The man slammed the cup on the counter. The girl behind it stared at it, then at him.
“I did not ask for a man-eating monster with this drink,” the man said with a measured tone. “I want a refund!”
The girl frowned, then shrugged. “I’ll need to see your receipt.”
“Receipt? Why would I have a receipt for a drink?”
The girl stood her ground. “We offer it with every transaction. If you turned it down, that’s not my fault sir. I’m only allowed to give refunds with receipts.”
The man then wavered in his anger. “C-can you at least take it back? Even if I don’t get my money?”
“I can dispose of the drink if you’d like, sir.”
“I’ll take it.”
He walked away and she took the drink. She made a face at the monster who had been standing right behind the man. “Do you have to do that?”
“Go away.” She might have said that, but she handed the blonde coffee over to the monster. “People think you’re going to eat them when you’re just addicted to caffeine. Jesus.”
The monster took the coffee and wandered off.
“Get a job!” she yelled after them.
He went to the same coffee shop every morning. He always ordered the same thing, a wet cappuccino, despite the fact that his wife told him just to get a dry latte because that was the same thing. It wasn’t, he was certain, so he never did change.
This meant when the world literally ended on the one day he failed to get his cappuccino, he couldn’t help but feel like it was his fault.
“News reports: all over the world children are refusing to grow up.”
He stared at the screen, then at his coworker as they stood on the tram. “That’s ridiculous. Why bother to report on such a thing.”
His coworker appeared to be taking it a bit more seriously. “It’s not that they are refusing. Not only. My… my niece hasn’t changed in over a year. We thought she was just slow in her physical growth, but…”
He decided to ignore this, because obviously his coworker was being crazy. He moved on to work, where the entire office was going crazy because of the news. And here he was, without his cappuccino. He felt its absence in his hands.
Well, there were worse things to happen, he tried to tell himself. But it seemed unfair that children could make this change and the rest of them couldn’t.
The taste hit her tongue like an anvil dropping on an egg. She pulled her head back in shock.
She pried her tongue from the roof of her mouth. “Bitter.”
“I told you.”
Then the five year old’s father took back his coffee.