“Did you hear?”
Kim turned away from cleaning the espresso machine. “Hear what?”
“It was on the news,” Alyssa said, carrying a case of cups into the back room. “An animal escaped from the zoo.”
“Wow. I wonder what kind—”
Suddenly, someone was at the counter. He was a squat, hairy mass of a man under a long trench coat and wide-brimmed hat. His clothes were unusual on such a warm, sunny day.
“Good morning, sir! Welcome to Klondike Coffee, what can I get started for you today?”
The customer poked a thick finger toward the menu board and grunted.
“Chai mocha latte? What size?”
He gestured to the stack of 12 oz. cups. He must have been wearing gloves, because his fingers were dark. His forearms were excessively hairy.
Kim rang up the purchase. “Seven fifty-five, please.”
The man dropped a wad of bills on the counter and waddled away before she could take his name. She shrugged and began making the drink. Alyssa reappeared as she was adding the whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
“Do you think,” Kim pondered in a hushed voice, “that it might have been a gorilla?”
Alyssa looked puzzled. “From the zoo?”
Kim nodded and tilted her head toward the customer, who was lingering at the pickup side of the counter.
“Oh,” Alyssa said. “That’s just Mr. Cyzerbic. He comes in all the time.”
“Really?” Kim walked the drink to the other end of the counter. “Here you go, Mr. Cyzerbic. Have a great day!”
The man grabbed the cup, grunted again, then waddled toward the front door.
Alyssa stood next to Kim as he shoved his way out the front door. “I can see why you’d think he lived at the zoo, though.”
As they watched him through the front windows, his rotund form was suddenly eclipsed by something much larger. Customers sitting next to the windows recoiled as an elephant—passing with long, heavy strides—took the cup of coffee from Mr. Cyzerbic’s hand.
He watched it go, then turned and went on his way as the sound of sirens began to grow.