Miranda had grown accustomed to getting her own way. More than that, she had grown accustomed to the world being fair – at least, to her. Miranda had achieved massive success with a silly little app that some people said would eventually be credited with saving human civilization. She’d followed up with other apps that were less impressive on a global scale, but that were all useful to everyday life.
This meant that not only was she enormously wealthy but that all of her creature comforts were anticipated. She was surrounded by people who liked and respected her, and that she liked and respected. And that sense of well-being carried over into her overall worldview.
One morning, Miranda was getting ready for work when she realized that she hadn’t purchased her own morning cup of coffee in about a decade.
Feeling slightly guilty, she decided to duck out before one of her assistants could show up with said coffee. As she got behind the wheel of her BMW, she realized that the key fob she’d been carrying around had become largely ornamental. She briefly wondered with a mixture of amusement and alarm if she remembered how to drive a car.
As the engine purred to life, Miranda put on her seatbelt and then adjusted her mirrors. She took a deep breath before putting the car into drive. At the end of her driveway, she hit the remote that opened the gates – and realized that she hadn’t done that since she’d bought the house – okay, mansion.
She pulled out. She could hear her heart beating in her ears as she hit the remote to close the gates again. As they swung shut, she resisted the urge to turn the car around, reopen those gates, and wait for her assistants to show up and prep her for the day.
This was stupid. She’d graduated from high school three years early and had been living on her own since she was sixteen – not because her parents were terrible but just because she liked her independence. When had that changed?
She wasn’t even sure how to get to her own favorite Starbucks, so she just pulled into the first one she saw. She was grateful that the parking lot was empty enough that she could pull in an out several times as she attempted to park properly.
As she stepped out of the car, she felt shaky on her own legs. Could she even walk without being supported on each elbow by a competent assistant? She approached the Starbucks, her thoughts a jumbled mess. Did she even remember her own order anymore? Did she have money to pay? Yes, her phone was in her purse, she was fine. God, she hadn’t even gotten to work yet and she was already exhausted.
The Starbucks was warm after the cool winter air, and Miranda breathed in, glad to be still, for a moment. She stood behind a woman who tapped her foot rapidly as she waited. Miranda admired the woman’s sense of purpose as Miranda examined the menu. The woman moved up to order. “Finally!” she snapped at the barista. “Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”
Miranda winced at the woman’s tone but still had some appreciation for her confidence.
“That’ll be $2.95,” the barista said, her smile barely faltering.
The woman inserted her credit card. “You really need to work on your long lines,” she said. “Every time I come in here, I’m waiting forever.”
Miranda looked around. There had only been one person in front of the woman when she’d walked in and there was no one else in the shop.
“I’m sorry about the wait, ma’am,” the barista – Cheryl – said, her voice warm, and her smile still sweet. Only her eyes gave away the injustice of this statement, but the woman wasn’t looking at Cheryl and didn’t notice.
The machine grunted.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, your credit card didn’t work,” can you try that again?” Cheryl asked.
The woman sighed. “Unbelievable,” she snapped, inserting her card again.
The machine grunted again, this time even more definitely.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, do you have another form of payment,” Cheryl asked.
Her eyes darted to Miranda, who smiled encouragingly. Cheryl smiled back.
“My card is good!” The woman shoved the card into the barista’s face. “Can’t you just use another machine?”
Cheryl jerked her head away from the woman’s card, and then stepped over to the second register. “Of course,” she said, her expression still sweet, but with a bit of strain around the edges of her eyes. She tapped the order into the second machine. “$2.95,” she reminded the woman.
The woman inserted her card. The machine grunted.
“Unbelievable! This stupid Starbucks never accepts my card! You’re such an incompetent idiot that you can never get your machine to work properly!”
Miranda, who had been about to offer to pay for the woman’s coffee, was taken aback by the woman’s sudden vitriol. She noticed that the barista didn’t seem surprised by the woman’s outburst. Tears welled up in her eyes despite the smile that was attempting to hold on to her face.
“I’m here every day! I can’t believe that you would treat a regular customer like this!”
“Ma’am, I’ve paid for your coffee every day this week,” Cheryl said calmly. “And the week before, Jane paid for your coffee. You may want to call your ban—”
She was interrupted by the woman’s angry shriek. “How dare you!” She reached out to slap the barista, but her arm paused halfway to Cheryl’s face and then the woman crumpled to the ground.
Miranda, who had barely been able to get her stun gun app open through all of the panicked texts from her assistants, breathed a sigh of relief.
She looked up at Cheryl’s shocked face and gave a rueful sigh. “I need to create an app that allows you to ignore incoming texts.” She took a deep breath and then said, “I haven’t ordered my own coffee in forever and I don’t even know what I like anymore. What do you recommend?”
Opening Line Prompt taken from here: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/