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Books, Children, and Creepy: havingbeenbreathedout Sometimes I think back on the time I spent working as a barista, and it seems SO STRANGE to me that "coffee shop AU" has become synonymous with narratives that are low on conflict, high on wholesome romance. During the year l spent working at a coffee shop A coworker of mine took a bunch of psyche- delics, walked through some strangers' plate- glass door, and threatened them with a bowie knife, leading to his arrest and imprisonment (and, needless to say, a late opening for the coffee shop that morning) Another coworker, an ex-military type with a young wife and a new baby, decided to smoke up for the first time ever with two other mutual coworkers, in the back of one of their trucks; and ended up having a three-way with them which ended his marriage .I had a nervous breakdown, stopped being able to eat food or hold conversations, and ended up sleeping on my coworker's couch for three weeks before she finally called my parents to come collect me Multiple store managers were fired for embezzlement. (Reminder: this was within the space of a single year.) .Yet another coworker, who was seventeen at the time, started dog-sitting for a couple of regulars in their (I'm guessing) early 50s, and ended up in an ongoing creepy and incidentally illegal relationship~ with them both Various employees discovered, in the course of cleaning the bathrooms: couples fucking in the bathrooms; junkies passed out in the bathrooms; drunks puking in the bathrooms; both adults and children weeping in the bathrooms, a woman bleeding all over the bathroom from a gash in her throat (??); a dude standing in the middle of the bathroom floor and pissing in the opposite direction from the toilet, so that when the employee opened the unlocked door she got piss all over her (????) The owner of the bridal shop across the street was exposed as both abusive toward her employees and also cooking the books, which led to my coffee shop taking on a couple of untrained and weirdly conservative bridal shop workers for a few months while the bridal shop was shuttered and sold to new owners. Later the larcenous former bridal shop owner came down with some horrible disease which caused her to lose both her hands There was a regular universally referred to as Sketchy Steve," who came in at 7am for a three- shot latte with room for Seagrams 7, and de drugs to all us baristas. I actually, at one point cannot believe I was this stupid), went Sketchy Steve's house, and allowed him to spend like half an hour showing me his collection of découpaged outlet plates and also soliciting me for sex while I uncomfortably yet studiously declined Right before I started, the store manager had walked off the job in the middle of a shift, and side of the employees had walked out after him None of them ever returned Like, working on the front lines of food service was the most operatically sordid professional experience I have ever had, and one of the most surreal; and it is hilarious to me that THAT, of all jobs, is the one that has come to stand for soft-focus domestic romance in fandom circles wenamedthedogkylo This is the Coffee Shop AU we deserve Coffee Shop IRL