A Simple Cup of Joe
By: James Rumpel

One afternoon in the not too distant future…

"Well, your resume looks very impressive." Marsha Hollenbach smiled as she perused the sheet of beige paper on her desk.

"Thank you," replied Emily Klein, "I really think I can be an asset to your company."

"I don't doubt that," answered Marsha. "Tell you what, let's go grab a cup of coffee and I'll tell you a little more about what we are trying to do here. It'll give us a chance to get to know each other a little better."

"I think that's a great idea."

The two smartly dressed women stood in unison and headed toward the elevator.

"Let me do a quick search for coffee shops," announced Marsha. "Siri, please give me a list of coffee shops within walking distance."

Almost immediately, Marsha's phone responded. "There are thirty-six coffee shops within a two-block radius of your current location. Would you like me to read the list to you?"

"Siri do not read the list. Display it to my phone."

Marsha turned to Emily. "Would you like me to send the list to you?"

"Oh, that won't be necessary," said Emily. "I've already got it."

The elevator stopped on the ground floor and the two women made their way onto the busy street. Marsha pointed to a nearby building. "I believe that used to be a Starbucks, but they've divided it up into four or five different places. The first coffee shop on the list is there. Shall we go to Mocha Magic?

Emily hesitated and stared at her phone. "Is it okay if we find a different place. The description says that place is associated with a political party that I don't agree with. I wouldn't be comfortable there."

"No problem," answered Marsha. "Right next to it is Sippity Do Dah. We can go there."

"I'm reading the review. We can't go there. That place is too … ethnic."

Marsha sighed and typed a short note into her phone as the pair continued to walk down the street. "Let's see. How about Expresso Yourself? That's close and has pretty good ratings."

Emily shook her head. "Look at the clientele preferences. I don't think I would like it there."

"Are you that …" Marsha let her question tail off without a conclusion. "Maybe we should go to Better Latte Than Never."

"Nope, I don't agree with their position on universal health care."

Marsha took a deep breath and blew the air out quickly, extending her bottom lip so that her bangs stood straight up for a second. She aggressively swiped her phone a couple of times before saying, "Okay, how about Java the Hut?"

"I'm not really into science fiction."

Marsha stopped and turned to face her companion. "You know, Emily, I don't think we are going to be filling the position right now. We're probably going to take a couple of months to see if we can get by with the staff we have. We'll get in touch with you if we end up looking for someone. Sorry to have wasted your time."

"Oh," replied Emily, a look of confusion on her face. "I see. Is it because I couldn't find a coffee place? I can get coffee from anywhere… well, not anywhere, but I'm sure I can find a place." She began to rapidly swipe her finger across her phone.

Marsha shook her head. "Let's just say we aren't hiring and leave it at that. We'll call you if something comes up."

"Okay." Emily stood and stared at Marsha for quite a while. Once or twice she started to say something but stopped short of an actual comment. Eventually, she turned and started walking away.

Marsha waited until Emily was out of earshot and called the office.

"Emily just isn't going to work out. It's amazing what you can learn about someone by trying to find a coffee shop. I'll be back in about a half-hour. Since I'm out here, I think I'll grab some ice cream."

She looked at her surroundings, glancing up and down the street.

"Siri, find me an ice cream shop that's close."

"There are twenty-nine ice cream shops within two blocks of your location."

The End


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