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A pair of dirty, cracked black boots scuff the floor, kicking a half empty plastic bottle filled with caramel across the café, as it starts to roll off screen a pair of coffee-stained sneakers kicks it back across and it rolls under the counter.

Cut to black.

CAFFEINATED:

Cut to the caramel bottle as various stained and worn shoes crisscross the screen dodging or kicking the half-empty bottle across the tiled floor.

The sound of a steam wand screams.

Act I

Scene 1: A super crowd of café customers yelling orders, impatient, laughing, caught up in their own separate life in line. Café baristas rush back and forth between registers and blenders.

Stan (tall, long haired) and Joy (hair stripped with blue) stand at register. It’s loud, the blenders and steam wands compete for the ear’s attention.

Cut to the espresso machine. One lone barista, Lena stands, mouth slightly open, struggling to juggle the row of drinks visible just behind her in the camera’s line of sight.

STAN(from register yells): Two venti non-fat cappuccinos coming up.

He sets down empty cups at the end of the line of cups, which is now ten deep.

JOY (also at register): One grande soy and a kid’s temp.

She adds to the line of cups which is fast becoming a pile. Lena, nods slightly, hardly hearing them.

Customers jostle around at the end of the bar.

From the left a woman walks from the register where she just finished ordering to the corner of the bar and leans over the counter peering at Lena. The customer begins to tap her long fingers on the counter top in impatience then leans back and begins inspecting each of the finished drinks on the bar, looking for her order.

CUSTOMER: Is this a soy caramel macchiato?

The name on the cup is Eric. The cup is also clearly ice blended, chocolate, and topped with whipped cream. The swinging doors beside the bar squeak as another barista, Bill excuses himself past the crowd of waiting customers.

BILL: You’re supposed to go on break now, I’ll take over.

He frowns and moves in a little too close, almost shoving in.

LENA (determined): I can stay… just help you finish up the next few drinks.

She looks to her side to the intimidating line of drinks, growing by the minute. Her mouth widens.

BILL (head shaking in annoyance): I’ll clean up your mess. Just check the condiment bar before you go.

He grabs the pitcher from beside her and starts to make drinks. He’s much faster. She turns away. The swinging door squeaks again as she walks out.

LENA (elbowing her way past customers): Sorry, excuse me.

She forgets the condiment bar in her hurry to get out. The garbage bin is overflowing.

Scene 2: Lena sits down at an empty folding table in the fluorescent lighted break-room. Management office doors are closed in front of her. No one else is in the room. It’s quiet except for the bad Motown music playing on the overhead system. She slumps down in her chair and puts in earplugs. For a split second there’s loud guitar and drums playing before she stuffs the earplugs in her ears. Then silence.

Scene 3: Back in the café

The baristas still scramble to take orders and make drinks. A middle aged woman in slacks and patterned blouse stalks up to the counter and yells across to a young barista, BREE. Bree has her back turned, making Frappuccino drinks on the back bar.

WOMAN (yelling obnoxiously in a strong accent): Hello! You make my drink wrong!

She holds up a hot drink and waits for the barista to respond.

WOMAN: Hello!

The barista turns around with three Frappuccino drinks in her hands and stares at the woman.

BREE (with a clear edge in her voice): Just a second ma’am.

The barista barely turns around before the woman bursts out angrily,

WOMAN: You make wrong! I ask for no cream! Why you give me whippy cream!?

BREE: (a distinct tone of irritation) Excuse me ma’am, I will be with you in a moment.

She finishes topping whipped cream on three more drinks then turns around to address the woman.

BREE: (with a sigh, eyes on the verge of rolling) So, what’s wrong with your drink, ma’am?

WOMAN: You make these drinks all wrong! I ask no whippy cream!

BREE: Okay, I’ll just take it off for you.

The barista reaches over for a spoon from the dip well beside her to scoop off the whipped cream but as she dumps the topping into the near overflowing trash, the woman yells at her again.

