My name is Alice, Alice Arnold. Today is a very special day for me. I’d love to share the story with you, should you care to hear it.
You see, quite some time ago something rather strange occurred. I was sitting in my local coffee shop. It’s really the most amazing little shop called Aromatic. The place is completely adorable, and they have the biggest coffee cups I’ve ever seen. These coffee cups are so huge they appear to posses the ability to swallow your head whole if you were to tilt the cup back even the slightest bit to far. That’s exactly what happened to me on Tuesday the twenty second day of February.
Every Tuesday I stop into Aromatic to order a big cup of whatever their feature is for the day. This particular Tuesday their feature was a raspberry white chocolate latte, which sounded phenomenal. A went towards the front of the building to grab a paper from one of the racks next to one of the little nooks wedged behind the front windows. I was sitting outside, at one of the patio tables without an umbrella, when it happened.
I was reading an article about a Guatemalan man who fled the scene of a drunk driving accident where he’d murdered a woman from my neighboring town. There was a picture of a car mangled to shreds below a bold print headline asking, “How did DUI driver walk free?”
I began contemplating the headline as I tilted my head back and swallowed steady gulps of the warm raspberry white chocolate late. The sun had been warming my skin, but the temperature still allowed my coffee to settle into the perfect consumption degree. The warm, caffeinated, surgary syrup passed so easily down my throat it was impossible to resist the urge to tilt my cup just a hair further back. I was wondering how a person could get up and walk away from the inside of a shredded sardine can when the coffee cup tilted back just far enough to consume my head.
It felt much more like falling into the cup at the time, but the single witness to the incident said the cup seemed to simply slip over my head as it fell to the floor. All the while erasing me, or swallowing me, as it went. The explanation of the sight is taken as nothing more than the acid induced ramblings of a lost old man.
It was sixty degrees that day, which was extremely odd for February. The wind was ferocious enough to keep most people inside despite the unexpected sun, so the only other person within eyesight was the silent homeless man who collects remnants of cigarettes from the ground and rolls them into new. I’d been going to that coffee shop for three summers since moving to Chambana, and I’d seen that man wondering the alley everyday the weather made being outside acceptable.
The wind had my hair flying in every which direction, so I didn’t notice him at first. I folded the newspaper in half and secured it between my teeth while I wrangled my wild strands and secured them with one of the black hair ties I keep on my wrist. I was rubbing circulation back into the indentation the tie had left when I spotted him squatted down in the gated patio across from me. Once the itching, caused by the bands indention, stoped I held the paper out against the wind and said hello to him like I had every time in the past. I didn’t wait for a response before allowing the newspaper’s image of the mangled black SUV to consume my attention because I new there wouldn’t be one. He had never spoken a word until that day. The police ended up being called to calm him down and ask him to leave.
The woman who’d made my coffee was the one to call the cops after her failed attempts at soothing the deranged old man. She said he came flying in through the back door, connected to the patio, waving a big blue coffee cup. He was screaming, “The cup didn’t break, she might be inside!” over and over again like a crazed shriek being played from a skipping record. He tripped over two of the smaller tables along the wall on his way to the barista counter and sent them flying. He stood with one hand on the counter as he lifted himself high enough to stretch the hand with the cup over the counter and into her face. She said he wasn’t violent about it. It was more like he was trying to show her the inside of the cup.
She attempted to calm the old man for ten minutes while his bleeding record continued to skip. All the while pleading the cup in front of her face. Finally she waved the white flag and called the cops. The old man begged the cops with the cup until it was pried away from his desperate fingers. That’s about the time his skipping record shattered and became a banshee. She described the scream as being in-human and claims it still wakes her in the night.
Apparently the cup didn’t shatter when it swallowed me up. But, like I said, it didn’t feel like I’d been swallowed up at all.
– Laura Elizabeth