A dragon struggling to run a coffee shop in a busy city

“This isn’t decaf!” somebody blurted behind me as I tried to make something resembling a large-small soy nonfat double-milk mixed-bean extra-filtered half-shot of vanilla mocha latte from Hell, or whatever the last customer had ordered. Some of these more… eccentric orders I could just never keep up with. Humans are so damn picky.

With an inward sigh, I spun around to tend to this new complaint. In doing so my tail whipped out and knocked over the drink I had just been making. I groaned, out loud this time, as I saw the irritated face before me smirk at my misfortune.

“I’m sorry sir, I’ll brew you up a new one right away,” I growled lowly. He put his cup on the counter and I promptly ate it. I’d learned in the beginning that my large mouth and fiery digestive system make for a rather simple, efficient waste disposal system.

Setting the machine to start him up a new decaf, I turned to start over on the other customer’s order. At this moment a third patron entered the shop and strode up to the counter, while talking loudly into a Bluetooth earpiece she was wearing. Three customers at once, for me this meant business was booming.

“Haha yeah, and then he, like, couldn’t figure out how to do it – um, excuse me, service please! – yeah sorry Becky, this dragon is a bit slow sometimes, but anyway…” Her voice droned on and on, as I felt a dull throbbing starting to form in my great skull. Is this what they call a headache?

I ignored her as she got lost in her conversation long enough to whip up something that would hopefully at least remind the customer of whatever drink they actually ordered, and slid it over the counter along with the new decaf to their appropriate recipients. Then I went to the register to take the annoying lady’s order.

“One sec Becky; hi yes, finally, thank you, I’d like a-”

“This isn’t hot enough, I asked for extra hot, excuse me!” The phone woman seemed utterly confounded that someone would have the audacity to interrupt her, and stared with an open jaw as the previous customer with the complicated drink thrust the cup out in my direction demandingly.

Something in me snapped. I couldn’t take these people, any of them. And there weren’t many that came here anyway. I thought this would be a nice, easy way to make some money in the city and add to my hoard under the mountain, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Sorry, sir, let me heat that up for you!” I bellowed, a bright glow slipping out between the scales on my belly before flame erupted forth from between my jaws and engulfed the cup of coffee, vaporizing it instantly. The man had seen it coming and dropped the drink, pulling his hand away just in time, though both he and the decaf guy ended up with singed eyebrows.
An awkward silence followed for a few seconds before all three of them turned tail and fled in terror. I knew I’d overreacted, but I chuckled despite myself. No, this wasn’t for me. I’d go back to my favorite hobby, napping in my pile of gold. Even if it wasn’t as big a pile as I’d like.
-Harmanjit Singh


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