Tales from the Café: Squeaky Clean

Time: Monday, 2:16 pm

I rubbed at my eyes, enjoying the brief respite from the lunch rush. The rushes had been getting later and later as time went on, so despite the fact that normally we’d be done with the busy part of the day by now, I wasn’t taking my chances.

The second I started feeling complacent was the moment we’d get a massive boost at three in the afternoon. Wouldn’t that just be dandy.

“Hey Hunts?” I heard Zöe ask from behind me. “Can you go help me start tearing down the meeting room? I think a group just got out of there and it’s a disaster.”

“Sure thing.” The meeting room was a relatively new addition to the café, but it was one I liked. It had enough room to seat something like 20-25 people, depending on how well the people liked each other, so it opened up a lot of opportunities for us. To my memory, we’d had a baby shower or something in there today, so I was expecting chaos. Too many times, baby shower meant other people with small children, and that meant crumbs of all known foods all over the entire room.

For once, however, I wasn’t greeted with the aftermath of a tornado, just an impressive storm. I gathered up a handful and a half of dishes, stacking a few more for the next trip, and made my way back to dish. Even if Zöe got distracted, this would only take me a few trips to get everything cleaned up. That was the way I liked my messes: chaotic but manageable.

“Be careful,” I heard Sam, one of our dishwashers, call out in response to my call of “corner,” trying to make sure there wasn’t a collision in the blind corner into the kitchen. I paused, but edged my way in–and even past the stack of dishes, I could see what Sam was trying to warn me about.

I blinked, setting the plates down into the dish area. “What…” Everything from the dish machine onto the floor was covered in white soap suds. And not just a bit, like one thing had gone a little wrong. This looked like our dish corner had been turned into a car wash mixed with a bubble bath. This was soap suds everywhere. “What…happened?”

“We got the wrong kind of soap in,” Sam muttered, pushing at some of the suds with the toe of his boot. “So this is happening.”

I scraped some excess food from a plate into the trash, trying to hide my smile in my shoulder. “Are you serious? Is there anything we can do?”

He shrugged, shaking his head. “No, probably not. I think Zöe called Ben though, so we’re probably getting new soap soon.”

“Is it still working?” I took a step back, peering at the floor. Be careful, no joke. “I mean, can we still use the machine? Or is this just like…not useable at the moment?”

“Nah, it still works. It just does this too.” Sam sighed. “It’s more annoying than anything.”

“I bet.” I shook my head. “You be careful yourself, Sam.”


If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I hid another smile under my hand as I went back to the meeting room. At least the floor is nice and clean now…?


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