WOMAN: (waving her hands) Excuse me! No. I want new drinks. I don’t want whipping cream in at all.

BREE: Are you serious?

WOMAN: YES! I ask no whipped cream, you make them for me with no whipped cream! Not so hard.

The barista takes the drinks from the woman and purposely bringing the cups in front of her, hiding them from the woman’s view with her back.

We can see over Bree’s shoulder. She’s simply scooping the whip off the top. She then adds a bit of cold water to make up for the space left at the top then swirls the cup to mix it up.

She walks around the corner of the café to the back. There are shelves full of back stock and a three way sink overflowing with dishes. A girl, Annie (fair, mid-western, slight) is talking softly and seriously on her cell.

BREE: Are you back from your fifteen yet? I can’t handle this woman. She keeps yelling over whipped cream and it’s crazy busy.

She thumbs over her shoulder, pointing back at the front of the café as she heads to the walk in refrigerator behind Annie.

BREE (suddenly slowing as she juggles jugs of milk) : What’s wrong?

ANNIE: Nothing. I’ll go back now.

Annie shakes her head as she dabs at her eyes and walks out to the hectic front lines. The screech of the steam wands rises as she pushes through the doors.

Scene 4: Front of the café. The line is still going strong. Lena pushes her way back past the swinging doors to get behind the counter. Several waiting customers stare at her as she tries to excuse her way past them. Annie rushes over as Lena washes her hands.

ANNIE (talking fast, keeps looking back): How do you feel about register? I need you to take over for Stan. He needs his lunch.

LENA: (nodding, her mouth slightly open again) Sure. Yeah.

ANNIE (spins around and rushes to the other side of the café): Great. Thanks.

Lena walks over to Stan’s register. He ignores her as he talks with his customer. It is a large food order and Stan rushes to start a round of toasted sandwiches and cheesecake slices.

Lena stands and watches, feeling in the way, as he rushes back and forth, slamming oven doors shut. She shuffles back and forth as well mirroring his movement, but a second behind.

LENA: Um, Annie said you needed a lunch break?

The oven erupts in obnoxious sound drowning beeps.

STAN: Uh, yeah… (concentrating on the order)

He slams the oven door shut on a mini pizza and starts to pack the two sandwiches he just pulled from the oven.

STAN: Are you taking over on register?

LENA: Uh, yeah. Annie said to ring.

STAN: Cool. That pizza goes with those sandwiches.

Stan unties his apron and immediately walks away, leaving Lena standing in the way of Joy who tries to slip past her to grab a cookie.

Lena slowly heads towards the register. Takes the cap off the black marker, fumbling with it and dropping the marker on the ground where it rolls away.  A foot kicks it accidentally as she kneels to pick it up.

Sorry! (someone yells over their shoulder)

Lena gets up, straightening her apron. Joy, on the next register looks over at her with a smirk/smile.

JOY: Here.

Joy places a new marker on the top of Lena’s register.

LENA: Oh, thanks!

Lena shifts her attention to the line.

LENA (barely audible over the chaos): Next!

No one hears her.

LENA: NEXT!

Still no one heeds her.

LENA (practically screaming): NEXT!

Finally a pack of giggling teenagers jumps and heads over to her register.

Act II

Scene 1: Two baristas, Bree and Joy, smiling, rush back behind the tall shelves of cups by the side of the café. They seem to be hiding something in front of their retreating backs. From the register you can only see their outlines.

Scene 2: Shot change to behind the cup shelves. The registers and outlines of baristas scurrying around the café are visible between the stacks.

Bree and Joy finger sample cups of whipped cream, popping dollops of whipped topping in their mouths.

JOY: What do you think? (indicating Lena)

BREE: I hate new people.

Joy shakes her head, but says nothing.

BREE: What’s up with Annie today? Do you know? She seemed weird when I went back earlier.

Annie is visible taking customer orders, pumping syrup and pouring milk, prepping things for the people working on bar. She looks tired.

