A short man, with short white hair and a short white beard is reading the list of drinks on the wall above the counter. He wears a white Polo shirt and voluminous pressed Levis. “What does Espresso taste like?” he asks.
The pretty Asian girl at the register looks over at me without emotion.
“It’s hard to say sir…it’s sort of strong coffee.”
The man continues to read.
“But how does it taste?”
“I can’t really say sir, I’ve never had it.”
“Well never mind then. Mocha… that’s chocolate right? I like chocolate. Is that good?”
“Yes sir I believe it is.”
“OK. I’ll have a… how big is Grande?”
She shows him a cup.
“I’ll have a Grande, light, mocha, Frappuccino.”
“A Grande, light, mocha, Frappuccino. Will that be all sir?”
“Uh… make that decaffeinated.”
“I’m sorry, we can’t make a decaf light sir.”
“We just can’t sir.”
“OK… then add a shot of Pumpkin juice.”
“A Grande, light, mocha, Frappuccino, with a shot of Pumpkin juice. That will be 3.55 sir.”
The man rummages through a tiny leather purse to produce the exact change. The girl’s head bobs like it’s on a spring.
“Thank you SO much. Be sure and enjoy the rest of your day.”
(In line at Starbucks, Glendale, California)
Malcolm Mc Neill’s first project out of art school was a seven-year collaboration with writer William S. Burroughs. His two books about the experience were published at the end of 2012.
His most recent exhibition of paintings was in August 2013 in New York.