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The Frappe Games by Carolina VonKampen

Project MFA by Jen Corrigan
May 29, 2018
Spilled Sriracha Blues by Becky Robison
May 31, 2018

“Hey girls,” our favorite barista says, loudly, as always.

“Hey Frank,” we say. Jae pushes her boobs together as she leans on the counter. Lindsey and I exchange looks.

We order. Frank picks up the cups and asks our names.

“You for sure know our names,” Lindsey says, flashing her braces at him.

“We’ve got a new girl today,” Frank whispers conspiratorially, cocking his head in the direction of a girl with pink highlights at the espresso machine.

Jae giggles. “I’m Anita P.”

Frank looks up at me, marker poised.

“Just Jenna,” I say. I hate being the center of attention.

“You’re no fun,” Lindsey says, elbowing me. “I’m Primrose Everdeen.”

“What?” she says, catching me as I roll my eyes. “I saw it online. It’s funny.”

“It was like five years ago,” I tell her.

It’s unusually full today. There are only two tables open, and one is two feet away from an obviously drunk old guy. Well, he’s not old-old, but he’s definitely around 40. We take the other table.

We sit down and stare at the girl as she slides up and down the counter, preparing the drinks. She’s slow. It’s obvious she’s new.

First Jae’s is ready, then mine. Jae’s disappointed that hardly anyone hears the new girl tentatively half-yell: “Anita P? Um, Ani—Anita?”

We wait for a few minutes, sipping on our drinks. Jae and I find a really cute cat Instagram account as Lindsey stares at a smart-looking but attractive college student. Then the new girl grabs Lindsey’s drink, stares at the name for a good five seconds. She must know we’re messing with her. She tries to get Frank’s attention to ask about the name, but he brushes her off. The new girl takes a breath and calls out: “Primrose Ever—”

“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!” Lindsey screams, shooting up from her chair.

EVERYONE stops talking and looks straight at us. I want to die. Usually it’s funny watching Lindsey make a scene, but this one is just cringey. Lindsey soaks in the attention as she struts up to the counter.

But as she’s walking up there, everyone around us starts to leave. Jae doesn’t seem to notice—she’s weeks deep on some guy’s Instagram.

 

The new girl just stands there, unsure what to say. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it looks like she pushes a button underneath the counter as she waits for Lindsey to retrieve her drink. Like they do in a bank robbery. She reaches for another drink that’s ready. “Peter,” she says, quietly. Lindsey grabs her drink and turns around, whipping her hair.

I’m nervous. Are we supposed to leave? It feels like everyone else knows something we don’t. Nearly everyone has left the Starbucks; it’s quiet.

Two men in dark suits bang open the door. They don’t even stop to look around; it’s like they already know what they’re there for. And they’re headed straight toward Lindsey.

Lindsey doesn’t notice. She’s still happy about her joke and how everyone looked at her, even if it was just for a moment. She walks past the empty tables with Primrose Everdeen’s frappe; I whisper to Jae to see whether she’s noticed that everyone’s gone. We look back up and see two men grabbing Lindsey’s arms and dragging her out the back door. Lindsey’s UGGs scuff the concrete floor as she’s pulled along. Jae and I jump up and follow them, but by the time we get to the door, Lindsey’s being pushed into a black SUV in the back parking lot, clinging onto her frappe.

 

Jae and I go home.

Carolina VonKampen graduated with a BA in English and history from Concordia University, Nebraska. She is currently an editor by day and an editor, reader, and writer by night. Her work has been published in So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, Spider Mirror, and Potpourri 2017 and is forthcoming in Moonchild Magazine and Déraciné Magazine. She writes book reviews and blog posts at carolinavonkampen.com and tweets about editing at @carolinamarie_v.
 
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