attention, LC. Ray and I will grab a table and see if we spot LaRue. Ray, tell LC what you want.”

My first thought was, I want to get out of here. I was afraid Little Carmen would take me literally. So, I said, “A glass of ice with a touch of water.”

“He’s only kidding LC, get him the largest iced coffee they have and tell them to add a shot of espresso to it. I’ll have a Frappuccino.”

“Can I gets something two (blogger’s note: That’s the way Little Carmen said it, ‘two’ not ‘too,’ the way it’s supposed to be said), beautiful, tough, and edgy PI?”

“Of course, get whatever you want, Ray is paying,” said La Flor.

Why does it hurt whenever she says I’m paying?

Little Carmen handed my phone back to me and said, “How do I pay with the phone? Is it a trade or something?”

I reached for my phone and gave Little Carmen a quick tutorial.

“What’ll they think of next. I got to tell Big Carmen to get a Pap smear.”

“It’s an app,” I said.

Isn’t that what I said?” asked Little Carmen. Then he said, “You got anything on here I’m not supposed to see because I’m gonna look at everything.”

“It’s all PG-13,” I said.

I confused Little Carmen. La Flor rushed to his rescue, “LC has such an inquisitive mind, Ray. Run along LC, we’ll be waiting.”

Little Carmen blew a kiss to La Flor that almost knocked me over with the garlic flavored spray that came in its wake.

As soon as Little Carmen was in line, La Flor grabbed my arm, almost hysterically she said, “Ray, save me. I’m dying. He’s suffocating me. I want to dump him.”

“Dump Little Carmen? After the way the both of you were carrying on in the backseat?”

“I was holding my breath. He has the worst breath I’ve smelled since … I won’t go into that.”

“Is that the only reason?”

“No, it happens to be number seven on my list of reasons to dump him.”

“You’ve made a list?” I said a bit incredulously.

“Yes, and it’s growing. Number one, is this ridiculous, tacky white windbreaker jacket. La Flor in a tacky windbreaker? I’ll make all the tabloids. They won’t let go if they find out. If my public sees me with this thing on, I lose all cred.”

“And, number two?” I asked.

“His motorcycle. A beautiful, tough, and edgy PI does not ride on a motorcycle with her arms around a guy who’s wearing a plaid kerchief on his head to hold his hair in place.”

“Did you wear a helmet?”

“And ruin my doo?”

“Good point. What’s number three?”

“I need my freedom. I’m a free spirit. I can’t be tied down. I don’t want Sunday dinner at the pizzeria. I don’t want to smell sauce and garlic and pizza all the time. Oh God, Ray do something. Save me, I’m too young, too vibrant, too beautiful, too tough, too edgy to be tied down.”

“He’s waving at you,” I said.

“Don’t look at him, Ray. You’ll only encourage him. You’re the writer. He’s only an alt ego. Kill him off. Make him a greeter at Walmart. Do something.”

“You’re not an alt ego?” I asked.

“No,” La Flor said defensively. I move between worlds. I am the best of both. I think my mother was a real person and my father was an alt ego. Maybe it was the other way around.”

“He’s carrying the drinks over. Oh, Ray. He got me the largest, most caloric drink on Earth. How will I fit into my jeans? Do you know how long I’ll have to go on the treadmill tomorrow? Hours.”

Little Carmen sauntered over, his hips jostling tables on his path to us. “Here’s your drink, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. I made them put extra whooped cream on it with extra caramel sauce. I got one just like it. Here’s your coffee, Ray-mo. Use guys spot LaRue?”

“I think you meant to say whipped?” I offered.

“I don’t see no whips? I also didn’t hit any body,” said Little Carmen.

“Do you understand, now, Ray?” La Flor said, her eyes pleading with me to do something.

I shook my head, then looked at my drink. If I took one sip, I wouldn’t fall asleep for a week. La Flor swirled her straw around the whipped cream and caramel.

Little Carmen removed the top and straw to his drink, raised the venti cup to his lips, and began the alt ego male ritual of consuming a drink without swallowing or breathing. This is done anytime an alt ego male is in the presence of a female. It’s a standard matting practice. Little Carmen was letting his drink slide its way through his esophagus. He was obviously applying a male beer drinking technique to a cold drink. I didn’t think it would turn out well.

