Scene: Lord MacCormack’s fabulous, wood-paneled reading room, where Lord MacCormack and his posh friends, Viscount Mond, Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien, and Magnum Anvil, smoke cigars and drink cognac while reading their newspapers.
Lord MacCormack: Bunkum and bile, I hate it when I have to go into a Starbucks coffee shop! All I ever want is a “large black coffee,” and all I get is pedantic blowback or eye-rolling from the staff there, who are supposed to be serving me, about how I’m not placing my order correctly. I don’t give a hoot if the coffee comes from Sumatra or Subic Bay or Swaziland. And I don’t want anything dusted on top, or anything foamed, skimmed, curdled or whipped poured into it. I just want coffee, black, in a large cup. It is the coffee shop staff member’s job to provide me that. If they can’t handle that, then perhaps they should be working elsewhere, operating the deep fat fryer and not interacting with paying customers who are in a rush to assuage their caffeine joneses. But, no, clearly they think that it’s better to spend their time chit-chatting with their dirty, tattooed, white-dreadlocked, trust-fund holding, Volvo station wagon-driving “regulars” about all of their special coffee needs and the upcoming Hackey Sack tournament, while they endlessly swirl their little metal cans of milk under their little steam spout things.
Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: They call them “baristas,” Lord MacCormack. And I don’t find them arrogant. Starbucks stores are sort of like McCoffee shops in a way, or something like TGIF or Applebee’s, rather than being like a locally-owned, real coffee place. The baristas there are just following a set of policies and procedures when they make those coffee drinks. Independent places are better about being flexible, though there tend to be a lot more of the trust-fund dreadlock kids there.
Lord MacCormack: But their policies and procedures are utterly absurd! “Small” is “large,” “medium” is “venti,” “large” is “grande,” or some other nonsense like that. I prefer to say “large coffee” to which they reply “Grande?” and I say “Large!” and they say “Small?” and I say “How about you fill up with coffee the cup that holds the greatest amount of liquid at sea level?” After a few rounds of this, they usually finally capitulate. Oh! And don’t get me started on their useless coffee lids that leak all over the place. How hard is it to put a lid on a cup that doesn’t leak when you drink it? Can one of you rocket scientists investigate that for me?
Viscount Mond: If I wanted to investigate a non-leaking lid system, I’d send some spies into the Dunkin’ Donuts at the corner of Lark and Madison, and steal their secrets. Dress your spies up as either bikers, cops or homeless crystal meth addicts. They’ll fit right in. I think the secret is in the difference between Styrofoam and paper cups. The leaks always happen at the seam on the paper cups. But good luck trying to get those tree-hugging, owl-loving Starbucks punks to use Styrofoam cups.
Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: I’ve found a simple solution to the paper cup leaking problem: whenever the barista hands you your coffee, turn the lid to make sure the drinking spout is 180 degrees opposite the seam. It feels nicer when you drink it that way too, as your fingers can caress the seam thoughtfully while you sip. Fool proof!
Lord MacCormack: No, it’s not the Styrofoam vs paper issue, necessarily. It’s the issue of flat lids vs raised lids. Those stupid “dome” lids Starbucks uses just leak, period, because the coffee pools in them when you sip, and when you lower the cup, it drains out of the dome and out the pouring spout. Always get the flat lids if they have them available, the kind where the pour spout just peels back. They will reduce your spills dramatically, unless the wingnuts behind the counter overfill your cup. I might just have to follow your advice, Mond, and send an expert into the Lark and Madison Dunkin’ Donuts to see how they do it there. Anybody seen Louie Shakes around lately? Let’s see if we can raise him on the cell phone here. Hello? Louie? Are you out there?
Louie Shakes (On the Cell Phone): Here I am, Lord MacC. I’ve commandeered a computer at the library, but I’ve been waving an umbrella around and screaming for a few minutes, and the cops are probably gonna shut me down any moment, so I don’t know if I’m going to make it to Dunkin’ Donuts this afternoon or not. But, either way, I have a message for you fancy folks there in the reading room. Here’s what it is: we, the homeless crystal meth addicts, are completely disenfranchised. We have no voice in local politics, where that damn Mayor McCheese just deprives us of our rights, left, right, and straight up the center. So what I need to know is: who will represent us when the war with the Sith Lords finally comes to pass? And who will protect us from the Shower Drain Elves? I have to know, friends. I have to know fast.
Magnum Anvil: Hey, Louie, you know we’re on your side here. Why, didn’t I give you fifty bucks and a handkerchief to wrap around your head when you got that asbestos out of my basement for me? Who but a great friend of the common man would be so benevolent? And, now, next time I see you nodding out in front of a computer at the library, I’ll show you how to connect that computer to the internet. That way your voice will be heard better, without all the shouting and umbrella-waving, and the librarian won’t call the heat in quite as quickly. Hang in there, pallie! I know life has been tough since they banned ephedrine, but I hear Mexico has taken over the meth lab market, and business on the street should be hopping again soon. So you should be set in a few months, if you’re back out of the poke by then, anyway.
Louie Shakes: I dunno about that, Magnum. Mexico? All the way up to Upstate New York? Man, I gotta say, that still leaves me greatly concerned about the availability of my meth. And with my limited income, how will I keep up with the 30% mark-up on imported product? Or will the price be lower than that, and possibly stabilized, to ensure that local meth producers, should anyone choose to take up the gauntlet, can still compete? Time’s runnin’ out here, friends. I need me some answers and a champion.
Magnum Anvil: I wouldn’t fret, my little speedfreak friend. Here in the great U.S. of A., the price of drugs always seems to go down no matter how much the supply chain moves around. Once the big brew-ha-ha comes to a close you should be sitting pretty. If not there’s always a lot of money out there for someone willing to fake their own death, or sell a kidney. Or both. You just keep waving that umbrella around until the cops show up, and then there’ll be three solid meals a day for a few months, and I’m sure that Local 962 of the International Brotherhood of Homeless Crystal Meth Addicts will have elected some new local leadership, who’ll get your rock prices steady, and maybe even get you a dental plan, by the time you get out. Failing that, there’s always Starbucks, my little junkie chum. There will always, always be Starbucks.
Louie Shakes: Hey, that sounds like a plan, Magnum. You fancy rich folks are always so great to me. I’m glad you’re in my court. Alright, here comes the heat. I gotta go now. See you all in a few months. Auggggggghhhh!!!!! You can’t catch me, coppers!!!! Augggghhhhh!!!!!!
Lord MacCormack: Say “howdy” to Officer Big Mac for us, Louie! And tell him not to put you in the stir with that bad old Hamburglar again!
Hamburglar: Robble! Robble Robble! Robble Robble Robble!!!! RRRRRRRRRRoooooooBBBBBLLLLLE!!!!!!!!