Chapter 15:

The Midnight Hat Cafe

Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives

A blonde woman placed a cup of coffee on the counter.Bookmark here

"Here's your coffee," she said.Bookmark here

"Thanks, Hat Lady," Kasumi said, picking up the cup.Bookmark here

"I have a name you know. I'm Kasumi Imadori," she said while Kasumi sipped her coffee.Bookmark here

"No, that's too weird. My name is also Kasumi. So, it would be easier to call you Hat Lady."Bookmark here

"You could call me Takara."Bookmark here

"Nope. It is already stuck. You are now Hat Lady owner of the Midnight Hat Shop."Bookmark here

"Fine. You can call me that, and you for information, this isn't the Midnight Hat Shop. It's the Midnight Hat Cafe. I thought it had a better ring to it."Bookmark here

"Can you just change the name like that?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, it's my shop, or cafe now, and I can do whatever I want. If I wanted to make this an amusement park, I could do it. Of course, I'll need the funds, but that's the only thing stopping me."Bookmark here

"So, you are a cafe now. What times are you open again?"Bookmark here

"From 3 pm to 3 am. It works nicely for me."Bookmark here

"You're a cafe that isn't open in the morning."Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

"So, if anyone wants coffee before going to work, tough luck."Bookmark here

"Yeah."Bookmark here

"But you are open for someone who wants coffee in the middle of the night."Bookmark here

"Yeah."Bookmark here

"Do you think that the market for people who want coffee in the middle of the night is big enough to sustain this business?"Bookmark here

"No, that's why we have a hat shop."Bookmark here

"A hat shop is enough to offset the losses you get from the cafe."Bookmark here

"Yes. The hat shop is actually quite popular, you know. I sell enough hats to get rid of my debt."Bookmark here

Kasumi looked around the empty cafe.Bookmark here

"I'm guessing those customers aren't here right now but don't you think that you'll make more money if you were open in the mornings?"Bookmark here

"Probably, but having the cafe open at midnight is kinda the whole point of the name, and it's hard to stay awake from 3 pm to the time people usually wake up."Bookmark here

"But can't you just change the name of the cafe again. Change the midnight to something else. No one comes to a cafe in the middle of the night. Do they?"Bookmark here

"Honestly, I was hoping for some supernatural creatures to come in, but you were the only customer who came that late so far."Bookmark here

"So, change your hours. You aren't making money at midnight, then why bother?"Bookmark here

"Well, I guess you aren't wrong, but I like the Midnight Hat Cafe. You never know who will walk through that door in the middle of the night. It's exciting."Bookmark here

"Well, if you want to be a place where people walk in the middle of the night, then you should probably sell what they want. I came here out of curiosity. So, I probably will never come back in the middle of the night again. I don't want coffee or hats in the middle of the night. I'm not looking for that. Ask yourself. What is someone in the middle of the night looking for?"Bookmark here

Hat Lady paused.Bookmark here

"You are a genius! I should ask myself what the customer wants. How did I not think of that?"Bookmark here

"Don't ask me."Bookmark here

"Let's see. I think snacks would be good. Maybe a candy bar or beef jerky. Cup ramen is something easy to make. Sodas too. What else other than food? I think... There isn't anything I can think of right now. I'm calling my supplier." She grabbed her phone and started calling. "Hey, Mr. Kuroki. Can you ship some candy bars and beef jerky to me right now... Hm, what do you mean you can't? .... oh, yes of course... Okay, thanks. I hope your daughter is doing well in college. Bye." She hung up and turned to Kasumi. "Looks like my hat supplier doesn't have any snacks to send me, but he seems to know someone who does, and he's going to introduce me to that guy. Pretty cool, don't you think? Anyway, scram. I have some business to do."Bookmark here

"Okay," Kasumi said, finishing up her coffee and slapping some cash on the counter. She made sure that it was already the exact change. "Bye."Bookmark here

"See you later."Bookmark here

Kasumi walked back home, and she found Risa serving dinner.Bookmark here

"There you are, Kasumi," she said, "I was about to call you. Where have you been?"Bookmark here

"Just at the Midnight Hat Cafe."Bookmark here

"Did you eat anything? Because..." Risa looked at the already ready-to-eat meal.Bookmark here

"Oh, don't worry. I only had a coffee. I'm still hungry."Bookmark here

"Are you sure you're fine with drinking coffee this late?"Bookmark here

"Don't worry. It'll only make me run faster in my nightmares."Bookmark here

After that, they ate dinner.Bookmark here

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