It’s not about integrity.
There’s a sign on the wall behind him that reads ‘coffee with integrity’, and as far as he can tell, with all of the wild concoctions his parents have come up with and slapped on the menu and called it “coffee” Danny knows that it’s not about integrity. It’s about being different. And the FentonWorks Coffee House is all about being different.
Danny cleaned a counter. In one hand he was scrubbing syrups off the granite and in the other he was sipping at a Lumberjack latte - twice the caramel, half of the liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is an ingredient for meats that are trying to get a smokehouse vibe. To use more than a teaspoon for a pound of meat is horrendous.
And yet there it was.
On the shelf.
In a syrup jar.
One ounce per pump, two pumps per latte. Nothing in the world has ever tasted more like death. Danny took another sip, considering. Well. Maybe the Turkey Time latte, or the Cappuccino A La Cyan Pepper. Though he kind of, strangely, liked both of those - as long as he halved the overwhelmingly wrong ingredients and doubled up on sugar pumps.
Still, according to modern business standards, this was a coffee shop that should not exist. Everything on the menu is absolutely terrible. The only way to survive is to walk in, read nothing of the menu, and assume that this shop like any other coffee shop had a generic vanilla latte on the menu. And then Danny would have to go through the painful explanation that, unfortunately, FentonFlavors ™ are patented flavors, and there isn’t a bottle in the facility that has vanilla without pepper. But he can give you a flavorless latte, and they’re not savages here, so there’s white sugar around the counter.
Danny restocked that same white sugar, which was always running near empty. It was raining outside, which to him was good, because his manager lived very far away, up a mountain, where rain often turned to snow and snow meant he wasn’t going to come in today. Danny loved it when Vlad called in. He was a family “friend” (not really) who hated coffee, was very obnoxious about tea, and found a sick pleasure in writing split-shifts that cut Danny’s schedule into pure chaos.
The bell rang. Tucker stepped inside of the small coffee house and lowered his umbrella. He nodded to Danny. “The usual?” Danny asked. Tucker nodded again and walked up to the counter. Danny fixed a cup of hot chocolate, because try as they might the Fentons had yet to find a way to ruin that one yet, and passed it across the counter. Tucker didn’t pay, and Danny didn’t ask. They reminisced over the bad weather together when a figure appeared outside of the window. Danny paused.
There were a few people in this town who, for some inexplicable reason, enjoyed FentonWorks Coffee. There was the bum who practically lived on the corner of second street, the woman who wore tattoos for sleeves and played daredevil games with very tall buildings, the Cloaked Crusader - an Amity Park vigilante who was literally just a man in a top hat and a cloak, and who never captured any criminal ever, but always came in smelling like he’d been tossed in a trash can.
Currently at the window was The Skulker. He never ordered anything. He often stood at the window and stared at Danny, unmoving, a hood over his face. Today he stepped inside. Danny and Tucker both stiffened and watched him scuttle to one of the armchairs in the corner of the cafe. Tucker leaned over the counter, his voice dropping to a whisper, “I thought you guys banned him after he broke the bathroom sink?”
Danny rubbed his neck, whispering back, “My parents are convinced he’s not at fault for it.”
Tucker lifted his eyebrows. Danny shrugged. He took another sip of the Lumberjack. It was god awful.