The whipped cream gave him a white mustache, not a good look. Even worse was the caramel dripping down both sides of his mouth as he attempted to impress La Flor with his male, drink it all at once move.

La Flor whispered, “Reasons eight through one-hundred, please. I’ll be good. I promise. No more sassiness. No more wisecracks. I’ll cook once a week.”

Little Carmen, three-fourths of the way through, suddenly set the drink down and pressed the palms of his hands against his temples.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I gots an ice cream headache. Oh geez, these are the worst. How am I going to get rid of it? I can’t think straight or crooked.”

La Flor pushed her seat out, she took off her tacky white windbreaker, tossed it on the table, and said, “That’s it, LC. We’re done.”

Little Carmen, still pressing his paws to his temples, raised his eyes without moving his head, and said, “But beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, what I do?”

“You couldn’t drink your cold drink all the way down without stopping. It’s part of the job description for my assistant.”

“It is?”
“Yes, and so is not getting ice cream headaches. I’m letting you go, don’t worry, I’ll be a good reference. Ray’s driving me home.”

“What about me? What about my motorcycle? What about us?

I spoke up, we’ve already had one bad breakup and I didn’t want another. I said, “La Flor told me she’ll set you up with J.J. Peterson, the romance writer. LaRue came crawling back and she told him to keep on crawling.”

“Geez, thanks, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. Does J. J. like pizza?”

“Loves it. All in a day’s work, LC,” said La Flor pushing me toward the door. Then La Flor whispered to me, “LC is perfect for her. I can’t stand her. She’s a snooty b ….” I stopped her before she could finish her sentence.

The best decision is to stop making a bad decision. That piece of wisdom I picked up from a book has proven its worth to me time and again. La Flor applied it to a relationship going nowhere. I hope the piece of wisdom comes in handy for you.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.




My Apologies to Canines

There are times when life grabs hold you and won’t let go. You want to escape from its grasp; its hold is too tight. Even the jaws of life can’t pry you free. These moments happen to all of us. It may be something as simple as being invited to a party you do not want to attend because someone you don’t like is going to attend. But, you don’t want to hurt the host’s feelings so you go and you are caught in life’s grasp. If only life were so simple.

I wasn’t invited to a party, it was much worse. Why I gave in and said yes might confuse IBM’s Watson. Here is how it went down.

I’m sitting on the patio. The San Antonio, Texas, temperature a tad above its average 101° for a July day. Not a cloud in the sky. I smiled, finally, life was turning in my favor. La Flor* and her main squeeze, Little Carmen, are off doing whatever they are doing. I’m interested, but only in an intellectual way. I do not want to get involved. How I got dragged into a parallel universe of alt egos still baffles me.

I have a Texas sized glass of iced tea sitting on a small table next to me. Clear beads of sweat run down its sides. A nice slice of seedless, chilled watermelon rests on its side beckoning me to stick my fork into it. It’s peaceful and it’s all good. It’s all good until I hear Little Carmen’s motorcycle a half mile away. Forty-seven seconds later, yes, I counted them, the door to the patio swings open.

I did a half twist towards the door and saw Little Carmen holding it open for the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. Training him well, I thought. I wondered what obedience school she enrolled Little Carmen in.

Little Carmen cleared his throat and said. “All rise, the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI is about to enters these promises.”

“Thanks, Little Carmen, did you mean premises?” I said, and remain seated and watched the grand entrance for the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.

“Use is confused, Ray-Mo. See, a premise is when use is going to do something use needs to do because you premises somebody use is going to do it.”

“Thanks for clearing it up for me, Little Carmen,” I said and wondered why I agreed with him. Maybe it was his biceps, the size of my thighs. Or, his broken, in three places, nose that made him look like a hawk ready to strike his next victim. Or, maybe I have a soft spot for a guy who makes a good pizza and treats La Flor like royalty.

Little Carmen holds out his hand that resembles an Alaskan king crab for La Flor. She took hold of it and Little Carmen led her over to me. He said, “The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI is going to speak to you.” I wondered if La Flor was going to reward him a treat.

La Flor doesn’t wait for me to say anything. She said, “We practiced my entrance all morning long and LC finally has it down.”

