"I taught you everything you know...everything!" snarled a familiar voice. My heart would sink whenever Bob came into the cafe. He's an ex-colleaugue from my days at Perfecto. I was new to making coffee back then and he thinks of himself as my mentor. He beckoned me to lean in close. "Closer," he demanded. His breath smelt of cider and I could feel myself about to lose my cool.
"Look Bob, I don't have time for this. These people behind you are waiting for their coffee," I whispered aggressively.
"Hear me out, rookie," he said. "I want to take you out to dinner, just me and you. We can ask the waiter for a private booth and tell each other our deepest secrets."
"I don't know, Bob. That sounds a bit weird."
"What do you mean 'weird?'" he said, raising his voice. "If I'm going to continue to mentor you I need to know absolutely everything about you. No more secrets, rookie. Understand?"
A waiting customer cleared his throat in annoyance and I looked over at him with an apologetic expression. He seemed to be telling me something with his eyes. It roughly translated to, "Just agree to have dinner with this madman then make my god-damn latte! I'm a busy man!" They say that the customer is always right so I took his advice.
"Fine Bob, fine." I sighed as I went back to making the coffees on order. "We'll have dinner together and swap secrets."
"Deep secrets," he corrected.
"Yes, deep ones. Now can you please leave?"
"But I want a coffee. I'll have my usual," he said smugly. My heart sank even further. Whenever he ordered a coffee he would stand to the side of the machine and watch me like a hawk, asking irritating questions about my process and mocking the patterns I would make on the coffees no matter how good they came out. I would make a textbook rosetta and he'd say it's assymetrical. I'd make a dragon and he'd ask why it's not breathing fire. If I made a love-heart he'd say it's more of a hate-heart.
As I was about to make the next coffee in line- a double espresso- the manager, Althea, approached me like an angel and informed me it was time for my break. I told her what the status of the coffees were and stormed out to smoke a furious cigarette, desperately hoping that when I returned Bob wouldn't be there, that he'd have gone back to doing whatever it is he does with his days.