She stands impatiently at the end of the bar. Her pink claw like fingers tapping on the hard marble surface. I try desperately to avoid her gaze. Maybe if I don’t make eye contact…she won’t see me. I hear the bagel slowly heating in the oven, the slight hum of the machine seeming to anger the lady that stands before me, tall and thin, Her face reminiscent of an old crone from a fairy-tale…or a troll.
Finally, I finish her drink, sliding her soy, no foam latte towards her, jumping back as her skeletal fingers reach for the cup and snatch it away. Now that she sees movement, her purple powdered eyes focus on me, narrowing as her fat painted lips form a snarl; more lipstick clinging to her yellowing fangs that jut from her gums than to her actual lips. She makes a sound resembling a hiss as her bagel continues to cook. It’s been a whole thirty seconds.
“I ordered food as well!” She roars, her dull eyes narrowing as her already orange skin begins to take on a shade of red. I feel myself start to shake, fear clawing at my chest as she raises her chin, stray bits of hair falling from the tight bun atop her head. A bun so tight, it pulls the sagging skin tauter against her withered cheekbones. Reminiscent of a woman seeming to cling to a youth that was lost decades ago, a fact known to everyone but herself.
“It’s coming ma’am.” I say, her eyes narrow even more and a low grumble resonates from her chest. I believe she wants to eat me. Before she can ponce, the shrill beeping of the oven distracts her and suddenly, my saviour appears. A hero in the form of a small Porto-Rican woman. She holds out a bag containing the woman’s food and the woman snatches it away, fleeing to a corner of the room to feed.
I let the breath I didn’t know I was holding go. My heart-rate slowing down to an acceptable level.
The beast had been sated.