Coffee Shop Hell

(a 250 word nightmare)

The coffee shop was crowded enough. Then I left my table for some damn dumb ass reason without taking tablet and smartphone with me. Returning to the table, they were both gone. So I went to the checkout counter to ask about lost and found items, doubting they would be there but holding out one last hope. People began crowding around me, some wearing face masks, some with them halfway pulled down, some not wearing a mask at all.

Then the protesters came marching down the street and into the coffee shop. All hell broke loose as they declared the area a TAZ. I could feel people's breath colliding with my masked face, washing over my unshielded eyes and I wondered why in hell I decided to go out for a cup of damned coffee I could have made myself and enjoyed safely in peace at home, alone.

The crowd pressed in closer, mass body heat mingling with mass body breath. I could almost see SARS-CoV-2 floating in the air, tens of thousands of copies of the virus being drawn into my eyes. I wanted to scream at them to let me out but it was no one’s fault except my own that I was there amongst them, foolishly risking infection.

Moving as well as I could toward the door and out into the street I turned left toward home only to meet a phalanx of police officers armed, armored and angry for being called overfunded murderers.