“Practicing for the PI of the Year Award?” I said.  Then added, “I see you have a windbreaker like Little Carmen’s.”

“LC is so sweet, Ray. He surprised me. He even had my right size, size 0. It has my name in writing over here,” La Flor points to the upper left side of the windbreaker.

“Do you mean script?” I said.

Little Carmen interrupts, “It’s not scribbled.”

La Flor pinches, Little Carmen’s cheek, “Settle down, LC. That’s a good boy.”

I wondered if she rubs his tummy or pats the back of his neck.

La Flor pirouettes so I can see the back side of her windbreaker.

“I like the touch, “Beautiful, Tough, and Edgy PI and underneath it says Hangs Out at Carmen’s Pizzaria.

“Big Carmen loves it. Here’s the deal, Ray, we got our first case.”

“Because of the windbreaker?”

“Is it out of state?” One can only hope. I continued, “What is it?”

“J.J. Peterson, the alt ego romance writer, is sure her alt ego boyfriend, LaRue is cheating on her.”

“Little Carmen butts in, “If LaRue is cheating on her, I will squeeze his head until it pops. Because the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI is friends with J. J. Peterson.”

“Is she paying you for this,” I asked. Right away I knew I should have addressed La Flor directly.

Little Carmen said, “No, I’ll pop his head for free. It’ll be on the house.”

“I can see how that will help,” I said.

“Thanks, Ray-mo. I get a brain burst every now and them.”

La Flor is a bit puzzled either by brain burst or now and them. I didn’t pursue it. She waited a moment, then said, “I didn’t want to take her money, in her next book, she’s going to mention that I am a beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.”

I don’t know LaRue, but I feel sorry for him. I said, “What if he’s not cheating?”

“We gonna cross that ocean when we finds dry land,” said Little Carmen trying to impress La Flor with his intelligence.

La Flor turned and kissed little Carmen on the cheek.  “You are so perfect for me, LC. Be a sweet boy, and bring me the iced tea on Ray’s table.”

La Flor speaks, Little Carmen jumps, sits up, rolls over, and if he had a tail it would be wagging at a hundred miles an hour. My apologies to canines.

La Flor turned back to me and said,” Sometimes good things happened to good people like when LC came into my life.” Little Carmen wrapped a napkin around the iced tea glass. Sweet move.

She gave him a look and I thought he might hyperventilate. I wanted to get back to my peaceful place, my iced tea gone. I felt confident La Flor would want my watermelon.

“Look what Ray had waiting for you LC, watermelon.”

Ray-mo, you the man, gimme a fist bump.”

The fist bump hurt. I wonder if I should have my hand X-rayed for possible fractured fingers. I watched Little Carmen pick up my generous slice of watermelon. When he finished, all that was left was the rind. He took the rind and scaled it across my backyard.

“Why did you do that, Little Carmen?” I asked.

“I thought I could use it like a boomerang.”

“You are the creative one, LC,” said La Flor.

“Don’t you to have to go check out JJ Peterson’s boyfriend?” I said hoping to get the dynamic duo out of the house.

“We do, Ray. That’s why we came to see you,” said La Flor.

“How’s so?” I said.

“You drive a nondescript Toyota. You can be our driver. We will ride and observe.”

“What about little Carmen’s motorcycle?” I asked.

“The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI is too beautiful riding on the back of my motorcycle. She attracts too much attention.”

“Let’s go, Ray,” said La Flor.

So much for my peaceful afternoon. I didn’t want La Flor arrested in a conspiracy to murder. Even if Little Carmen said it was justified. I’m not sure how alt ego courts handle cases.

“Where to?” I said once I got into the Toyota.

“Starbucks,” said Leflore. “JJ Peterson says he hangs out there and that’s where he meets the other woman.”

“And, that’s where he’s going to meet pepperoni and sausage,” said Little Carmen looking at each of his fists.

“You are so adorable, LC,” said La Flor.

“Which Starbucks?” I said as I looked in the rearview mirror and saw La Flor and Little Carmen in a passionate embrace.

I repeated my question, “Which Starbucks? The city must have a hundred of them.”

La Flor stopped for a second, “It doesn’t matter, tell us when we get there.”

