Pumpkin Spice Girl Murders Part 1
Brittany was going to murder the next idiot to cut her off in traffic. She needed coffee dammit, and thanks to another round of ill timed road construction, thank you so much Mayor Tooms, she missed the turn to her preferred Starbucks location. The detour took her to a section of town she forgot existed while the digital clock in the dash hedged her bets of succeeding in her mission for coffee if she planned to make it to the office in a timely fashion.
Fiddling with the GPS on her phone, Brittany cursed as she swerved around a beat up Volvo that turned without signaling, giving the old bat behind the wheel a one fingered salute. There had to be a coffee joint somewhere on the block, though the mass of boarded up storefronts didn’t leave her with much hope. Between that and the heavy morning fog, she swore she was driving through some post apocalypse set piece.
There! She slammed on her brakes, ignoring the honking behind her. In the corner of her vision, she caught the familiar shape of a coffee cup, spilling beans, lit up in bright neon like a beacon. Hallelujah! She was saved. Brittany slammed her hand against her horn, blasting her intentions as she backed up and turned into the parking lot.
Her tires screeched as she parked. Brittany hauled herself out of the car and rushed inside, blithely ignoring the posted signage on the coffeeshop door. The shop itself was blessedly empty, though that didn’t exactly bode well for the quality of the coffee. At least the prices were cheap. Whatever, she could resign herself to second rate Expresso over the burnt sludge at the office.
Brittany approached the counter, where the lone occupant of the shop, the barista, stood ready behind the counter wearing a witch’s hat and jack o' lantern patterned cloth mask. Cute, even though it was a little early for Halloween. Could have been worse, like a Santa hat.
“Hi,” she said with a dazzling smile as she eyeballed the menu. Of course, the whole damn thing was chock full of cutesy names that gave no indication of what they actually were. “Could I just get--”
“Ahem,” said the Barista, pointing to something behind Brittany. She frowned and glanced over her shoulder.
No mask, no service. Ugh. Great. One of those uptight business owners. She hated wearing masks. The mask made her break out and it would smudge her perfectly done up makeup she donned for the dozen zoom meetings she had to take today.
“Crap I left mine in the car,” she lied. “Look I’m in a hurry. You have a mask. Can’t I just order and be on my way?”
“Sorry, ma’am, store policy.”
Ew, she got ma’amed. “There is no one else here,” she said, raising her brows as she looked around the room. “You can’t make one freaking exception?”
Brittany couldn’t contain the sneer on her face as she dug through her purse and held her wrinkled mask in front of her mouth. “Happy now?”
The Barista hesitated. If this little college dropout pushed the issue, Brittany was going to throw the mask in her face. “Errr. What can I get for you today ma’am?”
Brittany rolled her eyes. “What do you have for fall flavors?”
“We have our Royal Maple Shot and Perfectly Pumpkin--”
“Yeah I’ll take that. Largest size you got. Extra cream. Pronto, I’m running late,” Brittany snapped her fingers for emphasis. The Barista blinked at her.
“So, you want a large Perfectly Pumpkin--”
“Oh my god yes, I just said that! Are you stupid? Hurry up!” Brittany snapped. Her irritation shifted to incredulity as the Barista moved a snail’s pace, using a sharpie to scribble her order on a large paper coffee cup.
At this rate her eye would start twitching. “You gotta be kidding me. Not like you have anyone else to serve.” She muttered under her breath. No wonder there was nobody in this dump. See if she left this essential idiot a tip. The sloth pace didn’t relent as the Barista moved behind the counter, humming some inane ditty to herself as she filled the cup with syrups and whipped cream and that luscious life giving substance that was coffee. Finally, the cup slid across the counter. Brittany caught a whiff of pumpkin spiced steam that made her mouth water.
“That will be two fifty please, would you like to pay with cash or car--”
“Cash is fine,” said Brittany, shoving a couple wrinkled bills across the counter as she snagged her cup.
“Wait you’re short fifty cents!” The Barista called after her, but Brittany was already out the door, shoving her mask into her purse as she hustled to her car. Once safely ensconced inside her moving vehicle, she took an experimental sip of the coffee, pleasantly surprised by the taste.
“Not such a crap hole little shop after all,” she said, weaving recklessly through cars in her quest to make it to the office. She pulled into her parking spot only a few minutes late, her coffee already half gone as she rushed into the building. It wasn’t until she was on the elevator, tapping her foot through the slow rise that she happened to look down at her paper cup. She scoffed aloud. That little idiot wasted her time drawing some stupid symbol on her cup? Oh, she should go back after work and let the Barista have a piece of her mind. Brittany wore a patented sneer as she made her way to her desk, her patience for the day already exhausted as she set her purse and cup on her desk.
And of course, she couldn’t get five seconds to breathe before Peter appeared at her elbow, a stack of folders in his arms.
“Hey Brittany, could I get you to sign off on these.”
It was only because she stared at the cup that she saw the funny little drawing light up a brilliant mesmerizing blood red. Brittany stared, unable to look away, as she sank into the mind numbing crimson glow. Her desk, the office, even annoying idiot Peter all fell away until the screams brought her back.
Brittany frowned. Her clothes were wet, tacky. She held a stapler in her left hand, the hefty weight of it surprising her. She turned it over. Was that a tuft of hair? Why were people screaming? Was her boss going off on one of the interns again?
The first thing she saw was her coffee spilled across her desk. Great, just great. She took a step back, skidding in what had to be a puddle under her desk. Brittany glanced down and froze.
Pooling around her black pointed pumps, pumpkin spiced coffee swirled in the blood that flowed freely from Peter’s bashed in skull...