Scanta came into the back room with a bright smile on his face. I don’t know what’s worse, Scanta in a bad mood or in a good mood.
“Triiiiistaaan! My favourite guy!” he pumped his fist in the air.
I’ve decided, and I now know that Scanta in a good mood is the worst possible option.
“Scanta. I’m assuming your ‘actor event’ went as planned?”
“Oh Tristan, so smart you are! It did, thank you for asking me! This is why you’re the best employee!” He placed his hands on my shoulders and shook. I felt my brain hit the sides of my skull. I hope it was enough to concuss me, maybe then I’d have a day away from this man.
Once he stopped, I dusted my shoulders off. “So what exactly happened?”
He placed his hands on his hips and smiled, almost reminiscing. “They ran in dressed as henchmen, and caused a ruckus. That’s all I needed, really. For Pugh to have a migraine-inducing problem, solved by something as simple as gifting a banana. It’s almost poetic, if I do say so myself. Genius. Absolutely genius.”
I raised my brow in confusion. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I follow. So you did this just to inconvenience the owner of Café Moonbucks?”
Scanta shot me a look of disappointment. “Of course not! It was more than an inconvenience, and plus, there was another reason why I wanted to do that. There's a method to my madness, you know.” Was he pouting?
I started at this grown man-child and I only felt more confused. “What’s the reason?”
Before Scanta could explain, we were interrupted by the sound of someone knocking the door frame. We both turned to look, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the one and only Lolita. She looked annoyed, though. Frustrated, even. Like she was holding herself back from having some sort of outburst.
Huh, it must be really important too. I know she always runs away when Scanta’s here, she’s very vocal about her hatred for him.
“Lolita! H-hey…! What are y-you doing here?” Goddamnit Tristan! Play it cool!
She didn’t even bother to acknowledge me. “Scanta you hypocritical bastard!”
He smirked at her, “oh Lolita, don’t you think it’s too early for this anger? And so much of it, too. You normally hide whenever I’m around, isn’t that right?”
She scoffed, “shut up! Why would you pull such a stunt? Henchmen, really? It’s like you -want- the café to close down! You -know- how much that’ll affect us-”
Scanta placed his elbows on the counter and leaned in. “You mean how much it’ll affect you, right?”
She looked taken aback, and paused for a second, mouth gaping like a fish out of water.
She closed her eyes and took a calming breath, “don’t start this with me now. You know what I mean.”
Scanta put on a (clearly fake) confused face. “No, I don’t think I do. Mind explaining to me why you didn’t like my little prank on Pugh?”
She scoffed and looked to the side, embarrassed.
Uhh, this is awkward. Maybe I should help her out.
“H-hey now, maybe don’t push answers out of people who are clearly uncomfortable? I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you need to listen to what she has to say,” I tried to reason.
Lolita shot me a small smile, and the dots in Scanta’s brain seemed to connect. What they were connecting to, I’m not so sure. But something definitely cleared up in his mind.
“Oh” his mouth curled into a disturbing little smile, “so -that’s- why you don’t want the café to close. Because you have a little cr-”
“Shut up you bald bastard!” Lolita roared. Her voice was wayyy deeper than before. I stepped back in shock, and when Lolita noticed her outburst, she mumbled out a small apology.
Scanta just chuckled, almost as if he were used to this. “So what about me being a ‘hypocrite,’ could you explain that as well?”
Lolita looked between Scanta and I, and it was clear that she didn’t want to say certain things in front of me. I was kind of sad, I thought Lolita and I were closer than this, but I guess I don’t know enough about her relationship with Scanta. I was a bit jealous, honestly. Even though she acted like she hated him, they clearly know each other pretty well.
Damn, do they have -that- kind of history? No, it can’t be. He’s too old for her, unless she’s into that? I hope not, then I really don’t have a chance!
I let out a sigh. “I can step out if you guys want. You know, to give you guys some p-privacy. I guess. Yeah.”
Lolita gave me an apologetic smile, “sorry Tristan, I don’t mean to kick you out. It’ll be just a minute, I promise! And plus, there might be customers out there for you to deal with!”
Well when she says all that with a smile on her face, how could I be mad? I really was wrapped around her finger. “Oh y-yeah, customers,” I let out an awkward chuckle, “I’ll be at the front.”
She gave me a big smile and winked, “I’ll come get you when we’re done!”
I felt all the blood rush to my face, “y-yeah, I’ll um, be waiting…? I g-guess. Just call my name if you need me, Lolita.”
I gave them a final nod before leaving the back room. Lolita’s face had hardened already, and Scanta seemed incredibly amused.
