Every morning I get up, put on my pants one leg at a time, and putz over to my 7am opening shift at Cat Pause. Fumbling with my keys I sleepily open the kingdom of Yerbas and Slim Jims. Waking up at the buttcrack of dawn isn’t easy, but I do it happily for the job I love. I love the Holy Cow flavored coffee, I love the f’real milkshake machine, but most importantly, I love the most peculiar people who frequent the one stop shop. I don’t know if I am allowed to gossip about Cat Pause patrons, but if there is one thing I lovelike more than my job it is town gossip.
Strangest Smelling [M21] Kombucha
A man with the most peculiar odor frequents Cat Pause at around 10:30 am most days for his serving of fermented tea drink. Through the mask, through the plexiglass, through it all, his smell persists. He walks into Cat Pause mere seconds after the smell wafts in itself. It is not a bad smell, it is not even his most curious aspect. Though picture ID is not required to purchase kombucha (a reminder I give him often) he insists upon proving he is 21 years of age. His picture ID is like nothing I have seen before. It isn’t from any nation or bureau that I recognize. His name, Noah Centineo, is small and at the bottom of the card while the picture, he reminds me often, is a scratch and sniff. Of course, the same smell that shrouds him protrudes from his ID as well.
Skinny Stoner [M24] Cleaning Supplies
This shopper single handedly cleaned out our stock of lysol aerosol spray, windex, and other household cleaning supplies even before the COVID pandemic. He is often clad in baggy clothing, hoodies, and beanies carrying a handwritten list of cleaners he requires. He rambles to himself about someone named “Mista White” and cooking whenever he peruses the cleaning supplies shelf. Must be his professor. Glad someone is keeping campus clean!
Same Outfit Every Day [F18] Amy’s Frozen Meals
A woman who is the closest person I have ever met to a cartoon character comes to Cat Pause at least four times a week for frozen treats. She wears an orange dress and pearls every day. I wonder how often she does laundry. Or how many orange dresses she owns. Her frozen treats of choice are not ice cream nor popsicles, I’m talking organic, grassfed, homegrown, Amy’s Frozen Dinner Meals. They flawlessly transform from dinner to lunch meals when she eats them cold, from the box, just outside of the Cat Pause glass. Her yellow spiky bald head dances with glee at the taste of that sweet, sweet spinach casserole.
UVM Faculty [M40] Breakfast Sandwich
This cat pause regular is a full grown man from the Data Science department. A forty year old through and through. Old timey grunts, cracking joints, and turtlenecks from the 80s are all parts of a non negotiable package deal with this individual. His early morning poison of choice? The egg sandwiches in the incubator stage left of the coffee. On Wednesday’s he switches it up and selects an incubated breakfast wrap instead. Hump day pick me up I guess? He checks out at precisely 8:08 am nearly every morning with a debit card under the name Carter Ward. Merrily, he goes on his way to crunch numbers and lukewarm eggs.
Holy shit. Holy hell. There is a pounding at my door. Who is pounding at my door at this hour? I was not expecting guests. Why are dark, unmarked cars blocking off my street? Holy shit. What is that light? A spotlight? My blinds are closed but the light is too strong. WHAT WAS THAT. There was a crash downstaris. It can’t be. It has to be. HIPPA. They’re coming for me. No. Yes. I am revealing the personal information of Cat Pause regulars. How could I not see this coming. I have violated every privacy agreement I am bound by in the making of this gossip. They are coming up the stairs. They are here.