I hate it when stories take place in a Starbucks, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

About three years ago, my mother purchased for me a $50 Starbucks gift card. Because I make my own coffee at both work and home, and because I only drink plain old large coffees (I refuse to say the Starbuck size-names so I often get different sizes of coffee when I order?it adds an element of surprise to the purchase), that card didn’t run out of credit until today.

It’s the end of an era.

I hadn’t given a Starbuck’s employee any actual cash in so long, I almost forgot what it was like. And I have to say, handing a Starbuck’s employee cash is a pretty forgetful experience. Which is probably why I forgot what it felt like.

After purchasing my coffee, adding milk and turning around to leave the Starbucks, I realized I had just left my card with the stupid counter person (I refuse to use the Starbuck sanctioned name for the counter person either, even though I clearly don’t have a better name handy). I turned around, cut the line and said to the counter person, “I forgot my card.”

“It’s? it’s out of credit, man” said the counter person. “Why do you want it?”

“What the fuck do you care?” I asked. “It’s my card and I want it back.”

“I threw it away,” said the counter person, who surprised me by actually conveying some confrontational spirit from his eyes and demeanor (believe it or not, most Starbuck’s employees tend to be a tad spineless).

“Could you do me a favor?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said.

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“Could you reach into the trash can and get my fucking card back and give it to me? I’d hate to violate Starbucks’ policy by getting it my damn self.”

“I suppose so, but I’d sure like to know why you want it.”

Now, the truth is that I wanted it because I utilize a front pocket wallet that holds all my cards in a pocket and whenever I remove a card from said pocket, I risk the other ones spilling out every time I pull out my wallet, but I didn’t have the time or the inclination to tell this bastard that. So I told him this:

“The answers are on the card.”

And the fucker nodded, pulled the trash can out from beneath him, peered into it, and then slowly pulled my card out and handed it to me.

“Answers to what?” he asked as he handed it to me.

“The questions on the card,” I said.

And then I left.

To borrow a phrase from the great Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbs), I like to make everyone’s day a little more surreal.