That sick man, how could he be so happy about a girl who’s clearly upset with him? I could already hear her yelling at Scanta, and he was responding very calmly. What a sociopath.
When I got to the front, there was already a customer waiting. Oh just great, it’s that guy who yelled at me while I was handing out the flyers. He was looking around, nervously.
“Hello, sir. How can I help you?”
His eyes snapped up to me, as if he were scared by my voice. He even jumped a little. Is he okay?
“I’m only here temporarily, or until the situation at Café Moonbucks is explained. I want a drink,” he whispered. His eyes flitted around as if he were looking for something. No, it’s as if something was looking for him, and he was waiting for it.
“Uh, sure sir. What drink?”
“... iced caramel macchiato, and make it fast.”
“Sure, and what’s the name?”
I took a deep breath to calm myself. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. What’s the name?”
“... Greg Gory…”
“One caramel macchiato for Greg Gory, coming righ-”
“SHUT UP! DON’T SAY MY NAME OUT LOUD! THE DEMON WILL HEAR IT!”
Ohhhh, now I remember this guy. He’s the Karen who thinks the café is possessed by a demon or something.
Maybe I could get some entertainment out of this, he was a nuisance after all.
“Sorry sir, it’s protocol that I say your name out loud. I need…. certain folks… in our establishment to hear it.”
He visibly paled and I tried to hold in a laugh. “What do you mean, certain folks,” he asked slowly.
“Unfortunately, due to company policy, I cannot tell you.”
“No no no, I am a customer and the customer is king. You need to tell me, right now.” His voice seemed more confident. Being a Karen was muscle memory, it seemed.
I faked a concerned look and hoped he would buy it, “Alright sir, but this is just between you and me, okay?”
He seemed annoyed by this, but nodded nonetheless.
“I’m sure you're aware of the rumors surrounding this café, yes?’
His eyes widened, and he continued to nod. He looked scared.
I beckoned him closer and began to whisper. “I can’t say for sure, but let’s just say the rumors have some truth to them.”
Greg gasped and leaned back, shaking. “N-no, then that means the,” he whispered, “demon knows my name? And it knows everyone’s name?”
I nodded solemnly. “We must appease him, or else…”I trailed off.
Greg audibly gulped. “Or else…?’
At that moment, I heard deep footsteps approaching me from behind. From the sound alone, I knew it was Scanta.
I pretended to be scared. “Greg, he’s coming.” I widened my eyes in fake fear.
Greg let out an ear-piercing screech and ran out of the café.
I couldn’t hold it in and immediately fell into a fit of stomach-cramping laughter.
The look on his face was priceless!
I felt a hand on my shoulder as I continued to laugh.
“Nice one, Tristan.” Scanta looked proud.
Oh yeah, he was arguing with Lolita! Is she okay! I sobered up quickly and I wiped away a few stray tears.
I cleared my throat, “where’s Lolita?”
“Lolita left,” he paused, gauging my reaction.
She left without saying anything to me? She must be really upset… No, don’t be so full of yourself Tristan! She doesn’t have to say anything to me… But I swear she’s kinda into me too? Am I wrong to assume that? Oh god, have I been forcing a dynamic with her? Is she even comfortable with me?
My thoughts were cut off by Scanta waving his hand across my face, “earth to Tristan?”
I blinked and looked him in the eye. “Uh, what happened to her? Is she okay?”
Scanta chuckled, “she’s fine, just upset with me. She’s worried about the café closing down ‘cause of the stunt I pulled at Moonbucks.”
“Oh. I didn’t know she had such an attachment to this place.”
Scanta gave me a small smile. “I don’t think she’s attached to this place, as much as something else.”
“What does that mean?”
Scanta stuck his tongue out at me, “can’t say!”
I huffed in annoyance. “So she’s alright?”
“Oh Tristan, don’t you worry! She had some place to be, and plus you were handling a customer anyways.”
“Ah. I see…” I guess he’s right.
Hold on, I had something to ask him.
“Wait. Scanta, why exactly did you pull the stunt at Café Moonbucks again?”
He paused for a second before looking down to the ground and chuckling.
He looked out the window.
“He forgot,” Scanta said quietly.
What’s up with the change of tone? “I’m sorry, I don’t think I follow.”
Scanta looked up at me with something that looked like a smile, but sadder.
“My favourite movie! So I had to remind him.”
“I- who- what?”
Scanta chuckled sadly, “Nevermind Tristan. We should get to work, right?”
He turned and walked into the back room.
I don’t know what just happened, but I think I found Scanta’s off switch.