von Armand Rosamilia
Be Here In The Mornin’
Three people, with tired eyes and dry mouths, were standing on the front deck, waiting for Mac to open. The same three he saw each and every weekday. It was the start of another Kokomo’s Café morning.
“Good morning, Dean.” Mac smiled at the older man, his wisps of gray hair flapping in the gentle breeze. Dean owned one of the knickknack stores dotting A1A, selling anything he could squeeze FLAGLER BEACH onto: shot glasses, shirts, flip flops, banners, and beach towels. He even had it stamped onto the ice cream in the cooler. “The usual?”
Not a morning person, Mac thought. No matter. He’d take his spot at the big window across from the counter and finger through the newspaper while the coffee was brewing.
The woman was named Beverly. She was a prominent local realtor, coming in for her morning double shot of espresso and a blueberry muffin. She’d ask Mac if he was ever going to sell his house in PalmCoast so she could get him a deal and he’d laugh it off. Of course, if his wife Ginny was opening with him, she’d be all ears. Her dream was to sell the big house and move to FlaglerBeach so they could be near the café and the beach.
Mac started up the coffee, hitting the lights in the kitchen and preparing whatever he needed for the opening. Ginny would be here by nine with ice and more coffee, which they’d need for the busy weekend ahead, especially with the farmer’s market going on across the street in Veteran’s Park.
The third member of the morning visitors (Mac liked to refer to them as the Breakfast Club) was the large guy who sat at the corner table, head down, staring intently at his laptop. He wore black t-shirts with humorous/almost-offensive slogans and only took breaks for phone calls, a refill of his coffee and to order lunch. He stayed through the morning and left around two. Mac didn’t know who he was but he was someone, because people came in to talk with him and sometimes met him for lunch.
Mac went to work on Beverly’s wake-me-up as the fresh coffee brewed. He had a system and it was running like clockwork right now.
Then the front door opened at the same time the back door did.
It’s going to be a busy morning, he thought. “Good morning, how’s it going?”
A young couple, in swimwear under long white shirts, came in from the front. They were smiling and couldn’t keep their hands off each other. They ordered cappuccino and egg and cheese sandwiches. The older woman, coming in from the back steps, was still going through the menu, even though it was a simple folded sheet with a handful of items.
When Mac saw the couple looking around as they stood and waited for their food, he pointed at the nearest table. “You guys can sit anywhere you like, in here or in the side room, or outside. I’ll be happy to bring your sandwiches out to you.”
She smiled. “Let’s sit outside at a picnic table. It’s so nice today.”
Mac went to the kitchen and started getting orders together, trying to stay ahead until Ginny got into work. They’d been open for business since October, and the customer base had grown considerably in the last eight or nine months. The couple had been lucky so far, and Mac knew the café had a great vibe to it and great food, which had the locals coming back for more. Now that summer was here, the tourists were trickling in. Some of the snow birds decided to stick around town longer than usual, and Fourth of July would be a huge event in FlaglerBeach, with fireworks just off the pier and the town jammed with families.
Mac and Ginny had run 100-seat restaurants in the past, but he’d sworn never again. He loved the one on one Kokomo’s Café afforded him. He liked serving one person at a time, being able to take a break during slow periods and sitting out in the dining area and shooting the shit with the locals. The view from the big window was wonderful: today and tomorrow he would have a good view of the farmer’s market, with people coming and going and, occasionally, stopping in to get coffee or a muffin. This was small town at its core, and he loved being situated so close to it and being a part of it.
He was only a block from the Atlantic Ocean, and the view past Veterans Park, the palm trees and parked cars was of clear blue skies dipping into a gorgeous body of water, pure and sparkling in the morning sunlight.
The back door opened and Mac popped his head out, saying hello to two men who came in. Yep, busy busy day, so far. Mac started moving at double speed to keep up, and he loved the challenge.
“Hello, how are you?” Mac heard Ginny as she came through the front door, greeting everyone as she came into the kitchen. She was good with names, and often reminded her husband who was who. Without her, everyone would be Ma’am and Buddy.
She came around the counter and took the order of the two men, slapping the slip down next to Mac. “I guess you’ve been busy.”
“So far, I can’t complain. I’m just glad you’re in and here early. If they kept wandering in, it might’ve gotten a little hairy.” Mac snuck a quick kiss to his wife’s cheek and returned her smile.