Excerpt: Long Macchiatos and Monsters

Outside the window, Melbourne is raining. Of course, I didn’t dress for the weather because I’m an optimistic idiot, and I need to leave for uni soon if I don’t want to be late. I sigh, lean back in my chair. I managed to snag one of the comfy seats near the heater as a group of people left. This cafe is well on its way to becoming my second home; it’s not too far from uni and the coffee’s great.

On the brick wall beside me, someone’s stuck a poster for the Astor up, the old cinema in St Kilda that plays cheap movies. I mean to go to the Astor more but forget until a week after what I wanted to see has already played. Every time, I miss the 1960s Batman with Adam West. Every time.

Next Thursday, there’s a double bill of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon. I’ve not heard of Cat Women, but I know of Robot Monster, the post-apocalyptic movie from the fifties where the bad guy is a dude in a gorilla suit. I’ve seen GIFs on the internet and I know it cost $16,000 to make, but I haven’t seen the whole movie. Maybe I can convince my sister to come with me.

I’d take a friend, but there’s only so many shitty movies they’ll see with me. I used up my quota for the next couple of months when I persuaded them that Sharknado was a good idea. Next time I’ve gotta remember to not take them all at the same time. They just don’t appreciate the genre. The thing I like most about these movies is their sincerity. If something’s being terrible without being sincere, like, is there really a point?

I sigh and go back to my latte, now cold, and outside is still raining. My next class is a compulsory unit about essay writing that I was supposed to do in first year but never got round to. It’s probably safe to skip.

Could always go to the movies by myself. It’s less fun because there’s no one to laugh with, but it is Robot Monster. Too good an opportunity to miss.

There’s a sneaky wisp of wind as someone opens the door to the cafe to come inside. He’s tall, got a two-inch high mohawk, and is wearing a black coat with the collar popped. He thinks he’s hot, I think, from the way he walks. No—he doesn’t walk, he saunters.

And he is hot, fuck. Skin way darker than mine, eyes like fucking diamonds, and the sharpest cheekbones I’ve ever seen. He’s tall, got his hands in his pockets, and he catches my eye as he walks past. He winks.

Asshole. Attractive asshole. I swallow.

He goes up to the counter, leans lazily against it as he and the girl serving, Amy, laugh at some joke I can’t hear. She purses her lips as he says something in a low voice.

“Maybe,” she says. “You’ll have to see how your luck goes.” Her eyes are bright, laughing. Amy makes the best coffee. The other baristas here aren’t bad, but she’s the best. She remembers my name and order, and I think she thinks I’m a boy, but our interactions aren’t really enough for me to explain the whole gender thing. “I’ll bring over your coffee.”

He turns away now, looking for a seat. He’s got a grin on and he walks over my way.

“Can I interrupt?” he says.

He’s talking to me, fuck. “Sure,” I say. “Nothing to interrupt.” Should have brought a book so then I would have an excuse, but I’m also very grateful to past-me for forgetting said book. Sweat pricks in my armpits.

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