Maybe it’s the hot Texas sun. Maybe it’s the sound of the cicadas. Maybe I can blame Ray Bradbury and his book, ‘The Zen of Writing’ where he suggested to let the characters lead you on. Taking his advice, I called Big Carmen and asked for wisdom to share with readers. He thought for a moment, then said, “I’ll give you the best advice I ever got, it came from my Uncle Tony.”

I didn’t say a word, then Big Carmen offered, “Be nice to everybody, you never know when they’ll want to put extra toppings on their pizza.”

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.



Please Don’t Take My Coffee

Sometimes the simple pleasures in life are the best pleasures; like sitting down at my breakfast bar enjoying a hot cup of dark roasted coffee. I like my coffee in a clear cup that way I enjoy the variants of the coffee’s colors. I smell the aroma of cocoa and the smokey scent as it wafts up to my nose. I anticipate my first sip the way a young child anticipates Christmas. As I’m bringing my cup to my lips, I hear…

“Ray,  Ray don’t take that sip. Hand me your cup, por favor,” said La Flor*.

I hand my cup to La Flor. She takes hold of it. Steps away from me and simultaneously grabs the coffee pot. She carries my cup and the pot of coffee to the door leading to the patio.

“What are you doing, La Flor? Leave my coffee alone. Don’t take it away from me. Why are you wearing sunglasses? The sun is barely up?”

“My sunglasses are a statement any time of day. The coffee’s mine, Ray. It’s all mine. Don’t dare follow me. I’m desperate. I need it all.”

“Please, La Flor don’t kid with me. I’ll get a caffeine headache. I’ll have the shakes by 9 a.m. I’ll be mean-tempered by 9:05 a.m. I won’t be able to finish my blog.”

“I’m saving your life.”

“You are not saving my life,” I said.

“Am too,” she said.

“Are not,” I said and wished I didn’t say it. When am I going to get out of third grade?

La Flor had one leg out the door, her butt pushing the door open. Her eyes darting between the patio and me. She said, “Am too.”

I had to break the cycle of silliness. I said, “How are you saving my life?”

“I’m saving you from someone who could be potentially dangerous if she didn’t have a lot of coffee this morning.”

“Do I know this person?” I asked.

“La Flor PI doesn’t want to answer that question.”

“Why are you talking in the third person?” I asked.

La Flor took a quick look around the kitchen, then said, “I only see you, Ray. Then, of course, there is me, whom I can’t see because I can’t hold a mirror, coffee cup, and coffee pot at the same time. I don’t see a third person. I don’t understand why you said I was talking in the third person.”

“You’re taking this too far, La Flor. Take my XBox. Take my iPad. But, please don’t take my coffee.”

“Too bad, Ray. It comes with the territory of living in the same quarters with La Flor, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. Think of me as your personal security.”

“I don’t recall hiring you as a bodyguard. I don’t recall hiring you for anything. What time did you get in last night?”

“Let’s not change the subject, Ray.”

I knew I was on to something, I pushed on, “Let’s change the subject, La Flor. Did you get in?”

“Let’s put it this way, The time I got in is the time I got in. Does this make sense to you?”

“La Flor, do you think you are talking to one of your alt ego males?”

“It was worth a shot, Ray. They’re not too bright.”

“How much sleep did you get?”

“La Flor, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, doesn’t sleep when she’s on the job.”

“Please quit with the third-person. It’s going to give me the hives. Did you just get home?”

“I’m home now. That should count for something. I was out having breakfast with my mystery writer blog friend. We wanted an early morning breakfast. I knew this day would be action-packed trying to keep you out of trouble. I chose a healthy breakfast instead of eating something you might make for me.”

“You don’t think oatmeal and Greek yogurt and fruit are healthy?”

“Oh, heavens no, Ray. And when you add walnuts and flaxseed to your Greek yogurt, it’s a turnoff.”

“May I ask where you had breakfast and what you ate?”

“Sure, we got breakfast tacos at Paco’s Taco food truck.”

“I think I am catching on, La Flor. Let me guess, Paco’s Taco food truck happened to be in front of the alt ego bar. Is this a correct assumption?”

“You’re on fire. You didn’t need your coffee. I’m going to sit on the patio. I have a headache, my eyes feel swollen, and my tongue tastes terrible. Please don’t play music.”

“Are you hungover?”

