THE COFFEE SHOP STALKER
The Cat is on the Prowl
A short story by Jason Youngman – Part 5
Most of the coffee shop staff are undergraduates, and they know Jonathan from University. While on campus the students address him by his last name, Mr. Loball, which is pronounced ‘low-ball’. Very few would admit it aloud but people are generally perplexed as to why he doesn’t change his name. Jonathan on the other hand is rather pleased with it and feels proud that he is part of a long line of Loballs that stretch back to the Dark Ages.
Sheera – one of the most loud mouth employees at the cafe – can’t stand Jonathan and doesn’t want him around. But management has made it clear that unless he does something illegal, there is nothing they can do to remove him from the premises. What about his lewd behaviour; the way he ogles the younger women? Management assures her that there is no way to prove what someone is looking at; the professor could in fact be mindlessly gazing into nothingness, or solving a really difficult math problem while utterly oblivious to others.
Jonathan is vividly aware of Sheera’s intense hatred for him, and has to be careful not to provoke her. Then again Sheera has to be cautious not to cross the line in fear of losing her job. This doesn’t stop her from telling other staff what she sees going on. So if Jonathan acts unseemly she is quick to use metaphorical language to describe it. Such as the cat is on the prowl and wants to ravish the mice. Jonathan pretends not to know what Sheera is referring to and takes some amusement in being the centre of attention.
A cute girl from across the room locks eyes with Jonathan. She doesn’t look a day over 16. Yet her mascara is too refined to render her a minor. She jerks her upper body towards him. Then a full smile appears on her face. Jonathan’s blood pressure increases, but he maintains a stoic face. He can tell that she is waiting for a small gesture of recognition. Experience tells him that he has to play it cool if he’s going to rope her in. Sure enough she approaches him; a millennial rabbit beckoned by the moonlight reflected in the snare that awaits her. Naively opening her mouth wide enough for an egg to pass through with ease, she holds her form for an entire second before she utters Mr. Lowball.
Jonathan takes a deep breath in order to recover himself from her wild charms. Can it really be that this young sweet gal is adept to the art of seduction? He tries to wake himself from the fantasy by reaching for her earrings. No you fool says the snake, pretend that you are going to touch them but withdraw halfway to give her the impression that you can barely help yourself. Jonathan immediately pulls back his hand. He can clearly see the release of tension in her face. He follows his action up with a compliment that woos her into putty: Your earrings both complement your ravishing beauty and make you look a little older than your age.
Sheera storms down to save the lassie from the jaws of terror but comes to a complete stop in her tracks. Jonathan and the girl formally shake hands. Mr. Lowball, could you please help me with a math problem, begs the teenage girl. Sheera realizes that they have a teacher/student relationship and quickly regains her composure so as to do a quick sweep of the floor. Her interpretation of Jonathan’s encounter with the young woman was jaundiced with preconception. On the other hand she is still determined to find fault with the professor and catch him in the act.