Fraser Jamieson
Cafe and Restaurant Coffee Consulting
Fraser Jamieson
Cafe and Restaurant Coffee Consulting

The Expodist

Jesuitically Rain had fallen for several days.

On that particular morning a thick fog rolled in before dawn and continued to envelop the village in a biting dampness the sort which at first seems of little matter; however, the longer one walked about in it the colder and more uncomfortable one became. This was not the refreshing downpour you may expect of an April shower; but instead, a relentless, foggy, swirling, November mist lacking clearly defined droplets. Nonetheless, any and all in its presence knew only too well the discomfort of saturation.

Dressed all in black, blue, the only spark of colour about me, was but the fabric of my carrier bag. Within its confines lay the tools of my trade.

I am The Expodist.

Met quietly by the locked back door I was escorted inward and onward to the restaurant’s main bar all the while aware that a somber gauntlet funnelled my path. Long faces and hushed murmurs set the mood of the place. The warm tones of brass and polished wooden finishes, which would otherwise be welcoming, only served to mock the dark and menacing tension which seemingly brought about the terrors of suffocation. As I stood before the bar those in attendance circled about me in complete and utter silence as from the depths of the office below there came toward me a most troubled looking young man replete with hipster beard and sleeves of iconography.

“Good morning” he almost whispered “I’m Josh the manager. The owner won’t come in anymore. Only these few here are still willing to work. The rest have quit. I know how this sounds but we think the place is haunted. Yeah, I know, but we think there’s a spirit present, and not a nice one. Yeah, I know, but we have seen things happen, and so have our customers. People aren’t coming back. They’ll tell us how good our food is, but then,¦never return.”

I said nothing and made no eye contact but picked at my ear while scanning down the bar top and back toward myself along the foot rail.

“It’s an old building.” continued Josh, “We don’t really know the history of it but it’s been here for over a century. I don’t think it was always a restaurant. Someone said it was a bank and they used to get robbed a lot back in the 1920’s. People were shot.”

I said nothing but once more scanned the bar and continued to scratch my ear.

“We’ve been finding breath mints all over the store. We don’t have any mints. You know how some places have mints by the cash? Right? Well, we don’t. But we’re finding them and it’s as if people have been spitting them out in the washrooms and on the stairs. It’s happening pretty much every day.”

I said nothing but continued to scratch my ear.

“Do you have any idea what it is? asked Josh humbly.

“Yes, I’ve got an ingrown hair. A bit of bother, really. Been there for years.”

“No no!” Josh blurted out, “Do you have any idea about our bar? Could we be possessed by the tormented spirits of murdered bank tellers from long ago?”
I said nothing but walked over to the front door, checked that it was still locked, and returned to where I had been standing.

While I continued to scratch my ear one of the servers in the circle slowly put up her hand to speak.

“Hi, I’m Sophia. Umm, I don’t know if this means anything, but, like, I’ve been here for years and it wasn’t always like this. I mean, like, way long ago, about 2008, everything was fine and all of our customers were happy. The staff were all happy. Everything was great. I don’t know if this makes any sense but since then we’ve brought in some new and used machines. I saw this show on TV about a crashed airliner and how the parts they took out of it were used on other planes and how people started seeing the ghosts of the dead flight crew. It was, like, on that show called Malay.”

“Mayday, my dear. The show is called Mayday.” I corrected her. “Yes, I saw that one. Dead pilot by the coffee machine. Yes, I did see that.”

“Do you think that could be it?” Sophia questioned, this time with eyes awide and beaming with the joy of her possible discovery.

“You are a very bright and highly observant young woman. Do tell more.”

“Well,” continued Sophia, “customers have been telling me things like, umm, like they need five or even six sugars in their coffee. A couple of people told me that their cappuccino had the texture of lemon meringue pie, but not in a nice way. Like, umm, like frothy and burnt tasting.”

“I see” I said. “And do continue.”

“Well, like, people will order a really nice dessert and a coffee to go with it. When we come by for the quality check they ask for the bill leaving most of it untouched. We know the cakes are great because our dishwasher pretty much eats everything that gets left on the plates. He loves the stuff. Yeah, he’s weird.”

Now, with my arms locked behind my back, and my head, upward tilted, I breathed deeply, all the while keeping my eyes closed. “I’m sensing something. I’m sensing a presence. There is a spirit in this place. Yes! Yes! I’m feeling the possession: That which is most evil. Evil to the core doth linger in this place!”

And then, with much fanfare, I spun about toward the back-bar and in a manner inspired by Donald Sutherland’s performance in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” I extended my arm outward holding within my grasp the flashlight I had secretly spirited out of my blue bag. With a terrible howl I cast the beam of my flashlight upon the Satanically possessed cause of all their troubles: A POD COFFEE BREWER!

“You are all suffering the wrath of PCB intoxication!”

“Umm, you mean that red stuff in transformers?” questioned Josh.

“No, not that PCB.” I exclaimed. ‘That PCB would be a relative blessing compared to what we see before us.” And, continuing to shine my flashlight on the Demonic coffeeish brewer, I held my left hand against my heart and called aloud: “Oh, spirits, tell me not that this is the image of what must come, but only what is, and which can be altered and made whole again!”

“Hey, I know that story.” said Sophia, but after giving her the evil eye, she silenced herself.

“Servers and bartenders alike: avert your eyes for I must now perform an Expodism!”

“A what?” Josh asked with tilted head.

“An Expodism! The casting out of a Pod Coffee Brewer and all its vile pustules of abomination.

And at that point I wasted no time: From my blue bag I pulled the many implements of purification: Remineralised, reverse osmosis water was sprinkled generously about the counter top; with flashlight in one hand and a Reg Barber Tamper in the other, I cast upon the machine a shadow of the Tamper all the while calling aloud TDS brew parameters.

“In the name of Brew To Order I cast out this agent of Satan. Be gone corrupter! Be gone, poser and fake. Take your falsehood to the depths of the burning fires and be gone from this restaurant!”

And then, in a flash, I swept the machine and all its vile pustules off the counter and into a large waste bin left out by the night staff.

No sooner had that happened when Sophia called out and with tears of joy running down her face and arm extended as per my previous example exclaimed: “The sun! The sun is out!”

Ooos and awws were heard from all as the staff likewise pointed to the sunbeams streaming in through the front windows of the shop. Customers had already begun to line up at the locked front door and with smiles waved to the staff in readiness and eager anticipation of the wonderful lunches to come.

That day, coffee was catered by a nearby speciality shop; but, the very next day, a new and unpossessed espresso grinder and proper commercial espresso machine were delivered, set up, and put into service. Shortly thereafter I returned to give basic barista training to all those I’d first met and to all the many more who had returned to work in the old bank building happily serving their many satisfied customers.

Sophia then gave me her cell phone number in case I wanted to meet up.

Ah, yes, so many tales in the life of The Expodist.