Part Fourteen – Where coffee is never only coffee
When Lisa entered, she knew she would have to blow her cover or let it go. There was just something in her that could not let Theo be scared anymore. He was such a nice person, and she liked him.
“It would have to be getting fired, then. Fucking peace, love, and Harmony in the sky,” she mumbled. “Sometimes they need a kick in the ass.”
She thought it must be in the morning because the café was waiting.
It had only been less than an hour after telling Jen and Albert off when her friend Juan entered the café.
She showed him to a table and saw the case file In his hand.
“I am not doing that anymore,” she whispered to him. Juan looked straight ahead and asked for coffee as if he had not heard her.
She understood what he wanted her to do, but Lisa only wanted to work in the café. It turned out to be more complex than she had anticipated.
One thing was all the dead people. It could be managed, but all the living was more challenging. She had always preferred the dead because they did not lie or shift blame, for the most part. She stood by the counter.
The living and their emotions could be hard to handle at times. This was one thing she had been required to learn to let go of other people’s emotions and responses.
When she thought about Albert and his realization about shifting the blame, a smile crept up, and Emily immediately noticed.
“What are you smiling about?” She wanted to know.
Lisa snapped out of it and said just thinking about life and death.
“Do you think Theo is ok?” she wanted to hear Emily’s opinion.
“He is as ok as can be when being teased by spirits and scared to the bone.” Emily looked sad.
“He is always scared, and for all the time I can remember, he has been depressed.”
Lisa’s heart broke for Theo, who was being taunted by dead people who had not learned until now. This was why she had to take charge sometimes, she thought and then realized what she was thinking.
Normality, thank you, she scolded herself.
Coffee was ready, and she went to Juan’s table.
“Here is your coffee. Can I get you anything else?” she smiled.
“Help me with this case, Lisa, please.”
“I am not doing those cases anymore; I am just working at a café, Juan. I am sorry I told you last time.”
Juan looked up and whispered,
“Does your friend here know that was what you did before?”
“Don’t you dare!” Lisa looked as if she could kill at any moment.
“I have to solve this case; otherwise, we might never find the body.”
“Is it too hard to do policework on your own?” She had it with his cases and threats.
He laughed loudly and said
“You know I am good at my job, but yes, this case turned out to be harder than I thought.”
She looked at Emily, who was staring at them.
“I will think about it, have some cake, too, while you wait.”
“Time is of the….” Juan did not get to say anymore because Lisa stared at him with a knowing look.
“The cake is of the essence here. It is a café” She wanted to win this power struggle.
“Ok, I will have a piece of cake,” Juan said to calm her down.
“Good, what kind, SIR?” Lisa smiled, knowing she had won round one.
“Whatever cake you find best, looking into his case file and not at her.”
Lisa was happy to have won the first round but knew this was far from over. Her thoughts flew around her head. She knew where the body was already, but she wanted her life and choices to matter.
She put the order note on the counter and said
“The annoying man wanted pecan pie.”
“The annoying man?”
“Yes, he is annoying,” Lisa said and went to another table with their coffee and cake.
Emily stood back and stared for a moment before plating up the cake. She decided to take the cake to Juan herself.
Lisa had not noticed until Emily was by Juan’s side.
“Your cake, sir,” she said, looking at the case file and handing him a fork.
“Can I help you with anything else?”
Juan knew better than to spill the real story of why he was there, so he said
“Thank you, but unfortunately, no.”
Emily stood for a moment and then went back to the counter. Lisa hurried to her.
“Are you ok?” She was worried Emily had seen something on the file or he had said something.
“I am fine, but why does he have a case file with a sticker that says missing body and your name on it?”
“I told you I sometimes help them in their work, and he seems to be missing a body.”
“Communication, is that what you did before?” Emily frowned.
She was not taking the answer for what it was.
“I will explain tomorrow in our meeting,” she said while drawing on a napkin.
“Please trust me on this,” Lisa was getting worried Juan might be the drop to end her normality.
“Ok,” Emily said and started the coffeemaker.
It did not look like she believed a word Lisa said, but to her relief, Emily agreed. She took the napkin she had been drawing on and gave it to Juan.
“Here are your clues. Just be sure to look under the ground, and I have nothing more to say,” Lisa turned on her heel and went to the counter.
“What did you give him,” Emily was curious.
“Just a guideline I wrote down,” Lisa went to another table where a man was working on his laptop.
In the following hours, Lisa did not stand by the counter at all. She did not talk to Juan either. She cleaned tables, served customers, and kept her head down. She wanted to do her job and go home.
When the clock turned two, she left the building. She said goodbye to Emily and Theo without any mention of the day and what had happened. She wanted to clear her head and think about what to say.
Grocery shopping was done with a half attention span, and once home, she realized that might have been a bad idea. She had cucumbers and onions but nothing else for a salad. She had dessert in a vast amount. Chocolate, candy, and chips were there in abundance. She had soda, three kinds of milkshakes, and then ready-to-eat meals. Four kinds. This is stupid, she shouted at her bags.
“I am doomed,” she sighed after putting all of it into her tiny refrigerator.
“This is sugar Tetris getting it all in!” She fell onto her bed and lay there thinking about what to say when she came in the next day.
How would she tell them what she did without scaring them half to death? Her life had been filled with two kinds of people.
One fled her once she told them about her ability, and the other was the people who thought this was what they did, too, and became clingy.
In the end, she was left alone without anyone who loved her for herself.
Some were fans, but they were usually respectful and only clients.
She had never met anyone who did what she did in the same way and never anyone close to being as precise. She knew it sounded like her ego talking, but it was a lonely path without equals.
She always thought it cocky or pretentious to say she was better than others. She often was. It was just their path in life.
She was going to watch tv and eat a lot of unhealthy food before deciding anything.