JOY (shaking her head): I don’t know. The other day I heard her arguing on the phone, but she won’t tell me anything.

Stan walks by carrying greasy baking sheet with one broken up cookie. When he sees Joy and Bree talking he stops and begins to eat the broken pieces.

STAN: Hey, what you guys think of the new girl?

JOY: Don’t even Stan.

STAN: Cus, you know I kind of had a thing for Ginger Spice as a kid.

They all both laugh.

BREE: I don’t think she’s got much spice.

JOY: Stop! She’s not that bad.

STAN:  You just hate newbs.

As Bree reaches for a piece of cookie Stan walks away to the back of the café with the baking sheet. He smirks back at her.

STAN: No cookie for you.

Annie comes rushing by the cups with arms full of dishes. As she sees Bree and Joy she stops.

ANNIE: What the hell guys! Seriously!

Stan comes back out through the doors, looking back and forth between Bree and Joy and the angry Annie then heads back out to the front.

Annie swoops past Stan and storms back through the swinging doors to the back of the café.

Crashing erupts.

JOY and BREE: Fuck!

Scene 3: Back of the café. The floor is covered in containers and plates and plastic mats and café equipment. Some of the ceramic plates are in pieces. Many of the containers were clearly full of different liquids that are now spreading across the floor.

ANNIE (squatting on the ground, her voice strangled): Shit!

Bree and Joy rush over to help pick up.

Cut to Annie at eye level. Tears are welling up in the corners of her eyes.

BREE (looking up at Annie): Shit Annie, it’s okay. No big deal, alright? We’ll clean it up.

Joy looks back at Annie and Bree. She’s off to the side picking up pieces of a broken dish.

ANNIE (nodding): Oh-o-k-kay.

Annie gets up off her knees and dabs at her face with the only clean corner of her apron. She heads back out the swinging doors to the front and again we hear the not too distant screech of steam wands.

Scene 4: Joy and Bree have almost finished picking up the mess. The floor still needs cleaning. They have the sink running and soap bubbles are building higher in the sink, about to overflow. Bree and Joy, backs turned to the sink, stare at the floor as if willing it to wipe clean by magic. Suddenly the drain in the middle of the floor starts to bubble in front of them.

JOY (confused): What the…?

Bree turns around to see the overflowing mound of soap foam building behind them.

BREE: Gaaaaaahhhhhhh!

She rushes to turn of the water.

They look at each other and a grin widens across each face as they glance at the soap foam. Bree suddenly reaches out a handful of bubbles and throws it at Joy who rushes over to the sink to grab some bubbles of her own.

A bubble fight begins.

The two of them running and slipping and screaming. Bubbles are in the air, in their hair and covering the dirty floor.

Annie, a look of anger on her face bangs open the swinging doors and sees what they’ve been up to. For a second all is still with bubbles floating quietly down to the floor.  Annie walks forward, kneels down and scoops up a bit of bubble from the dirty floor and places it delicately on top of Bree’s head.

BREE: You didn’t!

Joy starts to laugh. Everyone smiles and the bubble fight continues. Suddenly a laughing Annie runs and slips, falling hard on her ass on top of a pile of foam with loud thump. They all start laughing even louder. Only Annie keeps laughing, almost hysterically and then suddenly she’s crying again, sobbing on the dirty floor. Joy and Bree get down on the floor with Annie again.

JOY: Are you okay?

Bree, her hand on Annie’s back, looks straight into Annie’s eyes.

BREE: You want to tell us what’s been going on?

There’s a pause as Annie sighs heavily.

ANNIE (nodding): I think I need an abortion.

Tears start to pour out anew.

Scene 5: Stan swings through the doors.

STAN: ‘Scuse me a second ladies. I got a wedgie to pick and don’t want the security cam recording it.

BREE and JOY (angrily): STAN!

Annie, turns her head at Stan’s pronouncement, smiles and laughs until she’s joined by Bree and Joy. Stan shakes his head confused and exits.

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