My shift ended over a half hour ago. I should be crawling into bed, wrapping my arms around my pillow but… no. Instead my arms are wrapped behind a chair and tied at the wrists. I am still in my barista uniform with my green apron showing a smear of caramel at the corner. Would he starve me to the point where I start sucking on that corner just for food?
Okay, I admit it. I am in full panic mode right now.
It’s not hard to do when the city’s worst villain, terrifying in his black costume and chrome, spiky things, paces in front of me. His mask looks even scarier in person. No wonder people are so frightened of him. Also, he’s freaking huge. Much taller than the guys I remember from back in high school football or wrestling. I had not realized men like this existed. Even out of his costume, I am sure I would have noticed him ordering a coffee or something.
His size along with the fact that they call him the Bloody Ninja Blade, or something like that, makes my panic shoot over to meltdown. I confess I don’t keep up too much with the hero / villain soap opera that goes on in this city. Now I wish I did. Tears slip down my eyes. “I can’t tell you anything,” I tell him again. And it’s the truth. “I don’t know anything about the QC Defender!”
The dark villain swoops down to me, scary mask close to my face, and a sword at my throat. “I should hang your entrails over the city as a warning to him.”
“You’ve got the wrong girl!” I cry. It suddenly dawns on me why all this horrible confusion. I saw it on a Tumblr feed last week because other baristas thought it was cool. The QC Defender saved a local coffee shop from an attack. The picture showed him carrying the girl out in his strong arms, his blond hair like an angelic beacon in the night. She wore the tell-tale green apron as well.
She had long brown hair too. Yeah, now that I think about it, she looked like me.
Of course there have been whispers in the comment threads about the QC Defender being a coffee fanatic and in love with that certain barista. Apparently the Bloody Ninja Sword Man reads Tumblr too.
“I…I think there is a big misunderstanding. I make coffee yes, but I am not the barista you are looking for. She works at a different shop. I haven’t even met her. That’s why kidnapping and holding me hostage will do no good.”
The man looms over me. The sword doesn’t waver. I feel all that bravery slither right out of me.
“You could just let me go. I won’t tell anyone. Promise. Cross my heart. My shift is done anyway, and I just want to go to bed.” I’m babbling, but I’ll be damned if I can stop myself.
For a moment I can’t breathe. Then he lowers the sword. “If you are…”
Something interrupts him. A buzz at his belt. It’s hard to see in this dark room, an old maintenance area from the looks of it. A single bare bulb hangs from above, and it looks like it wants to die any second. He turns from me and take a phone from his belt. The light illuminates his mask.
I want to start giggling hysterically because I imagine him trying to take Instagram selfies here in this room. With the mask on. Oh. My. God. I can’t laugh. I must not laugh or he will kill me.
“Damn,” he mutters. He turns to me and flashes the phone’s screen in my direction.
I see the QC Defender with his beloved barista holding margaritas. Underneath are the words: Let her go or else.
“That’s Carlita Rita’s,” I say softly, recognizing the restaurant. “They’ve got the best sangrias.”
“Haven’t tried them,” he says back, and I can tell his teeth are clenched. He clicks the phone off and shoves it back into the black darkness of his costume.
“Sooo…” I am at a total loss for words but that doesn’t stop me from trying. “Do you want to try a sangria?”
I could just KICK myself.
The mask turns back at me. Now it’s somehow not so scary. But that is a huge mistake. The sword comes around, faster than I can even register, and slashes. I scream.
The ties at my wrists and ankles are severed. But he also nicked the skin on my left ankle. The pain stings. Blood runs down into my shoe.
“You cut me!”
“Call it a reminder. I’ll do worse if you say anything to anyone,” he says before he disappears into the shadows.
In the silence, I start giggling. I am totally calling off my shift tomorrow. Baristas in this city need hazard pay.
Prompt was from my good friend and fellow writer, Kierce Sevren. Check out her blog for her take on the prompt too!
“MISTAKEN IDENTITY. Write a fragment of a story in which the first person narrator is mistaken for someone else by a stranger.”