“I like to experience all life has to offer.”

“Enjoy the coffee and peace, La Flor. I’m headed for Starbucks.”

“Thanks, Ray.”

One thing we share in common is imperfections. Recognizing my imperfections helps me to accept La Flor in her imperfections. She didn’t need a lecture or to feel shame for her long night or hangover. She was being who she is and figuring her way through her alt ego life in much the same way as I am figuring my way through life. We all need more understanding and lot less criticism.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.





The Gift

I love my birthday. I love Christmas. I love surprise gifts. I enjoy giving gifts and seeing eyes light up. And, I enjoy receiving them as well – except for the one’s I re-gift. I don’t like to re-gift too often because my memory may trick me and I’ll re-gift to the giver. A wrong re-gift has all the makings of a relationship disaster.

When I give a gift, I think about the person to whom I am giving a gift. I want to make it special. When I can’t think of something special I fall back on a reliable, can’t miss, hit a homerun everytime gift: A Starbucks gift card. It’s only failed me once when I mistakenly gave it to a friend who later told me she only drinks herbal tea. I told her Starbucks sells herbal tea, she gave me a look that said she doesn’t do Starbucks and, “This relationship is over.”

Kids under the age of 12 are pretty easy to please. Once they hit the teens, God help them, and God help me in the gift buying department. If they have an iPhone, I gift an iTunes card. Oh, my backup? A Starbucks card.

Is a Starbucks card the answer to all problems in life? I’ve got to think more about this possibility. Maybe I’ll give myself a Starbucks card. No, I already have the app on my iPhone and collect stars. Here’s a question for you. I collect Starbucks stars, I have lots of them. Are they still stars if the iPhone records them in some form of cryptic code? If they are in cryptic code, are they real stars? I think I’ve had one too many cups of coffee this morning.


I began this blog talking about gifts. Each of us is a gift when we give the gift of ourselves to others. Our gift to others takes on extra meaning when it is received by a grateful heart. The more we give the gift of our self to others, the more we discover our true mystery and destiny.

There’s More Than Coffee at Starbucks

I enjoy my morning coffee. I like a rich dark roast. I like my coffee as it is, no add-ons, no sweeteners, nada, I also like the dark roasts at Starbucks. It’s why I budget half my income to enjoy my caffeine habit.

A neighbor told me Dunkin Donuts’ coffee was better. According to my neighbor, a jelly donut improves the flavor of any drink. But, better than Starbucks? It’s like comparing my mom’s homemade Italian meatballs with the meatballs at Subway. Granted, I never tried the meatballs at Subway. Here’s my thinking. I’ve never stuck my finger in a live electric socket to see if it hurt. I’ve never told a state trooper to get lost when he asked for my license, registration, and insurance. I don’t jump in the shark tank at Sea World to try to help a shark floss. There’s a potential market, shark floss. There are things you don’t do because you already know the outcome. I will not try Dunkin Donuts coffee, MacDonald’s coffee, 7-11 coffee, or any coffee with added flavors. Okay, I admit, I hold a coffee bias.

I need my coffee. I need a topic for today’s blog. I can get both at Starbucks. I walk in the door, my backpack slung over my shoulder. I hope it doesn’t throw my spine out of alignment because I want to look cool. I hear a barista yell, “He’s back.”

What does this mean? I take it as a compliment. They’re happy to see me. From the expression on their faces, it most likely means the opposite, Please, please, please have enough dark roast. Please be hot. Please taste fresh. Don’t give him a card to fill out. Turning my name tag around. No, I’ll take Shelly’s, she’s off today. You’re a guy. Maybe he won’t notice.

I use my iPhone app to pay for the coffee – love those stars. I get a runner’s high when I see them going into my cup. It’s like I’m in first grade, where I seldom got stars and now I’m making up for it. Soon, I’ll have enough to get a supersized iced coffee. Honestly, am I this naive? I let Starbucks convince me collecting stars are important? The only thing I collect now is the lint in my navel and occasionally between my toes. Why do I keep coming back to Starbucks when I can brew it more cheaply at home? It’s not the baristas. Sorry Starbucks, it’s not the coffee. It’s not the background music. What is it then? Could it be their breakfast menu – NOT. It’s the people. Stories come at me twice the speed of light. There are a half dozen stories waiting for me. I sit down at a corner table to write my blog. Sometimes life works out and everything falls into place.

