What has gone before: Andrew Weazle, the owner of a failing coffee shop on the University of Alberta campus trades what he believes to be the final Friday night deposit in return for 'magic coffee beans' from a homeless man. After dumping the coffee made by the magic beans into a potted bonsai tree, a massive ash tree mysteriously grows overnight inside the shop. Andrew and his new employee Lara discover that the Tree's growth has been limited to the coffee shop, but are still faced with the additional cost repairing the damage the growth has caused, when a deluge of customers miraculously descend upon the shop...
"We did it!" Andrew shouted, the front door swinging shut behind him, arms held out in triumphant exultation.
Lara smiled at her customer, a girl with a mass of brown ringlets pulled together with a pink scarf, handed over her change, and turned her attention to Andrew, who was now doing an impromptu victory dance across the floor.
"You're scaring the customers," Lara said. "I'm assuming the 'it' we did was clearing this month's rent?"
"By pennies," Andrew replied. "By the skin of our teeth. This past weekend was nothing short of miraculous."
"Understatement of the year," Lara said, taking an order for an espresso and turning to the relocated machine, no longer perched in the tree's high branches.
"If we keep up at this rate, we could even look at renovating the damage done to the building...putting up a new sign," Andrew said as he went into the back room to hang up his coat and toque.
"New sign?" Lara called, handing over the espresso. "So you like my idea for the name?"
"Beats the hell out of being The Coffee Break," Andrew replied.
Lara gave a self-satisfied smile and turned to the next customer, finding herself suddenly staring at one of the most physically striking females she had ever seen.
She stood around six feet tall, her stature only owing slightly to the knee-high leather boots she was wearing over fishnet hose. Hooker boots, Lara thought. A short, tight black skirt covered from mid-thigh to midriff, which was exposed, probably to showcase the woman's navel ring and impossibly flat stomach. The white half-shirt covered her breasts enough to ensure she wouldn't be arrested for being in public, and was transparent enough to demonstrate that while they defied gravity as though held up by a miracle bra, no bra was lending support. Fake rack, Lara thought. This ostentatious ensemble was completed by what could only be called a winter coat because it was made from fur and would have kept a hobbit nicely warmed. It mostly covered her arms and shoulders, across which fell golden waves of hair fit for a Loreal commercial. Extensions, Lara thought. The hair framed a heart shaped face with high cheekbones tapering to a small delicate chin, which held full and sensual lips. Collagen, Lara thought.
"I'm looking for Andrew Weazle," the lips said.
Lara stopped staring at the lips and looked into mezmerizing, golden eyes. Colored contacts, she thought. "Come again?" Lara said.
"I'm looking for Andrew Weazle," the woman repeated.
"Andrew," Lara called, "There's someone who wants to talk to you out here."
Andrew entered from the backroom, beaming, and stopped dead in his tracks. "Holy shit," he said.
Lara rolled her eyes. She'd expected him to gawk like any red-blooded hetero male would have in this porn-star-wannabe's presence, but a verbal outburst? She looked away from the spectacle Andrew was making of himself to look around the shop.
Andrew wasn't the only one making a spectacle of himself. Around the shop, many of the male faces were stealing glances, staring openly, pointing, whispering to other male faces, nodding, confirming.
She looked back at Andrew, who was leaning over the counter, listening intently to the woman, who was leaning in a manner that had transformed her cleavage to the depth of a national monument. Andrew was nearly bursting a blood vessel in his temple trying to keep his ocular muscles from swivelling downward. His face was a strange combination of excitement and terror. He looked as though he were working out a problem before finally nodding and turning to Lara.
"Hey, Lara," he said, awkwardly. "I have to...uh...attend to some business with this young lady. Seems she was interested in a position here."
"I thought you only needed one position filled," Lara said dubiously.
"Well, that was before the weekend...and our newfound success," Andrew replied.
"One good weekend doesn't mean we're going to be in the black all month," Lara said. She realized she was gritting her teeth.
"Well, luck favors the prepared," Andrew said.
"What's wrong with interviewing her here in the shop?" Lara asked.
"I don't want to be taking up room if there's a rush," Andrew replied.
"So do it in the backroom," Lara said. "I mean...conduct the interview there."
"This isn't up for discussion Lara," Andrew said, his eyes suddenly angry. "I still own the shop, I'm still your boss, and I'm going out to do an interview with this young lady."
"Does she have a name?" Lara asked.
"I haven't gotten that far yet," Andrew replied.
"And just how far are you intending to go?" Lara asked.
That got Andrew's attention. "It's none of your business," he said flatly, and turned to go into the back room. He came back out, jacket in hand, and walked out quickly with the statuesque woman, who turned to give Lara a mocking smile.
Lara gave her the finger in return.
Andrew shoved his way out the door just as Blackout was entering. He threw a surprised look at the blonde, and was about to say hello to Andrew when the door closed on him. He shook his head and walked over to the counter.
"Morning Blackout," Lara said. "The usual?"
Blackout nodded, then pointed over his shoulder, looked back at Lara, pointed again. and then gripped the edges of the coffee bar.
"Oh, come on," Lara exclaimed, "she wasn't that hot. And she was dressed like a porn star."
"That's just it," Blackout replied. "She is a porn star."