Kate and Payal were the day’s lead baristas, languidly positioned at the espresso machine at the front of the shop, polishing cappuccino glasses, talking about things no one should overhear, when they noticed the stranger come through the double glass front doors. Hesitating slightly as he crossed the threshold, the man was broad shouldered, square jawed and almost seven feet tall. He was resplendent in a light blue seersucker suit, crisp pink shirt too tight at the collar, suede shoes, and white straw Porkpie hat. The girls weren’t sure, but the man may have been sporting a faded turquoise colored tattoo of a parrot on his neck just below his right ear.
The decibel level in the café dropped noticeably. The store’s playlist went eerily mute, yet no one put down their coffees; no one surreptitiously looked up from their mobile devices; no one cared to give the stranger the once over. The man’s face was hard as blistered asphalt and his soul patch black as coal. He carried a Louis Vuitton Président Classeur briefcase gripped tight in his left hand, almost as if he was expecting a fight.
Kate noticed in spite of all the jewelry his ring finger was unadorned. The stranger locked eyes with her, forcing her to take a deep breath. “I can help you over here,” she said, motioning towards the till. He wasn’t having any part of her instructions, and instead, pulled a wad of money out of his pants pocket. He deftly peeled a one hundred dollar bill off the wad with just two fingers, and let it float down onto the bar. Glancing first at Payal, then back to Kate, the man spoke slowly in a deep baritone voice, “chocolate, drinking chocolate.”
Out of habit, Kate answered, “for here or to go?” as she scooped up the money from the bar. Unfortunately, Kate’s accent caused the man to hear “for her or you go.” and that made the hackles on the back of his neck rise like an angry dog pissed at the postman for entering the yard without permission.
Working quickly to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation, Payal grabbed a newly polished glass and set it down on the bar in front of the man, and proceeded to make the drink. Kate instinctively knew to distance herself, and walked over to the till to ring it in and make the man’s change. With a fearsome shadow casting him from the door behind, the man took the now completed drink, and pounded it back with one swift tilt of his head.
He slammed the glass on the bar, causing it to shatter. “Hmmph, that ain’t no plastic cup!” he exclaimed, waving away Kate’s change as if to say a ninety dollar tip should cover its replacement. He turned towards the door, and strode out into the mid-day sunshine, disappearing in the bright mirage of swirling cherry blossoms, never to be seen again. Not as if anyone in the café ever saw him, except two gob smacked baristas.
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Actually I’m a little bored
You want me to go outside and play?
But it’s cold outside
None of my sweaters fit anymore
The one the old lady with the hairy nose made for me?
It smells like dentures
I can’t breathe when she squeezes me so hard
But I won’t have any fun outside, guaranteed
I need two grilled cheese sandwiches
I’m going to have lunch outside with Thomas
He’s my new friend
And another sweater
He’s cold too
He doesn’t have any clothes at all
He’s a snowman
I’m going to marry him
Can we come inside and play in my room?
Oh don’t worry. I’ll take care of him
He can sleep in the bathtub
We can turn off the heat
Dada can get more ice from the gas station
I don’t need any more baths
I thought you loved me
I bet Hannah’s mama would let her keep Thomas
Can I have a dog?
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
This month Lisa Part reprises her role as Mink’s guest blog contributor.
Make Someone Happy With Chocolate
It is surprising how many people think of chocolate as being a cheat’s gift, as something that they might buy without putting any real thought into it at all. It may surprise you even more to know that we think this notion is wronger than a wrong thing that studied at Wrong University. Chocolate as a gift is something that can be tailor made, created for someone with real passion and given for a variety of reasons. Not only that, it actually has a really strong history behind it that is very interesting and covers many different countries across the world
When did buying chocolate for someone become popular?
To discover the origins of chocolate as a gifting item, you have to go right back into the annals of history, when people had to make their own entertainment (and consequently ended up with rather large families). In fact, you have to go right back to The Aztecs, who had entirely the right notion about cocoa. They believed it was a gift from the Gods and therefore something that was suitable to give to noble people and royalty. They made their own versions of a cocoa type drink to give out and for years kept it as their own. If the Spaniards hadn’t invaded Aztec lands and demanded that they hand over their cocoa beans so that people across the world could enjoy them, Mink Chocolates might not exist today. That’s a sad thought…
Once cocoa beans had started to traverse the continents, other cultures started to pick up on this notion of it being something rich and spectacular to indulge in or give as a gift.
You know Casanova? He passed alcohol over for chocolate, believing that it was cocoa that gave him his legendary virility, rather than the quaffing of fine wines many others were known for. He didn’t seem to struggle much did he?
However, in relatively modern times, it’s the plucky sugar loving Brits we have to thank for really making the notion of chocolate as a gift take off – and believe it or not, it took a war for it to actually become a reality. It was Queen Victoria who took it upon herself to send troops who were fighting in the Boer War boxes of fancy chocolates, to cheer them up and give them a little taste of home as they battled in foreign climes and missed their loved ones. This idea caught on all across Europe so that by the mid 20th Century, chocolate was the gift to give to anyone you loved. In fact it was Edwin Starr who sang:
“War, huh yeah – what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, uh huh, War, huh yeah – what is it good for? Well I got a box of chocolates in the last one, uh huh”.
OK, might have made that last bit up…
Why give chocolate today?
A little history lesson is always good, but it’s the here and now that’s important and people need to get used to the idea that giving real, good quality chocolate is a thoughtful and kind gift with a lot of feeling behind it. You can:
Really make someone smile…
Harking back to good old Queen Victoria – a woman best known for not being amused, she might have done well to have a little bit of the old dark cocoa solids herself from time to time, (it might have made her laugh bit more, for one thing). See, the notion that chocolate can help with depression is not a new one. The signs and symptoms of depression in women are often such that they report a craving for sweet, carbohydrate based foods either generally or at certain times of the month. That’s why giving a box of good quality dark chocolate can not only be thoughtful, but actually help to improve someone’s mood. Two of the main minerals in chocolate and in particular dark chocolate are Magnesium and Chromium, known for being good at relaxing people and boosting serotonin in the brain. It really is worth a try for anyone who needs a little cheering up. In moderation, it’s a good thing to enjoy.
Tell someone you love them
Don’t say it with flowers. Flowers don’t taste nice with a cup of coffee. You know, our aforementioned Mr Casanova did actually have a point. It was believed that chocolate could not only help to increase libido if you were in a relationship – hence the rush on cocoa based comestibles on Valentines Day – but would also help your wilted ego pep up in the event that you got dumped, too. It is said in times gone by that French Doctors used to prescribe (or recommend at the very least) chocolate to anyone suffering from a broken heart as it would help them recover and improve their mood. Just don’t go into their surgery and ask them to write you a prescription for a bar of Certifiably Nutty…
Say thank you
It’s easy to say “thank you” to someone (though not enough people do these days generally) but you can really show you’re grateful to someone by giving them a gift box of chocolates – especially so if you tailor it to their own personal likes. Picking out someone’s favorite flavors, tastes and sensations and gifting them a box of really good chocolate is so much nicer than buying something off the shelf from the local grocery store.
Do it just because
Sometimes you don’t need a reason at all. Sometimes a surprise is the nicest thing. Hey, it’s Tuesday! It’s Happy Tuesday Chocolate Day! That could work, right? I like your shoes, I bought you a box of Mink Chocolates because they’re so nice…I think we’re the same size. I’ve got a party coming up next weekend, can I borrow them….? Oh well, it was worth a shot…