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Another Cup of Coffee
by Bill Tope

Three a.m. Saturday morning found the Corner
Diner overflowing with customers, many merely
Resting or else consuming biscuits and gravy and
Other comestibles in order to counteract the prodigious
Amounts of alcohol they had consumed at the taverns.
This was almost exclusively an after-bar crowd.
"Hey, Donna Lee, another cup of coffee, Babe,"
Growled Mick, a rather bilious man, shouting from his
Table in the center of the small diner.  Mick, like most
Of the patrons, was thoroughly drunk.  "Comin', Mick,"
Replied the waitress, who was working the entire
Room by herself.
"Now, Goddamnit," he roared holding up his
Empty cup as if to prove the urgency of his
Need.  Finally free, Donna Lee sidled up to
Mick's table, coffee pot in hand.  "Youse a good girl,"
Said Mick thickly.  "Real obedient."  Donna Lee narrowed
Her eyes at him.  "You could use a real man to straighten
You out some, though," he added with a smirk.
He reached out to fondle the waitress's prominent
Posterior, smacking his lips.  "Hands to yourself,
Mick," warned Donna Lee.  She knew that, aside
From being lecherous and gross, Mick was married
To some long-suffering woman that nobody ever saw.
"Watch you gonna do about it, girl?"  taunted Mick, now
Rubbing her backside with the palm of his hand.  "Fill my
Damn cup," he ordered, holding the vessel in his lap.
"All the way!" he added sharply.
Without a word, Donna Lee raised the hand
Containing the coffee pot above her head, held the
Steaming vessel over Mick's lap and poured the
Scalding coffee into his cup, spilling not a drop.
In the end, not a teaspoon more could have been
Added. .  Mick's eyes widened and he held his
Breath, his face assuming the aspect of a ripe
Taking a breath at last, Mick remarked,  "You got
A right steady hand there, Donna Lee."  "lt's not
Always so steady, Mick; remember that."  "I will,"
He promised and, now thoroughly sober, tossed
A twenty onto the table and swiftly quitted the diner.
You could hear the bell tinkle as he slammed the door.
A thin smile danced across Donna Lee's face as
She pocketed the bill and proceeded to fill
Other cups, in a more conventional fashion.

Originally published in 2021 in the magazine:
Children, Churches and Daddies