I’m watching a guy, come in, he blows by the baristas like he owns the place. He walks straight to pick up counter and picks up an espresso cup. He ordered ahead off his app. I prefer to wait in line and have the baristas stare at me while I try to get my order perfect, “Venti, dark roast, no room, don’t tilt the can. Don’t half fill it from one tin and a half from the other.” Good thing I have a great memory.

The guy takes a tiny sip from his espresso cup, extending his pinky with the 10K gold ring. From the neck down, he looks like Tony Soprano. From the neck up, he looks like my uncle Carmen past his prime. My dad said Uncle Carmen was the favorite because he was the youngest. Uncle Carmen bragged at Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, every wedding or funeral women fell in love with him. They couldn’t help themselves. Uncle Carmen’s first, second, and third wives didn’t buy his being an innocent bystander in his many trysts. He claimed he couldn’t help himself, he was easily duped and willingly succumbed to female charms. This is all true about Uncle Carmen.

Think of a ballplayer past his prime. You’ve seen some of “names” on DWTS. Here’s the deal with the strain of my species Uncle Carmen and the guy next to me represent. They think they still have it when they’re past prime. They wear expensive, Italian loafers. Beige linen pants and an off-white silk shirt to impress the ladies. If that doesn’t work, they wiggle their solid gold pinky ring. If that doesn’t work, they order an espresso in a small espresso cup and sip it slowly while holding their pinky askew. The guy next to me is no Uncle Carmen, he doesn’t have the Calabrian nose. I’m going to call him Faux Carmen.

I’m judging. Smart money is on,, or something coming out of that genre. I’m relating this in realtime:

He’s checking his large sized, latest version iPhone.

He’s texting.

He’s reading a response text.

He’s texting.

He’s checking his emails.

Now he’s scrolling.

Can I get arrested for stalking? Don’t answer that.

I’m tempted to check the FBI’s most wanted list. Is there a bounty on this guy?

He’s putting his cell phone away. He’s looking out toward the parking lot.

Two cars pull in.

He’s smiling. No, he’s beaming.

He’s standing up, sucking in his stomach, Here’s another hundred on my hunch.

He waves toward the door. 

My eyes follow his eyes. Every guy in Starbucks is staring (it’s a guy thing – thousands of years of programming). Mastered to the point where the guy pretends to not stare but stares. Do any guys really believe they can get away with this move? Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. And, you have no get out of jail cards.

She slowly wiggles and jiggles her way across the room. They should check your ID at the door at Starbucks. 

She’s standing in front of him. Looking up into his face. 

He stretched his arms out wide. Evidently, they know each other.

She throws her arms around him.

He wraps her in his arms.

Tío Paul, todavía eres muy guapo (Uncle Paul, you are still very handsome).

Mi hijo de Dios. hermosa (my god child, you are beautiful).

I leave Starbucks with a story and a lesson. I’ll come back again for a story, but I’ll pack my judgments away. They’re usually wrong.


My Heart Loves Coffee

I had a lengthy conversation with my heart this morning

“Good morning heart, hope you have a great day.”

“Give me my morning coffee Ray. I’m not awake yet. I’m running on automatic pilot. Did you know coffee helps to protect from heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and may even help the Red Sox win the World Series?” my heart says groggily.

I scoop out Starbucks and put it into the coffee maker. I want to make the ticker happy.

“Hey, I don’t care for the name ticker. I know what you’re thinking. Remember, I’m connected directly to your scatterbrain,” says my heart.

“Don’t get fresh, your coffee will be done in five minutes.”

“Let’s think ahead Ray. Put the coffee maker on autopilot when you go to sleep. It will be ready when you awake. Better yet, move the coffee maker next to the bed.”

“That’s all I need is to smell coffee all night long,” I say.

“What’ for dinner?” says heart.

“Dinner? I thought we were talking about coffee.”

“Unlike you, I can juggle more than 1 ball,” says heart.

“Coffee’s done, heart. I hope it turns you into a kinder, gentler person.”

Nothing is spoken for a bit.

“My, you’re looking good Ray. Coffee is my miracle drink. Let’s enjoy the day and life.